Tag Archives: The Governor of Svalbard

JOYLESS JOYRIDE: ATV stolen from Polar X near beach Sunday morning turns up at Svalbardbutikken; police seeking tips

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Legally speaking, a rare vehicle theft in Longyearbyen when a multi-passenger ATV was reported missing early Sunday morning from Polar X at Sjøområdet. But the reason such thefts are rare is because it’s hard to actually steal and possess a vehicle since there’s no roads out of town to flee on, so police are seeking tips about the culprit after the ATV showed up a while later in the Svalbardbutikken parking lot.

THEY’RE COMING FOR YOUR GUNS (IF YOU’RE BORROWING THEM): New law effective June 1 requires people to have a license for specific firearms they borrow from others

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The ease of borrowing a gun from somebody in Svalbard, which basically just means telling the owner you’re fit to do so, will come to an end June 1 when a nationwide law requiring the borrower to have a permit specific to the type of weapons goes into effect.

SVALBARD A HAVEN FOR DOMESTIC ABUSERS? Report says foreign woman have few options due to exemptions from mainland social programs, leaving them in violent relationships

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“Jasmin” is a foreigner who moved with her children from Asia to Longyearbyen several years ago to live with her Norwegian husband – but the relationship turned into one where she alleges she has long been abused by him. But because many of Norway’s social programs and the Immigration Act don’t apply to Svalbard, she’s essentially being told the only effective solution is to return to her homeland.

Her story, first reported Monday by NRK (in English via Google Translate*), is one of multiple instances of women in the archipelago who are in abusive relationships with few means of support or escape, according to the Crisis Center for the Troms region, the closest agency dealing with domestic violence matters to Longyearbyen.

MEET THE NEW MASTER: Lars Fause, lead Troms/Finnmark prosecutor and former Svalbard lieutenant governor, to be new archipelago governor under new Sysselmester title as of July 1

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A decade after departing as Svalbard’s second highest-ranking official, Lars Fause is returning as Svalbard’s new governor – under the new gender-neutral Sysselmester title – as of July 1.

ANOTHER EVACUATION OF NYBYEN (AND THIS ONE MAY BE LENGTHY): Massive buildup of hanging snow means buildings near mountains must be vacated ‘until further notice’

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An evacuation of the mountainside buildings in Nybyen for a third straight weekend – and one whose length will be measured in weeks – has been ordered as of 6 p.m. Friday due to large cornices overhanging the mountains (click link for video) due to heavy snow accumulation in recent weeks, The Governor of Svalbard announced at midday Friday.

The evacuation order, which affects 117 people mostly in student dorms and tourist lodging such as Gjestehuset 102, is until further notice.

“We will make weekly assessments of the situation, and the evacuation and the traffic and residence ban, but we emphasize that it is very uncertain when this can be lifted,” Gov. Kjerstin Askholt said in a prepared statement. “Consideration for life and health always comes first.”

The evacuation also has longer-term implications for the area since for many years it has been classified as a high-risk area and private entities, not the city, are responsible for the safety of the occupants.

IT’S A CLEAR DAY – AS IN, CLEARLY GOING PLACES ISN’T WISE: Flights cancelled, multiple avalanches, poor visibility means lots of risk and rescue attempts will be difficult, governor says

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Heavy snow Wednesday and predictions of more to come through Friday is prompting The Governor of Svalbard to urge people not to travel in mountainous terrain due to a high risk of avalanches and the likelihood rescues will be extremely difficult due to poor visibility.

The storm also resulted in the cancellation of the passenger and mail flights to Longyearbyen on Wednesday.

ALERT – POLAR BEAR IN TODALEN: Governor using helicopter and other vehicles to ‘push’ predator away from cabin area southeast of Longyearbyen frequented by spring travelers

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Officials are trying to chase a polar bear visiting Todalen on Thursday morning away from the valley about 10 kilometers southeast of Longyearbyen where numerous cabins are located and spring travellers visit, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

Initial efforts to chase it south were thwarted when the bear returned and approached the landfill at the east end of town, according to a midday update. Attempts are now being made to chase the bear northwest via Hiorthhamn.

AVALANCHE ADVISORY: Three skiers safe after triggering snowslide on Nordenskiøldfjellet, but governor issues warning about conditions

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Three skiers are safe after triggering an avalanche on Nordenskiøldfjellet at about 1 p.m. Sunday, prompting The Governor of Svalbard to issue an advisory to those on outdoor excursions despite what is seemingly relative safe conditions according to official avalanche warning forecasts.

SHUTDOWN TO SNOWMOBILES AGAIN: Ban on motor traffic in three popular areas to protect wildlife OK’d by governor; strong protests by tourism, researchers, cabin owners, filmers, others

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A ban on motorized traffic in three areas heavily populated by seals and polar bears will be in effect from March 15 to June 1, The Governor of Svalbard announced Thursday after evaluating often highly critical comments from a wide variety of local interests from tourism to university research that use the areas.

POLAR BEAR INJURES MAN IN EAST SVALBARD: Bear shot and killed after attack on two-person excursion to Mohnbukta

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A man working on a film project was injured by a polar bear Tuesday morning during a scouting excursion with a co-worker to Mohnbukta in east Spitsbergen, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

“The polar bear has been shot and killed,” an announcement at the governor’s website states. “The governor was notified of the incident at 9:25 a.m. today. The man who was attacked by the polar bear is slightly injured. He is now being treated at Longyearbyen Hospital.”