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Norway’s $1 trillion wealth fund to remain invested in Big Oil stocks

Oslo has said the oil fund will only shed its stakes in oil and gas explorers and producers. It was widely expected that the world's biggest sovereign fund would dump all of its oil and gas investments for good. The Norwegian government said on Friday its $1 trillion asset manager— the world's biggest sovereign fund — will sell its stake in oil and gas explorers and producers but will continue to invest in energy companies that have refineries and are engaged in distribution and retail sales of oil and gas products. The announcement means the fund will remain invested in Big Oil companies such as Shell, BP, Total and ExxonMobil, in which it owns significant stakes. Oslo said the move is based solely on financial considerations and that it does not reflect any particular view of the oil industry's future prospects. Return on the fund's investment in oil and gas stocks fell 9.5 percent last year. Norway's central bank, which manages the mammoth fund, has long maintained that the divestment was aimed at reducing the country's exposure to the energy sector. The fund is used to invest the proceeds of the country's oil and gas industry, amounting to more than 20 percent of Norway's revenue. "The Government is proposing to exclude companies classified as exploration and production companies within the energy sector from the Government Pension Fund Global," the finance ministry said in a statement. "The objective is to reduce the vulnerability of our common wealth to a permanent oil price decline." It was widely expected that the fund would dump all of its oil and gas investments for good. Norges Bank, the central bank, had in 2017 proposed a total divestment of oil and gas stocks. The fund had holdings worth around $37 billion — 5.9 percent of its total equity investments — in the oil sector at the end of last year. But a bulk of that amount is invested in integrated oil companies that are engaged in everything from exploration to selling fuel at the roadside. 'Missed opportunity' Norway's decision evoked mixed feelings among climate activists, who were expecting Oslo to go the whole hog. "It's a lost opportunity," Martin Norman of Greenpeace's Norwegian chapter told DW. "We are running against time and Norway had a chance to move fast but instead decided to move slowly." Norman, however, said the Norwegian government's announcement was a "step in the right direction" that would prompt other investors to back away from fossil fuels. "The government has acknowledged the problem of over exposure to oil," he said. "But I disagree with the medicine they are prescribing."

Oslo has said the oil fund will only shed its stakes in oil and gas explorers and producers. It was widely expected that the world’s biggest sovereign fund would dump all of its oil and gas investments for good. The Norwegian government said on Friday its $1 trillion asset manager— the world’s biggest sovereign fund — will sell its stake ... Read More »

Thomas Müller on the double as Germany sink Norway

Manuel Neuer wore the captain's armband as Germany got their World Cup qualification campaign underway in Norway. But Thomas Müller stole the headlines with a double. Norway 0-3 Germany (Müller 15', 60', Kimmich 45') Thomas Müller scored his first international goals in almost a year as Germany eased to a 3-0 victory in Oslo in their opening World Cup 2018 qualifier. Germany's defense for the title they won in 2014 got off to a flying start when Müller latched onto a loose ball in the box and rolled it through Rune Jarstein in the Norway goal, finally adding to his tally of one international goal since October 2015. Joshua Kimmich, the highly-rated Bayern Munich fullback, scored his maiden international goal on his seventh appearance for Germany just before halftime, collecting a delightful touch from Müller before rifling into the bottom corner. Müller claimed his second of the game and put the result beyond doubt on the hour mark, heading in Sami Khedira's cross to wrap up a very satisfactory night for Müller and his teammates. The game also saw Manuel Neuer play his first game as captain since being handed the armband by coach Joachim Löw following the retirement of former skipper Bastian Schweinsteiger. And it was a largely quiet night for the Bayern Munich stopper, whose goal was rarely threatened by a Norway attack that struggled to penetrate a solid German back line. On what proved to be a perfect night for Löw's side, their chief Group C rivals Czech Republic were held to a 0-0 draw with Northern Ireland in Prague, giving Germany an early advantage in the standings. Germany are now unbeaten in 24 World Cup qualifiers. They will face the Czech Republic in Hamburg on October 8.

