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Are the Nordic leaders trolling Trump with this photo?

A publicity shot of the prime ministers of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland has an uncanny resemblance to a shot of Donald Trump posing with the Saudi and Egyptian leaders.

Are the Nordic leaders trolling Trump with this photo?
L-R: Nordic prime ministers Stefan Löfven, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Erna Solberg, Juha Sipilä and Bjarni Benediktsson holding the sustainability ball. Photo: Marit Hommedal/NTB scanpix

After meeting Monday in Bergen to discuss UN targets for environmental sustainability, Sweden’s Stefan Löfven, Denmark’s Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Norwegian PM Erna Solberg, Finland’s Juha Sipilä and Bjarni Benediktsson of Iceland were pictured holding a football with UN goals for sustainability printed on it.

The picture is uncannily similar to a photo of Trump with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Egyptian president Abdel Fatteh Al-Sisi taken during the former’s recent foreign trip.

In the Trump photo, the three leaders are shown holding a glowing globe in a darkened room filled with people.

That photo went viral, with comparisons made on social media to various scenes from science fiction and animated films.

Now it seems as if the Nordic leaders have joined in the fun.

“When the Nordic prime ministers are openly mocking President Trump and the Saudis,” wrote Norwegian journalist Steffen Stø as he posted the Nordic photo on Twitter.

The office of Swedish PM Löfven denied that Monday’s photo opportunity was an opportunity for a PR jab at Trump.

“There are symbols on the football that symbolise the UN’s sustainability goals and the prime minister initiative that the Nordic Council of Ministers is working with… This is not a hint at President Trump. It is nothing to do with that,” Löfven’s press secretary Ingela Nilsson told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

But Norwegian PM Solberg posted the two images one above the other on her own Facebook and Twitter pages, while tagging her Nordic opposite numbers in the posts.

“Who rules the world? Riyadh vs. Bergen. Don’t know what they were thinking on the top photo. On the bottom photo are five Nordic prime ministers holding a ball with sustainability goals. We hope they will guide the way to the future,” she wrote.

Solberg’s press secretary Sigbjørn Aanes told Norwegian media TV2 that the photo was planned prior to Trump being pictured with a glowing globe in Riyadh.

“This was planned long before the Trump picture and we had this ball, which will also be used in the Norway Cup, with us at the meeting with the other leaders and used it for promotional purposes,” he said.

It is not the first time Scandinavian politicians have appeared to mock the US president through photo opportunities.

In February, Swedish Deputy Prime Minister and Climate Minister Isabella Lövin appeared to take a swipe at US President Donald Trump by posting an image of her and female colleagues signing a proposal for Sweden's new climate law, parodying the viral image of Trump signing off on an anti-abortion executive order while surrounded by men. 

READ ALSO: Fox News 'Swedish national security advisor' has no links to authorities

NORWEGIAN

Norwegian to slash staff by half in wake of Trump travel ban

Norwegian Air Shuttle said on Thursday it would temporarily lay off up to half its staff, following the US travel ban and the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Norwegian to slash staff by half in wake of Trump travel ban
A Boeing 737 33-S operated by Norwegian landing at Oslo's Gardermoen Airport. Photo: Erlend Aas/ NTB Scanpix/AFP
“The new restrictions imposed further pressure on an already difficult situation,” Jacob Schram, CEO of Norwegian, said in a statement, referring to the 30-day travel ban from Europe to the US introduced by US president Donald Trump.
   
“Due to the extraordinary market situation as a result of the coronavirus… we must look at all possible measures to reduce costs,” the company said in a statement.
   
“This unfortunately also includes temporary lay-offs of up to 50 percent of our employees and the number may increase,” it added, confirming the staff would be let go.
 
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The low-cost carrier also said it was cancelling more than 4,000 flights, including 3,000 already announced on Tuesday.
   
“We do not rule out that others may follow,” airline spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen told AFP. “The situation is changing from minute to minute,” he told AFP.
   
According to the airline, about 40 percent of its long-haul fleet would be grounded as it was cancelling the majority of flights from European airports to the US.
   
The company said it would continue to operate flights between London — which is excluded from the travel ban — and the US, and hoped to re-route as many of its passengers as possible.
   
Norwegian, which has been in deficit for three years and is heavily indebted due to an ambitious expansion policy, especially in long-haul flights, has been plummeting on the Oslo Stock Exchange.
   
On Thursday, after the announcement by the US president, the share fell by 22 percent. The stock has fallen by over 80 percent in the last month.
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