Nursing shortage and new restrictions on Norwegian borders: Today’s news roundup

Local news today focused on the limited supply of qualified nurses in Finland and Norway’s newly imposed border crossing policy.  


Shortage of nurses drives Finland to look abroad

Finland is currently facing an acute shortage of nurses and care workers with the situation likely to worsen in coming years. The growing demand for nurses, coupled with a steady retirement rate has led to a strong decline in the number of caregivers available.  

The demanding nature of the work and comparatively low salaries also serve to discourage youngsters from taking up the profession. The scarcity is most strongly felt in the elderly care and homecare sectors. 

The shortage has compelled companies in the public as well private sector to hire foreign caregivers. An increasing number of private healthcare companies have employed nurses from the Philippines, with some even providing medical training and Finnish classes online.  

Norway gets soldiers to guard its borders with Finland

In a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Norway is enforcing new restrictions on border crossing. According to a press release on the Norwegian Armed Forces website, soldiers will begin monitoring four border crossings between Finland and Norway from Tuesday onwards.

The defense forces, in cooperation with the police, will be in charge of the borders till at least 2 February. While the Utsjoki border will be completely shut, tourists may enter the country via the other three crossings, provided they produce proof that they tested negative for the coronavirus.



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Three bodies recovered from Norwegian landslide, seven people still missing

Local police chief Ida Melbo Oeystese said it may still be possible to find survivors in air pockets inside the destroyed buildings.

“Medically, you can survive for several days if you have air,” she told reporters at a news conference.

By late Saturday, local time, a second and third body had been found after a first one was discovered on Friday. Only a Dalmatian dog has been rescued alive from the ruins so far.


King Harald V, Queen Sonja and Crown Prince Haakon plan to visit the disaster area on Sunday to pay their respects to the victims and to meet with residents and rescue workers. The 83-year-old monarch said in his New Year’s speech that the royal family had been deeply moved by the tragedy.

Norwegian police have published the names and birth years of the 10 people initially reported missing, including a 2-year-old child. Officials haven’t yet identified the three recovered bodies.

The landslide early on Wednesday December 30, local time, cut across a road through Ask, leaving a deep, crater-like ravine. Photos and videos showed buildings hanging on the edge of the ravine, which grew to be 700 metres long and 300 metres wide. At least nine buildings with over 30 apartments were destroyed.

The rescue operation is being hampered by the limited number of daylight hours in Norway at this time of year and fears of further erosion. The ground is fragile at the site and unable to hold the weight of rescue equipment.

Over 1,000 people have been evacuated, and officials said up to 1,500 people may be moved from the area amid fears of further landslides.

The exact cause of the accident is not yet known but the Gjerdrum municipality, where Ask is located, is known for having a lot of quick clay, a material that can change from solid to liquid. Experts said the substance of the clay combined with excessive precipitation and the damp weather typical for Norway at this time of year may have contributed to the landslide.

Norwegian authorities in 2005 warned people not to construct residential buildings in the area, but houses were eventually built there later in the decade.

Spokeswoman Toril Hofshagen from the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate called the landslide unique in its destruction.

“Not since 1893 has there been a quick clay landslide of this dimension in Norway,” Hofshagen told the media.


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Sterling, Norwegian crown extend gains with Brexit deal in sight

December 24, 2020

By Yoruk Bahceli

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Sterling and trade-sensitive currencies including the Norwegian crown and Aussie dollar extended gains on Thursday as Britain and the European Union appeared on the cusp of striking a trade deal, raising hopes the United Kingdom can avoid a turbulent economic departure at the end of the year.

The dollar was on the back foot in holiday-thinned trading as hopes for an agreement that would protect about $1 trillion in annual cross-channel trade from tariffs and quotas sapped demand for the safest assets.

The British pound extended gains and rose as high as $1.3620, after Ireland’s foreign minister said a deal was expected on Thursday. As of 1210 GMT it was up 0.7% at $1.3590 with potential to rise to a 2-1/2 year high above $1.3625 once the deal is announced.

The pound also rose to a three-week high against the euro at 89.54 pence. <EURGBP=D3>

Sources in London and Brussels said a deal was close as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a late-night conference call with his senior ministers and negotiators pored over reams of legal trade texts.

“We have to assume that the FX market largely has priced in a ‘deal’ outcome,” Ulrich Leuchtmann, head of FX and commodity research at Commerzbank in Frankfurt, told clients.

But Leuchtmann noted that the pound’s rise since Wednesday, when news of a deal first emerged, had not been “spectacular”.

While the British currency may strengthen a bit further in later trade and sessions, he says a rally beyond 87 pence against the euro is unjustified.

Across other major European currencies, Norway’s crown rallied, having risen as much as 0.4% against the euro at 10.5045 earlier.

Andreas Steno Larsen, global chief FX and rates strategist at Nordea in Copenhagen, noted the UK is Norway’s biggest destination for exports, making the currency “super sensitive” to Brexit news.

Sweden’s crown was also up about 0.2%.

Trade sensitive currencies also rose in other regions, with the Australian dollar last up nearly 0.3% to 76.00 U.S. cents. The offshore yuan was up 0.2% at $6.5186.

The euro was last unchanged at $1.21915 after a modest rise earlier.

