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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.

"Heroes of Russia"

President Vladimir Putin today honoured participants of last year’s North Pole expeditions with medals. –We are happy that we executed the task for the Motherland – now we will not leave the Arctic, expedition leader Artur Chilingarov said to the president.

Helga Pedersen (government.no)

The indigenous Sámi people in Finnmark, Norway, wants an indigenous people compensation for mining activities in the region. However, the Norwegian government will not agree to the claim.

Over the next twenty years, a minimum of 100,000 foreign workers will be needed in order to fill labour shortages in Finland, the newspaper Kaleva reports.

A new official Russian expedition is heading towards the North Pole to conduct studies of the Arctic shelf. The Arktika-2008 expedition is held as part of the International Polar, RIA Novosti reports.

New Norwegian research vessel (rolls-royce.com)

The new Norwegian marine research vessel will cost almost one billion NOK (125 million EUR).

Russia must promote human rights through education, not just seek to punish rights violators, representatives of the Council of Europe said during a visit to Moscow this week.

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.

Foto: Tromsø 2018

North Norwegian city of Tromsø is planning to apply for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. However, recent disagreement within the local Olympic committee is threatening to hamper the plans. On Wednesday, Mr. Petter Rønningen was appointed new committee leader.

Photo: Barentsphoto.com

Birth rates in Russia are up 11,5 percent year-on-year the first four months of 2008. The figures indicate more spending power and a brighter view on the future among Russians.

Photo: Barentsphoto.com

According to the Federal State Statistics Service, the number of poor people in Russia in 2007 dropped to 13,4 percent of the population.

Severomorsk (Severm.net)

A home-made bomb yesterday seriously hurt a businessman in the city of Severomorsk, the home base of the Russian Northern Fleet.

Finland, Lapland

Despite positive trends in the Finnish labour market, unemployment figures remain high in the northern part of the country. In the province of Lapland, unemployment rates stand at 11,1 percent.

Gennady Oleynik

There is a 20 percent lack of workers in the Russian North, Head of Federation Council’s Committee on the North, says.