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

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 Friday
Many people are enjoying a day off work on Friday for Denmark's Great Prayer Day holiday. Photo: John Randeris/Ritzau Scanpix

No new agreement on Covid-19 restrictions

We wrote yesterday that the current schedule for lifting Covid-19 restrictions could be sped up, with the opposition Liberal party amongst those calling to bring forward later phases of the plan.

No decision has yet been made on the matter. Talks yesterday did not result in any new agreement, broadcaster DR reports. Today is a public holiday in Denmark so the negotiations will resume at the beginning of next week.

There is some suggestion that schools will fully open sooner than currently expected, with enough parties backing that move to form a majority, even if not supported by the government itself.

Ministers return from Rwanda trip as bill for offshore asylum centres tabled

Immigration minister Mattias Tesfaye and international development minister Flemming Møller Mortensen travelled to Rwanda this week to sign an agreement with the Rwandan government. 

The trip had been surrounded by some secrecy, with the ministers initially refusing to speak to Danish media and only the Rwandan foreign ministry officially publicising it.

READ ALSO: Danish ministers visit Rwanda but stay quiet on agreement

The two ministers landed back in Copenhagen yesterday afternoon as the government tabled a new bill sub-titled “Introduction of the option to transfer asylum seekers for processing and possible subsequent protection in third countries”.

Commenting on the Rwandan trip for the first time, Tesfaye was still somewhat vague, declining to confirm the talks included discussion of an asylum centre. The government wants “discussions to take place in confidentiality”, he told DR.

We’ll have more on this story in a report later today.

Economic crime unit drops case against Danske Bank directors

Denmark’s economic crime unit SØIK has dropped potential charges for money laundering against three leading former directors of Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest bank.

The three directors, Thomas Borgen, Henrik Ramlau-Hansen and Lars Stensgaard Mørch were investigated in relation to a scandal involving large-scale money laundering at the Estonian division of the bank.

READ ALSO: US files lawsuit against scandal-hit Danske Bank

In a written statement to media including, SØIK said it had not uncovered “evidence that any individual has shown negligence to such an extent that it can be characterised as gross” and that the law had therefore not been broken.

The bank itself is still under investigation, however.

Rain and sun on extra day off work

Many people who work in Denmark have the day off today for the public holiday Great Prayer Day (Store Bededag). Keep an eye on our website for a look at why the Danish calendar includes this extra public holiday on a day when most other countries are going about their normal business.

The weather is likely to offer a mix of rain, sun and cooler temperatures, following the pattern seen throughout much of April.

It is likely to be the best weather of the three-day weekend, though, according to Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) forecasts.

“The Great Prayer Day holiday will continue this week’s somewhat cooler style. What is new is that a few showers will move in across the country,” DMI meteorologist Trine Pedersen told Ritzau.

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

A Dane going to space, beefing up the Danish navy, and increasing Covid cases are among the top news stories in Denmark on Friday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

Covid cases increase as holidays end

The number of positive PCR tests in Denmark is again on the rise with people returning to work and school after summer holidays, according to the latest data from the State’s Serum Institute, Denmark’s infectious disease agency.  

From the last week of July to the first week of August, cases rose 18 percent, while the positive percentage grew to 27 percent. 

“Activity in our society is increasing, and people may also be more aware of getting tested for symptoms in connection with starting work and education,” says Tyra Grove Krause, professional director of the SSI. 

Central and North Jutland have seen the highest overall infection rates, while nationwide 40-59 year olds are seeing the most positive tests. 

Data on incidence rates are more likely to be an underestimate given Denmark’s dramatically reduced public testing program, which saw all quick test sites and all but a handful of PCR test sites shuttered in the spring. On August 15, authorities further restricted guidelines for who should be tested if they experience Covid symptoms — now, the official guidance is that testing is only recommended for people who are 65 years old or over, pregnant, or have a condition that causes a higher risk of sever outcomes for Covid-19. 

Danish astronaut announces mission to space 

Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen will spend six months at the International Space Station as part of Mission Huginn — named after one of two ravens from Norse mythology that flew around the world to gather news for the god Odin.

Instead of news of the world, Mogensen will be gathering information about “sleep and well-being in space” as well as attempt to 3D print metal components, all essential for potential longer-term space travel to destinations like Mars. 

Denmark to strengthen naval fleet with eye to Russia 

Defense minister Morten Bodskov announced a significant investment in the Danish navy on Thursday.

Over the next 20 years, 40 billion kroner will be spent to upgrade the Danish fleet. “We are facing a serious situation in Europe. There is war in Europe. We have just been through a corona pandemic, and common to both is that it has created problems for our security of supply,” Bodskov told reporters, according to newswire the Agence France-Presse. 

“It is not viable, especially in times of war in Europe, for the Danish defence to have problems getting ships and other equipment built,” he added. “That is why we are taking action now” with industry partners to build our own warships. 

READ MORE: From June: Russian warship violates Danish waters

Danish politicians may visit Taiwan 

Members of Danish parliament from six political parties are ready to travel to Taiwan after a possible election this autumn, newspaper Politiken reports. 

“Taiwan must not be isolated in the way that China wants it to be. They must not succeed in that,” Michael Aastrup Jensen, foreign affairs spokesman for the Liberal party (Venstre) told Politiken. 

The six parties that have signed on to a possible trip are the Conservatives, the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), the Social Liberals (Radikale), the Danish People’s Party, the Liberal party, and the new Danish Democrats party. 

However, some, including Socialist People’s Party foreign affairs spokesman Karsten Hønge, say stirring the pot in Taiwan could cause more harm than good. 

READ MORE: From 2019: Copenhagen Zoo removes Taiwan from display map to get loan pandas from China 

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