Brexit hopes overshadowed any concern from U.S. President Donald Trump’s demand for changes to a coronavirus aid bill, effectively threatening a government shutdown next week.

The safe-haven dollar slid further against a basket of currencies on Thursday and was last down 0.2% to 90.239.

“Republicans and Democrats agreeing on the deal is positive news, and now the delay gives you an upside option of getting more – the (stimulus) bill is unlikely to get worse,” said Lauri Halikka, fixed income and FX strategist at SEB in Stockholm.

“So the near-term uncertainty is probably compensated by a chance of getting a larger bill. Further, Biden gets inaugurated in less than a month’s time, so the delay is unlikely to get any longer than that in the worst case.”

The dollar index has lost more than 6% this year as investors bet the U.S. Federal Reserve would keep its monetary policy ultra-accommodative and fiscal stimulus would speed an economic recovery in 2021.

Expectations for further declines in the dollar support stock markets and emerging-market currencies.

Even if stimulus is not approved and the dollar benefits from safe-haven buying in the shorter term, it will still weaken to $1.23 per euro over the course of 2021, according to Jane Foley, Rabobank’s head of FX strategy.

The yen, another safe-haven, was down about 0.1% at 103.680 per dollar.

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Thursday the central bank was ready to take new steps to make its massive monetary easing more effective and sustainable.

(Reporting by Yoruk Bahceli in Amsterdam; Additional reporting by Kevin Buckland in Tokyo; Editing by Pravin Char and Chizu Nomiyama)

The post Sterling, Norwegian crown extend gains with Brexit deal in sight first appeared on One America News Network.

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Polish PGNiG and Norwegian Aker BP expand cooperation | The Budapest Business Journal on the web

 Energy Today

 Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 16:30

Polish energy company PGNiG has revealed that its international trading arm, PGNiG Supply & Trading GmbH (PST) and Norwegian oil and gas company Aker BP ASA have signed a contract for the sales and purchase of natural gas produced on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), according to information published on 

Photo by Pavel Kapysh /

In the future, the contracted natural gas may be transported by the Baltic Pipe to the Polish market, as well as to other countries of central and eastern Europe, PGNiG noted.

The PGNiG group and Aker BP have been cooperating successfully for several years, PGNiG highlighted. Earlier this year, the two companies brought the Aerfugle field on the NCS online, with Aker BP acting as operator and PGNiG as partner.

Production from the field is said to be economically viable at oil prices above USD 15 per barrel. Munich, Germany-based PST, which was established back in 2010, is a trader and supplier of natural gas and electricity in the European energy markets.



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Former Ports North corporate executive found guilty of 2018 rape of Norwegian backpacker in Cairns

A former senior executive of a Queensland Government-owned corporation has been found guilty of raping a 20-year-old Norwegian backpacker in Cairns.

Alan George Vico, 54, who was an executive of Ports North at the time of the September 2018 rape, faced a judge-only trial in the Cairns District Court in June after he pleaded not guilty to the charge.

During the two-day judge-only trial, the court heard the woman, who was on a holiday in Cairns with friends, left a popular nightclub before 10:30pm and could not remember anything thereafter until she woke up naked in the motel room the next day.

The court heard Vico saw the heavily intoxicated backpacker trying to enter a property on the side of Sheridan Street while he was driving home from work late that night.

Crown prosecutor Nicole Friedwald told the court the woman’s final memory from the night was of leaving a nightclub in the Cairns CBD.

She said the young woman’s next memory was of waking up naked in a motel room.

Ms Friedwald told the court the woman found an empty condom packet, a $20 note and a room key beside the bed.

She said a police search of Vico’s Clifton Beach home the day after the incident uncovered used condoms containing DNA that matched both him and the young woman.

DNA analyst Allan McNevin also told the court a swab taken from the woman contained DNA that was statistically likely to belong to Vico.

Judge Julie Dick SC today delivered her judgement and found Vico guilty of the charge.

She is expected to publish the reasons for her verdict later today.

Vico was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on Thursday.

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Royal Caribbean, Norwegian enlist former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb and other coronavirus experts

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The quirky charm of Norwegian design

However, Hippe is not convinced that such an approach would have worked for Norwegians, anyway. He believes that the idea of self-promotion wouldn’t have sat well with them. “We don’t want to brag or stand out, we’re a shy country,” he says. Historically, Norwegians have had a reputation for being reserved and distant – hardly suitable traits for trumpeting one’s talents.

So while Norway’s best mid-century furniture fell out of production, its rivals were keeping the flag flying by relentlessly reissuing. From Finn Juhl’s Model 45 Easy Chair, and Hans Wegner’s Wishbone Chair, to Aalto’s Stool, Model No. 60, and Jacobsen’s Egg Chair and Swan Chair, these pieces were elevated to icons of Scandi design.

Today, contemporary creatives – even in Norway – are hard pushed to name many Norwegian designers from those halcyon days. London-based Danish designer Nina Tolstrup is blunt about it: “Norway was invisible on the design scene from 1900 to 1990.” Only one mid-century master springs to mind for her: Hans Brattrud, designer of the Skandia chair.

A free rein

But the fact that these designs were largely lost or forgotten plays into the hands of the current generation. In those countries where the 1950s have never gone away, “contemporary designers have felt it as a burden – they can’t produce new ideas because reproduction is so dominant,” says Dr Halén. “It hampers them.”

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