Denmark has stolen children from their foreigner parents

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Best Countries For Business

What do LEGOs, Nokia and 18th century political economist Adam Smith have in common? All three show why Denmark has become the best country in the world for business.

Speaking two decades before The Wealth of Nations was published in 1776, Smith said, "Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things."

If ever there was a system that made following Smith's recipe look easy, it's the Danish economy's mix of low inflation and low unemployment, emphasis on entrepreneurship and lower taxes. These qualities combined with high marks for innovation and technological savvy lift Denmark to the top of our third annual ranking of the Best Countries for Business (formerly the Forbes Capital Hospitality Index).

To find the best, we analyze business climates in each of more than 120 national economies, focusing on degrees of personal freedoms, like the right to participate in free and fair elections, or freedom of expression and organization.

Investor protection examines the recourse held by minority shareholders in cases of corporate misdeeds, while corruption looks at the number and frequency of similar misuse of corporate assets for personal gain. Together with economic policies supportive of free trade and low inflation, these key points form a snapshot of countries' suitability for capital investment.

Topping the list for 2008: Denmark, which rose three slots from last year, Ireland (up 19 places to No. 2), Finland (up four to third place), the U.S. (down three to fourth) and U.K. (up five to fifth). Big movers like Ireland, Estonia (No. 10, up 24 spots) and Saudi Arabia (No. 47, up 37) have limited bureaucracy standing in the way of entrepreneurs hoping to do business within their borders.

More: Forbes

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Muslim headscarf divides, disturbs in Denmark

After years of thinly veiled hostility between Copenhagen and the Muslim world, a beauty pageant and a proposed law have Danes locking horns over one potent symbol of Islam: the headscarf.

When Iraqi-born Huda Falah, 18, won Denmark's first Miss Headscarf competition earlier this month because of "her blue headscarf and her beautiful, irresistible style," many Danes simply smiled, shrugged and moved on.

Others saw the pageant as emblematic of the growing influence of Islam in Denmark and what some perceive as its anti-democratic and woman-hostile spirit.

"The headscarf symbolises that women are inferior to men (and) I don't think this is something we should promote through a beauty competition," Inger Stoejberg, a high-ranking member of Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's Liberal Party said in a newspaper interview ahead of the pageant.

Naser Khader, a Muslim member of parliament, agreed, calling instead for a competition for "the best arguments against the headscarf."

A number of Imams meanwhile slammed the pageant as disrespectful to Denmark's 200,000 Muslims, who make up 3.5 percent of the population and the country's second largest religious community after the state-run Lutheran Church.

The fact that the controversy followed on the heels of a nationwide debate over whether judges should be allowed to sit on the bench while wearing the headscarf, or hijab, made it all the more touchy.

"Some Muslims have the feeling they are being pilloried by Danish society," sociologist and Liberal Party MP Eyvind Vesselbo told AFP.

More on AFP

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Racism persists in EU

The European Union's rights agency says racist violence and discrimination persist across Europe.

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights also says most members of the 27-nation bloc are not taking advantage of tough legislation to crack down on the scourge.

The report says "racism, discrimination, entrenched disadvantage, racist violence and harassment have remained a fact of life for many individuals."

It calls for sanctions tough enough to be a deterrent.

Britain and France lead a list of 9 countries credited with actively fighting racism and xenophobia. But the rights agency says a dozen EU member states issued no sanctions at all against discrimination, including the Czech Republic, Denmark and Germany.

Source: The Associated Press

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Picked baby's name? Not so fast, in Denmark

In Denmark, a country that embraces rules with the same gusto that Italy defies them, choosing a first and last name for a child is a serious, multitiered affair, governed by law and subject to the approval of the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs and the Ministry of Family and Consumer Affairs.

At its heart, the Law on Personal Names is designed to protect Denmark's innocents - the children who are undeservedly, some would say cruelly, burdened by preposterous or silly names. It is the state's view that children should not suffer ridicule and abuse because of their parents' lapses in judgment or their misguided attempts to be hip. Denmark, like much of Scandinavia, prizes sameness, not uniqueness, just as it values usefulness, not frivolousness.

