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Justice minister’s PET controls further panned

India clamps down on Danish tourists


22 - 28 February 2013 | Vol 16 Issue 8


Young stars warned to stay away from England


Denmark’s only English-language newspaper | SCANPIX / KELD NAVNTOFT


Trash vigilante’s beautification project comes to an end, but city is silent on its success


Hurry up!


Tunnel still coming

In the first of its ‘Big Bang’ reforms, government tries to prod students into getting through school faster

Despite funding cuts, politicians still think Fehmarn Tunnel to Germany will go ahead



Although sales were slow at home, Carlsberg says it continues to grow in eastern markets



A day that shook the nation On 17 September 1965, four unarmed policemen were murdered in cold blood


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Price: 25 DKK

Marginalised immigrant women on near-permanent welfare JYLLANDS-POSTEN Female immigrants from non-Western countries make up 25 percent of cash benefit recipients – a sign that the “system has failed”, the employment minister says


HIGH NUMBER of immigrant women from non-Western countries are permanently reliant on cash welfare benefits. Some 24,000 people have received cash welfare benefits (kontanthjælp) for more than ten years throughout the past 15 years, and almost 6,000 of these are immigrant women from a non-Western background. Immigrant women from non-West-

ern countries only make up 3.4 percent of the Danish population between 16 and 64 years of age, so they are therefore heavily over-represented amongst longterm kontanthjælp recipients. Both researchers and politicians consider these facts a sign of failure of the Danish benefits system. “The kontanthjælp system is supposed to be a temporary security net and not a permanent relief scheme,” Jon Kvist, a political science professor at the University of Southern Denmark, said. “We have a system that functions more as a salary or a parallel to the early retirement pension scheme (førtidspension).” Erik Simonsen, the deputy director of the national employer’s association, Dansk Arbejdsgiverforening, agreed. “The councils and the employment

centre system have failed and that shows that a cash benefit reform should also be an integration reform,” Simonsen said. The employment minister, Mette Frederiksen (Socialdemokraterne), acknowledged that numbers were a sign that the “system has failed”. “I agree with the observation that we have created a system that appears to be a parallel to early retirement pension,” Frederiksen said. “This is a sign that the current cash benefit system has failed. It was never the intention that people would receive cash benefits for years.” Frederiksen also admitted that the situation represented an integration issue. “Especially for immigrant women, this causes a problem,” she said. “When thousands of them haven’t been able to provide for themselves, that creates neg-

ative consequences for gender equality. For the coming negotiations on kontanthjælp reform, we will make sure that the situation does not continue.” Integration consultant Hans Lassen warned against making the immigrant women scapegoats. He said that many of the women have difficulties imagining themselves on the labour market due to language barriers and a lack of experience. “They have a hard time imagining how they can be useful,” Lassen said, adding however that he is encouraged that many of the women on kontanthjælp have higher expectations for their children. PM and opposition trade blame Helle Thorning-Schmidt says immigrant women need to work, but shies away from responsibility, read it online at

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Week in review

The Copenhagen Post

CPH Post Word of the Week:


Fjumreår (noun) – extra ‘gap year’ allotted to students on SU. Where you heard it: Under the announced SU reform, students will lose the extra year if they don’t start their university education quickly enough (see 4-5)

Stabbings and vandalism: Danish students cause chaos in Prague

Scanpix / Torkil Adsersen

Herring master

New pic confirms plenty of sex, but length might be an issue Low birth rate “approaching epidemic” Majority want to see queen ride off into the sunset America hungry for Danish model

FROM OUR ARCHIVES TEN YEARS AGO. Hoping to attract more German tourists, Copenhagen launches a new project entitled ‘Denmark: Children’s Paradise’. FIVE YEARS AGO. Flight delays and false security alerts at Copenhagen Airport are caused by a faulty flight monitoring system. ONE YEAR AGO. Prince Joachim is among the customers of an illegal pesticide and fertiliser smuggling ring caught by police. CORRECTION Last week’s ‘Plan for all The restaurant Nyhavn Færgekro was host to the Nordic Herring Championships on Saturday in which eight contestants were given 15 minutes to put their own twists on what is a Danish lunch staple. The winner was Denmark’s David Mortensen

‘Imam law’ misses

on page 21 there was a section simply called ‘Twenty-One’ − it didn’t last long as the next issue was only 20 pages. The newspaper predated InOut by three months, but its founder, Thomas Fleurquin Dalvang, was integral to the newspaper’s launch, and on page 18 this week, he shares his recollections of the early days.

Denmark’s only English-language newspaper

Changes to immigration rules adopted in 2010 that required foreign preachers to pass a Danish test were designed to keep out extremist imams but are only affecting Christians and Mormons. According to information from Udlændingestyrelsen, of the 80 foreign religious leaders who have taken the test

President and Publisher Ejvind Sandal

Since 1998, The Copenhagen Post has been Denmark’s leading source for news in English. As the voice of the international community, we provide coverage for the thousands of foreigners making their home in Denmark. Additionally, our English language medium helps to bring Denmark’s top stories to a global audience.

CEO and Executive Editor Jesper Nymark

In addition to publishing the only regularly printed English-language newspaper in the country, we provide up-to-date news on our website and deliver news to national and international organisations. The Copenhagen Post is also a leading provider of non-news services to the private and public sectors, offering writing, translation, editing, production and delivery services.

Managing Editor Ben Hamilton

Visit us online at

Editor-in-Chief (responsible under the Media Liability Act) Kevin McGwin

News Editor Justin Cremer Journalists Peter Stanners, Ray Weaver & Christian Wenande

since 2010, half of them were Christian and the other half were Mormon. Imams from Muslim countries are managing to avoid the test because they typically arrive to Denmark as refugees or via family reunification. Imams who come from Turkey are also exempt from the test due to a special arrangement with the EU.

Editorial offices: Slagtehusgade 4 – 6 DK 1715 Copenhagen V Telephone: 3336 3300 News Desk, 3336 4243 Sales and Advertising Subscriptions Annual home delivery rates: 1 year: 1,200kr; 6 months: 750kr Discounted bulk rates available. Distribution


As of Tuesday, the Copenhagen Post is 15 years old. Founded by San Shepherd, the first issue hit the streets on 19 February 1998. It was 24 pages long and featured only five pages of hard news – presumably because everyone else was so busy reporting its launch. True to form, there are several typos in the very first snippet. And


Hurrah x 15

seasons’ was labelled ‘Winter Gardening’ when it in fact was full of tips for your garden for the spring

No rights

Numerous children who have been rejected residency in Denmark continue to remain in the country without basic rights. Politiken newspaper reported that at least 50 children in Copenhagen go to local schools but do not have a CPR number or health insurance, which means they are unable to see a dentist or

Layout and design Justin Cremer Aviaja Bebe Nielsen Logo by Rasmus Koch Published by CPHPOST.DK ApS Printed by Dagbladet, Ringsted.

doctor. The aid organisation Red Barnet said that the situation is untenable and against UN conventions. “Imagine not knowing what friends you will have or what language you should speak in six months or tomorrow,” Mimi Jakobsen of Red Barnet told Politiken. “Children shouldn’t have to deal with such huge issues.”

The CPH Post welcomes outside articles and letters to the editor. Letters and comments can be left on our website or at:

Founded in 1998 by San Shepherd All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited by law. The Copenhagen Post accepts no responsibility for the content of material submitted by advertisers.




The Copenhagen Post

22 - 28 February 2013


Anti-litter project goes down the tubes PET controls criticised as an City removes set of tubes designed to collect discarded takeaway cups


he City Council has removed a set of 16 cylindrical bins that since last May have been collecting disposable paper cups and cutting down on litter. Nicknamed the ‘test tubes’, the project was originally devised by Sandra Høj, a Copenhagen resident and anti-littering vigilante endeavouring to reduce litter in the city. “The test was scheduled to run until the end of September 2012, but for some reason they were only removed recently,” Høj told The Copenhagen Post. “I was happy with that – the longer the run, the better.” After growing frustrated with the amount of discarded cups around Dronning Louise’s Bridge, Høj constructed a set of cardboard tubes and attached them to rubbish cans around Nørrebro. While the city originally removed them, officials later agreed to implement a set of aluminium tubes for several months to evaluate whether they should be rolled out permanently. The city originally planned to evaluate the programme’s success after the trial period to decide if the tubes should be adopted permanently, Høj said. “I wrote to the city a couple of times and even submitted my own evaluation, but they have not yet made theirs,” she said. According to Høj, the tubes had a noticeable effect on the amount of litter, and the feedback from residents has been overwhelmingly positive. “I monitored the tubes closely, and from day one people got it,” she said. “When things are clean, people respond by keeping it that way, and they obviously appreciated being given the opportunity to do the right thing.” The reaction from city workers and rubbish collectors, however, was mixed. As Høj explained, rubbish is dealt with by two different crews: those who empty trash cans, and ‘snappers’ who collect individual pieces of scattered litter. “The ones who empty the cans got extra work emptying the tubes, so they were not happy with the experiment,” she said. “But the ‘snappers’ were really positive. I talked to one who said that the cup litter problem on the bridge was gone.” Høj called the experiment “a huge success”but was realistic about the future of the project. “Judging from the vague response I have received from the city, I am really not hopeful that the tubes will be implemented,” she explained. “One of the officials even told me that we don’t have a cup litter problem in Copenhagen.”

under-funded “paper tiger”

All photos: Sandra Høj

Jessica Hanley

Ray Weaver While five million kroner a year will be set aside to keep an eye on PET, the agency itself will receive more than twice as much money to respond to any concerns raised


new Oversight organisation being set up to keep a closer eye on domestic intelligence agency PET will receive five million kroner annually to monitor how the agency goes about its business. Critics say, however, that although increased oversight is long overdue, five million kroner a year is nowhere near enough money to do the job effectively, especially given that the government also plans to allocate 11.6 million kroner per year, more than twice as much, to PET to allow it to respond to and comply with the oversight group’s findings. The extra cash comes on top of the 800 million kroner per year that PET already receives in operating funds. “We are strengthening control of PET significantly, and it is clear that the increased supervision requires that PET is able to comply with the results of that supervision,” Morten Bødskov (Socialdemokraterne), the justice minister, told Berlingske newspaper. The new parliamentary oversight agency, which critics have already said

First there was a mess ...

would leave Denmark as one of the European countries with the least control over its intelligence agency, will be significantly under-funded in comparison to neighbouring Norway and Sweden. The supervisory agency of the Norwegian intelligence service received just under 11 million Norwegian kroner in 2011, and the corresponding Swedish group received nearly 18 million Swedish kroner in 2012. “We may be creating a paper tiger without even the resources to perform the most basic of tasks, such as personnel oversight,” Jacob Mchangama, the general counsel for the left-leaning think-tank CEPOS, told Berlingske. Calls for closer looks at the actions of PET have come in the wake of the numerous revelations by former PET double agent Morten Storm, who claims to have infiltrated al-Qaeda and worked with PET and the CIA to assassinate the American-born terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki via a targeted drone strike in Yemen. Storm’s story has generated immense domestic and international attention. Hans Jørgen Bonnichsen, a former PET head of operations, said the unequal distribution of funds begs the question of “who actually controls whom”. Bødskov said that he sees no paradox in the funding structure, calling the creation of the new monitoring agency a “landmark”.

Trial to grade kids at an earlier age supported by opposition

... then there was order ...

Gentofte Council will grade students two years earlier, but education minister says proposal will not be included in public school reform


... and then there was nothing

When things are clean, people respond by keeping it that way

Fortunately, Høj joked, the project hasn’t completely disappeared. “When they dismounted the test tubes, they missed a few,” she said. “I’m not saying where because I believe the city is better off with them than without them.”

entofte Council has been given permission by the government to start grading students from year six (11-year-olds) instead of year eight (13-year-olds) as part of a trial period from August 2013 to June 2015. The trial is voluntary and at least one school has chosen to participate, but the education minister, Christina Antorini (Socialdemokraterne), told Ritzau that she has no intention of extending the programme across the country. “I don’t see the immediate need to give grades in all classes from year six,” Antorini said. “This is only a council trial in which the government has given permission to challenge state rules and limitations.” Gentofte is one of nine so-called ‘free councils’ that are able to lobby the government to deviate from national legislation in different fields including education, employment and health.

“We need to take a look at the results of the trial when it is over, but giving grades in all classes from year six is not included in the government’s plans for public school reform,” Antorini added. Opposition party Venstre previously tried unsuccessfully to start grading from year six while in power, and the party now supports Gentofte’s trial. “Grades are an important aspect of evaluation,” Venstre spokesperson Karen Ellemann told Ritzau. “It sends an important signal to students that their school work and their efforts are taken seriously.” But Karen Egedal Andreasen, an education researcher at Aalborg University, argues that there is little benefit to giving children grades at an earlier age. “There is no evidence that giving grades improves students’ competencies,” Andreasen told Ritzau. “A mark allows teachers to compare students. Weak students may then realise that they are not as strong as other students, which may in turn affect the way parents and teachers treat the student.” (PS)

Online this week Calls for Denmark to increase research spending Dansk Industri (DI) has joined forces with Danish universities and Akademikernes Centralorganisation (AC), an umbrella organisation for graduates of universities and other higher educational institutions, to lobby for a bigger budget to increase Denmark’s international standing in research and development. “We need to invest further if we

want to compete on the international stage,” Lars Goldschmidt, the deputy general director of DI, told Berlingske newspaper. The current percentage of public GDP that is set aside for research and development is one percent, but DI and AC want that figure to increase to 1.5 percent – an increase that would equate to billions of kroner.

Brothers from Aarhus accused of terror Two brothers from Aarhus have been accused of financing terror and training for terrorist acts. The state’s prosecuting authority, Anklagemyndigheden, has commenced criminal proceedings against the two men after the justice minister, Morten Bødskov (Socialdemokraterne), concurred with the public prosecutions author-

ity, Rigsadvokaten, that the two brothers, aged 24 and 19, violated the nation’s terror laws. The 24-year-old is accused of spending several months at a terrorist training camp close to Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. His 19-yearold brother stands accused of helping to finance the stay, and both are accused of financially supporting Al-Shabaab.

