TIME Aging

Norway Is the Best Place to Grow Old

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Westend61—Getty Images/Brand X

But a third of countries are not meeting the needs of their growing aging populations

Growing old is a pleasure—if you’re in Norway, that is. A new report looking at the social and economic wellbeing of older people in 96 countries reveals that Norway is the happiest place to age, followed by Sweden, Switzerland, and Canada.

It’s not as much fun elsewhere. The report, called the Global AgeWatch Index, found that a third of countries are ill equipped to deal with increasingly large aging populations. The report says that in low and middle income countries, only a quarter of people over age 65 receive a pension. Countries on the low-end of the list lacked programs for free health care and chronic disease treatment, community centers and subsidized transport.

The report by HelpAge International and the University of Southampton shows that by 2050, 21% of the global population will be over age 60. While more people are living longer, if people are also living sicker or without support, that takes a serious economic toll. In the U.S. alone, 2012 data noted that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid eat up about 40% of all federal spending and 10% of the nation’s gross domestic product.

The authors note that Norway claimed the top spot because it has well-developed organizations for the elderly, a long history of state welfare and strong social media campaigns that create public awareness of age-related issues. The worst country for the elderly is Afghanistan, according to the report, and the United States ranked seventh overall.

Here’s the entire Global AgeWatch ranking:

  • Norway (1)
  • Sweden (2)
  • Switzerland (3)
  • Canada (4)
  • Germany (5)
  • Netherlands (6)
  • Iceland (7)
  • United States (8)
  • Japan (9)
  • New Zealand (10)
  • United Kingdom (11)
  • Denmark (12)
  • Australia (13)
  • Austria (14)
  • Finland (15)
  • France (16)
  • Ireland (17)
  • Israel (18)
  • Luxembourg (19)
  • Estonia (20)
  • Spain (21)
  • Chile (22)
  • Uruguay (23)
  • Panama (24)
  • Czech Republic (25)
  • Costa Rica (26)
  • Belgium (27)
  • Georgia (28)
  • Slovenia (29)
  • Mexico (30)
  • Argentina (31)
  • Poland (32)
  • Ecuador (33)
  • Cyprus (34)
  • Latvia (35)
  • Thailand (36)
  • Portugal (37)
  • Mauritius (38)
  • Italy (39)
  • Armenia (40)
  • Romania (41)
  • Peru (42)
  • Sri Lanka (43)
  • Philippines (44)
  • Viet Nam (45)
  • Hungary (46)
  • Slovakia (47)
  • China (48)
  • Kyrgyzstan (49)
  • South Korea (50)
  • Bolivia (51)
  • Columbia (52)
  • Albania (53)
  • Nicaragua (54)
  • Malta (55)
  • Bulgaria (56)
  • El Salvador (57)
  • Brazil (58)
  • Bangladesh (59)
  • Lithuania (60)
  • Tajikistan (61)
  • Dominican Republic (62)
  • Guatemala (63)
  • Belarus (64)
  • Russian (65)
  • Paraguay (66)
  • Croatia (67)
  • Montenegro (68)
  • India (69)
  • Nepal (70)
  • Indonesia (71)
  • Mongolia (72)
  • Greece (73)
  • Moldova (74)
  • Honduras (75)
  • Venezuela (76)
  • Turkey (77)
  • Serbia (78)
  • Cambodia (79)
  • South Africa (80)
  • Ghana (81)
  • Ukraine (82)
  • Morocco (83)
  • Lao PDR (84)
  • Nigeria (85)
  • Rwanda (86)
  • Iraq (87)
  • Zambia (88)
  • Uganda (89)
  • Jordan (90)
  • Pakistan (91)
  • Tanzania (92)
  • Malawi (93)
  • West Bank and Gaza (94)
  • Mozambique (95)
  • Afghanistan (96)
TIME viral

The Guys Who Sang ‘What Does the Fox Say?’ Are Back With a New Song About Tying Knots

The Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis has returned with a new jam -- but it's unlikely they'll achieve the same level of viral success with this one

Remember exactly one year ago when a weird little song that told us what the fox says blew up in a very major way? Well, those guys — Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis — are back on the scene and they’re no longer singing about animals. They’re over that. This time around, they’ve got a new obsession: knots.

Yup, really. The duo’s new track, “Trucker’s Hitch,” is an ode to the difficult art of tying knots — in particular, the very tricky little kind called the trucker’s hitch. It’s a catchy little ditty and, like last year’s hit, is pretty bizarre, but it just doesn’t seem like it has the power to blow up in the same way. (The “What Does the Fox Say” video has nearly 450 million views. Just saying.) Plus, the video isn’t nearly as over-the-top and absurd.

