Archive for September, 2009

Danish at the forefront of the climate change debate.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, on behalf of the Danish government as hosts of the UN Climate Change Conference 2009 has announced a new collaboration with the global internet company Google.

The aim of the collaboration is to increase global engagement in climate change in the run-up to and during COP15 in Copenhagen in December. The collaboration includes a number of online initiatives:

The Danish government will allow users of the online video sharing website YouTube to share their thoughts on climate change and to make their voices be heard at the conference. Through the channel, users can contribute their own opinion and questions, and respond to and view videos by climate change opinion makers. The channel will also allow users to watch videos that go behind the scenes of the conference itself. During COP15, videos will be shown to the leaders of the world gathered at the conference, who will have a chance to record their opinions directly from the conference venue.

Working with data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the international scientific community, Google has visualized climate change stories on Google Maps and Google Earth. For example, users will be able to view visualizations of greenhouse gas emissions by region, the expected consequences of climate change, as well as narrated virtual tours on mitigation and adaptation aspects.

A number of different organizations are working on outreach efforts in the period leading up to COP15. To unite all these campaigns, users of Denmark’s “Raise your voice” COP15 YouTube channel will be able to visit other major campaigns, including the UN’s official Seal the Deal initiative, UNICEF’s Unite for Climate youth campaign, the Hopenhagen campaign, Prince Charles’ Rainforest Project and the Tck Tck Tck campaign.

In addition to the above activities under the collaboration between the Danish government and Google, Google is collaborating with CNN to conduct a global, TV-transmitted Townhall debate during COP15. As such, questions submitted to the “Raise your voice” YouTube channel will be broadcast to a worldwide audience.

The collaboration between Denmark and Google was launched on Tues by the Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, during the UN Climate Summit in New York.

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What is hygge?

Hygge [‘hoo-ga’] –  a deep sense of place & well-being; a feeling of friendship, warmth, contentment and peace with your immediate surroundings.

Hygge is a Danish concept which roughly describes that warm and fuzzy feeling when you’re surrounded by good food and good company.  Hygge is an important element of the Danish mentality. The term is difficult to translate, but it is often, inadequately, translated as cosiness. Yet, it is much more than that because it encompasses many different words.  Hygge can mean cosy, comfy, snug and having a good time according to the context the word is used in, but most of all hygge means all of that in one term which makes it such a unique Danish word.

The term hygge is widely used and connected with different situations. For instance you can have a hygge-evening and a hygge-weekend. You can have a hygge-chat and you can even sit in a hygge-corner.

Hyggelig is the adjective for hygge and is used about many things. A person can be described as hyggelig, a café and a town – especially if it is a small town – can be hyggelig. Furniture for instance a sofa can be hyggelig and candlelights are definitely hyggelige.

Needless to say everyone deserves a bit of Hygge in their life!

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Denmark to send troops on UN mission

Denmark plans to send 140 soldiers to Lebanon to join a United Nations peacekeeping operation there, Danish Defence Minister Soeren Gade said on Friday.

The Danish troops will leave in December to work with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which has stepped up its activities since the 2006 conflict with Israel.

“We are responding positively to a request from the United Nations which asked for logistical support in South Lebanon,” Gade said, stressing that Danish soldiers would not be involved in monitoring of the border or any counter-terror operations.

Gade said the majority of Danish lawmakers backed the decision to send the troops.  He said the reduction of troop numbers in Kosovo had made the deployment possible.

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Nordic giant to buy Danish bank

Swedish bank Nordea has signed a contract to buy Denmark’s Fionia Bank for 121m euros ($173m; £107m) from the Danish state.

The Stockholm-based bank said the deal includes 400 staff at 29 branches.  The agreement is subject to approval by the Danish authorities, which took control of Fionia following the global financial meltdown in February.

The deal should give an investment return by 2011, said Nordea, the Nordic region’s biggest financial group.

“We have captured a unique opportunity,” added the bank. “By acquiring Fionia we continue our growth in Denmark… to the benefit of both Fionia’s and Nordea’s customers and our shareholders.”

Nordea has managed to avoid much of the fallout from US “toxic assets”.

Since the Danish state took over control of Fionia it has injected $169m into the bank to meet solvency requirements.

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