Weekly Highlight: 15.01.2008

Denmark: Is this shocking to know?

Study: Danish aid makes no difference

A surprising conclusion in a brand-new report states that the total Danish contribution of DKK 14 billion to developing nations has no effect on economic growth or promoting democracy.
Paldam had studied the development of 46 sub-Saharan African countries, where 14.5 percent of their gross national product (GNP) consisted of development aid over the last 15 years.The study showed that Danish aid had had a decreasing effect on the development of these countries.
He urged officials to re-think the whole machinery of Danish aid, as it had no decisive results on the economic growth, democracy or fight against corruption in the developing countries.
Reactions? Conservative MP Lars Barfoed said it was too early to draw conclusions and emphasised that other international studies gave Danish development aid top marks.
The New Alliance and Social-Liberal parties want to increase foreign aid from 0.8 to 1.0 per cent of the GNP.
One of the New Alliance’s party founders, Gitte Seeberg, did not deem it necessary to revise the development aid strategy.
‘It’s possible that there is no economic gain, but people are gaining clean drinking water. Not everything can be measured in terms of money,’ said Seeberg.


Shortage of Oncologists in Finland
Published 13.01.2008, 19.03 (updated 14.01.2008, 07.39)

Finland has long suffered a lack of oncologists, doctors specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers. The shortage is now especially acute in eastern and northern parts of the country.
Jouko Isolauri, an advisor at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, estimates the shortfall in oncologists at 30-40, with the greatest need in the cities of Kotka, Joensuu and Kuopio.
The shortage of oncologists is most evident in post-op care and follow-ups. Nationally, there has been a trend to shift the responsibility for longer-term post-op care away from specialists to basic medical services.
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Finnish Medical Association, Risto Ihalainen, says that in practice, in most cases the first stage of cancer treatment is carried out without delay. However, post-op treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy still need input from oncologists. It is at this point, he says, the shortage of specialists becomes evident.
There are slightly fewer doctors per capita in Finland than the European average. The low number of oncologists is a part of the general shortfall.
While methods have improved and recovery rates risen, specialists are still needed, especially as the population ages. Also, nearly a third of the 140 oncologists practicing in the country are over 55 years of age.


Women catch up as doctoral students
Monday 14 January 2008

Half of graduates awarded a doctorate in the Netherlands nowadays are female, says national statistics agency CBS.
Women tend to complete their doctorate more quickly than men but are less likely to work in research, the CBS said.


Police can’t keep up with criminals in Oslo
10 Jan 2008, 12:22

The Oslo Police District is snowed under by the sheer number of criminal cases in the capital, and only 21 percent of reported offenses were handled last year. Investigators claim they don’t have the time, staffing or resources to cope with their workload.
The situation worsened when investigators refused to work overtime at the end of the year. More than 10,000 cases remained in the legal queue in Oslo when 2007 came to a close.
The Oslo Police District also is faced with a large number of vacant positions in its legal department tnat have been difficult to fill. Norway’s labour shortage and strong economy apparently has hit the police district’s recruiting ability. Fully 80 positions, 10 percent of the total, remained vacant last year.
Oslo Police District Union leader Jan Olav Frantsvold said that the refusal to work overtime shouldn’t have come as a surprise to the Oslo Police top executives. He says the Norwegian Parliament was warned about the situation 10 months ago.
“This is a vicious circle,” explained Frantsvold. The older the cases, the more inquiries we get from the frustrated victims of crime. Many are upset, with good reason, when even cases with known perpetrators are not concluded after many months.”
He adds that as a result, an undue amount of time and resources are used on explaining the situation to those who complain.


Inquiry urges ban on sexist advertising
Published: 15 Jan 08 09:00 CET

Sexist advertising should be banned in Sweden, according to a new government inquiry.
Led by law professor Eva-Maria Svensson, the inquiry is also set to recommend the creation of a new supervisory authority.
“In recent years we have had extensive legislation to counter discrimination and promote equality. So this is really just part of a larger development,” Svensson told Sveriges Radio.
Business sector representatives have expressed opposition to the move, arguing instead for the appointment of an advertising ombudsman.
But Svensson rejects this idea as an extension of today’s self-regulating system.
“An advertising ombudsman would still be a voluntary measure on the business sector’s behalf. I don’t think it would really change anything,” she said.
According to Svensson, a law prohibiting sexist advertising will show where society stands on the issue.

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