NORWAY’S GOV’T GETS ‘GREEN’ LIGHT FOR CHANGE – WILL IT AFFECT SVALBARD? Labor to replace Conservatives after election, but local policies and Arctic oil drilling likely to go on

NORWAY’S GOV’T GETS ‘GREEN’ LIGHT FOR CHANGE – WILL IT AFFECT SVALBARD? Labor to replace Conservatives after election, but local policies and Arctic oil drilling likely to go on

Photo of incoming Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Longearbyen Mayor Arild Olsen by Marte Kristiansen / Norwegian Labor Party Norway’s government is changing as the Labor Party is set to More »

UPDATE – NO COVID-19 AT UNIS: Negative tests of suspected people means university will resume activities Thursday; caution urged since many reporting ‘common cold’ symptoms

UPDATE – NO COVID-19 AT UNIS: Negative tests of suspected people means university will resume activities Thursday; caution urged since many reporting ‘common cold’ symptoms

Photo courtesy of UNIS Svalbard is still officially COVID-19 free. An alert issued Tuesday about possible infections issued by The University Centre in Svalbard was cancelled on Wednesday when negative tests “and More »

BREAKING – COVID-19  SUSPECTED AT UNIS: University says it will take 48 hours to know if ‘some of our students and colleagues’ are infected; fieldwork, in-person classes cancelled

BREAKING – COVID-19 SUSPECTED AT UNIS: University says it will take 48 hours to know if ‘some of our students and colleagues’ are infected; fieldwork, in-person classes cancelled

Photo courtesy of UNIS The first cases of COVID-19 may have reached Svalbard, as multiple students and staff at The University Centre in Svalbard are suspected of being infected, according to an More »

POLAR BEARS TAKING HEAT BY INBREEDING: Loss of sea ice means Svalbard’s bears are keeping things ‘in the family,’ putting health and adaptability to changing conditions at risk

POLAR BEARS TAKING HEAT BY INBREEDING: Loss of sea ice means Svalbard’s bears are keeping things ‘in the family,’ putting health and adaptability to changing conditions at risk

Whether you call it “polar bear incest” (tabloids) or “reduction of genetic differentiation” (scientists) it means the same thing: more inbreeding among bears in Svalbard due to less sea ice is threatening More »

THE RULES OF ATTRACTION (ARE CHANGING): Norway’s gov’t rewriting Svalbard’s tourism regulations to more clearly define access, guide qualifications, customers’ rights and more

THE RULES OF ATTRACTION (ARE CHANGING): Norway’s gov’t rewriting Svalbard’s tourism regulations to more clearly define access, guide qualifications, customers’ rights and more

Photo of police contacting guides in the field courtesy of The Governor of Svalbard “Getting away from it all” won’t be quite as much that in Svalbard soon as Norway’s government is More »

 

A WHALE OF A PRIDE CELEBRATION: Mother Nature among those sending signs of blessings (again) as hundreds gather for Longyearbyen’s second LGBQT+ festival

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Photo by Longyearbyen Mayor Arild Olsen before his speech Saturday at the town’s second Pride Festival

Say what you will about how “natural” the LGBQT+ presence is, but the world’s northernmost Pride Festival has seen Mother Nature offer what might be seen as her blessings during both of the gatherings to date.

A ‘SUPER’ ADDITION TO THE MARKET: Expanded Svalbardbutikken officially opens after 17 months of upgrades, earning raves even from those who miss the ‘old times’

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Photo of Anne Lise Klungseth Sandvik speaking at official opening courtesy of Svalbardbutikken

This time the expanded version of the world’s northernmost supermarket really, really is officially open.

AN UNEXPECTED RUSSIAN SUMMER WARSHIP ‘CRUISE’: Norway monitoring vessels that suddenly approach southern tip of Spitsbergen and Isfjorden during exercises at sea

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As if foreign cruise ships weren’t enough cause for concern during this second COVID-19 summer,  are still under, Norway is now keeping an alert eye on a group of Russian warships that suddenly departed from an exercise at Franz Josef Land to the east and passing within 20 kilometers of coastlines in Svalbard, according to military officials and media reports.

