54-year-old woman suspected of abandoning two children in Aarhus

Two children found abandoned in Aarhus speak a language thought to be from Afghanistan.

54-year-old woman suspected of abandoning two children in Aarhus
The two children found in Aarhus on December 14th. Photo: Østjyllands Politi/Ritzau Scanpix

The two children, a boy and a girl, are described as having a “Dari accent”, Ritzau writes. Dari is spoken in by large parts of the Asian country’s population and is one of its two official languages along with Pashto.

Police were on Monday morning looking for an interpreter to help them figure out where the children are from and how they came to be abandoned.

Surveillance camera footage from the area where they were found was being studied and officers were also in touch with local hospitals to rule out any potential accidents having befallen the parents.

A 54-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of abandoning them, and a 33-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman are also of interest to police in the case, police confirmed at a press briefing on Monday afternoon.

East Jutland Police asked for the 54-year-old to be remanded in custody on Monday afternoon at Aarhus City Court. She is suspected of leaving the two children in a helpless condition and is related to the little girl and the little boy. 

The girl is estimated to be about one year old, while the boy is believed to be two and a half years old.

The woman was arrested in an apartment in central Aarhus. She is an Afghan citizen and has legal residence in Denmark.

The two children were found on Park Allé, a busy central street in Aarhus, on Saturday evening.

They are currently in the care of Aarhus Municipality’s family care centre and are doing well under the circumstances, police said.

Police officers visited several addresses in Jutland on Sunday in an attempt to find the parents.

In the town of Ølgod, two people — a man of 33 years and a woman of 25 years – were detained in order to establish their identity.

“There could be multiple theories,” police inspector Michael Kjeldgaard said at the press briefing when asked why children may have been abandoned.

East Jutland Police released photos of the children on Sunday as part of the effort to find out where they came from.

The story has been reported in neighbouring Sweden and Norway, and police telephones have been ringing regularly in relation to the unusual case.

“We are being snowed under (with calls) and have had a minor telephone storm from the public and the press. Including media from Norway and Sweden,” East Jutland Police spokesperson Jakob Christiansen said prior to the woman's arrest.

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One fifth of people in Denmark sceptical of Covid vaccine

Nearly a fifth of people in Denmark are uncertain about whether they would take a coronavirus vaccine if recommended it by the country's health authorities, with researchers warning of a "massive communication task" lying ahead.

One fifth of people in Denmark sceptical of Covid vaccine
Danes were the least sceptical of the eight countries surveyed. Photo: Dado Ruvic/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix
According to the latest update from Aarhus University's ongoing How Democracies Cope with COVID19 (HOPE) project, only 51 percent of those surveyed in Denmark described themselves as “completely certain” they would be willing to receive a vaccine,  with a further 31 percent saying that they were partly certain. 
Michael Bang Pedersen, the Aarhus psychology professor who leads the project, said that, while worrying, respondents from Denmark were more positive to vaccines than those of any other nation. 
“The Danish results look pretty good, the Swedish figures are less good, and some of the results from France are extremely worrisome in my view,” he told The Local. 
“So I think there's a massive communication task in front of a lot of national health authorities, including the Danish one.” 
Only 38 percent of respondents from France to the study said they were “completely certain” they would take a vaccine. 
Here are the figures for the eight nations surveyed, from left to right: France, Hungary, USA, Germany, Sweden, Italy, UK, Denmark. 
Bang Pedersen said that some uncertainty was unsurprising. 
“At this point, some uncertainty is to be expected, because we don't know what the features of the vaccine will be, how effective it is, and what the side effects will be,” he said. 
“I think that part of the communication task for the authorities will be to acknowledge the uncertainty and to say, 'even if you are uncertain it doesn't mean you are anti-vaccine, and we are going to show you that the vaccine is safe despite those uncertainties.” 
He said that the another obstacle could come if young people feel that because they are at too low a risk of becoming seriously ill from coronavirus to make receiving a vaccine worthwhile. 
“They might think, 'I don't think I'll get a vaccine, because I'm not at risk myself'”, he said. 
The solution, he said, was to make sure people were “informed about the logic of herd immunity”, and also made to feel empathy with people in vulnerable groups. 
Finally, he said governments should already be starting to counteract misinformation about vaccines, and educating their populations to make them less susceptible to counter “fake news” in the internet. 
The responses in the report were collected between September 13th and October 3rd.