Denmark has stolen children from their foreigner parents

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Mechanical picture

I am impressed about the Kristine Suhr’s paintings. Not even there are paintings, but there is a mechanical system, when the viewer pull a stick or turn a handle the figures move. The picture may perhaps tell a little story, or maybe you would also like to change the composition of the picture, and make a different picture altogether.

Kristine Suhr has a personal modern style, especially intelligent. She was born in 1963 on Amager, Copenhagen, but she grew up in Torino, Italy, until 1979. Since 2001 she lives at Tøvelde, Møn, Denmark. In 2000 she won the Danish design prize and she had some exhibitions at Museum of Art and Design in Copenhagen.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Environmental Factors Early In Life May Influence Testicular Cancer Risk

The risk of testicular cancer was significantly lower among first-generation immigrants to Denmark, compared with men born in Denmark to immigrant parents and Danish men with Danish parents, according to a study published online December 25 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. This suggests that early exposure to environmental factors may influence the development of the disease.

The incidence of testicular cancer varies considerably worldwide, but the cause of these differences is unknown. Denmark has one of the highest testicular cancer incidence rates in the world.

To assess the impact of genes and the environment on testicular cancer development, Charlotte Myrup, M.D., of Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues compared the incidence of testicular cancer among first- and second- generation immigrants to Denmark and residents of Danish ancestry. They collected data on 2.1 million men who lived in Denmark between 1968 and 2003, which included 344,444 immigrants to Denmark and 56,189 men born in Denmark to immigrant parents.

Overall, 4,216 cases of testicular cancers were reported among this group, 166 cases among first-generation immigrants and 13 cases among second-generation immigrants. The relative risk of testicular cancer was 63 percent lower among first-generation immigrants, but there was no statistically significant difference in risk among second-generation immigrants, compared with men of Danish ancestry.

“The difference in testicular cancer rates among men born to foreign parents inside Denmark compared with those immigrating to Denmark as children or adults point to the possibility of environmental influences in utero,” the authors write.

Source: Science Daily

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Law sparks boom in joint custody cases

Children have a fundamental, God-given right to be loved, educated, guided and nurtured by both fit and willing parents. To deny this right is child abuse.

The legal system is preparing for a rush of fathers seeking joint custody of their children when revised parenting laws go into effect next week. The new parental law, which becomes valid on 1 October, is designed to give additional rights - and responsibilities - to both fathers and mothers. While current, decade-old legislation requires parents to reach an agreement before joint custody is granted, the new law establishes co-parenting as the norm - even after a divorce.

Under the new rules, joint custody can only be repealed if serious concerns for a child’s safety such as abuse come to light. The law requires that after a divorce, parents share a range of responsibilities ranging from taking children to school to ensuring the former spouse has information about school activities. Children themselves will also have more say under the legislation, as child welfare authorities will interview them on parental custody matters.

Experts are concerned, however, that the revisions could result in a flood of new law suits. Anja Cordes, chairman of the national organisation of lawyers dealing with custody cases, was a member of the committee, which drew up the law’s proposals. She stated that although the political will was in place to establish co-parenting after a failed marriage, feuding parents might lack the ability to put their differences behind them for the good of the child. ‘It will take time before parents learn to separate parenting with partnership and to stop seeking revenge through their child,’ she told Berlingske Tidende newspaper. She also predicted longer processing times for child welfare authorities in future cases, as parents who had lost custody cases in the past seek the chance to have their case retried. Anette Hummelshøj, the head of Department of Family Affairs, admitted the new law could place an additional strain on the legal system. ‘But our expectation is that when the courts have established a clear line for the legal area, a higher number of parents will be able to settle either inside or outside the courts.’

Source: The Copenhagen Post

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Danes are World Citizens

A study from EU concludes that Denmark have the most cosmopolitan population in EU.
During a time when Danes have their thoughts focused towards family, Christmas traditions and pork-rind steaks, we have gotten an interesting European first place. EU’s statistical office, Eurobarometer, concludes in a study that Denmark have the most cosmopolitan population group in Europe.
The conclusion builds on two things. First the Danes have a very positive attitude towards young people meeting across cultural boundaries, secondly most danes believe that the youth shouldn’t be tied down by traditions. Together that makes the Danes European champions in being World Citicens.

