World Bulletin / News Desk
Norwegian police and security services could have prevented all or part of an attack by far-right militant Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in a bombing and gun massacre last year, a government commission said on Monday.
Intelligence services could have learned about Breivik's plans months before the attack made him the worst mass killer in Norway's peacetime history, the commission's report said.
The government building he bombed should have been better protected and he should have been stopped before he gunned down dozens of victims, mostly teenagers, on an island as police struggled to find a working helicopter and a suitable boat.
"All in all, July 22 revealed serious shortfalls in society's emergency preparedness and ability to avert threats," the commission said.
"The challenges turned out to be ascribable to leadership and communication to a far greater extent than to the lack of response personnel," it said.
Breivik first detonated a fertiliser car bomb outside government headquarters in Oslo, killing eight people, then travelled to the ruling Labour Party's summer camp on Utoeya island where he gunned down 69 victims unimpeded.
Authorities had become aware of his suspicious activities months before when he purchased items thatcould be used to make bombs but intelligence service failures meant he was not put on a watch list, thecommission said in the 482-page report.
The government building should have been much better protected as it had been identified as a security risk years before. But government squabbling over minor details of the security measures needed meant little was done.
Once the bombing took place, a witness's description of Breivik, which was phoned into police, was not passed on to officers in the field for 20 minutes.
Police should have automatically activated drills meant to guard against multiple attacks but weak leadership and disorganisation led to delays, the report said.
The military was not immediately informed, police could not find the helicopter, and its boat, intended to transport special forces to the island, could not carry the necessary load.
"The authorities' ability to protect the people on Utoeya island failed. A more rapid police operation was a realistic possibility. The perpetrator could have been stopped earlier on 22 July," the commission said.
Breivik admits the attacks but denies criminal guilt, claiming to be a political activist who attacked the ruling party for its support of Muslim immigration, which he says has adulterated pure Norwegian blood.
His 10-week trial ended in June and a court is expected to deliver its verdict on August 24, with prosecutors asking the five judges to declare Breivik insane.
If deemed insane, he faces indefinite mental care in a facility inside a maximum security prison while if ruled sane, he faces a 21-year prison sentence with the possibility of indefinite extensions.
The commission's finding are a major embarrassment for security forces but the justice minister and security chief at the time have both resigned since the attack while many of the senior police personnel involved have also been replaced.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday he took ultimate responsibility for the intelligence and police failures, after the publication of the report.
"It took too long to apprehend the perpetrator and the police should have been on Utoeya earlier. This is something I regret," he said.
Aid workers in South Sudan have been prevented from leaving the UN base to carry out their work in Bentiu town
Marine Corps General Joseph F Dunfored was nominated as chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff by President Barack Obama
The United States has put in a request to the UN to investigate who is behind the chemical attacks in Syria, paving the way for the UNSC to punish those responsible.
Details of American investigations firm Kroll leaked to the press found that Banca de Economii (Savings Bank) issued $600 million in loans to companies backed by Russian banks.
The German Institute for Human Rights has warned German politicians that active, decisive action against growing racism must be made.
A guide has been released by the UN to help people affected by natural emergencies.
French President Francois Hollande has said that France is in talks with Saudi Arabia for business deals, including defence, transport and energy, worth tens of billions of euros.
Witnesses in Baghdad said they saw several explosions targeting police and civilians.
Robert Menard, the far right mayor of southern town of Beziers, says he has kept track of number of Muslim in schools - ethnic and/or religious census is strictly forbidden in France.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister came together with the Sudanese Foreign Minister to discuss a planned railway line linking the two countries.
More than 40 Syrian groups, including Syrian opposition groups, have been invited to Geneva consultations.
Abdulah Al-Thinni has made a surprise visit to Algiers and will hold talks with Algerian officials.
A Bosnian town, home to more than 200 sets of twins in a population of 20,000 has claimed that it is the world's multiple birth capital and wants to use that fact to turn it into a tourist attraction
Maros Sefcovic, the EU energy chief hopes to conclude trilateral gas talks with Ukraine and Russia before summer.
An indictment was filed against 31 year old Malik Khatib, who has been accused of transferring funds to Hamas
President Barack Obama will nominate the U.S. Marine Corps' top general, Joseph Dunford, to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday, a White House official said.