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So I unexpectedly landed back in Moldova tonight close to midnight. Everyone kept telling me that the tomorrow's meeting at the ministry which I am here to attend would not happen until after the holidays because this is how things in Moldova worked and it would get moved, etc. Well, it is happening and I flew over. It can be hard enough to get our message across at those meetings (speaking via translators, etc), VC would not work at all for this. I am flying back to London on Friday and we are going to Copenhagen for the New Year.
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As the patron of Europe region of World Health Organization (WHO), Crown Princess Mary of Denmark will pay a three days visit to Moldova between the dates of November 23-25, 2016 together with Europe Regional Director of WHO, Dr. Zuzsanna Jakab for the purpose of focusing on regional issues related to mother and child health.

Together with Moldovian Minister of Health, Ruxanda Glavan, Crown Princess Mary will attend a meeting at the building of Ministry of Health on November 23, Wednesday. The Crown Princess will attend a dinner with Ruxanda Glavan at Castel Mimi Restaurant in the evening (we went to the opening of Castel Mimi).

Crown Princess Mary will visit Public Health Institute on November 24, Thursday and attend a meeting with doctor who are specialized in mother and child health and antimicrobial resistance. Afterwards, the Crown Princess will visit UN Country Office, Mother and Child Institute, Medicine and Pharmacy State University. Crown Princess Mary will visit a child vaccination health center on November 25, Friday.
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Denmark has become the first country in the world to apparently buy data from the Panama Papers leak, and now plans to investigate whether 500-600 Danes who feature in the offshore archive may have evaded tax.

Denmark’s tax minister, Karsten Lauritzen, said he will pay up to DKK9m (£1m) for the information, which comes from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. He said an anonymous source approached the Danish government over the summer.

The source sent over an initial sample of documents and the government reviewed them. After concluding they were genuine, it secretly negotiated support for the controversial deal from political parties in parliament, the minister said.

“Everything suggests that it is useful information. We owe it to all Danish taxpayers who faithfully pay their taxes,” Lauritzen said, admitting that he had originally been “very wary”. He added: “The material contains relevant and valid information about several hundred Danish taxpayers.”

He told Politiken newspaper that the country was losing billions to tax evasion and that it was a scandal. He declared: “This is a golden opportunity to show that we are actually going after people who cheat.”

From The Guardian, full story is here.
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Christiania survived everything and it would survive the shootings. But not the ban on Pokemon hunting. This is what will bring it down in the end.

With its open-air marijuana stalls festooned in psychedelic colors and its freewheeling, self-governing structure, the Christiania neighborhood in Copenhagen has been for decades emblematic of Danish liberalism and tolerance.

On Friday morning, however, a symbol of hippie hedonism came crashing down — at least temporarily.

At about 9 a.m., hundreds of residents began dismantling the drug market on Pusher Street in the heart of the city, where men in masks usually peddle marijuana and hashish from stalls. Video footage showed residents hauling away plants and using saws, drills and bulldozers to demolish the stands. Signs saying “no photography allowed” were ripped down.

The decision to tear down the market, which for decades has been a popular spot for curious tourists and Copenhagen residents alike, came after Mesa Hodzic, 25, a Danish citizen born in Bosnia who was a suspected drug dealer, shot two police officers and a bystander this week, according to the authorities. Both officers and the bystander survived.

The shootings occurred when officers tried to arrest him, the police said. Mr. Hodzic fled, and the police eventually confronted him on Thursday in a suburb of Copenhagen. Officers shot him when, they said, he resisted arrest. He died of his wounds on Friday.

Danish media outlets reported that Mr. Hodzic, who was not a Christiania resident, had links to an Islamic extremist group, according to the police.

The shutdown of Pusher Street was the culmination of simmering tensions between the Christiana commune and law enforcement authorities. Founded in 1971 by hippies who began squatting in abandoned military barracks, Christiana sprouted into a largely self-regulating community, where the police generally turned a blind eye to the sale of soft drugs like marijuana and hashish.

But criminal gangs and other drug dealers infiltrated the neighborhood in recent years, testing the patience of the police, Copenhagen residents from outside Christiania and some conservative politicians, who said the “anything goes” counterculture in Christiania had spiraled out of control. The drug trade in Christiania generates about $150 million in sales annually, according to the police.

The police first began to crack down on the Pusher Street market in 2004, raiding the neighborhood. But organized criminal gangs and other drug dealers soon proliferated. In 2012, police once again ratcheted up their patrols in the area, culminating in six separate court cases against a total of 25 marijuana sellers.

Politicians from across the political spectrum have long argued that Christiania should be better regulated, and on Friday many of them welcomed the demolition of the Pusher Street market. The country’s center-right prime minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, wrote on Twitter: “Great Christiania. Hold on tight.”