We are Individualists
»Danes believes, that traditions are good and nice, when it is Christmas. But is is not that kind of traditions that are the basis of this study. One thing is to celebrate Christmas, something else is to do like your parents because of religion, or because there is a tradition running in the family. We are a top-individualised society,« says Rune Stubager at Aarhus University and researcher of the Value-Political attitudes of Danes.
Some will be surprised that Denmark is so highly ranked, when it comes to being open towards other cultures. Rune Stubager, explain it by the high educational level. Although he doubts that Denmark is so markedly better than other European countries, as is seen by the study.
»The actual numbers can be debated, since we don’t know how the questions was asked in Danish. However, the prevalent tendency there is no reason to doubt: The Danes are not as sceptical towards immigration as the South- and Eastern-Europeans. Danmark actually belongs in the most positive group in Europe,« he states.

Integration is not the Best
Although the study shows pluralism among the Danes, it’s a long stretch to integration, according to integration-consultant, author and debater Mohammad Rafiq. But he doesn’t blame the Danes and does understand why Danes are number one.
»Danes have the will to make an effort to make contact and build bridges to people with another ethnic background. It is not successful, but it is rather the immigrants, who are xenophobic against the Danes. They isolate themselves instead of meeting the Danes, in sports associations etc. But the Danes are willing,« he says.
According the the Eurobarometer 56% of Danes are cosmopolitans, followed by 48% of the Swedes, 47% of the Dutch. In the other end the populations of the new member countries have a position near the bottom. Compared to the EU-average only 25% are cosmopolitan, while the rest are either against intercultural meetings or believe in strong traditions.

Source: Jyllands-Posten

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ørestad Gymnasium Denmark

They used to say ‘a light bulb goes on in your mind’ when knowledge happens. The Danish architects at 3XN already realize the sun is the true source of knowledge – providing fuel for each global system. Imagine the power more sunlight can provide young minds hard at work in their schools.

Ørestad College (high school) opened this year just south of central Copenhagen in the development area of Ørestad. The superstructure of the building is formed by four boomerang-shaped platforms that rotate over four floors and remain open to one another allowing for a seamless interconnection of space throughout the school. This open, high central hall, known as the X-zone, is linked by a stairway that helps promote interdisciplinary communication and cooperation among the various teaching and study spaces.

Transparent glass shades automatically rotate on the exterior of the building allowing light in and providing an array of colors to the interior environments. By manipulating the sunlight the entire student body becomes aware of the passing of time and the changing of the seasons as the school year progresses.

Sustainability for education can certainly begin with the design of the school itself, and 3XN has successfully integrated the traditional Scandinavian aspects of functionality with clarity and beauty in form.

Source: The Cool Hunter

Denmark's secret to happiness: low expectations

Sweden has more blonde beauties per capita, Italy and France have far better cuisine, and most of the free world can boast of better weather.

But over the last 30 years, the citizens of Denmark have scored higher than any other Western country on measures of life satisfaction, and scientists think they know why.

In the Dec. 23 issue of the medical journal BMJ, researchers review six possible explanations, and conclude that the country's secret is a culture of low expectations.

"It's a David and Goliath thing," said the lead author, Kaare Christensen, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense.

"If you're a big guy, you expect to be on the top all the time and you're disappointed when things don't go well," Christensen said. "But when you're down at the bottom like us, you hang on, you don't expect much, and once in a while you win, and it's that much better."

The researchers arrived at their findings by a process of elimination and humor. Blonds may have more fun, they argue, but Sweden has a higher prevalence of them. As for climate, Danes "bask in a somewhat colder and cloudier version of the balmy English weather."

They also eat fatty foods, drink a lot; genetically, are not significantly different from their gloomier Scandinavian neighbors.

But on surveys, Danes continually report lower expectations for the year to come, compared with most other nations. And "year after year, they are pleasantly surprised to find that not everything is getting more rotten in the state of Denmark," the paper concludes.

