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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup 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.

People in Kolding look on as a tug boat removes a dead North Sea beaked whale from the town's harbour on January 26th.
People in Kolding look on as a tug boat removes a dead North Sea beaked whale from the town's harbour on January 26th. Photo: Søren Gylling/Jysk Fynske Medier/Ritzau Scanpix

Government could give tax-free sum to families with high heating bills 

Amid ongoing political talks over how to tackle the very high current cost of energy for households and businesses, the government wants to pay out a one-off, tax-free sum to families particularly hard hit by the price rises, newspaper Jyllands-Posten reports this morning.

Both individually gas heated homes and houses on district heating systems could be offered cash under the political initiative.

“We propose that we put together a heating cheque for Danes who are hardest hit – specifically, that means people who have individual gas heating or live in district heating areas where the district heating supply relies on gas,” the minister for climate, energy and critical supplies, Dan Jørgensen, told Jyllands-Posten.

We’ll have more detail on this story in an article today.

READ ALSO: Why some homes in Denmark are more affected by rocketing heating bills

Prime Minister touts return to ‘life as we knew it’ after announcing end of Covid restrictions

Denmark will remove virtually all Covid restrictions from next Tuesday despite record infections, counting on a high vaccination rate to cope with the milder Omicron variant, the government said yesterday.

“We are saying farewell to the restrictions and welcome to life as we knew it before corona,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told a press conference.

Denmark is set to become the first European Union country to lift domestic curbs despite the Omicron wave sweeping the continent, news wire AFP writes.

The successful vaccine programme proved a “super-weapon”, Frederiksen said. 

“It has given us a solid defence against infection that continues.

“That’s why the government decided that coronavirus should no longer be considered a threatening disease for society,” she said.

READ ALSO: Denmark confirms plan to lift Covid-19 restrictions on February 1st

Businesses consider retaining Covid restrictions

Although government-mandated Covid-19 restrictions will largely end on Tuesday, some businesses are considering keeping rules in some form, broadcaster DR reports.

The Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri) said that a number of companies would like to continue using the coronapas while others would like to retain face mask rules.

Mali repeats demand for Denmark to withdraw its forces

Mali’s military government on Wednesday repeated a demand that Danish special forces withdraw from the Sahel state, noting recent “inappropriate” comments made by Denmark’s foreign minister. 

The junta, which came to power in a coup in August 2020, had first asked Denmark to withdraw its troops on Monday, following a deployment it said had been undertaken without consent. 

A contingent of around 90 Danish soldiers arrived in Mali to join European special forces supporting the country’s anti-jihadist operations earlier this month.

On Tuesday, Denmark’s Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told reporters that Danish forces were in Mali “on a clear basis” and that his government was seeking to clarify the issue. 

“There is currently a difficult diplomatic discussion with the transitional government,” he added. 

“They have suspended democracy, and we want to see it return as soon as possible”. 

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Murder at a luxury Copenhagen hotel, changes to laws on Ukrainian refugees, and new Covid surveillance strategies are among the top news stories in Denmark this Thursday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Danish government wants to make Ukrainian refugee “start date” more flexible 

As the law currently stands, Ukrainians who happened to have left their home country — perhaps for vacation or business — just before war broke out could have trouble gaining residence in Denmark. 

The Danish government have announced plans to change the ‘cut-off date’ for when people must have left Ukraine to be considered war refugees from February 24th to February 1st. 

Parliament will consider the amendment to the current “Ukrainian law,” which grants two years’ residence to refugees who meet certain stipulations, including when they fled the country. 

READ ALSO: Denmark plans ‘Ukraine towns’ to accommodate war refugees 

Without widespread testing, how will Denmark predict next Covid wave? 

With Denmark’s once-wide network of public Covid test sites nearly gone, the State Serum Institute — Denmark’s infectious disease agency — is piloting a new program that it hopes will detect upticks in infections.

Ten thousand blood donors and the members of their households will be randomly chosen to participate in the “PCR Home Test Study,” the SSI says. Those who agree to participate will receive test kits from the government and will be asked to self-test once a week for a month, registering each sample in TestCenter Denmark’s app and sending it to the SSI for processing. 

If a new wave is detected, the SSI will consider recommending boosters for groups at high risk, director Henrik Ullum told Danish newswire Ritzau. 

If the program is successful, it could be deployed to monitor other respiratory viruses, such as the flu, Ullum added. 

READ ALSO: Which Covid self-tests should you buy (and avoid) in Denmark? 

Danish man pleads guilty to bow and arrow attack in Norway 

Espen Andersen Brathen the 38-year-old Danish man accused of using a bow and arrow outside a supermarket and stabbing five to death with a knife in the Norwegian town of Kongsberg last October, pleaded guilty to all charges yesterday. 

Although the attack was initially thought to be an act of terrorism, three experts who observed him assessed that Brathen was experiencing paranoid schizophrenia, newswire Agence France-Presse reports. Both the prosecution and defense agree that a psychiatric commitment, rather than a prison sentence, is appropriate. 

Murder at luxury Copenhagen hotel 

The NH Collection on Strandgade — home to the “Feel Safe at NH” campaign during the Covid pandemic — was the site of what authorities describe as a brutal murder on Sunday.  

A 28-year-old man suffered head injuries in a room in the NH Collection, where rooms start at 3000 kroner a night, and died of his injuries Monday evening. Police have one man, a 20-year-old, in custody for the crime and are seeking a 24-year-old Dutch citizen as an alleged accomplice. 

Authorities also suspect the 20-year-old currently in custody in another crime three hours after the incident on Strandgade — a gruesome knife attack at an “apartment hotel” in Silkegade. According to charges read at a preliminary hearing in court yesterday, the second victim was stabbed repeatedly, his cheek was ripped open, and an ear was cut off. 

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