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Danish report Danish report
by Euro Reporter
2010-01-11 07:46:44
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City lunch plan under fire

Kindergarten food program draws criticism less than one week after its commencement in Copenhagen. Meals provided to Copenhagen’s kindergarten and nursery school kids in accordance with the city’s new food plan are already being criticized by teachers and parents less than a week after the programme started.

In line with the food plan’s implementation on 1 January, Berlingske Research polled 12 schools for the young children to see how the new meals were being received. The survey found that half had ‘a serious problem’ with the plan. The food plan has been implemented to ensure all children eat healthy food for lunch.

But according to the survey, many children refuse to eat the meals. Several teachers have described the food as ‘too adult’ and the portions as too small. A typical meal served through the plan this week consisted of smørrebrød, the Danish open-faced sandwich, made with either liver paté or with salami, topped with cucumber, tomato and a hard-boiled egg. In many cases the sandwich was also topped with thick dressing. The Copenhagen Parental Organisation (KFO), which supported the implementation of the food plan, wants the problem solved immediately.


Toddlers lack necessary language skills

Parents’ level of education impacts the language acquisition of children, according to an extensive study. A study of language development among toddlers based on the mandatory language screening tests has shown that every sixth child needs professional help to learn to speak. The study, conducted by the University of Southern Denmark’s Centre for Children’s Language, is based on the results of a mandatory screening of 13,000 three-year-olds. It shows there are strong social divides already by the age of one that affect language development.

‘All research shows that there’s a very clear connection between children’s language development and their later reading competencies. That’s why it’s important we identify the children who need that support early on,’ associate professor Dorthe Bleses from USD said. The study found that the children of university graduates are likely to have a wider vocabulary than children of those who have a high school education.

The study concluded that 15 percent of the three-year-olds need ‘special efforts’ to stimulate their language development.


Bodyguard back protecting cartoonist

After the apparent attempt on Kurt Westergaard’s life last week, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service PET will resume the 24-hour surveillance and protection of the Mohammed cartoonist. With 30 agents needed to provide round-the-clock cover and the average annual salary for a PET agent ranging from 650,000 to 750,000 kroner, the cost of protecting Westergaard will amount to about 19.5 million kroner a year, according to Politiken newspaper.

The decision to provide extra security for Westergaard was made by Justice Minister Brian Mikkelsen after consulting PET head Jakob Scharf. Westergaard’s house in Århus, Jutland is already kitted out with special security locks on the doors, video surveillance, panic alarms and a special reinforced safe room, where he sought sanctuary when an armed man broke into his home on New Year’s Day.

Meanwhile, police have been presented with new evidence in the case of the attack on Westergaard. TV2 reports that a local news crew, which arrived on the scene shortly after the attack, found a SIM card. It is now being examined by police technicians and while police won’t confirm that it belongs to the 28-year-old suspect, they have said that ‘the place of purchase [of the card] is very interesting’. Police hope that if the SIM card does belong to the suspect, investigators can trace who the man has previously been in contact with.


A political star dies

The Socialist People’s Party (SF) lost one of its youngest stars on Wednesday evening, when 33-year-old party vice-chairman Jakob Nørhøj was found dead in his bedroom. Nørhøj had reportedly been to the emergency room for an undisclosed problem on Tuesday, and a concerned friend contacted his father after the SFer was unable to be contacted on Wednesday. Sources say Nørhøj had also been ill with stomach problems over the Christmas holidays.

Police and his father gained access to his apartment on Wednesday afternoon and found him lifeless in his bed. ‘It was obvious he went to bed and didn’t wake up again,’ his distraught father Henning Nørhøj told Berlingske Tidende newspaper. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death. The young politician leaves behind a 14-year-old son.

Party chairman Villy Søvndal, who came to power the same year Nørhøj was elected, expressed shock at the news. He said he would miss his deputy and the strengths Nørhoøj brought to the party. ‘He has contributed an invaluable effort into building SF and was central in the renewal of the party organisation,’ the news said.

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