Local politician warned off by gang members in Køge Bodil Sø, the local chairman for political party Venstre in Køge, was picking up her son from a friend’s home last week on Tuesday when she was unexpectedly met by three masked young men from Denmark’s largest immigrant street gang, Black Cobra, who told her that she needed to

leave. “I am pretty shocked,” Sø told Dagbladet Køge. “At that moment, I didn’t know whether two seconds later bullets would be flying past my ears.” Just before her son reached Sø’s car, another gang member knocked on her window and told her to leave for her own safety.

Read these stories and more at


Cover Story

The Copenhagen Post

22 - 28 February 2013

Peter Stanners Reform of grant system will encourage students to start university younger and finish faster while cutting amount paid to those still living with parents


tudents living at home and those who take too long before starting post-secondary education stand to lose the most in the government’s reform of the student grant system (SU). The government wants to use the reform to save two billion kroner by 2020 by encouraging students to finish their studies faster – savings that can instead be used to finance a reduction of taxes and levies on businesses in order to stimulate growth. The reform will reduce the amount of money students living at home can receive and make it harder for students to study part-time and to receive SU for longer than the amount of time their programmes are supposed to take. The government argues that reforming SU is necessary in order to cope with the increasing number of young people claiming the grant. According to the Education Ministry, between 2001 and 2011 the number of SU recipients rose 32 percent while SU payments rose by 75 percent to reach 18.3 billion kroner. Danish university graduates are among the oldest in Europe, averaging 29 years old, while at the same time among the slowest to complete their studies, taking 6.1 years to obtain a master’s degree that ought to take five. “In challenging economic times, we have to set the expectations of students so that they take responsibility for their studies, while we also try and find aspects of SU that are more generous than necessary in order to satisfy the principle that everyone should be able to afford to take an education in Denmark,” the higher education minister, Morten Østergaard (Radikale), stated in a press release on Monday. Less support for less time

Sensible reforms or penny-pinching politicians?

Into the lions’ den: Morten Østergaard previewed the SU changes at Aarhus University, where students made their displeasure clear

pensions and rebates they receive instead of taking money from the people who are getting an education in order to secure Denmark’s future, But Josh Meyer, a 27-year-old IT consultant who received SU for three years, argued that Danes had lost perspective about how well supported they will continue to be after the reform. “Danish students are still the most generously supported of any students in the world,” Meyer said. “They receive free education and money to help with living costs when most people would die for free education alone.” PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Socialdemokraterne) said during her weekly press conference on Tuesday that she was proud of the reform. “We are going to change certain aspects of SU, but we are going to do it in the most gentle way possible,” Thorning-Schmidt said. “Foreigners looking at the changes we make to the way we support our students will still conclude it is a good system.”

I definitely spent all my SU on lattes and beers Adam Roberts, 26, is in his sixth year at Roskilde University

The five years I took off were incredibly important to my development Mija Bjung, 31, is due to finish her master’s degree this summer

Private Photo

Østergaard, who himself received SU for a total of 58 months while undergoing his studies, has faced criticism for the proposals. One teacher’s union, DGS, argued the proposals encouraged students to move prematurely out of their homes in order to claim more SU, while the union Dansk Magisterforening expressed concern that fewer students would take time off in order to take internships. But students who spoke with The Copenhagen Post could see both the benefits and drawbacks of the reform. Adam Roberts, 26, completed a fivemonth internship at the Red Cross this summer while studying for his master’s degree in social sciences at the University of Roskilde. He viewed the extra year as an integral part of his university studies. “We need the extra year because university bureaucracies do not count time spent doing internships towards your studies,” Roberts said. “My internship at the Red Cross was not accredited by the university, so I spent five months enrolled at school but not taking any classes.” Mija Byung, who is due to get her master’s in architecture from the School of Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts this summer, eight years after she began her studies at the age of 23, argued that many students benefit from taking their time to complete their studies. “The five years I took off between upper secondary and university and architecture school, in which I travelled and did odd jobs and took the occasional course at technical school, was incredibly important to my development and preparation,” Bjung said. “I do not look forward to a future full of 25-year-old robots cranked out by the education system.” Bjung added that reducing the amount of SU for students still living at home limits their freedom and increases their dependency on their parents. Roberts, however, did not agree. He argued there were plenty of young people who did not need as much SU while they were still living with their parents. “I am not saying I am in favour of the government’s plan. I just think it is sad that there are no stories in the media about people like me, who definitely did not need SU in upper secondary,” he said. “I definitely spent all my SU on lattes and beers.” Frederik Trojaberg Julian, 27, currently studying techno-anthropology, found it hypocritical of the government to cut SU for students. “It makes no sense,” he said. “Politicians should instead take a look at the

Private Photo

The most significant aspects of the reform are changes to who can claim SU and for how long. Students starting university are currently eligible for 70 monthly payments – the equivalent of five years and ten months of support. A bachelor’s degree programme typically takes three years to complete and a master’s programme two, meaning students have an extra ten months of SU beyond what a typical university education should take. This extra ten months is often used by students to take on unpaid internships during their studies or to study part-time for a period. Under the new system, students will still be able to take extra time to complete their studies, but only if they started their university education within two years of finishing upper secondary school. These students can earn an extra six months of SU during their bachelor’s programme and an extra six months during their master’s. This is hoped to encourage students to start a post-secondary programme at a younger age. It will replace the current system, which seeks to accomplish the same goal by allowing students starting further education immediately after

finishing upper secondary to multiply their marks by 1.08. Under the current rules, SU can also be claimed by 18-year-olds who have yet to complete their upper secondary education. They can receive 1,274 kroner a month, while those over 18 still living at home, but enrolled in a post-secondary programme, are entitled to 2,860 kroner a month. The government wants to significantly reduce these rates so that all recipients of SU still living at home receive a maximum of 2,500 kroner a month, with the specific amount determined by their parents’ income.

Scanpix / Henning Bagger

Students meet grant reform with a mixture

Cover Story

The Copenhagen Post

22 - 28 February 2013

of criticism and empathy

SU reform first salvo in ‘Big Bang’ Peter Stanners Students and welfare recipients lose and businesses win in upcoming reforms


• Students starting further education more than two years after finishing upper-secondary education will only be entitled to SU student grants for the number of years their course is supposed to take. Those starting within two years receive an extra year of SU to complete a five-year programme. (Current system: Students in post-secondary programmes eligible for five years and ten months of SU.) • Students will have their SU cut off after six months of inactivity (Current system: Students have their SU cut off after 12 months of inactivity.) • By 2020, universities must reduce the length of time the average student takes to complete their programmes by 3.7 months or risk financial penalty. It currently takes students 6.1 years on average to

finish a five-year combined bachelor’s and master’s programme. • Students will be permitted to change postsecondary programmes up to five times. (Current system: No limit.)

Scanpix / Keld Navntoft

Key points of the SU reform

• The maximum amount of SU received by upper secondary and post-secondary education students living at home will be re- The higher education minister, Morten Østergaard, duced from 2,860 kro- presented the student grant reform on Tuesday ner to around 2,500 benefits. Previously, it rose at a faster kroner. The actual amount will deannual rate. pend on parental income. • SU will increase at the same annual rate as other government benefits such as pensions and unemployment

• The reforms will earn the government around two billion kroner by 2020.


he government’s proposed cuts to the student grant system (SU) and an upcoming reform of the least generous unemployment benefit, kontanthjælp, are aimed at financing a ‘growth bill’ that is anticipated to consist of tax cuts for businesses. The idea to combine the two reforms and the growth bill was announced this week by the government and has been dubbed the ‘Big Bang’ by the media. Speaking ahead of the presentation of the SU reform on Tuesday, the higher education minister, Morten Østergaard (Raidkale), stated that despite cuts to student grants, students would ultimately benefit. “We are living in a time in which we have to prioritise,” Østergaard told financial daily Børsen. “It is of course in students’ best interests that Denmark’s competitiveness is re-established so that more jobs can be created.” The combination of reforms is likely to secure broad political backing. This is the government’s goal as, traditionally, important reforms that affect the long-term future of Denmark are passed with large majorities in order to ensure political stability. Opposition party Venstre (V) – parliament’s largest party – have so far voiced support for the government’s plans, but this week set out a demand that the government promise to not increase taxes on businesses before the next election in around 30 months. “If the [growth bill] is to have any perspective, parliament needs to promise to protect Danish businesses for the rest of the election period,” V’s leader, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, told Politiken newspaper. The government has been attacked by the opposition for introducing – and subsequently rescinding – a range of new taxes on businesses such as the sugar tax, even though the Rasmussen-led former government was itself responsible for introducing over 100 new taxes and levies on businesses. Rasmussen has also called for an end to the government’s planned 0.8 percent annual growth of the public sector to be included in the growth bill. Last autumn, he argued that it was possible to freeze the size of the public sector and make up the lost revenue by increasing its efficiency. But Lars Barfoed, the leader of the Konservative party, argues that freezing the size of the public sector will have to result in cuts. “We need to make cuts if we are to make it work, and we need to have the courage to tell Danes this openly,” Barfoed said in an interview with Berlingske newspaper, adding that it wouldn’t be possible to continue providing the same public care, while also limiting the size of the public sector, given the country’s rapidly ageing population. At the heart of the debate is the sense that Denmark’s high tax burden and large welfare state are restricting the economy’s ability to rebound from the financial crisis. Growth remains sluggish, and unemployment remains about 80,000 higher than pre-2008 levels. While the centre-right and libertarian parties have been calling for tax and

welfare cuts, others argue the real cause of the economic difficulties is a lack of confidence in the economy. According to Politiken Research, many left-wing MPs argue that making it easier to earn unemployment benefits, dagpenge, may provide extra security that will result in higher private consumption. Danes currently have to pay an unemployment insurer for 12 months to become entitled to dagpenge for two years, but Ejnar Søndergaard, the chairman of Socialistik Folkeparti (SF) in Esbjerg, argued that the length of time it takes to earn dagpenge should be halved. “There’s a clear connection between growth and earning the right to dagpenge,” Søndergaard told Politiken. “Security is disappearing from our flexicurity model. People react to that by saving more money. So [making it easier to earn dagpenge] will definitely help to stimulate demand.” Is it needed? According to the government’s economic advisers, De Økonomiske Råd, Denmark’s economy isn’t in as dire straits as one might have assumed given the level of political and media attention focused on discussing Denmark’s weak competitive abilities. While the crisis has resulted in a higher level of unemployment, Denmark has a robust trade surplus, meaning that Danish businesses are successfully competing in the international markets. They add, however, that more could be done to improve the chances of Danish businesses internationally, though the only strategy available to the government is to reduce or remove levies on businesses whose sole purpose is to create income for the government – though this would have to be financed through cuts to public services. “Electricity and energy levies burden the abilities of businesses to produce,” four co-chairs of De Økonomiske Råd wrote in Saturday’s Berlingske. “Reducing these should be financed kroner-for-kroner in the public finances in order to maintain a responsible economic policy.” They added, however, that any lasting economic recovery is dependent upon consumers spending more money. “With or without a jobs bill, we will only experience an upturn that will bring employment back to normal levels once European businesses and consumers start to have faith in the future again.” Governments traditionally seek large parliamentary majorities when making fundamental reforms of public services, which is why the Socialdemokraterne-SF-Radikale government is appealing to V by presenting a selffinancing package of reforms in March. The government’s far-left support party Enhedslisten was not impressed by V’s focus on attempting to streamline the welfare state while reducing the economic burden on businesses. “Lars Løkke wants to completely protect business up until the election,” Enhedslisten MP Johanne SchmidtNielsen wrote on Facebook. “Banks and oil companies won’t have to pay an extra kroner. And we can’t place any more demands on businesses to, for example, create more trainee positions. On the other hand, Løkke has no problem making cuts to daycares, schools and old people’s homes. And Løkke happily sends the bill on to pensioners, the unemployed and the sick.”

6 News Lights out: Councils leaving residents in the dark The Copenhagen Post

Residents say that a move by towns to turn off street lights at night as a cost-cutting measure is creating unsafe conditions


he long, dark Danish winter has become a bit darker. As a cost-cutting measure, more than 20 councils across the country are reducing or completely shutting off their street lights at night. The practice has been going on in some areas for more than three years. Jørgen Møller, a teacher and researcher at Statens Byggeforskningsinstitut (SBI), the national building safety group, called the trend a very bad idea. “It is very dangerous, especially for the disabled, if one cannot see the pavement at night,” Møller told Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper. “It also creates a sense of insecurity, especially among older people. It sends the signal that the town has been abandoned, and it creates unsafe driving conditions.”

Car lobby group FDM said that “Clear rules need to be established.” two-thirds of the 30 councils they surFaxe Council decided in 2011 that veyed said that the lack of street lights it would turn off certain street lights in did not affect road safety. the early morning hours. The council A recent study by a Norwegian said it made the decision out of both traffic safety group showed that halv- environmental and cost consideraing the number of street lights in a tions. Information on the town’s webtown causes a 15-25 percent increase site assures residents that lights would in accidents in the unremain lit on busy lit areas. A study by roads, pedestrian crossDansk Vejforening, an ings, traffic islands and interest group whose at other traffic safety members include facilities. road maintenance and I understand “Our street lights transport companies, have been turned off showed that street economic priorities, between 1am and 5am lights reduce the num- but it is wrong to turn on certain roads for ber of fatal crashes by more than a year, and 60 percent and that off the lights like a we have not received a one out of every three great amount of comthief in the night accidents happens on plaints,” Knud Erik dark roads. Hansen, the mayor Møller recognised that councils are of Faxe Council, told his local online under financial pressure, but said that newspaper, cutting street lights was the wrong way Local resident Bjørn Hansen, howto save money. ever, challenged the major’s assertions. “I understand economic priori“I am pretty sure dark streets inties, but it is wrong to turn off the crease the risk of burglary, and Faxe lights like a thief in the night,” he said. already has a break-in problem,” Hans-


Ray Weaver

22 - 28 February 2013

The national government is hesitant to get involved in what it sees as a local issue

en told “A lack of criticism doesn’t always add up to a consensus. It may just mean that people do not believe they will be listened to if they complain.” The council estimated that cutting back on lighting could save them as much as 500,000 kroner per year. The lights began to go out around the country in 2010 when the former interior minister, Bertel Haarder (Venstre), said that a council could use the off switch to help manage its budget. At the time, leaders from Socialdemokraterne (S) disagreed with the idea of cutting lights to cut budgets. Now, they seem reluctant to take those decisions back from local councils. “As a local politician, I was personally involved in turning off the streetlights in Holstebro, and I still think it is best left up to the local coucil to make that decision,” Annette Lind, S’s rural spokesperson, told Kristeligt Dagblad. “We realised pretty quickly that it was a bad idea in Holstebro, but I think we at Christiansborg must be careful not to be forcing too many rules on local authorities.”


