Denmark sends millions in aid to Gaza

The development ministry on Friday announced an 11 million kroner contribution in emergency aid to help those affected by the "spiral of violence" in Gaza.

Denmark sends millions in aid to Gaza
Palestinian men help a local journalist injured during an Israeli airstrike. Photo: Oliver Weiken/Scanpix
Denmark’s development ministry on Friday announced an emergency aid package of 11 million kroner ($2 million) to help civilians in Gaza.
The announcement came the morning after Israel instituted a military ground campaign following peace talks in Cairo that failed to reach a breakthrough.  
“The spiral of violence between Gaza and Israel has unbearable costs for completely innocent people,” Mogens Jensen, the trade and development minister, said. “As much as half of Gaza’s population is lacking water and hospitals and emergency organizations are lacking medicine to handle the wounded and save lives. I therefore find it essential and appropriate that Denmark contribute to the emergency humanitarian efforts in Gaza.”
The development ministry said that the Danish funds would be split equally between the Red Cross and the UN’s catastrophe fund for Palestine. 
The money will go toward ambulances, medicine, psychological help and improving the water supply in Gaza. 
Jensen said Denmark’s contributions would also go toward ensuring that humanitarian law is protected in the war-torn area.
“It is appalling that children playing on the beach risk being killed in a war that has nothing to do with them,” he said. “We must demand sustained respect for international humanitarian law lest the civilian casualties rise and emergency workers be barred from access.”
Over 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israel’s military campaign and over 1,500 have been injured. 
On Thursday in Copenhagen, a demonstration in support of Gaza attracted around 1,000 people for the second day in a row

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Denmark offers companies $6bn in coronavirus cash hand-outs

Denmark's finance ministry has announced plans to spend up to 40bn Danish kroner ($6bn) to help companies hit by the coronavirus crisis to cover their fixed costs until cash flow resumes.

Denmark offers companies $6bn in coronavirus cash hand-outs
Nicolai Wammen arrives for the press conference on Wednesday. Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix
Under the scheme, companies who have seen their revenues decline by 40 percent or more, will receive government grants to help cover between 25 to 80 percent of their fixed costs. 
The self-employed and firms with up to ten people who see their revenues fall more than 30 percent will also be offered government compensation worth 75 percent of their normal monthly income — up to a maximum of 23,000-a-month. 
The two grants will be available for three months, after which the hope is that the economy will be able to return to normal. 
“These are measures that have never been seen before. It is extraordinary,” Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen said as he announced the measures, according to the public broadcaster DR.  “We are not talking about loans. These are cash hand-outs.” 
The two measures come on top of the government's decision to defer as much as 125bn Danish kroner of companies' tax and VAT payments, and its decision to pay between 75 percent and 90 percent of the salaries of employees businesses send home during the crisis. 
It has also released banks' countercyclical capital buffer, freeing up 17bn kroner in potential liquidity. 
The latest measure has been welcomed by business, but has drawn criticism from some economists. 
“It's almost completely crazy that a Danish government can just spend 40bn kroner without any further investigation or much debate,” said Las Olsen, the chief economist at Danske Bank, told Denmark's Jyllands-Posten
“These are completely unheard of steps that the government is now taking,” Helge J. Pedersen, chief economist at Nordea, told the magazine. “This is significantly more than fiscal policy was expanded during the 2008-09 financial crisis.”