Denmark

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
EU greenlights €4 billion aid plan for Air France
AirFrance plane landing in San Francisco
AirFrance plane landing in San Francisco Credit: Bill Larkins (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The European Commission on Tuesday stated the French government is allowed to contribute €4 billion to help keep Air France afloat.

In February, Ryanair lost a legal fight in the EU General Court against state aid being granted to Air France and Sweden's SAS through national schemes. Ryanair is still seeking to contest the German government's bailout of Lufthansa, as well as similar schemes in Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Portugal.

Regional News • Europe
Sweden to end travel ban for people travelling from Norway and Denmark on March 31
Sweden to end travel ban for people travelling from Norway and Denmark on March 31
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Swedish government said it would end the travel ban for people travelling from Norway and Denmark to Sweden on March 31. All people travelling to Sweden will still need a negative Covid-19 test to enter the country.

"This means, among other things, that Norwegians and Danes can travel to their holiday homes in Sweden and that families and friends across borders can meet each other," Mikael Damberg, Minister of the Interior, told a news conference.

Regional News • World
2021 World Happiness Report: Finland gets gold again
2021 World Happiness Report: Finland gets gold again
Credit: unsplash.com / SaiKrishna Saketh Yellapragada

In 2021's World Happiness Report, Finland has retained the number 1 position.

In second place, Iceland jumps forward 2 places from 4th last year. Denmark and Switzerland move down 1 to third and fourth place respectively, with The Netherlands and Sweden jumping forward 1 to fifth and sixth place respectively.

Germany makes great strides in 2020, gaining 8 places on last year, moving to 7th place.

Health
European Medicines Agency says 'no indication' of a link between Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots
European Medicines Agency says 'no indication' of a link between Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

There is no indication that the Covid-19 vaccine is linked to an increased risk of blood clots, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) says. It said the number of cases in vaccinated people was no higher than in the general population.

Some countries, including Denmark and Norway, suspended the jab's use after reports that a small number of people had developed clots after receiving the jab.

Health
Denmark and Austria suspend AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccination
Denmark and Austria suspend AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccination
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

This is due to reports of possible side effects with blood clots after vaccinations, the Danish health administration announced. According to the Danish health authority in Copenhagen, it has received reports of "severe cases of blood clots" in vaccinated persons. Government chief Mette Frederiksen confirmed to reporters outside a hospital in Herlev, Denmark, that the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine would be paused.

"Currently, there is no indication of a causal connection with the vaccination," Austrian media ORF quotes BASG as saying. However, to be on the safe side, the affected vaccine batch would no longer be issued or vaccinated. In Austria, vaccination appointments were canceled at short notice this Sunday. About 6,000 vaccine doses were withdrawn. Of the affected batch, 37,000 doses have been vaccinated.

Business • Health Care
New Covid-19 mutation in California worries researchers
New Covid-19 mutation in California worries researchers
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

A corona mutation is circulating in California and other U.S. states that could be more contagious and dangerous. The data situation is still unclear, but some things seem worrying.

Now another mutation has emerged in California, it has already spread to other U.S. states and has also been detected in countries such as Australia, Denmark and Mexico. It was first discovered in December, reports the journal Science. Investigations suggest that this variant of Sars-CoV-2 could not only be more contagious but probably also takes more violent courses. According to this, intensive medical care and deaths occur more frequently - however, the data situation here is still very thin.

The researchers call the variants B.1.427 and B.1.429 - it occurs with slightly different mutations. Under a different naming scheme, it is also known as 20C/L452R.

B.1.427 / B.1.429 carries several mutations, but three seem to be particularly relevant. They affect the spike protein that the virus uses to dock with human cells. Mutation L452R, in particular, appears to increase infectivity. It apparently stabilizes the interaction between the spike protein and the receptor used by the virus. None of the three spike mutations are found in the virus variants from Great Britain, South Africa and Brazil.

Climate & Environment
World's 'first energy island' to be built in North Sea
World's 'first energy island' to be built in North Sea
Credit: unsplash.com / Inna Mikova

Denmark has announced a massive project; building a giant island in the North Sea, providing enough energy for 3 million households.

The project, which has been given the green light by Denmark's politicians, could be up to the size of 18 football pitches (or 120,000sq m), with hopes to be able to make it three times that size (460,000sq m).

The 'energy island' which would be a hub for 200 giant offshore wind turbines would be situated about 80km (50mi) out at sea, with ownership being split with at least half being owned by the state.

This will be the biggest contraction project in Danish history, estimated to cost in the region of 210 billion Danish kroner (€28bn; £24bn: $34bn).