20-year-old student from Roskilde University with an Arabic background has been denied entry to a debate on Thursday about the importance of free speech, despite having purchased a ticket. The debate was organised by free press advocates Trykkefrihedsselskabet, which is chaired by historian and journalist Lars Hedegaard, who recently claimed he was the target of a failed assassination attempt. While the perpetrator has yet to be apprehended, it is widely believed that Hedegaard’s vocal criticism of Islam may have been a motivation. The student Jihad Taha says his Middle Eastern background, and the fact that his first name is also used to refer to ‘holy war’ in Arabic, may be the reason he received an email on Tuesday informing him he wouldn’t be granted entry to the parliament building, Christiansborg, where the meeting is being held. “I’m afraid to inform you that for security reasons we have chosen to reject your participation in the meeting on Thursday,” Torben Mark Pedersen, a Trykkefrihedsselskabet board member

wrote in an email to Taha. “Your name will not appear on the guest list and you will not be granted entry to Christiansborg. If you send me your bank details, we will refund your money.” Taha, who volunteers for a range of charity and human rights organisations such as the Danish Youth Council, told Politiken newspaper that he found the decision by Trykkefrihedsselskabet to be “strongly discriminatory”. “I have a spotless criminal record, I study at university and I volunteer for [the children’s charity] Red Barnet Ungdom and [the home guard] Hjemmeværnet,” Taha told Politiken newspaper. “I hate to say it, but I can’t imagine anything other than my Arabic name being used as justification for Trykkefrihedsselskabet’s decision.” In a reply to the newspaper, Trykkefrihedsselskabet wrote that it was entitled to choose who could attend the event. “We are a private association and our event is also private, meaning that we can choose who can and cannot participate,” spokesperson Torben Mark Pedersen wrote in a comment to Politiken. “Our events are normally open to the public, but we evaluate cases individually, and that occassionally leads to some being excluded in order to let others participate. That is what has happened in this case, and I will make no further comment.” Pedersen would not divulge which

Jessica Hanley

Obama For America

Jihad Taha says his Arabic name could be the only reason Trykkefrihedsselskabet has excluded him from attending meeting

Scanpix / Henning Bagger

Arabic man accuses free speech group of hypocrisy Obama money man rumoured to be next ambassador to Denmark Longtime gay rights activist Rufus Gifford is the former finance director of the Democratic National Committee


Jihad was denied attendance to an event held by Trykkefrihedsselskabet, whose chair, Lars Hedegaard (pictured), was the target of an assassination attempt

security reasons were used to justify Taha’s exclusion, but domestic intelligence agency PET informed Politiken that it had not been consulted. According to metroXpress newspaper, Taha was born in Denmark to a Palestinian father and Egyptian mother. He explained that he found his exclusion hypocritical. “I think it is really bad, especially given that I am being excluded from a debate about free speech,” Taha told metroXpress. “I disagree with Hedegaard’s views, but I still think he has the right to have them. Dialogue is the only way forward.” (PS)

ufus Gifford, the finance director of Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, is said to be Obama’s likely pick for the next US ambassador to Denmark, according to the Washington Post. Gifford is a long-standing Democratic fundraiser and is said to have been a key player in raising $1 billion for Obama’s re-election campaign. He also served as the finance director of the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2011. If selected, Gifford would succeed Laurie S Fulton, who stepped down from her post earlier this month. He would also become the second openly gay US ambassador to a NATO country. James Hormel, who served as ambassador to Luxembourg during President Bill Clinton’s second term, was the first. The Washington Post reported that the gay community has advocated for a high-profile ambassadorship for Gifford since the election. As Denmark has sent

Rufus Gifford: Soon to be seen on the streets of Østerbro?

hundreds of troops to aid US efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the country is a favourable option for an ambassadorship despite its small size. His ex-partner Jeremy Bernard currently serves as the social secretary for the White House, the first gay male to hold the position. He is also a leading Democratic politician and formidable fundraiser. Speculation on Gifford’s potential ambassadorship has not been confirmed.

Online this week Danish jihadist reported dead

Rough collective bargaining agreement for public workers

The former government did not violate the constitution when it signed the Lisbon Treaty in December 2007, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday. The decision upholds a 2012 ruling by the Eastern High Court rejecting a suit brought by a group of 30 people who argued that by signing the Lisbon Treaty, the then prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, surrendered sovereignty to the EU, since the treaty would require the country

Media reports suggest that 39-year-old Danish citizen Slimane Hadj Abderrahmane has been killed in combat in Syria. Abderrahmane, born to a Danish mother and Algerian father, became well-known after spending two years in American custody at the Guantanamo military base after being captured in Afghanistan in 2001. Abderrahmane was held at the Guantanamo base in Cuba for two years before being released to Denmark in 2004

Following intense negotiations, there is a new collective bargaining agreement (overenskomst) in place for Denmark’s more than 500,000 public workers. The negotiations, which stretched out over Friday and Saturday, resulted in a general wage increase of 1.97 percent over two years, complemented by an additional 0.25 percent increase for employees within

to adopt legislation it did not agree with. Opponents argued that a referendum should have been held before it was signed, since the Danish constitution demands that any legislation handing over sovereignty to another power, which does not pass parliament by a five-sixths majority should be put to a referendum. PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt and the foreign minister, Villy Søvndal, expressed their satisfaction with the verdict.

Scanpix / Jens Nørgaard Larsen

Supreme Court: Lisbon Treaty signing was constitutional

after American authorities chose not to prosecute him. According to reports, a growing number of Danes have gone to Syria to take part in the uprising against the government regime.

certain areas. It is the second consecutive collective bargaining agreement that will result in realwage losses for public employees. The negotiation results will be instrumental in the upcoming weeks as collective bargaining agreements for individual trade groups are expected to be negotiated. A particularly tough fight is expected over teachers’ working hours.

Read these stories and more at


The Copenhagen Post

22 - 28 February 2013

Peter Stanners EU budget cuts likely to affect plans to improve internet connection in rural areas, but it’s unsure whether the Fehmarn Tunnel will lose its funding

Femern A/S

Politicians: Tunnel project unaffected by EU budget

The Fehmarn Tunnel had been counting on ten percent of the 35 billion kroner construction costs coming from EU funding

locations were cut from 240 billion to 160 billion kroner. Femern, the company responsible for building the tunnel, had planned to finance ten percent of the construction costs – which will total at least 35 billion kroner – through EU funding. While a spokesperson for Femern stated that it was still applying for the funding, he would not comment on how the new budget may affect it. But given that the Fehmarn Tunnel is on a priority list for trans-European infrastructure projects, the so-called TEN-T, Danish politicians have expressed cautious optimism that the tunnel project will go ahead. “Denmark has traditionally been

Fertility problems increase risk of child cancer



he ink may have only just dried on the EU’s next seven-year budget, but speculation has started over whether the deal will lead to projects in Denmark facing the axe. One likely candidate to suffer is the plan to improve broadband infrastructure in rural Denmark after the budget allocation was gutted from around 70 billion kroner over the seven-year budget period to 7.5 billion kroner. As a result, telecommunications companies will be stuck with a far greater portion of the bill to equip rural areas with faster internet speeds according to Jacob Willer, the managing director of the trade organisation Teleindustrien. “We cannot take on the responsibility alone,” Willer told the local government association, Kommunernes Landsforening, referring to the enormous task of improving internet speeds. “We are willing to take on some responsibility, but it’s something that needs to be done together with politicians.” The broadband investment was cut from the budget’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which will fund investments in transport, energy and communications. Cuts to the CEF may also affect the future of the 18-kilometre Fehmarn Tunnel to Germany after transport al-

quite good at getting hold of tax money, and I think the Fehmarn is a good project,” the EU spokesperson for Socialdemokraterne (S), Jens Joel, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “We don’t see the need for alarm.” Their priority status means that TEN-T projects can also secure funding from additional sources, including the European Investment Bank and publicprivate partnerships. “I don’t think the EU’s new budget will mean that we will receive less funding for Fehmarn,” Rasmus Prehn, S’s traffic spokesperson, told JyllandsPosten. “If there are fewer resources from the EU for infrastructure, then there is a risk. It might prove an obsta-

cle, but it won’t prevent the connection from being built.” Reacting to the EU budget cuts, industry lobby group Dansk Industri (DI) stated in a press release that it was dissatisfied that more money was not being set aside for research, innovation and infrastructure. “If Denmark wants to join the rest of the world’s winning regions, we need to make more of an effort,” Karsten Dybvad, DI’s managing director, stated. “DI would have much rather seen leaders prioritise money for research and innovation, and particularly for new transport, energy and communication technology infrastructure. It would improve growth in Europe.”


recent study by the national cancer society, Kræftens Bekæmpelse, revealed that children of women who had problems getting pregnant have a higher risk of getting cancer while young. In the largest study of its kind so far, researchers discovered that children born to women who experienced problems getting pregnant have a 18-22 percent higher chance of getting cancer while children or young adults. Data studied by the researchers show that out of 2.8 million children born in Denmark from 1964 to 2006, almost 126,000 were born to women who had struggled to get pregnant. The study showed that these children had a higher risk of getting leukaemia and child cancer. Marie Hargreave, the study’s head researcher, said that it is too early to determine whether fertility treatment is the culprit behind the increased cancer risk, as the research didn’t distinguish between women who had received treatment and those who had not. “We can only state that there is an increased risk of cancer amongst children and young adults born to mothers who at an earlier stage had problems getting pregnant,” Hargreave said. Kræftens Bekæmpelse now plans to investigate if fertility treatment is the cause of the increased risk of cancer amongst children and young adults. Currently, one in every ten children in Denmark is born after fertility treatment. (SN)




22 - 28 February 2013

School or education? Danish shale gas without benefits for climate Grant reform should encourage students not to dawdle, but it shouldn’t punish those using time to get a real-world education


SK ANY JOB applicant in this country – particularly those who have just arrived here from abroad – and they’ll tell you that it isn’t just what you know, but who you know that lands you a job. While that axiom applies in just about any society, in this country it approaches the level of HR dogma. And for students at universities, vocational schools and other post-secondary schools, meeting professionals in their field is done, by and large, through study-related jobs and internships. For the fortunate few, these jobs and internships are paid, but for the vast majority, they are a part of the time-honoured tradition of offering free-labour in exchange for gaining valuable experience. Up to now, students have been able to continue to collect SU benefits when putting studies off in order to do unpaid work. That would change under the proposed reform. For those who have completed their studies and hold a job, or who managed to complete their studies abroad without a luxuriant state handout, the government’s proposed reform of the SU system is common sense. Young Danes take a long time to finish their studies, and encouraging them along would, the logic goes, make them available to work and pay taxes sooner. But seen from the student’s perspective, the prospect of starting a career without practical experience (the same practical experience that the higher education minister himself gained during the four-year gap in his own studies) must be worrying, given a society that emphasises on-the-job experience. Making matters worse is that today’s graduates will compete for jobs against applicants with decades of experience who find themselves unemployed – the victims of the poor economy. Employers, too, ought be in favour of giving students time to combine the newest theoretical learning with the practicalities of daily operations, both because it brings a fresh perspective to their business, but also because it results in better applicants. As with any good university question, the solution is neither black nor white. Even with its merits, the reform is incomplete without a clause that would allow students to receive a form of internship payment from the state, equal to their SU rate, should they engage in legitimate activities that make them more attractive to employers upon graduation. The benefit, to a degree, defeats the purpose of the form, but in the grand scheme of things, paying a student benefit to someone seeking to improve their employability while they study is cheaper than paying them full unemployment benefits after they graduate without ever having learned anything about the way the real world works.



