I. King Gylfi ruled the land that men now call Sweden. It is told of him that he gave to a wandering woman, in return for her merry-making, a plow-land in his realm, as much as four oxen might turn up in a day and a night. But this woman was of the kin of the Æsir; she was named Gefjun. She took from the north, out of Jötunheim, four oxen which were the soils of a certain giant and, herself, and set them before the plow. And the plow cut so wide and so deep that it loosened up the land; and the oxen drew the land out into the sea and to the westward, and stopped in a certain sound. There Gefjun set the land, and gave it a name, calling it Selund. And from that time on, the spot whence the land had been torn up is water: it is now called the Lögr in Sweden; and bays lie in that lake even as the headlands in Selund. Thus says Bragi, the ancient skald:
Gefjun drew from Gylfi | gladly the wave-trove's free-hold,
Till from the running beasts | sweat reeked, to Denmark's increase;
The oxen bore, moreover, | eight eyes, gleaming brow-lights,
O'er the field's wide: booty, | and four heads in their plowing.
II. King Gylfi was a wise man and skilled in magic; he was much troubled that the Æsir-people were so cunning that all things went according to their will. He pondered whether this might proceed from their own nature, or whether the divine powers which they worshipped might ordain such things. He set out on his way to Ásgard, going secretly, and- clad himself in the likeness of an old man, with which he dissembled. But the Æsir were wiser in this matter, having second sight; and they saw his journeying before ever he came, and prepared against him deceptions of the eye. When he came into the town, he saw there a hall so high that he could not easily make out the top of it: its thatching was laid with golden shields after the fashion of a shingled roof. So also says Thjódólfr of Hvin, that Valhall was thatched with shields:
On their backs they let beam, | sore battered with stones,
Odin's hall-shingles, | the shrewd sea-farers.
In the hall-doorway Gylfi saw a man juggling with anlaces, having seven in the air at one time. This man asked of him his name. He called himself Gangleri, and said he had come by the paths of the serpent, and prayed for lodging for the night, asking: "Who owns the hall?" The other replied that it was their king; "and I will attend thee to see him; then shalt thou thyself ask him concerning his; name;" and the man wheeled about before him into the hall, and he went after, and straightway the door closed itself on his heels. There he saw a great room and much people, some with games, some drinking; and some had weapons and were fighting. Then he looked about him, and thought unbelievable many things which he saw; and he said:
All the gateways | ere one goes out
Should one scan:
For 't is uncertain | where sit the unfriendly
On the bench before thee.
He saw three high-seats, each above the other, and three men sat thereon,-one on each. And he asked what might be the name of those lords. He who had conducted him in answered that the one who, sat on the nethermost high-seat was a king, "and his name is Hárr; but the next is named Janhárr; and he who is uppermost is called Thridi." Then Hárr asked the newcomer whether his errand were more than for the meat and drink which were always at his command, as for every one there in the Hall of the High One. He answered that he first desired to learn whether there were any wise man there within. Hárr said, that he should not escape whole from thence unless he were wiser.
And stand thou forth | who speirest;
Who answers, | he shall sit.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Same-sex marriage has locked in and reinforced an existing Scandinavian trend toward the separation of marriage and parenthood. The Nordic family pattern — including gay marriage — is spreading across Europe. And by looking closely at it we can answer the key empirical question underlying the gay marriage debate. Will same-sex marriage undermine the institution of marriage? It already has.
More precisely, it has further undermined the institution. The separation of marriage from parenthood was increasing; gay marriage has widened the separation. Out-of-wedlock birthrates were rising; gay marriage has added to the factors pushing those rates higher. Instead of encouraging a society-wide return to marriage, Scandinavian gay marriage has driven home the message that marriage itself is outdated, and that virtually any family form, including out-of-wedlock parenthood, is acceptable.
