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A third of all cars sold are electric in Norway

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On the mission to stop selling gas-powered vehicles by 2025, Norway is already leading, world media reported on Wednesday, noting that almost a third of new cars sold in Norway last year were electric, a new world record as the country strives to end sales of fossil-fueled vehicles by 2025.

In a bid to cut carbon emissions and air pollution, Norway exempts battery-driven cars from most taxes and offers benefits such as free parking and charging points to hasten a shift from diesel and petrol engines.

The independent Norwegian Road Federation (NRF) said on Wednesday that electric cars rose to 31.2 percent of all sales last year, from 20.8 percent in 2017 and just 5.5 percent in 2013, while sales of petrol and diesel cars plunged.

That’s the highest percentage worldwide, with Iceland in a distant second place with 12 percent, and a dismal 2.2 percent and 1.2 percent in China and the US, respectively.

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Economy

Germany plans to double taxes on short-haul flights

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Berlin plans to nearly double taxes on short-haul flights under Germany’s emissions cutting programme, an official at the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday.

The bigger than expected tax hikes form part of a climate package in Germany aimed making the country carbon neutral by the year 2050 and are accompanied by measures to promote public transport use.

Climate activists and industry groups had criticized the plans as not going far enough to achieve Germany’s 2050 emissions goal.

The tax on domestic and intra-European flights is likely to rise to 13.03 euros from 7.50 euros, while for medium-haul flights it would rise to 33.01 euros from 23.43 and for long-haul flights to 59.43 from 42.18 euros.

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Economy

Government approves financial aid for 170 companies through economic growth plan

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The government endorsed a report on conclusion of contracts awarding financial assistance to 170 companies, including companies from commercial-industrial zones and one from the diaspora, through programs set out in the Economic Development Plan.

Prior to awarding financial assistance, the authorities assessed the investments in 2018 in terms of investments in purchase of new machinery and equipment, and investments in facilities and land.

The financial aid, provided through the Agency for Foreign Investments and Export Promotion, has been granted for completed initial or additional investments. The funds for this purpose are foreseen in the 2019 Budget.

The total value of investments in these 170 companies amounts EUR230 million, adding 4.577 jobs to the labor market, of which, 2.117 jobs were registered in 2018.

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Economy

Adria Airways files for bankruptcy, all flights canceled

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Slovenia’s airline Adria Airways has filed for bankruptcy and canceled all flights, it said in a statement on Monday, after financial problems forced it to ground most of its planes over the last week.

“Bankruptcy proceedings were initiated by the management of the company because of the company’s insolvency,” Adria, which is owned by German investment firm 4K Invest, said.

Adria is the latest in a long line of small European airlines to run into financial trouble amid industry overcapacity, cut-throat competition and high fuel prices.

Since last Tuesday Adria has canceled more than 400 flights affecting more than 15,000 passengers.

Slovenia’s Economy Minister Zdravko Pocivalsek said earlier on Monday the government was considering establishing a new airline company to improve the country’s international connections. Adria’s collapse was very damaging to Slovenia’s economy and tourism industry, the minister said.

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