Manuel Neuer wore the captain’s armband as Germany got their World Cup qualification campaign underway in Norway. But Thomas Müller stole the headlines with a double. Norway 0-3 Germany (Müller 15′, 60′, Kimmich 45′) Thomas Müller scored his first international goals in almost a year as Germany eased to a 3-0 victory in Oslo in their opening World Cup 2018 ... Read More »

Brexit: Why people are increasingly talking about the ‘Norway model’

After voting for Brexit, the UK has to negotiate its trade relations with the EU and other countries. In this context, the so-called 'Norwegian model' has emerged as a favorable option, but what does it actually mean? Norway is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), but not a member of the EU. This means that much like Iceland and Liechtenstein, Norway has to comply with all EU rules, but it cannot vote on them. Its exports to the EU are also subject to customs checks, since it is not a member of the bloc's Customs Union, which also includes Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the new non-EU member, the UK. Membership in the union means that customs are not levied on goods traveling within the borders, and that member countries enforce a common tax rate on all goods entering it from outside. The country also has to pay annual contributions to keep its EEA membership, and according to figures published by the Norwegian government and the Norwegian Mission to the EU, the per capita fee the country is paying the bloc is rather similar to Britain's. Norway also pays grants to poorer EU Member States, which are renegotiated periodically, and makes contributions to a number of EU programs in which it wishes to participate (such as Erasmus student exchanges). That's why it may seem like there is no reason for Norway not to be a member of the EU, and indeed, some Norwegians now wonder whether it's better for the country to join the bloc since it's already paying similar contributions. A British government report from March has pointed out one of the major problems in implementing the Norwegian model: "If the UK negotiated the model we would be bound by many of the EU's rules, but no longer have a vote or veto on the creation of those rules," a result which sounds contradictory to what 52 percent of British citizens have wished for. Since it is not a member, Norway also has no representation and no vote in deciding EU law. The Norwegian Prime Minister does not attend the European Council; Norway does not participate in the Council of Ministers; and the country has no Members in the European Parliament (MEPs). "It has no national member of the European Commission, no judge on the bench at the European Court of Justice (ECJ), and its citizens do not have the right to vote in EU elections, or to work in EU institutions," the report states. So where are the advantages? Every rule has an exception There might actually be a light at the end of the Norwegian tunnel, even for Leave supporters: Chapter 4 in the EEA agreement, called Safeguard Measures, effectively allows member countries to "unilaterally take appropriate measures" in cases of "serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties [...] in order to remedy the situation." This means that in a case of an emergency, the UK could potentially use these measures and declare a crisis, the same way Iceland reacted following its 2008 economic crisis. Since Norway is also investing millions of euros in common programs with EU countries, the UK might still be able to choose its cooperations, thus allowing Britons to work or study in the EU if it decides to. Some financial institutions would also be able to operate in the bloc - surely a sigh of relief for worried Britons from both camps. 'Renegotiating could take years' However, the British government's report also stressed that the Norway model would give the UK considerable but not complete access to the free-trade Single Market. "We would be outside the EU Customs Union, and we would lose access to all of the EU's trade agreements with 53 other markets around the world," the report stated, adding that "renegotiating these would take years." Switzerland, for example, has 120 different agreements with the EU, making such a model highly complicated to recreate. As the report claims, "the web of bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU has taken many years to negotiate," and there is no reason to believe similar agreements with the UK could be achieved any quicker. And Switzerland is not the only country with a complex relationship to the EU. Unlike Norway, Turkey is a member of the EU Customs Union. Turkey's arrangements with the EU cover industrial goods and processed agricultural goods, so that customs checks are not required for these products. However, arrangements do not cover raw agricultural goods or services, and in areas where Turkey has access to the EU market, it is required to enforce rules that are equivalent to those in the EU. Having your cake and eating it? Despite the seemingly optimal Norwegian model, it still contains many potential compromises for Leave voters, predominantly, the EEA's free movement of people. Norway is obliged to accept this and has also chosen to be part of the Schengen border-free area. Following several racist incidents in the UK that received the general name 'Post-Brexit Racism,' it seems like some people would not be satisfied by this part of the agreement, if imposed. And even if Britain decides to use the safeguard measures mentioned in the EEA agreement, it is unclear how long such emergency conduct could last, or how long the other members would allow it to have its cake and eat it, too.

After voting for Brexit, the UK has to negotiate its trade relations with the EU and other countries. In this context, the so-called ‘Norwegian model’ has emerged as a favorable option, but what does it actually mean? Norway is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), but not a member of the EU. This means that much like Iceland ... Read More »

Germany wins European handball championship, qualifies for Olympics

Germany has ended its 12-year drought in the European handball championship, beating Spain 24-17 to advance outright to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The Germans are European handball champions, trouncing Spain 24-17 in the final of the European championship in Krakow on Sunday to lift their first title since 2004. The victory not only gives Germany its second title, but also qualifies the team outright for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Following a tight semifinal with Norway, Germany was in full control against Spain. The team jumped out to an early 5-1 lead, with Friday's hero Kai Häfner scoring three goals in two minutes. Germany held that margin until halftime. Germany widened it quickly after the break thanks to goals by Tobias Reichmann and Hendrick Pekeler. But despite three seven-meter goals in the second half, the Spaniards didn't seem to have a comeback in them. Germany now join host country Brazil, France, Argentina, Qatar and Egypt in the Olympic field. Spain and Croatia, winner of the third place match earlier Sunday afternoon, now advance to the final Olympic qualifying tournament in April.

