Weekly Highlight: 23.09.2008

Denmark:

Prostitutes create protest website
22.09.2008 Print article (IE & NS 4+)

An organisation representing prostitutes has created a website in response to what it believes is misinformation on a site set up by the social services board.
A Social Affairs Ministry campaign aimed at discouraging young people from buying sex has been criticised by prostitute organisation Sexarbejdernes Interesse Organisation, which has now created its own counter website.
SIO believes the ministry’s campaign, carried out by the National Board of Social Services, is full of false information and only serves to increase prejudices against prostitutes.
‘For example, the website says that prostitutes must suffer from ‘shell shock’, lack of sex drive, low self-esteem or physical handicaps,’ ‘Sus’ of the organisation told public broadcaster DR. ‘I think the website should be shut down or thoroughly edited.’
SIO’s new website uses the same graphic background as the board’s and challenges the official website’s use of celebrities to criticise prostitution. In addition, the organisation has complained to the social welfare minister and written to schools, urging students to look at both websites before passing judgement on the profession.
Sexologist Christina Tatarczuk said it was naïve to believe that prostitutes do not suffer mentally from their profession.
‘It’s a big delusion,’ she told avisen.dk. ‘The women I’ve spoken to say they battle several years with the experiences they’ve had.’
You can view both websites at (in Danish only): http://www.hvembetalerprisen.dk (National Board of Social Services website); http://www.hvembetalerprisen1.dk (SIO’s counter site). (rc)

Finland:

Finland Leads Europe in Workplace Bullying
Published 22.09.2008, 10.20 (updated 22.09.2008, 20.44)

Workplace bullying is more common in Finland than in other member states of the European Union, according to Finnish and European studies on conditions at work.
One in five Finns report being harassed at work. Women are more likely to be victims than men.
Olavi Parvikko of the occupational safety section of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health says that Finns top European statistics in violence and workplace bullying.
“The two go hand in hand to a large extent. This kind of a culture, or a culture poor treatment of others can emerge,” Parvikko says.
Finns fall victim to workplace harassment approximately twice as frequently as the European average.
According to EU 27 statistics, countries that come after Finland in workplace harassment include the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, and France. The problem is significantly lower in the other Nordic countries. For instance, in Sweden, the figures are just one quarter of that of Finland.
“Sweden has managed to improve the situation significantly, Finland, not at all,” Parvikko laments.
“In Sweden, there has been public debate about bullying for a long time. Still they have lower figures than Finland,” says Anna-Maija Lehto of Statistics Finland.
New Figures out by Year’s End
Statistics Finland is working on new Finnish figures, which are expected to be ready by Christmas. Initial data indicates that bullying is actually in the increase in Finland. Women are typically bullied by co-workers, while men tend to be harassed by bosses. Teachers, for instance, are sometimes harassed by their pupils.
Harassment is seen as most typical in state and municipal workplaces where most of the employees are women. Professions include health care, social work and teaching. Especially prone to bullying are professions where there is high stress, frequent major changes and low job security.
Parvikko notes that rules of good behaviour have been drafted at many work places to avoid harassment and bullying. Unfortunately, no decline in bullying has been noted yet.

Netherlands:

Minimum income keeps 120,000 households
Monday 22 September 2008

Last year 120,000 households in the Netherlands lived on the official minimum income, just under 2% of the total, says the national statistics office CBS.
The legal minimum income for a couple without children is €1,273 a month which is the same as the basic welfare payment.

Norway:

Electricity price may jump as exports increase
First published: 22 Sep 2008, 15:38

Large exports of power to the Netherlands and higher coal prices may add NOK 10,000 (USD 1,800) to household electricity bills.
If the price of a Kilowatt/hour (kWt) climbs from NOK 0.30 to NOK 0.80 the average Norwegian household’s bill would increase by this amount.
Norway has traditionally had lower electricity prices than on the European continent, but as new cables increase export capacity, the difference is becoming smaller.
Electricity prices have risen steeply this summer and experts predict a price approaching NOK 0.80 / kWh by January, writes news bureau NTB.
Most electricity in Norway, comes from hydro power. The water level in the reservoirs, give an indication of electricity prices in the months to come.
“In June there was water enough to produce 14 teraWatt hours (tWh) more than usual in Norwegian reservoirs. At the moment we have 2 tWh less than normal. The main reason is a huge export of power to the Netherlands through the new cable,” says Kjell Rønningsbak, editor of the power generation website, Kraftnytt.no to daily newspaper Bergensavisen.
“The rainfall this autumn will affect electricity prices this winter. Increasing prices of Danish coal powered production will also raise prices in Norway. Higher coal consumption in China and India and higher carbon emission taxes in the EU, will increase the price of electricity from coal fired power stations. As Norway is part of a common Nordic power market this will raise prices here too;” says Rønningsbak.

Sweden:

Parents to get truancy reports via text message
Published: 23 Sep 08 07:27 CET

When students cut class in Gothenburg, their parents receive a text message in their mobile phones alerting them of the offence.
The city will be in the first in the country to implement the service for all public high schools, according to Sveriges Television.
The measure is just one more way to combat the growing levels of absenteeism in area high schools.
Last year, around 12,000 Swedish high school students skipped classes.
In Gothenburg alone there were 800 students and the number of reports of truancy has increased by 70 percent in two years.
According to the schools code, since 2006 parents are to be contacted when their children have an unauthorized absence from high school.

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