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Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Monday

Find out what’s going on in Norway on Monday with The Local’s short roundup of important news.

Pictured are powerlines running past a snow covered cabin.
Read about the government saying that it wants to increase the share of the electricity bill it will cover for households and potential changes to Covid restrictions in schools and the national bar stop in today's roundup of what's going on in Norway. Pictured are electricity lines passing by a cabin. Photo by Juho Luomala on Unsplash

PM wants to lift nationwide alcohol ban

Jonas Gahr Støre, Norway’s prime minister, has said that he wants to lift the nationwide ban on restaurants and bars selling alcohol, provided the advice from health authorities say it is safe to do so.

“If the professional advice allows for it, we will, of course, abolish the ban,” he told public broadcaster NRK.

His comments come after finance minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum said that the ban should be lifted and municipalities left to make their own decision on whether to retain the restriction or not at a local level.

The government is set to update its Covid-19 rules on January 14th.

The government wants to drop red-level in high schools

Education minister Tonje Brenna said that the government intends to move high schools away from the red level, which sees partial home-schooling while making the yellow level more fit for purpose.

“The goal is to lower the measures. Schools operating at red level is a natural place to start,” Brenna told NRK.

Education state secretary Hallvard Hølleand said changing what the yellow level in schools encompasses would be one way of moving schools away from red-level.

“We want to change traffic lights in high school from red to yellow. There must be a yellow level that makes it possible for students to be present a lot, at the same time as we ensure infection control,” he told NRK.

The change in school infection control levels is likely to come before the current measures are reassessed later this week.

Government to increase electricity support to 80 percent

The government will increase the share of the electricity bill it will cover for households from 55 to 80 percent when energy prices rise above 70 øre per kilowatt-hour.

The decision will be subject to a vote in parliament, but the government’s intentions were confirmed to VG by PM Jonas Gahr Støre and finance minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum.

The 80 percent is deducted from households bills automatically, and if implemented, the 80 percent deduction will first appear on the bill for January, which will arrive in February. Last week the government came under increasing pressure to readjust its energy bills support package.

READ MORE: Norwegian government urged to improve energy support scheme for households

4,184 new Covid-19 cases in Norway

On Sunday, 4,184 new Covid-19 cases were registered in Norway, 1,277 infections more than the same day last week.

Over the last seven days, an average of 6,435 coronavirus infections have been reported. The same average a week prior was 3,568.

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Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday 

Why flight cancellations will continue after the air technician strike ends, a drop in unemployment in Norway, Sankthans and other news on Thursday.

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday 

Flight cancellations to continue after strike ends

Airline Widerøe has said that the consequences of the current air technician strike will be felt after a resolution is found and that cancellations are likely to continue, public broadcaster NRK reports. 

Norwegian Air Shuttle has also predicted issues after the strike ends because of a backlog of maintenance built up during the strike. 

SAS has said that it was expecting a backlog but that the airline would be able to handle it. 

“We have some backlog, but we believe that we will be able to handle it even after the strike has ended,” Tonje Sund, press manager for SAS in Norway, told NRK. 

In addition, pilots from SAS could strike from June 29th. Up to 250 daily flights could be disrupted by a potential pilot strike Hans Jørgen Elnæs from Winair AS told newswire NTB. 

READ ALSO: More flights in Norway cancelled due to technician strike

Unemployment dropped in the first quarter

Unemployment in Norway fell to 3.2 percent in April, down 0.2 percentage points from January, the latest figures from national stats agency Statistics Norway reveal

While unemployment fell, there were 0.3 percent more jobs available on the market. In April, there were 93,000 people out of work aged between 15 and 74, while 2,859,000 were employed. The overall workforce grew by 23,000 in the first quarter. 

Workers in Norway earned an average of 43,800 kroner in May, 0.4 percent less than in April. Women had an average salary of 32,150 kroner, while Men had a salary of 45,246 kroner. 

Fornebubanen gets the go-ahead.

A new metro line between Majortstuen and Fornebu has been given the green light, ending uncertainty over its future for the time being. 

Earlier this spring project faced being scrapped, even though construction had already begun due to spiralling costs.

The Labour Party, Socialist Left Party, Green Party, Conservatives, the Liberal Party, Conservatives and Christian Democrats secured a majority for the project to continue, public broadcaster NRK reports. 

During construction, the estimated cost of the project rose by 7 billion kroner, putting the new metro line at risk. 

However, a majority in favour of continuing with the line was secured when landowners contributed 2.1 billion kroner to see the project completed. 

Sankthans today

Sankthans or Jonsok, translated as “John’s wake”, is a Midsummer celebration with both religious and secular roots.

Along with the rest of Scandinavia, it is popular to celebrate with bonfires. The celebration is mainly centred around the shared gratitude of long days and warm nights on the evening of the 23rd.

READ MORE: What is Sankthans? How Norwegians mark the middle of summer