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

The government apologising to gay people, MDMA being trialled as a treatment for depression, and the Minister of Trade wanting to improve competition in the grocery sector are among the main news stories from Norway on Thursday.

Pictured is Leinesfjord.
MDMA being trialled as a treatment for depression, the governemnt apologising to the LGBT community and a flight being diverted over a bomb threat are among today's stories from Norway. Pictured is Leinsefjord. Photo by Artem Shuba on Unsplash

Government apologises to gay people 50 years after decriminalisation 

The Norwegian government apologised to homosexuals on Wednesday ahead of the 50th anniversary of homosexuality in the Nordic country on Thursday. 

“I would like to apologise on behalf of the Norwegian government for the fact that homosexual people have been treated as criminals and prosecuted by the Norwegian authorities,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said during a public event held together with rights groups.

119 men were convicted between 1902 and 1950 for having sex with other men, under a paragraph of the country’s penal code that was removed on April 21st, 1972, according to the government. 

The government also apologised for the stigma surrounding homosexuality that the criminalisation of homosexuality created. 

“The law had a large symbolic value and meant that queer people were subjected to widespread condemnation, extensive discrimination, slander and blackmail,” the government said.

READ MORE: Norwegian government apologies to gay people 50 years after decriminalisation

Ministry of Trade to look at improving competition in the grocery sector

The government is looking at changes to the law that will reduce the power of major players in the supermarket industry to try and promote healthier competition. 

Minister of Trade and Industry Jan Christian Vestre told public broadcaster NRK that he wants to make it easier for the Norwegian Competition Authority to investigate the grocery sector. 

He has also tasked the head of the competition authority with assessing what the auditor needs to crack down harder on companies that lead to less competition in the market. 

Flight between Oslo and Warsaw diverted over a bomb threat

Several media outlets have reported that a whizz air flight between Warsaw and Oslo had to be diverted due to a bomb threat. 

The flight was diverted to Gdansk, and the airport was temporarily closed, broadcaster TV2 reports. 

The threat turned out to be a hoax, officials in Poland said. 

Norway to trial MDMA as a treatment for depression 

MDMA will be tested as a potential treatment for depression by researchers in Norway, newspaper VG reports

“I am interested in investigating whether there is anything that can help those who do not get better from existing medication,” Tom Morten Kvam, a psychiatrist leading the study, told VG. 

The drug will be used in conjunction with therapy and will be the first study of its kind in the world, according to the paper. 

“The purpose is to determine if the drug MDMA combined with psychotherapy is a safe and feasible treatment for depression. In addition to getting preliminary clues as to whether it has an effect,” Kvam said. 

The study into the use of the drug, which is illegal in Norway, will initially start with 12 participants.  

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For members


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.