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Posts published in December 2021

SWISS APPOINT SVALBARD’S FIRST ‘HONORARY’ CONSUL: Marcel Schütz, a tour operator critical of Norway’s recent policy for foreigners, named first-ever such diplomat in Arctic

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Photo Marcel Schütz, right, discussing his new appointment as Switzerland’s first honorary consul in Svalbard, by Michael Wenger

Marcel Schütz is among those recently questioning the Norwegian government’s approach to policy regarding foreign residents in Svalbard, but his importance from his homeland’s perspective made history this week as Switzerland appointed him the first local honorary Swiss consul during a ceremony in Longyearbyen.

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Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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SOLIDIFYING THE LAND, STIRRING UP THE WATERS: Expert says Russia will boost peaceful activities in Svalbard such as tourism and research, increase military provocation at sea

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Photo of Lenin bust in Barentsburg by Wikimedia Commons

“Russia isn’t about to annex Svalbard,” but is planning a hostile takeover of sorts in the waters surrounding it, according to a polar geopolics expert.

That means in addition to boosting its archipelago activities such as tourism and research, there will be more “sabre rattling” in the form of warships sailing closer, louder diplomatic protests and other actions while remaining inside the boundaries of the Svalbard Treaty.

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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LONGYEARBYEN SCHOOL NIXES EVENTS AS NORWAY REVIVES STRICT COVID-19 RULES: Resurgence of virus means ‘a difficult Christmas’ as month-long limits on gatherings, more enacted

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Photo courtesy of Longyearbyen School

The Grinch is back in his mean mode in the form of the latest COVID-19 varient, as Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said Tuesday “it will be a difficult Christmas holiday this year as well” while announcing a series of revived crackdowns for the next month – including limits of gathering sizes and bar hours – due to a resurgence of the virus in the country and elsewhere.

In Svalbard officials announced Tuesday that Longyearbyen School is shutting its doors to public events, due to the potential consequences of infections rather than concern about a large local outbreak.

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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‘BEARING WITNESS TO SVALBARD’S FRAGILE SPLENDOR’: Latest NY Times photo series of ‘world’s most compelling places’ debuts with inevitable ‘collapse’ of ‘etheral’ ecosystem

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It’s not exactly breaking news – especially since it’s from a visit in 2017 – but another stark warning about Svalbard’s future is at the top of The New York Times’ website on Monday, in the form of an essay where the photos are meant to convey a message outsiders might not grasp in words.

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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NORWAY REIMPOSES NEGATIVE COVID-19 TEST FOR SVALBARD TRAVELERS: Omicrom varient means mainland test required within 24 hours of departure, including vaccinated persons

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Photo by Arild Olsen / Longyearbyen Lokalstyre

A negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours for all people traveling to Svalbard is in effect again due to concerns about the highly contageous Omicrom that has reached Norway and scores of other countries, Norway’s government announced Friday.

Permanent Svalbard residents can get free tests at Gardermoen Airport in Olso and in the Tromsø city center. However, self-tests are not valid for any travellers.

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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