Denmark sends aid to Nepal after earthquake

Denmark's development minister is sending funds to Katmandu with the promise of more to come as the Foreign Ministry attempts to account for the upwards of 400 Danes currently in Nepal.

Denmark sends aid to Nepal after earthquake
People free a man from the rubble of a destroyed building after an earthquake hit Nepal on Saturday. Photo: Narendra Shrestha/EPA/Scanpix
Denmark is sending five million kroner ($730,000) in emergency aid to Nepal, where more than 1,900 people were killed when a powerful earthquake struck near Katmandu on Saturday. 
Development Minister Mogens Jensen said the immediate donation would likely be followed by further Danish aid. 
“It is a terrible situation for Nepal, which is one of the world’s poorest countries. Therefore it is important for us to be there with support and help,” Development Minister Mogens Jensen told TV2 News. 
Jensen added that he is “clearly ready to contribute more if there is a need for it”. 
In addition to the state aid, numerous Danish humanitarian organizations are also collecting funds for Nepal, including the Danske Lions Club which has already send 500,000 kroner. 
The Danish Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that 125 Danes are officially registered as currently being in Nepal but a spokesperson told Ritzau that they expect the actual number is likely much higher. 
Jensen said that some 30 young Danish travellers had sought safety at the Danish Embassy in Katmandu after their hotel was levelled in the earthquake. 
A travel agency director estimated that somewhere between 200 and 400 Danes are currently in Nepal, which is a favourite destination among Danish travellers. 
The 7.8 magnitude quake that struck shortly before noon Saturday local time destroyed parts of Katmandu’s historic city centre and was felt as far away as Bangladesh and Tibet. 
The official death toll was at 1,931 as of Sunday morning and more than 4,700 others were injured in the quake. 

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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.”