"You shouldn't stand out from anyone else here; you shouldn't think you are better than anyone else," said Lan Tan, a 27-year-old Danish woman of Singaporean and Malaysian descent who is trying to win approval for her daughter's name, Frida Mei Tan-Farndsen. "It's very Scandinavian."

While other Scandinavian countries, and some like France, have similar laws, Denmark's is the strictest. So strict that the Danish Ministry of Justice is proposing to relax the law to reflect today's Denmark, a place where common-law marriage is accepted, immigration is growing and divorce is routine. The measure, which would add names to the official list, is scheduled for debate in Parliament in November.

"The government, from a historical point of view, feels a responsibility towards its weak citizens," said Rasmus Larsen, chief adviser at the Ministry for Ecclesiastical Affairs, discussing the law. "It doesn't want to see people put in a situation where they can't defend themselves. We do the same in traffic; we have people wear seat belts."

People expecting children can choose a pre-approved name from a government list of 7,000 mostly West European and English names - 3,000 for boys, 4,000 for girls. A few ethnic names, like Ali and Hassan, have recently been added.

Complete article: International Herlad Tribune

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sankt Hans aften

În data de 23 iunie, în Danemarca se celebrează Sankt Hans aften, sau St. John's Eve (Naşterea Sf. Ioan Botezătorul), iar în România acest obicei poartă denumirea de Drăgaica sau Sânzienele.

În Danemarca, se cântă tradiţionalul Vi elsker vort land „Ne iubim ţara noastră“ scris de Holger Drachmann, se bea, se fac picnicuri. Tradiţia presupune arderea pe un lac a unei vrăjitoare făcută din lemn şi paie în amintirea arderii vrăjitoarelor din secolele al XVI-lea şi al XVII-lea.

Pozele sunt făcute în Parcul Tivoli, în data de 23.06.2005

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cat-eating students shooed off Facebook

The on-line community excludes a group of journalism students after they use it to document their eccentric tastes.

Eating house pets in the name of animal welfare is a quick way to raise the hackles of not only animal rights groups, but also the on-line community, a group of journalism students in Århus have discovered.

The group, all students at the Danish School of Journalism, had their Facebook accounts closed by the on-line community's administrators after they uploaded pictures of themselves cooking and eating a cat.

The meal had been intended as a way to shed light on the plight of food animals such as pigs and cows, but instead it has animal lovers hissing in protest.

'This is the worst way to draw people's attention to animal welfare,' said Ole Münster, director of animal welfare organisation Dyrenes Beskyttelse. 'The choice of a cat was an especially bad one, since we get most of our calls about them.'

Before ending up on the students' plates, the main course lived a life as a feral cat. It had been shot by a farmer trying to control the number of cats on his land.

In addition to the 30 pictures that have now been removed from Facebook, the group's profile also included a recipe for a dish called 'litter box'.

According to the group, the cat was killed humanely and prepared by a professional chef. They said they had received a few raised eyebrows when plans of their meal slipped out, but were nevertheless surprised by people's reactions and were 'disappointed' that the profile was no longer accessible.

'We wanted people to think about what it was they were putting in their mouths,' said Laura Bøge Mortensen, a group member and the editor of Citat, a student magazine that carried an article about the meal.

'It's hypocritical for us to spend thousands of kroner on our pets, yet buy the cheapest pork from Netto that comes from pigs that have lived a horrid life. And just why is it that it's worse to eat a cat than a pig?'

Despite their convictions, the group said it had to overcome its reservations about eating animals normally associated with cuddling. 'We had to count to three before we sat down to eat, and I wouldn't really say that we stuffed our face,' Mortensen said. 'Everyone did take a bite though.'

And the taste: 'a little like chicken, with an aftertaste of fur. Slightly chewy,' the group found.

Source: The Copenhagen Post

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Walt Disney’s inspiration is a Copenhagen amusement

The 165-year-old amusement park that inspired Walt Disney and Danish fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen offers style and charm of a kind often imitated.

Tivoli, Copenhagen’s downtown landmark, blends tradition and modernity with old-style Ferris wheels and gravity-defying rides, family restaurants and gourmet eateries.

Neon lights are banned here and plastic materials are avoided — beer cups aside — to preserve the feel of an old-style amusement park.

“We want to maintain tradition and quality,” said Lars Liebst, Tivoli manager.

