Weekly Highlight: 24.10.2008


Southern Denmark seeking to recruit German and Austrian doctors 

German-speaking physicians are in demand in the southernmost region of the country
Region Southern Denmark has begun a programme to actively recruit physicians and nurses from Germany and Austria for its hospitals.
The programme is a cooperation between the region, the Danish Embassies in Germany and Austria, and the Austrian health ministry. Job fairs are already planned for Vienna, Hannover and Dresden in the coming weeks, and the region hopes to land 100 doctors and 200 nurses through the effort.
Annette Lunde Stougaard, head of the region’s HR recruiting department, said that although the region has a large number of German-speakers, it is not the main reason it is looking to Germany and Austria.
‘First of all, Austria currently has a surplus of physicians,’ she told The Copenhagen Post. ‘But experience has also shown that German-speakers with an advanced education are quick to learn Danish and have a fairly easy time integrating into Danish society.’
Stougaard acknowledged, however, that the many German-speakers in the region likely make it easier to market German-speaking doctors there.
German has official status as a minority language in Denmark, but Region Southern Denmark has no figures on how many people in the region speak the language. (rc) 


New HIV Infections Frequently Occur Abroad
Published 24.10.2008, 17.46

The number of persons infected with HIV during visits abroad has grown in Finland. According to the National Public Health Institute (KTL), last year about one-third of new HIV patients were infected in foreign countries – mainly in popular holiday destinations like south-east Asia.
“Last year, the number of persons infected during sexual intercourse was particularly high in foreign countries. Time will tell if this is a long-term trend,” says Mika Salminen, the head of the HIV Unit at KTL.
Around 160 new cases of HIV are diagnosed in Finland each year. The majority of the infections were obtained during sexual intercourse. Ten years ago, only around half of HIV cases were spread during sex.
“Finns’ use of condoms as a birth control option is relatively rare,” says Salminen.
Meanwhile the number of infections from sharing contaminated drug syringes is down.
The Finnish Aids Council has launched a campaign on safety while travelling. Information pamphlets on HIV are being distributed in trains stations in cities including Helsinki, Tampere, Jyväskylä, Kuopio and Joensuu, as well as at the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport and at passenger ship terminals in Helsinki and Turku.  


Private forestry is profitable
Friday 24 October 2008

Private forest owners made an average of €47 profit on every hectare of trees last year, according to calculations by the LEI agricultural institute.
Between 2001 and 2005 forest owners lost an average of €63 on each hectare. The turnaround is due to rising timber prices and subsidies, LEI said. 


Norway won’t cut oil production
First published: 22 Oct 2008, 11:41

Støre, who’s been hosting his Algerian counterpart in Oslo this week, said Norway has no plans to cut production.
“Norway makes its own evaluations on an independent basis,” Støre said. He said Norwegian officials “of course” consult others, “but it’s Norway alone that makes these kinds of decisions.”
OPEC is due to meet Friday to discuss ways to boost prices, with production cuts high on the agenda as a means of cutting supply and thereby boosting demand. Algeria chairs OPEC, of which Norway is not a member.
Algerian Oil Minister Chakib Khelil has urged Norway, Russia and Mexico to reduce production in line with OPEC. Algeria’s foreign minister Mourad Medelci said Tuesday that he doubted Norway would let itself be instructed by OPEC.
From a high of nearly USD 150 a barrel last summer, oil prices fell by more than USD 3 on Wednesday, to near their lowest level in 16 months. Prices below USD 70 were tied to mounting worries that production cuts by OPEC itself will not be enough to offset lower energy demand.
Some North Sea crude fell to USD 67.44. “People are just scared that the economy is going down the tube,” Tony Nunan, assistant manager of risk management at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo, told Reuters. “There is a feeling that we are now going to see problems in the real economy; employment, real estate prices will continue to fall and the big concern now is how much economic growth is going suffer.”
A stronger US dollar means Norway stands to collect higher kroner revenues on every barrel sold, which may offset some of the price decline. There’s no question, though, that high oil prices in recent years fueled the strong economy Norway enjoyed until the international financial crisis erupted. Lower prices will mean far less money flowing into state coffers.
It doesn’t seem all that long ago that oil prices were well below USD 20, and the huge jump to well over USD 100 drove up costs for industry and most consumers. The high prices thus were a source of huge concern and complaints, making it almost ironic that the recent decline to a level that’s still over three times as high as prices once were, is now sparking concern and complaints as well.

New discovery
Meanwhile, Norwegian oil and gas group StatoilHydro announced a new oil and gas discovery near its Visund field in the North Sea on Wednesday. StatoilHydro said the find in the Pan Pandora prospect was its 20th discovery so far in 2008.
“The area south of Visund has considerable remaining resource potential,” StatoilHydro said. StatoilHydro opeartes the field with partners Total of France, ConocoPhillips of the US and Norway’s state-owned Petoro. 


Swedes cool towards ethnic diversity
Published: 24 Oct 08 12:19 CET

Greater numbers of Swedes are expressing hostility towards ethnic diversity, according to a new study.
According to the annual diversity barometer carried out by researchers at Uppsala University, the percentage of the Swedish population with extremely negative attitudes toward ethnic diversity has increased by 50 percent since 2005.
“The extremely negative attitudes are increasing, and we believe it’s in line with what’s happening in Europe. It’s not only older, but also younger who are negative,” said Orlando Mella, a sociology professor from Uppsala University, to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.
However, Mella added that in comparison to the rest of Europe, Sweden is generally quite positive toward diversity.
Overall, 5.7 percent of the population in Sweden indicated they have extremely negative attitudes toward diversity, up from 3.8 percent in 2005.
Among men, the instance of negative attitudes has increased from 5.3 to 7.5 percent since 2005.
Unexpectedly, however, the prevalence of negative attitudes toward ethnic diversity among Swedish women has nearly doubled from 2.3 percent to 4.1 percent.
“It’s surprising for us that there are more women in the group [expressing negative attitudes]; that’s not something we expected. Swedish women tend to be quite positive toward diversity,” said Mella.
Despite the growth of unfavourable views towards diversity in Sweden, Mella believes the country is better equipped to integrate immigrant groups than other European countries and that public perceptions of social exclusion among immigrants in Sweden is exaggerated.
“The large number of immigrants are on the way to or currently are being integrated,” she said.
Nevertheless, Mella said that continued growth in the number of Swedes expressing hostility toward ethnic diversity has the potential to affect Swedes’ attitudes more widely, noting that rising unemployment presents a challenge for politicians.
“But we should remember that there aren’t deep ethnic conflicts in Sweden like there are in France or Great Britain,” she said.

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