In a sign of solidarity with Christiania, a hashish stall was erected Friday in front of the Christiansborg Palace, where Parliament meets. Under Danish law, selling and buying soft drugs like marijuana and hashish is prohibited.

The justice minister, Soren Pind, said the shootings were a “wake-up call” for the inhabitants of Christiania. “This is an attack on all of us,” he said, Politiken, a leading center-left Danish newspaper, reported.

While many politicians applauded the market’s shutdown as a sign that illegal activities would no longer be tolerated, some Christiania leaders said they were determined that the ethos of self-regulation that has governed the neighborhood for so long should not be sacrificed.

“We have asked the police not to come,’’ Hulda Mader, a spokeswoman for the commune told Politiken. “We will do this ourselves. This is about our honor.”

“What has happened is unacceptable,’’ she said, “therefore, we are cleaning up.” Ms. Mader encouraged drug consumers to stay away from Pusher Street and to buy elsewhere.

Jakob Nielsen, an editor of Politiken, which has closely chronicled Christiania’s ups and downs, said the demolition was both a seminal moment for the commune and a barometer of Danish tolerance.

“Even open-minded liberals like myself have become skeptical of Christiania, because what started as an experiment in a new form of living has become a closed society that excluded the outside world,” he said in a telephone interview. “The shooting is a defining moment for Christiania. They need to decide if they can reinvent themselves — or it can be shut down and the dream will be over.”

He added, “Yuppies would only be too happy to turn the place into upmarket condominiums.”

Some Copenhagen residents have complained that Christiania, despite its reputation as a self-declared center of tolerance, had itself become intolerant of modernity, including the need for public order. Tempers flared last year when Christiania’s leaders refused to allow a new bike path to cut through the neighborhood.

Some local residents also said the area’s lawlessness had made them feel uncomfortable in their own city, while young people eager to play Go Pokemon in Christiania have been told by drug dealers to put their phones away.

Full article on nytimes website.
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North American perspective on dating in Denmark.

From a woman:

From a man:

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This American guy asked some Danes in Copenhagen what stereotypes they have about Americans and also what are Danish people like.

This dude was hilarious, he cracked me up. Basically, "We are down to earth, kind, may be a little reserved at first but very friendly and you are dumb, fat and have ridiculous laws." Cool.

And yay to "free money, free education and beautiful women" of course.

Here he is at 7:49:

And here at 2:49:

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Danish daily Berlingske on Thursday published a rare English-language editorial imploring Britain to "please stay" in the EU, amid fears the eurosceptic Scandinavian country could lose a key ally in Brussels.

"As a nation, we in Denmark understand your scepticism about the EU, perhaps better than any other country. Three times we voted no - in 1992, 2000 and 2015 - but never out," the right-wing daily wrote in an editorial it posted in both English and Danish.

"Let us stay and fight for pragmatic, better and more sustainable European solutions," it said, adding that Britain's voice was needed in the EU to "fight for free trade and (for) breaking down regulation and bureaucracy."

A cartoon on the paper's front page showed a door marked with an EU flag slamming shut on a half naked man with a bowler hat and an umbrella, tearing off his Union Jack suit as it closed behind him.

There has been speculation that Denmark — which, like Britain, has euroskeptic tendencies and its own currency — might follow the U.K.’s lead if British voters decide later this month to terminate their nation’s membership in the political bloc. In December, Danes fueled that conjecture by rejecting an opportunity to establish closer ties with the EU by voting down a referendum to adopt the group’s cross-border policing.

Denmark has been a reluctant member of the EU since joining in 1973, rejecting the Maastricht Treaty in a 1992 referendum and only saying "yes" the following year after being granted opt-out clauses on the euro, defence, and justice and home affairs.

Danish voters also rejected joining the euro in 2000, and proposals to lift some of the country's exemptions on EU justice rules were turned down in a referendum in December last year.

Like his British counterpart David Cameron, Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen wants to curb European migrants' access to child benefits, but with exports accounting for just over half of the country's economic output there are few politicians who back leaving the bloc completely.

And of course Denmark’s support for remaining in the European Union has risen sharply since the UK voted to leave while the number of people demanding a similar referendum has dropped sharply as people saw that it actually can happen if you ask for it and vote for it. The morning after Brexit was announced, Rasmussen ruled out the possibility of the country holding a vote on EU membership.

I actually know a number of people who would really want the referendum to leave the EU to happen and would eagerly vote to leave the EU...if only someone could guarantee that they would definitely lose. Sticking two fingers up at the EU - oh yes please, but actually leaving - oh no!


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January 2017

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