HE US HASN’T exactly been at the forefront of international climate policy in recent decades. Yet, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the US in the past five years has actually been a global leader in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The primary reason: the US is rapidly replacing coal with cleaner burning shale gas. Now the shale gas debate is about to heat up in Europe, where a number of countries, including Denmark, will need to decide whether to make their shale gas reserves a part of their efforts to reduce the effects of climate change, reduce the price of energy and reduce their dependence on foreign suppliers. Shale gas, briefly described, is natural gas that formed as a result of being trapped in shale formations, instead of conventional thermal or geological processes. Only recently has shale gas become an attractive resource, as new developments have made it technologically and financially feasible to extract it. Traditional natural gas is found only under

relatively rare geological conditions, but while shale is far more widespread it is only recently that the extraction technology was developed. In terms of climate change, natural gas emits less carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels. Provided the amount of methane released during extraction is kept to a minimum, the amount of greenhouse gas associated with natural gas is half that of coal and up to 30 percent less than oil per unit of energy. In our report ‘Shale gas – good for the climate?’, CONCITO looked into whether shale gas extraction in Denmark and the rest of Europe would benefit the climate in any way. The report was written at a time when we need to come up with a quick, inexpensive and thorough reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, combined with the fact that the US – without being forced by federal or international agreements – has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by eight percent in just five years. The primary cause has been the substitution of coal with shale gas, and for that reason it has been discussed whether Europe would also benefit from doing the same. In Denmark, the discussion is even more relevant, due to the relatively large shale gas deposits. Studies are currently underway to determine the actual size of these deposits. Shale gas, however, isn’t all good. It is connected to a number of threats to the environment and climate, such as whether the chemicals used in its extraction can pollute groundwater and the release of methane. Further-

more, shale gas is a fossil fuel, and using it only makes sense if it replaces fossil fuels that release more carbon dioxide. Finally, there’s a risk that increasing the supply of fossil fuels will make it less attractive to utilise renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar. Our report focuses on whether shale gas can be extracted under environmentally responsible conditions, and whether the gas extracted would replace oil and gas. The conclusion is incontrovertible: under current market conditions, shale gas will have no climate benefits. Only under certain political and market conditions that ensured that it replaced coal, would it be beneficial, but that would require either a significantly higher price for carbon quotas or coal, or lower gas prices. If none of these conditions are met, then shale gas would only result in a higher European consumption of fossil fuels and increased carbon emissions. Our analysis of the individual risk factors associated with shale gas showed that: • It is essential to keep the amount of methane released during the extraction of any kind of natural gas to a minimum, if it is be significantly better than coal or oil. This is technically possible, but it must be written into law or into extraction licences. • Environmental impact assessments must be carried out in order to ensure that drilling will not contaminate groundwater. CONCITO concludes that, in Denmark, there is sufficient distance between groundwater reservoirs and

the layers of shale to ensure that contamination does not take place. It is beyond our capacity, however, to issue a blanket statement in this area. Individual projects must still be evaluated on a caseby-case basis. • Shale gas extraction requires land for the construction of drilling structures and should be regulated in the same manner as other landuse activities. At the global and EU levels, substitution can result in a significant short-term reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. In order for this to happen in the EU, it would require considerably higher carbon fees. In the short and medium term, there will continue to be no shortage of gas available for import. Shale gas is therefore unlikely to lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, since any shale gas extracted in the EU would to a large degree only be replacing imported natural gas. Given the current situation, the question of whether to extract shale gas then becomes a political decision based not on environmental considerations, but on foreign energy dependence and the potential financial gain from the sale of shale gas. At a time when scientists tell us that our fossil fuels must actually stay in the ground if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, politicians would only be gambling with the planet’s future if they went ahead and decided to increase the availability of fossil fuels on the world market. The author is the managing director of climate think-tank CONCITO

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Mayor’s daycare promise questioned The last newspaper article that I was reading that mentioned daycare here in the US was about a single mother who couldn’t afford any and was driving her daughter to a relative (so that she could go to her 8 dollar an hour job) when several police cars surrounded her car to arrest her for an unpaid credit card bill. They put her in jail. Apparently, the credit card company got a court judgment against her for not paying the bill, and she was able to be jailed for violating a court judgment (not the debt itself ). I think the bill was a few hundred dollars, if I recall. Apparently, there is money to be made by using the publicly-funded police and courts as debt collectors. So I hope that daycare can be improved in Copenhagen. It would be nice to see some group of people doing well. It gives me hope. Tony Duarte By website New law will give lesbian couples equal parental rights Heterosexuals who have problems conceiving can use the same process to have a child. It is only logical and fair that lesbian couples have the same

rights that heterosexual couples already have. The couples involved are in the same situation and use the same method to overcome their problem. TraiilerTrash By website Trying to teach old dogs new tricks Some of the perishable stuff found in supermarkets here looks like it had been salvaged from the bin anyway; maybe there would be less waste if the sell-by date hadn’t passed before they put it on the shelves. Djeep By website When I go out to a restaurant, if someone has left food on a plate when I walk in, then I will sit down and eat their food. Then I will proceed to leave the restaurant. It’s not the most gracious, and I’m definitely not popular with the owners of these rat holes; however, I’m a poor student and I save money doing this. Hamish Carey By website Good one, Ms Juul, for tackling this! It is long overdue. I don’t get the reluctance to ask for doggie bags here, especially given how expensive the food is in restaurants, and of course, considering the

earlier reports of widespread ‘recycling’ of others’ meals. Danes are doing the next diner a favour by taking away their food. Perhaps the reluctance is also because a good many people here eat at employer canteens, and those who don’t are reluctant to eat pasta or a warm item for lunch, being so used to cold sandwiches? HeidiakaMissJibba By website City refutes manslaughter charges in American tourist’s death The family wants the city to pay punitive damages in the form of money for a scholarship fund in the memory of the victim. I think that is pretty reasonable, altruistic and the moral high ground from which Denmark could learn a lesson on several levels. To that I would add a written apology from each and every Dane involved. Getting a Dane to actually own up to something instead of slinking away and hiding behind Dannebrog is probably the worst punishment ever – a fate worse than death. Tom By website This infuriates me. Quite seriously, they could solve the problem of corrupt, incompetent or

criminal native born people overnight here if the punishment for any accident or crime, large or small, was getting them to admit it in public. It’s the ultimate deterrent, I swear. And let’s just preemptively go through this one last time for the slow folks: this is not about a greedy American court case gone mad, this is about doing the right thing and owning up to one’s deadly mistakes, and seeing that it never happens again. HeidiakaMissJibba By website Islamic leaders regret crisis role Good, even if a little late. It’s notable that it’s a former spokesperson and the present spokesperson apologising. It’s clear now that they know better than to associate with fanatics or to rouse fanatics. And of course, the usual parties shall never hear this, and still ask: ‘Where are the Muslims who find moderation and reject radicalism?’ No matter, these same parties have yet to apologise for wrecking the lives of many Muslims and other non-Westerners through malignant legislation and plain bad service. Or for supporting unjustified and aggressive war in other countries, among them Muslim ones. Loroferoz By website



22 - 28 February 2013

Freedom of speech or the right to insult?


The words of Öz BY ÖZCAN ARJULOVSKI Özcan Arjulovski was born in Sweden but has lived in Denmark since he was five years old. His parents came to Denmark in the late ‘60s from the Turkish part of Macedonia. He has a passion for writing poetry and has written political columns for metroXpress and other publications. See more at

N AN OTHERWISE normal February day, an unknown male tried to shoot the founder of this country’s free press society, Trykkerifrihedsselskabet. The man missed, dropped his gun, picked it up and ran away. No-one has been caught for the act, no-one knows who did it or why he did it. Yet, Lars Hedegaard has been glorified by the national media as a man willing to die for the freedom of speech. The media and politicians have decided that this unknown attacker, who nobody has identified, let alone determined his motives, attacked the Danish right to free speech. It’s the same old song all over again. We’ve been here before with Jylllands-Posten and the cartoons. First and foremost, so that no-one will misinterpret my point of view, noone – I repeat, no-one – deserves to be a victim of any kind of violence. I don’t care if you say Islam is the same as the Nazi ideology, or that you intentionally insult a minority, you do not deserve to be targeted with violence. I do not agree with anything Hedegaard has

ever said, but I feel sympathy for him as a victim of an attempted murder. But with that being said, let me return to the purpose of this column. The mass media in Denmark call Hedegaard a critic of Islam. And according to its narrative, he was attacked because of his opinions on Islam and Muslims. This kind of rhetoric is at the root of the misinformation surrounding the attempt on his life. Hedegaard in 2009 claimed that Muslims “rape their own children. You hear it all the time. Girls in Muslim families are raped by their uncles, their cousins, or their fathers.” What kind of opinion is that? How would it sound if I wrote a column about how Jews or Hindus rape their own children? It would, of course, make me look ignorant and stupid, and I would be spreading a disgusting lie to the public. That is exactly what Hedegaard has been doing. He has been misusing his freedom of speech to insult a minority and to spread lies and hate against Muslims. Another quote by Hedegaard con-

firms my claim, when he said that “when we lie, we know that we have done something wrong. It is simply not the case in Islam.” In other words, he is actually trying to tell the public that it is the norm for Muslims to lie, and that lying is a part of the religion of Islam. Hedegaard argued that Islam allows Muslims to lie about their faith to non-Muslims, but there is actually a verse in the Koran (40:28) that says the opposite: “The one that hides his faith is not a believer.” This means that lying conflicts with Islam, just as it does with Christianity and Judaism. Based on these quotes from Hedegaard, I do not believe that he can be called an Islam critic. He does not criticise the religion of Islam, he spreads lies and encourages hate against it. I believe a description more like ‘Islam-hostile’ fits this man’s mindset. And in this, I am backed up by the largest Swedish news agency, TT, and the foreign correspondent of Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Pia Skagermark, who agree that ‘Islam-hostile’ is the most accurate term. But in the Danish mass media, he is a debater with Islam-critical opinions.


Hedegaard does not criticise the religion of Islam, he spreads lies and encourages hate against it Fortunately, not everyone is convinced. Professor Erik A Nielsen from the University of Copenhagen shared his thoughts on Hedegaard in a recent issue of Berlingske. “Lars Hedegaard, Kurt Westergaard and Jyllands-Posten are not able to distinguish between freedom of speech and the right to insult and to speak blasphemously about Muslims,” he wrote. I could not agree more. Every time I say that the freedom of speech is not the same as the freedom to insult, I am dismissed as a Muslim who has yet to understand the rights and freedoms of a democracy. But actually, the situation is exactly the opposite.

The CPR safety net


The Lynch Report BY STUART LYNCH English-Australian theatre director Stuart Lynch has lived in Copenhagen since Clinton impeached his cigars and writes from the heart of the Danish and international theatre scene. He is married with kids and lives in Nørrebro. Visit his Danish theatre at www.

AM WRITING this while on tour and teaching street kids in southern India with my theatre company. The food is exquisite, the culture magnificent and the heat, I add with some sadistic pleasure for all you back in Copenhagen, is divine. Despite India’s beauty, and the ridiculously happy street kids I am currently teaching, I find myself thinking about Denmark. How can two countries be so dramatically different? India is more chaotic and unpredictable, and frankly downright dangerous. But why then does each person I meet seem so much more full of energy, zest and life? Don’t get me wrong, I love living in Denmark. But sometimes the sheer lack of risk and danger can be oppressive. One’s Danish identity number, or CPR number – so closely attached as it is to the yellow social security card or ‘Sygesikringsbevis’ – is the passport to a well-oiled, red tape-free Danish life. It removes much of the bureaucracy one experiences so drastically in other countries. The CPR number is a constant ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card or, as I like to call it, the ‘CPR safety net’. No matter

No matter what happens, the state has your back. It might stab you in it, but it will surely then arrange the trip to the morgue what happens, the state has your back. It might stab you in it, but it will surely then arrange the trip to the morgue. Does the security that goes hand in hand with a CPR number actually make you happy? Within moments of my son being born, a nurse came in and handed me his Sygesikringsbevis and CPR number. Now, to be clear, nothing but nothing could dull the elation of my son’s birth. Later, however, I pondered the fact that he now lives in one of the safest and most risk-free countries in the world. Will this equate to his happiness? I want my son to be happy and safe. I would die or kill for him – without a second thought or regret – but will his

life be happier than any of the Indian street kids I am currently teaching? It goes without saying he will be more socially privileged, but despite living in ‘the world’s happiest country’, I am sure this will not guarantee his happiness. He will have to do that by himself. It is a fact that life in Denmark is next to impossible without a CPR number. And on my grapevine it would appear that a foreigner trying to obtain one is a hard process. Two friends of mine, a Syrian and a Brit, were explaining the hoops they are currently going through. Like Snakes and Ladders, both are unsure whether they will move forward or again be sent back down to the bottom rung. Is it by chance or design, I wonder, that one of the only times you really face heavy Danish bureaucracy is when you’re trying to get a CPR number? If their cases are typical, how things have changed. I received my CPR number in 1995 when I was merely working in Denmark and had no intention of staying. Back then, they were practically giving the numbers away. I went to the National Registry, filled out a form, joined a queue and talked to a pleasant

government employee about how nice it was to be in a country where everyone loves Monty Python. After ten minutes, and me giving two show-stopping renditions of ‘The Lumberjack Song’ and ‘Spam’, in my hand was a spanking new, shiny yellow Social Security Card with number attached. “Tak,” I said, and walked out into the rain of a Copenhagen summer to meet my spanking new, shiny Danish wife. Personally I love the CPR number. After roaming the world, being in a coma in France (and breaking my legs), being blown off a roof in Japan and attacked in Calcutta, the security it provides has made a huge difference to me. I am wary though and guard diligently against its negative forces on my vitality. –– ON A FINAL sad note, I have to report that Denmark recently lost a ‘Great Brit’. On Tuesday February 5, Andrew James Miller died. Painter, web-designer, business strategist, skilled debater and a tip-top Friday’s bar comrade and safety-net resistant, he will be missed.










