Wednesday, December 14, 2011
There is a site dedicated to Christmas hearts.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Although the tradition is imported from Sweden it differs somewhat in that the celebration has always been strongly centered on Christianity and it is a yearly local event in most churches in conjunction with Christmas. Schools and kindergartens also use the occasion to mark the event as a special day for children on one of the final days before the Christmas holidays but it does not have much impact anywhere else in society.
There are many legends associated with Lucia starting in fourth century Sicily. A young woman gave her dowry away to the poor and confessed herself a Christian. For this she was accused of witchcraft and put to death. Another legend tells of a famine in medieval days. A glowing figure dressed in white, Saint Lucia came across a great lake in the province of Värmland, Sweden. She brought gifts of food to the starving people. These legends vary, but Lucia shines as a symbol of light and hope in them all.
Although not widely observed, there are a number of additional historical traditions connected with the celebration. The night before, candles are lit and all electrical lights are turned off and on the Sunday closest to December 13, Danes traditionally attend church.
The Danish versions of the Neapolitan song clearly reflect its close connection to Christianity.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Saturday, October 08, 2011
The government's common policy outlines a number of concrete changes. They include automatic citizenship for children born and raised in Denmark, regardless of their parents' citizenship; equal welfare rights for immigrants and Danes; vast reductions in application fees and cash securities; expanded work benefits for asylum seekers; and the possibility of dual citizenship, which will ease the naturalization process. The coalition also plans to ease family reunification rules, which have seen 800 children denied residency permits since 2005, frequently leading to the separation of children and their parents.
Read more at Time with interesting comments
Two sentences in the new coalition government’s platform seem to indicate that the contentious issue will soon rise to the fore again as it states: “Denmark is a modern society in an international world. Therefore dual citizenship must be permitted.”
People holding Danish passports have long been denied the right to hold another – a state of affairs that was fiercely upheld by the Danish People’s Party (DF), who are now no longer in a position of power.
More at Red Herring
Friday, September 30, 2011
Lenders will also be able to borrow liquidity for six months, alongside the central bank’s existing seven-day facility, at a rate that tracks the benchmark lending rate, currently 1.55 percent, the bank said in a statement...
The country’s lenders face a deepening crisis that threatens to stall a recovery in Scandinavia’s worst-performing economy. Two Danish bank failures this year triggered senior creditor losses, leaving international funding markets closed to all but the largest banks. Lawmaker efforts to spur a wave of consolidation and help banks sidestep Denmark’s bail-in rules have so far failed.
Denmark’s liquidity lifeline mirrors programs in the euro area, where the European Central Bank has been pumping cash into the region’s money markets, including dollar liquidity, to support lenders.
The central bank is boosting its liquidity support to help lenders stay afloat as they struggle to refinance 158 billion kroner in debt backed by a state guarantee that expires over the next two years. The central bank’s pricing means “people will dare to use it,” Hovard said. “ There will be no stigmatization from using the facility. It’s so cheap that even the strong banks will consider using it.”
Still, the head of the country’s bank resolution unit, the Financial Stability Company, said the emergency facility may not be enough to prevent further insolvencies.
More at Bloomberg
The tax is expected to raise about 2.2bn DKK (£140m), and cut consumption of saturated fat by close to 10%, and butter consumption by 15%.
"It's the first ever fat-tax," said Mike Rayner, Director of Oxford University's Health Promotion Research Group, who has long campaigned for taxes on unhealthy foods.
"It's very interesting. We haven't had any practical examples before. Now we will be able to see the effects for real." The tax will be levied at 2.5 per Kg of saturated fat and will be levied at the point of sale from wholesalers to retailers.
Less than 10% of Danes are clinically obese, putting them slightly below the European average.
But researchers at Denmark's Institute for Food and Economic estimate that close to 4% of the country's premature deaths are a result of excess consumption of saturated fats.
From The Telegraph and BBC, interesting comments at Time
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Photo: Fred Buyle/ Hungry Eye Images (Guardian Eyewitness series)
Monday, September 19, 2011
2. Banking Crisis in Denmark (Bloomberg)
3. Gucci Helle Revamps Image to Beat Sex Gap in Danish Election (Bloomberg)
4. Denmark set to move to left in general election (Euronews)
5. Denmark poised to shift left in parliamentary election, elect country's first female PM (Sun Sentinel)
6. Queen of Denmark, please stop using Bearskin Hats in the Royal Guard (Petition)
Friday, September 16, 2011
With all votes counted, the bloc led by Social Democrat leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt had won a narrow majority in parliament.
She is set to become Denmark's first woman prime minister. Incumbent Lars Lokke Rasmussen has admitted defeat.
Ms Thorning-Schmidt had campaigned on a platform of tax rises and increased public spending.
She also promised to roll back tough immigration laws proposed by a junior partner of the current coalition.
The centre-left bloc won 89 seats in Denmark's 179-seat parliament against 86 for the centre-right. Turnout was high at 87.7%.
The country has seen its worst economic downturn since World War II. Although Denmark is a member of the EU, it has chosen not to adopt the euro.