In 1841 Georg Carstensen sought royal permission to create an amusement park on the ramparts that once surrounded medieval Copenhagen. The son of a diplomat, he wanted to give Danes samples of the wonders he had seen during childhood trips abroad.

Tivoli opened two years later.

Disney visited Tivoli several times in the 1950s and 1960s to seek inspiration for his theme parks in the United States, Liebst said.

Nearly a century earlier, Andersen, the legendary children’s author, wrote “The Nightingale” after watching the illuminated Chinese Tower, one of the park’s landmarks.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Denmark: Immigrants more prone to disease

Immigrants from non-Western countries suffer from mental illness, diabetes and back pains more often than the rest of the population, shows a new study from the Center for Public Health in the Central Denmark Region.

Immigrants from ex-Yugoslavia, Somalia, Pakistan and Lebanon in particular suffer from diseases. While 2% of the ethnic Danish suffer from diabetes, the illness is 8 times more common among immigrant groups - except for Iranians.

Back pains are up to three times as common among several ethnic groups than in the rest of the population. The same goes for mental illnesses, 23-40% of the immigrants from ex-Yugoslavia, Lebanon and Iraq have a transient mental illness such as depression, compared with 10% of the ethnic Danish.

Source: Kristeligt Dagblad (Danish)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Nurse's Strike and The Hypocritical Danish State

The nurses in Denmark have now been on strike for 8 weeks. That is a long time for a nation's health care to be cut to the bone. During this time a skeleton crew of nurses have always been on duty to deal with acute cases, but more than 325,000 treatments and operations have not taken place. The waiting list grows every day.

Watching this strike is like seeing a car crash in slow motion. It is painful, it will end badly for most of the citizens, and it is an accident that is not inevitable but due to bad driving. The economic road conditions are excellent, as Denmark has a budget surplus, low unemployment, and a strongly positive balance of payments. There is an acute shortage of nurses in Denmark, however, because the largely female nursing staff leave for other jobs, notably in private hospitals, but also in completely different sectors of employment. They leave because the level of stress is high and the wages are not competitive. They leave because of the pressure to do extra work, to cover for the unfilled positions. And at least some leave because they do not like the way hospitals are run.

In short, the current Danish government, both at the regional and the national level, has shown itself to be discriminatory against women, unwilling to create a commission to deal with that problem, hypocritical about immigration, dishonest about its intentions to reduce waiting lists, and disloyal to its own liberal principles. Until they recognize that health care is not a budget line they can play with but rather a service that must be paid for in the marketplace, just so long will the Danish people suffer.

The only thing more painful than the government's behavior is the spineless inactivity of the opposition. The Danish parliament is about to go on vacation, without solving this problem. effectively leaving the population unprotected. The vaunted safety net is all but gone, and they waste time and try the nation's patience with idiotic discussions of whether Muslim women can wear head scarves. Some of these women wearing scarves are nurses, but apparently they should be fired to make the hypocritical pseudo-liberal government happy.

The nurses will also soon go on vacation. But patients cannot send their endangered hearts, weak lungs, and weakened bones on vacation. They will continue to suffer and increasingly die because the Danish state is deeply sexist and without moral principles.

More: After the American Century

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Anger over 'Miss Headscarf' contest

Denmark's state broadcaster has come under fierce criticism for sponsoring a fashion contest for those who wear a headscarf.

Video: BBC

European Socialism

Svend Auken is a co-author of the Kyoto Treaty, and was Denmark's Minister of the Environment some time ago. Yesterday he spoke to the big planning confab yesterday at the Oregon Convention Center, about how to move toward renewable energy, sustainability, how to prevent sprawl, and how to accomplish all the other tenets of central planning utopia.

More: Rob Kremer

Friday, June 06, 2008

Authentic Viking DNA Retrieved From 1,000-year-old Skeletons

Although "Viking" literally means "pirate," recent research has indicated that the Vikings were also traders to the fishmongers of Europe. Stereotypically, these Norsemen are usually pictured wearing a horned helmet but in a new study, Jørgen Dissing and colleagues from the University of Copenhagen, investigated what went under the helmet; the scientists were able to extract authentic DNA from ancient Viking skeletons, avoiding many of the problems of contamination faced by past researchers.

