Family of foreigners: Svalbard’s international residents share variety of Christmas experiences – with one common element

Family of foreigners: Svalbard’s international residents share variety of Christmas experiences – with one common element

Julia Paulsen said Christmas isn’t a major holiday in Indonesia since most of the population is Muslim, with only about 10 percent who are Christians. So it’s a day for being with More »

Random weirdness for the week of Dec. 4, 2018

Random weirdness for the week of Dec. 4, 2018

Talk about a “wow” headline: “Dead dinosaurs to power cruise ships.” Oh, wait, that’s yesteryear’s news since those rotting Jurassic carcasses are exacting revenge for our grave robbing by ensuring the fumes from More »

On dashers! After November roars out like a lion with blizzards, December arrives like a lamb with lots of Christmas activities

On dashers! After November roars out like a lion with blizzards, December arrives like a lamb with lots of Christmas activities

In the beginning there was a run in the snow, an “underwater” circus and an organized(?!) snowball fight. And there was evening, and there was more evening —the first day. Then there was food, More »

TROUBLING TRAFFIC: 31 of 70 drivers cited for violations during vehicle checkpoint by local and Troms police Friday

TROUBLING TRAFFIC: 31 of 70 drivers cited for violations during vehicle checkpoint by local and Troms police Friday

Lots of snow and continuous darkness didn’t deter a “disappointing” number of local drivers from alleged traffic violations, as two people lost their driver’s licenses and 29 traffic-related fines were issued when officials More »

EVACUATION LIFTED: Residents of Vei 228 allowed to return three days after displacement

EVACUATION LIFTED: Residents of Vei 228 allowed to return three days after displacement

Residents of about a dozen homes along Vei 228 were allowed to return to them Sunday following a three-day evacuation due to avalanche concerns, but they probably shouldn’t count on settling in More »

 

Local takeaway from new major ‘climate catastrophe’ report: Svalbard now warming up to three times as fast as elsewhere

pollution

Today’s top story worldwide is a landmark U.N. report declaring global emissions need to be cut in half in 12 years to avoid catastrophic fires, food shortages, storms and other disasters. But for Svalbard the report is even more alarming, as it states the archipelago is now warming up to three times as fast as most parts of the planet – a major step up from the “twice as fast” assertion in recent years.

Second helpings: Smak Svalbard returns with lower-cost options and high acclaim as one of Europe’s best food festivals

smaksheep

It features “iffy-sounding” and politically incorrect dishes such as whale and heavily-salted sheep’s head (“a prize for those who eat everything on the head”), but a three-day food festival starting Thursday in Longyearbyen is whetting some impressive appetites in just its second year.

MASS ADVENTURE: Leif Mage Helgesen leaves Earth-awakening experience as Svalbard Church’s priest, begins another with a pilgrimage throughout Asia

leiflastmass

Whether it’s about surviving in combat zones, a polar bear attack, or an avalanche that killed a close friend and inflicted trauma on the community, during the past 12 years Leif Magne Helgesen mastered the spiritual skill of keeping cool.

And his singing rowdy songs with the local miners’ choir, cavorting through satirical stage skits, presiding over Masses in spectacular outdoor settings, and writing books about heated topics like climate change and the West Bank (not to mention some nude photos of him showing up in publications) are just some of the blessed ways he can warm up a crowd.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Sept. 25, 2018

boatsbears

A cruise ship illegally sending boatloads of passengers to get a close-up look at a polar bear is caught on camera, the Radisson will be closed for more than three months for a massive upgrade and the parents of a girl killed in avalanche are scheduled to discuss settlements with the people they are suing for negligence.

Adiós Airbnb: Company becomes Longyearbyen’s largest private landlord by buying 84 apartments, will end short-term rentals

nomoreairbnb

A company that is purchasing 84 apartments in Longyearbyen will halt the practice of using five of them for Airbnb rentals, a decision earning praise from local leaders and residents due to the town’s critical shorting of housing.

Random weirdness for the week of Sept. 25, 2018

Polarbeartown

“We are working on documentary film about Spitsbergen. We are looking for videos on which we can see polar bears moving around in human settlements e.g. in Longyearbyen (bears wandering around the city, attacking people or maybe when someone shoot a bear).”

This is one of those times when someone else’s words leave us with none (at least when it comes to a witty opening for an extra-long installment of this week’s weirdness).

Spooky: Norway’s first modern-era arrest of alleged Russian spy could lead to increased presence in Svalbard, experts say

russianspy

The arrest of a Russian man in Oslo on suspicion of spying, the first such arrest by Norway in the modern era, could trigger a wave of hostile reactions by Russia including increasing its presence in Svalbard, according to experts.

Boozer banned: Drunk and disruptive man banned for a year from all Longyearbyen establishments serving alcohol

livkarlsberger

An intoxicated Norwegian man has been banned from all nighttime establishments in Longyearbyen that serve alcohol for a year due to confrontational behavior Sunday night at Karlsberger Pub that ended with police ordering him from the premises.

The man’s employer said Monday he has been fired and is scheduled to return to the mainland Wednesday.

Rapid relief: Longyearbyen off to another fast start in annual telethon; this year’s funds to benefit homeless, addicts, others struggling in Norway

auctionrace

The race to help people who are a step behind got off to its usual fast start in Longyearbyen, with 36,000 kroner raised during a relay race Saturday that set a new speed record and kicked off a month of local fundraising activities leading up to the annual NRK telethon.

WARGAME WEIRDNESS: U.S. bomber flies around Svalbard and Franz Josef Land; Russian bombers, possibly in response, simulate attack on Norway

militaryflight

A U.S. bomber jet flew a loop around Svalbard and Franz Josef Land last week as part of a series of NATO training exercises in the Norwegian Arctic, which was followed by two Russian bombers conducting a simulated attack along the Norwegian coast on Thursday, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency and the military news website AldriMer.