Mr Rasmussen's liberal-conservative alliance has long relied on the anti-immigrant People's Party (DPP) to push legislation through parliament.
The recent decision of Denmark, a Schengen state, to reimpose border controls came after pressure from the DPP, the third-biggest party in parliament.
However, the main issue of the election has been the health of the national finances.
Ms Thorning-Schmidt campaigned on a platform of tax rises and increased public spending.
The economic crisis has turned Denmark's healthy surpluses into deficits, estimated to climb to 4.6% of GDP next year.
Local banks have also been struggling, with nine taken over by the state since the start of the crisis in 2008.
Ms Thorning-Schmidt has accused Mr Rasmussen of failing to spur growth and allowing the deficit to grow.
She advocates increased government spending, along with an unusual plan to make everyone work 12 minutes more per day.
An extra hour of productivity each week, the Social Democrats argue, would help kick-start growth.
In full at BBC
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
The path to the right-wing outsiders leads straight through the hallowed halls of Christiansborg Palace, right on past the red and white national flag, the "Danebrog," as well as the portrait gallery of past politicians and finally right under the heavy chandeliers in the country's political control center. This, it seems, is the place where the Danish People's Party feels most at home.
'We Are Proud of Our Policies'
Messerschmidt is a member of the European Parliament and one of the party's strategic thinkers. He combats the political stigma of being defined as right-wing or xenophobic. "We are conservative," he says. "We are the only party that stands for national identity and tradition."
Messerschmidt speaks quickly, as if he wants to forestall any objections. "We are proud of our policies, and there is no greater success than having your policies get adopted by others," the alert young politician says. And that, he says, is why he believes in his party's re-election prospects.
For weeks now, however, Social Democratic challenger Helle Thorning-Schmidt, 44, with her three-partner, left of center "Red Block" has been two to four percentage points ahead of the "Blue Block" comprising of the Liberal party, the conservatives and the right-wing populists.
For 10 years now, the People's Party has backed the minority government in Copenhagen -- causing a sustained shift in the country's political climate. So far, the nationalists have succeeded in pushing through legislation to tighten at least 20 laws pertaining to immigrants and asylum seekers. Traditionally liberal Denmark is now the country with the most conservative legislation for foreigners in Europe -- an achievement that makes the People's Party proud.
A Secret Network of Extremists
The "secret lodge" with the name ORG, has formed the "backbone of the extreme right in Denmark" for more than 20 years, the journalists' initiative Redox concluded, reporting that the group was linked to racist associations, extremist football fans and neo-Nazis.
The secret network also reportedly conducts ceremonies reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan and espouses its teachings of a "utopia of an ethnically homogenous society" at a private school attended by around 200 pupils. It also operates martial arts and shooting clubs and maintains a black list of politicians deemed to be "traitors to their country."
Over the years, the Denmark's right-wing populists have developed a steady base -- one that is easily reached with messages that are skeptical of the EU or anti-immigrant.
In Denmark, the Social Democrats believe there will be a "mood for change" in the country. Many Danes have grown tired of the country's right-wing image in the eyes of their European neighbors. That's a sentiment the Social Democratic challenger Thorning-Schmidt has sought to channel -- along with concerns about the economic crisis.
The country has seen an estimated 175,000 jobs lost in the crisis, it will have a budget shortfall of 85 billion crowns next year and a budget deficit of 4.6 percent instead of the budget surplus seen in 2008.
"After 10 years with a liberal-conservative government, Denmark is at a standstill," says Thorning-Schmidt. Now she only needs to convince the voters of that.
More at Der Spiegel
Ten years of rightwing rule that have turned Denmark into the most closed country in Europe for immigrants looks likely to end this week, with a Social Democrat tipped to become the Danes' first female prime minister.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the daughter-in-law of Neil and Glenys Kinnock, looks likely to head a new centre-left coalition, replacing the Liberal leader, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, whose minority government has been propped up for the past decade by the far-right anti-immigrant and europhobic Danish People's party (DF).
The Social Democrats are struggling in the opinion polls and may lose votes and seats in the 179-seat parliament in Copenhagen, but her four-party "red" coalition is expected to nudge ahead of the coalescing liberals and conservatives. The latest polls before Thursday's general election give the centre-left a margin of victory of between three and 10 seats.
A victory for the centre-left would wrest the kingmaker status from the DF, which has leveraged its support for the current government to drive legislation on immigration and asylum.
If Thorning-Schmidt fails to secure the Danish premiership on Thursday, her six-year spell as Social Democrat leader may be over.
It is unclear whether the allegations will have any impact on Thursday's election. Danes are eager voters, with turnouts of up to 90%. The economy will be the key issue.
In a country boasting some of the highest living standards in the world, the economy is stagnant, the budget deficit is set to soar to almost 5% this year and job losses have been high. Thorning-Schmidt has promised a new era of public investment in welfare, education and infrastructure. The government is preaching austerity and public spending cuts, the general trend across a Europe dominated by the centre-right.