Kelly Draper

Frank Theakston

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Tendai Tagarira

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Christian Wenande

Justin Cremer

Vivienne McKee





10 News

The Copenhagen Post

22 - 28 February 2013

Danes now have to show booked flights and bank statements to prove they can finance their trip to India


India tightens visa rules for Danish tourists

Young, well-paid foreign workers put money into state coffers and place little burden on services



ourists wanting to visit India have to provide much more documentation in order to be granted visas under new rules that came into effect on February 1. Danish citizens now have to present an invitation, paid plane tickets and hotel reservations as well as a letter from their bank proving that they have the financial means to cover the costs of living in India. Denmark seems to have been singled out for the special treatment as Swedes and Norwegians are not demanded to provide such comprehensive documentation. Stig Elling, the sales director at the travel agency Star Tours, called India’s new rules self-defeating. “It has become far more time consuming, as much greater demands are being made for information that in our opinion isn’t relevant,” Elling told Politiken newspaper. “It’s not smart if you want to attract tourists.” Elling added that the new rules are proving such a headache for the company that they are now considering whether or not to keep sending tourists to the world’s second most populous country. “It can only be described as

Skilled workers streaming in

If you want to see the Taj Mahal, be prepared to provide a lot of documentation

harassment of Danish tourists,” he said. “If they continue, we will have to consider whether the country is tourist-friendly enough.” Ravinder Kaur-Pedersen, the chairman of the DanishIndian association Dansk Indisk Forening, said she knew the new rules were irritating because they are the same rules that Denmark demands of Indian travellers wishing to come north. “Indians wanting to travel to Denmark have to satisfy a lot of requirements, and I understand the desire to protect your country,” Kaur-Pedersen said, adding that her sister was rejected for a

visa to Denmark despite fulfilling all the requirements. “I thought the demand for documentation was comprehensive, but there is still no guarantee that a visa will be issued and I have a hard time accepting that,” she said. Business people have had difficulty obtaining expedited visas following the 2011 decision by the Eastern High Court to not deliver Niels Holck to India to stand trial on charges of smuggling weapons to an Indian separatist group in 1995. The Indian Embassy has confirmed that the Holck case had an impact on how fast busi-

ness people can get visas. “It now takes longer for business people to get visas. It has something to do with the terrorist Kim Davy,” the Indian consul to Denmark, Shri Rakech Kumar, told Jyllands-Posten, using Holck’s alias. The Indian Embassy said that the new tourist rules are unrelated to Holck, and that India is simply enforcing rules that already existed. According to the association of travel agents, Dansk Rejsebureauforening, 35,000 Danes travelled to India last year – 10,000 of whom went there for business. (PS)

he number of educated workers from outside the EU coming to the country for jobs has increased fivefold since the early 1990s. The stream of skilled workers is largely due to clauses in the immigration laws that allow for educated workers who already have jobs to enter the country easier. Between 1991 and 1995, figures from Immigration Service (Udlændingestyrelsen) show that just over 3,000 workers were in the country under special job schemes. Between 2006 and 2010, that number spiked to over 15,000 and the trend continued in 2011 and 2012, with more than 8,500 permits being issued to highly-skilled foreign workers over those two years. If the trend continues, over 20,000 workers from outside of the EU will be adding to the country’s brain power by 2015. Industry advocacy organisation Dansk Industri (DI) said the foreign workers make Denmark more competitive in the world marketplace. “Many of the highly-skilled foreigners come with some very specific skills that contribute to the competitiveness of Danish companies and help to create jobs,” DI consultant Claus Seidelin told Politiken newspaper.

A 2011 study by the Centre for Economic and Business Research in Copenhagen showed that an average highly-educated immigrant with a family stays in Denmark for about eight years and contributes nearly two million kroner to the public purse. “Highly-skilled immigrants who come to the country under special schemes are very often earning high salaries,” Rasmus Højbjerg Jacobsen, a co-author of the study, told Politiken. “Since many of them are in their 30s or 40s, they rarely get sick and put a strain on society. They also often leave before they get old and become a burden.” The increase is partly the result of policy initiatives taken in recent years to attract highlyskilled workers, such as the green card scheme that allows highlyskilled foreigners to come to Denmark. Foreigners who have been offered a job with an annual salary of at least 375,000 kroner get very easy access to the labour market. The increasing influx of foreigners is also seen as proof that Denmark is still perceived as an attractive country to live and work in, at least for a few years. “It may well be that we have a high tax rate and have been hit by the financial crisis, but compared to other countries, things in Denmark still look pretty good,” Chantal Pohl Nielsen, a senior researcher at the Danish National Centre for Social Research, told Politiken. (RW) Scanpix / Keld Navntoft

sale Even the queen, seen here at a church opening earlier this month, should be able to enjoy retirement, a majority of Danes seem to believe

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Over 60 percent of the respondents of a recent poll say Queen Margrethe should hand over the throne, but a historian says that the results are actually a sign of empathy for the queen


hank you for your service, now step aside. That’s the message that a majority of Danes want to send to Queen Margrethe II, according to a new poll conducted by YouGov for metroXpress newspaper. Some 26 percent of the more

than 1,000 poll participants said that the queen should surrender the throne to her son, Crown Prince Frederik. An additional 35 percent said she should make way for Frederik, but just not right now. In all, over 60 percent said that the queen should voluntarily abdicate the throne. However, Lars Hovbakke Sørensen, a historian who is an expert on the Royal Family, told metroXpress that just because more Danes than not wanted her to retire, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are tired of

the queen. “I think that it is more of a sign that the way we view working life has changed,” Sørensen told the freesheet. “There is generally a greater understanding that the queen should also be entitled to retire and enjoy her old age. Therefore I think it is a sign of sympathy for the queen.” Regardless of the poll respondents’ motives, the 72-yearold queen has previously said that she has no plans to step aside and will remain Denmark’s monarch until she dies. (JC)


22 - 28 February 2013

A plan for all seasons BY CAROLINE CAIN


HE TERM ‘detox’ is bandied about as a fashionable health fad by some, and as a pointless form of starvation by others, but both of these actually miss the point. According to the ‘Free Dictionary’ online, detoxification is “the metabolic process by which the toxic qualities of a poison or toxin are reduced by the body”. It is an ongoing, natural physiological process, and periods of intensive ‘detox’ have been around since the beginning of time for both health and spiritual reasons. What are toxins? ENDOTOXINS ARE produced through normal bodily processes such as breathing, digestion and emotions. We ingest exotoxins from the air that we breathe, what we eat and what is absorbed through our skin. Unless you live on a mountain top surviving off pure water and sitting still all day long whispering, your body’s going to have more toxins in it than it manages to get out. This means that your body, especially your liver, is overworked, busy neutralising and removing these toxins so that you can stay alive. Efficient detoxification and elimination is the basis of all health.

and rejuvenation. Detoxing allows your body to get rid of excess waste, creating space for growth. The opposite is accelerated ageing, sickness and, yes, even fat as that is where toxins are stored longterm. The more toxins, the more fat is created. Waste is also stored in your bowel, so considering that 80 percent of our immunity and 90 percent of our serotonin production takes place in our gut, you can see why you don’t want it to be clogged up with layer u p o n layer of waste.

Your body needs a spring clean too


Caroline Cain is a half-English, half-French naturopathic nutritionist and reflexologist who believes that lasting health, radiance and energy is achievable through a practical, relaxed approach to clean, green, healthy eating and living and a generous dash of radical self-care. She also speaks Danish and Spanish. Find out more at

How to tell if you need to detox

Time for a detox

IT’S ALL ABOUT the environment: imagine fish in dirty tank water – are they going to thrive? No. They’re going to die. You need to keep the water clean. Sure, you can go out and buy another fish, but we only have this body. You need to keep the internal environment clean so that your cells can thrive and work optimally. Your cells cannot repair and grow at the same time. If they are constantly trying to keep up with regular maintenance, they won’t have time for repair

Caroline Cain

Naturopathic Nutritionist & Reflexologist

Natural health and detox specialist guiding and motivating you to create optimal, lasting health. tel: 50 19 76 06


YOUR SKIN might be acting up with spots, eczema or psoriasis. You might be craving sweets, experiencing hormonal imbalances or headaches. You might have low energy, digestive issues such as bloating, gas, diarrhoea or constipation, a stuffy nose, allergies, arthritis or a fuzzy brain. Or you’re angry, irritable or have difficulty losing weight. Any of these, and there’s a good chance that your liver is struggling and toxins are stuck in your body instead of being eliminated efficiently. Detoxing will give you more energy, an increased clarity of mind, clearer skin, brighter eyes, and an increased physical and emotional lightness. It will leave you revitalised, recharged and creating the space and awareness needed for you to be able to choose healthier habits. Types of detox MOST DETOXES last from one to 30 days. If you’re short on time, do not underestimate the power of short periods of detoxification − real detoxification is achieved after 72 hours as the entire cell lining of your gut is renewed in that time. There are detoxes to match all shapes

and sizes: liquid fasts, ‘mono meals’ where you eat just one type of food for a few days, and raw food-based cleanses being the most popular ones. Taking part in a professionally guided detox is a great way to get started and learn about the ins and outs of detox and how your body works. Simple every day detox tools ALTHOUGH periods of focused detoxification are useful, there are many things that you can do on a daily basis as part of a ‘detox lifestyle’ to help your body clear out the gunk: • sleep − eight hours • exercise − sweat it out • get some fresh air • dry skin brush • use natural skin products, cleaning products etc • reduce environmental pollutants (ditch the plastic − use wood, glass, ceramic instead; use stainless steel pots instead of teflon) • manage negative emotions • drink 2+ litres of water (start your day off with lemon squeezed in hot water to get your liver going) • eat real food (avoid processed, prepackaged food) • eat organic • eat fibre (oats, lentils, fruit with their skins) Don’t think detox is for you? Give it a go and see. You’ve got nothing to lose other than about 4.511kg of impacted fecal matter in your colon and perhaps a symptom or two …

For four weeks at a time, four times a year, our aim is to give you all the seasonal lifestyle advice you need to thrive in the areas of gardening, health, food and sport. When should you plant your petunias, when does the birch pollen season normally start, which week do the homegrown strawberries take over the supermarket, and which outdoor sports can you play in the snow? All the answers are here in ‘A plan for all seasons’.

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22 - 28 February 2013


International Club Copenhagen held a special February meeting last week at Rosenborg Castle where the attendees were treated to a special guided tour of the royal collections by archaeologist and author Niels Knud Liebgott (left and right). Among the exhibits were a pair of pistols given to Frederik VII by Abraham Lincoln (left) and Christian IV’s gold crown (centre: who invited Colonel Blood?). Among those in attendance were Portuguese ambassador João Pedro Silveira de Carvalho (pictured right), who gave Liebgot a bottle of port

Carl-Henning Pedersen would have been 100 years old this September had he not died in 2007, and to mark the occasion, Arken is running a retrospective on the painter’s life until August. Pictured here (left-right) are Hanne Lundgren Nielsen, the director of a museum in Herning that has a permanent exhibition dedicated to Pedersen, Pedersen’s widow Sidsel Ramson, Fuzzy, a composer heavily influenced by Pedersen, the culture minister, Marianne Jelved, and Arken’s director Christian Gether

An exhibition featuring the work of French-American impressionist Mary Cassatt is running at Ordrupgaard until June 9. Pictured here is the museum’s director AnneBirgitte Fonsmark

They say Valentine’s Day (last week on Thursday) isn’t a big deal over here, but try telling these ladies who all turned up at the Round Tower looking for love

Running concurrently with the Mary Cassatt exhibition is ‘Images of Maternity’, work by Danish expressionist photographer Suste Bonnén (pictured) that captures the first moments of life from the maternity wards of Rigshospitalet

Staying at Ordrupgaard, until April 1 at least, is the exhibition ‘Breathing the Same Air’ by acclaimed Finnish photographer Nelli Palomäki (pictured)

AT WORK AND AT PLAY Isabelle Valentine’s husband works at a video game company and gets to play at work. She also wanted to play for a living so she started the Montessori International Preschool. She moved to Frederiksberg in May 2008 where she lives with her young family.

Sølyst provided the venue on Monday for a celebration of the national day of Lithuania, which included a concert by mezzo-soprano Judita Leitaite and pianist Ruta Mikelaityte-Kasubiene. Pictued here, Lithuanian ambassador Vytautas Pinkus and his wife (right) are greeting the Hungarian ambassador Francis Szebényi (centre left) and Nepalese ambassador Mukti Nath Bhatta (left)

Serbia’s national day, also on Monday, attracted a who’s who of the diplomatic corp, who gathered at the Serbian Culture Center in Østerbro for a concert featuring soprano Sofija Pizurica, tenor Dusan Plazinic and pianist Nevena Zivkovic, an exhibition and a reception. In attendance (left-right on the front row) were Indonesian ambassador Bomer Pasaribu (far left), Iraqi ambassador Albert Issa Nothor (third left), Serbian ambassador Vida Ognjenovic, Indian ambassador Ashok Kumar Attri and his wife, while behind them from the far left are: Greek ambassador Alexandros Couyou, Croatian ambassador Ladislav Pivcevic and his wife, Albanian ambassador Arben Cici, Georgian ambassador Nikoloz Rtveliashvili, Armenian ambassador Hrachya Aghajanyan and South Korean ambassador Byung H Kim, and on his own on the right: Polish ambassador Rafal Wisniewski

Our Valentine’s Day


T ONLY seems like yesterday that we packed away our Christmas decorations. We just had Fastelavn and across the world people have just celebrated Mardi Gras and the start of Lent. And no sooner had that ended, we had Valentine’s Day! In my family, Valentine’s Day has a different significance as it is our family name and that of my extended familyin-law in England. We joke that every day at our house is Valentine’s Day. At our preschool, we had the children make Valentine cards for their parents as we do for all similar events such as Mother’s Day, Easter etc. But what does Valentine’s Day really mean to us in 2013? Is it really about showing some tenderness and spoiling your loved one? Or about showing your secret infatuation for someone you admire from afar? Or is it all just a huge marketing exercise and only about spending money?

When we lived in Japan, we discovered a different Valentine’s Day altogether. ‘Barentain Dei’ (on the same day and to be pronounced with a Japanese accent) is a day when Japanese women give chocolate not only to their partners and crushes, but also to

But what does Valentine’s Day really mean to us in 2013? Is it really about showing some tenderness and spoiling your loved one? their male colleagues! They have a term called ‘giri choco’, meaning ‘obligation chocolate’, because social pressure and etiquette is such that they cannot avoid forking out for a large amount of chocolate on February 14. My husband needed to explain why he returned

home with such gifts. Fortunately they weren’t from his fawning female office workers, but purely given because this is how things are done in Japan. Barentain Dei is then followed exactly a month later by White Day on March 14. This is the day when the men give the chocolate, but they only have to do it selectively to just a lucky few. So somehow the men do not need to give as generously as they receive! This tradition has been enormously successful for Meiji, a big Japanese confectionery company, but needless to say that some of the charm and romance is lost through all this obligation. Whether your name is Valentine or not, Valentine’s Day should be no different to any other day of the year. We should always appreciate our loved ones and take the chance to spoil them once in a while. But if you did go out on a date on February 14, I hope that you had a lovely time. And thank you for celebrating our day in your own way!


