Norway. Thanks to the high oil prices, StatoilHydro made
the biggest corporate profit in Norwegian history during the
first quarter. When the oil price reached $ 140 per barrel
during the year, the state was expected to make huge extra
income for the state oil fund, the Government Pension Fund -
Global. However, when the price of oil subsequently fell
sharply during the third quarter, the oil fund lost in value
equivalent to close to SEK 200 billion.
In January, six people were killed when suicide bombers
attacked a hotel in Kabul, where Norwegian Foreign Minister
Jonas Gahr Støre lived during a visit to the Afghan capital.
Støre did well, but there was a Norwegian journalist among
the victims. A Taliban spokesman said they were behind the
deed, one of many violent attempts to scare off foreign
support for the Afghan government. The Taliban allied
al-Qaeda had earlier called for an attack on the Norway, which
has about 500 soldiers in the NATO-led force in Afghanistan.
But after the attack, the N government declared that it
would strengthen its military presence in the country.
In March, five people were killed when a multi-storey
house collapsed in Ålesund, where a large piece of a rock
wall loosened and collapsed on the house. Rescue crews were
unable to enter the masses for several days to search for
missing because of explosion risk after a propane tank under
the house caught fire.
Countryaah reports, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg received harsh criticism
in the spring both from the opposition and from the Labor
Party's coalition partner Socialist Left Party when he
rejected the idea of a Norwegian boycott of the Beijing
Olympics because of the repression in Tibet. The
government's internal problems continued when the Minister
of Petroleum and Center Party leader Åslaug Haga were
accused of unclear tax business. Haga resigned and succeeded
as Minister of Terje Riis-Johansen and as center leader of
Liv Signe Navarsete. At the same time as the red-green
coalition was having difficulties, the Progress Party was
the largest party in opinion polls and the bourgeois bloc
had a clear majority over the government parties.
During the spring, Sweden submitted a quote for the sale
of 48 new advanced JAS planes, known as Super-JAS, to
Norway. On the Swedish side, they hoped for a multi-billion
business over three decades with extensive Swedish-Norwegian
industrial cooperation. The Swedish Minister of Defense also
spoke of increased future defense cooperation, including
joint air bases. In the aircraft business, however, Sweden
had competition from the United States, Norway's allies in
NATO, and in November the Oslo government decided that
would buy US F-35.
In the autumn financial crisis, the government in October
decided on a rescue package for the banks. Suspicions were
raised that N's largest bank DnB NOR was given advance
information on the government's measures and was able to
make quick and profitable sales of government bonds. Other
banks also claimed that the government package was suitable
for DnB NOR, whose head was a party mate and good friend of
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. The Norwegian Financial
Supervisory Authority Kredittilsynet initiated an
investigation which included, among other things, SMS
messages between the DnB NOR manager and Stoltenberg.
In November, the Prime Minister and his Labor Party
passed a government decision to implement the EU Services
Directive, which includes, among other things, the
elimination of barriers to trade in services. The Socialist
Left Party and the Center Party opposed the proposal, but
Stoltenberg counted with support from the bourgeois
opposition in the Storting.
At the end of the year, the Storting voted to ban the
purchase of sexual services that apply to Norwegians both in
Norway and abroad. The law would apply from 2009.
During the year, the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy
Directorate made measurements that showed that most
Norwegian glaciers have fallen dramatically. Around
Jostedalsbreen, the largest glacier on the European
mainland, five of eleven glaciers had fallen by more than 20
meters in one year. For a long time, Briksdalsbreen had
decreased by 430 meters since 1999 and Fåbergstølsbreen 450
meters since 2000.