More at The Guardian
Sunday, September 11, 2011
According to the Danish Cyclists' Federation and Wonderful Copenhagen, the official tourism organisation for Denmark, the sheer success of the drive to get more locals and tourists on bikes is creating a dangerous, intimidating and unpleasant climate for cyclists in the city.
"In Copenhagen, we have quite extraordinary problems around cycling congestion," said Aneh Hajdu, of Wonderful Copenhagen. "I don't take my children on their bikes into Copenhagen at rush hour any more. It's too dangerous and scary. I just wouldn't risk it."
As numbers increase in the cycle lanes, says Hadju, so behaviour deteriorates, with jostling and cutting-up becoming more frequent. "The locals rush past the foreigners, who are often uncertain on their bikes and going slowly," she said. "The locals get impatient and therefore become more threatening."
Even to an untrained eye, it is immediately obvious that the city is struggling to cater for its growing number of cyclists. It is already near-impossible to find cycling parking places near main stations...
So what happens when the critical mass of cyclists grows faster than the government can improve their uban environment?
In rush hour, there are enormous numbers of cyclists fighting for space on Copenhagen's bike paths, which become cramped and packed.
"As numbers grow and they fight for space, cyclists are becoming more aggressive and reckless in traffic. I increasingly see people bringing themselves and others into dangerous situations," "They break the laws and use their bikes in completely reckless ways."
More at The Guardian
Saturday, August 20, 2011
2. E-coli found in Copenhagen water supply (link in danish) - This is unacceptable, shame on Copenhagen.
3. Regions in Denmark to be abolished (link in danish)
Friday, August 12, 2011
The news was published on 10 August by Politiken, reporting that ORG was “started by a small group of men, several of whom have held leading positions in the Danish People’s Party, or been candidates for the party, while at the same time taking part in Ku Klux Klan-type events and exerting influence on extreme right-wing organisations.
Several ORG members have said they are willing to use violence against immigrants and have praised the Hells Angels support group AK81 for “beating provocative wogs”.
The even more racist Dansk Folkeparti (DF, Danish People’s Party) is now implicated in the secret network with the aim of “cleaning” Denmark of immigrants and “traitors”. The leader of ORG, Jesper Nielsen, was the DF leader in Aarhus and another leader was a candidate for parliament. The network closely followed its “enemies” with an “extensive ‘traitor archive’, which is called “The Great Memory”, Politiken reported.
The Copenhagen leader of ORG was a police officer who was suspended from the force on political grounds in 2009, having used his position to monitor 8,000 left-wing political opponents. He also had guns and ammunition in his flat, alongside stickers saying “Real Danes shit on the Koran”. But, as in the case with the Murdoch scandal in Britain, the information gained about ORG in the investigation against this police officer in 2009 was not used further or made public.
The secret organisation, ORG, used several fronts, such as a right-wing youth organisation, a website and Den Danske Forening (The Danish Association). Even an organisation for ‘press freedom’, i.e. defending racism in the media, is linked to ORG. Most members are in public positions, at the same time taking part in racist rituals, burning crosses, and discussing ethnic cleansing.
The news about ORG shows again how far some of the right-wing extremists are prepared to go. At the same time, some of their policies are in line with populist and racist parties in parliaments around Europe. In Denmark, the role of DF as a support party of the conservative government has made Denmark’s migration policies some of the worst in Europe. For example, a Danish citizen has to be 24-years old to marry a foreigner (DF now demands this is raised to 27 years).
More at Socialist World
Friday, July 08, 2011
The external affairs ministry while expressing its great disappointment over the court verdict also said India's demand that Davy be handed over by Denmark stands and he must stand trial in this country for his actions.
Noting that Danish government had decided on April 9, 2010, to extradite Kim Davy to India, he said "but the Danish authorities failed to successfully defend their decision in the Danish courts and it is regrettable that they have decided not to appeal the high court judgement in the Supreme Court."
"Completely rejecting" the grounds cited by the Danish court as the basis for its decision, he said "Our demand for the extradition of Kim Davy to India stands. He must face the law in India for his actions."
Government sources meanwhile emphasised that Danish authorities must ensure that "terrorists and gunrunners do not find easy safe haven" in their country and made it clear that the relations and interactions between the two countries will always be based on the strict principle of reciprocity.
"Conditionalities insisted upon by the Danes will apply in respect of any request received by us from them in the similar manner," they said.
More at The Times of India
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Thirty additional officers were being posted on the Danish land border with Germany and 20 others on the country's sea borders.
Denmark's government is under pressure to curb illegal immigration.
The centre-right coalition moved to introduce the additional customs agents after calls from its populist ally, the right-wing Danish People's Party (DPP), and the legislation cleared parliament on Friday.
But many have questioned the legality of the Danish move under the 1995 Schengen Agreement, which abolished internal borders, enabling passport-free movement inside much of western Europe.
A Dutch motorist appeared slightly alarmed after being stopped by customs officers after she entered Denmark from Germany at Froslev on Tuesday morning, the online edition of Jyllands-Posten reports.
