Weekly Highlight: 09.09.2008

Denmark:

Mayor calls for help with Copenhagen crime
08.09.2008

Copenhagen’s lady mayor has called on the government to step in and help clean up street crime.
Violence, vandalism and 30 shootings on the streets of Copenhagen this year, has prompted Ritt Bjerregaard, the city’s lady mayor, to call on the government to set up a national fight against street crime.
Bjerregaard said the council was not able to solve the problem by itself. She has also met with Hanne Bech Hansen, the superintendent of Copenhagen Police, to voice her concerns.
As a result, the police have promised 50 extra officers on the streets of Copenhagen.
‘It’s positive, but naturally I can’t judge if it’s effective yet. In any case, the important thing is to crack down on minor crimes. If people report crimes and don’t see any action being taken, then we are sending a very dangerous signal,’ said Bjerregaard.
Copenhagen Council continues its crime prevention efforts, including opening more youth clubs in problem areas.
Bjerregaard said investigations into the Copenhagen street fires and vandalism in the past few years has found that many of the young people involved had no social outlet available.
Per Larsen, the Copenhagen chief of police, said he supported more policing the streets in an effort to cut down violent crime.
‘We, like Ritt, are tired of the shootings in the city. We do what we can, and recently have decided to set up CCTV cameras in many areas of Copenhagen, and also created search zones for bikers.’
The latest street troubles saw almost 100 young immigrants take to Jægersborggade street in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen Sunday night. In the space of five minutes they smashed cars and shop windows in the well-known biker area. It is the latest in a series of run-ins between immigrant and biker gangs. (kr)

Finland:

Farmers Exaggerate EU Subsidy Claims
Published 08.09.2008, 07.59 (updated 08.09.2008, 14.59)

Half of the country’s farmers apply for excessive subsidies from the European Union.
Some farmers apply for aid in excess of their actual arable acreage, reports the newspaper Keskisuomalianen. Only a few, however, greatly exaggerate the actual size of their land.
Last year 65 farms were refused subsidies due to false declarations. Most of the cases were in Central Finland.
Some 65,000 farms are applying this year for farm aid on the basis of their land size.

Netherlands:

Dutch products favourite with 34%
Friday 05 September 2008

One-third of Dutch consumers prefer to buy national products rather than foreign brands according to a survey by consultancy Deloitte on Friday.
Around 34% said they would buy Dutch products if price and quality was equal to foreign alternatives, 64% said they had no preference and 2% said they would choose for makes from abroad.

Norway:

Half the whale quota caught
First published: 04 Sep 2008, 15:48

The end of August marks the close of the 2008 whaling season. For the third year running, only half the quota has been caught.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs have set a quota of 1052 minke whales. The total catch this year is 534 animals.
“It’s time we asked ourselves whether there’s any point in having a quota at all, when they are regularly unfilled. Clearly whaling serves a niche market which is in decline,” says sea mammal advisor to the animal rights organization, Dyrebeskyttelsen

Sweden:

Swedish prostitutes want to pay taxes
Published: 8 Sep 08 13:51 CET

More and more Swedish prostitutes want to pay taxes in order to receive the social welfare benefits that come with doing so.
“So far this year I’ve spoken with several women who want to make things right,” said Pia Blank Thörnroos, a legal expert with Sweden’s Tax Authority, to the Göteborgs-Posten (GP) newspaper.
While it remains against the law to purchase sex in Sweden, selling sex is perfectly legal according to Sweden’s unique prostitution law, which came into force in 1999.
Moreover, prostitution has been considered a business activity in Sweden since 1982 and as a result proceeds from the sale of sex subject to taxation just like any other form of income.
“You have to keep track of all your income and expenses; all compensation should be accounted for,” explained Blank Thörnroos.
“One should really have accounting records. And in actuality [customers] should write out a receipt, because the transaction is considered a private operation which is subject to value added tax. But customers’ names need not be on the receipt.”
Income recorded on prostitutes’ tax returns gives them the right to sick-leave pay, parental leave benefits, and a pension.
“It’s important to pay taxes if you want to live a normal life,” said ‘Lisa’, a prostitute who spoke with the newspaper.
But Christian Democrat Riksdag member Désirée Pethrus Engström thinks that legitimizing prostitution by collecting taxes on the proceeds sends the wrong message.
“Economic security is something which makes a situation permanent. And that in turn can encourage prostitution, which is wrong,” she tells GP.
“It’s indirectly illegal to be a prostitute because it’s illegal to buy sex. But it’s a tough question to which there isn’t a simple solution.”

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