News Snippets from the European Press

News Snippets from the European Press

DANIEL ERVER: New chief executive of Sweden-based H&M chain Photo credit: H&M

Sweden: H&M exit HELENA HELMERSSON, 51, H&M’s chief executive since 2019, resigned on January 31 “with immediate effect” as the fashion chain’s sales fell while failing to keep ahead of rivals like Zara. Helmersson’s replacement is Daniel Erver, who has worked at H&M for 18 years, mainly as head of the H&M brand.

Denmark: Give and take DENMARK’S autonomous region of Greenland absorbs more methane than it produces, a University of Copenhagen study has found. Since 2000, Greenland’s dry, ice-free areas consumed at least 65,000 tons of the greenhouse gas annually compared with wet zones which produced 9,000 tons, according to the researchers.

Don’t listen MEMBERS of public were advised to ignore English-language phone calls where a robot voice claiming to be the Danish police accused them of committing a crime before giving the option to leave a message.  The calls were a ruse to trick people into handing over personal information, the Economic Crime Unit (NSK) said.

Norway: Oil-rich NORWAY’S sovereign wealth fund reported record 2023 profits of $213 billion (€917.1 billion) based on the country’s income from oil and returns on technology stocks.  The fund, created in the 1990s to invest revenues from the country’s oil sector, now invests in more than 8,500 companies in 70 countries worldwide.

Wild West RESEARCH by fact-checking website Snopes confirmed in January 2024 that the use of “Texas” as Norwegian slang for “wild” or “crazy” is not an urban myth. After finding Texas used as an adjective in 50 publications in 2023, Snopes linked the word to Norway’s early taste for cowboy movies and Western thrillers.

Italy: On the game CECILIE HOLLBERG, director of Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia art museum, apologised after claiming that mass tourism had turned the city into “a prostitute” where it was impossible to find normal shops.  Mayor Dario Nardella argued in return that the city deserved respect and tourism “employed thousands of people.”

Tax break MISTERBIANCO (Sicily) promised a €200 discount on Italy’s rubbish collection tax, TARI, to any resident who adopts a dog from one of the local shelters. This would boost adoptions, reduce the costs of sheltering strays and reward families who adopted by reducing local taxes, said Misterbianco mayor Mario Corsaro.

Belgium: Bird-watching HOUSE SPARROWS were seen more than any other birds in Flanders as 46,000 people joined the Great Bird Counting Weekend on January 27 and 28.  Great tits were ranked second, followed by jackdaws (third) and wood pigeons (fourth) while blackbirds, ranked seventh, were beginning to reappear in greater numbers.

Pared down TWO unconnected importers faced prosecution for presenting incorrect paperwork and evading €6.6 million in customs duties on electric bicycles imported from China.  The e-bikes reached Belgium in separate parts, presumably to avoid the EU anti-dumping levies that would have been charged on entirely-assembled bicycles.

Germany: Role reversal Former intelligence chief Hans-Georg Maassen is under investigation as a suspected extremist by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), which he once led.  He resigned from the BfV in 2018, accused of being over-lenient towards right-wing extremists, and now vociferously opposes immigration.

Pirate raid Police seized 50,000 bitcoins worth almost €2 billion on January 30 and arrested two men aged 40 and 37 in the biggest haul of this kind yet made in Germany. They are believed to have acquired the cryptocurrency from the profits they made by exploiting copyrighted works on a pirate website they ran until 2013.

Netherlands: Keep it ROTTERDAM mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb’s recent Latin America visit included a stopover in Colombia to discuss the cocaine shipments reaching Europe via Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg.  Accompanied by his Antwerp and Hamburg counterparts, Aboutaleb met Bogata mayor Carlos Fernando Galan to debate the problem.

Sell-out STING’s is the biggest international name on the list of 62 acts appearing at the 47th North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam on July 12-14, while the principal Dutch artist will be Anouk accompanied by the Metropole Orchestra.  Season tickets for the entire weekend are already sold out, the organisers announced.

France: Smaller crowd INTERIOR minister Gerald Darmanin revealed that approximately 300,000 spectators will be able to watch the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics from the banks of the River Seine  on July 26.  This is half the originally-estimated number although Darmanin failed to explain why this had been reduced.

Not so tough FRANCE’S new Immigration Law was condemned by critics as “restrictive and racist” but hailed as an “ideological victory” by the far-right’s Marine Le Pen.  Asylum expert Smain Laacher said to the Euractiv news website that France’s law was no tougher than other European countries but was “part of a general trend.”

Finland: Wipe clean University of Jyvakla researchers are developing surfaces that can halt the spread of viruses, including different types of coronavirus. An ingredient found in pine resin “significantly” reduced the infectivity of coronaviruses on plastic surfaces, they found, suggesting a practical solution for public spaces and medical centres.

Vape swoop A ROUTINE inspection of a courier service depot by Finnish Customs officers uncovered 1,000 vapes remaining from a shipment of 1,600 ordered from China by a Lappeenranta man.  He now faces a fine or even imprisonment, plus repaying evaded taxes and illicit profits amounting to thousands of euros.

Ireland: Big day IRISH government ministers including the Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, will visit 86 cities in 48 countries on St Patrick’s Day, March 17.  Karadkar is to visit the White House in Washington DC as well as Boston, while deputy Prime Minister Micheal Martin will go to Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto in Canada.

Pretty good WOMEN members of Ireland’s Armed Forces can now wear nail varnish and fake tan with six different hairstyles to choose from under rules that came into effect on February 1.  “We are making efforts to be as progressive as possible while keeping health and safety and operational effectiveness in mind,” Defence sources said.

Portugal: Shower fresh A SURVEY carried out for the OCU consumers’ association found that between 85 and 94 per cent of Portugal’s population showered once a day, making them the second-cleanest in Europe.  Italy headed the list with 95 per cent taking a daily shower, compared with 65 per cent in France, Germany, Norway and Russia.

Lithium fever UK-BASED Savannah Resources intend to open western Europe’s biggest opencast lithium mine in Covas do Barroso, adjoining the Peneda-Geres National Park in northern Portugal. Residents continue to oppose the plan but fear that the government will compulsorily purchase their land unless agreement can be reached.

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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