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

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

Lofoten, northern Norway.
Read about the war in Ukraine impacting the cost of living, a fire in a apartment block in Drammen and the Norwegian PM saying he wants to look at defence spending in today's roundup. Pictured is Lofoten. Photo by Error 420 📷 on Unsplash

Several hundred evacuated from fire in apartment block in Drammen 

On Wednesday afternoon, a high-rise block caught fire in Fjell in Drammen, which resulted in several hundred residents needing to be evacuated.

Firefighters were first called to the scene in the afternoon but did not get control of the blaze until 9pm.

No residents are reported to have been injured in the fire at the nine-storey block.

War in Ukraine to increase cost of living

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is set to have several knock-on effects for prices in Norway, with costs of some essential items already increasing due to the war.

Petrol and diesel have soared in recent days, and prices could reach as high as 30 kroner per litre for both as the cost of crude oil soars.

READ ALSO: High jet fuel prices to lead to more expensive airline tickets in Norway

Food prices are also set to increase due to rising energy prices and because Ukraine and Russia account for almost a third of the world’s barley and wheat exports.

“The food price is greatly affected by both the energy price and the price of fertilizer. But now they will also lose much of their production from Ukraine,” Kyree Knudsen, chief economist at Sparebank 1 SR-Bank, told public broadcaster NRK.

Analysts have also predicted in recent days that flight tickets were also set to become more expensive due to rising crude oil prices.

PM wants to strengthen armed forced 

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has said the government is willing to spend more money on the armed forces following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I think it is completely realistic that we must strengthen the armed forces’ capacity,” Støre told newspaper VG.

The leaders of the Conservatives, Progress Party and Liberal Party have said that they would back increased defence spending.

READ ALSO: How Norway’s border with Russia could be affected by the invasion of Ukraine

However, Støre also said that Norway’s threat pictured had not changed in light of a potential increase in defence spending.

“But we must first understand the new security policy situation. It is important to say that we have not noticed an elevated threat picture against Norway. Russia has concentrated enormous amounts of its defence around Ukraine, and that means somewhat less activity in the north,” Støre said.

UDI to create emergency accommodation for 8,000 

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration has said that it wants to create 8,000 emergency accommodation places due to an influx of asylum seekers from Ukraine.

“We have already entered into agreements with established suppliers with whom we have a framework agreement,” the UDI announced in a statement.

More than 2.15 million Ukrainians have fled the country since Russia invaded the country on February 24th, according to UN figures.

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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.