Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Norway urged to answer act of terror with tolerance

OSLO, Norway -- Five days after a terrorist incensed by Norway's culture of tolerance horrified the world, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg issued a call of quiet defiance to his country: Make Norway even more accepting.
"The Norwegian response to violence is more democracy, more openness and greater political participation,"
Stoltenberg said Wednesday at a news conference.
His promise in the aftermath of twin attacks that killed 76 people contrasted with the U.S. response after the 9/11 attacks, when the U.S. gave more leeway to perform wiretaps and search records.
It also reflects the difference between the two countries' approaches to terrorism: The U.S. has been frustrated by what it considers Scandinavia's lack of aggressive investigation and arrests.
"I think what we have seen is that there is going to be one Norway before and one Norway after July 22," the prime minister said.
Oslo's government quarter was bombed and dozens were slaughtered at the Labor Party's youth camp July 22. Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old Norwegian, has confessed to the attacks and said they were necessary to fight what he called Muslim colonization and multiculturalism.
Since the attacks, Stoltenberg and members of the Norwegian royal family have underlined the country's openness by making public appearances with little visible security guarding them.
The national sense of heartbreak is being renewed daily as police release names of the dead; the identities of only 17 of the 68 known to have been killed have been officially confirmed.
One of those named Wednesday was the youngest victim so far -- camper Sharidyn Svebakk-Boehn, who turned 14 five days before the rampage.
An employee of Stoltenberg's office, 51-year-old Anne Lise Holter, was confirmed Wednesday as one of the eight dead in the bomb blast. A stepbrother of Crown Princess Mette-Matrit, police officer Trond Berntsen, 51, was confirmed as one of those killed on the island. He was providing security.
Denmark said Wednesday that a 43-year-old Danish woman, Hanne Balch Fjalestad, was the first confirmed foreign death. She was a medic at the youth camp.
Stoltenberg said an independent commission will be formed to investigate the attacks and determine what can be learned from the response. Police have been criticized for the length of time it took them to reach the island.
The commission also is to help survivors and relatives, and there will be a monument built to commemorate the victims' lives.

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