News in Brief from the European Press

News in Brief from the European Press

Caption: NORWAY: Visitors to the Arctic World Archive Photo credit: Arctic World Archive

Denmark: Royal silence CROWN PRINCE FREDERIK of Denmark, married since 2004 to Australian Mary Donaldson, with whom he has four children, was seen in Madrid recently with Mexican socialite Genoveva Casanova. The royal household issued a statement maintaining that it “did not comment on rumours or insinuations” without referring to Casanova, who insisted the allegations were “malicious” and “false.

African presence DENMARK has reversed plans to close its embassy in Tanzania after announcing in 2021 that the government intended to phase out the mutual development plan between both countries. Tanzania’s Foreign minister January Makamba revealed on November that the decision to remain was the outcome of “a very fruitful” meeting in Algiers with Danish officials last October.

Norway: Safe and sound A DISUSED mine 300 metres below ground on an island in the Svalbard archipelago has since 2017 housed the original Mexican flag, together with the 1821 Declaration of Independence and historic documents.  Cold, dry and without natural light, the disaster-proof Arctic World Archive was created to store physical and digital artifacts from all over the world for future generations.

Park life AFTER 11 years of delays, political infighting and hostility from sheep farmers concerned about wolves, Oslo will have a national park in the Ostmarka area popular with skiers and hikers. The 53.9-square kilometre park, smaller than originally planned, would be “good for nature, good for people and good for public health,” Environment minister Andreas Bjelland Eriksen said.

Italy: The real deal ITALY’S parliament voted in favour of banning the production, sale or importation of cultivated meat or animal feed, in a session preceded by rallies for and against the veto and scuffles between farmers and MPs. Infringing the law will bring a €60,000 fine although to date only Singapore and the United States have approved lab-grown meat for human consumption.

Poverty grows CATHOLIC charity Caritas said in its annual report on poverty and social exclusion, published on November 17, that poverty was “deeply embedded in Italy”, with more than 5.6 million people living below the poverty line, compared with 357,000 in 2021. A further 14.3 million, 24.4 per cent of Italy’s population, were at risk from poverty and social exclusion,  Caritas said.

Belgium: Drug restricted BELGIUM’S Federal Medication and Health Products Agency (FAMHP) ordered doctors and pharmacists to prescribe Ozempic solely for patients who have Type 2 diabetes, after announcing a ban that continues until June next year.  Owing to growing demand there is now a shortage of the drug, which is increasingly used to treat obesity and assist weight loss.

Horse loose A LIEGE-BOUND 747 cargo jet had to turn round in mid-flight and return to New York after its pilot informed air traffic control that a horse had escaped from its stall in the hold, 30 minutes after take-off.  The aircraft was then given permission to make a U-turn off the Boston coast, after first dumping 20 tons of fuel to ensure it could make a safe landing in New York.

Germany: Drunk in charge GERMANY’S maritime police revealed that the woman who was steering a freight barge which rammed and destroyed a lock on the Rhine near Iffezheim on November 11 was “very intoxicated” at the time.  She is now under investigation, police said, for endangering shipping and causing damage costing €1.5 million in repairs that could take a year to complete.

Not for sale OLAF SCHOLZ, Germany’s chancellor, called for further legal restrictions on sex work, adding that the sale of sex “was not acceptable” and should not be normalised. During a question-and-answer session in the German parliament, he maintained on November 15 that it was not right for men to purchase women. “It is something that has always morally angered me,” he said.


Netherlands: Boat mystery A Dutch trawler whose three crew members sent out a distress signal off the African coast on November 5 was located and towed to port by the Nigerian navy on November 17.  The local authorities are in touch with the Dutch police but nothing is yet known about what happened or why it took 12 days to find the boat which had bought by a Congo church community.

Slight increase: NETHERLANDS unemployment rose from 3.5 to 3.6 per cent in 2023’s third quarter although it still has one of the EU’s lowest rates. Most of the 16,000 people now jobless worked in healthcare, business and trade, the National Statistics office said, while the 18-25 age group was the most affected, with the previous quarter’s 8.2 per cent unemployed rising to 8.7 per cent.

France: Pedal power NEXT year’s Tour de France commences in Florence (Italy) on June 19 although for the first time ever it will end in Nice, not Paris, due to the 2024 Olympic Games held in the French capital.  The organisers have now revealed that the 2025 race will set out from Lille in northern France as it did in 1960 as well as 1994, with the date to be announced on November 30.

Spike charge: FRENCH senator Joel Guerriau, aged 66, was charged on November 16 with spiking MP Sandrine Josso’s drink, intending to assault her while possessing and using substances classed as drugs, police said.  Josso said that she began to feel unwell after accepting a drink on November 14 at the home of the senator, with whom she was not in an intimate relationship.

Finland: Stay-at-home dads FINLANDS Family Reform recently gave the parents of newborns individual entitlements of 160 weekdays of leave, with the option of transferring up to 63 days to the other parent.  By late September, fathers were taking more time off than in 2022 although official figures showed that most were generally transferring their leave allocation to the mother.

Hands tied AT present prisoners in Finland cannot be handcuffed during transport unless there is a risk of violence or escape, although police hope for a change in the law which would permit the use of cuffs or cable ties.  Problems often arose when groups of up to ten prisoners were driven from jail to appear in court, said Kari Tolvanen, an MP with a police background.


Ireland: Bank glitch BANK OF IRELAND customers complained on November15 of problems with the online service, with the bank recognising that there had been issues when logging into accounts. The technical hitch was one of several so far the bank so far this year, including last August when the bank’s chief executive Myles O’Grady apologised for a “significant technology outage.”

Surf’s up MULLAGHMORE HEAD (County Sligo) on the Atlantic coast attracts surfers from Hawaii and Australia in search of some of the heaviest waves found anywhere in the world.  “People spend time in Ireland to brave the elements and hopefully get these waves once or twice a winter,” said Conor Maguire, renowned for catching Ireland’s biggest wave in 2020.

Portugal: Home sweet home Cristiano Ronaldo’s future neighbours in Cascais are complaining about noise and disruption during construction of his mansion, which at $22 million (€20.6 million) will be one of Portugal’s most expensive properties.  Due to be finished by June 2024, the player is not expected to occupy the four-storey luxury home until his Al Nassr contract ends in June 2025. 

Make a move: PORTUGAL’S government revealed that it plans to extend its Non-habitual Resident Scheme (RNH) providing tax advantages for foreign residents by a year. Insiders said this is clearly meant as an invitation to investors disenchanted with the re-election of Spain’s Pedro Sanchez who has already announced that the rich would now pay more tax than in the past.


Sweden: Going nuclear THE Swedish government announced on November 16 plans to construct two new conventional nuclear reactors by 2035 to meet the growing demands of industry and transport for clean power, while meeting some of the cost.  By 2045 the government intends to have built 10 new reactors, some of which are likely to be small modular reactors (SMRs).

Ferry nice A SILENT electric ferry presented in Stockholm recently hovers one metre above the water and saves energy obtained by going airborne on foils, which give the speed and range needed for functioning on batteries. At 56 kilometres per hour it is faster than other passenger ferries as it leaves no wake, which exempts it from the usual 22 kilometre per hour speed limit.












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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at