Analysis of DNA from the remains of ancient humans provides valuable insights into such important questions as the origin of genetic diseases, migration patterns of our forefathers and tribal and family patterns.

Unfortunately, severe problems connected with the retrieval and analysis of DNA from ancient organisms (like the scarcity of intact molecules) are further aggravated in the case of ancient humans. This is because of the great risk of contamination with abundant DNA from modern humans. Humans, then, are involved at all steps, from excavation to laboratory analyses. This means that many previous results have subsequently been disputed as attributed to the presence of contaminant DNA, and some researchers even claim that it is impossible to obtain reliable results with ancient human DNA.

Using freshly sampled material from ten Viking skeletons from around AD 1,000, from a non-Christian burial site on the Danish island of Funen, Dissing and colleagues showed that it is indeed possible to retrieve authentic DNA from ancient humans.

Wearing protective suits, the researchers removed the teeth from the jaw at the moment the skeletons were unearthed when they had been untouched for 1,000 years. The subsequent laboratory procedures were also carefully controlled in order to avoid contamination.

Analysis of the Viking DNA showed no evidence of contamination with extraneous DNA, and typing of the endogenous DNA gave reproducible results and showed that these individuals were just as diverse as contemporary humans. A reliable retrieval of authentic DNA opens the way for a valuable use of prehistoric human remains to illuminate the genetic history of past and extant populations.

Source: Science daily

Thursday, June 05, 2008

How to Be Private in Public

One thing that distinguishes the Danish character from the American character is attitudes toward privacy.

Danes do not slap bumper stickers onto their cars, they do not wear buttons declaring allegiances, and they don't wear t-shirts that give away anything personal, anything private.

Perhaps the Danes' almost extreme private nature is a result of living in a small place. But whether it's a chicken or an egg problem, Danes' privacy serves well their living small. Most Danes do not cover their windows, so when you walk down the street it is possible to look right into most homes, even right through them into their back gardens. But it's really not culturally acceptable to look. So it's okay to have big glass windows on the front of your house and to live inside your house just as if it were all closed off to the world: no one will look in. When houses are close together and not far from the street, but when you want to get as much light from outside in to counterbalance the long dark winter, then the rule of not looking is necessary.

On the street, Danes do not look you in the eye, much less greet you in any way.

More: Into Denmark

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Covering up

A far-right party takes on the Islamic headscarf

PIA KJAERSGAARD'S Danish People's Party has a genius for attracting attention. Over the past month its campaign to ban public employees from wearing Islamic headscarves has dominated the headlines and also triggered squabbles within most of the country's other political parties.

The campaign began with a poster of a burka-clad woman wielding a judge's gavel. The implicit message was that Danes risk having their courts invaded by Muslim hordes and sharia law. Birthe Ronn Hornbech, the immigration minister, denounced the DPP as “fanatically anti-Muslim” and said the judiciary was capable of policing its own impartiality and dress code. Stig Glent-Madsen, a high-court judge, confirmed that the judiciary had always managed this itself.

Yet the government, which relies on the DPP's support to stay in power, has decided that a new law is needed to ban the wearing of all religious symbols by judges—from Christian crosses to Jewish skullcaps and even Sikh turbans. The hapless Ms Ronn Hornbech will have to frame the law. And the DPP is now calling for even broader bans. Muslim headscarves, says Ms Kjaersgaard, are a “symbol of political Islam and the discrimination against women”. She wants them “out of schools, off the streets and outside the doors of parliament”.

Many Danes share Ms Kjaersgaard's sentiments. A poll by Megafon for TV2 found 48% in favour of a ban on public employees wearing “religious garb”, and only 39% against. The international fallout could be large. Denmark is still struggling with the aftermath of the 2006 Muhammad cartoons affair, which led to protests, deaths and burnt-out embassies across the Muslim world.

One response has come from Danish-born Muslims. A poll by Politiken, a daily, of 315 young Muslim students, found that two-thirds of them were considering emigrating after graduation. Most gave as their reason “the tone of the Danish debate about Muslims”. Jakob Lange, head of studies at Copenhagen University, says that children of immigrants deliberately choose portable qualifications. “They want an education they can use abroad, where the tone of the debate is different. Which is why they often choose medicine, engineering or business-related disciplines.”

Source: The Economist