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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

Ethnic Danes flee primary schools with non-Western children enrolled, why vitamin D may be important in Covid infections, and narrowing the field in government negotiations are among the top news stories today in Denmark.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday
When non-Western pupils arrive at a school, many ethnic Danish children leave, according to data analysed by broadcaster DR. (Photo: Mikkel Berg Pedersen/Ritzau Scanpix)

Ethnic Danes leave primary schools where non-Western children enroll

When children of non-Western immigrants enroll in a primary school, many ethnically Danish families find their kids seats in private and independent schools, where such children are scarce, broadcaster DR reports.

“A few years ago there was a parent who told me that their child should not be part of a social experiment,” said Lars Kirk, headmaster of a school that saw its enrollment drop nearly 25 percent after Syrian refugee children arrived. “I think many people have a prejudice that many bilinguals in a class equates to poor learning.” 

Between 2014 and 2021, the proportion of non-Western students in Denmark’s public primary schools increased 13 percent, while decreasing 4 percent in private schools. Schools that saw greater enrollment from non-Western children saw enrollment of ethnic Danes drop, DR finds. 

Study: low vitamin D associated with more severe Covid-19 infections 

New research conducted by Harvard University and the State Serum Institute, Denmark’s infectious disease agency, suggests that having a healthy level of vitamin D might help fend off serious illness from Covid-19.

The scientists examined blood samples from Denmark’s National Biobank and combined that information with each donor’s patient records. People with low vitamin D were twice as likely to experience a more serious case of Covid-19 (which the researchers classified as hospitalisation, intensive care, and/or death) compared to people with vitamin D levels considered normal.

That doesn’t mean you should double your vitamin D supplements — the researchers say to keep to the dose recommended by the Danish Health Authority, which is 5-10 micrograms a day for adults and children over four. 

Since the study followed patients infected in spring 2020, when a different variant of Covid-19 was circulating and vaccines weren’t yet available, it’s unclear how vitamin D levels could impact infections today. 

Commentator: six parties will continue in Danish government negotiations

While 11 Danish political parties are still part of Mette Frederiksen’s negotiations to form a new government, the field is expected to be nearly halved to six parties on Wednesday or soon after, political commentator Hans Engell predicts. 

Engell anticipates that only the Social Democrats (Frederiksen’s own party), the Liberal Party (Venstre), the Moderates, (Moderaterne), the Socialist People’s Party (Socialistisk Folkeparti), the Conservative People’s Party (De Konservative), and the Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre) will continue with the process. 

Engell expects the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), a party within the traditional red bloc, to leave negotiations — and that could spell trouble if Frederiksen’s plan to form a broad government with the Liberal Party crumbles. 

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

A bomb threat at Copenhagen Airport, negotiations inching toward a broad government, and a lawsuit over negative interest rates are among the top news stories in Denmark on Tuesday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

Plane evacuated at Copenhagen airport after bomb threat 

Officials at Copenhagen Airport received a bomb threat shortly before a plane arrived from Poland on the evening of December 5th, Espen Godiksen of the Copenhagen police tells newswire Ritzau. 

Passengers were cleared from the plane and 30-40 of the 71 people aboard the craft were held at the airport until 7:40am the subsequent morning for police to examine their checked luggage, according to broadcaster TV2.

No explosives have been found, but Godiksen says police will remain on site for “a long time.” Godiksen declined to comment on the seriousness of the threat. 

READ MORE: Tips for short-haul foreign travel from Denmark this Christmas 

A strong ‘maybe’ from Liberals to joining government 

Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, chairman of the Liberals (Venstre), now says his party is “maybe” on the path to joining Mette Frederiksen and the Social Democrats in a government that includes both red and blue bloc parties. 

According to TV2’s political commentator Noa Redington, Jensen is likely being coy about the prospects of a central government. 

The parties and their leaders “are probably further along in the process than we know at the moment,” Redington says. “It would be strange if they are not finished before Christmas.” 

However, there’s still time for everything to “collapse,” Redington says. “Then we’re back to square one.” 

READ MORE: Danish Liberal party demands ‘high ambitions’ from Social Democrats 

Watchdog sues Jyske Bank over ‘unreasonable’ negative interest rates

The Danish Consumer Ombudsman plans to take Jyske Bank to court for charging negative interest rates on certain types of accounts — such as pension funds and children’s savings — that penalise customers for withdrawing money early. 

Since 2020, most Danish banks have charged negative interest on some accounts, effectively charging customers to store money. Many banks ended the policy in August of this year amid record-setting interest rate hikes, though Jyske Bank kept theirs negative. 

The Ombudsman’s office will make the case that bank should refund improperly-charged negative interest rates to customers. Jyske Bank denies any wrongdoing. 

READ MORE: End of negative interest rates at (some) Danish banks 

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