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TODAY IN NORWAY

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

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

Pictured is Skaget, Heggeness, Norway.
Read about Norway's economy, May 17th celebrations and discarded vaccine doses in today's roundup of important news. Pictured is a mountain in Norway. Photo by Fredrik Solli Wandem on Unsplash

SAS to continue flights to Ukraine 

Airline SAS said yesterday it would continue to fly to Ukraine for the time being. The decision comes as several other airlines avoid Ukrainian airspace amid fears of an imminent Russian invasion.

SAS has one service in Ukraine, connecting Kyiv and the Norwegian capital Oslo. That service operated yesterday, and the airline plans for it to depart again next week as scheduled, a spokesperson told news wire Ritzau.

But we are making ongoing assessments of the situation, and the safety of those onboard comes first,” head of media communications with SAS, John Eckhoff, told Ritzau.

Foreign ministries in Norway and Denmark have urged their citizens to leave the country.

Strong resurgence in the Norwegian economy last year

Preliminary figures from Statistics Norway show that Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, which is used to measure an economy’s growth, grew by 4.2 percent last year.

The growth last year was driven by a resurgence of economic activity after the recession in 2020.

“At the beginning and end of the year, the infection rates were high, and infection control measures were put in place, but the economic consequences were less extensive in 2021 than in 2020. In April of 2021, the gradual reopening of society began, and activity in the mainland economy grew each month from April to November,” Pål Sletten, head of national accounts at Statistics Norway, said.

The service industry, which is heavily affected by Covid restrictions and travel rules, was the main driver behind significant upturns and downturns throughout the pandemic.

More than 126,000 vaccine doses were thrown out last year

Last year more than 126,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses were discarded last year, broadcaster TV2 reports.

The most common reasons for vaccines being binned were expiration dates being reached, particles in vials, people not showing up for appointments, broken vials and AstraZeneca being dropped.

“The figures presented by TV 2 show that wastage in the Norwegian vaccination program is just under one percent of doses sent out,” assistant director of the NIPH Geir Bukholm told the broadcaster.

The broadcaster obtained the figures by asking the country’s 356 municipalities how many doses they threw out. 302 municipalities responded to the survey.

May 17th committees across Norway are planning normal celebrations

Following two years of disruption, committees are planning normal celebrations for Constitution Day, or May 17th this year.

The day is typically marked by nationwide celebrations, with parades and marching bands commonplace.

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TODAY IN NORWAY

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

Fatal traffic accidents, a Covid cash row and projects facing postponements are among the main stories from Norway on Monday. 

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

Several dead after traffic accidents

Four people died, and two were flown to hospital following an accident in the Steigen tunnel, Nordland, north Norway, on Sunday afternoon.

 Another two died in an accident in Voss earlier on Sunday. Four people involved in the collision were sent to hospital. 

“We are at full speed into the season where there are usually more fatal accidents than in other periods of the year,” Cecilie Bryner from Trygg Trafikk, which promotes safe driving, said to newswire NTB. 

37 people have lost their lives on Norwegian roads so far this year. Last year, 87 died in accidents. 

Deadline for agricultural settlement

The deadline for the state and agricultural sector to agree on subsidies and funding is today. 

The farmers demand 11.5 billion kroner from the government, while the state has only offered 10.15 billion. 

The two parties have remained tight-lipped on how close they are to a possible agreement or what’s being negotiated.

This year’s settlement is considered far more complicated than during a typical year. The agreement is supposed to cover farmers’ incomes for 2023 and cover the cost of soaring prices and inflation in 2022, agricultural paper Nationen writes. 

Norway’s municipalities in Covid cash row 

A row has erupted between the government and Norwegian municipalities as funding promised to help cover the bill for Covid to local authorities was not included in the revised national budget for 2022, public broadcaster NRK reports

Several municipalities have hit out at the government as a result. 

Norway’s Minister of Local Government, Sigbjørn Gjelsvik, defended the budget and said there wasn’t a cash flow problem in Norwegian municipalities and that things should “happen in the right order”. 

This opens the door for compensation to be agreed upon after a report on Covid expenditure is published in September. 

READ MORE: What the revised national budget in Norway means for foreigners

Road projects could be pushed back 

Transport Minister Jon-Ivar Nygård has said that less money will be spent on road construction next year and that large national projects could be put on hold or scaled back. 

“We will need to review our priorities because there will probably be less money than planned for transport,” Nygård told newspaper VG

The minister didn’t say which projects were most likely to be put on the backburner, but it was most likely those that were still in the planning and preparation stages.

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