Scandinavia

For the chef and diners alike, each meal beneath the waves at Europe's first underwater restaurant is a thing of wonder.

"We have this small window next to the kitchen and every time some special kind of fish comes by, I always start thinking about how it would taste," says chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard.

The aptly named new restaurant Under opened a few weeks ago in Lindesnes on Norway's southern tip.

It serves up Poseidon's delicacies in an architectural showpiece that stretches down five metres underwater, offering a unique closeup of ocean life.

From the outside, the giant concrete monolith juts out from the craggy shoreline, while its other end tips down into the North Sea.

Customers enter the restaurant onshore through a wood-panelled passage and descend down a long, oak staircase into a dimly lit dining room. Here, a gigantic plexiglass underwater window takes centre stage.

The 36-square-metre window — "like a sunken periscope" in the words of its designers — offers a panoramic view of the ever changing live aquatic show.

Photo: Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP

In Norwegian "'Under' means it's under, like submerged, underwater, and it also means a sense of wonder," says Stig Ubostad, who co-owns the eatery with his brother, Gaute.

"It is without doubt the largest one in the world and the only one in Europe."

Scandinavia

Members of the Moroccan security services stand guard during the trial of the three suspects on May 30th. Photo: Fadel Senna/AFP

The alleged leader of a group of jihadists admitted killing one of two Scandinavian hikers in Morocco, and accused his co-defendant of killing the other.

The alleged leader of a jihadist cell accused of killing two Scandinavian hikers in Morocco admitted to the murders in court on Thursday, saying they were carried out in the name of the Isis group.

Danish student Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, and 28-year-old Norwegian Maren Ueland had their throats slit while camping in an isolated area of the High Atlas mountains in December.

"I beheaded one of them… I regret it," former street vendor Abdessamad Ejjoud, 25, told the court, accusing co-defendant Younes Ouaziyad of killing the other hiker.

"We loved Isis and we prayed to God for it," he said, wearing a long white tunic.

Twenty-four defendants – facing charges including promoting terrorism, forming a terrorist cell and premeditated murder – appeared in the court in Sale, near Rabat, under heavy security.

Three main suspects, including Ejjoud, are accused of direct involvement in the killings.

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In theory, the killers could face the death penalty, but Morocco has had a de facto freeze on executions since 1993.

Scandinavia

Members of the Moroccan security services stand guard during the trial of the three suspects on May 30. Photo: Fadel Senna / AFP

The trial in Morocco of two dozen men over the murders of two Scandinavian hikers resumed Thursday after previous hearings were swiftly adjourned.

Danish student Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, and 28-year-old Norwegian Maren Ueland had their throats slit while camping in an isolated area of the High Atlas mountains in December.

The main suspects, who allegedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group, are all from the Marrakesh region, near the site of the killings which shocked the North African country.

The 24 defendants arrived on Thursday morning at the court in Sale, near Rabat, under heavy security. They face charges including promoting terrorism, forming a terrorist cell and premeditated murder. In theory, the killers could face the death penalty, but Morocco has had a de facto freeze on executions since 1993.

At a previous hearing, the court accepted a request by the Jespersen family's lawyer for the government to be held "morally responsible" for the killings so they could receive compensation.

Three men are suspected of direct involvement in the killings. One of them, street vendor Abdessamad Ejjoud, had been jailed for trying to join IS in Syria.

The trial opened on May 2 but was adjourned to May 16 and then paused again after a brief hearing.

READ ALSO:

Nature lovers Jespersen and Ueland shared an apartment and went to Norway's Bo University, where they were studying to be guides. They had travelled together to Morocco for their Christmas holidays.

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Juan Guaido (left) and Nicolas Maduro both believe they are the rightful leaders of Venezuela. Photo: STF/AFP

Conversations between the Venezuelan government and opposition on ending the ongoing crisis were under way in Norway. Washington insisted the only item for discussion should be the removal of President Nicolas Maduro.

US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido, who more than 50 countries recognize as interim president, had been leading a push to oust leftist firebrand Maduro, who presides over a crumbling economy.

But the opposition agreed to come to the table under Norwegian auspices after an army uprising coupled with street protests, which Guaido hoped would deal decisive blow, instead fizzled out a month ago.

Norwegian diplomats had said that the two sides would meet this week in Norway in their first face-to-face meeting since Guaido claimed power in January, without specifying a date or venue.

Sources close to the process told AFP that the talks were taking place in Oslo. The Norwegian foreign ministry declined to comment.

Maduro, while describing the opposition as "extremist" and working on behalf of the United States, promised to make an effort to resolve the crisis.

"We are going to be showing our very best good faith… to be able to find, based on the platform the parties agreed on, peaceful, democratic solutions to help overcome Venezuela's conflict," Maduro said in a televised address Monday.

US firm in shunning Maduro

The United States has refused to speak to Maduro on anything but logistical matters, calling his leadership illegitimate. While not rejecting the talks in Oslo, the United States stood firm in its stance.

Scandinavia

The seven-day pilots strike that stretched from the end of April into early May cost SAS some 650 million Swedish kronor ($68 million), the airline announced on Tuesday.

The strike affected roughly 380,000 passengers who had their plans disrupted by around 4,000 cancellations.

