ABB irked by link to Norwegian killer

Swedish-Swiss engineering giant ABB has admitted it considered contacting newspaper editors to ask them to stop using the firm’s name as shorthand for confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik.

ABB irked by link to Norwegian killer

Within hours of the dual July 22nd attacks that left 77 dead in Norway, newspapers and users of social media began using the initials to refer to the confessed Norwegian perpetrator, whose full name was considered ill-suited to headlines and Twitter messages.

Top ABB executives took a dim view of media outlets using the three-letter contraction to designate the 32-year-old terrorist but ultimately decided not to take any action, Norwegian newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad reports.

“It’s aggravating when daily newspapers use ABB to describe the terrorist, and it is our opinion that they should be more aware of this,” said ABB spokeswoman Helene Gunther Merg.

“Despite this, we decided to let it go. It would have been impossible to limit the use of the abbreviation on social media.”

Branding experts consulted by the newspaper said the company had little to worry about in terms of its reputation. 

“Since ABB is not a firm that targets normal consumers this is unlikely to have a major effect for them,” said Håvard Hansen, professor of marketing at the Universtity of Stavanger.

ABB is not the only firm to have sought to sever any perceived links to Breivik. In September, French clothing firm Lacoste voiced its exasperation at images used by the media of Breivik wearing sweaters that bear the fashion house’s familiar crocodile logo.

Norwegian police informed newspaper Dagbladet at the time that the company had been in touch with them to ask whether they could get the right-wing extremist to wear different clothes.

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Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.