YOUTHFUL AND SPIRITUAL PRIDE: World’ northernmost LGBTQ+ festival returns to Longyearbyen this weekend with hopes local diversity spreads wider message of inclusion

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Photo courtesy of Longyearbyen Pride

A “rainbow” party for hormonal teens, storytime for little kids, cartoons for slightly older kids and a fair at the church – surely the stuff of chilling “wokeism” for some people/places, but for those in Longyearbyen participating this weekend they will be just among a few of the reasons to take Pride.

Random Bits Of Weirdness for the week of Aug. 10, 2021

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As the Great Pandemic Hoax that we personally set in motion* continues to put everyone’s hopes of normalcy on ice, there are locals like Wally the Walrus making famous tours of forbidden places and famous tourists like Colin Farrell doing seemingly forbidden things locally.

POLAR PERMACULTURE FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY: Owners say COVID-19, lack of assistance for foreigner-owned companies force end to eight-year-old ‘local food’ and tourism project

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Photo of Polar Permaculture’s greenhouse in Nybyen courtesy of Polar Permaculture

Polar Permaculture – which started in 2013 with one man’s dream of a greenhouse producing local food in Longyearbyen, and blossomed into a full-blown produce and tourism company – announced Friday it is filing for bankruptcy due the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of available assistance for companies owned by foreigners.

RELAPSE: Norway postpones final ‘reopening’ stage yet again due to Delta COVID-19 variant as French cruise company cancels its scheduled Svalbard voyages for the rest of the year

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The final stage of the “reopening” of Norway – and further relaxation of restrictions on travelling to Svalbard – is again being postponed due to concerns about the Delta strain of COVID-19, with the Aug. 1 target date now pushed until at least mid-August, officials said Wednesday.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of July 27, 2021

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Photo of delegation visit to Ny-Ålesund courtesy of Kings Bay AS

The number of research days in Ny-Ålesund is cut by more than half in 2020 due to Covid, winter alcohol sales stave off a sobering year for Korkpenger grants and city technicians save the local government’s computers from a data attack.

10 YEARS AFTER UTØYA: Five Longyearbyen youths were at the youth camp where 69 people were killed July 22, 2011 – here’s how it affected what they and/or their families are doing now

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Photo of Longyearbyen’s 10-year anniversary memorial of July 22 attacks by Eira Egner / Svalbardposten.

Einar Buø says “we have seen surprisingly little anger and cursing” during the 10 years since his son, Johannes, 14, was among the youngest of the 69 people killed during the July 22 attack by a lone gunman at Utøya. But he wonders if that’s an entirely good thing.

Buø, while like other survivors affected by that day emphasizes focusing on the present and future, also shares with them a “never forgot” mentality and like many is seeking to counter the hateful mentality triggering Norway’s deadliest terrorist attack that killed at total of 77 people when the shooting followed a bombing by the same man in Oslo.

OUR EDITOR GET EXPELLED: Here’s what the process is like when the governor forces somebody to leave Svalbard

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(As Icepeople’s editor – and everything else – for the past 13 years, I have written numerous articles about the unique provision that anyone who cannot support themselves must leave Svalbard. On Wednesday I was forced to leave on orders from the governor. Because I figure that – like going to prison – it’s something many people are curious about, but few will experience, this is what it was like to go through “the process.”)

I heard a vehicle approaching sometime after 11 p.m. while laying in my bed of cushions and sleeping bags on the porch of Longyearbyen Camping. The sound of tires taking abuse on the poorly maintained dirt road was the same as the occasional other vehicles passing by to reach the scattering of cabins beyond. Like the others, as soon as the vehicle passed the building the sound faded quickly.

But seconds later the sound of tires coming to a halt came from the other side of the building, followed immediately by two doors of something heavy-duty slamming shut.

And I thought “this is it.”