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TODAY IN NORWAY

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Figures reveal how much household expenses have risen and school exams to go ahead despite teachers' strike disruption, plus other news from Norway on Friday. 

Pictured is one of Norway's many spectacular fjords.
Find out what's going on in Norway on Friday with The Local's short roundup of important news. Pictured is one of Norway's many spectacular fjords. Photo by Shinjan Bhattacharya on Unsplash

Consumers more concerned with energy bills than high-interest rates

Energy and food prices are more concerning for consumers in Norway than rising interest rates, a survey carried out by Sparebank 1 has revealed. 

On Thursday, Norges Bank announced it would raise the interest rate by 0.5 percentage points to 2.25 percent. 

According to the survey, three-quarters of respondents had taken action to deal with the cost of living increases across the board. 

Norwegian newswire NTB reports that 52 percent are worried about the high electricity bills, 46 percent about the high food prices, and 41 per cent are concerned about high-interest rates. 

Tests to go ahead despite teachers’ strike disruption

National tests will not be postponed, despite the ongoing strike’s disruption of students’ education. 

Nationwide exams are mandatory testing of pupils’ skills in reading, arithmetic and English in the fifth, eighth and ninth grades.

In Bergen, several schools have told the newspaper Bergens Tidende that they will struggle to be able to carry out the tests by the deadline of Friday next week. 

“In several schools, we see that it is difficult to achieve this (testing). If the students come back this week, it may be possible, but in the schools that are hardest hit by strikes, it may not be wise and appropriate,” Frode Nilsen told the paper. 

Still, the Education Directorate has said it would not extend the deadline and that tests will go ahead. 

Household expenses for typical household risen by around 1,100 kroner per month

The expenses for a typical Norwegian family have risen by around 1,100 kroner per month, according to researchers at the analysis institute Consumption Research Norway (SIFO). 

Costs for food, other groceries and running a car have increased over the last six months. However, the cost of childcare has fallen. 

SIFO said that it had to update its reference budget for households twice this year, the first time since the 1990s that it has done so. 

Interest rates could dampen the housing market

Norway’s association of estate agents has warned that recent interest rate jumps will lead to a sharp drop in home sales and house building. 

“If interest rates are raised too quickly, and too much, unemployment can become so high, and purchasing power so weakened that it triggers a housing recession in the form of a sharp drop in housing sales and housing construction”, managing director of the Norwegian Real Estate Association, Carl O. Geiving, said.

READ ALSO: The hidden extra costs when buying property in Norway

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TODAY IN NORWAY

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Authorities haven't trained for an attack on gas pipelines and new energy tax to hit Oslo and Bergen hard, plus other news from Norway on Friday. 

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Police and Norwegian Armed Forces haven’t trained for gas pipe attack

Several experts have pointed to Norwegian gas pipelines as a key target for potential saboteurs. However, the police and Armed Forces haven’t trained for a specific scenario in which they may be targeted. 

In June, the Norwegian Armed Forces and the police trained for terrorist attacks against Norwegian oil and gas installations. But emergency response director Tone Vangen in the Norwegian Police Directorate told Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten that they have not specifically trained for attacks on pipelines. 

Key vocab: gassrør- gas pipelines 

Some 90 arrests after a demonstration at the Iranian embassy in Oslo 

Police in Oslo say around 90 protestors were arrested when tempers flared outside the Iranian embassy yesterday. 

Oslo police district said each person detained would have their arrest assessed individually. 

Police initially apprehended between 30-40 demonstrators after rocks were thrown and a number of conditions for the protest were broken. 

“These people have broken a number of orders and have taken part in throwing stones and being aggressive towards the embassy,” Gjermund Stokkli, operations manager with Oslo police district, told Norwegian newswire NTB. 

Demonstrators were protesting the death of Mahsa Amini after the Islamic republic’s morality police arrested her.

Key vocab: Demonstrasjoner- demonstrations

New energy tax to hit Oslo and Bergen

Bergen and Oslo may lose out on income as a new energy tax will hit energy companies owned by the cities’ local authorities’ bottom lines. In turn, this may affect both cities’ municipal budgets. 

Eviny estimates that they will have to pay an extra 2.5 billion kroner in tax in 2022 due to the government’s proposal for a tax increase for farming companies and power companies, Bergensavisen reports. Bergen Municipality owns over a third of Eviny. 

Finance councillor Einar Wilhelmsen from Oslo City Council told the newspaper Avisa Oslo that the municipality could lose about one billion kroner from increased taxes to a municipality-owned energy firm. 

Strong Northern Lights forecast

This weekend the Northern Lights may be visible from everywhere from Tromsø in the north down to Oslo in the south-east. 

Several forecasting sights have said the KP index will be around five-six this weekend, public broadcaster NRK reports. 

Whether the Northern Lights are visible depends on the KP index, which ranges from 0–9. A value of 0 means low activity, while nine means that an intense geomagnetic solar storm is underway.

READ MORE: How to take the best pictures of the Northern Lights

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