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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Find out what's going on in Denmark today with The Local's short roundup of the news in less than five minutes.

A tree felled by strong winds in central Copenhagen on Monday.
A tree felled by strong winds in central Copenhagen on Monday. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

Schools say they could be forced to close due to staff absence 

Schools have raised alarm over difficulties filling their teaching rotas because of the number of staff who are off sick, primarily because of Covid-19. That includes teachers who test positive for the virus as well as those who have to isolate due to being close contacts.

Merging classes and loaning staff from other schools are among measures taken by school administrators to tackle the problem, as well as a shortening of the school day in some areas, broadcaster DR writes.

But some schools could find themselves forced to close if these measures do not stretch far enough, according to the report.

Drivers urged to dial 112 for motorway breakdowns 

If you are unfortunate enough to break down or suffer a flat tyre on the motorway, you should call the Danish emergency number 112 and await assistance, according to advice issued in a new campaign from the Danish Road Directorate (Vejdirektoratet).

The agency wants to prevent drivers from pushing their cars on to the hard shoulder of the road — and thereby putting themselves in increased danger — instead of calling 112. According to an estimate, 500 to 1,000 motorists each year break down on motorways without calling 112.

READ ALSO: Emergency in Denmark: Who to call and what to say

Denmark won’t send official representative to Beijing games

Denmark said on Friday evening that it would not send any official representative to the Beijing Winter Olympics due to the human rights situation in China.

“The government has decided that we will not take part in the Winter Olympics in China… It is no secret that we, in Denmark, are very concerned by the human rights situation in China,” Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told news wire AFP in a statement.

Danish athletes will however compete in the games to start next month.

Ex-minister denies sharing state secrets

Former defence minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen on Friday said he was being investigated for allegedly divulging state secrets, claims he denied.

Frederiksen, who served as minister from 2016 to 2019, said in a statement shared by his Liberal Party that he was suspected of “violating the limits of my freedom of expression”, AFP reports.

He referred to a section of the penal code which states that “any person who discloses or imparts any information on secret negotiations, deliberations or resolutions of the state or its rights in relation to foreign states, or which has reference to substantial economic interests… in relation to foreign countries” can be jailed for up to 12 years.

Storm-strength winds buffer country

A strong wind from the northwest can be felt across much of Denmark today. Gusts of up to 29 metres per second – storm strength – were recorded this morning, DR writes.

North facing coasts on Funen and Zealand are most affected.

Trees were snapped by the winds in Copenhagen and the Great Belt Bridge was closed off for tall vehicles earlier this morning.

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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

A second case of monkeypox, military exercises on Bornholm and discussions relating to the justice minster's authority are among news stories in Denmark on Tuesday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

US and Denmark in military exercises on Bornholm

The United States and Denmark today begin a joint military exercise on the island of Bornholm.

In addition to the Danish-American exercise, 200 soldiers from the prestigious Livgarden (Royal Life Guards) regiment are to be sent to the Baltic sea island to undergo training in its defence, broadcaster DR writes.

“What we want to do is show that we have the desire and ability to defend Bornholm,” lieutenant-colonel and head of battalion with the Royal Life Guards, Thomas Lunau, said to DR.

READ ALSO: Danish PM rebuts Russian ambassador over Bornholm comments

Prime Minister wants to change role of justice minister after scandal

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has suggested she wants to change a key aspect of the Minister of Justice post after a scandal involving accusations that a past incumbent, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, leaked state secrets.

Hjort Frederiksen will not face trial in the case in the immediate future. That is because he is still a member of parliament and therefore has immunity. A majority of parties in parliament have refused to vote to waive his immunity, with some saying the government has not provided enough information over the case for them to make a decision.

READ ALSO: Danish former defence minister accused of leaking secrets

In comments in parliament yesterday, Frederiksen said she could change the justice minister’s authority to decide whether to raise charges under paragraph 109 of Danish criminal law, which relates to unauthorised disclosure of highly classified information.

The discussion relates to the current justice minister, Mattias Tesfaye, who would have been responsible for pressing charges had the other parties backed the move. The situation of a current justice minister prosecuting a former could lead to accusations the charges are politically motivated.

Second case of monkeypox reported in Denmark 

A second case of monkeypox has been detected in Denmark after the first case in the country was reported yesterday.

The second case was confirmed by professor Anders Fomsgaard of the State Serum Institute, Denmark’s infectious disease control agency, on broadcaster TV2’s Go’ morgen Danmark programme.

Three more people are also being tested for the virus, Fomsgaard told TV2.

“This is like in other European countries that get several cases at the same time. And it’s very unusual,” he said.

The second Danish case, like the first one, was found in a man who had recently travelled to Spain.

READ ALSO: Monkeypox in Denmark: what causes it, and is it serious?

Weather: Grey and wet Tuesday for most of Denmark

Grey skies and rain greet most of the country this morning and the damp weather will persist throughout the day.

Skies may clear up a little in some areas, but the chance of showers will remain high.

While it’s therefore advisable to take an umbrella when you venture outside, prepare for it to be flipped inside out by moderate to strong winds.

Temperatures will be a comfortable 13-17 degrees Celsius.