Politics, weapons and sausages

The dominant Labour Party and its leader, PM Jens Stoltenberg, took a break from the recent daily routine of financial scandal-wrestling and staged its annual party conference, in Oslo.

The PM’s fairly single-minded focus on ’employment for everyone’ got the party faithful to offer up regular, polite, standing ovations, but even the neutral coverage had to admit that it was a workmanlike performance aimed at the traditional proletariat segment. Predictably, to get a bit more fire in their stories several outlets preferred to run with the opposition’s reviews of the conference, and the right-wing interpretation of the address as Labour’s ‘farewell address’.

Popular tabloid VG had the most interesting Saturday story, revealing ‘peaceful Norway’s’ Naval Strike Missile (NSM), a piece of military technology developed by the Kongsberg Group which reportedly has gotten Pentagon jaws to drop in admiration, a neat example of how the national media can’t help bragging even when trying to make an embarrassing point.

Kongsberg Group CEO Walter Qvam explained that he didn’t find it paradoxical that a peace-oriented nation should also have a weapons industry. He did concede that the nature of their products ‘could entail loss of life’, admitting this was ‘obviously a dilemma’.

I must admit to being partial to a good ‘human interest story’, and Aftenposten.no had a fine one with an Oslo fire emergency with a distinctly odd happy ending.

A ladder truck was dispatched to try and gain entry through the window of a smoke-filled tower block apartment, but the gobsmacked crew found no blaze, but rather a naked man sitting on the floor barbecuing sausages, presumably on a disposable grill. After ensuring that nothing but the grill was burning, the firefighters withdrew, leaving the nudist to his smoky meal.

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