ROUGH JUSTICE: Monica Mæland presided over the shutdown of most of Svalbard’s mining; she’s now the archipelago’s new ‘ruler’ after the collapse of Norway’s government last week

ROUGH JUSTICE: Monica Mæland presided over the shutdown of most of Svalbard’s mining; she’s now the archipelago’s new ‘ruler’ after the collapse of Norway’s government last week

Since her most notable Svalbard moment is a horde of emotionally-charged torch-wielding citizens cornering her in a dark parking lot, Monica Mæland is at the very least well-qualified to cope with tumultuous More »

‘YOUR PLANE TRAVEL DESTROYS POLAR BEAR HABITAT’: Flying to/from Svalbard melts about 3 sq. m. of ice, study suggests

‘YOUR PLANE TRAVEL DESTROYS POLAR BEAR HABITAT’: Flying to/from Svalbard melts about 3 sq. m. of ice, study suggests

Folks who criticize as hypocritical all those scientists and tourists flying to Svalbard to see the pristine environment and effects of climate change have a new scientific number of their own to More »

WHAT THE PUCK? Putin may play in historic hockey game at Barneo in April – could he trigger yet another nasty political faceoff in Svalbard?

WHAT THE PUCK? Putin may play in historic hockey game at Barneo in April – could he trigger yet another nasty political faceoff in Svalbard?

“Putin makes stopover in Svalbard while traveling to play hockey at the North Pole.” It’s a helleva potential headline and news story if it comes to pass this April, although as of now there’s More »

ASK THEM ANYTHING: FAQs for Svalbard science pros at forum include oldest rock, next ice age, microplastics, nuclear waste storage, zombie apocalypse

ASK THEM ANYTHING: FAQs for Svalbard science pros at forum include oldest rock, next ice age, microplastics, nuclear waste storage, zombie apocalypse

When it comes to popular Svalbard topics like climate change and zombies, there’s unquestionably a lot of non-expert nonsense out there. More »

GOVERNOR: IF YOU CARE, BEWARE OF BEAR: Killing animal that has encountered tour groups in Bolterdalen in recent days is last resort, but public needs to avoid provocative actions

GOVERNOR: IF YOU CARE, BEWARE OF BEAR: Killing animal that has encountered tour groups in Bolterdalen in recent days is last resort, but public needs to avoid provocative actions

Growls of frustration are already being heard as officials are trying to cope with another bear lingering near Longyearbyen in recent days, including two encounters with guided tour groups. But while The More »

 

LORDAGSBIFF AT HUSET: A review of Svalbard’s most iconic mining-era meal

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(Editor’s note: This review, written in the spring of 2018 as the opening of a planned ebook that remains unfinished, is being published in advance of the 60th birthday celebration of Huset on Saturday, when lordagsbiff will be served from 2-6 p.m. for 60 kroner.)

This is what it’s like to eat the ultimate traditional community meal in the world’s northernmost town.

You enter an unremarkable and isolated building near the foot of a glacier three kilometers from the town square, well past the walking range of tourists paying more than ten times as much to eat a tasting menu in the famous formal restaurant in an adjacent room. You take a quick left into a casual bistro just past the no-attendant (and thus no-tip) coat room, where a half-empty assortment of booths and tables with a bar against a long wall next to the kitchen awaits.

RANT: Rumor persists the bear killed on New Year’s isn’t the one that visited in 2016. It’s utterly absurd, unless it’s the biggest and stupidest conspiracy by officials in modern times

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First, to the naysayers: yes, the lip tattoo and ear marker on the bear are a match. Unless two different official agencies are telling an easily-discoverable lie for reasons beyond comprehension.

Unlike certain parts of the world where leaders are spouting non-stop “alternative facts,” claims of “fake news” and – in a new classic uttered just yesterday – “no one said this wasn’t photoshopped,” even nonconformists at this newspaper tend to trust public officials are truthful about facts regarding major incidents such as the highly controversial killing of a polar bear on New Year’s Day.