22 - 28 February 2013


London’s calling for CBS team seeking to make a difference DAVE SMITH A group of international MBA students have made it through to the finals of a social issues challenge taking place in five cities early next month


OME 16 billion kroner could buy a lot of food. Enough, some say, to end world hunger. But, according to food advocacy group Stop Wasting Food (Stop Spild af Mad), that’s the amount of money Danes are throwing away every year when they toss away their leftovers. Luckily for Denmark – and the world – more people are beginning to look out for the welfare of the planet’s starvinghungry. Among them are five full-time MBA students at Copenhagen Business School, and they’re making serious waves at the Clinton Global Initiative’s fourth annual Hult Global Case Challenge. The competition challenges the brightest undergraduate and graduate minds to find solutions to various social issues, the best of which is awarded the Hult Prize and $1 million. CGI’s founder, Bill Clinton, the former US president, has hailed this contest as a much-needed incentive to create good. “The Hult Prize is a wonderful example of the creative co-operation needed to build

The dream team: Chiara Ercole, Pantelis Colakis, Jack Langworthy, Faisal Alamro and Rahul Shah

a world with shared opportunity, shared responsibility and shared prosperity, and each year I look forward to seeing the many outstanding ideas the competition produces,” he said. This year’s theme is that of global food security, and the contestants were asked to determine the best way to access and distribute food to those without the means to get it themselves. Teams were asked to focus on providing “safe, sufficient, affordable and easily accessible food to the 200 million people who live in urban slums”.

COMING UP SOON Organisation and management: understanding human behaviour in organisations Folk Universitet, Njalsgade 120148; Cph S; Saturdays 10:1514:00, starts March 2, ends April 13; 880kr; Lecturer Syed Salman Ahmad of Copenhagen Business School’s course will cover values and ethics, job satisfaction and learning and behaviour modification.

Bollywood Dance for Spouses Søndermarksskolen, Hoffmeyersvej 32, Frederiksberg; Sun Feb 24, 14:00; 50kr, children free; email to register Join Spousecare at their next Bollywood dancing event. Social Networking Dinner TIGHT Restaurant, Hyskenstræde 10, Cph K; Wed Feb 27, 19:00-21:30; free adm; email by Feb 25 to sign up; events/4463 Join the European Professional Women’s Network for an evening of fine food and networking at their partner restaurant TIGHT. Expat Spouse: Driving family force or drifting talent? Books & Company, Sofievej 1; Hellerup; March 6, 09:00-11:00; 50kr; email to sign up This workshop covers the latest perspectives on expat partner talent.

Venus and Serena: Documentary screening and a chance to meet the director Books and Company, Sofievej 1, Hellerup; Feb 25 19:00-21:30; 100kr; email to sign up Books and Company invites you to an exclusive screening of the new documentary ‘Venus and Serena’ about tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams during their most formative years. The documentary was first shown in September at the Toronto International Film Festival and has gained critical acclaim ever since. After the screening, director Maiken Baird will answer questions from the audience and explain the making of the film. Women’s Brunch Kvinde til Kvinde meetup, location given to registered attendees; Mar 9 11:00-13:30; tickets 100 kr, 75kr reduced; www. Kvinde til Kvinde (Women to Women) offers a Saturday brunch for women to meet and enjoy a morning of food, friends and an inspiring speaker. Merete Tangsted, a project leader from KTK, will be speaking on the topic of joy. A brunch buffet with unlimited coffee, tea and juice will be available, as well as vegetarian options. Concessions are available for students, pensioners, the unemployed and au pairs.

What makes this challenge particularly important is its reliance on the ideas of 20-somethings. As the prize’s website ex-

Our team is composed of experts in nutrition, food processing, IT, telecoms and corporate finance

plains, business school students are a relatively untapped resource. For one, business schools teach their students how to overcome the hurdles of executing a project. And, for another, the variety in the students’ backgrounds gives these teams fresh perspectives on solving problems. Representing that variety for CBS is a team of five international students: Chiara Ercole from Italy, Pantelis Colakis from Greece, Jack Langworthy, a Californian, Faisal Alamro from Saudi Arabia and Rahul Shah from India. Together,

the team has rallied through a rigorous selection process and were one of the few selected from over 10,000 applications. Not only is the team a mixture of nationalities, they also bring many different skills sets to the table. “Our team is composed of experts in nutrition, food processing, IT, telecoms and corporate finance,” Langworthy told The Copenhagen Post. “Each of these skills is framing a modern and sustainable approach to solving food security in slums.” Going to school in a country that wastes as much as it

does, these five students have really taken on the issue and want to rally until the end. “The amount of food wasted while people starve is tragic,” commented Alamro. “And, thankfully, unnecessary.” That passion has brought them to the prize’s regional finals. Their idea is, as Langworthy explained, “to provide an efficient supply chain between farmers and the slums with a special focus on Kibera, Kenya”. The group have paid particular attention to generating jobs for women in Kenya to create “a means for food preservation and a means to distribute healthier and cheaper food options within slums, while respecting cultural tastes”. The Hult Prize regional competitions will take place on March 1 and 2 on Hult International Business School’s five campuses in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. CBS will compete in London but then not find out until September whether their idea will win the million-dollar grant presented by Clinton himself. “We are each so busy with school, but we each have so much love for this project that we have essentially given up sleep between now and our competition,” admitted Langworthy. “But it’s an amazing opportunity to make a sustainable improvement in the lives of millions.”

Six Nations Rugby British Expats Meetup, Globe Bar, Nørregade 45, Cph K; Feb 23 15:15-20:00; free adm; events/10311982 Join the British expat meetup group to watch Italy vs Wales at 15:30 followed by England vs France at 18:00. New faces are welcome, as are colourful costumes and paraphernalia. Evening of Wine and Chocolate Young Internationals meetup, Kent Kaffe Laboratorium, Nørre Farimagsgade 70, Cph K; Feb 27 18:00-20:30; 250kr; email to register OM Nielsen Wine Importers invites you to an evening to discover unexpected tastes while meeting other expats. The event will feature five gourmet chocolate samples paired with their respective wines. Book soon as limited seating is available. Job Search Workshop Nyropsgade 1, Cph V; March 5 09:00-14:00; free adm; register at Are you new to the job search in Denmark? Workindenmark welcomes you to a free workshop where you will be introduced to the basics of Danish employers, tips for searching, motivation letters, CVs and interviews. Tea, coffee and sandwiches are included.


Last year’s celebration of Merdeka (not sure if that would make a Frenchman laugh) was a jolly occasion

Heard about the Asian take on ‘hygge’? DAVE SMITH Providing Malaysians and Danes with a platform to mingle since 2001


OR 12 YEARS, Malaysians based in Denmark, and Danish nationals with an affinity for the Southeast Asian country, have enjoyed being part of an active social scene, thanks primarily to the efforts of the Malaysian Danish Association (MDA). Formed in 2001, the association wanted to give potential members the chance to socialise and eat good food, and over the years, it has heartily succeeded at both. “It is no secret that Malaysians are unabashedly passion-

ate about their food, and why not?” enthused MDA chair Julietta Nielsen. “Malaysia boasts a diverse selection of ethnic food that makes a prominent presence in Southeast Asian cuisine.” But it is not just the food, but the bonding that the Malaysians enjoy – you could say that the feeling is not too dissimilar to a certain sentiment know in these parts as ‘hygge’. No wonder so many Danes have joined the MDA. “There is a distinct similarity,” continues Nielsen. “This in essence contributes to the numerous successful social gatherings that have been hosted by the MDA. My Danish husband has this to say about the Malaysians: “They only eat once a day, all day long”.

Most expats based in Denmark would agree that he could have been speaking about family gathering on a Sunday. Earlier this month, the MDA marked Muhibbah, the land of harmony celebrations, on February 2 with another of the sumptuous banquets it has become famous for. Other events to look forward to in 2013 include its spring festival in April, the Merdeka celebration of independence in August, and the MDA AGM in the autumn. None of this would be possible without the ongoing support of the Malaysian Embassy and Tourism Malaysia, both of which are based in Stockholm, and the MDA’s patron and honorary consul, Per Gullestrup of Clipper Group Denmark.



The Copenhagen Post

22 - 28 February 2013

Bjarke Smith-Meyer Swansea manager and under-19s coach urge players to be patient and consider their options, but some are too hungry for success


he English Premier League (EPL) is the last place young Danish footballers should move, contends Michael Laudrup, this country’s most successful ever footballing export. The current manager of EPL club Swansea City, who stands on the verge of greatness ahead of the League Cup Final this Sunday – a game his side are strongly expected to win – believes young Danes should instead remain content with their home comforts to further develop their skills. “Generally speaking,” Laudrup told The Copenhagen Post. “If I were to advise a young Danish player [on where to best progress their game], I’d say first: Denmark, second: the Netherlands, Germany or France, and finally: Italy, Spain and England.” And Laudrup is not alone. It’s an opinion also held by Thomas Frank, the coach of the under-19 national side. “England is not the best place to go,” Frank said. “Yes, it may be the best league in the world. But that’s also the issue. Competition is very high, and it’s very difficult [for talented youngsters] to successfully break into a team. Same with Spain’s La Liga. How many Danes do you know who are playing there?” The underlying message may be for the nation’s young footballers to develop within their own borders, but that did not stop the likes of Lasse Vigen, 18, and Andreas Christensen, 16, who joined Fulham and Chelsea respectively in 2012. Their moves attracted criticism from the Danish national coach Morten Olsen. He openly accused English clubs of going on regular spending sprees for young talent without putting great thought into how the young players whould fit into a team. It’s a problem that FC Nordsjaelland defender Jores Okore, who was heavily rumoured to move to Fulham in the January transfer window, is well aware of. “In Denmark, coaches will


Laudrup urges starlets to consider their options, but are they listening?

FCN defender Jores Okore shows the steely resolve driving his bid for a transfer to a top English club

Laudrup works in England, but wouldn’t move there if he was young

do their best to help you out,” Okore explained. “But in England, the staff are there to get you fit and nothing more. If you don’t perform well, then you’re on your own.” One such player was Nicolas Saric, who moved to Croatian outfit Hajduk Split in 2012 after failing to break into Liverpool’s first team after a four-year stint at the club. Another was Mads Timm, who moved to Manchester United as a teenager in 2000 but only made one appearance in five years and ended up returning home and not much later retiring at the age of 24, apparently due to motivation issues. And it’s the misfortunes of players like Saric and Timm that makes Danish FA (DBU) employees like Frank urge youngsters to avoid the bright lights of the EPL and look elsewhere. “In the case of Lasse Vigen,” Frank said, “Fulham is not the best place he could have gone to for first-team football. Development-wise? Fine. He’s got a great attitude and will work very hard. But he’s not the next Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard.”

In Laudrup’s opinion, the Dutch League is a far better destination for Danes to grow and blossom into first-team regulars. “Christian Eriksen, Nicolai Boilesen and Viktor Fischer are great examples,” Laudrup explained. “The Dutch have great academies, and you can find a plethora of young Danes who’ve hugely benefitted from them.” It’s a point that the 21-yearold Ajax midfielder Eriksen can attest to, who in 2008 chose to join the Dutch champions despite heavy interest from Chelsea. “It was not that hard a decision,” Eriksen told The Copenhagen Post. “There’s a huge amount of attention that goes into developing your technique here in the Netherlands. And on top of that, I knew there would be a greater chance of breaking into the first eleven as well.” However, Eriksen’s decision to choose the Dutch League over the English one does not mean he has decided to stay in the Netherlands for the rest of his career. Eriksen’s transfer status has been under increasing specula-

tion after Ajax’s technical director Marc Overmars told Sporten. dk that he “thinks Eriksen and his agent want to see what opportunities present themselves this summer”. It’s a comment that has sparked Danish football pundit Morten Bruun to say that England should be Eriksen’s next destination in order to improve. “He needs toughening up to develop further,” Bruun said on TV2. “But it should be at a smaller club like Fulham, Aston Villa or Everton. He’ll drown at the bigger clubs like Manchester City and United, Chelsea, Tottenham or Arsenal.” Eriksen, however, does not agree. “No,” Eriksen said. “I wouldn’t go to a small club like

the ones Bruun mentioned. I won’t leave Ajax unless it’s to jump up the career ladder. What would be the point otherwise?” The concept of joining a smaller club to establish a presence in the Premier League is, however, one that is advised by Frank. He feels that is the best way for young players to succeed in the Premier League. “It’s completely understandable why young players want to go to England,” Frank said. “But such a move should be a calculated one. If we take Okore for example, he should go to a small club first, get the recognition he deserves and then make the move to a bigger club.” Okore, on the other hand, like Eriksen, is not overly keen on the idea. But he admits that

it’s a tactic that has its merits. “I’d happily wait for three years on the bench if it meant eventually playing for a top club,” Okore explained. “But, if playing for a smaller club was the only way I could prove my worth by showcasing my potential, I’d do it. But I want to win titles. Smaller clubs would only serve as a springboard to further my career as a footballer.” Eriksen, however, does not have the patience to wait three years on a bench to get his chance. “Not at all,” Eriksen said. “My ambition is to play. Not to warm the bench. I want to be part of the first eleven at a big club, play Champions League and compete for top honours. And you can’t do that from the bench or at smaller clubs.”

Should Ajax playmaker Christian Eriksen move to England, it will be to a big club and not to warm the bench

Sports news IN brief Danish dominance over

Raising Arizona dreams

Blume boost for new coach

Nielsen eyes step up

Rights row rumbles on

Finally a ticket to ride

Germany on Sunday ended 17 years of Danish dominance to win badminton’s European Mixed Team Championships. In the absence of Tine Baun, the German world number four, Juliane Schenk, easily swept aside youngster Line Kjaersfeldt, current European champion Marc Zwiebler edged out Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, and a surprise win in the women’s doubles sealed a 3-0 win in the final.

Thorbjørn Olesen and Thomas Bjørn have avoided the big names in the first round of the World Match Play Championship, which is contested by the world’s top 64 players and due to start on Wednesday in Arizona. However, should Olesen beat Welsh golfer Jamie Donaldson, he faces a possible second round game against Australia’s Adam Scott. Bjørn, meanwhile, will lock clubs with Sweden’s Peter Hanson.