This is not how the situation has been portrayed by prominent gay marriage advocates journalist Andrew Sullivan and Yale law professor William Eskridge Jr. Sullivan and Eskridge have made much of an unpublished study of Danish same-sex registered partnerships by Darren Spedale, an independent researcher with an undergraduate degree who visited Denmark in 1996 on a Fulbright scholarship. In 1989, Denmark had legalized de facto gay marriage (Norway followed in 1993 and Sweden in 1994). Drawing on Spedale, Sullivan and Eskridge cite evidence that since then, marriage has strengthened. Spedale reported that in the six years following the establishment of registered partnerships in Denmark (1990-1996), heterosexual marriage rates climbed by 10 percent, while heterosexual divorce rates declined by 12 percent.[...]
Spedale's report of lower divorce rates and higher marriage rates in post-gay marriage Denmark is thus misleading. Marriage is now so weak in Scandinavia that shifts in these rates no longer mean what they would in America. In Scandinavian demography, what counts is the out-of-wedlock birthrate, and the family dissolution rate.[...]
In Denmark out-of-wedlock births stayed level during the nineties (beginning at 46 percent and ending at 45 percent). But the leveling off seems to be a function of a slight increase in fertility among older couples, who marry only after multiple births (if they don't break up first). That shift masks the 25 percent increase during the nineties in cohabitation and unmarried parenthood among Danish couples (many of them young). About 60 percent of first born children in Denmark now have unmarried parents. The rise of fragile families based on cohabitation and out-of-wedlock childbearing means that during the nineties, the total rate of family dissolution in Scandinavia significantly increased.[...]
Source: Catholic Education
Monday, November 17, 2008
Want to stop this? Ok, may be it helps when you sign this petition Please, help these animals and stop this cruelty. Shame on Denmark (video)!!
Petitions: Denmark Is a Big Shame and Stop Killing Dolphins in Denmark
Friday, November 14, 2008
Denmark may be a small, out-of-the-way European nation, but as the first country to guarantee the deposits and liabilities of all its banks, its experience is sobering. The unwinding of the current financial crisis, Danes have found, will not come quickly or easily.
Closely integrated into the global financial system, Denmark has discovered that ice-cold credit markets cannot warm up without easing elsewhere, too. And the same may prove true not just of smaller countries, but even some of the largest as well, like the United States, Japan and Britain.
"This is a global phenomenon," said Tonny Andersen, the chief financial officer of Danske Bank in Copenhagen. "The unfreezing will be challenging."
A sometimes skeptical member of the European Union that has so far refused to abandon its krone for the euro, Denmark is finding out what going it alone really means. Being a well-governed nation with a gilt-edged credit rating, however impressive in normal times, is not enough when global markets falter.
On Monday, the National Bank of Denmark and the European Central Bank cemented the latest in a string of global currency swap agreements, emergency measures aimed at replacing a currency market that no longer functions. The ECB in Frankfurt will provide Denmark with €12 billion, or $15 billion, "as long as needed," the two central banks said in a statement.
Denmark already has a swap line worth $15 billion with the U.S. Federal Reserve.
The Danish experience has underscored what American and European governments achieved with monumental bailout packages for banks - and what they did not.
Standard & Poor's, the ratings agency, said in a report after the bailouts were passed that the disintegration of the financial system had been avoided. Economies would not go off a "credit cliff," but neither would bank lending resume quickly.
"All these actions should restart the market," said Scott Bugie, managing director for financial services at Standard & Poor's. But, the report added, "it will take time to sink in."
Read the full article at International Herald Tribune
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Fulfill America’s Obligation to Accept Refugees: The State Department pledged to allow 7,000 Iraqi refugees into America, but has only let 190 into the United States. Obama would expedite the Department of Homeland Security’s review of Iraqi asylum applicants. Obama also would appeal to the Coalition’s original partners to expand their refugee quotas. Coalition partners such as Great Britain, Australia, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Japan have done woefully little to meet the refugee crisis, and must be encouraged to do more. Arab governments, especially American allies such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, should also be enlisted.This is not news — the document was published in 2007 — but it surfaced today in the Swedish press. That was enough to make the ever-alert Danes sit up and take notice, and it stirred discussion which eventually spread to English-language sites. As Islam in Europe described it:
In his “Turning the Page in Iraq” speech more than a year ago, Barack Obama mentioned that he expects the coalition partners to take in more refugees:And an article in The Copenhagen Post had this to say:It’s also time to go to our friends and allies — and all the members of our original coalition in Iraq — to find homes for the many Iraqis who are in desperate need of asylum.
