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

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 news on Thursday
A Hercules plane taking off from Kabul airport. Photo: Stringer/Ritzau Scanpix

Danish government to intervene to end nurses strike by Saturday 

Denmark’s government has decided to end the country’s long-running nurses’ strike with a so-called “legislative intervention”, a special bill that will need to be passed with a super-majority of three-quarters of Danish MPs.  

“Right now our planned operations are running on half power, and it goes without saying that the health service can not function for such a long time at half power,” the country’s health minister, Magnus Heunicke, said at a press conference following a meeting with other parliamentary parties on Wednesday night. 

“For each week the conflict is allowed to continue, the backlog of treatments is extended by 10 weeks. It affects 200,000 patients.” 

According to Denmark’s employment minister, Peter Hummelgaard, the government believes its proposal has the support of enough MPs to pass, even though Socialist People’s Party, the Red-Green Alliance, and the Danish People’s Party have all said they oppose the intervention. 

The bill will put into law the solution that Denmark’s official union mediator drew up after talks between unions and the country’s regional health authorities. The mediator’s proposal was rejected by the nurses. 

Denmark’s last evacuation flight leaves Kabul 

Denmark’s last evacuation plane from Afghanistan landed in Islamabad on Wednesday, the country’s defence ministry said in a statment.  

“The Danish evacuation effort has now been completed. We can no longer fly planes in and out, and therefore this ten-day evacuation with Danish Hercules planes ends,” the country’s defence minister, Trine Bramsen, said. “It is no longer safe to fly in and out of Kabul airport.” 

There were 90 evacuees on board the plane, comprising the last Danish employees, soldiers and diplomats from Kabul. Denmark’s foreign ministry could not on Wednesday give figures for how many on the so-called “Danish list” of those with Danish citizenship or residency, remained in Afghanistan. 

Danish court finds woman guilty of joining Islamic State

A court in Copenhagen on Wednesday found a 23-year-old woman guilty of joining Islamic State in Syria and of trying to help her little sister to do the same.

According to the court, the woman spent two years and nine months living in areas controlled by the Islamic State terror group in Syria. In the trial, she denied this, claiming instead to have spent the time in Turkey and Egypt. 

In its judgement, the court pointed to photos of Islamic State fighters found on the woman’s mobile phone, which it showed had been taken in Raqqa, the group’s former stronghold in Syria. 

The woman was arrested in July 2020 when she arrived in Denmark. Prior to that, she had been in the custody of the Turkish authorities after she was arrested in March 2019 in Turkey.

Danish charities restart work in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan 

Danish charities are reopening their operations in Afghanistan, with Danish People’s Aid, which has built and renovated more than 250 schools in the country, saying their operatives are slowly getting back to work following the upheaval of the Taliban’s takeover. 

“There is a cautious return to a normal working day, which we will test with very careful steps over the next few weeks,” Klaus Nørlem, the charity’s director-general told Danish state broadcaster DR

He said that charity had been in touch with the Taliban both before and after their takeover of Kabul and been assured that their work would be allowed to continue. 

Merete Engell, a nurse working with Medicins sans Frontieres, said that the Taliban had given assurances that all five of the group’s medical projects could continue operating.

“On all five projects, the Taliban have contacted us after the takeover of the province to make sure that we stay, and we have got the assurances we need to have that it is safe for us to be there,” she said. 

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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

No extra booster dose, school to trial four-day week, PostNord to document failed deliveries, and mortgage arrears on the rise. Here are some of the main stories from Denmark.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Covid-19: Denmark decides against additional booster this winter

No additional booster vaccination against Covid-19 will be offered this winter, the Danish Health Authority confirmed on Wednesday.

Together with an expert advisory group, the Health Authority has considered whether to offer vulnerable groups an extra booster vaccination against Covid-19 this winter.

People at higher risk of serious illness with the virus including those over the age of 85 will not be offered a further booster this winter, the authority has decided.

Denmark offered a booster in autumn 2022 to all people over the age of 50 and younger people considered vulnerable to the coronavirus.

The booster was backed up by data suggesting it improves protection against hospitalisation with Covid-19 by 74 percent, according to the Danish Health Authority.

Danish vocab: boosterstik – booster dose

Defense Minister hospitalised after dizzy spell

Denmark’s defense minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, was examined at the Rigshospitalet hospital in Copenhagen on Wednesday after a spell of dizziness and a headache.

“Fortunately, there is nothing serious to report and I am feeling well again,” Ellemann-Jensen said in a Facebook post. “I, therefore, expect to be back in work clothes again tomorrow, and then of course I will pay extra attention to my health in the near future.” 

On Monday, Ellemann-Jensen was in the  Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv together with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen (S) and Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, with the three meeting the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyj.

Danish vocab: et ildebefindende – a malaise 

Danish school to trial four-day week

Pupils and teachers at Aalborg Cathedral School are to launch an experiment with a four-day week after the summer holidays, exchanging six days of their summer holidays for six Mondays off over the autumn term to see if it brings improved well-being. 

“We have been inspired by those workplaces which operate with four-day working weeks. Then we talked about whether we could do something similar, because there is a lot of pressure on both staff and students,” Christian Nielsen Warmin, the school’s headteacher, told the Danish broadcaster TV2

Danish vocab: bedre trivsel – improved well-being

PostNord to consider photo documentation of failed deliveries 

Denmark’s PostNord postal service is considering making postal workers document failed deliveries to reduce the level of customer complaints. 

The company’s CEO in Denmark, Peter Kjær Jensen, said he believed that it was rare for postal workers to claim to have tried to deliver a package without even visiting the property, but acknowledged that many people in Denmark felt angry when they receive a message about a failed delivery despite being home all day. 

“We have very few of these cases, but they do exist. And we have also had postmen who are not skilled enough, or who have misunderstood how parcels are delivered correctly,” he said. 

The company is currently trialling photo documentation in Stenløse, Ølstykke and Veksø, with postal workers required to take a photo of the package that has been delivered without direct customer contact in order to document the delivery, or take a picture of the building’s entrance to prove that they have visited.

“Customers will be able to access the image via our app if the package fails to be delivered,” Jensen said. 

Danish vocab: dygtig – skilled

Danish mortgage arrears increase as costs go up

A higher number of Danish homeowners are finding it difficult to meet the repayment schedule on their mortgages, new figures show.

Data from the interest organisation from banks, Finans Danmark, shows that the “arrears percent” or restanceprocent was 0.14 percent in the third quarter of 2022, a small increase compared to preceding quarters.

That means homeowners on average did not pay 1.4 kroner in every 1,000 kroner they were due to pay on their mortgages during the quarter.

It is understandable that late 2022 presented challenges for homeowners, an analyst said in comments to the Ritzau newswire.

Danish vocab: restanceprocent – the percentage of homeowners in arrears