Norwegian union angers Israel with boycott

Relatives of Palestinian Saba Obaid mourn during his funeral in the West Bank town of Salfit. (Reuters)
Updated 12 May 2017
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Norwegian union angers Israel with boycott

OSLO: Norway’s biggest trade union voted Friday in favor of a boycott against Israel, a decision immediately condemned by Israeli diplomats who judged it “immoral.”
The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) went against a recommendation from its leadership and voted 197 to 117 in favor of an international economic, cultural and academic boycott against Israel because of the current impasse over the Palestine issue.
LO, which also called for Norway to recognize a Palestinian state according to the 1967 borders, was criticized by the government.
“Norwegian government strongly opposes Norw Labour Union’s decision: #boycott of #Israel. We need more cooperation and dialogue, not boycott,” Foreign Minister Borge Brende wrote on Twitter.
Israel’s Embassy in Oslo said it “condemns in the strongest terms” the boycott.
“This immoral resolution reflects deeply rooted attitudes of bias, discrimination and double standard toward the Jewish state,” ambassador Raphael Schutz wrote in an e-mail to AFP.
Noting that LO had also called for the dismantling of a wall erected by Israel separating it from the Palestinian territories, Schutz said that “by adopting these positions LO placed itself shoulder to shoulder with the worst enemies of Israel.”
Norway hosted Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in the early 1990s that led to the now-defunct Oslo accords.


British defense contractor under fraud investigation over suspected corruption in Algeria

Updated 32 min 25 sec ago
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British defense contractor under fraud investigation over suspected corruption in Algeria

  • Ultra said in a statement that it had referred itself to the British fraud authorities and that the SFO investigation concerned the business conduct of Ultra, its subsidiaries, employees and associated persons
  • The SFO’s investigation into Ultra, which makes military electronics for land, air and sea forces, follows probes into other British companies operating in the defense sector including Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems

LONDON: Ultra Electronics on Thursday announced that the UK’s Serious Fraud Office had opened a criminal investigation into “suspected corruption in the conduct of business” by the British defense contractor in Algeria.
Ultra said in a statement that it had referred itself to the British fraud authorities and that the SFO investigation concerned the business conduct of Ultra, its subsidiaries, employees and associated persons.
“Given the stage of these matters, it is not possible to estimate reliably what effect the outcome of this matter may have on the group,” Ultra said, adding that it continued to co-operate with the SFO.
The SFO in a statement said it was looking into Ultra but said it could not provide additional information as the investigation “is live.”
Ultra shares were down 6 percent in early trade.
The SFO’s investigation into Ultra, which makes military electronics for land, air and sea forces, follows probes into other British companies operating in the defense sector including Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems.
Ultra Electronics’s biggest market is North America with just 17 percent of its revenue coming from what it calls “rest of the world.” It does not mention Algeria in its annual report.
Ultra, which last month abandoned a bid for US company Sparton Corp. due to anti-trust concerns, is currently without a chief executive.
Douglas Caster assumed the role of executive chairman last year after the previous CEO quit. New CEO Simon Pryce is due to join in June.
The SFO has been criticized by lawmakers in the past over its efforts to bring companies and senior individuals to book. More recently it has secured deferred prosecution agreements with Rolls-Royce and Tesco and filed unprecedented criminal charges against Barclays and former senior executives.