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Archive for Norway

Newsline: Norway’s former ambassador to Indonesia could face charges

Norway’s former ambassador to Indonesia was stripped of his title late last year and recalled to Oslo, after he was found to have been involved in supplying foreign aid funds to one of three mistresses he had in Jakarta. He still works as a diplomat for the foreign ministry in a high position, newspaper VG reported this week, but could face criminal charges if the ministry had reported his activity to police. VG reported that Traavik entered into a “secret relationship” in the fall of 2013 with an Indonesian woman who already had received around NOK 1.5 million (USD 179,000) in Norwegian funding for various cultural projects through the embassy in Jakarta. She had applied in April 2013 for more Norwegian funding and her organization received NOK 550,000, through documents VG recovered from the ministry’s archive that were signed by Traavik in May 2013. The former Norwegian ambassador’s activity in Jakarta raises new questions about how Norway manages its billions of kroner set aside for foreign aid aimed at fighting poverty and spurring economic development.



Newsline: Theft at Norway embassy in New Delhi suspected to be inside job

Several teams of the Chanakyapuri police station have been working round-the-clock to nab a thief who allegedly made off with several items of jewellery from the room of an employee of the Royal Norwegian Embassy. Prima facie, police suspect it to be an inside job as there was no sign of forced entry. Confirming the incident, Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) B K Singh told The Indian Express that a case has been registered under Section 380 (theft) of the IPC at Chanakyapuri police station. The DCP also said that police are coordinating with senior officials of the embassy to probe the role of an insider. Police said the incident took place on April 24. The complainant left home after putting her jewellery in a small bag inside the top drawer of her cupboard. “She locked her room and left for work. She returned home by 4.45 pm. In the evening, she was getting dressed to go out again when she suddenly noticed that some of her jewellery was missing,” police sources said. “Police are questioning ground employees, drivers, security guards and others living in the area,” a police officer said.

New Delhi: At Norway embassy, thief makes off with staffer’s jewellery

Newsline: Russian Embassy in Contact With Norway Over Arrest of Alleged Citizen

The Russian Embassy in Oslo said Monday it is in contact with the Norwegian authorities over the detention of an alleged Russian citizen in connection with a suspected explosive device found in the capital of Norway, adding that it is awaiting confirmation of the detainee’s citizenship. “The embassy is in close contact with the Norwegian competent authorities. We continue to seek clarification of all circumstances of the case,” the Russian embassy said on Facebook. Norwegian police found a suspected explosive device in central Oslo late Saturday and detained one person in relation to the case, claimed to be a Russian citizen. The police carried out a controlled explosion of a device, but were not sure whether the box contained any explosives. “The Norwegian authorities did not submit documents at the meeting confirming the Russian citizenship of the detainee. They promised to do so in the near future,” the Russian embassy stated. The diplomatic mission said its data indicated that the arrested 17-year-old is indeed a Russian citizen residing in Norway with his parents.


Newsline: Former US embassy guard jailed in Norway tax case

The first of 18 tax evasion cases filed against local Norwegian employees of the US Embassy in Oslo has resulted in a 36-day jail term. A former security guard at the embassy was sentenced for failing to make sure that the embassy withheld taxes on his behalf or that he paid what he owed himself. The US Embassy, like other embassies in Oslo, refuses to report local employees’ earnings or withhold taxes they owe, in line with other diplomatic privileges like avoiding taxes, not least employer taxes. The 34-year-old guard worked for the US Embassy from 2008 to 2012. Newspaper Aftenposten reported that during his job interview, he was told that the Americans never report or withhold local employees’ earnings to the tax authorities as a matter of principle. The 34-year-old was acquitted of tax evasion for the years 2008 and 2009 but convicted for the years from 2010. The judge in the case wrote that the defendant then presumed his earnings were taxable but “stuck his head in the sand.” That amounted to pre-meditated tax evasion, the judge determined. The former guard owed NOK 340,000 (around USD 56,000) but was only convicted for the NOK 180,000 he “forgot” to declare after the embassy tax case hit the news in late 2010.


Newsline: Norway’s Ambassador To US Given Verbal Lashing When Obama Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

A senior Norwegian diplomat says his country’s former ambassador to the United States was given a verbal lashing by Barack Obama’s chief of staff when the president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. Morten Wetland said the ambassador, Wegger Stroemmen, was approached by Rahm Emanuel, now Chicago’s mayor, who accused Norway of “fawning” to the newly elected U.S. leader. Wetland, the Norwegian ambassador to the United Nations at the time, told The Associated Press he did not witness the dressing down but said there was an air of embarrassment in Washington that Obama had been given the award so early in his presidency. Stroemmen, now a senior official at the Foreign Ministry in Oslo, did not return calls from the AP and Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokesman Frode Andersen said his agency would have no comment on the matter.


Newsline: Norway refused to end ’embarrassing’ gender pay gap at consulate

Norway’s foreign ministry turned down their own US consul general’s call to end an “unjust and embarrassing” difference in what was paid to a male and a female member of staff at the consulate in Minnesota, it emerged in court on Thursday. Walter Mondale, a former Vice President who was Norway’s honorary consul in Minnesota between 2008 and 2010, told a court in St Paul that he had written a strongly-worded letter to the Norwegian authorities asking them to increase the woman’s salary. Ellen Ewald, 56, is suing the Norwegian embassy in Washington DC for a reported $3 million for gender discrimination, arguing that a younger, less qualified male colleague at the consulate was paid much higher wages. Ewald lived in Norway for twenty years before returning to the US and securing a job in 2008 at the Norwegian consulate in Minneapolis, according to Norwegian public broadcaster NRK. Armed with two masters degrees and fluent Norwegian, she started work as the consulate’s director for higher education at the same time as her younger co-worker took up his role as business development director. Ewald claims the consulate told her their jobs had equal billing. She was then astonished to learn that her colleague was earning $110,000 a year, while she was on a salary of $70,000 and had inferior health benefits. A spokesman for Norway’s foreign ministry, Svein Michelsen, said last month that Ewald’s case was baseless, noting that a judge had already dismissed six of her eight charges.


Newsline: Norway embassy in Nepal refutes allegation of ‘anti-peace’ activities

Embassy of Norway has denied allegation by the UCPN (Maoist) that Norway was funding anti-peace activities in Nepal. Issuing a press statement over allegation on the misuse of Norwegian funding to the South Asia Trust, the embassy said all Norwegian funding is transparent and made public on the embassy’s website and its partners are registered and have the approval of Nepal’s Social Welfare Council. “We want to be clear that we have no reason to believe that the embassy’s funding to the Himal South Asian magazine has been misused. However, any such allegations are serious, and requires necessary action from our side,” the statement quoted Norway’s Ambassador to Nepal, Kjell Tormod Pettersen as saying. The statement reiterated that Norway has been a firm, trusted supporter of Nepal’s peace process from the very beginning, and is committed to support the finalization of the new constitution. The statement comes in the wake of Maoist lawmaker Shakti Basnet demanding probe into South Asia Trust Fund during the parliament meeting on Thursday. Basnet, while addressing the meeting, claimed that the grant support provided by Norwegian government to the South Asia Trust was aimed at influencing and disturbing the peace process in Nepal. The Trust is headed by journalist Kanak Mani Dixit.