Source: International Herald Tribune

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cost of Christmas trees

Denmark's Christmas tree growers – Europe's biggest importers – were today charged over claims they rigged prices.

Allegations that costs were deliberately hiked up by 25 per cent follow a police investigation triggered by a complaint by the Danish Competition Authority.
The Danish Christmas Tree Grower's Association and its director have now been charged under the country's competition law for sending out price guidelines to its members.

In 2001 and again in 2005 the association was ordered to stop sending out guidelines but it continued to do so. So, after an investigation last year, the competition office referred the case to prosecutors.

"The association guided its members on how to calculate prices of Christmas trees and recommended certain prices," said Mimoza Memedi, head of the law and cartels section of the competition office.

"This is seen as an agreement according to the competition law, which is forbidden."

Kaj Oestergaard, head of the association, told the Financial Times that he had done nothing wrong and he accused "some wholesalers of trying to shut our mouth".

The association compiles statistics every year on what money its members make from Christmas trees and helps them calculate the cost of growing trees.

"The education of our members is not illegal and nor is sending out figures," Mr Oestergaard said.

He said Christmas tree prices had risen because supply of high quality trees had failed to match growing demand. A 6ft tall tree costs about Dkr240 (£23).

Poor prices in 1998-2004 because of excessive supply discouraged growers from planting trees, while EU subsidies gave them incentives to rip out plantations.

Danish exports peaked at 14m trees in 2003-2004 and are now about 10m.

Yet, over the past two to three years demand has risen rapidly for the higher-quality Nordmann firs, which have softer and longer-lasting needles.

Mr Oestergaard estimates sales of Nordmann firs in Europe are about 30m trees, with demand in eastern Europe starting to catch up with western Europe.

Almost half of Danish exports go to Germany - the biggest producer in the EU - and 15 per cent go to the UK and France.

This mismatch of supply and demand has pushed up prices by 10-25 per cent this year, Mr Oestergaard said, and further increases should be expected.

Source: Daily Mail

Monday, December 10, 2007

High income taxes in Denmark worsen a labor shortage

COPENHAGEN: As a self-employed software engineer, Thomas Sorensen broadcasts his qualifications to potential employers across Europe and the Middle East. But to the ones in his native Denmark, he is simply unavailable.
Settled in Frankfurt, where he handles computer security for a major Swiss corporation, Sorensen, 34, has no plans to return to the days of paying sky-high Danish taxes. Still, an unknowing headhunter does occasionally pass his name to Danish companies.
"When I get an e-mail from them, I either respond negatively but politely," Sorensen said. "Or I don't respond at all."
Born and trained at Denmark's expense, but working - and paying lower taxes - elsewhere in Europe, Sorensen is the stuff of nightmares for Danish companies and politicians searching for solutions to an increasingly desperate labor shortage.
People like Sorensen, and there are many, epitomize the challenges facing the small Nordic country, long viewed across Europe as an example of how to keep an economy thriving and a society equal.
Young Danes, often schooled abroad and inevitably fluent in English, are primed to quit Denmark for greener pastures. One reason is the income tax rate, which can reach 63 percent.
"Our young people are by nature international," said Poul Arne Jensen, chief executive of Dantherm, a maker of climate-control technology. "They are used to traveling and have studied abroad."
"They are no longer 'Danes' in that sense - they are global people who have possibilities around the world," he said.

