Coal’s last gasp? Store Norske may decide next week to end mining in Svalbard as coal price crisis persists

Coal’s last gasp? Store Norske may decide next week to end mining in Svalbard as coal price crisis persists

Judgement Day for Longyearbyen may occur as soon as next week. Deciding if Store Norske should cease its coal mining operations is among the items on the agenda when the company’s board More »

Seriously starving? Polar bear so skinny some say photo is fake, but real myth may be such sightings are rising

Seriously starving? Polar bear so skinny some say photo is fake, but real myth may be such sightings are rising

If a photo-gone-virtal of a starving Svalbard polar bear seems to tragic to be real, join the other skeptics claiming it isn’t. More »

Fast-food firefighter: Kebab truck gives hungry late-night drinkers alternative to setting their kitchens on fire

Fast-food firefighter: Kebab truck gives hungry late-night drinkers alternative to setting their kitchens on fire

Our long local nightmare of drunk people setting their kitchens on fire in the wee hours of the morning may finally be over. The surprise opening of the Take Away Kebab food More »

Random weirdness for the week of Aug. 25, 2015

Random weirdness for the week of Aug. 25, 2015

Always eager to point out our stupidity before either of our readers get a chance, take a moment to look at the weather forecast on page 3. Did it take longer than More »

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Aug. 25, 2015

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Aug. 25, 2015

Cruise passengers pay to clean up trash from beaches   A total of 112 passengers are participating in the first Clean Up Svalbard cruise by a foreign operator by collecting trash from More »

 

Coal’s last gasp? Store Norske may decide next week to end mining in Svalbard as coal price crisis persists

sveafog

Judgement Day for Longyearbyen may occur as soon as next week.

Deciding if Store Norske should cease its coal mining operations is among the items on the agenda when the company’s board of directors meets Sept. 3, according to Svalbardposten.

Seriously starving? Polar bear so skinny some say photo is fake, but real myth may be such sightings are rising

starvingbear

If a photo-gone-virtal of a starving Svalbard polar bear seems to tragic to be real, join the other skeptics claiming it isn’t.

Fast-food firefighter: Kebab truck gives hungry late-night drinkers alternative to setting their kitchens on fire

kebaboutside

Our long local nightmare of drunk people setting their kitchens on fire in the wee hours of the morning may finally be over.

The surprise opening of the Take Away Kebab food truck this week means a post-midnight/delivery option is again available to people coming home from a bender at the pub.

Random weirdness for the week of Aug. 25, 2015

dualsunset

Always eager to point out our stupidity before either of our readers get a chance, take a moment to look at the weather forecast on page 3. Did it take longer than three seconds to spot what’s amiss. Yup – we’re publishing as fact that Longyearbyen will have two sunsets on Wednesday.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Aug. 25, 2015

touristcleanupcruise

Cruise passengers pay to clean up trash from beaches  
A total of 112 passengers are participating in the first Clean Up Svalbard cruise by a foreign operator by collecting trash from shorelines as part of their voyage.

Master courses: We find all the cheap food at the supermarket so you don’t have to

fishheads

Yeah, we know –  the prices here suck. And every kroner spent on real food is money that can’t be spent on beer. What’s a starving college student to do?

Using Finns to fly: First international flights at Svalbard Airport scheduled by Finnair beginning next summer

finnairsvalbard

Finnair will become the first airline to offer scheduled international service to Svalbard Airport with direct flights between Helsinki and Longyearbyen from June 1 to Aug. 27 of next year, the airline announced in a press release this week.

“During midsummer we will provide three weekly flights to Svalbard, which is mainly aimed at European customers, but can be also be connected from our Asian flights,” said  Petri Vuori, Finnair’s Vice-President of Global Sales, in a prepared statement.

That means three airlines will be offering regular flights to Longyearbyen next summer, in contrast to the monopoly Scandinavian Airlines had for five years until 2013. Discount carrier Norwegian Air resumed service in March of that year, significantly boosting and redefining Svalbard’s tourism industry in ways both praised and criticized. Still, many locals are hoping the additional competition will allow the positive aspects to continue.

“Let the bidding wars commence,” wrote Benjamin Vidmar, a Longyearbyen resident, in the comments section of a Barents Observer article about the announcement. “Now I hope the prices come down as more airlines come online. Presently it is more expensive to fly from Oslo to Longyearbyen, than it is to fly from Oslo to just about anywhere else in Europe.”

Initial round-trip fairs at Finnair’s website start at 198 Euro (1,829 kroner) for the roughly three-hour flights. The inaugural inbound flight is scheduled to to depart Helsinki at 11:45 p.m. (Finnish time) and arrive in Svalbard at 1:45 a.m. (local time). It is scheduled to depart Longyearbyen at 2:45 a.m.

Passengers flying to and from the Longyearbyen will need to go through passport control and customs since Svalbard is not part of the Schengen Area.

Random bits of weirdness for the week of Aug. 18, 2015

nuditysign

“The island of Spitsbergen has been a nude zone for decades. However it is not required to stay naked in this area.” We ought to just end this week’s roundup here since there’s no way we’re going to get weirder than that.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Aug. 18, 2015

bearcensusrussia

Russia: We didn’t reject bear census; we need more time
Russia is denying it has rejected granting researchers access to its territory for a joint Russian-Norwegian census of polar bears in the Barents Sea region, instead arguing Russia’s legislature needs sufficient time to evaluate the project.

Terror suspect: Ny-Ålesund cowering with polar bears nearby, or so scream headlines with dodgy mug shots

bear2011

“Growing Polar Bear Presence Terrifies Scientists In Arctic Town Of Ny-Ålesund.”

That headline, along with variations such as “nightmare” and “stalk,” is declaring the Svalbard research settlement under siege because  – wait for it – there are polar bears nearby and people need to carry guns when they wander out.