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Danish report Danish report
by Euro Reporter
2009-09-20 09:09:35
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Bicycle thieves

Bicycle thieves have been more active than usual this year, according to figures from Statistics Denmark.
During the first six months of 2009, police received 35,849 reports of bicycle theft, meaning eight bikes were stolen every hour. The half-year figure is the highest in nine years, and only five out of 1000 thefts are ever solved by police. Once a two-wheeler has been stolen, it is extremely difficult to retrieve it again, inspector Lars Bræmhøj of Southern Jutland Police said.

‘Bikes are often left in a place where there is nothing to indicate who the perpetrator is,’ said Bræmhøj.
The country's insurance companies have already awarded compensation amounting to around 100 million kroner to bicycle theft victims in the first six months of this year. ‘Bicycle theft has become more expensive for us, either due to the fact that thieves are consciously going after quality or because people are purchasing better bikes,’ said Christian Skødt of the Danish Insurance Association.

As part of a theft prevention programme, the City of Copenhagen recently gave away thousands of free computer chips that can allow bicycles to be traced if they are stolen. However, no figures regarding the success or failure of the campaign have yet been compiled.

Definitely not like the classic film with the bicycle thieves.


Children diagnosed with ADHD

More and more children in Denmark are being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, leading to more medicine being prescribed and in larger dosages. From 2007 to last year, the number of children and teenagers being treated for ADHD rose 40 percent to some 10,700. The figure is three times the number recorded by the Association of Danish Pharmacies in 2004.

Many experts believe the number of ADHD cases will continue to rise. Dr Per Hove Thomsen, a psychiatrist at the Risskov Hospital children and youth psychiatric ward believes the figure will soon reach up to around 26,000. ‘It’s only the most serious cases that come through the system to us, and the result is that the kids are often are diagnosed with ADHD much too late – after they’ve already been thrown out of several schools,’ said Thomsen.

But the growing trend to medicate is worrying, according to Bjarne Nielsen, head of the Danish Pedagogical Psychologists Association, who says parents and schools are often too quick to seek medication for an overly active child. ‘Many parents want us to make an ADHD diagnosis for their child. But that diagnosis is made based upon behavioural patterns and there can be uncertainty about whether those are actually symptoms of ADHD,’ said Nielsen. ‘And when we say no to medication, the parents just end up going to their own doctor.’

Common side effects for children on ADHD medication are stomach cramps, headaches, sleeplessness and nausea. Nielsen said an increasing number of demands of children, and tolerance for those who are ‘different’ is becoming less evident. ‘Children today are supposed to be able to be self-managing, to work well in groups and take responsibility for their learning,’ he said. ‘And we’re also making more demands when it comes to schoolwork, as well. While this is good for most kids, those with ADHD are bound to come up short.’


A book claimed to threaten national security

Defence Chief Tim Sloth Jørgensen has asked the police to press charges against Politiken newspaper for compromising national security after it published the contents of the book ‘Jæger – i krig med eliten’ (‘Hunter – at war with the elite’) yesterday. The publication came despite a request by the military that courts issue an injunction against the book’s publication as well as press coverage of it.

Responding to criticisms of censorship, Sloth defended the move and said Danish troops would be at risk if the book were published. ‘It could have been published if it had just been edited in a couple of places,’ Sloth said. If legal action is taken against Politiken, Tøger Seidenfaden, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, said it would be precedent-setting. ‘If this ends in court, we’ll finally find out whether the military can edit books in this country and whether they can decide what can and what can’t be published,’ Seidenfaden told public broadcaster DR.

Publication of the contents of the book has been met with popular disapproval, according to a poll conducted by Megafon for TV2 News and Politiken.  A majority – 54 percent – said they opposed the move, with 64 percent of all respondents calling it a media stunt. Only 27 percent said they approved.
Yet despite the low approval ratings, sales figures showed that the publication had been a newsstand success worth upwards of 10 million kroner in advertising for Politiken, according to Per Pedersen, of ad agency Uncle.  In addition to selling out yesterday’s edition, the newspaper’s name has been splashed across national and international media.

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