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

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

Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Tuesday
File photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Politicians to meet for new discussion of expulsion centre 

Immigration minister Mattias Tesfaye is to meet with representatives today to discuss the government’s plan to open an expulsion centre for foreigners with criminal convictions on the island of Langeland. The centre would accommodate persons who have been sentenced to deportation as part of their convictions but have not yet left Denmark.

Following last week’s announcement of the plan, fierce opposition to it from local communities and both left- and right-wing parties has left it looking less likely to go ahead. A parliamentary majority would need to back the minority government’s plan for the facility.

READ ALSO: Plan for new ‘expulsion centre’ reignites debate over Denmark’s treatment of unwanted foreigners

Remains of culled minks to be dug up

Thousands of minks, culled late last year due to concerns over a variant of Covid-19, are to be dug up at Nørre Felding near Holstebro in West Jutland. That comes after smaller test excavations of the remains, broadcaster DR reports.

The dead minks are to be incinerated due to environmental concerns. Around 1,300 tonnes are to be dug up and removed between now and mid-June, DR reports.


Denmark to announce squad for Euros 

Danish national team manager Kasper Hjulmand will today announce the names of the 26 players who will represent the country at the Euro 2020 football tournament this summer.

The finals were originally scheduled to take place last year but were postponed due to Covid-19. Denmark will play all three of their group stage matches, against Finland, Belgium and Russia, in Copenhagen. The government has given permission for a large crowd attendance for the matches at Parken Stadium.

Mobile vaccinations begin in Aarhus

Mobile vaccination units are today scheduled to visit three housing areas in Aarhus to offer vaccinations to people who been invited to take a Covid-19 inoculation but are yet to book an appointment.

The units will offer vaccinations to around two hundred people over the next three days and gather information for a campaign, according to DR.

Video of racist verbal attack creates political debate

A video of a racist verbal attack on a family with two small children spread virally on Danish social media over the long weekend, giving rise to debate about the effect of political discourse on public behaviour and attitudes.

In the video, recorded at Kastrup Harbour near Copenhagen, a man shouts at the family “why don’t you piss off to your own country” and “look at your skin colour, you’re yellow, you don’t belong here”, amongst other things. It can be viewed here on DR’s website and has also been shared many times on Facebook and Twitter.

Politicians have condemned the incident, including representatives of the anti-immigration, populist right wing Danish People’s Party. In a statement issued on Twitter, immigration minister Mattias Tesfaye said he was “sad” to hear about the video.

“But it was also great to hear how passers-by and the police dealt with the situation. Stop racism. Together for Denmark,” he added.

Social media commenters argued that Tesfaye’s party is amongst those to have fuelled racial tension with its strident rhetoric against immigration, often specifically from Middle Eastern countries. The thread linked below contains numerous examples.

The Social Democratic citizenship spokesperson, Lars Aslan Rasmussen, called the incident “clearly racist” in comments to DR, but said that Denmark was generally a tolerant country and denied Muslims were targeted by his party’s rhetoric.

“Strict immigration policy and racism are two different things,” Aslan Rasmussen said.

That view was not shared by Pernille Skipper of the left wing Red-Green Alliance.

“All the politicians who don’t think we have a problem with racism but who also ‘sympathise with the family’ have simply not grasped how normal this actually is,” Skipper said according to DR.

“This is not an outlier – it was just captured on video,” she also said.

Editor’s note: this article previously erroneously attributed comments by Pernille Skipper to Kristian Hegaard of the Social Liberal Party. The error has been corrected.

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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