Denmark is the home of "flexicurity," the catchy name given to a system that pays ample unemployment and welfare benefits but, unusually in Europe, imposes almost no restrictions on hiring and firing by employers. The mixture has served Denmark well, and its economy barreled ahead in 2006 by 3.5 percent, one of the best performances in western Europe. The country is effectively at full employment.
But success has given rise to an anxious search for talent among Danish companies, and focused attention on émigrés like Sorensen. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is based in Paris, projects that Denmark's growth rate will fall to an annual rate of slightly more than 1 percent for the five years beginning in 2009, reflecting a dwindling supply of a vital input for any economy: labor.
The problem, employers and economists believe, has a lot to do with the 63 percent marginal tax rate paid by top earners in Denmark - a level that hits anyone making more than 360,000 Danish kroner, or about $70,000. That same tax rate underpins such effective income redistribution that Denmark is the most nearly equal society in the world, in that wealth is more evenly spread than anywhere else.
The movement toward lower taxes passed Denmark by, even as it took root in much of Europe.
Small East European countries, notably Estonia and Slovakia, started the trend by imposing low, flax taxes on income and corporate profits about five years ago. Those moves helped prod Austria, and eventually, Germany, to slash high marginal rates as well.
Danish taxes also contrast sharply with those in nearby London, often jokingly referred to among Danes as a Danish town, because so many of them live there. Lower taxes on high earners have been a centerpiece of the policy mix that has fed the rise of London as a global financial center since the 1980s.
But today young Danes can easily choose not to pay for the system's upkeep, once they have siphoned off what they need. For starters, as citizens of the European Union they are entitled to work in any of the 27 EU countries.
Sorensen, who graduated from business school in Copenhagen, found himself earning the equivalent of more than $100,000 before he was 30 - and paying 63 percent of it in taxes. His work as a computer consultant for Deloitte also took him to Brussels, where he met the Spanish woman he would eventually marry.
But the high taxes, mixed with his wife's discomfort in Denmark, meant that a job offer in Qatar three years ago was all it took to pry him away from Copenhagen. Now, he is ensconced in Frankfurt, setting up a new business on the side and planning to pay no more than 25 percent of his income to the German state.
"When you are at 63 percent tax, you don't look forward to the evaluation with the boss to get a raise," Sorensen said. "You look for more vacation or a training course in the tropics - something that you get the full benefit of."
There are many more Sorensens out there in a work force that is culled from a country of just 5.5 million people.
The Confederation of Danish Industries estimated in August that the Danish labor force had shrunk by about 19,000 people through the end of 2005, because Danes and others had moved elsewhere. Other studies suggest that about 1,000 people leave the country each year, a figure that masks an outflow of qualified Danes and an inflow of less skilled foreign workers who help, at least partially, to offset the losses.
Danish business normally keeps its distance from politics, but in parliamentary elections this year, a few companies jumped into the fray.
Lars Christensen is co-chief executive of Saxo Bank, a Copenhagen financial services firm specializing in currency trading and retail brokerage services. New employees at Saxo Bank get a copy of "Winning," the playbook of Jack Welch, the brass-knuckled former chief executive of General Electric, and "Atlas Shrugged," the libertarian manifesto by Ayn Rand, suggesting that the boss has little time for solutions that beat around the bush.
"The high tax rate is the No. 1 problem we have," Christensen said. "It's that simple."
Christensen said about 150 positions at Saxo Bank had been created outside Denmark because filling them at the home office would have been either prohibitively expensive or simply impossible. Finding people at its offices in Britain, Switzerland and Singapore, where tax rates range from 19 to 40 percent, proved easier. But it forced the bank to break up teams of people that it wanted to be concentrated in Copenhagen.
This year, Saxo Bank gave a million Danish kroner, or $197,000, to an upstart political party, New Alliance, whose centerpiece was a flat income tax of 40 percent. The party is run by a Syrian-born Danish citizen named Naser Khader who has also touted more open immigration as the solution to Denmark's troubles. The party squeaked into Parliament with enough seats to give it a role in the new center-right government of Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Acknowledging the need to reduce the tax burden, Rasmussen's previous government approved slight reductions in taxes for lower earners, but he has avoided promises of quick fixes. In 1998, Rasmussen's party narrowly lost a national election focusing on a message of business-friendly reform, an experience that colors the current message of incremental change.
"Denmark is a country of consensus," Rasmussen said recently. "Occasionally that fact tends to lower the speed of reforms, but in exchange we are efficient in our implementation."
But young Danes may simply move faster.
Sorensen is settling into life in Frankfurt. He recently passed through Copenhagen to discuss a business proposition with a potential partner, but anything they do will be based outside Germany, he said.
His wife recently gave birth to their second daughter, and barely a word of Danish passes Sorensen's lips when he speaks with his children.
They are growing up with English, an amalgam of the British and American idioms, as their first language, and the world as their horizon.
"If I could," he said, "I'd have a European passport, not a Danish one."

Source: International Herald Tribune