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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

The health minister promising a 'summer without corona restrictions,' Syrian refugees allowed to stay after residence revoked, and Obama in Copenhagen are among the top stories in Denmark this Monday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday
Former President of the United States Barack Obama during the Copenhagen Democracy Summit on Friday. (Photo: Philip Davali / Ritzau Scanpix)

Obama in Copenhagen 

Former United States president Barack Obama was in town last week for the Copenhagen Democracy summit. A choir practicing on a balcony near Kongens Nytorv found themselves accidentally serenading a visibly spellbound Obama, who passed his coffee off to an attendant to applaud. 

@agneshaugland

#foryou #foryourpage #fyp #copenhagen #denmark #obama #singing #denmark

♬ original sound – Agnes Haugland

No corona restrictions this summer, health minister vows

Reinstating Covid-19 restrictions this summer is “out of the question,” Danish health minister Magnus Heunicke told broadcaster DR. 

Heunicke dismissed concerns about a 16 percent increase in confirmed cases from the week of May 15th to the week of May 22nd. It’s attributed to the new omicron sub-variant BA.5., which is expected to become the dominant strain in Denmark in coming weeks. 

“Yes, it is more contagious than it has been in the past,” Heunicke says. “But we are at a very low level here in Denmark and still have a high immunity in the population.”

By autumn, though, the National Board of Health anticipates a need for a new vaccination program — at least for the most vulnerable, including the elderly, the disabled, and healthcare workers. 

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Infection numbers in Denmark up for first time since February 

Refugee Board allows many Syrian refugees to stay 

Hundreds of Syrian refugees were informed that their residence permit was revoked or their application rejected since the Danish government determined conditions in the Damascus area had “improved.” 

However, in 2022, the Refugee Board has reversed the decision of the Danish Immigration Service in 71 percent of Syrian cases addressed this year and allowed the refugees to stay. 

Between January and May, the Refugee Board, which issues binding decisions when applicants appeal a determination from the Immigration Service, overturned Immigration’s decision in 54 out of 76 cases and granted continued residence permits. 

Ib Hounsgaard Trabjerg, chairman of the Refugee Board, described the rate of reversal as too high — “not least for the sake of those people who find their residence permits revoked or refused, creating uncertainty about their situation,” he told newswire Ritzau. 

READ ALSO: ‘I can’t go back’: Syrian refugees in Denmark face limbo after status revoked 

Physical divides between rich and poor in Denmark grow larger 

Economic segregation has increased in Denmark over the past decade, according to a new study from the Economic Council of the Labour Movement.  

“The Danes who earn the most – and also the middle class – are increasingly clumping together in special neighborhoods,” council director Lars Andersen told newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad. “This may mean that we do not see anyone other than those who look like ourselves.” 

“The risk is that it affects the mutual understanding of each other across social groups. The scare example is the United States, where the social division has led to widespread polarization,” he adds.

A rising cost of housing is in part to blame, Andersen explains. In 2020, 27 percent of primary schools had students from all income brackets, while 10 years ago the figure was 40 percent. 

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

Copenhagen Pride, billions raised for the Ukraine war effort, and a steamy weekend ahead are among the top news stories in Denmark on Friday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

Copenhagen Pride kicks off 

Copenhagen Pride begins this weekend with events across the city, from film screenings and concerts to historical walking tours and good-old-fashioned parties — here’s the full schedule of events.

You’ll have to wait until next weekend for the iconic Copenhagen pride parade. 

Donors raise 10.8 billion kroner for Ukraine 

Representatives for 26 countries convened in Copenhagen for a fundraiser for Ukraine, ultimately committing to more than 10.8 billion kroner (that’s over $1.5 billion) to support training and equipment this year and the next. 

France, Germany and the United States have yet to announce how much they contributed to the impressive total, but Denmark and the UK, the two countries behind the fundraiser, have revealed their supplemental donations were $114 million and almost $300 million, respectively. 

“Our partners know that we need funding and they articulated readiness to support us financially,” Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said, according to the Agence France-Presse 
“That is a marathon and for a marathon you need energy and frankly
speaking, the main energy in this case is money.” 

READ MORE: Denmark’s government supports EU candidacy for Ukraine 

Brace for heat 

We’re in for a steamy weekend, according to the Danish Meteorological Association. 

Forecasts predict cloudless skies Saturday and Sunday with temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees — perhaps as high as 32 on Saturday. 

If you decide to break out the grill, though, be mindful — Danish Emergency Services says the warm weather and recent lack of rain mean an elevated risk for fires this weekend. 

READ MORE: Three great open-air swimming spots in Copenhagen 

Minister of Justice calls for meeting with…football fans 

Football players and fan club leaders have been invited to meet with Danish minister of justice Mattias Tesfaye after yet another week of unrest surrounding matches, TV2 Lorry reports. 

Tesfaye says he’s willing to do what’s necessary to make the stadium environment safe for the 99 percent of fans who come for “football and partying.” Possible measures include making penalties harsher for crimes connected with games (again) and increasing police presence.

This follows several weeks of dust-ups between rival fans, fans and stadium staff, and fans and police that sent several to hospital and involved considerable destruction at various stadiums. 

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