Germany has ended its 12-year drought in the European handball championship, beating Spain 24-17 to advance outright to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The Germans are European handball champions, trouncing Spain 24-17 in the final of the European championship in Krakow on Sunday to lift their first title since 2004. The victory not only gives Germany its ... Read More »

Germany’s Freund in incredible 19th World Cup ski jumping victory

Severin Freund has scored another ski jumping World Cup victory in Lillehammer, Norway. The German expressed surprise at his victory after having to wait two hours in bad weather for his run, nearly losing his nerve. Germany's Severin Freund, showing nerves of steel and a great deal of patience, clinched an astounding 19th World Cup victory in ski jumping on Saturday in Lillehammer. The 27-year-old Bavarian managed a distance of 94.5 meters (310 feet), giving him a 0.1 point advantage over second-place finalist Kenneth Gangnes of Norway. "I was surprised to reach number one," Freund said, "because some of my competitors jumped farther. But today ski jumping proved to be a good example of arithmetic." Winning a ski jumping competition is not only a matter of distance - contestants are judged on a number of factors, including style, inrun length, and wind conditions. Indeed, second place Kenneth Gangnes achieved a distance of 95.5 meters and third place Andreas Stjernen, also of Norway, managed to make a 96 meter jump. Freund's trainer was a bit more enthusiastic than the humble gold medalist, saying, "this is of course a terrific win. Severin fought unbelievably in the air." Due to inclement weather, the ski jumping competition for the normal hill event (as opposed to large hill or ski flying hill, which can cover longer distances) had to be postponed two hours and ten minutes, allowing the skiers to steep in their jitters, as Freund told reporters. "The waiting around was annoying. But there's nothing you can do about it," said Freund, adding that "for athletes, it's a crazy challenge to hold on to the energy for that long."

Severin Freund has scored another ski jumping World Cup victory in Lillehammer, Norway. The German expressed surprise at his victory after having to wait two hours in bad weather for his run, nearly losing his nerve. Germany’s Severin Freund, showing nerves of steel and a great deal of patience, clinched an astounding 19th World Cup victory in ski jumping on ... Read More »

Sweden raises threat level, launches manhunt

Sweden has raised its threat level to "high" as the country's security services launched a manhunt for a man suspected of planning a terrorist attack. Denmark and Norway have also raised their threat levels. Acting on "concrete information" Swedish authorities issued an arrest warrant for an unidentified man on Wednesday, and raised the threat level to four on a five point scale. The head of domestic intelligence and counter-terrorism Anders Thornberg told a press conference there were no known ties between the individual who is the target of the manhunt and the Paris attacks. However, Sweden's Sapo intelligence agency said the attacks in Paris last week "show that IS may have an increased ability to carry out even relatively complex attacks in Europe. Individuals may be inspired by these attacks. " The new threat level determined by the National Center for Terrorist Threat Assessment (NCT) means there is a high probability "persons have the intent and ability to carry out an attack." The assessement comes as authorities in Europe are on high alert as they continue to search for those tied to the Paris attacks and crack down on "Islamic State" cells. Swedish police have raised their presence in public places, strategic locations and foreign embassies. NCT director Mats Sandberg said at the press conference IS "considers Sweden a legitimate target." While neutral, Sweden has participated in NATO missions in Afghanistan and is currently training Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga battling IS in northern Iraq. Thornberg refrained from confirming an earlier Swedish media report that the suspect is an Iraqi who has fought in Syria and entered the country on Wednesday. "We don't want to disclose our methods," Thornberg said. Denmark and Norway also raised their threat levels to the second highest level on Wednesday, citing security concerns following the terror attacks in Paris. Sweden for years has had a large Iraqi Kurdish and Arab diaspora population. The country has recently been forced to impose border controls after being overwhelmed by refugees fleeing conflict in Syria and Iraq.

