Faroe Islands restrict Russian access to its ports

Denmark's autonomous Faroe Islands said on Thursday that Russian access to its North Atlantic ports would be restricted to vessels dedicated exclusively to fishing, in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Faroe Islands restrict Russian access to its ports
Russian ships use the Faroe Islands to offload fish, get repairs, and change crew members. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

“Only fishing vessels exclusively conducting fisheries under the bilateral agreement between the Faroe Islands and Russia will be allowed to enter
Faroese ports,” the government said.

“The activities of Russian fishing vessels in port will be restricted to crew change, bunkering, provisioning, landing and transshipment.”

Maintenance services will be prohibited and the purchase of goods restricted.

The Faroese government is trying to reduce Russian activities at its ports due to the risk of espionage and following criticism over the renewal of the bilateral fisheries accord at the end of November.

The agreement, renewed annually since 1977, lays out quotas on several species — including cod, haddock, whiting and herring — in the Barents Sea for Faroese fishermen and off the Faroe Islands for Russians.

According to the fisheries ministry, the fish caught under the accord accounts for five percent of gross domestic product.

Home to some 54,000 inhabitants and located between Scotland and Iceland, the Faroe Islands have been largely autonomous from Denmark since 1948.

They are highly dependent on fishing and have an autonomous commercial policy.

Russia has become a key commercial partner of the Faroes since they and neighbouring Iceland fell out with the European Union — including Denmark — between 2010 and 2014 over mackerel and herring quotas.

An EU embargo on Faroese fish harmed the economy of the territory, which then turned to other markets.

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Spotify reports strong growth in users as it announces price rise

Spotify on Tuesday reported a bigger-than-expected rise in active users at the end of the second quarter, a day after the music streaming giant announced price increases for its premium service.

Spotify reports strong growth in users as it announces price rise

The Swedish company, which is listed on the New York stock exchange, said it’s total active users rose 27 percent to 551 million year-on-year, or 21 million more than it expected. The number of paying subscribers also rose, with a 17 percent jump to 220 million — three million more than expected.

On Monday, the company announced it was raising its prices for premium subscribers “across a number of markets around the world,” following in the footsteps of similar moves by competing music services from Apple and Amazon.

Despite the boost in users, Spotify reported a bigger operating loss of 247 million euros ($273 million) in the second quarter, compared to a loss of 194 million euros for the same period a year earlier.

The company said it was “primarily impacted by charges related to our actions to streamline operations and reduce costs.”

In early June, Spotify announced it would be cutting some 200 positions working with podcasts.

That move came after a January announcement that Spotify was cutting around 600 jobs — equalling about six percent of its workforce — following similar moves by other tech industry giants.

Spotify has invested heavily since its launch to fuel growth with expansions into new markets and, in later years, exclusive content such as
podcasts. It has invested over a billion dollars into podcasts alone.

In 2017, the company had around 3,000 staff members, more than tripling the figure to around 9,800 at the end on 2022.

The company has never posted a full-year net profit and only occasionally quarterly profits despite its success in the online music market.