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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

Faroese elections, continuing traffic woes, and a new peak for electricity prices are among the top news stories in Denmark on Friday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday
Danish officials urge extra caution on the roads as icy conditions continue. (Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix)

Faroese to form new government after elections 

The Faroese Social Democrats (or Javnaðarflokkurin) took home 9 out of 33 mandates in the Faroe Island’s December 8th elections, making them the largest party in the parliament (Lagting). 

Party leader Aksel Johannesen is expected to be able to form a government, newswire Ritzau reports — he’ll be courting the two other parties that had joined the Faroese Social Democrats in opposition, Tjóðveldi and Framsókn, to reach the 18 mandates necessary to govern. 

Danish airport closes 

Central Jutland (not South Denmark, where Billund Airport is located) will soon be without an airport after the last flights take off on December 9th, broadcaster TV2 reports. 

Between low demand and high fuel costs, Karup Airport simply isn’t profitable, according to Danish Air Transport, the company that’s run the airport for the past seven years. Pre-COVID, the airport served about 120,000 passengers a year, while in 2022, that number plummeted to just 20,000 according to TV2. 

Local officials say the Central Jutland airport should receive state aid, like the Bornholm and Sønderborg airports. 

Denmark scraps recommendation to isolate after positive COVID test 

As of December 8th, the Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen) no longer considers COVID an illness of special concern. It’s a remarkable announcement ahead of the winter holidays, when the coronavirus and flu often spike, and the same week the Danish infectious disease agency reported an increase in COVID infections and hospitalisations.

 “We can now take even more steps towards normal conditions in relation to the Covid-19 response in both the community and the health service,” the Health Authority’s acting head of department Line Raahauge Hvass said in the statement.

“There is no longer any need for very specific requirements for Covid-19 in relation to other diseases, for example for a person with a positive Covid-19 test to isolate for at least four days,” she said.

It’s a popular move among the Danish political parties. Per Larsen, spokesman for the Conservatives, told DR he welcomes the loosening of restrictions and  was certain the winter flu and corona seasons will go well if Danes remember hand hygiene. (This represents a grave misunderstanding of how COVID-19 is spread three years into the pandemic — since it’s airborne, handwashing will have little to no effect.) 

READ MORE: Denmark’s health authority scraps isolation guidelines for Covid-19

Traffic accidents continue as icy conditions persist 

Southern Denmark and Zealand both report highway accidents on the morning of December 9, and with sleet and snow in today’s forecast, traffic conditions are unlikely to improve in the next several days. 

The Danish Meteorological Institute says hazardous road conditions are likely to continue through the weekend as the temperatures hover around freezing and additional precipitation is forecast. 

READ MORE: Essential rain gear for a wet Danish winter

Denmark sees highest electricity prices in months 

On December 9th, Danish consumers can look forward to the highest average electricity price since September, broadcaster TV2 reports

Not counting VAT, tariffs, and tax, a kilowatt-hour of energy from the Nordic electricity exchange will set you back just over 3 kroner. That’s still a far cry from August’s record of 4.3 kroner per. kilowatt-hour. 

Another wrinkle is that prices will fluctuate less during the day than normal, TV2 says, making it harder to schedule your dishwasher or laundry machine cycle during a time when prices are cheaper. 

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Great Prayer Day protest, Olympics ban for Russian athletes, another stabbing, and inquiry into jailing of spy jihadi: here's the latest news from Denmark.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Danes protest against plan to abolish public holiday

Tens of thousands of Danes protested on Sunday against the government’s plan to abolish a public holiday to help fund the defence budget, amid the war in Ukraine.

“It’s a totally unfair proposal”, said Lizette Risgaard, the head of the FH union which organised the demonstration and which has 1.3 million members in the country of 5.9 million inhabitants.

Protesters, estimated at between 40,000 and 50,000 by police and organisers, gathered outside parliament in Copenhagen and carried signs reading “Hands Off Our Holiday” and “Say No to War”.

Around 70 buses ferried in demonstrators from across Denmark. Denmark’s left-right government coalition, in power since December and led by Social Democratic Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, plans to scrap the religious holiday known as Great Prayer Day, observed since the 17th century.

The government wants to use the money generated to raise the defence budget to NATO’s target of 2 percent of GDP by 2030, instead of 2033 as previously planned.

It insists the accelerated calendar is necessary due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

17-year-old seriously injured in stabbing

A 17-year-old man was seriously injured in a stabbing in Vanløse on the outskirts of Copenhagen on Sunday evening, although by 915pm, police told the media he was no longer at danger of losing his life. 

According to the B.T. newspaper, the young man was already on the police’s radar. 

The stabbing came only a day after another 17-year-old man was stabbed in Nørrebro, with CCTV footage showing two masked men carrying out the attack. 

After a series of stabbing events, police on December 19th brought in a stop-and-search zone in parts of Nørrebro and northwest Copenhagen, which was extended on January 19th. 

Danish vocab: forlænget – extended 

Denmark opposes Russia athletes competing at Olympics under neutral flag

The Danish government said on Friday it opposed Russian athletes competing under a neutral flag at the 2024 Paris Olympics, which the International Olympic Committee is considering despite Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Since the invasion in February 2022, Russians and Belarusians have been banned from most international sporting events.  Ukraine wants to keep it that way and ban Russian athletes from competing in the 2024 Summer Olympics.

But the IOC has said it is examining a “pathway” for Russians to take part in the summer Games, competing under a neutral flag.

“It is Denmark’s official position, and it is my position as a minister, that we must not waver in our relations with Russia,” Culture Minister Jakob Engel-Schmidt told Danish news agency Ritzau.

“Russia must be excluded from all international sport as long as their attack on Ukraine continues,” he added.

Spy or jihadist? Denmark probes jailed man’s case

Danish lawmakers decided on Friday to investigate the case of a man who says he spied for Denmark in Syria, but wound up jailed by Spain over alleged IS group ties.

Ahmed Samsam, 34, a Danish national, claims he was working for Denmark’s secret service PET and military intelligence service FE in Syria in 2013 and 2014, spying on foreign jihadist fighters.

But he says they left him high and dry after he was arrested while on a trip to Spain in 2017, accused of himself supporting the Islamic State (IS) group.

Convicted and serving his sentence in Denmark since 2020, he has filed a lawsuit against the two intelligence services to force them to acknowledge his role with them. The case is due to be heard in August.

The new left-right government in power since December has rejected calls for an inquiry. But all of the other parties in parliament agreed on Friday to back a probe by the assembly’s Investigative Committee.

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