It has been announced that it will not only supply electricity to Denmark, but to other neighbouring countries' electricity grids too. However, which countries these may be have not yet been announced.

The planned start date is earmarked for 2033, although a Danish green group, Dansk Energi, has doubted whether the island would be up and running by this planned date.

Lifestyle • Food
McDonald's is testing its new plant-based "McPlant" burger in Sweden and Denmark
McDonald's is testing its new plant-based "McPlant" burger in Sweden and Denmark
Credit: McDonald's

McDonald's has started a trial run for its new plant-based "McPlant" burger in select locations in Sweden and Denmark earlier this year. The burger is co-developed with plant-based meat substitutes producer Beyond Meat Inc. and is made from pea-based protein.

"Our new McPlant contains a steak that is juicy, spicy and plant-based - and then it is made from i.a. pea and rice protein. In addition, the burger contains a slice of melted cheese with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mayo, mustard and ketchup, all in a delicious sesame bun," the description reads in the Danish McDonald's website.

Business • Farming & Agriculture
UK faces shortage of Christmas trees due to Covid-19 export restrictions from Denmark
UK faces shortage of Christmas trees due to Covid-19 export restrictions from Denmark
Credit: Steve Wilson (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Due to a recent outbreak of a mutated Covid-19 version in mink, Denmark has heavy export restrictions in place. Following the United Kingdom has problems importing Nordmann Firs of which it normally uses around a million trees every year.

According to MailOnline Domestic suppliers are working hard to fill any gaps in demand to ensure people can get a tree for their house, but face an increase in demand of sometimes up to 1,000%.

Regional News • Europe
WHO says Europe is facing 'six tough months' of pandemic
WHO says Europe is facing 'six tough months' of pandemic
Credit: unsplash/Isaac Quesada

As Europe has recorded over 29,000 Covid-19 deaths in the past week, meaning that "one person is dying every 17 seconds", WHO Europe director Hans Kluge warns that Europe is facing "six tough months".

"There is light at the end of the tunnel but it will be a tough six months," so Kluge at a news conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. "Europe is once again the epicentre of the pandemic, together with the United States."

Business • Farming & Agriculture
Major fur auctioneer to shut down following link between mink and Covid-19 in Demark
Major fur auctioneer to shut down following link between mink and Covid-19 in Demark
Credit: Kopenhagen Fur

Kopenhagen Fur, the cooperative of 1,500 breeders which was founded in 1930, said a government announcement earlier this month to kill 15 million mink - to minimize the risk of them transmitting COVID-19 to humans - "changes the basic platform of the company in the long term."

"As a company, we are in operation and are looking into a completely normal sales season, where we offer the world's finest mink skins, as we usually do. Our sorters are ready to receive the skins, and the auction team is already working deep into the detailed planning," said Jesper Lauge, CEO at Kopenhagen Fur, in a statement.

Sports • Soccer
England's FA plead with UK government to grant Iceland players travel exemption
Wembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium Credit: David Wilson (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Talks are continuing on Thursday between the FA and senior government officials in an attempt to clarify whether existing coronavirus regulations denying Iceland's players and staff entry into the United Kingdom will remain in place. The current restrictions relate to a new coronavirus strain that has spread to humans from mink in Denmark.

"We have asked the Government to consider allowing us to play our final Nations League match at Wembley Stadium, by giving travel exemption to the Icelandic team subject to strict medical protocols," the FA said on its Twitter account.

Health
Danish Government admit mink cull 'had no legal basis'
Danish Government admit mink cull 'had no legal basis'
Credit: Dzīvnieku brīvība / via Wikimedia Commons

In news that has angered many Animal activists, the Government of Denmark have admitted that their mink cull had no legal basis.

Denmark's Prime Minister, Mette Fredericksen, admitted to the Danish Parliament on Tuesday "Even if we were in a rush, it should have been completely clear to us that new legislation was required, and it was not. I apologise for that,".

With this news, the Government shall be putting forward legislation of their own to create the necessary legal basis to continue and 'back up' the mink culling.

The cull is expected to affect the mink fur market, with Denmark being the biggest producer of mink fur in the world.

Health
Denmark: Mutated Covid-19 version from mink found in 214 people

Mink variants of the Covid-19 virus have been found in 214 people in Denmark. 200 people are infected with these variants in the North Jutland Region, while 14 others are infected outside North Jutland. These are different variants of the virus, where the virus is mutated in mink, and then passed on to humans.

The so-called cluster 5 variant is the most prevalent and has been found on five mink farms in twelve affected people. So far no evidence of reduced sensitivity to antibodies has been found, but it will take most likely weeks before studies show more conclusive results.