As the first motorist to be checked, she was asked to pull over 20m inside the border, and found herself being questioned by several customs officers as some 50 media people crowded around her car, the paper says.
The Danish reinforcements come on top of a force of about 160, which will grow to 260 by the end of this year, according to Reuters news agency.
Denmark's ruling coalition of liberals and conservatives relies on the right-wing DPP's support to pass legislation in parliament.
Monday, July 04, 2011
Sunday, July 03, 2011
2. Flood in the streets of Copenhagen (CNN and video)
3. Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark shows CNN's Richard Quest his renovated palace with sustainability at its core (video from CNN)
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Head of state:Queen Margrethe II
Head of government:Lars Løkke Rasmussen
Death penalty: abolitionist for all crimes
Population: 5.5 million
Life expectancy:78.7 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f):6/6 per 1,000
Counter-terrorism legislation continued to give rise to concern. Forced returns contrary to international guidelines, including to Iraq, continued. Women were not adequately protected against violence in legislation or practice.
Counter-terror and security
Counter-terrorism legislation continued to impact on human rights. Judicial control of police access to private and confidential information was weak (for example, intercepting telephone and computer communications) and proceedings by which deportations and expulsions on national security grounds could be challenged remained unfair.
In September, the government published a review of counter-terrorism legislation adopted since 2001. The review was criticized for its lack of thoroughness and for failing to include the views of different stakeholders. Based on statements by the Director of Public Prosecutions, the National Police and the Police Security and Intelligence Service exclusively, the review concluded that the increased powers given to the latter had enhanced terrorism prevention.
In December, the Eastern High Court annulled an order to expel a Tunisian citizen, Slim Chafra, on the grounds that he was considered a threat to national security. The Court found that Slim Chafra had not been able to effectively challenge the decision to expel him, because it was based primarily on secret material, presented in closed hearings, which he and his lawyers did not have access to. Consequently, he had not had fair or reasonable means of defending himself.
Torture and other ill-treatment
In November, a local court ruled that the extradition of Niels Holck, a Danish national, to India could not proceed after determining that diplomatic assurances negotiated between the Danish and Indian government did not offer sufficient protection against the risk of torture and other ill-treatment. The government appealed the case, which at the end of the year remained pending at the High Court.
In December, the Copenhagen Municipal Court ruled that the mass pre-emptive arrests of 250 people during the 2009 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen were unlawful, and furthermore that the circumstances under which the arrests took place in 178 of those cases constituted degrading treatment, in violation of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The problem of minors on remand being detained in the same facilities as adult inmates persisted.
Refugees and asylum seekers
In May, the government amended its policy regarding transfers of asylum-seekers to Greece under the Dublin II Regulation. Despite the lack of protection under the current Greek asylum determination procedure, the government announced that it would no longer wait for Greece to explicitly accept responsibility for a case before transfer. The European Court of Human Rights granted interim measures halting transfer in at least 304 cases, and effectively prevented the majority of transfers taking place. However, the Danish Minister of Refugees, Immigration and Integration did not declare a halt of all Dublin transfers to Greece. By the end of the year 20 people had been transferred to Greece under the Regulation.
Despite recommendations from UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, at least 62 Iraqis were returned to Baghdad, Iraq, despite the real risk of persecution or serious harm.
Violence against women
Legislation did not adequately protect women against sexual violence. An expert committee, commissioned by the government in 2009 to examine existing legislation on rape had not yet submitted its findings by the end of the year. For example, legislation provides that if the perpetrator enters into or continues a marriage or registered partnership with the victim after the rape, it gives grounds for reducing or remitting the punishment.
On average only 20 per cent of reported rapes result in a conviction, the majority of cases are closed by the police or prosecution and are never brought to trial, leading to a high risk of impunity for perpetrators.
In August, the CERD Committee called on the government to provide adequate shelter for Roma and Travellers in the country, facilitate their access to public services and provide effective protection against discrimination and hate crimes.
The Committee also reported that the introduction in May of a new point-based system for individuals seeking permanent residence introduced “onerous and stringent requirements” that may unfairly exclude vulnerable individuals.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
In Denmark, police have recommended to Parliament that it create laws that make it impossible for citizens to surf anonymously. According to Danish-language blog Computerworld Denmark (link in danish), the proposal is intended to help investigate terrorism.
In the proposal, locations providing open Internet, like cafes and libraries, would have to confirm a user's identity, with some form of official ID, before letting them get online. Companies may also have to register and verify users' identities before providing access, as well as retain records of user logs.
Danish law already requires that ISPs store user data for at least a year, as an anti-terrorism measure. The proposal suggests that with such information, police would be able to see who exactly is on the network, where they go, and who they talk to.
More at Huffington Post
Friday, June 24, 2011
Read more at Immigration
Friday, June 17, 2011
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Gross domestic product shrank 0.5 percent in the first quarter after contracting a revised 0.2 percent at the end of 2010, Copenhagen-based Statistics Denmark said today. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected growth of 0.5 percent in the first quarter, according to the average of four estimates.