SAS second quarter results released on Tuesday revealed that the strike also had a significant impact on the airlines finances. SAS posted a pre-tax loss of 1.2 billion kronor, a decrease of 728 million kronor over the same quarter last year.

A statement from CEO Rickard Gustafson said the pilots strike was just one factor behind the airlines poor quarter.

“The result was negatively impacted by the strike, increasing fuel price and a continued weakening of the Swedish krona,” Gustafson wrote in a statement.

Gustafson also pointed to “decreased demand for domestic travel, especially in Sweden”.

The pilots strike was driven by disagreements over salary increases, working hours and scheduling. Over 1,400 members of the SAS Pilots group in Sweden, Denmark and Norway walked off the job on April 26th and stayed away until an agreement was reached on May 2nd that reportedly included a 3.5 percent salary increase and more predictable work schedules for the striking pilots.

“The new three-year collective bargaining agreements with the pilot unions in Denmark, Norway and Sweden give us the stability and time to continue our transformation efforts,” Gustafsons statement to investors said. “Although I would have preferred to avoid the disruption in our operations, I am pleased to see that proper planning, digital investments and engaged employees made a huge difference during the strike.”

Gustafson told Swedish media shortly after the pilots resumed work that the airline had no plans to plans to raise ticket prices to compensate for the losses during the strike. Some analysts have predicted that the airline might offer cheap tickets, especially for iRead More – Source

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Nicolas Maduro. Photo: Marvin Recinos/AFP

President Nicolas Maduro has promised to show "good faith" at a meeting in Norway between representatives of his government and those of opposition leader Juan Guaido.

"We are going to be showing our very best good faith… to be able to find, based on the platform the parties agreed on, peaceful, democratic solutions to help overcome Venezuela's conflict," Maduro said in a televised address.

The talks in Norway this week will be the first face-to-face meeting between representatives of Maduro and those of his rival Guaido, who is recognized as interim president by some 50 countries.

Maduro confirmed that his delegation will include Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez, Miranda state Governor Hector Rodriguez and Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, who were on the ground in Norway.

"This is a dialogue between the Revolutionary Government, the Revolutionary Armed Forces, and the extremist opposition… which is trying to topple the government at the behest of US interests," Maduro said.

The bid for talks comes after a months-long power struggle between Guaido, the leader of the National Assembly legislature, and the socialist president.

GuaiRead More – Source

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Carlsberg is one of the alcohol companies the pension fund will be cutting from their portfolio. Photo: Craig Brough/AFP

The largest Norwegian pension fund will blacklist companies that profit from alcohol, gambling and pornography, divesting shares in prominent companies like Carlsberg and William Hill.

KLP, which manages some $80 billion in assets, has sold its shares in about 90 companies that receive more than five percent of their revenue from alcohol or betting.

The holdings accounted for about $320 million of the fund's assets.

"Responsible alcohol consumption and gambling can be positive elements in people's lives," KLP's CEO Sverre Thornes said in a statement.

"We acknowledge, however, that alcohol and gambling addiction have major negative consequences for individuals and their loved ones, as well as great costs for society," he continued.

The decision affects major brands, such as brewers Carlsberg, Heineken and Royal Unibrew as well as spirit makers Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Remy Cointreau and Moet Hennessy, the wine and sRead More – Source

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A Norwegian social media campaign has challenged young artists to find new ways to draw and look at the work of the countrys famous sculptor Gustav Vigeland.

Aimed at a younger audience who may not – yet – be interested in art, the challenge has been set to find new ways to look at Vigeland's art by using hashtags one would may not normally associate with the artist or Norwegian sculpture.

The user-generated content can be anything from street art, food art, digital art, oil paintings, watercolours, poetry, manga, mandalas, papercuts, GIF animations and even tattoos.

With contributions already in the hundreds after the first two weeks of the campaign, organizers hope to show that Vigeland's art is still very topical in 2019, and still inspires many around the world.

Entries have not just been received from Norway — amateurs and professional artists from the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, France, Poland, Portugal, Chile, Russia and the United States have all contributed.

A skeleton juggling babies and a Sinnataggen made from iconic Norwegian sandwich topping brunost (brown cheese) are among the most creative efforts seen so far, while a surrealist fountain and a Star Wars inspired monolith may be the weirdest.

The campaign is organised by Kulturetaten, the Agency for Cultural Affairs in Oslo, in partnership with the Vigeland Museum. It will last until the end of June and you can find contributionRead More – Source

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Scandinavia

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is teaming up with aircraft maker Airbus to research ecosystem and infrastructure needs for hybrid and electric aircraft.

The partnership would involve a joint research project where the two companies work together to investigate challenges "regarding operations and infrastructure linked to large scale introduction of hybrid and electric aircraft in commercial traffic", according to a statement published by SAS.

"We are proud of our ambitious sustainability work and are now pleased that Airbus has chosen SAS to partner up with us for this future project. If this becomes a reality, it will revolutionize emissions," Rickard Gustafson, CEO of SAS, said in a statement.

READ ALSO: What impact will the SAS strike have on the airline's future?

According to a separate statement the collaboration between the two companies would start in June 2019 and continue until the end of 2020 and would "focus on analyzing the impact Read More – Source

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