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Today in Denmark: a roundup of the news on Wednesday

Denmark acknowledges Russian reports of 'device' found on Nord Stream pipeline, Danish researchers find reduced screen time helps ADHD, Øresund Bridge hikes prices for single trips, and Danish company gives unlimited sick days. Here's some of the news on Wednesday.

Today in Denmark: a roundup of the news on Wednesday
The 50-feet-long charter yacht "Andromeda", which German prosecutors had searched believed to be used for the blasts of the Baltic Sea pipelines Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 is seen in a dry dock in Dranske at Ruegen island, Germany. Photo: Oliver Denzer/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark confirms ‘suspicious object’ found under Nord Stream 2 pipeline

Denmark’s foreign minister has confirmed that the Russian gas company Gazprom has found a ‘suspicious object’ under the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, although he said nothing about what it might be. 

According to Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, a ship from the gas giant, which was the majority owner of the pipeline, had found the device, which he said was suspected to be part of a remote detonation system. 

“Specialists believe that it could be an antenna to receive a signal to detonate an explosive device, which could have been – I’m not sure, but it’s possible – planted under the pipeline,” Putin told the state-owned news agency Tass.

Rasmussen said that the object or device did not present a current risk.

“The assessment from our authorities is that there is no immediate security risk and thus no danger to human life or shipping,” he said. 

Rasmussen said that Gazprom had sent pictures of the device to the Danish authorities and held meetings with the embassy in Russia. 

“It has also been followed up with a direct inquiry to our embassy in Russia,” he said. “Of course, we take it very seriously, and it is being investigated.”

Last week, Germany’s Die Zeit newspaper reported that German investigators suspect that the yacht Andromeda, which was owned by a Ukrainian, was used to plant the explosives on the pipeline. 

Danish vocab: ikke fare for menneskeliv – no danger to people

Danish researchers find halving screen time helps ADHD teens

A research group from the University of Southern Denmark, looking at 142 families where a child is diagnosed with ADHD, has found that reducing screen time reduces the number of angry outbursts, and increases the happiness of the child. 

“What we have observed among many families is that when the cut down on screen time for the children, the children become happier and less conflict-seeking and the family feel better together,” Aida Bikic, who is leading the research, told TV2. 

The project is not yet finished and the results have yet to be submitted to or published in a peer-reviewed public journal. 

Danish vocab: konfliktsøgende – conflict-seeking 

Øresund Bridge raises toll for single journeys between Sweden and Denmark

The Øresund Bridge on Tuesday increased its toll for single journeys but said that new discount rates will be introduced.

The bridge’s operator Øresundsbron set out the changes to toll prices in a press statement on Tuesday.

“We are making it cheaper for those who travel with us the most and the price will go up for those who travel less,” Øresundsbron director of sales and marketing Berit Vestergaard said at a briefing on the price changes.

The toll price for a one-way crossing on the Øresund Bridge was raised to 440 Danish kroner (645 Swedish kronor) from the previous 415 kroner (610 kronor) on Tuesday, a 6 percent increase.

Danish vocab: allermest – the most 

Danish company gives unlimited sick days to employees with kids

Energy company Norlys has announced unlimited sick days for staff with children, broadcaster DR reports.

Norlys, which has energy, internet and TV divisions, has around 3,000 employees according to DR. It will not deduct wages for employees when they stay home to take care of unwell children, nor will the employee lose any holiday or time off in lieu.

“Many of my colleagues were stressed when one of their children got sick. Because of work, many of them – myself included – have dropped off a half-unwell child at kindergarten, nursery or with carers,” Maria Østergaard, a Norlys employee committee member who raised the issue with company leadership, told DR.

Danish vocab: ubegrænsede – unlimited

Danish municipalities introduce shorter school days and new subjects

Staff and local government leaders in seven municipalities given more freedom over their administration in a 2021 trial scheme have introduced a number of new measures at schools and elderly care facilities.

The increased autonomy in the seven pilot scheme municipalities have resulted in unconventional approaches in areas such as school timetables and subjects taught at some schools.

The experiences of the seven municipalities are detailed in a report that covers the scheme as it reaches its half-way point. The report was produced by independent research centre Danish Center for Social Science Research (Vive).

“So far, we can see that the greater autonomy encourages new approaches,” Vive project manager Ulf Hjelmar said in a press statement.

“That is not least due to staff in elderly care and individual schools and childcare being part of the decision-making process for changes that promote a better welfare,” he said.

Danish vocab: frihed – freedom

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Today in Denmark: a roundup of the day’s news on Tuesday

Danish extremist barred from UK, Islamic State sisters lose case against Denmark, Denmark only second happiest country, and home sales in Denmark at lowest level since 2013.

Today in Denmark: a roundup of the day's news on Tuesday

Rasmus Paludan barred from entering UK 

The Danish anti-Islamic extremist Rasmus Paludan had been barred from entering the UK after it emerged that he planned to burn copies of the Quran in the city of Wakefield. 

The UK’s security minister, Tom Tugendhat, told the UK parliament that Paludan has been added to the UK’s “warnings index” after he announced his plans to ban a Quran in the city to mark the start of Ramadan on Wednesday and “will not be allowed access” to the country.

“His travel to the United Kingdom would not be conducive with the public good and he will not be allowed access,” he said, according to The Guardian newspaper.  

Danish vocab: adgang – access 

Islamic State twin sisters lose case against Denmark 

A court in Copenhagen on Monday acquitted Denmark’s immigration ministry for stripping two twin sisters of their Danish citizenship in 2020. 

The sisters were born in Denmark to Somali refugees, and then grew up in the UK before going to Syria to join the Islamic state caliphate in 2014, aged 16. The two are now held in the al-Roj prison camp in Kurdish-held northern Syria. 

The sentence is conditional on the women not becoming stateless.

In 2020, ministry said that the sisters were also Somali citizens and therefore would not be left stateless, but their lawyer, Eddie Omar Rosenberg Khawaja, said that the law in Somalia prohibits dual citizenship, meaning the two had lost their Somali citizenship automatically on becoming Danish citizens at aged four. 

He plans to appeal the judgement. 

Danish vocab: tvillingesøstre – twin sisters

Home sales in Denmark sink to lowest level since 2013

The number of home sales in Denmark fell over the last three months to the lowest level since the start of 2013, when the country was still emerging from a protracted housing slump.

Only 9,931 homes were sold in the last three months of 2022, according to the latest figures from the trade body Finance Denmark, the lowest number for 39 three-month periods. At the same time prices have fallen back to the levels they were at at the end of 2020. 

Prices of apartments fell by 7.2 percent last three months of the year compared to the same period in 2021, while prices for detached houses fell by 6.3 percent.

Danish vocab: bolighandler – home sales

World’s second happiest country: Denmark loses out to Finland again

Denmark is listed at number two on this year’s World Happiness Report, coming second to Finland for the second year in a row.

The UN’s World Happiness Report, published on Monday, puts Denmark second on its national happiness ranking.

Finland takes the title of world’s happiest nation, once closely associated with Denmark, for the sixth year in a row.

The Danish second place is the same as its 2022 ranking and one spot better than in 2021. Denmark once took first place regularly, but this has not happened since 2016. Denmark was also second behind Finland in 2019.