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Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Thursday

Find out what's going on in Denmark today with The Local's short round-up of the news in less than five minutes.

Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Thursday
Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Covid-19 lockdown extended until February 7th

The closure of schools, universities and non-essential stores, requiring most people to work from home, public gatherings of no more than five people and all the other Covid-19 restrictions currently in place are to continue until at least February 7th after the government last night confirmed a three-week extension.

Hospitalisations with the coronavirus remain high in Denmark, while the proliferation of the more infectious B117 variant of the virus has authorities particularly concerned.

You can read this story in full here.

Populist parties criticise EU over vaccine supply, despite voting against funding it

Parliament’s two far-right parties, the Danish People’s Party and Nye Borgelige, have both hit out at the EU over the supply of Covid-19 vaccines.

The parties have expressed discontent over both the amount and speed at which the EU has supplied vaccines to Denmark, news wire Ritzau reports.

But both parties voted against Denmark’s decision in September to give the EU Commission more money for its joint procurement programme. They were outnumbered by a parliamentary majority.

Denmark and the other EU countries, along with Norway and Iceland, all receive their vaccine doses through the EU’s procurement system.

READ ALSO: Denmark close to securing enough Covid-19 vaccines for entire population

Health authorities attempted to acquire extra doses outside of EU arrangement

The above story contrasts with a report from Jyllands-Posten this morning that, although the Danish government supported the EU joint strategy to purchase Covid-19 vaccines, health authorities in Denmark did in fact try to convince Pfizer to sell them vaccines outside of the EU agreement.

The State Serum Institute (SSI), along with the Danish Medicines Agency, asked Pfizer to provide vaccines faster and in a higher number than Denmark is entitled to through the EU scheme, Ullum confirmed to the newspaper. In return, Denmark could provide clinical data for the company to analyse the efficacy of its product, according to the offer.

“It’s clear that at the current time in the epidemic, it would be a huge advantage to get more vaccines faster,” Henrik Ullum, the head of SSI, told Jyllands-Posten.

The government has not commented on whether it green-lighted the offer, and Pfizer also declined to comment to the newspaper.

Decision on impeachment case against former immigration minister

Impeachment is not only a current topic in the United States. Parliament will today vote on whether to conduct an impeachment trial against Inger Støjberg, the former immigration minister and deputy leader of the Liberal party.

Støjberg in 2016 issued an illegal directive to forcibly separate married asylum seekers if one of the couple was under the age of 18. She was later found to have misled parliament over the illegal directive, and independent lawyers have concluded there are grounds for an impeachment case, known in Denmark as a rigsretssag.

The two largest parties, the Social Democrats and Støjberg’s own Liberals, have yet to confirm whether or not they will back the trial. They must decide today.

Our previous coverage of this story can be found here.

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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

Eighty-six weekend flights cancelled and a major setback for Copenhagen's artificial peninsula project are among the top headlines in Denmark this Tuesday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

Cancelled flights reflect dire staff shortage 

This past weekend, 86 flights to and from Danish airports were cancelled, according to Danish airline news outlet Check-in.

By their calculations, that meant that 10,000-12,000 passengers were left at the gates. Half of the cancellations were by the beleaguered SAS, which nixed 42 flights in and out of Copenhagen alone. 

“We currently have high sickness absence, [technology issues and a late flight from a partner airline, ed.] and we already have a tight staffing situation, Alexandra Lindgren Kaoukji, SAS spokesperson in Denmark, told Check-in.  

READ ALSO: What are your rights if your flight is cancelled in Denmark? 

New Herlufsholm chairman: culture creates ‘problems for the weak,’ while ‘the strong’ manage

The latest wrinkle in the Herlufsholm scandal is the appointment of Jon Stokholm, former Danish Supreme Court Justice, as chairman of the board. 

The 71-year-old told newswire Ritzau that he believes Herlufsholm’s emphasis on individualism was where the school went wrong. 

“Such a culture creates problems for the weak,” Stokholm said. “The strong will cope.” (This seems an unusual way to describe students at a school struggling with bullying.) 

READ ALSO: Danish royal children withdrawn from controversial boarding school 

Artificial peninsula project Lynetteholm faces major setback 

Copenhagen’s dreams for a self-financing Lynetteholm, the new Copenhagen district to be built on a manmade peninsula in the harbour, have shattered like a ‘broken Kinder egg,”  mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen told broadcaster DR

New number-crunching by the ministry of transportation reveals that the profits from selling plots of land on future Lynetteholm, which promised to fund the creation of a metro connection and an eastern road ring, are likely to fall far short of that figure. 

The project was designed to solve three problems in one fell swoop — its creators say Lynetteholm will ameliorate the Copenhagen housing shortage, reduce congestion in the rest of the city and protect the mainland from storm surges in the face of climate change. 

READ ALSO: Danish parliament gives go ahead to giant artificial island off Copenhagen

Pollution linked to 10 percent of Europe’s cancer cases 

The European Environment Agency released a report today that concludes more than 10 percent of all cancer cases in Europe are preventable — because they can be tied to pollution. 

“Together, exposure to air pollution, carcinogenic chemicals, radon, UV radiation and passive smoking can account for over ten percent of the cancer burden in Europe,” the EEA wrote in a statement. 

Cancer cases due to exposure to radiation or chemical carcinogens can be reduced to “an almost insignificant level,” environment and health expert at the EEA Gerardo Sanchez told reporters last week. 

Of special interest to Danes, who sometimes eschew sunscreen during the summer months, should be the EEA’s calculation that four percent of European cancer cases are linked to natural UV radiation from the sun.