Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Oct. 27, 2015


UNIS director stepping down during critical transition   
Ole Arve Misund is stepping down as the director of The University Centre in Svalbard to become director of the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research) as of Feb. 1. Berit Johanne Kjeldstad, chairwoman of the UNIS’ board of directors, said an acting director will be appointed before Misund departs, but a permanent successor may not be named until next fall. Misund’s departure comes at a time when UNIS is trying to expand to roughly double its size to partially compensate for the loss of jobs due to the massive layoffs at Store Norske. But Misand and Kjeldstad said those expansion plans will be largely shaped by a revised “white paper” the Norwegian government is drafting that outlines policy goals for Svalbard.

Man jailed for posing as cop ‘investigating’ boy prostitute
A 57-year-old man accused of impersonating an Oslo police officer and asking the governor’s office about the sexual orientation of a boy has been fined and sentenced to 75 days in prison on charge related to the incident, as well as for a similar incident involving police in Hønefoss, shoplifting and fraud. The man called the governor’s office on Jan. 1, 2014, stating he was concerned about a Longyearbyen youth who was selling himself to older men while on holiday in Oslo, according to the ruling by the Oslo District Court. The Hønefoss incident occurred in December of that year. During his trial earlier this month in Oslo he admitted to the shoplifting charges and denied the others, but was ultimately convicted on all eight counts.

Another 10K seeds deposited into ‘Doomsday Vault’
More than 10,000 new seed samples from gene banks in Asia, Africa, South America and Europe have been deposited into the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.. The deposit is the fifth opening of the seed vault in this year, with the seeds coming from Philippines, India, Nigeria and Peru. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, there are now more than 4,000 plant species in the vault. The seed samples are copies of seed samples stored in national, regional and international genebanks.