Sweden has raised its threat level to “high” as the country’s security services launched a manhunt for a man suspected of planning a terrorist attack. Denmark and Norway have also raised their threat levels. Acting on “concrete information” Swedish authorities issued an arrest warrant for an unidentified man on Wednesday, and raised the threat level to four on a five ... Read More »

Europa League: Humble surroundings offer perfect test for Borussia Dortmund

After three points in the Bundesliga on Saturday, Europe is back on the agenda for Borussia Dortmund. Without Marco Reus, Thomas Tuchel's side head north to face Norwegian cracks Odds BK for a place in the group stages. European football will take Borussia Dortmund to the very edges of the continent. Following a win over Austrian side Wolfsberger AC, Thomas Tuchel takes his squad to Norway to take on Odds BK, albeit in unusual conditions with an artificial surface awaiting them following yesterday's journey on small aircraft. There will be no 60,000 sell-out - as Dortmund managed in the last round setting a new UEFA Europa League record - but it does offer more humble preparations ahead of Bundesliga trips to clubs like Ingolstadt. "Every victory is a good result and we have to be a team that blank out the conditions. Whether full stadium, empty stadium or no stadium," Tuchel said at the pre-match press conference. Not included in the trip to Norway was Marco Reus who was 'voluntarily' omitted from the squad, perhaps as a concern over the artificial surface that Dortmund will play on. However, Tuchel emphatically confirmed he wasn't injured amid concerns over previous ankle problems. The Dortmund boss will be without right-back Lukasz Piszczek who suffered an injury yesterday. A long-term diagnosis of the Polish international's injury will be made this week. "It will be a good test of character for the players," said left-back Marcel Schmelzer who has excelled under the new coaching team at Signal Iduna Park. Borussia Dortmund come off the back of an impressive 4-0 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach to kickoff the 53rd Bundesliga season after victories over Wolfsberg in Europe and Chemnitz in the German Cup. All focus on Europe The Europa League has formed a crucial part of Tuchel's preparations so far as the yellow-and-blacks look to succeed in Europe's minor competition - a Champions League place, however, is on offer for the eventual winner in May. "The next hurdle is ahead with Odds BK. We are the clear favorites in this encounter," said sporting director Michael Zorc. "And our aim is to go through, no ifs or buts." "We expect a physically strong opponent who is playing a very British type of game," explained Tuchel who expects his opponent to play 4-1-4-1. The Norwegians are fifth in their domestic league after 20 games and are competing in European competition for the third time in their history. So far, Odds have come through three rounds with wins over Irish side Shamrock Rovers and Sweden's Elfsborg. "It's a huge opportunity for them to prove themselves," Tuchel added. In attack, former Kaiserslautern and Greuther Fürth player Olivier Occéan is the most recognizable name, the Canadian striker back at the club for his second spell. Meanwhile, 41-year-old Frode Johnsen is still part of Dag-Eilev Fagermo's squad after a career that has taken him from Rosenborg to Japan. There are 21 other matches in the playoff round featuring most notably Turkish giants Fenerbahce who head for Athens-based side Atromitos, while Ajax take on Jablonec at home after being knocked out Champions League competition by Rapid Vienna.

After three points in the Bundesliga on Saturday, Europe is back on the agenda for Borussia Dortmund. Without Marco Reus, Thomas Tuchel’s side head north to face Norwegian cracks Odds BK for a place in the group stages. European football will take Borussia Dortmund to the very edges of the continent. Following a win over Austrian side Wolfsberger AC, Thomas ... Read More »

Colombia’s FARC rebels announce one-month ceasefire

Rebel group FARC has said it will call a month-long ceasefire in an effort to boost ongoing peace talks with the Colombian government. It comes after calls for a de-escalation in the violent conflict. Chief rebel negotiator Ivan Marquez announced on Wednesday that the group will observe the truce for one month, with the long term goal of coming to a more permanent solution. Marquez said the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) hopes to "create favorable conditions in order to advance with the opposing side toward a bilateral and definitive ceasefire." The guerrilla army says it is calling for a pause in fighting after appeals from international mediators Cuba, Norway, Chile and Venezuela to "de-escalate" intensifying fighting. On Tuesday the four nations issued calls for "confidence-building measures" between the opposing sides, in an effort to "create a climate conducive to achieving [an] agreement" and end Latin America's longest running war. FARC says it is seeking a mutual ceasefire. The government has previously criticized this, saying the rebels have used these opportunities in the past to rearm and re-group. On Twitter, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos spoke positively about the offer, but cautioned that more "concrete commitments" were needed to speed up negotiations. Talks have been in progress since November 2012 in the Cuban capital, Havana. Although FARC called a previous unilateral truce in December last year, skirmishes continued to break out between government troops and rebel soldiers. This culminated in the president ordering renewed air strikes on FARC sites in April, with both sides blaming each other for the continuing escalation in violence. Since then, the rebels have resumed their military operations, as well as sabotaging and disrupting utilities. On Tuesday officials accused FARC of attacking a military convoy carrying oil in the southwestern state of Putumayo, killing three soldiers and injuring several others. Attacks in the south of the country were also attributed to the guerrillas. The ceasefire is scheduled to begin on July 20.

