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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the 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.

Spring blossom in Denmark
Spring blossom in Denmark in April 2020. File photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark ups effort to quit Russian gas 

Work resumed last month in Funen town Middelfart on the Baltic Pipe project, a planned 900-kilometre link mainly intended to help Poland reduce its dependence on Russian natural gas.

“Of course it’s also to have the gas in the Danish system but mainly also to help our good neighbours’ gas systems and our Polish good friends,” Søren Juul Larsen, head of the project at Danish energy infrastructure operator Energinet, told news wire AFP.

Just a week after the invasion of Ukraine, the Danish environmental authority — which had concerns about the project’s impact on local populations of mice and bats — granted a permit to continue construction, after a nine-month suspension.

“The pipeline was stopped because of a lack of permissions concerning the protection of nature and rare species,” Trine Villumsen Berling, a researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies, told AFP.

“We were expecting it to soon be approved but of course the war made it a more pressing issue,” Villumsen said.

READ ALSO: Denmark okays gas pipeline connecting Norway and Poland

Danes in doubt over answer to upcoming EU opt-out referendum 

Polls indicate a large number of people in Denmark remain in doubt as to whether to vote yes or no in the upcoming referendum over whether the country should revoke its EU opt-out in defence and military areas.

A poll conducted by Epinion on behalf of broadcaster DR shows that 33 percent of voters don’t know or are in doubt about which way to vote in the referendum.

36 percent said they would vote yes to reverse the opt-out, and 27 percent said they would vote no, in favour of retaining it.

The opt-out means that Denmark does not participate in all of the EU’s foreign and security policies and decision making relating to military and defence issues.

READ ALSO: Danish government promises new referendum in event of supranational EU army

Lego joins Sony in $2 billion Epic Games metaverse investment

Lego’s Danish parent firm yesterday announced along with Japanese giant Sony a $2 billion investment in US gaming powerhouse Epic Games for its work toward joining the metaverse vision for the internet’s future.

Scores of tech firms have been rushing to invest in building the metaverse, a loose term covering the growing eco-system of interactive online worlds, games and 3D meeting places that are already attracting millions of users.

In the form of video games like Epic’s hit Fortnite, the precursors of the metaverse already exist in a minimalist way, with people coming together not only to play, but also to interact and participate in events. 

The $2 billion (1.84 billion euros) in funding is aimed at advancing Epic’s “vision to build the metaverse and support its continued growth,” the three firms said in a joint statement.

Sony, already a shareholder in Epic Games, and Kirkbi, Lego’s parent firm, are each investing $1 billion, the firms said.  

Covid-19: 1,805 new cases on Monday

Official data shows that 1,805 new cases of Covid-19 were registered on Monday.

The positive cases were found among 11,065 PCR tests, giving a test positivity rate of just over 16 percent, similar to the proportion of positive tests seen in general this month.

Testing levels are now a fraction of those seen earlier in the pandemic. Daily case numbers peaked in February when up to 55,000 new cases were registered on a number of days.

923 people with Covid-19 are currently admitted to hospitals in Denmark. This total is on a downward trend, having reached over 1,500 in early March.

A large proportion of the patients are not receiving treatment for the coronavirus and are in hospital for other reasons.

22 people with Covid-19 are currently in ICU care and 8 are receiving ventilator treatment.

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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.