Weekly Highlight: 08.01.2008

Denmark:

Young men falling behind in fitness race
03.01.2008

A comprehensive study of the nation’s health finds that men between the ages of 18 and 24 are ‘alarmingly’ unfit. Health experts warn they run a higher risk of developing serious illnesses than other groups.
The KRAM study, which began in 2007 as the first comprehensive national health check, looks at the diet, smoking, alcohol and exercise habits of Danes aged 18 and up in each of the country’s 98 municipalities.
According to the study, 35 percent of men and 43 percent of women had fitness scores that were unhealthily low. For 18-24 year old men, 48 percent were in the least fit of three categories. By way of comparison, 26 percent of women in the same age group were in the least fit group.
It appears, however, that at least some men improve their condition with age. A slightly lower percentage of men aged 25-44 fell into the least fit group, while at the same time the percentage falling into the most fit group jumped to 20 percent from 10 percent.
For 45-64 year old men, over 30 percent of test participants ranked as ‘most fit’ – the largest category for men in that age group.

Finland:

Fraudulent Insurance Claims Cost Companies Millions
Published 06.01.2008, 20.49

Between 100 and 200 million euros are swindled from Finnish insurance companies each year due to fraudulent claims, estimates the Federation of Finnish Financial Services.
The number accounts for five to ten percent of the total amount of reimbursements paid out by insurance companies, reports the Sunnuntaisuomalainen newspaper supplement.
In a survey carried out by the Federation of Finnish Financial Services, one in twenty policyholders scams money from insurance companies. Furthermore, one out of seven people approves of exaggerating damages when filling out insurance claims.
Each year, insurance companies uncover between 2,000 and 3,000 shady claims. Those claims alone add up to 45 to 55 million euros.
About half of those claims concern damages to vehicles, while one-quarter are claims for household damages. Eleven percent concern bodily injury, six percent involve company damages, and four percent are other damages.

Netherlands:

Dutch no longer getting taller
Monday 07 January 2008

The average Dutchman was 1.81 metres tall in 2006 while the average woman was 1.68 metres, almost the same as in 2000, according to new figures from national statistics office CBS.
Between 1981 and 2000, men grew an average of three centimetres taller, women two centimetres. People from the northern provinces are over 2 centimetres taller than southerners, the CBS says.
The slow down in growth rates is not due to the ageing population or the influx of immigrants, the CBS says.

Norway:

Peace monitors ordered to leave Sri Lanka
First published: 04 Jan 2008, 12:43

Thirty observers from Norway and Iceland who had been monitoring a failed peace process in Sri Lanka have been ordered to leave the troubled country within 12 days.
The 20 monitors from Norway and 10 from Iceland, all of whom have been working for the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, must move out of the six offices they’d set up around Sri Lanka.
The monitors must leave Sri Lanka after government officials formally announced this week that they are terminating a ceasefire agreement with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The ceasefire had been hammered out nearly six years ago by Norwegian peace brokers.
Its termination threatens a sharp escalation in the violence that has plagued Sri Lanka for years. It had been expected that Norwegian peace workers still in the country would have to leave.
The Tamil Tigers want to establish their own state in the north of Sri Lanka, but are widely viewed by the government as a terrorist group. Norway and Iceland are among the few countries in the world who haven’t stamped the Tamil Tigers as terrorists.

Sweden:

State booze stores enjoy record Christmas
Published: 8 Jan 08 08:18 CET

Sweden’s state-owned alcohol retail monopoly Systembolaget welcomed a record number of visitors over the Christmas and New Year period, with a total of 2.3 million customers making seasonal purchases, SVT reports.
New Year’s Eve was the single busiest half day in the chain’s history, as 600,000 customers stocked up on booze ahead of the 3pm closing time. Visitor figures for the Saturday before Christmas Eve were not far behind, with 530,000 customers winding their way to the alcohol stores. This represented a 26 percent increase on customer numbers for the equivalent Saturday in 2006.

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