Pernille Blume, who anchored the female 4 x 100 medley team to gold at last year’s World Short Course Championships, has given the new national swimming coach, Shannon Rollason, a vote of confidence by agreeing to return to Denmark to train. Blume had previously trained in France, alongside compatriot Lotte Friis, and also attributed her decision to the language barrier and missing her friends.

Patrick Nielsen, 21, who defended his WBA Inter-Continental Middleweight title on February 9 by defeating England’s Patrick Mendy on points, is now considering a fight against Jermain Taylor, a former world champ and participant in the Super Six. Speaking to, the country’s leading promoter Nisse Sauerland said the 21-year-old, who is undefeated in 18 fights, might fight Taylor “after the summer”.

A storm is brewing over the third-party ownership of footballers – a practice recently highlighted by the sale of the transfer rights of Mads Albæk without his knowledge. Despite the Danish FA condemning the practice, one of its excom members, Thomas Christensen, has told Tipsbladet there won’t be an outright ban, despite claims from the players’ association that it was outlawed, in principle, by UEFA in December.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff has finally been given the green light to take part in this year’s WorldTour, international cycling’s top tier. Back in December, Saxo-Tinkoff was demoted from the 18-team tour and then reinstated hours later after the expulsion of Russian outfit Katusha. However, Katusha won an appeal, so the UCI has now ruled that 19 teams will contest the tour this season.


The Copenhagen Post

22 - 28 February 2013


Christian Wenande Stock value has shot up by ten percent since the bank announced it would be charging customers fees for having an account

A The Carlsberg Group reported nine percent organic volume growth in Asia and pointed to countries like Laos (pictured) as areas where the Danish company is making inroads

Bjarke Smith-Meyer Annual report for 2012 won’t impress investors, but Jørgen Buhl Ramussen insists that positives can be drawn from performance in Russia and Asia


n Monday, following the release of Carlsberg’s 2012 financial report, which revealed a net profit of 5.6 billion kroner, the Danish beer giant saw its stock drop by six percent due to the report’s indication of stagnant growth. But Carlsberg CEO Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen insists there are positives to be taken from 2012 despite company cutbacks, a production decrease and a set-back in sales. “The economy has been at a low point, which obviously affects consumer purchases,” Rasmussen told Børsen financial daily. “But we’re expecting good things from our Asian markets, where we’re always looking for new investments.” According to the company’s annual report, bad summer weather and a change in consumer habits were the main reasons for poor sales in western Europe. However, growth in Asia and a steady performance in Russia indicates that Carlsberg is gaining ground in the East – an ambition Rasmussen set out to achieve in 2012.

“On a whole, I would say there’s a positive trend in our market share since the end of 2011,” Rasmussen said. “And that is a reflection of the business we managed to achieve in Russia at the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012.” The company reported that it improved its market share across Asia, pointing particulary to strong performances in countries such as India, Cambodia and Vietnam. The setbacks closer to home in western Europe, however, have meant that Rasmussen has been forced to change strategy after Carlsberg’s operating profit fell from 5.4 billion kroner in 2011 to 5.1 billion in 2012. Poland is the only European country in which Carlsberg saw a strong growth in sales. Carlsberg as a result has reevaluated its targets, changing them to what the annual report described as “softer and less tangible objectives”. And while Rasmussen has argued that these new “clear and simple ambitions will result in better long-term company value”, it has already started to attract criticism from analysts in Denmark. “The results are disappointing,” Morten Imsgard, an analyst from Sydbank, told Ritzau Finans. “This news is only proving the company’s critics right.” In 2010, Carlsberg set shortterm goals of achieving pre-tax

The Carlsberg Group

Carlsberg CEO looks east after slow year

staggering 35 percent of Danske Bank customers are considering leaving the bank, according to a survey that Megafon compiled for Politiken newspaper and TV2. Economist Kim Valentin from financial advisors Finanshuset i Fredensborg said it was remarkable that such a large and established company is so unpopular with its own customers. “It’s completely unbelievable that such a comprehensive bank can blunder to the point that it has here,” Valentin told Politiken. “But the whole mess is magnified by the apathetic response it has had to the customers who are leaving the bank. It doesn’t just mean lost customers, but a dwindling loyalty amongst the ones that remain.” Danske Bank’s troubles began in November of last year when it launched its now-infamous advertising campaign, ‘New Standards’, which featured a number of issues that didn’t reflect the bank’s image, including

an image that referred to Occupy Wall Street, a movement that has been very critical of large banks and the role they played in the global economic downturn. “That must go down as one of the worst campaigns in history in regards to their target group,” John Norden, the head of banking price comparer, Mybanker, told Politiken. “That advert should have been sent as a DVD with a bottle of champagne to 500 of the biggest stockholders, because that’s who it appealed to. To normal people, it proved that the bank hadn’t understood that the public’s trust in financial institutions had been eroded.” Danske Bank has also ostracised many of its customers by discontinuing face-to-face transactions at 131 of its branches. But, although Danske Bank continues to receive negative press attention and angry customers continue to flock to its rivals, the bank recently announced that it ended 2012 with a nearly five billion kroner profit – its best in years. And since the bank announced late last year that it would begin charging many of its customers fees of up to 480 kroner a year just for having a standard account, share prices have risen by ten percent. The share price was at 97

Scanpix / Søren Bidstrup

The Carlsberg Group

Danske Bank’s customers might not be happy, but its shareholders are

Eivind Kolding: Unpopular amongst most, loved by some

kroner when CEO Eivind Kolding indicated that the bank would charge its customers more on 20 December 2012. Last week, the share price ranged between 107 and 110 kroner. Stock analyst Jakob Brink, who keeps tabs on Danske Bank stock for ABG Sundal Collier investment bank, argued that even though Danske Bank may be taking a beating in the public forum, investors see the customer fees as a sign that the bank is working hard at shedding weak customers and generating more money. “To investors, it is obviously positive that customers who Danske Bank loses money on move to other banks,” Brink told Politiken. “Every day there have been debates on how bad the bank is. That may result in fewer customers, but I don’t think the negative press will affect the bank’s business in the long run.”

BRITISH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN DENMARK Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen was optimistic despite the slow year

earning margins of 15-17 percent in western Europe, 26-29 percent in eastern Europe and 15-20 percent in Asia. The annual report, however, showed that the operating margin achieved in western Europe in 2012 was 13.6 percent, a decrease from 14.7 percent in 2011. Carlsberg also saw a drop in Asia from 18.8 percent in 2011 to 18.5 percent in 2012. Eastern Europe, on the other hand, saw some growth, from 21.3 percent in 2011 to 21.7 percent at the end of 2012. While Rasmussen said that Carlsberg is out-competing its rivals in Asia, Børsen reported that the three biggest global breweries – AB-Inbev, SAB Miller and Heineken – continue to pull ahead of Carlsberg on the world stage.

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It’s about daring... Stine Bosse, has a Master of Law from the University of Copenhagen and before being appointed to Group CEO of TrygVesta A/S in 2001, she held various positions in Tryg which provided her with a unique, thorough and hands-on understanding of the day-to-day operations. She is widely known in the public for her direct and no-nonsense communication and is enthusiastically engaged in the societal debate for a better and safer world. She is a role model for many aspiring young people as the highest ranking female CEO in Denmark and was appointed the 22nd most influential business woman in the world in 2009 and 2010 by the Financial Times. Stine Bosse serves as chairman of Flügger Denmark, The Royal Danish Theatre, CONCITO, Børnefonden, and Copenhagen Art Festival. She is Danish member of ChildFund Alliance, and sits on the board of among others Nordea Bank A/S, TDC, Allianz and Aker ASA. Additionally, Stine Bosse is the former chairman of the supervisory board of the Danish Insurance Association (Forsikring & Pension), and former board member of Grundfos and Amlin plc. In the Spring 2010, Stine Bosse was appointed Advocate for the Millenium Development Goals by the UN Secretary General, Ban Kimoon, to fight world hunger and poverty. Stine will talk about the essence of her book “Det handler om at turde”. Programme: • 11.45: Registration and welcome drinks • 12.00: Welcome and introduction by Mariano A. Davies, President, BCCD • 12.10: Guest speaker - Stine Bosse • 12.40: Questions and discussion • 12.55: Announcements by Penny Schmith, Executive Director, BCCD • 13.00: Buffet lunch and networking

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Price in kroner for one unit of foreign currency

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Date: 20 February 2013

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The Copenhagen Post

22 - 28 February 2013

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Welcome to copenhagen – come be a part of the city! The City of Copenhagen would like to invite you to a Welcome Reception the City Hall,would Tuesdaylike theto6th of March 2012 from the city ofatcopenhagen invite you and your 5 p.m. to p.m. family to 7this year’s Welcome reception at the city hall · Head of Business Affairs Jakob Brandt from Copenhagen Tuesday the Service 5th of March 4 p.m.welcome - 6 p.m. you to Business would 2013 like toat officially Copenhagen · meet representatives from different culture and leisure · Introduction to the city through interesting glimpse and stories activities in copenhagen and hear about evening classes, presented by Jakob Parby from The Copenhagen Museum sports, family friendly events and activities, and much more. · Taste the famous Copenhagen City Hall pancakes whilst having · taste the famous copenhagen city hall pancakes. the opportunity to meet representatives from different culture · Welcome speech by the mayor of culture and Leisure and leisure activities and ‘visit’ the human library. administration, pia allerslev. Please register please registerthrough for at

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The Copenhagen Post is looking for a part-time intern interested in gaining experience translating from Danish to English.

7 - 20 NOVEMBER 2011


Early German Baroque Music 1600-1700 In commemoration of Christian Geist (c.1650-1711)


Discovering Israel: Inside the Holy Land Special advertising section INSIDE!

Photo: Karsten Movang

Copenhagen Renaissance Music Festival Special advertising section INSIDE!









4 - 10 November 2011 | Vol 14 Issue 44



Denmark’s only English-language newspaper | ILLUSTRATION BY PETER STANNERS


Dane unable to obtain family reunification for his Thai girlfriend says residency rules are a Catch-22


Exploiting ‘fat tax’ Supermarkets are scamming their customers under the guise of the new national ‘fat tax’

NEWS | 3


Get in or get out Is now the time to join the euro, or to run like hell?


National coach Morten Olsen’s new contract will keep him in the job until after the 2014 World Cup.


A new budget to ‘kickstart’ the economy JENNIFER BULEY

Warrior Jesus How Christianity borrowed from Norse mythology and branded Jesus as a tough guy in order to woo the pagan Vikings


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SRSF’s first budget will spend 17.5 billion kroner on infrastructure and abolish previous taxes and restrictions


AN YOU HAVE your cake and eat it too? Conventional wisdom says no, but with their first budget plan since the shift of power, the new Socialdemokraterne-RadikaleSocialistisk Folkeparti (SRSF) coalition appear to be giving it a shot. Many of the elements of the new budget – which is expected to be released in its entirety on Thursday – will increase state spending at a time when the budget deficit has increased. But where the money would come from remained a mystery. A number of the new budget items reinstate spending cuts made by the pre-

vious Venstre-Konservative (VK) govern- the number of students. Moreover, stument. Here are a few of the major points: dents will no longer pay administrative Families: VK limited the state’s fees, and prospective Master’s students monthly child support handouts (bør- will have prerequisite course tuitions necheck) to 35,000 kroner per fam- paid. The government will also fund ily. That limit has now been abolished, 1,500 more state-supported internship meaning that many families will get positions. Infrastructure and job creation: larger child benefits. The government will also pay for fertility treatments and Some 17.5 billion kroner will be invested over two years in infrastructure voluntary sterilisations. Welfare: VK and Dansk Folkeparti projects, such as a new rail line between (DF) introduced specialised welfare pro- Copenhagen and Ringsted, a project to grammes that reduced the cash benefits widen the Holbæk motorway, erosion for new immigrants. Those programmes protection efforts along Jutland’s west have now been eliminated and going coast, and renovations to public housforward all residents in need of state ing. Prime minister Helle Thorningsupport will receive the same welfare Schmidt has said that these ‘kickstart’ projects will create 20,000 new jobs benefits. Higher education and research: from 2012-2013. The Danish ConstrucUniversities will get an extra one billion tion Association predicts 10,000. Tax break:meeting The unpopular ‘mulkroner over two years to cover costs as- a personal Organise sociated with a predicted increase in timedia tax’ introduced by VK will be

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abolished, saving some 525,000 Danes with business laptops and mobile phones 3,000 kroner per year. Not everyone, however, can look forward to a cash infusion. Smokers and junk food lovers will be taxed higher on their vices, while international corporations will also see higher tax bills. SRSF plans to raise revenue by closing a number of tax loopholes going back nearly 20 years that allowed international corporations in Denmark to escape paying corporate taxes (see more on page 15). All told, the spending increases in the new budget are not as big as the minister of the economy and interior, Margrethe Vestager (R), would like. She noted that VK under-reported the deficit for 2012, making it imprudent to spend more. But Denmark will still meet the EU’s financial responsibility benchmarks, despite the larger deficit, she added.

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The CPH Post Entertainment Guide | 16 - 22 Sep


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John Primer w. Nisse Thorbjorn Band [US/DK] Joe Louis Walker [US] | Holmes Brothers [US] Mud Morganfield w. Peter Nande Band [US/DK] Louisiana Red & Paul Lamb [US/UK] | Janice Harrington w. Kenn Lending Blues Band [US/DK] Keith Dunn Band [US/NL] | Johnny Max Band [CA] Delta Blues Band | The Healers | Shades of Blue Thorbjorn Risager | Troels Jensen | Alain Apaloo H.P. Lange | Mike Andersen & Jens Kristian Dam Tutweiler | Fried Okra Band | The Blues Overdrive Bluesoul | Grahn & Malm | Ole Frimer | Paul Banks Jacob Fischer Trio | Svante Sjöblom | Jes Holtsoe

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22 - 28 February 2013

VANESSA ELLINGHAM Cirque du Soleil 

December 28 at Forum

Surely that’s the plane from ‘Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines’

In every way the show ran with no holds barred. A comprehensive live band, along with outstanding soloists, drew the audience through the loose background story to each new act. The artistic direction was second to none, with the baroque influence ranging from the cita-

The performances are worthwhile, and the programme is put together well as an introduction to the art form’s richness. The evening, however, feels more ‘budget ballet’ than its predecessor, which featured live music from the Royal Danish Orchestra. The grand opera stage is the appropriate frame for contemporary masterpiece ‘Chroma’ – last season the Royal Danish Ballet performed it disadvantageously on the intimate playhouse stage. Moreover, Wayne McGregor’s extremely challenging and often acrobatic choreography seems to have settled in the dancers’ bodies, so that the dancing now matches the intensity of the music – an orchestral arrangement of tunes by the White Stripes.