“The figures are highly surprising,” Steen Bocian, an economist at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said in an e-mail. “The reason for the lower consumption is a combination of higher taxes and higher inflation, driven by raw material prices.”
Denmark exited a recession in the second quarter of 2009 after exports and increased government spending boosted the smallest of the three Scandinavian economies. Denmark’s Finance Ministry said yesterday the economy will expand by 1.7 percent this year and by 1.9 percent in 2012, lifting its growth estimate for both years by 0.2 percentage point citing a recovery in global trade.
The government said that it expects a budget deficit of 4.1 percent this year, up from 2.9 percent in 2010.
Both public and private consumption fell 0.8 percent in the first quarter compared with the previous three-month period, the agency said. Fixed investments declined 8.3 percent.
Denmark’s GDP grew 1.1 percent in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, the agency said.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
From Stop Police Brutality
As far as Marmite goes, the Danish government hates the stuff. That at least is the conclusion that many foreigners have drawn following a ban on the sticky brown yeast extract.
The sales ban enforces a law restricting products fortified with added vitamins. Food giant Kellogg's withdrew some brands of breakfast cereal from Denmark when the legislation passed in 2004, but until now Marmite had escaped the attention of Danish authorities.
Marmite is not the only product to have fallen foul: Horlicks, Ovaltine and Farley's Rusks are similarly proscribed.
The ruling is not going down well with the country's substantial expatriate community – many of them work for large multinational firms such as Lego and Vestas, only to move away after a year or two.
The government has admitted it is having trouble retaining these highly skilled foreign workers, and has even debated measures in parliament to make them stay. This latest move is unlikely to help.
Recent comments from the Danish immigration minister, Søren Pind, that foreigners should "assimilate" or leave, coupled with the country's recent unilateral decision to reinstate border checks, have left some residents questioning the motivation behind the crackdown.
Lyndsay Jensen, a Yorkshire-born graphic designer in Copenhagen, despaired of the move.
"They don't like it because it's foreign," she said, adding that she already planned to send off for supplies from abroad. "But if they want to take my Marmite off me they'll have to wrench it from my cold dead hands."
More at Guardian and at The Telegraph (Marmite made illegal in Denmark)
The experiment involves turning 4-year old sow pigs into rashers. Bacon has historically always been made from young male, or boar, pigs. Sows, whose sole purpose is to breed, have been considered tough and inedible in Britain and their meat is sold to German bratwurst makers and Italian salami makers. Long-standing butchers said the only time sow meat, which tends to be very fatty and dark in colour, has been sold as a cut of meat was during rationing in the Second World War.
Farmers and butchers have long complained that it was an insult to the men and women fighting that they have been fed Danish and Dutch bacon, it being poorer quality and derived from pigs reared to a lower welfare standard, but Mr Goodger, is confident that by next year British sows will take over.
"And I see no reason why in a few years' time supermarkets can't stock sow bacon as their basic, value range of bacon. They might have to call it something other than sow bacon; it's not exactly consumer friendly. But it would enormously help British pig farmers if they had a market for their sow meat."
British pig farmers have been in crisis for some time, with most losing money on every animal they raise. It is estimated that it costs a pig farmer £160 for every kilo of meat they produce, and the best price they can fetch at market is £135 per kilo of meat, with sows fetching 80p a kilo.
More at The Telegraph
Sunday, May 15, 2011
2. Instituting border checks may violate law (Washington Post)
3. Denmark announces decision to reintroduce border controls (The Telegraph)
4. Schengen state Denmark to re-impose border controls (BBC)
5. EU warns Denmark about instituting border checks (The Independent)
As I said before, Denmark gives a damn shit about EU rules. Denmark doesn't respect absolutely anything, even they steal children from foreigner parents.
This is one more brick in the wall.
Thursday, May 05, 2011
The trial was a show trial in which Hedegaard was unable to mount a defence, because under the Orwellian rules of the Danish legal system he was in effect convicted before his trial even took place.
Where are the western feminists and defenders of free speech now?
Read more at Spectator
"Of course I made clear that I was not talking about every Muslim man in the country or in the world. By the way, I was not talking specifically about conditions in Denmark," Hedegaard explained.
Hedegaard said it's a fact that can be backed up by hard evidence. But in Denmark, that doesn't matter.
Under Denmark's hate speech law, it doesn't matter if what you said was true. It doesn't matter if it is factual - if it offends someone, you could be charged.
Sunday, May 01, 2011
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Denmark's strict immigration laws have saved the country billions in benefits, a government report has claimed. The Integration Ministry report has now led to calls among right-wing populists to clamp down further on immigrants to increase the savings.
But the report has sparked outrage from opposition parties like the centrist Social Liberal Party, which dismissed it as undignified and discriminatory. The party's integration spokeswoman, Marianne Jelved, said: "A certain group of people is being denounced and being blamed for our deficit, being made into whipping boys." She added: "We cannot classify people depending on their value to the economy. That is degrading in a democracy that has a basic value of equality."