Health
Following fears of a mutated Covid-19 version, Denmark announces cull of 15 million mink
Following fears of a mutated Covid-19 version, Denmark announces cull of 15 million mink
Credit: unsplash.com / Jo-Anne McArthur

The Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, has announced that twelve people have been infected with a mutated version of Covid-19 that has been transmitted from mink to human. The mutated Covid-19 version is feared to be a greater public health risk and could cause possible interference with a future vaccine.

The entire Danish herd of 15 million mink will therefore be culled to prevent the mutated Covid-19 version from spreading further.

Regional News • Europe
Fehmarn Belt Tunnel: German Court dismisses claims against construction
Fehmarn Belt Tunnel: German Court dismisses claims against construction
Credit: Courtesy of Femern A/S

The world’s longest immersed road and rail tunnel, the Fehmarnbelt link is going to be built. The state treaty between Germany and Denmark is valid and binding under international law: the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig has rejected the lawsuits against the controversial Fehmarn Belt crossing - thus removing the last major legal hurdles to the construction of the more than seven billion euro tunnel.

Both states explicitly adhered to the contract and the EU Commission continues to count the link as one of its most important transport projects, said presiding judge Wolfgang Bier in the oral reasoning of the judgement.

Scheduled to open in mid-2029, the work on the Danish side is expected to start on January 1, 2021, after several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
Mayor of Copenhagen steps down over sexual harassment
Frank Jensen
Frank Jensen Credit: News Oresund (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Frank Jensen, mayor of Copenhagen since 2010, resigned on Monday following several allegations of sexual harassment. Jensen will also step down from his role as deputy leader of Denmark's governing Social Democratic Party.

Jensen's exit came after two women said they were sexually harassed at social events by Jensen in 2012 and 2017, respectively with both saying he touched them without consent.

Denmark’s Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, called Jensen’s resignation the "right decision" in a Facebook post and told the local news agency Ritzau it is "obvious" there are problems in the Social Democratic Party that must change immediately.

Regional News • Europe
EU leaders reach deal on €750 billion coronavirus recovery package
EU leaders reach deal on €750 billion coronavirus recovery package
Credit: EU2017EE Estonian Presidency (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Following the fourth night of talks, EU leaders have struck a deal on a huge post-coronavirus recovery package involving €750 billion in grants and loans to counter the impact of the pandemic in the 27-member bloc. The deal includes as well as a seven-year €1 trillion EU budget.

Member states were split between those hit hardest by the outbreak -- Spain and Italy --, and those more concerned about the costs of the recovery plan --Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and Finland. While the first group wanted a minimum of €400 billion in grants, the later set €375 billion as their upper limit.

The €390 billion figure was suggested as a compromise, and "frugal" nations were reportedly won over by the promise of rebates on their contributions to the EU budget.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Zindzi Mandela, daugther of Nelson Mandela, dies aged 59
Zindzi Mandela meeting President Barack Obama, 2 November 2013
Zindzi Mandela meeting President Barack Obama, 2 November 2013 Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / Public domain

Zindzi Mandela, the youngest daughter of Nelson Mandela, has died at the age of 59 in a hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. The cause of her death has not been revealed yet.

Zindzi Mandela had been serving as South Africa's ambassador to Denmark since 2014. She was married twice and had four children.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Swedish and Danish governments to rescue SAS airline
SAS plane at Gothenburg Landvetter Airport, Sweden
SAS plane at Gothenburg Landvetter Airport, Sweden Credit: Miguel Ángel Sanz

The Scandinavian airline SAS presented on June 15 a recapitalisation plan estimated in $1.3 billion. The company's two principal shareholders Sweden, with a 14.8% stake in the carrier, and Denmark, with a 14.2% share, are expected to inject capital to help the airline face the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The aim of the plan is to ensure that SAS is fully funded and that shareholders’ equity will be at levels reported before the COVID-19 pandemic when anticipated business volumes return to pre-corona levels in 2022,” SAS said in a statement.

Health
Greta Thunberg donates $100,000 to UNICEF to support children affected by Covid-19
Greta Thunberg donates $100,000 to UNICEF to support children affected by Covid-19
Credit: Anderspangpang (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Greta Thunberg, 17-year-old Swedish climate activists, donated $100,000 she previously won from a Danish foundation to UNICEF to help support children affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Thunberg stated that "like the climate crisis, the coronavirus pandemic is a child rights crisis," and asked people to join her in her effort to "support of UNICEF's vital work to save children's lives, to protect health and continue education".

The Danish NGO Human Act is said to match Thunberg's donation.