Tag Archives: selfie

Selfies, Terrorism and Borge Brende: Norway Fast News

The Norwegian Foreign Minister, Børge Brende.

The Norwegian Foreign Minister, Børge Brende.

Last week, Norwegian media focused on the referendum in Crimea, a terror attack in Somalia by a Norwegian-Somalian man, and the fact that some import goods travel thousands of miles in order to avoid Norwegian customs. Ingunn Dorholt provides you with The Bottom Line.

Like the rest of Europe, Norwegian media has had its eyes on Ukraine and the referendum in Crimea. The Norwegian foreign minister, Børge Brende, has stated that “Russia’s use of military force to create new borders in Europe is unacceptable”. According to the foreign department, Norway has so far postponed an environmental meeting and a trade agreement with Russia as a result of the referendum. According to Brende, Norway will continue to view Crimea as part of Ukraine, and he adds that “Putin’s speech represents a serious setback for security and stability in Europe”.

Extensive import routes

The media has also brought to attention the extensive travel routes that some Norwegian import goods undertake. The Danish Salami in Norwegian stores is produced in Denmark and the Philadelphia cheese is produced in Germany – but it is made with milk from Norwegian cows. Due to high Norwegian customs put in to protect Norwegian farmers, milk and meat is sent from Norway through Europe and then back to Norway, as this still saves European producers money compared to paying the Norwegian customs. Famous Italian and Spanish hams, such as Serrano, have actually been sent from Spain and Italy twice by the time it reaches Norwegian homes, as the EEA agreement classifies the meat as local if sent to other countries before the product is considered complete.

Representatives from the authorities says this business is not illegal, but a highly creative way to avoid customs. While all this transfer is done to keep the average price for the products low in Norway, there’s little doubt the environmental price is high, as some of the hams in Norwegian stores have travelled 10,000 Kilometres. The department for agricultural management in Norway admits that the environmental issues were not taken into consideration when initiating this arrangement.

Meat and dairy products sold in Norwegian store, might have been on longer trips around Europe.

Meat and dairy products sold in Norwegian store, might have been on longer trips around Europe.

Norwegian link to terror in Somalia

The Norwegian media has paid attention to the terror attack in Buuloburde, Somalia, which occurred last Tuesday. The terror attack was carried out by a 60-year-old Norwegian-Somali man, who placed a truck filled with explosives at the entrance of Hotel Camalow. According to the independent Somali news webpage, RBC radio, Islamist group Al-Shabaab claims that the man was affiliated with the group. The small city of Buuloburde was formerly controlled by Al-Shabaab, but was taken by the UN-supported peacekeeping force AMISOM on Monday. The hotel was housing soldiers and officers. According to Al-Shabaab 32 people lost their lives, numbers that have not yet been confirmed. The Norwegian security service, PST, has started its investigation but is still working on getting information about the 60-year-old man.

The perfect “selfie”

Looking for the best spot for a “selfie”? Norwegian media were pleased when the American webpage Buzzfeed this week announced their list, of the most spectacular places in the world for taking “selfies”. On top of the list was “The Trolls Tounge” in Odda, Norway. This sight ranked above world famous places like Victoria Falls, The Dead Sea and the Great Wall of China.

American website Buzzfeed named Norwegian rock formation the perfect place to take a "selfie".

American website Buzzfeed named Norwegian rock formation the perfect place to take a “selfie”.











Photos from Flickr Creative Commons: M.B Haga, Memphis CVB, Destination Hardanger Fjord.

Denmark: Happy-hippie nation of dolphin and giraffe killers

AarhusDenmark is making world headlines on a regular basis at the moment. But recently, it seems there’s something slightly rotten going on with the state of international media coverage of Denmark. Louisa Field has given her opinion to Jutland Station.

There is something increasingly bizarre about the changing reputation of our small nation state: Last year we were the happiest-hippie-bacon-producing nation in the world. This year I couldn’t tell a salesman at an English countryside market that I am Danish without having “BORGEN” and “THE BRIDGE shouted at me. Calmly nodding, I received a discount. But it seems that we will not only receive discounts and applause from the world this year.

It all started with the now-famous ‘selfie‘. Our otherwise beautiful and immaculate Prime Minister Helle (pronounced “Hell” by most English speakers), managed to make quite a commotion with her selfie at Nelson Mandala’s funeral ceremony in December. While the Daily Mail threw around insults like “narcissist” about poor Hell, Danish reporters joked around with her – one even stealing a kiss and a selfie with her.

In the past few weeks stories of the massacre of dolphins in Faroe Islands – a place many seem to believe is in Denmark – has yet again circled social media, hitting Facebook rather hard this time.This has resulted in a most peculiar question from one of my foreign friends: “Is it part of some viking-manhood-test to kill a dolphin in Denmark?” We actually don’t even have real dolphins in Denmark, only these small ones, which we call “guinea pigs”. Also, they are very rare. I have only once caught a glimpse of a flock outside Aarhus Harbour. And no, the Faroe Islands are not part of mainland Denmark, neither is Denmark in Sweden, something another outraged journalist from The National Post seems to believe.

As if these things were not enough to smudge Shakespeare’s otherwise poetic portrait of Denmark, yesterday Copenhagen Zoo decide to slaughter and feed a “healthy and utterly adorable” giraffe to the lions, causing complete mayhem on BBC, CNN and Facebook. Even more disturbing was the fact that the Danish children, who watched the event at the zoo, seemed to show no empathy whatsoever. No tears were shed while poor Marius was shot and dissected, instead the children seemed to enjoy the show.

Bengt Holst, scientific director at Copenhagen Zoo, told CNN, that the crowd was “very enthusiastic” and “the kids asked good questions”. In the Danish media, the slaughtering of the giraffe has received little attention. While petitions are cruising the internet demanding that Holst is fired, in Denmark Marius’ killing is generally accepted and the international media’s reaction frowned upon.

In a country that exports thousands of kilos of bacon every year to the UK and the rest of Europe, it would be insane to be in tears when nature takes it’s cause. We might all agree that we care about the genocide in Congo or the actual maltreatment of millions of Danish pigs, but there has definitely been no media hype about those issues compared to the current one on Marius.

So did this “utterly adorable” giraffe have to die? Yes, he did, because of the natural and responsible reasons put forward by the Zoo. Do we want to have four headed giraffes due to inbreeding? That would definitely not add anything poetic to Denmark’s declining reputation.

International news outlets seem to be quite hooked on the bizarre doings of the Danes. With this pervasive narration I expect we will be entertained by more outrageous and exciting tales from Denmark in the coming year. But as the world’s media continues to obsess about the rotten state of Denmark, we – the Danish – are taking it easy and enjoying our free, happy, giraffe-slaughtering, hippie state.

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Has Denmark really done anything wrong?  Have the international media blown everything way out of proportion?  Do you think Denmark should have to answer for these acts?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Original article by Louisa Field for Jutland Station.