Barefoot Investor: Breaking News of the day: Man Charged in Deadly Norway Attacks

This screen grab of an undated photograph on shows the central suspect of the Norway terror attacks, named by sources as Anders Behring Breivik, July 23, 2011. Photo by Facebook via Getty Images

Twin attacks in Norway, the deadliest since World War II, left 91 people dead after a gunman killed 84 people at a youth camp on an island near Oslo and a bomb explosion in the center of the capital killed seven.
A 32-year-old Norwegian man with an Oslo residence and farm in the eastern part of the country was arrested in the attacks, police said at a briefing in Oslo today. Authorities declined to confirm local media reports identifying the suspect as Anders Behring Breivik.

“He has been charged in both the explosion in the center of the government area and also the shooting,” Roger Andresen, deputy Oslo police chief, told reporters today. The two counts of “dangerous crimes to society” mean he could receive 21 years in prison, Norway’s toughest punishment, he said.

The blast in central Oslo yesterday afternoon shattered windows at the office of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and other government buildings. Hundreds were attending the camp organized by the youth wing of Stoltenberg’s Labor Party on the island of Utoeya, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Oslo when the shooting rampage took place. The suspect was arrested on the island. Stoltenberg said the attacks wouldn’t interrupt the functioning of government.

Living Hell

“Not since World War II has our country experienced a greater tragedy,” Stoltenberg said in a speech. “For me, Utoeya was the paradise island of my youth that was transformed into hell.”

The suspect’s farm in the small eastern town of Rena is listed as Breivik Geofarm on his alleged Facebook page. Andresen described the man as a Christian fundamentalist with right-wing tendencies. He had no previous record of offenses, police said.

On his alleged Twitter account, Breivik made his one and only one post on July 17, writing: “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests.”

Two policemen stood outside the 4-story brick apartment building listed as Breivik’s address in a quiet residential area of west Oslo. An officer, who declined to be named due to the ongoing investigation, said all persons entering the building were being checked and a forensic team was due to arrive. He declined to confirm that Breivik resided at the premises.

Hemen Noaman, a 27-year-old accounting consultant living in the building, said Breivik’s mother resided in the apartment and that her son would often visit her. “I have seen him, but I never spoken with him,” said Noaman, who has lived 10 years in the building, adding that “the mother has been gone since yesterday or the day before.”

Norway Mourns

Municipalities and cities throughout Norway were setting up crisis centers to receive relatives of the victims from the Utoeya shootings. From Tromsoe in the far north of the rugged Nordic country with 4.9 million inhabitants to Oslo in the south, flags were flown at half-mast in remembrance of the victims.

“We counter terror and violence with more democracy,” Labor Party Youth leader Eskil Pedersen said at a press conference today. “It will change Norway, hopefully for the better.”

Police, who would not speculate about a motive, “see a connection between the attack in Oslo center and the attack on the island because both are at political sites,” Anders Frydenberg, an Oslo police spokesman, said by telephone. “That’s the connection between the two attacks.” He declined to say whether police believe the current suspect was the only one involved in the crimes.

Global Sympathy

Neighboring Sweden had a brush with what police treated as a possible terrorist attack in December when a suicide bomber injured two people in central Stockholm.

“From a Swedish perspective, we’re following the ongoing development,” Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said. “There is still a lot that is unclear about what has happened.”

Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen sent a statement conveying his “deepest sympathy and solidarity” with the Norwegian people.

U.S. President Barack Obama said the attacks showed that “no country large or small” is immune to such violence. In comments to reporters at the White House, Obama said the bombing demonstrates the need for enhanced intelligence sharing.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he condemned “in the strongest possible terms the heinous acts of violence in Norway.” In a statement, he called the acts “cruel and cowardly.”

Windows Shattered

Before the explosion, a car drove into the government quarter, the police said in a statement. No government ministers were hurt, Stoltenberg told broadcaster NRK. Eirik Borg, a back office worker at stockbrokerage Fearnley Fonds based near the scene, said he saw smoke billowing from the government quarter after hearing the blast.

“We felt the impact very hard throughout the building,” Borg said in a phone interview. “All the windows were breaking and we actually thought lightning hit our roof. From our terrace, we saw white smoke.”

The bombing initially sent Norway’s currency and stocks lower. The krone weakened as much as 1 percent against the dollar and was trading 0.4 percent lower at 8:30 p.m. local time yesterday. Against the euro, the krone was little changed at 7.7851 after losing as much as 0.4 percent. The benchmark OBX stock index fell as much as 0.4 percent before closing little changed.

The country’s Ministry of Petroleum suffered “massive damage” as a consequence of the blast, spokesman Haakon Smith- Isaksen said by phone. Norway is the world’s seventh-largest oil exporter.

“There was a huge explosion, the windows just blew out,” Smith-Isaken said.(Bloomberg)


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