Monthly Archives: February 2013

Horsemeat scare

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Seems like horsemeat has found its way as far as the Nordic countries, which had been until then untouched by the scandal. Finland might pursue criminal proceedings, but the mislabelled meat will go to charity. Meanwhile, Sweden is investigating the disappearance of almost 10 000 horses each year; the animals are suspected of being illegally sold as beef all over Europe. Ikea has removed from its shelves meatballs made in Sweden & distributed all over Europe, as well as Sweden & Denmark. In Denmark, horsemeat was found in pizzas labelled meat. On the other hand, the scandal kindled an interest in horsemeat all over Norway & especially Oslo.

2012 Icelandic music awards highlights

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Amongst the slew of prizes handed out this year at the Icelandic music awards some of the winners were: 

  • Ásgeir Trausti for Album of the Year (Pop/Rock) for Dýrð í dauðaþögn, Brightest Hope (Rock/Pop), Most Popular Performer in online voting on tonlist.is and the Tonlist.is award for generating online sales.
  • Retro Stefson for Performer of the Year, Song of the Year and Music Video of the Year.
  • Moses Hightower won Songwriter of the Year and Best Lyricist.
  • Composer of the Year went to Daníel Bjarnason.
  • Reykjavík Midsummer Music won Event of the Year

More info @ Íslensku Tónlistarverðlaunin

Greenland elections & mining

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As noted before in our sister blog Arctic PowerOur, Greenland is using its natural resources to assert its independence from Denmark. This is made clear by the importance of mining projects in the current elections. As noted in Nunatsiaq Online, the ruling party favours large mining projects & imported labour. New plans would also make it easier to import cheap labour during development phases of large projects, at this points the talks are about Chinese projects. The EU is worried that China might be using Greenland as an Arctic proxy, we talked about that before.

Denmark seems to be willing to go along with Greenland on Chinese projects & labour as well as on uranium extraction. That’s definitely in contradiction with decades of Danish attitudes. That might be owing to colonial guilt, but in any case extraction seems to be more important than all out independence. The whole process won’t come about as easily as some speculate; none of these projects are on the rails yet.

Slow burning telly in Norway

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When I was a kid , there was this channel that showed a fireplace at the end of the program day – yes, I’m that old. I was intrigued when a read about a whole 12 hour show on firewood. That’s a 4 hour show followed by eight hour of a live fireplace. Just to show how interested Norwegians are in fireplace, the Daily Mail reports that the channel received over 60 sms complaining that the bark was the wrong way! I guess this interest underlines not only a yearning in Norwegians for simpler times, but also a closeness to nature that other people don’t feel.

Sweden & the international scene

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Sweden scored very well in the third annual report of the European Council on Foreign Relations. In an opinion piece from the Local, the author lists three reasons why Sweden, a mid-level power, can punch above its weight. If we summarise: Sweden was swifter than most in getting involved in important foreign policies, such as human rights. Swedes like to think of themselves as good people part of a solid democracy. Lastly, Carl Bildt, the foreign minister, has a big bark. 

As a Canadian I can sympathise; light weight countries like to feel important, but they should also be aware of their weaknesses. We want to be the good guys & be recognised as such. But they can’t be complacent & turn a blind eye to their governments less palatable acts. These actions include participating in the CIA’s secret black sites programme & arms exports

Skilled foreigners & Denmark

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An article in the Copenhagen Post reports that skilled foreign workers – it didn’t say which jobs were in demand – have been coming to Denmark in an increasing fashion & non-EU foreigners would make up to 20 000 workers by 2015. They are well liked because an educated worker & his/her family will stay on average 8 years, while most are in their 30s & 40s. Most will leave before they become a burden on the health care system & contributing princely towards it. Dansk Industri notes that foreigners bring in skill & show that Denmark is competitive.

Two notes. First, I’ve just finished reading a booklet form 1967, “Five Northern Countries Pull Together“, the author notes that skilled workers are the backbone of production in the North. So much for change. Next, the comments at the end of the Post’s article are all pretty negative & I gather from foreigners. It’d be interesting if the Copenhagen Post did a follow up on that.

Salmon production hits record in the Faroe Islands

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A recent news post from the Faroe Fish Farmers Association, notes that 2012 was a record year for salmon production in the islands. Salmon production for last year reached 63 000 tons of fish. Fish farmers are producing more & bigger fish with the average salmon weighing 5,07 kg.

Salmon is the biggest export of the Faroe Islands at a 40% value.

 

See the Faroe Fish Farmers Association for more information.