Controversial immigration minister named new justice minister; responsibilities include governing of Svalbard

Controversial immigration minister named new justice minister; responsibilities include governing of Svalbard

Sylvi Listhaug, a Progress Party member known for controversial stances on immigration, has been named Norway’s new Minister of Justice and Public Security, a job whose duties include oversight of Svalbard. But local More »

Random weirdness for the week of Jan 16, 2018

Random weirdness for the week of Jan 16, 2018

OK, we definitely don’t want the competition given our status as Svalbard’s resident street beggars, but since we’re journalists first and foremost we feel obliged to point out the riches this utterly More »

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Jan. 16, 2018

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Jan. 16, 2018

Organized fireworks celebration proposed for next New Year’s A communal New Year’s fireworks show next year is being proposed by a Longyearbyen resident who says it will be safer and more environmentally More »

STORM ALERT: 20-40mm of precipitation, near-gale winds, warm temps, high avalanche risk forecast Saturday

STORM ALERT: 20-40mm of precipitation, near-gale winds, warm temps, high avalanche risk forecast Saturday

A storm is expected to dump up to 40 millimeters of precipitation – all or mostly rain – in Longyearbyen on Saturday, causing significant avalanche and flooding risks, according to an alert More »

SPECIAL REPORT: Polarizing polar bears – unmasking a proxy war strategy by online climate change denialists

SPECIAL REPORT: Polarizing polar bears – unmasking a proxy war strategy by online climate change denialists

By Paul Rosenberg Senior Editor, Random Lengths News In early December, a video of a dying, emaciated polar bear, foraging for food on an iceless land, went viral on social media. The More »

 

STORM ALERT: Governor orders homes in Lia and Nybyen evacuated ahead of blizzard on second anniversary of deadly avalanche

evacuationmap

An evacuation of homes in portions of Lia and Nybyen as of 10 p.m. Monday night has been ordered by The Governor of Svalbard due to an approaching blizzard that coincides with the second anniversary of an avalanche two years ago that destroyed 11 homes and killed two people.

Access to the affected areas is also being sealed off, according to a statement from the governor’s office. The affected buildings are virtually everything between Vei 222 and Vei 230 in Lia, and the buildings on the mountainside side of the road in Nybyen.

STORMY MEMORIES: Second anniversary memorial for deadly avalanche will take place during first serious blizzard of season

anniversarystorm2

UPDATE 8:45 P.M. MONDAY – MEMORIAL GATHERING CANCELLED: Due to the storm and evacuation of dozens of home in at-risk areas, the second-anniversary avalanche memorial at Svalbard Church has been cancelled.

Original story: It won’t be anything like the storm that caused the tragic avalanche two years ago. But it’ll be bad enough to make reliving a bad experience even more chilling.

A storm with heavy snowfall and high winds is expected to hit Longyearbyen on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the most intense period coinciding with a memorial gathering at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Svalbard Church. The Norwegian Meteorological Institute is forecasting up to 15 millimeters of precipitation and winds gusting to 65 kilometers an hour. The worst of the storm is expected to pass by midnight.

Moving day: Governor orders homes in avalanche-prone area of Lia to be evacuated until snow is gone

evacuate17-18web

It was just a matter of time – and that time is three days after the second anniversary of an avalanche that wiped out 11 homes in the neighborhood.

The evacuation of more than a dozen apartment buildings and other residences in an avalanche-prone section of Lia neighborhood near the center of Longyearbyen was ordered Thursday afternoon by Svalbard Gov. Kjerstin Askholt. The order, similar to one enacted during the past winter following a second avalanche that destroyed homes, takes effect Dec. 22 and will remain in effect “as long as there is a risk of avalanches in the area.”

RADIO SILENCE: Today is the last day for FM radio in Svalbard – and Norway; some worry cutoff could be dangerous as well as annoying

digitalradios

FM radio broadcasts will cease in Svalbard, Troms and Finnmark on Wednesday, making Norway the first country to completely phase out FM – a move some worry will be more than just a nuisance, since people such as fisherman in remote seas may face life-threatening situations because information such as weather reports are unavailable.

Random weirdness for the week of Nov. 5, 2017

voxmovie

We’re launching an all “#fakenews” roundup this week with what we’ll call The Frightmare Before Christmas. Lot of charming drone footage of Barentsburg, interspaced with lots of animated maps and a narrating hypothesizing about Russia’s sinister Arctic ambitions, with bits of military propaganda footage mixed in at the end. All that’s needed is a shot of Longyearbyen at the end that fades to white while an explosion sounds and you’d have a North Korean snuff film.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Dec. 5, 2017

turbine

Turbine at power plant shut down due to possible damage

One of the two turbines at Longyearbyen’s power plant has been disabled due to measurements that indicate it may have sustained damage, according to Marianne Hegle, the city’s energy director.

ROAST BEAST: The Grinch tried his tyranny in Longyearbyen this year. It didn’t go well. (UPDATE: Just wow…it really was sabotage)

anneliselights

Skipping past his tiny heart and large theft, including sabotaging the town’s Christmas tree (FOR REAL, it turns out – see update at end)…

Then he shook! What he saw was a shocking surprise!

Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any lights at all!

Report: Russian helicopter crew didn’t report problems before crash, passengers likely evacuated aircraft before it sank

helolift

The crew of a Russian helicopter that crashed near Barentsburg aren’t heard discussing any problems beforehand on the cockpit’s voice recorder, but the eight occupants aboard who perished apparently escaped the aircraft without lifejackets before it sank, according to preliminary report released Friday by The Accident Investigation Board Norway.

Higher price of failure: Shutdown of Store Norske mines will cost far more, take longer than thought, minister says

monica

It turns out shutting down and dismantling the Svea and Lunckefjell is going to cost a lot more than expected. With Parliament scheduled to debate the issue Thursday, at what point does the cost get so high it would be more sensible to spend the money reopening the mines?

Apparently, never, according to the head of Store Norske.

Random weirdness for the week of Nov. 28, 2017

lastjedi

OK, here’s our totally not made-up Star Wars secret reveal: The Last Jedi Are Headbangers.