Meanwhile, it seems that the union for "those educated at a university level" (UNIO) is determined to strike, anyway, though nobody thinks they'll get anywhere with it.
It turns out that several Norwegian ministries - or perhaps ministers - have bypassed normal procurement policies in hiring consultants. It turns out the Ministry of Foreign Affairs engaged consultants to the tune of NOK 19 million the wrong way. Similar story for the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Energy, and others. Aftenposten writes that the "red-green government" has "no control."
Bob Geldof is attending some kind of conference in Oslo on peace and trade but isn't complimenting the host country. He's particularly upset about Norwegian protectionism, but also points out that Norwegian foreign aid doesn't amount to that much, even compared to the US. He wonders why Norway isn't doing more for Africa. And he doesn't think Norway is doing all that much to reduce carbon emissions.
There was a bomb scare at a junior high school in the coastal municipality of Karmøy which was serious enough that a bomb squad was flown in by helicopter. It turned out to be a pretty sophisticated hoax, thankfully,
But classes continued, even though some of the kids were frightened and scared. Now, several are saying that classes should have been dismissed.
A study performed by Civita - a Norwegian think tank - found that Norwegian school children lack basic knowledge about the history of totalitarian regimes. Only Hitler and Saddam Hussein got solid recall. Most kids had now idea who Pol Pot was or what kind of a place a Gulag was.
One student thought Hitler and Bush were frighteningly similar.
Some said they had good general knowledge about Germany in the Nazi era, but that extensive discussions on the "suffering of the Jews" were short on actual facts. (I'm struggling hard to omit editorial comments here).
During the volatility in stock markets the last few days, the Oslo stock exchange has turned out to be the most volatile of all. While the DJIA went up 1.45%, the Oslo index dropped 2.6%, and the DJEurostock index went down 0.31%. Analysts in Oslo say that the market is dominated by fear and greed.
The Norwegian government commissioned a task force to examine the prevalence of sexual assault in Norway and what can be done to remedy the situation. According to the commission, there are about 16,000 rapes or attempted rapes in Norway each year. Out of a population of 4.7 million. Of these, about 1,000 are reported to the police. At least 9 of 10 are left unreported, due to various reasons, including a lack of knowledge among victims that they have been violated. And those who report it, have little reason to be assured - the police closes 80% of cases reported to them without prosecuting anyone. All in all, about 1% of rapists in Norway are ever convicted.
One issue identified by the commission is that immigrants are more likely to commit sexual assaults than ethnic Norwegians. So one proposed measure is to provide all immigrants on a training program on why rape is bad.
One of the most severe cases of pedophilia ever seems finally to be resolved in Norway. The so-called "Pocket man" (Lommemannen) was arrested around January 11th. He's a suspect for at least 300 cases of child molestation that have taken place in the course of at least 30 years. The man is from Bergen, in his mid 50s, and has two children of his own. Although the police have had DNA samples for quite some time, they didn't have any suspects to check them against.
Add this to the lengthening list of broken promises from the "red-green" coalition government's Soria Moria declaration: research in renewable energy. Although the International Atomic Energy Agency believes that Norway has numerous opportunities to take advantage of renewable energy, Norwegian authorities have only invested NOK 44 million in the field; compared to 242 million by Denmark, 202 million by Sweden, and 109 by Finland.
On the other hand, the Norwegian government has invested extensively - to the tune of NOK 436 million - in oil and gas exploration and production. And that's in addition to investments by oil and gas companies who are trying to figure out how to conduct deep sea drilling in the arctic.
The leading theory for this is that Norway - after all - is an exporter of oil and gas and is more motivated by immediate financial gain than sustainable growth.
Aftenposten is featuring a series on the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault in the Norwegian military. It turns out that the Norwegian defense has few to none mechanisms for detecting, reporting, or dealing with this sort of thing. Aftenposten is profiling one service woman - "Private 7" - who has presumably had awful experiences.
So bad is the situation that the military does not even have the means to track incidents that have been reported to (civilian) law enforcement authorities.
As a side but probably related note, the Norwegian military has failed to meet the goal of having 10% of its force be women by 2000 - the number is 6-7%. The goal now is 20% by 2020.