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

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
A strike by warehouse workers and drivers could begin Thursday, possibly affecting grocery shelves across Norway. Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Grocery stores could be affected by a strike in the run-up to May 17th, efforts to integrate AI into Norwegian healthcare, and other news making the headlines on Wednesday.

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Strike threat looms over grocery stores ahead of May 17th

On May 16th, grocery shoppers might encounter empty shelves as 3,600 warehouse workers and drivers across the nation prepare to strike, the union newspaper Fri Fagbevegelse reported on Wednesday.

Among them, 222 employees in Vestfold og Telemark area could walk out in the coming days.

READ MORE: What’s open and closed over Norway’s long May 17th weekend?

Negotiations between the union representatives in Fellesforbundet and the employer side, represented by Virke, broke down on April 24th.

At the time, Fellesforbundet's negotiator Joachin Espe expressed disappointment, saying Virke was unwilling to address employee demands.

The mediation deadline is midnight on May 15th. If no agreement is reached, a strike could start Thursday morning, potentially affecting grocery shelves.

Major wholesalers, such as Asko and Coop, are among the companies that could be affected.

Norwegian Health Directorate looking into AI integration into healthcare

The Norwegian Directorate of Health is launching an effort to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into the healthcare sector.

Under the directive of the Ministry of Health and Care, the directorate is developing a plan to ensure the safe and effective deployment of AI in healthcare.

"The technology is still relatively new and immature, but we are already seeing good examples that AI systems can help reduce waiting times," Health Director Bjørn Guldvog said.

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Concerns over excessive alcohol consumption on May 17th

A recent survey conducted by Respons Analyze on behalf of the alcohol awareness organisation Av-og-til revealed alarming trends regarding alcohol consumption on Norway's national day, May 17th.

Some 51 percent of respondents said that alcohol dominates the festivities excessively.

General Secretary Ragnhild Kaski of Av-og-til expressed disappointment that such a special day had become characterised by all-day alcohol consumption.

She emphasised the need to address this issue, citing the survey's findings as evidence of a widespread concern over "the excessive presence of alcohol on this special day."

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Private Svalbard property sale attracts attention from authorities

Norway's Business Minister Cecilie Myrseth believes that the sale of the last privately owned property in Svalbard, located in Søre Fagerjord, cannot proceed without Norwegian authorities' approval.

The ministry currently manages most of the land on Svalbard. In total, the state owns 99.5 percent of all land there, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) reports.

Despite being listed for 300 million euros, the property's sale faces regulatory challenges.

The property's primary owner is a former Russian citizen who acquired Norwegian citizenship in 1995.

On Tuesday, the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) said it was closely monitoring the sale of Svalbard's last private property.

Lawyer Per Kyllingstad, representing the owners, remained tight-lipped on the matter, emphasising "their desire for privacy."

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