Weekly Highlight: 29.04.2008

Denmark:

Study: Danes well paid
25.04.2008 
 
A new study shows that Danes leave poor paying jobs in record time compared to other countries.
Denmark is one of the countries in the world where the least number of citizens have low incomes, shows a new study.
According to the study, Denmark has a record high minimum wage in comparison to the other countries in the study.
‘In fact, our minimum wage corresponds to the median wage in the US,’ said professor Niels Westergaard-Nielsen, project manager of the study. ‘Approximately 50 percent of Americans earn less than, or just as much as a Danish worker on minimum wage.’
The study, conducted by researchers from Copenhagen Business School and Århus University, also indicated that Danes left poor paying jobs in record time.
Only France matched Denmark in terms of workers quickly switching from a lower income job to a better one. Countries such as the Netherlands, the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom were also included in the survey.
‘We’re talking about two world records – at least two international high scores, since these are some of the world’s strongest nations we’re comparing ourselves with,’ said Westergaard-Nielsen.
He also pointed out that most low income positions were generally held by students who were on their way into the job market. And once they finished their studies, they tended to move onto better paid jobs.
However, Westergaard-Nielsen said that the high salary levels here could affect the country’s competitiveness and force Denmark to outsource much of its production to countries where labour costs were substantially lower.
He also said that five percent of the country’s gross national product was used for maintaining the social safety net on the labour market, which was the highest level of the world. (LYT)

Finland:

Drug Patients Take Hospital Beds from the Elderly
Published 28.04.2008, 10.26

The number of patients receiving treatment for drug abuse in health centres and hospitals has increased in recent years. The rising demand for beds has meant that senior citizens have not had access to the care they need.
According to a report in the Keskisuomalainen newspaper, figures recently released by Centre for Research and Development of Welfare and Health, STAKES, indicate that in 2006 health centres and hospitals treated more than 21,000 Finns for drug abuse. The majority of patients admitted for such treatment were in the 21 – 64 year old age group.
At the same time increasing numbers of senior citizens seeking treatment at hospitals and health centres have had to queue for beds. At the state level, rehabilitating patients have also commanded most of the beds available since the year 2004.
However, the situation is variable across larger cities. In many cities, the demand for places for drug rehabilitation has been declining. Exceptions to this trend include Kuopio and Jyväskylä, where the demand has been growing. In Espoo the number of beds devoted for drug rehabilitation has also been on the increase.

Netherlands:

White Dutch kids play together
Monday 28 April 2008

Only one in 10 white Dutch children play with children of other nationalities when playing outside, according to research published today.
But over one-third of ethnic minority children play in mixed groups, says the children’s play lobby group OMO.

Norway:

99 out of 100 thieves go free
First published: 28 Apr 2008, 11:37

A new report by the justice minister, Knut Storberget, shows that 99.2 percent of all serious robberies on the streets of Oslo are never solved.
Last year, 11,033 crimes were reported, but just 80 were solved.
And the wave of robberies is increasing rapidly. Yesterday 33 people were the victims of serious crimes in Oslo. In the first three months of 2008, serious robberies in public places have increased by 10 percent.
Many city officials blame the increase in crime on begging and prostitution by people from other lands, mostly Eastern Europe.
A ban on begging in the streets was lifted in 2005.
But while the criminals go free, the politicians and police argue about what can be done. City Council head Erling Lae has sent a letter to the justice minister asking that “pågående” (insistent, or aggressive) begging and prostitution be forbidden.
“Beggers with Eastern European ethnic backgrounds represent a far more aggressive and insistent begging behavior than we have previously been accustomed to. There are also strong indications that they are behind much of the criminality in the form of pickpockets, break-ins, and shop robberies,” wrote Lae.

Sweden:

High school students ignorant of their geography
Published: 26 Apr 08 12:27 CET

High school students in Umeå were unable to name Finland’s capital city in a recent survey which showed an alarming ignorance of basic geography.
Students from Umeå University in the north of Sweden interviewed 200 high school students aged 17-19-years-old on their geography skills.
More than 68 percent responded that they do no know where the European Union has its headquarters, 75 percent could not place Teheran in Iran and 96 percent could not name two Swedish national parks.
“This is the level of knowledge on which they will then make their decisions,” said dismayed student Christian Lund to Västerbottens-Kuriren.
Lund wonders how the students will later be able to develop their opinions in democratic and societal issues such as the environment, sustainable development and politics without some basic knowledge of geography.
The results of the study will be sent to schools minister, Jan Björklund.

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