Still, the announcement has not come as surprise. The right-wing populist DPP, which has been working with the ruling center-right coalition government of Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen since 2001, has in the past made its aims very clear: a complete halt to immigration into Denmark from non-Western countries. "A Somali who is no good for anything, that is simply not acceptable," said DPP leader Pia Kjærsgaard. Similarly, center-right liberal Prime Minister Rasmussen has also said anyone who would be a burden on Denmark is not welcome in the country.
Right-wing populists have even demanded a ban on satellite dishes so that TV stations like al-Jazeera and Al Arabiya cannot be beamed into Danish living rooms. There have also been suggestions to exempt migrants from the minimum wage -- supposedly to make it easier for foreigners to gain access to the labor market.
But things may soon get pushed even further. Elections are due to be held this fall, and the ruling parties apparently want to put forward even stricter rules, driven by the xenophobic rhetoric of the right-wing populists.
Some immigrants have already turned their back on Denmark voluntarily. Increasing numbers of Somalis are moving away, especially to the UK, the Jyllands Posten reported on Thursday, because of discrimination.
Read more at Der Spiegel
Friday, April 15, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
[...] le plan pourrait signifier entre autres que les étrangers devraient avoir une assurance privée pour couvrir leurs soins de santé les quatre premières années de leur séjour. "Il sera plus dur d'attirer des employés de l'étranger si ces derniers doivent payer les impôts parmi les plus élevés au monde sans avoir droit aux mêmes services que leurs collègues", critique Thomas Christensen, conseiller de Dansk Industri, le patronat danois.
La proposition du premier ministre est soutenue par son parti libéral et par l'extrême-droite. Mais l'autre parti du gouvernement, le parti conservateur, est sceptique, à l'instar du patronat. Il craint que cette discrimination ne décourage les étrangers de venir travailler au Danemark et que cela cause du tort aux entreprises danoises qui auront du mal à recruter la main d'œuvre dont elle a besoin. A l'instar de la ministre de l'économie française, Christine Lagarde, qui a pris ses distances, jeudi soir, avec le ministre de l'intérieur, Claude Guéant, qui proposait une limitation de l'immigration du travail.
Le gouvernement voudrait aussi supprimer la pré-retraite et augmenter l'âge de la retraite. Les mesures restrictives concernant l'accès aux services sociaux pour les étrangers vont être discutées dans les mois à venir alors que des élections législatives doivent se tenir au plus tard en novembre prochain.
Read more at Le Monde
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
We are also not overly respectful of authority, and political correctness is widely frowned upon. There is little respect for politicians. The general opinion is that any really INTELLIGENT man or women would consider it below themselves to waste their time as parliamentarians. Rather, they would aim for top-posts in the private sector. “Bad manners” are also on the loose in schools, where pupils show little of no respect for teachers. All in all, I would say that Danes are less cowed by status than anyone else I can think of.
We are the most equal in the world in terms of income. For example, a doctor at a public hospital makes less than $70,000/year (starting wages) and a garbage collector—or, to use the politically-correct term, “Renovation Technician”—also earns $70,000 on average. In Denmark, the income for the 10% richest is only five times higher than the 10% at the other end of the scale, whereas in the USA the difference is 16 times higher.
Denmark is doing very poorly in Life Expectancy. We’re ranked #36, tied with the United States. We eat more meat per capita than anyone else in Europe, and we have bad habits, i.e., too much smoking, cheap and lousy foodstuffs, and Danish teenagers drink more than any other teens in the world. Paradoxically, Denmark is also the nation with the highest per capita sales of organic food.
Read more at IEET
Than, why be a doctor instead of garbage collector? - they earn the same amount of money. Why go through so many years to be a doctor when you can make the same as a garbage man? This just seems like such a skewed way of thinking. I don't believe that 5 mil. danes are satisfied with such a concept.
Denmark is a xenophobic and „doing nothing” country. Dolce far niente – It is sweet to do nothing.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
The reason? Government departments do not communicate, so no one knew exactly.... Gus appealed, and after waiting 8 months, for processing, his case was finalized on April 5th, 2011, at which time he was informed that his appeal had been declined and he now has to leave Denmark by the 1st of May, 2011.
Read more at Support Gus (including comments)
Friday, March 25, 2011
All representatives from the Nordic countries were invited to Trondheim to mark the day. The Swedish historian Gunnar Wetterberg held a lecture where he presented an exciting proposal: to merge the five Nordic countries into a single federal state. "When these countries are so near to each other in language and culture, it is no wonder that we were together not so long ago...We will have a very strong base for economic growth in the area, much stronger than we have when our countries are working separately."
There have been many Nordic unions over the centuries, but they have never quite worked. Wetterberg believes there are other causes behind that: "Perhaps there were others outside the region that didn't want it to go so well. For example the Dutch and English would not want both sides of Øresund (the strait between Denmark and Sweden) to belong to the same country...
Just to provide some economic background, the "core" Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway and Denmark together would have a GDP in between Australia and Mexico - right now the highest, Sweden, is 21th in terms of GDP but together they would be in 14th place. With Finland and Iceland added it would be around $1.4 trillion, in between Spain and India. Population of the core three together would be around 20 million, then add another 5 million to that with Finland and Iceland.