ALERT (UPDATED 4 p.m. TUES:): Heavy snow and strong gale winds likely to result in high-risk avalanche and sea conditions through Thursday

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Update 4 p.m. Tuesday: The forecast now calls for strong gale winds throughout Tuesday, near-gale winds and moderate snow Wednesday, and gale winds and potentially heavy snow Thursday. The avalanche risk forecast through Wednesday remains at Level Three (out of five), but is Level Four is eastern and southern Svalbard.

Original story posted at 4 p.m. Monday: A blizzard with up to 12 millimeters of precipitation and strong gales winds to 86 kilometers an hour is forecast throughout most of Tuesday, resulting in high risks of avalanche and hazards at sea due to fracturing ice, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

GUEST COLUMN: Polar bear murder on the New Year’s night due to ‘lack of resources’ inexcusable

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By Nikita Ovsyanikov.
Photo by Marie Lørup Stenshøj

A New Year celebration in Longyearbyen turned out to be no good for an unfortunate polar bear – a seven-year-old healthy male, whose only “sin” was his curiosity and interest in food containers in the town.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Dec. 31, 2019

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A cargo ship that brings food and other essential supplies to Longyearbyen will be out of service for three weeks starting Jan. 10, a memorial pays tribute to the 26 miners killed 100 years ago in Store Norske’s deadliest accident and the city unveils plans for a new environmental station at Hotellneset. 

STARTING NEW YEAR/DECADE OF ABNORMALITY: Streak of above-average temps in Longyearbyen extends to 109 months as December 2.6C warmer than normal

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Hey, at least this year we didn’t get rain during the Christmas holidays.

Longyearbyen’s streak of above-average temperatures is now more than nine years long at 109 months entering the 2020s as December’s average temperature of -10.8 degrees Celsius was 2.6 degrees warmer than the average of minus 13.4 degrees, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Of course, that “normal” average is based on the years 1960-1990, which plenty of experts say skews the “new normal” during the past few decades due to climate change.

BEAR KILLED FLOWN FAR FROM LONGYEARBYEN IN 2016: Seven-year-old male brought to northeast corner of Svalbard after high-profile visit; its long-distance return was fatal

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A polar bear killed near Longyearbyen early on New Year’s Day also approached town in April of 2016, with officials opting then to tranquillize and fly it by helicopter to the northeast corner of Svalbard, adding an extra element to the current debate about whether a similar approach should have occurred this time.

‘DISGUSTING LOSS OF LIFE’: As usual, shooting of polar bear on New Year’s sparks outrage at governor’s decision to kill animal – and the presence of humans/tourists in Svalbard

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A decision to kill a polar bear at 4 a.m. New Year’s Day because it kept venturing into Longyearbyen, even though it has been chased some distance away and didn’t post an immediate danger to humans, is triggering a familiar and fierce debate about the decision – as well as the mere presence of humans/tourists in the inhospitable landscape of Svalbard.

POLAR BEAR SHOT: Officials kill bear at 4 a.m. Wednesday after it visited Longyearbyen multiple times; governor says no other practical solution possible

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Photo by Sophie Cordon.

A polar bear that visited Longyearbyen four times since last Thursday, including minutes after midnight on New Year’s, was shot and killed by officials a few hours after the last approach because there was no other practical alternative to protect people in town, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

WELCOME TO THE AUROARING 20S FROM LONGYEARBYEN! Fireworks, Northern Lights and a polar bear – oh my!

Wow, does that descriptor of the new decade have many meanings as the New Year rings in the world’s northernmost town. Man’s fireworks and Mother Nature’s Northern Lights provided simultaneous spectacular light shows as midnight struck, while only a short distance away a polar bear ventured close to the festivities. That resulted in a subsequent light show well into the wee hours of the morning by a helicopter and other vehicles from the governor’s office as they tried to chase the bear away across the shore on the opposite side of town (major kudos/thanks to Sophie Cordon for the bear/helicopter photo).