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

King Harald in hospital for observation, pilots to decide whether to accept the SAS agreement, the government promises more electricity support, plus other news from Norway on Friday. 

Pictured is a mountain range in Norway.
Find out what's going on in Norway on Friday with The Local's short roundup of important news. Pictured is a mountain range in Norway. Photo by Felix Rottmann on Unsplash

King Harald in hospital for observation 

Norway’s king, King Harald, has been admitted to Oslo University Hospital for observation with a fever, the Royal Palace announced Thursday. 

The palace described the king’s condition as stable. 

Last week, King Harald participated in the sailing World Cup, where his team finished 10th. His next engagement is a meeting with the cabinet at the castle on August 12th. 

Last year, the 85-year-old had an operation on a damaged knee tendon and had previously had bladder cancer. 

Pilots to decide whether to accept SAS offer

The pilot associations in Norway, Sweden and Denmark have opened the vote on the collective bargaining deal offered by airline SAS today. 

The deadline to submit votes is midnight, and the result will be announced tomorrow. Pilots could strike again if the deal isn’t given the green light. In July, pilots were on strike for 15 days.

The government promises more electricity support

Norway’s government will increase and strengthen the electricity subsidy support scheme, Oil and Energy Minister Terje Aasland has said. 

“We have worked intensively for a long period. People need to know that we are dealing with this. They must be confident that they have electricity and that they can afford to pay the bills,” Aasland told Norwegian newswire NTB. 

When the measures are announced isn’t currently known, but Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has said that the government will present its plans in August. 

Aasland said that the government has three main objectives when it comes to electricity support. First up was to maintain the security of the energy supply, improve the support scheme for households, and introduce support for businesses. 

Strong decline in sea ice in Norway 

Since May, there has been a substantial decline in sea ice around Svalbard and ice coverage is 62,000 square kilometres below normal. 

This is the equivalent of the land area of Svalbard, or Møre og Romsdal, Vestland and Rogaland combined.

Researcher Signe Aaboe at the Meteorological Institute said the decline is probably due to this summer’s heat, with climate change as a contributing factor, public broadcaster NRK reports. 

The lack of ice coverage is particularly bad news for polar bears, which depend on ice-covered seas to survive. Over the last few decades, the amount of Sea Ice in the Arctic has gradually decreased due to global warming. 

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For members


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

Authorities mull euthanising a famous walrus, a 'dramatic' new climate report, and a salmonella outbreak are among the headlines from Norway on Friday.

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

Authorities say Freya the walrus may be euthanised

Norwegian authorities are considering putting down a walrus that won hearts basking in the sun of the Oslofjord amid fears it is putting itself and the public in danger, they said Thursday. 

Despite repeated appeals to the public to keep their distance from the walrus — a young female weighing 600 kilos (1,300 pounds) that has been nicknamed Freya -the mammal continues to attract big crowds, the Fisheries Directorate said in a statement.

 Its text was accompanied by a photograph of a group of onlookers crowding near the animal.

 “The public’s reckless behaviour and failure to follow authorities’ recommendations could put lives in danger”, a spokeswoman for the fisheries agency, Nadia Jdaini, said.

“We are now exploring other measures, and euthanasia may be a real alternative”, she added.

The Arctic is heating up much faster than expected

Temperatures in the Arctic have risen four times faster than the rest of the planet, with the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard warming up even quicker, a new study has found. 

The environment minister Espen Barthe Eide has called the study’s findings dramatic. 

“These are dramatic figures. The study is another serious warning about how quickly climate change is happening,” Eide told Norwegian newswire NTB. 

“The ice is melting at record speed, the water is getting warmer, the permafrost is thawing, life on land as well as in the sea is changing,” he said. 

“Parts of Svalbard are in the process of changing from an Arctic to an Atlantic climate,” he added. 

The study concluded the temperature in the Arctic has increased by 0.75 degrees Celsius per decade, and this is almost four times as fast as the rest of the globe. In the areas around Svalbard and Novaya Semlja, the temperature has increased by as much as 1.25 degrees per decade. 

Salmonella outbreak linked to watermelon

An outbreak of salmonella has been linked to a batch of watermelon, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority has said. 

The authority said it was working to identify the watermelons linked to the outbreak, in which 18 people have neem infected, but said it was unlikely that the batch in question was unlikely to be found in supermarkets anymore. 

Ukrainian refugees didn’t receive money they were entitled to from the UDI

A number of Ukrainian refugees did not receive the basic benefits they were entitled to when they first arrived in the country, with the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) working to identify who may be owed money. 

“We cannot say anything about when we will start the repayments themselves, but UDI wants to make it clear that this is a high-priority matter and that there are many people working on the matter,” press adviser at the UDI, Per-Jan Brekke, told the newspaper Aftenposten