Obama: Denmark has done ‘little’ for Iraqi refugeesRead the full article at Gates of Vienna
Barack Obama said that several of the Iraq War’s coalition forces have not given enough Iraqi refugees asylum
President-elect Barack Obama criticised several of the Iraq War’s coalition force nations for not taking in enough refugees from the chaos-ridden country.
On his website, Obama outlines the goals of his up-coming presidency, including a section entitled ‘Fulfill America’s Obligation to Accept Refugees’. Here he writes that ‘coalition partners such as Great Britain, Australia, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Japan have done woefully little to meet the refugee crisis and must be encouraged to do more’.
But the US State Department itself was not spared of the president-elect’s criticism. He pointed out that only 190 Iraqi refugees have been accepted by the US since the war’s start, in contrast to the 7,000 it originally promised to take in.
Monday, November 03, 2008
To reconstruct our mortgage system on a sounder basis, we ought to look to the Danish model, which has withstood many tests since it was brought into existence after the great fire of Copenhagen in 1795. It remains the best performing in Europe during the current crisis. First, it is an open system in which all mortgage originators can participate on equal terms as long as they meet the rigorous regulatory requirements. There are no GSEs enjoying a quasimonopolistic position.
Second, mortgage originators are required to retain credit risk and to perform the servicing functions, thereby properly aligning the incentives. Third, the mortgage is funded by the issuance of standardized bonds, creating a large and liquid market. Indeed, the spread on Danish mortgage bonds is similar to the option-adjusted spread on bonds issued by the GSEs, although they carry no implicit government guarantees.
Finally, the asymmetric nature of American mortgages is replaced by what the Danes call the Principle of Balance. Every mortgage is instantly converted into a security of the same amount and the two remain interchangeable at all times. Homeowners can retire mortgages not only by paying them off, but also by buying an equivalent face amount of bonds at market price. Because the value of homes and the associated mortgage bonds tend to move in the same direction, homeowners should not end up with negative equity in their homes. To state it more clearly, as home prices decline, the amount that a homeowner must spend to retire his mortgage decreases because he can buy the bonds at lower prices.
The U.S. can emulate the Danish system with surprisingly few modifications from our current practices. What is required is transparent, standardized securities which create large and fungible pools. Today in the U.S., over half of all mortgages are securitized by Ginnie Mae, which issues standardized securities. All that is missing is allowing the borrowers to redeem their mortgages at the lower of par or market.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
The new tax credit has caused a rush of car makers looking to release electric cars for the favorable economic conditions in Denmark. Some of the car makers entering the market are Mercedes Benz, Saab, Volvo, France’s Axiom, China’s BYD, and America’s Tesla Motors.
It should be interesting in the next coming years to see if Denmark becomes the first country to have a real renewable energy powered car fleet.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
"The euro ensures political and economical stability in Europe and the current financial turmoil makes it evident that Denmark has to join the Euro," Mr Rasmussen said at the European Liberal Democrats annual conference in Stockholm.
Due to the financial crisis, Denmark's national bank had to intervene in the foreign-exchange market to support the krone, which is closely pegged to the euro, and to drive up interests rates to 5.5 percent, a historical high that translates into considerably higher mortgages and credits for Danish citizens.
Mr Rasmussen said that a referendum to switch to the euro could be held in 2011. Initially the Prime Minister was planning to organise a referendum this autumn, but the Irish No vote on the Lisbon treaty boosted the euroscepticism in the country, FAZ reports.
Danish voters already rejected several times the switch to euro. In 1992, they voted no to the Maastricht treaty which was only passed with an opt-out for euro-adoption. A referendum in 2000 on adopting the single currency was also lost by 53.2 percent to 46.8 percent.
Yet a recent poll showed that a slim majority of 50.1 percent of the Danes were now in favour of the euro.
The financial crisis may yet see Iceland join the EU itself to seek shelter. But Denmark's neighbouring country Sweden, who also rejected the euro in a 2003 referendum faces similar currency problems, has no plans to re-run the vote for some years from now, foreign minister Carl Bildt said earlier this month.
Source: EU Observer