First ever Arctic bank robbery goes south

The Svalbard archipelago, roughly twice the size of Belgium, lies about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) from the North Pole. (Social media)
Updated 22 December 2018
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First ever Arctic bank robbery goes south

  • “The most reckless bank robbery in Norwegian history?” said one Twitter user

OSLO: A man has robbed a bank on the northernmost settlement in the world — a remote Arctic island in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard — but was caught hours later, authorities said on Friday. The heist was the first ever bank robbery in living memory on the territory, which is located in the Arctic Ocean, about halfway between continental Norway and the North Pole. “There was an armed robbery at around 10.40 am (09:40 GMT),” Terje Carlsen, a spokesman for the local governor, told AFP.
The odds of the heist succeeding were, however, always low on the archipelago, famous for glaciers and ice caps.
The capital, Longyearbyen, has around 2,000 inhabitants and practically everyone knows each other. The airport is the main means of leaving the settlement.
“A man with a firearm seized a sum of money. He was arrested quite quickly,” Carlsen said. Authorities declined to give more details about the suspect’s identity, the amount stolen or the weapon used for the robbery. Commentators on social media were quick to make fun of the failed bank robbery. “The most reckless bank robbery in Norwegian history?” said one Twitter user. “He probably forgot to think about his escape route,” commented another. The Svalbard archipelago, roughly twice the size of Belgium, lies about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) from the North Pole. Temperatures in winter regularly plunge to below minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit) and can drop below minus 40.

 


Philippines’ Duterte pestered again as gecko stalls speech

Updated 20 September 2019

Philippines’ Duterte pestered again as gecko stalls speech

  • In a previous speech lambasting the Catholic clergy, a fly kept buzzing around him and landed on his forehead
  • While attacking the political opposiion during an election campaign, a big cockroach crawled up his shoulder and down his shirt

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte just keeps getting bugged during his public speeches.
A noisy gecko was the latest wildlife contributor to an address by Duterte, interrupting the leader on Thursday evening just as he launched another tirade at human rights groups critical of his bloody war on drugs.
The reptile’s persistence caused laugher in the crowd of mostly soldiers, causing Duterte stop mid-sentence, turn to his left and pause for a while to see what the off-camera commotion was.
“You brought a gecko here?” he asked an official sitting behind him, drawing laughs.
Geckos are common across Southeast Asia. The small lizard-like reptiles are known for their ability to produce various loud sounds, from barks to chirps, to communicate or when threatened.
While activists accuse Duterte of cowing his opponents into silence, reptiles and insects have no qualms about pestering him during his often hours-long, televised addresses.
A big cockroach crawled up his shoulder and down his shirt during a speech in May when he was lambasting an opposition party ahead of a national election. He joked the cockroach was its supporter.
Two months later, a fly kept buzzing around him and landing on his forehead, just as he was berating his rivals in the Catholic clergy. He said in jest that the fly was acting on their orders.