We could be totally wrong here, though. Maybe Ylvis die-hards will help give “Trucker’s Hitch” the momentum it needs to become even more of a smash hit. But somehow, foxes just seem so much more compelling than knots.

TIME Iceland

Watch Iceland’s Bardarbunga Volcano Spew Lava Into the Air

Bardarbunga has been erupting since Aug. 31

These beautiful images, filmed by Nature Explorer, capture the moment Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano shoots lava into the air.

Bardarbunga has been spewing out fountains of molten magma over the Holuhraun lava field since it started erupting on Aug. 31.

But the volcano is also emitting noxious gases, like sulfur dioxide, which are putting the health of scientists working at the site at risk, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Residents living in the region have reported a stench in the air.

“It smelled like old redfish,” 68-year-old Unni Johansen, told the Journal.

Children and those with respiratory problems are being advised by Iceland’s health authorities to stay indoors, as scientists have traced the volcano’s toxic gases as far afield as Norway and Finland.

[WSJ]

TIME russia

Russia Bans Wide Array of Food Imports From the U.S., EU

Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev announces sanctions at the Cabinet meeting in Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7.
Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev announces sanctions at the Cabinet meeting in Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7. Dmitry Astakhov—AP

"The situation now requires us to take retaliatory measures."

Russia banned a wide array of food imports from Western countries Thursday in a spiraling sanction war amid the worst ties between Russia and the West since the Cold War.

A day after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the additional restrictions, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he signed a decree banning for one year the import of foods such as meats, cheese and vegetables from the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway, the Associated Press reports.

The measures will cut off what would have amounted to some $12 billion in imports from the EU and more than $1 billion in imports from the U.S., according to the AP. They are also likely to take a toll on the supply of higher-end food goods for Russia’s wealthier urbanites, according to the AP.

“Until the last moment, we hoped that our foreign colleagues would understand that sanctions lead to a deadlock and no one needs them,” Medvedev said, according to the AP. “But they didn’t and the situation now requires us to take retaliatory measures.”

The restrictions follow the harshest sanctions yet imposed by the West last week targeting a large swath of the Russian economy, including finance, oil and defense. Those measures were intended to squeeze the already troubled Russian economy even further, after Russia seized Crimea in March and is suspected of continuing to support pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Medvedev also said Ukrainian airliners would be banned from flying over Russian airspace. He said such measures may be extended to Western airliners, some of which currently fly over Siberia from the U.S. en route to other parts of Asia.

[AP]

TIME Music

Go Behind the Scenes With Nico & Vinz at The Tonight Show

TIME chats with the Afro-Norwegian duo, best known for their summer hit "Am I Wrong," before their performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Though you may not recognize their names (yet), their tune is definitely recognizable — Nico & Vinz‘s single “Am I Wrong” is currently sitting at number one on the Top 40 airplay chart.

Earlier this week, TIME caught up with the Afro-Norwegian duo as they headed to the NBC studios to rehearse with the Roots before their performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

In their down time, the pair both constantly have earphones on, often singing out loud or dancing to a silent rhythm.

“I’m listening to some sketches we did in Norway, songs,” says Vincent “Vinz” Dery during a short car ride, chuckling. “Listening to ourselves.”

But even given the high stakes, neither appeared nervous. “We’re kind of confident because the chemistry between us is great onstage,”says Nico Sereba, the other half of the duo. “I mean, we’re playing with the Roots, which is one of the best bands in the world.”

In the video above, Nico & Vinz sit down backstage before the show to discuss their unique sound and how they balanced work — as high school substitute teachers — and music.

But be warned: their catchy, upbeat song will get stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

TIME films

Frozen Has Massively Increased Tourism to Norway

Frozen
Walt Disney Pictures

Fans of the Disney blockbuster are traveling in droves to visit the country that inspired the film's beautiful landscapes

Box office hit Frozen has inspired everything to themed birthday parties to themed, international vacations.

Harald Hansen, spokesperson for Visit Norway, told the AP that U.S. tourism to the country that inspired the film’s settings have increased substantially. Hotel bookings in the first quarter of the year were up 37% from 2013, and tour operators have experienced a 40% sales increase.

“The film seems to be a big part of the popularity,” Wilderness Travel spokesperson Barbara Banks told AP. “People just hadn’t seen these remarkable landscapes before.”

The fjord regions, which tend to display the Northern Lights, are particularly popular.

Disney is advertising its Norwegian cruises online with the promos of “an exciting opportunity to experience the part of the world that inspired the Disney animated film Frozen.

