Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Dec. 20, 2016


Students to get hot school lunches starting in January
Longyearbyen School students will get hot lunches starting in January as a continuation of a pilot project initiated last year, according to André Jenssen, a co-initiator of the project. The lunches will be funded by a 103,500-kroner grant from the Parents’ Council Working Committee (FAU), a 103,500-kroner grant from the Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund and 20,000 kroner in sponsorships. Jenssen said he is also expecting additional future funding for the project. “Exactly when and how it will be, if it is offered every day, and what kind of food it is we’ll find out when we sit down and create the model of it here,” said Jenssen, a former FAU leader. He said the pilot project “was an unimaginable success and that was why we continued. I had teachers who called me in the evening and said that they had had a wonderful day with the students, and parents who told me that the children said they had gotten better in school.” Students said they’re also happy the program will continue. “I forgot, for example, mine today,” said Ronja Hermansen.

Russian fined 15,000 kroner for fatally shooting polar bear
A Russian researcher that shot and killed a polar bear at Forlandet in August has been fined 15,000 kroner, according to The Governor of Svalbard. The two-year-old bear encountered four researchers who first tried to scare the animal away with a flare gun, then fire rifle shots meant to intimidate the animal, said Police Chief Lt. Bjørn Georg Pedersen. The bear was hit by a ricochet and tried to swim away, but drowned a short distance from shore. Lars Fause, lead prosecutor for the Troms and Finnmark districts, said the fine for the man who fired the fatal shot “is based on the assumption that there was no acute danger to the health of people or buildings. It is a reproach that he fired live ammunition toward the bear with a risk of incorrect results. It is not assumed that he intentionally tried to shoot the bears.” He said the fine also takes into account the Russian’s income, which is significantly lower compared to a typical salary in Norway. Three other bears have been shot during encounters this year.