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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday
The Jelling Stone in a photo taken in 2000 which therefore predates bluetooth technology. Photo: Palle Hedemann/Ritzau Scanpix

Students evacuated from Israel, rights to use Bluetooth name symbolically released and Greenland hunters raise alarm over cruise tourists. Here’s the news from Denmark on Wednesday.


Danish students repatriated from Israel as government offers evacuation 

A group of 32 students and five staff have been evacuated from Israel and returned to Denmark amid the outbreak of war between Israel and militant organisation Hamas.

The group, which was in Israel at the time of the initial Hamas attack, is part of an efterskole, an independent boarding schools where young adults and teenagers can spend one year or more, before going on to further education or work. 

The students and staff from Djursland Efterskole landed at Billund Airport early this morning after an earlier delay to their flight from Amman in Jordan, local media TV2 Østjylland reported.

“It’s a colossal relief to stand here and be able to give them all a hug and see how happy they are while also understanding it’s been hard,” the head teacher of the school, William Enevold Ehmsen, told the media.

The government is offering all Danish citizens and residents of Denmark evacuation from Israel and Palestinian areas.

Vocabulary: en lettelse – a relief


Denmark and Sweden both suspend Palestinian development aid

Denmark and Sweden both said yesterday that they were suspending Palestinian development aid but maintaining humanitarian assistance following the Hamas militant group's attack on Israel.

The announcements came a day after the European Commission launched a review of its development aid to the Palestinians.

The government in Copenhagen said in a statement it "has decided to put Danish development assistance to Palestine on hold".

"A thorough review will be conducted to ensure that no Danish funding is misused to indirectly support terrorist organisations that attack Israel," it said. 

The review will be conducted "in close dialogue with Denmark's partners in the EU and the Nordic countries," it said.

Sweden also said it was suspending development aid but did not provide any immediate details on the amount.

Vocabulary: at sætte på pause – to put on hold

Bluetooth inventors get OK to use Viking king's name

To the backdrop of the vast Jelling stones, Denmark on Tuesday granted the inventors of Bluetooth technology permission to use the name and symbol of Harald the Bluetooth for the next 1,000 years, news wire AFP reports.

"In a spirit of goodwill and cooperation, we hereby authorise you to continue to use the name, Harald Bluetooth, for the next 1,000 years," said a symbolic statement from the Jelling museum, which owns the eponymous runestones that tell the story of the king and his family. 

King Harald I Blåtand -- Harald Bluetooth -- was a key historical figure in 10th-century northern Europe, famous for his adoption of Christianity, turning his back on the cult of Odin and Thor. 

Modern-day Bluetooth, which enables electronic equipment to connect without cables, owes its name to the unifying king. 

Vocabulary: trådløs – wireless


Greenland’s hunters blame cruise ships as narwhal disappear

Indigenous hunters of the Scoresby Sound in eastern Greenland say the quiet of the hunt has been broken by new arrivals -- cruise passengers rushing to see Inuit culture before it is too late.

This summer, around 60 vessels ranging from sailing boats to large cruise ships arrived at the village of Ittoqqortoormiit at the mouth of the fjord system -- the largest in the world -- in the month when it was free of ice.  

"A week ago there were hunters out there, trying to catch narwhals. But there were a couple of ships going into them," hunter Peter Arqe-Hammeken, who said cruise ships were scaring off the wildlife, told AFP.

"When they come to the village, it's okay. But when they come to the hunting ground, that's not good," he said.

The Inuit hunt the toothed whales with harpoons and rifles under strict quotas, with the once lucrative export of the tusks banned since 2004.

But climate change is squeezing the narhwal's habitat and scientists warn that they will disappear totally from eastern Greenland if hunting is not banned.

Vocabulary: en jæger – a hunter


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