1. Norway to still provide Trafalgar Square Christmas tree

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Christmas tree and carol singers

    It’s a powerful symbol of friendship across the North Sea and an enduring gift of thanks from one nation to another as they faced their darkest hours.

    Every Christmas since 1947 the City of Oslo has sent a Norwegian spruce tree to London as a gift in memory of that wartime support. It stands as London’s main Christmas tree each year in Trafalgar Square.

    And despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic the city of Oslo told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the gift will continue as normal.

    A spokeswoman said: “The City of Oslo will be giving the citizens of London a Christmas tree to light up Trafalgar Square this year as well.”

    The 21-metre high tree takes pride of place in Trafalgar Square and is a backdrop for Christmas celebrations in central London. For some, its arrival also marks the start of the countdown to Christmas.

    It is a gift to thank Britain for its support during World War Two when it gave a home to the Norwegian government and Royal family in exile from 1940 to 1945.

    Traditionally the mayors of Westminster and Oslo select and fell the tree in November and school children sing carols as the tree starts its journey to London. London then returns the hospitality at the tree lighting ceremony and carol singing in early December.

    However the pandemic this year means there are no plans for Oslo Mayor Marianne Borgen and a choir to visit.

    Already this year London has seen the 26-mile London Marathon postponed to a hybrid athletes event on Sunday with other runners clocking up the miles at home, and the cancellation of the Lord Mayor’s Show in November.

    The New Year’s Eve fireworks are also cancelled this year because of the pandemic.

  2. Norway's carbon capture project

    Video content

    Video caption: Erna Solberg explains how her oil-rich country can turn towards renewable energy

    Erna Solberg explains how her oil-rich country can turn towards renewable energy.

  3. Covid outbreak on Norway cruise ship

    Roald Amundsen cruise ship
    Image caption: The Roald Amundsen joined the Hurtigruten line last year

    Four crew members on a Norwegian cruise ship, MS Roald Amundsen, tested positive for Covid-19 and are now in hospital. The ship is docked in Tromsoe, northern Norway.

    All 160 quarantined crew will be tested and the 177 passengers, who have disembarked, have been urged to self-isolate.

    The ship, owned by Norwegian firm Hurtigruten, had been on a week-long voyage to Svalbard in the Arctic. It is scheduled to visit ports in England and Scotland in September, Reuters reports.

    In March, Hurtigruten suspended most cruises because of the pandemic, but it plans to return 14 vessels to service by the end of September.

    Early in the pandemic thousands of passengers were stranded aboard cruise ships in Asian and US waters because of coronavirus outbreaks onboard.