TIME Environment

Greenpeace Activists Take Over Oil Rig Near Norway

NORWAY-ENVIRONMENT-GREENPEACE
Greenpeace International activists from eight countries scale and occupy Statoil contracted oil rig Transocean Spitsbergen on May 27, 2014 to protest the company's plans to drill the northernmost well in the Norwegian Arctic at the Apollo Prospect of the Barents Sea, close to the Bear Island nature reserve. Will Rose—Greenpeace/AFP/Getty Images

Protestors from eight different countries are responding to an oil-policy reversal from Norway's government

More than a dozen activists from eight different countries have occupied an oil rig in the Barents Sea, as part of a Greenpeace protest against a Norwegian company that plans to drill there.

The protestors decided to board the Transocean Spitsbergen rig — in arctic waters roughly 190 miles off of Norway — after Norway’s government reversed a decision to block oil drilling in the area, Mashable reports.

Greenpeace is concerned that an oil spill accident would cause tremendous environmental damage to the surrounding area and the nearby Bear Island nature reserve, and “could reach the nesting place of a million seabirds in less than a week,” said Finnish activist Sini Saarela, quoted on the Greenpeace website.

Norway’s Minister of Climate and the Environment told the Wall Street Journal that drilling does not violate “current policy or regulation.”

[Mashable]

TIME WTF

Norwegian Artist Eats His Own Hip and Says It Was Delicious

Alexander Selvik Wengshoel ate his own hip with potatoes and a glass of wine while his girlfriend was out of the house, and said it tasted "goaty"

Adding a whole new meaning to the word “hipster,” a Norwegian conceptual artist has eaten his own hip on “a whim” and said it tasted like “wild sheep.”

25-year-old Alexander Selvik Wengshoel was born with a deformed hip that was replaced just a few years ago after he spent much of his life on crutches or in a wheelchair, Norway’s The Local reports.

The bone, and the video footage of his hip replacement operation, are now on display in his graduate show exhibition at Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art, where he revealed the story behind his project.

“I had to boil off the meat to get to the bone, and when I started scraping off the meat, I took a little piece and thought, ‘Why not do it?'” he told The Local. “It’s not every day I will have a piece of human flesh which is mine and which it is possible to eat. So I had a little taste, and then I thought, ‘That’s really nice.'”

Wengshoel washed down his meal of hip bone and potato gratin with a glass of wine while his girlfriend was at work. Although there was little meat on the bone, it was enough to make an appetizer, he said. “It had this flavour of wild sheep, if you take a sheep that goes in the mountains and eats mushrooms. It was goaty.”

[The Local]

TIME Bizarre

This Teenager Got a McDonald’s Receipt Tattooed On His Forearm

We can only assume he yelled YOLO right before he got inked

We now live in a world where a human being has a McDonald’s receipt tattooed, rather prominently, on his arm.

Eighteen-year-old Stian Ytterdahl of Lorenskog, Norway, decided to get the ink because his friends wanted a way to punish him for “being a little too active with the ladies,” according to local media outlet Romereskes Blad. We’re not really sure what that means, exactly, or how this tattoo serves as punishment, but you know how teenagers are.

Apparently Ytterdahl’s friends gave him the following tattoo options: a drawing of his own butt, a Barbie, or their lunch receipt. We imagine it was a pretty tough call, but the receipt option prevailed. Tattoo parlor Sabelink Tattoo posted the final result on Facebook:

“Now I’m a living billboard,” Ytterdahl told the local paper. “But I think all this is just fun. Maybe it won’t be as fun when I’m 50 or 60 years, but it’s my choice.”

TIME norway

Norway’s Army Has Introduced Unisex Dorms and Reports No Problems

Shotgun firing on board KV Svalbard, the Norwegian Navy's largest vessel. Haakon Kjøllmoen—Sjøforsvaret / Forsvarets mediesenter

Sharing bedrooms is reducing gender differences and increasing team spirit

It may sound like a counter-intuitive move, but the Norwegian Army’s decision to make females share bedrooms with their male colleagues has actually led to a drop in sexual harassment.

The unisex dorms, housing two women and four men, have been tried out at a military base in northern Norway. Ulla-Britt Lilleaas, co-author of the report The Army: The Vanguard, Rear Guard and Battlefield of Equality, said that the experience helped the women become “one of the boys.”

One of the women was surprised to find that sharing a room made gender differences less relevant.

“You have to be a team here, and then you have to live together in order to be able to trust in one another,” she said.

The Norwegian armed forces have previously distinguished themselves for progressive ideas such as allowing male recruits to grow their hair long (as long as it’s kept in a pony-tail or braids) and serving vegetarian meals once a week. In 2013, Norway became the first NATO country to make military service compulsory for both genders.

[The Local]

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