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Two hundred kilometres above the Arctic Circle hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers are finding a new life in northern Norway, but recently the doors have been shutting on those desperate to start fresh in the High North.

Photo: Barentsphoto.com

Statistics Norway estimates that northern Norway will have a major population increase over the next 20 years, mainly due to work immigration.

By the end of the year, Russia will have a total of 40 million Internet users, an international analysis company says. That will make the country the second biggest Internet user in Europe.

Russian vodka

Over the last seven months, alcohol consumption inn Russia increased with 2,5 percent. Of the alcohol consumed, 49,6 percent was hard alcohol, the National Alcohol Association reports.

Photo: Barentsphoto.com

Russian federal authorities intend to triple funding of the indigenous peoples in the North. In addition, Moscow will let the regional administrations administer the money.

Photo: Laila Dalhaug, Barents Secretariat

About 1800 people were participating in this weekend’s Barents Friendship skiing competition.

Dmitrii Medvedev (kremlin.ru)

Russia’s controversial laws on NGOs could be amended, President Dmitry Medvedev said at his first meeting with his Human Right Council.

Tourism is one of the most prospective industries in the Barents Region, the participants in last week’s meeting in the Barents Working Group on Tourism underlined.

The investor, which recently bought the Pravda Severa newspaper in Arkhangelsk, plans to include the newspaper in a new regional media holding.

Recent numbers show that foreign tourist have been absent in northern Norway in the first half of 2009. NHO Travel Northern Norway blames it on financial crisis.

Behind this door in an office building in Murmansk should the Norwegian Helsinki Committee been working with Human Right issues. But, not so. The door is closed since the group is not allowed to be registered and operate in Murmansk.

Tour de Barents

The cross-country ski competition Tour de Barents in April next year will only take place in Norway and Finland.

Mariinsky Ballet Company (Marinsky.ru)

The world famous Russian Mariinsky Ballet Company performed at the Northern Lights Festival in Tromsø, Northern Norway last weekend.

The Canadian researcher Dr Aileen Espíritu has accepted the position as new Director of the Barents Insitute in the Norwegian border town of Kirkenes.