Rebel group FARC has said it will call a month-long ceasefire in an effort to boost ongoing peace talks with the Colombian government. It comes after calls for a de-escalation in the violent conflict. Chief rebel negotiator Ivan Marquez announced on Wednesday that the group will observe the truce for one month, with the long term goal of coming to ... Read More »

Women’s World Cup: Germany left cursing poor finishing in Norway draw

Germany could only take a point from the second game of their campaign in Canada, despite turning in an impressive first-half display. The Germans' superior goal difference should see them through the group stage. Germany 1-1 Norway (Mittag 6' - Mjelde 61') Germany were left ruing missed opportunities after a 1-1 draw with Norway means qualification for the knockout phases is put on hold. A reward for arguably the best 45-minute performance of the whole competition to date, Anja Mittag scored to send Germany ahead before Maren Mjelde equalized from a free-kick on the hour mark. Two-time champions Germany managed to dictate the first half, getting shots on target 19 times before Norway's first chance of the game on 44 minutes. In their previous encounter, Germany ran out 10-0 winners over Ivory Coast and could set up a quarterfinal tie with France if they go through in first place in the group. In Ottawa, Norway coach Even Pellerud deployed two fresh center-backs - Maria Thorisdottir and Marita Skammelsrud Lund - to deal with Champions League-winner Celia Sasic. But the pair were consumed with a flexible front-four, supported by the roaming Dzsenifer Marozsan who returned to the team after a strained ankle to make her World Cup debut. Germany's pummeling of the Norway goal started from the first whistle. On five minutes, full-back Leonie Maier hit the target with a left-foot shot to warn the Scandinavians. And just 60 seconds later, Silvia Neid's side took the lead when Marozsan strolled through the center, striking a shot at goal only for the rebound to fall to Malmö striker Mittag, who notched up her fourth of the tournament. The Germans were in complete control of the first half, and there was even room for Marozsan to improvise, pirouetting with some confidence despite facing a one-v-four situation. From the right-hand side, Maier and Simone Laudehr were providing a constant supply of dangerous crosses that unsettled the Norwegian defense. On 28 minutes, Alexandra Popp headed wide from 10 yards out having shifted in from the left flank. But before the teams went in for the break, Norway were able to offer some warning shots of their own. Isabell Herlovsen controlled the ball in the box after a misunderstanding in the German defense, but her right-foot shot was plucked out of the air by the veteran goalkeeper Nadine Angerer. The German keeper was busy from the resulting corner, punching the delivery on to her own crossbar. Mjulde strikes back After the interval, Norway looked a more spirited outfit, competing robustly where they had let themselves down in the first period. Pellerud's side shaped up in a more attacking 4-3-3 formation, having played the first half with two deep banks of four and five. And within a quarter of an hour, his side were on level terms. Herlovsen was bundled over on the edge of the box by Bartusiak, and from the resulting free-kick, Mjedle clipped the ball over the defensive wall and into the top corner. In contrast to the first-half, it was Germany's turn to lose their composure. Neid's side barely forced the issue in attack with Goessling and Marozsan consistently outnumbered while service from the wings was limited. Germany's subs off the bench - Pauline Bremer, Sara Däbritz and Lena Lotzen - struggled to influence the flow of the game and Norway's growing assurance. Lotzen's late effort forced the Norway keeper to scramble across her line, but the DFB women remained largely toothless in the second half. Germany's third and final group game will be against Thailand on Monday at 10:00 p.m. (CEST) in Winnipeg. Norway, meanwhile, face Ivory Coast to close their group schedule in Moncton.

Germany could only take a point from the second game of their campaign in Canada, despite turning in an impressive first-half display. The Germans’ superior goal difference should see them through the group stage. Germany 1-1 Norway (Mittag 6′ – Mjelde 61′) Germany were left ruing missed opportunities after a 1-1 draw with Norway means qualification for the knockout phases ... Read More »

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