Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of March 21, 2015


Snowmobilers told to avoid Billefjorden due to bear cubs
Snowmobilers are being urged to avoid driving through Billefjorden, a popular route for approaching Pyramiden, due to two polar bear families with four-month-old cubs observed there, according to The Governor of Svalbard. They are in a critical phase of survival,” a statement at the governor’s website notes, adding officials will be monitoring traffic in the area.

Decision on Store Norske loan may come this week 
A decision by the Norwegian government about recommending an emergency bailout loan for Store Norske may be reached early this week, as the two sides are engaging in final negotiations, but a public announcement may be somewhat delayed. Annette Malm Justad, chairwoman of the company’s board of directors, declined to provide details about the talks, but said the loan is likely to be the top item at the agency during a board meeting next week. The company is seeking a 450-million-kroner loan after a record loss of 537 million kroner last year due primarily to low prices, but has waited three months for a decision and says it doesn’t have enough cash to continue operating beyond June. The loan, if recommended by the Ministry of Trade, Industries and Fisheries, will still need approval by Parliament, although Store Norske officials and local politicians have said they believe they have the votes.

Svalbardposten honored for local coverage at awards
Svalbardposten received an honorable mention award for best local newspaper in 2014 from Norway’s National Association of Local Newspapers during its awards ceremony Saturday. The jury singled out the newspaper for its diversity of topics from close-ups of the unique everyday life in the archipelago to international political and environmental challenges. “For readers, this can mean fabulous adventure on the one hand and international politics on the other,” the jury wrote. “This range Svalbardposten masters in a very good way with theme choices, mediation, systematics and visual presentation.”