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US human rights lawyer new Norway ambassador

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US human rights lawyer new Norway ambassador
George Tsunis (left) and his possible replacement as Norwegian ambassador Samuel Heins (right). Photo: Senate hearing screen grab/Ploughshares Fund
08:08 CEST+02:00
The US White House is considering Minnesota lawyer Samuel Heins as its new ambassador to Norway, after the first choice, hotelier George Tsunis, was dropped after showing embarrassing ignorance about the country.
The Washington Post newspaper reported Heins’ candidacy in its In The Loop blogon Wednesday. 
 
“We’re hearing the White House is eyeing Minnesota lawyer, human rights advocate and, of course, $1 million-plus bundler Samuel D. Heins for the job,” it reported. 
 
Heins founded the  Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, sits on  the board of the ACLU union in Minnesota, and co-founded the Center for Victims of Torture in the state. 
 
Tsunis withdrew his candidacy in December with the words: “It is over”. 
 
The Greek-American hotelier had been ridiculed for his bungling performance in a Senate confirmation hearing in January, during which he called Norway's prime minister a "president" and referred to the Progress Party as "fringe elements" that "spew their hatred” — even though it is part of Norway's coalition government.
 
With 15 nominee ambassadors still awaiting Senate approval and, according to the blog “a lot more” nominees, Norway could still have a while to wait before it gets its new ambassador. 
 
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