More at PageF30 and NRK (in norwegian)
Denmark is just a spittle on this map.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
For those interested some topics are:
- A brief history of Denmark
- Danish attitudes to sex and nudity
- Independence and individualism
- Culture shock
- Danish democracy
- Dining in Denmark
- Meeting Danes
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
The Communist Party of Denmark, like many other Scandinavian parties, sided with Moscow during the Sino-Soviet split in June 1963. Gotfred Appel, a member of the DKP, informally formed the KAK to influence the line of the DKP and was expelled from the DKP in September 1963 for having taken the trouble to do so. In December of the same year the KAK was declared a formal separate party. The same month as he was expelled from the DKP, Appel formed a publishing company, “Futura”, which would translate and publish the Danish-language publications for the Chinese embassy in Denmark including the immensely popular Quotations from Mao Zedong. In 1965 the KAK organized the first pro-Vietnam rally and in 1966 formed the first Vietnam Committee. None of this is particularly interesting. Indeed, it follows the usual course of events that one can see around the world. Thus, we must ask what is distinctive about them?
What is distinctive about the KAK is Appel’s theoretical developments from 1966-1967. In “Communist Briefing”, a KAK publication, Appel penned a series of theoretical articles in which he elaborated a ‘leech state theory’. The ‘leech state theory’ argued: that the rich countries make so much money by exploiting 3rd world countries that even their “poorest” citizens are so rich they are effectively “bribed” into being part of the Capitalist bourgeoisie and unlikely to participate in any Communist revolution until this source of wealth dries out due to liberation of the 3rd world. Accordingly, western communists who really want a communist ideal state must first help liberate the 3rd world countries from western exploitation.
Read more at The Workers Dreadnought
Friday, February 11, 2011
In Denmark right-wing politicians are already debating the threat of immigrant “welfare tourists,” should the Swedish system collapse. In Norway almost half of all children with a non-Western background claim social security benefits. This is ten times the rate of the native population. A Danish commission concluded that Denmark could save 50 billion kroner every year by 2040 if it shut the door to third world immigration. At the same time, statistics indicate that Scandinavians will become a minority in their own countries within a couple of generations, if the current trends continue. While their political elites insist that immigration is “good for the economy,” Scandinavians are in reality funding their own colonization.
Although the cost of welfare is significant, it pales in comparison to the price paid through rapidly declining social harmony and increasing insecurity caused by Muslim immigration. Some of the increase in insecurity is due to the rise of mafia groups and organized crime, but most is mainly due to terror threats and intimidation of critics of Islam and Muslim immigration.
It is true that the Scandinavian countries have much in common, but the differences that do exist should not be underestimated. It was no coincidence that the issue with the Muhammad cartoons started in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, as Denmark is probably the one Western nation where the debate surrounding Muslim immigration is most mainstream and open. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s centre-right government has imposed some of the toughest regulations in the EU on asylum seekers.
Unfortunately, this does not mean that Denmark’s problems are over. In 2005 attackers set fire to the immigration minister’s car. A leftist group calling itself “Beatte Without Borders” said it carried out the attack, condemning the government’s “racist immigration policies.” Muslim extremists have declared that the Danish PM and Defense Minister are legitimate terror targets because of Denmark’s participation in Iraq. Members of Denmark’s moderate Muslim community say they are reluctant to speak out with critical observations of their religion, fearing social isolation, threats and violence, and a Danish Jew was even attacked for reading from the Koran.
Complet article at The Brussels Journal
There are new stricter requirements for would-be immigrants, and for those already in Denmark, who wish to marry a Dane. This is in addition to the already high minimum age of 24 for both the Danish and the foreign would-be spouse, proof of financial independence and an "active commitment to Danish society".
Anti-DPP protestors outside the Danish parliament Opponents of the new points system made their feelings known outside the Danish parliament
European and international bodies have pointed out that some of these laws and regulations could be in breach of human rights legislation.
Professor Margot Horspool, a specialist in European law at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, says that the restrictions on marrying foreigners "almost certainly breach European Union law in respect of discrimination as to ethnic origin, and possibly as to age".
She also believes the rules may violate EU legal protection of "the right to family life".
Another tightening of the rules prohibits state-funded hostels for the homeless from accepting foreigners who do not have permanent residency status. Reports say that this has led to people freezing to death in the sub-zero winter temperatures.
This, suggests Professor Horspool, breaks EU legal commitments not to subject individuals to inhuman or degrading treatment, laws that amount to an "obligation on the member state to ensure that humans are not left out in the street to freeze or indeed to starve."
The Danish government denies that its laws breach human rights, and says the 24-year age restriction is to prevent forced marriages.
All this is part, say critics, of a decade-long transformation in Denmark's approach to immigration and integration, under pressure from the populist Danish People's party, the DPP.
The DPP is led by Pia Kjaersgaard, a former social worker in an old people's home. "We founded the party because of too many immigrants," she says.
