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MOUNTAIN

New film chronicles Norwegian effort to give Finland a mountain

Although the Norwegian government has resisted public pressure to offer a mountain summit to neighbouring Finland as part of its independence centenary celebrations, the idea is far from dead.

New film chronicles Norwegian effort to give Finland a mountain
A screenshot from 'Battle for Birthday Mountain'. Photo: MEL Films
A newly-released short film chronicles the efforts of Bjørn Geirr Harsson, a retired Norwegian geophysicist, to convince Norway to alter its national borders in order to move the 1,361-metre (4,465-foot) high Mount Halti to Finland. 
 
The film, ‘Battle for Birthday Mountain’, can be seen here. Story continues below. 
 
The film’s director, David Freid, told The Local that her Los Angeles-based crew found the idea of Norway gifting a mountain peak to Finland fascinating. 
 
“On the surface, this is a cute film about a very unique kind of gift between nations. But at its heart is something real and relevant,” Freid said. “While we witness the rising tumult along international borders — from Ukraine and Russia, to the South China Sea, to Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico — the idea behind 'Birthday Mountain' is a rare international gesture worth admiring.”
 
As the film shows, the Norwegian government has ruled out the idea of transferring Mount Halti to Finland, with PM Erna Solberg saying that “border adjustments between countries raises complex legal issues.”
   
In this case the problems were insurmountable. The lofty gift-giving idea ran up against Article 1 of the Norwegian constitution which stipulates that the kingdom of Norway is “indivisible and inalienable”. 

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MOUNTAIN

Norway’s Mannen landslide ‘postponed’ until next year after movement slows

Authorities in Norway do not expect a landslip at the unstable Mannen mountainside in Romsdalen until next year.

Norway’s Mannen landslide 'postponed' until next year after movement slows
Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB scanpix

The Veslemannen section of the mountainside is now not expected to come loose this year, with risk alerts reduced from red to yellow on Wednesday.

Evacuated residents will now return to their homes, reports newspaper VG.

“We have decided to reduce the risk level to yellow. The basis for this is clearly reduced movement,” lead geologist Lars Harald Blikra of the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) told VG.

On Sunday, warning levels were increased to red and residents were evacuated from the area, while NVE on Tuesday pumped water on to the Veslemannen slope in an effort to initiate a landslide.

Residents are now free to return to their homes, Ole Kjell Talberg of Rauma Municipality told VG.

People living in at-risk areas close to the mountain have had to temporarily leave their homes on four previous occasions in the last four years.

The efforts to dislodge the moving ground on Tuesday were seen as a last possible attempt this year, with colder weather oncoming, thereby freezing natural water flow.

Although the water pumping increased the rate of movement of the ground, it was not enough to stimulate a landslide which would have stabilised the slope, writes VG.

Weather forecasts have now been borne out, with snow falling at the Mannen peak and the rate of movement of the land reduced.

The section of the 1,294-metre Mannen peak in the Rauma municipality in Romsdalen is one of Norway’s most closely-monitored for landslide risks.

Geologists refer to the unstable section of the Mannen mountainside as ‘Veslemannen’ (‘The Little Man').

Veslemannen is about 1,200 metres above sea level and has a volume of 120,000 to 180,000 cubic metres – about one percent of the total volume of Mannen.

Heightened landslide risk on the mountain dates back to 2014.

READ ALSO: Norway authorities take measures to start landslide at Mannen mountain