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

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 Wednesday
Photo: Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix

More snow on the way

The cold pinch of winter is being felt across the country these days, and large amounts of snow are forecast to fall on island Bornholm and the so-call ‘Triangle Region’ (Trekantsområdet) in southeastern Jutland and western Funen.

Met office DMI has issued blizzard warning for Bornholm and heavy snow warning for the latter area, and drivers on Bornholm have been asked to avoid non-essential journeys.

Submarine murderer Madsen given extended prison time for escape attempt

Peter Madsen, who is serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of a journalist aboard his homemade submarine, was yesterday sentenced to another 21 months behind bars for a brief jailbreak last year.

The Glostrup district court convicted Madsen of “escaping from the prison where he was being held and having threatened prison staff, police officers and a motorist,” Danish police said in a statement reported by news wire AFP.

In October, Madsen managed to break out of the high-security Herstedvester prison where he had been held since being found guilty of the 2017 murder of 30-year-old Kim Wall of Sweden. He is now being held in another, undisclosed facility.

READ ALSO: Denmark tightens prison security after murderer's escape

Danish CO2 emissions fell in 2019, but further reduction needed

Denmark’s total CO2 emissions in 2019 amounted to 46.7 million tonnes, a reduction of 5 million tonnes from the year before, according to a preliminary report to the EU and UN by Aarhus University.

A further 23 million tonnes must be cut from the annual emissions of the country is to achieve its stated climate target of a 70 percent reduction on 1990 levels by 2030, media Altinget writes.

Update on Covid-19 variants

Two new cases of coronavirus infection with the B1351 variant, which was first reported in South Africa, have been detected. That takes the total number of cases in Denmark of the more infectious form of Covid-19 up to 7.

Health minister Magnus Heunicke tweeted that the cases were detected as a “result of test including on arrival (in Denmark), contact tracing and genome sequencing. The infected and close contacts are in isolation,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, the more widespread B117 variant, first discovered in the UK, is – currently – at a stable level of spread, according to broadcaster DR.

The reproduction rate or R-number of the variant is currently 0.99, departmental chief Tyra Grove Krause of the State Serum Institute confirmed.

“The number is under 1 and that suggests that restrictions can keep B117 in check, and that we have a more intensive contact tracing around B117,” Krause told DR.

The R-number for the variant has fallen from 1.14 last week.

“But even though the reproduction rate has fallen a little, I think this can change over time. I want to see it at 1 or under 1 for several weeks before I breathe more easily,” Krause said.

 

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

Denmark's new corona strategy, Danes flocking to early retirement, and longer nights ahead are among the top news stories in Denmark this Wednesday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

Start your day with this dreamy video from the Fanø kite festival, where about five thousand kite enthusiast convene on the shores of South Jutland every year.

@sweet.dreamersss

Nobody asked for it, but a slower/calmer video so you can see the kites in more detail and get a taste of the festival! #fyp #denmark #kite

♬ La dolce vita (In via Veneto) – Remastered 2017 – Carlo Savina

Shorter days and longer nights ahead 

The blackout curtains are (very slowly) on their way out — yesterday was the summer solstice and the longest day of the year, with an eye-wateringly early sunrise at 4:25 a.m. and sunset at 9:58 p.m.

We now begin the slow march to the winter solstice on December 21, when the sun will rise at 8:37 a.m. and set at an equally eye-watering 3:38 p.m. 

Prime minister to reveal new Covid-19 strategy today 

Prime minister Mette Frederiksen will discuss Denmark’s plans for managing the pandemic in the coming autumn and winter at a press conference at 10 a.m. 

She’ll present information on vaccination and testing strategies, according to newswire Ritzau. 

With no coronavirus restrictions in place, case counts are again on the rise in Denmark. Earlier this month, health minister Magnus Heunicke announced that re-introducing restrictions was off the table for the duration of the summer. 

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Omicron subvariant now dominant in Denmark 

Danes flock to early retirement scheme 

Early retirement is clearly an attractive prospect to many Danish workers, particularly craftspeople and slaughterhouse workers — more than 50,200 people have applied for the new ‘Arne pensions’ since August of 2021. 

The scheme allows people aged 61 or older who have spent more than 42 years in the labour market to retire before 65, which is the current age to draw a public pension in Denmark. 

Workers who have logged 44 years in the labour market can retire three years ahead of schedule, while 42 and 43 years  earn you a one or two year advance, respectively. 

This new policy, championed by Social Democrats in 2019, is somewhat out of step with the overall Danish plan to raise the retirement age in order to reduce pressure on pension funds, increase participation in an economy short on labour, and keep the number of years retirees draw their pensions constant despite increasing life expectancies. 

READ ALSO: Could Denmark delay plan to increase retirement age? 

Consumers report lowest confidence ever in Danish economy 

An analysis by government agency Statistics Denmark sets consumer confidence in the economy at its lowest point recorded.

Statistics Denmark calculates an index of consumer confidence by asking a representative sample of Danes about their views on their personal financial standing as well as the country’s.

Respondents are asked to compare their finances today with their finances a year ago, as well as what they expect their prospects to be a year from now. They’re also asked to weigh in on whether now is a good time to buy appliances like televisions or washing machines. Their answers are ranked on a scale from 100, meaning their situation is “much better” than a year ago,” to -100 for “much worse.” This year, the combined index landed at -24. 

Employment up — for now 

Meanwhile, employment continues to climb — another report from Statistics Denmark showed the country added 4,000 jobs from March to April, the latest in a 15-month streak of employment growth. 

According to Jeppe Juul Borre, chief economist at Arbejdernes Landsbank, there were more job postings in May than any previous May on record. 

However, between the war in Ukraine, price hikes, and supply chain issues, the trend is unlikely to last, Borre says.

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