‘The Unsung’ is a late piece of American modern dance by choreographer José Limon. Inspired by native American culture, it was first performed in 1970. Eight male dancers move in complete silence but, according to soloist Gregory Dean, the piece’s rhythmical structure means that “you can hear the music in your head when you dance”. The Royal Danish Ballet describes the proud and energetic performance that emphasises gravity in heavy-stomping movements as “macho”. And yet, ‘The Unsung’ also features gentle lifts and fascinates by how carefully the dancers listen to each other’s bodies to achieve perfect synchronicity. ‘The Kingdom of the Shades’, an excerpt from Mar-

Budget ballet, but still a bargain FRANZISKA BORK PETERSEN Dans2Go 


S IN PREVIOUS seasons, the Royal Danish Ballet is recruiting new balletomanes with its popular discount performances. All tickets cost 200 kroner for a triple dance bill that is entirely abstract, and yet couldn’t be more diverse. The evening opens with a contemporary ballet, passes the modern era and finishes with a key scene of classical ballet from the late 19th century. Each of the works is introduced by a short behindthe-scenes video in which dancers talk about the rehearsal process and their personal approach to the pieces.

del stage to the intricate makeup of the bird-faced characters. I wished I could have seen the performers’ costumes up close, but only, of course, without the risk of a clown picking me from the crowd for an embarrassing stunt – is that every audience member’s worst nightmare, or just mine?

Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Alegría’ will continue playing at Forum until Sunday. See page G2 in InOut for more details. HENRIK STENBERG

were graceful rather than barbaric, the contortionists not so much freaky as entrancing. Of course there was still that exciting build up to the finale – acrobats flinging themselves between aerial high bars – which left me wiping my sweaty palms on my trousers.

The show’s majesty, physical dynamics and spectacular beauty were what I had heard would set Cirque du Soleil apart from the rest. And these delivered. But what really sealed the deal for me were actually the clowns. Accustomed only to cheesy, halfbaked skits from dowdy, lifeless clowns, I had always found them a little bit creepy, ever since my first circus visit as a child. But Cirque du Soleil’s clowns broke the mould, producing sketches between each act on a par with those you might find on a late-night talk show. Despite the clearly aweinspiring physical feats of the performers, I found myself looking forward to the next hilarious sketch after each intense act − some of which even parodied the previous acrobat’s skills. Cirque du Soleil delivered on its promise to wow the crowd, but it also cured my fear of clowns. Bravo!

Lena-Maria Gruber and Gregory Dean in ‘Chroma’

ius Petipa’s 1877 ballet ‘La Bayadère’, concludes the programme. The corps de ballet performs this seminal ballet scene with impeccable beauty. Principal Ulrik Birkkjær reassuringly partners Hilary Guswiler who dances the solo part of the bayadère Nikija for the first time and excels as a remarkable tech-

nician throughout the evening. Dans2Go will continue playing at Forum until March 1. See page G2 in InOut for more details. Meanwhile, the full version of ‘La Bayadère’, is returning next month after a winter break for five more performances from March 7-15. See next week’s InOut for more details.

BJARKE SMITH-MEYER With spot in Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and starring role in juicy commercial, Nina Agdal is quickly establishing herself on the international scene


F AMERICAN men have begun eating more fish, it could be due to Danish swimsuit model Nina Agdal. Agdal, who recently earned her second spot in the coveted Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, made her mouthwatering American splash in a commercial for fast food chain Carl’s Jr’s new charbroiled Atlantic cod fish burger that aired during the Super Bowl. That’s a lot of hungry fans! In the ad, not only does Agdal strip down in the name of

healthy eating, she also seems to be promoting the sensible use of sunscreen, given how frequently the ad highlights her spraying herself and rubbing it in diligently. While the Carl’s Jr ad has been burning up the internet since its debut, it is not the 20-year-old’s first time on the world stage. Agdal was named Sports Illustrated Swimsuit ‘rookie of the year’ for 2012. And based on her remarks in a video on Sports Illustrated’s website, Agdal will probably be seen in various stages of undress in the future. “I love wearing swimwear and lingerie,” Agdal says in a Sports Illustrated video. “It makes me feel good about my body and myself. So I enjoy bikini photo shoots a lot more than jacket and coat shots.”


America hungry for model with an appetite for bikinis

If she becomes a star, this is the commercial that talk-show hosts will use to embarrass her in the future

Thomas Dalvang Fleurquin? PETER STANNERS


IRQUE DU SOLEIL has a long-standing reputation for delivering outstanding theatrical performances of a circus flavour while distinguishing itself from the tacky, hollow memories one might have from a childhood trip to the local funfair. ‘Alegría’ completely lived up to this international reputation on its opening night on February 13. Each circus ranks its acts in a hierarchy: trapeze artists and flying men are what everyone looks forward to, while contortionists and dancers are the necessary breaks between the hype and anxiety of the big acts. But this is completely elevated in Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Alegría’. Even the simplest acts, such as ribbon dancing, were pulled off with such an exquisite grace, it was impossible not to be moved. The fire dancers


Not clowning about: a cirque cure for coulrophobia Who is …

HECTOR MARTIN He is the organiser of the annual Distortion Festival and one of the founders of The Copenhagen Post, which celebrated the 15th anniversary of the publication of its first issue on February 19. It was revealed this week that he plans Distortion events in upper-crusty Gentofte this year. Who are you? I’m a French guy with a Danish family, and I fell in love with Copenhagen when I moved here in 1998. Why did you start The Copenhagen Post? Myself, and the other founders – my close friend San Shepherd and his father [former editor-in-chief] Philip Shepherd – all felt Copenhagen was an under-rated city with a lot of international potential, and that an English-language newspaper could help it on its way. In a way, we were right about the city. Between 1998 and 2005, Copenhagen went through a Golden Age that saw it transform from a provincial Scandinavian hellhole into a cool international city. If you were to do it again, what would you do differently? I would stop in 2004 and not 2008. It was around 2004 that my brain started to wear down, as we went from being an entrepreneurial endeavour to a company seeking to solidify itself. When we started, we had a few journalists, but San and I did everything else. I’d work 40 hours from Monday to Wednesday making the paper, drive to the printer Wednesday night to deliver the files, sleep in the van while they printed, then distribute them. Friday and Saturday night, I’d work in a bar so I could earn some money. I enjoyed the impossible nature of what we were doing then, but once it became possible, I began to need new challenges – but sometimes I still say: “I’m going to the newspaper,” when I leave for work in the morning. The Copenhagen Post, Distortion … what’s next? The world. Honestly, in the next couple of years, I will establish Distortion as a foundation in order to ensure its financial stability and then start organising Distortion in other cities.


22 - 28 February 2013



If only expert safecracker Palle Sørensen had been more like his fictional counterpart Egon Olsen. His murder of four defenceless policemen in 1965 was the country’s biggest mass-killing since the Occupation


Søndergaard Harkjær and Henning Skov Hansen. It was a short-lived car chase and the Simca was easily forced over to the side of the road. A tense Sørensen wasted no time in getting out of the car and pulling out his prized possession, the Browning P35, from its shoulder holster. He executed the defenceless policeman in cold blood and then gave them both an extra bullet to make sure. Speeding away, they were intercepted by another patrol car carrying two more policemen, Elmer Gert Jeppesen, 24, and Aksel Dybdahl Andersen, 28. Unaware of what had happened, they too overtook the pair and forced them to stop. Jeppesen made his way over to the car and was immediately gunned down; Andersen was brutally murdered as he tried to climb out of the car. In all, 15 bullets had been fired of which 12 hit their intended targets.

A truly horrendous crime had been committed, and Sørensen went into hiding. Two days later he turned himself in and, after initially declaring his innocence, he quickly confessed and was subsequently sentenced to life in prison. Waiting to be sentenced, he could hear the faint sound of hymns coming from an adjoining cell. It was the emotionally-charged

Sometimes it was as if the safes just opened up by themselves. I seemed to have almost magical power state funeral of the four policemen being transmitted live on television to a shocked and grieving Denmark. By this point in his life, the 38-year-old Sørensen had already spent half his adult life (eleven years) in prison, but what he did not know was that it would be another 32 years before he would become a free man. Held in isolation for the next eleven years in the tiniest

of cells, Sørensen, a natural loner, embarked on a one-man struggle that would see him break numerous Danish incarceration records. The name Palle Sørensen had absolutely not been forgotten, and a series of applications for release or pardon were firmly rejected. For example, in 1990, Hans Engell, the justice minister, rejected one on the grounds that Sørensen was capable of committing grievous bodily harm. In 1993, the new justice minister, Erling Olsen, also brushed aside the question, stating that he would not and could not release him until he had a clear guarantee that Sørensen would never again commit any murders. Behind the political curtains, feelings still ran high in the upper echelons of the police union. Many there clearly felt that life meant life in Sørens-

en’s case, and they strenuously blocked any attempts to release Sørensen. Appeals for his release, for example, coincided with a police-arranged exhibition of photos of the murders and a memorial service attended by policemen in full uniform. A breakthrough came in 1995 when he was transferred to an open prison, although the move did incur the wrath of rising politician Pia Kjærsgaard. She sent a persistent series of official questions to the justice minister urging him to ensure that this move would not pave the way for release. In January 1998, the current mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen, who was then the justice minister, came to the conclusion that “Palle Sørensen is an elderly man ... who has committed an unforgivable crime. But if the overall impression of him is unchanged by the beginning of spring, then I am of the opinion that enough is enough.” A justice minister had dared to do the unthinkable. On 4 May 1998, after 32 years and eight months in prison, Sørensen was released. Enough was finally enough. Today in his mid-80s, Sørensen lives a quiet life in Valby, only troubled by the occasional news-hungry journalist or angry elderly lady with a long

memory. In a recent interview with Frank Bøgh, the author of the book ‘Palle Sørensen – Politimorder’, Sørensen conceded that he was still fascinated by safes – shaking his head at how the fictional Egon Olsen miraculously managed to open safes by listening and twiddling the knob. “I was good with safes”, he said. “Sometimes it was as if the safes just opened up by themselves. I seemed to have almost magical powers.” There can be no doubt that the police murderer was discriminated against in the eyes of the law, and that his lengthy incarceration was legally un-

Sørensen, 85, currently lives in Valby

reasonable. But looking back on the effect the cold-blooded murders had on the families of the victims, the police force and on the collective emotions of the nation as a whole, it is not

diff i cult t o understand why, for many, his release was a wholly unpalatable thought. Almost 50 years after that horrific day,

the name Palle Sørensen still provokes strong emotions. The Browning P35 pistol used in the murders can be seen on display at the Police Museum in Nørrebro where it is a part of the exhibition ‘Evil’.


RIDAY 17 September 1965 is a day deeply etched into the memory of a whole generation of Danes. This was the day that the habitual criminal Palle Sørensen cold-bloodedly murdered four policemen at close range with his hitherto unused Browning P35 semi-automatic handgun. It was a day that would directly lead to the arming of Danish policemen. In his early criminal career, comparisons could perhaps be drawn with small-time movie criminal Egon Olsen from the Olsen Gang films. In 1949, fresh out of juvenile detention, he cycled from his parent’s apartment in Amager to the offices of Dansk Arbejdsmandforbund, now 3F. Using explosives stolen from the limestone quarries of Faxe, he blew a safe open to a deafening bang and made off with 130,000 kroner in used 50 kroner notes and 2 kroner coins. Cycling home with his booty on the back of his bike, he had time to stop off at the baker’s for a loaf of bread, while police cars were speeding around in search of the perpetrators. Newspapers at the time believed that the coup must have been the work of a highly-organised international gang. In reality, it was a oneman job masterminded by an expert safe cracker. Sørensen wasted no time luxuriating in an extravagant spending spree. His 130,000 kroner haul was, after all, the equivalent of 17 years’ salary for a manual labourer. He bought a couple of cars − an Adler and a Mercedes − a speedboat to smuggle goods between Belgium and Copenhagen, and a 34-foot boat. The money inevitably ran out, and a series of burglaries and a botched insurance swindle on the Mercedes led to a swift return behind bars. In and out of prison over the next five years, he was the subject of a 1958 Ekstra Bladet article that described him as a lock-picking genius, but what the journalist failed to uncover was his biggest passion in life:

a deep fascination with guns. It would transpire that Sørensen had quite an impressive collection tucked away in his mother’s basement. Sørensen meanwhile, tried to go straight, and his efforts were successful for a while. He made use of his considerable technical abilities to make aerials for the military. However, a chance encounter in 1964 with Norman Bune, a fellow exinmate from Horsens Prison, would prove to lead him irretrievably and ruinously back onto the road to crime. Switching his flashy Cadillac for an anonymous old battered rusty Simca, Sørensen together with Bune found a niche criminal sideline breaking into shops and factories, stealing cigarettes, alcohol and coffee, and selling it on to a local Amager kiosk. One fateful night, disappointed by a fruitless break-in at an undertaker’s, the unstable Bune suggested heading off to the undertaker’s private property. It was one broken door too many, and the owner heard them, caught them in the act and alerted the police. They sped off into the Amager night. A police hunt ensued, and it wasn’t long before the car was spotted by two 24-year-old fledgling police officers, Gert


Slain on the streets: the shootings that shook the nation to its core


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