Weekly Highlight: 17.06.2008

Denmark:

Foreign students working more than studying
16.06.2008 
 
Foreign students are foregoing agreed educational courses in favour of work.
The Education Ministry is concerned that young people from foreign countries are using educational stays in Denmark as a pretence to find work in Denmark.
Education Minister Bertel Haarder told Politiken newspaper that his ministry and the Immigration Service are beginning to investigate charges that students are working more than they are studying.
The two organisations are currently carrying out 600 spot checks on different educational institutions to see if the students are attending their classes.
‘The foreign students must attend to their studies, otherwise they have received their residence permits under false pretences,’ said Haarder.
The number of non-EU students in Denmark increased from 5,043 in 2006 to 6,031 in 2007, and many of these students are working so much that they do not have time for their studies, according to Politiken.
One of the schools under investigation is the Selandia school in Slagelse. One teacher there said students who do attend are often asleep because they come straight from working night shifts. In the latest class of foreign students from Selandia to take an exam, only four out of 39 passed. Selandia does not impose compulsory attendance on its students.
Haarder said that the schools have a responsibility to their students to make sure that they attend to their studies, regardless of whether attendance is compulsory.
‘It is unacceptable if an educational institution thinks it can just admit students, demand money from them and not care if they attend their classes or fail exams. In that case we will strip them of their right to offer educational programs.’
International students from the EU/EEA can work unlimited hours while studying. Other foreign students can work a maximum of 15 hours per week during school term and full-time during the summer months. (kr)

Finland:

Young Finns Are Indifferent Voters
Published 17.06.2008, 11.19

The generation of Finns born during or after the 1970s exercises the right to vote significantly less often than their older countrymen. A new doctoral dissertation sees it as a permanent trend.
Traditionally, younger voters are less likely to be active at the polls than their elders. According to Hanna Wass, the author of a doctoral dissertation released on Tuesday, there are a number of reasons for the politically passive behaviour of younger voters.
“They have gone through their social upbringing and grown up at a time when voting was in decline even among older voters. They got a message that voting is no longer all that important,” says Wass.

No longer seen as a duty

Unlike their elders, the younger generation doesn’t see voting as a civic duty. As they grow older, they are not becoming more active voters. The decision not to exercise the right to vote is a relatively permanent one.
As actively voting generations are replaced by less active generations, the fall in voter turnout is expected to continue.
Staying away from the polls can easily become a vicious circle. The young feel that issues important to them are ignored in elections, and by not voting they may be ensuring that their interests continue to be ignored.
There is a danger that growing numbers of the young become politically passive and shut out of the political decision-making process. Hanna Wass believes that active voting by the young could be increased by making the political playing field more attractive.
“Politics and participation in society should be spoken of a lot and in the most interesting way possible. The young should be given the opportunity to experience really making a difference. Election campaigns should also bring up issues of real interest to the young,” says Hanna Wass.

Netherlands: you mean the others are not?

Millions on performance-related pay
Tuesday 17 June 2008

Some two million Dutch workers now have some sort of performance-related pay, according to research for the FNV-affiliated general workers union.
Most get the extra cash in the form of a bonus or a 13th month’s salary. Chemical and food industry workers get the biggest bonuses, says the research quoted in De Pers.

Norway:

Thousands more cops needed
First published: 16 Jun 2008, 12:38

Noway is going to need nearly 4,000 more police officers over the next decade, to keep up with population growth and a rising crime rate.
Police Director Ingelin Killengreen was due to deliver a report on staffing needs to the Justice Ministry on Monday. In it, she notes that Norway’s population is expected to grow not least through immigration, and that poses new challenges.
There are now 460,000 immigrants living in Norway, mostly from Sweden and other European countries but also from the Americas, Asia and Africa. The total number of immigrants in Norway is expected to rise to 1,050,000 by 2020, with two-thirds coming from western nations and one third from eastern European nations and developing countries.
Since the police handle immigration cases on behalf of the immigration agency, more staffing will be needed. It also will be needed to tackle a rising crime rate and ongoing domestic migration from the countryside to the cities.
“We must be prepared to receive immigrants in a way that also will help prevent crime better than we manage today,” Killengreen said. “We need more police with immigrant background themselves, and experts with more insight into foreign cultures.”
Killengreen wants 2,700 more police officers in uniform and 1,000 plainclothes cops on the beat. Justice Minister Knut Storberget welcome the police report and called the needs a “sober and realistic analysis” of crime in Norway and how to deal with it.

Sweden:

Swedish rape stats rise
Published: 16 Jun 08 14:50 CET

The number of reported rapes in Sweden has risen sharply in the last ten years, according to a new survey by Brå, the Swedish national council for crime prevention.
The report highlights other interesting statistics about the changing face of rape crime in Sweden.
Victims and rapists are less likely to know each other well and there have been less so-called random attack rapes in the last ten years.
The number of reported rapes on people over the age of 15 years has doubled since ten years ago. Around 3,500 rapes were reported in 2007.
According to the crime prevention council, rapes reported most occurred between people of no or little acquaintance. This type of rape has risen by 10 percent between 1996 and 2006.
“Rape is one of the most violating crimes against a person. The last decade has seen strong opinions voiced against men’s violence towards women, and the law regarding sexual offences has been reworked several times.
“A change in the law also means that many more of the more minor sexual assaults are now considered a crime and are being reported. As a result, more rapes are reported, which is positive”, said Jan Andersson, director general of Brå in a statement.
The law was changed in 2005 so that criminal actions that had once been classified as sexual assault or sexual abuse are now judged as rape. This also goes some way toward explaining the rise in rape statistics.
Reported rapes where the parties concerned don’t know each other often occur in a private home which doesn’t belong to either victim or rapist. The growing prevalence of this type of rape is not only due to an increase in reported rapes, but also to a change in people’s lifestyles.
According to Klara Hradilova Selin of Brå, it should also be taken into account that “a more active night life and a flurry of internet dating websites enable contacts, often for purely sexual reasons”.
The number of random rape attacks by a stranger has diminished to just one in ten. And whilst fewer people are seriously injured during rape, more victims seek medical care afterwards.
The stats for rapes between people in a close relation has diminished by 12 percent and make up 17 percent of all reported rapes. However, these type of rapes are usually not reported because the victims are often in an abusive relationship and do not dare to report the crime.
There has been a rise in the number of rapes with several perpetrators, but according to Brå, this is not synonymous with so-called ‘gang-bangs’.
Brå’s definition of group rape assumes that several people are involved, but not necessarily all at the same time or that everyone in the group has committed rape. For example, one person might have been the victim of several assaults in one evening.
“The greatest rise of this type of rape has taken place between 2004 and 2006 and this could be explained by the new legislation which now categorizes minor assaults as rape too”, says Klara Hradilova Selin of Brå.
Brå maintains that the crime of rape is particularly difficult to assess and analyze. Most sex crimes are never discovered because victims feel so violated that they do not dare to report the crime to the police, friends or family.
Brå’s study took a random selection of reported rapes from between the years 2004 and 2006 and compared the data to material from Brå’s earlier study for the years between 1995 and 2000.

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