She likes to present a homely, common sense image. "I am very powerful," she told me, "but I am also just a housewife and mother".
Denmark's Muslim population are the party's particular focus. There are many Muslims, its says, who are unwilling to integrate and hostile to "Danish values" such as free speech.
Read more at BBC
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Lawmakers in Denmark approved amended plans for another road-and-rail link to Germany on Tuesday, opting for an underwater tunnel that they say would be safer and more environmentally friendly than the bridge they had planned originally.
Both countries agreed in 2008 to connect the northern German island of Fehmarn with the Danish island of Lolland by building a road-and-rail bridge across the strait.
But the state-owned Danish firm Femern A/S presented lawmakers with modified plans for an 18-kilometer (11.6 mile) underwater tunnel. Seven out of eight parliamentary factions voted for the proposal, which kept the budget at around 5.1 billion euros ($7 billion).
Construction is scheduled to begin in 2014 and is to be completed in 2020.
German costs would be limited to connecting the tunnel with German infrastructure, estimated at between 800 million and 1.7 billion euros.
Monday, January 24, 2011
One reason why Danish people seem to be particularly susceptible to cancer is that its record of diagnosing the disease is so good, meaning that more cases are picked up by the country's doctors than in most other parts of the world.
But there are also lifestyle factors which could be having an influence on the figures reported by the World Cancer Research Fund from the World Health Organisation.
A larger than average proportion of Danish women are smokers, while the country also has high levels of alcohol consumption, both of which have been shown to increase the risk of developing cancer.
The figures show that high-income countries tend to have higher rates of cancer than less developed parts of the world, with 13 European countries, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand among the top 20 states for overall cancer rates.
This is likely to be due in part to better diagnostics in developed countries, but the tendency of wealthier populations to be more obese, consume more alcohol and get less exercise are also a significant factor.
From The Telegraph (with comments)
Monday, January 17, 2011
Şahin, who was sentenced to two years on charges of robbery, was beaten by nearly ten prison guards after he refused to be transferred to another prison. His heart stopped after the incident and he was taken to the Odense University Hospital. His heart began beating following the doctors’ efforts but he remained in critical condition. Şahin died at the hospital on Saturday [Jan. 15th].
The Danish police, who earlier called the event resulting in Ekrem Şahin’s coma, “an ordinary, everyday event,” took action after the incident hit the Turkish press and the Turkish Embassy got involved. The Danish police have launched a widespread investigation into the incident in order to prevent it from escalating. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has also been following the incident.
Source: Today's Zaman
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Sunday, January 09, 2011
However, many people mentioned that not only do they struggle with integrating they also feel that they are not wanted in the country. That was the trigger to look more closely into this topic and served as the motivation for conducting this survey and to determine if the related experiences of not feeling welcome were singular and only the experience of a few or if it is the experience of many. By examining the experience of a large number of people it is my hope that problems can be identified and solutions found to help bridge the gap between Danes and the international community.
The result: 46% of the participants don't feel welcome versus 26% who do. 28% gave a neutral answer. Considering that 98% of the 703 survey participants are well-educated, this is a very worrying result especially as Denmark claims the need for well-educated work-force from abroad.
The result of the survey gives a strong signal that there seems to be a problem, that foreigners don’t feel wanted here. This is not only unpleasant for the foreigners themselves and can influence them to leave the country (which in fact many do), but it can also have serious consequences for Denmark and its economy.
Openness, friendliness, “hygge”, and treating people equally is the Danish way.
Or do we have to say “was” the Danish way? Considering the results of the survey, many foreigners don’t seem to experience these Danish qualities. Hopefully they will not get lost in the current focus of protecting Denmark.
From Worktrotter (including very interesting comments)
Saturday, January 08, 2011
A high-profile neuroscientist in Denmark has resigned after facing allegations that she committed research misconduct and misspent grant money. Meanwhile, the administration at the university where she worked has been accused of ignoring her alleged misdeeds for the better part of a decade.
Milena Penkowa, a 37-year-old researcher who was lauded in 2009 by the Danish science ministry, denies all the accusations against her and stands by her work, but left her post as a full professor at the University of Copenhagen in December.
In an open letter released on 22 December 2010, 58 Danish scientists have called for a transparent review of the alleged misconduct, which spans much of Penkowa's career. Details were first reported by the Danish newspaper Weekendavisen.
The university contends that it dealt with that incident adequately, and that more recent allegations of misconduct are being handled by the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty, which is independent of the university.
"A parallel internal investigation aiming to uncover other possible suspicions about scientific dishonesty would create confusion," said University of Copenhagen chairman Nils Strandberg Pedersen in a statement.
Penkowa has published nearly 100 peer-reviewed papers, and her research focuses on brain-repair mechanisms and the role of a metal-binding protein called metallothionein.
Penkowa climbed the ranks of academe quickly, becoming a full professor in 2009. Last year, she was named an elite young researcher by the Danish government. The IMK General Fund, a private foundation that funds medical research, awarded her 5.6 million Danish kroner (about US$1 million) in funds.
More at Nature