News Snippets from the European Press

New Snippets from the European Press

HALBERSTADT CHURCH: John Cage composition comes to an end in 2640 Photo credit: CC/Clemens Franz

Germany: Go slow AVANT GARDE composer John Cage’s Organ²/ASLSP (As Slow as Possible) changed chord for the first time in two years, performed on a specially-constructed organ at a Halberstadt church. The piece, whose finale arrives in the year 2640, has had 16 chord change since it began in 2001, commencing with 18 months of silence.

Denmark: Mopeds out COUNCILLORS at Frederiksberg city hall voted to ban mopeds from using the bicycle lanes it shares with neighbouring Copenhagen.  Danish traffic laws allow mopeds on these but they are a problem in cities with a high volume of two-wheeled transport, particularly riders for delivery companies, councillors agreed.

Fare-dodger RUSSIAN Sergey Vladimirovich Ochigava (46) who boarded a Scandinavian Airways aircraft bound for Los Angeles at Copenhagen airport in November 2023 without a passport, ticket or visa was a stowaway, a US jury decided. Ochigava, who holds both Russian and Israeli passports, now faces a five-year prison term.

Norway: No asylum ANDREY MEDVEDEV, who defected from the Wagner mercenary group in January, was refused full asylum but will be allowed to reside temporarily in Norway owing to the “security risk in returning him to Russia”. While willing to testify regarding war crimes in Ukraine, Medvedev denies having committed any himself.

Lead on DOG-OWNERS who take their pets to Oslo’s Nordmarka forest area must now keep them on the leash or pay a fine if they run free. This year’s extreme cold and deep snowdrifts have adversely affected wildlife with loose dogs attacking deer and other vulnerable animals whose wounds required them to be put down.

Italy: Burst bubbles PROSECCO producers launched a UK advertising campaign, warning drinkers that it could not be called prosecco when sold on tap. It was important for customers to be aware that prosecco can only be marketed in bottles and selling it in any other manner was fraudulent, the president of the Prosecco Consortium declared.

No let-up ITALY continues its efforts to counter overtourism in favourite destinations but is also focusing on short-term rentals, which are strictly controlled nationwide with licences banned entirely in some towns and cities. These include the city centre in Florence where city hall hopes to make more housing available to locals.

Belgium: Buck’s visit CHESTER P SLOAN, nicknamed Buck and a Second World War veteran, will see the Normandy beaches once more on the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. This time he will be accompanied by his wife, thanks to a fundraising campaign by Randy Buelens who has raised the €4,000 needed to pay for their visit.

No more NEW admissions to Antwerp jail were put on hold as guards revealed the prison was “full to overflowing” with 70 inmates already sleeping on floor, which they said was heightening tensions. The Belgian prison system with room for 10,000 prisoners had a record high of 12,012 by late January, the authorities said.

Netherlands: Mighty mice HEALTH AND SAFETY inspectors closed online supermarket Picnic’s 2,000-square metre distribution centre in Zaandam after it was overrun with mice.  They were detected during a routine check, after which all unwrapped items or food in easily-penetrated packaging was destroyed and the centre fumigated.

Think again THE Netherlands Education Council asked the government to reconsider admitting fewer international students to Dutch universities and reducing the number of classes in English. While accepting fewer foreign students could be “positive” the language change could affect educational quality and research, the council said.

France: SUV surfeit VOTERS in Paris supported a proposal from city mayor Anne Hidalgo to triple parking charges on hefty SUV and “Chelsea tractor” vehicles, the official count-up revealed.  Parisians voted 54.55 per cent in favour of charging cars of 1.6 metric tons or more €18 per hour to park in the city centre and €12 further out.

Olympic wages INVESTIGATING judges specialised in financial crime are checking the system used to pay Tony Estanguet, chief executive of the Paris Olympics’ organising committee, said sources who insisted on anonymity. The committee expressed “surprise” at the investigation, while the Public Prosecutor’s office declined to comment.

Finland: Digital outlaws VICTIMS “gave” €44 million to online scammers in 2023, duped by Ponzi-type investment schemes, emails or computer malware, the Finance Finland (FFI) lobby group revealed.  A total of €77 million was lost this way, compared with €47 million in 2022, although banks intervened in some cases, returning €33 million.

No-no names FINLAND’S  Names Board, attached to the Justice ministry, recently released a list of the new names it approved or rejected in 2023.  Harry Potter’s Voldemort was vetoed, along with Jezebel and Yes, since Finnish law does not accept first names that are potentially offensive or “harmful to the person bearing it.”

Ireland: Starting early TWENTY-FIVE per cent of six-year-olds in Ireland own a smartphone, a survey carried out for online safety charity CyberSafeKids found. Twenty-five per cent of parents were worried about cyber-bullying and porn although 20 per cent felt the benefits of the internet and social media outweigh the risks for children.

Measles peril AN adult whose personal details have not been disclosed died in hospital in the Dublin and Midlands health region after contracting measles, the Health Service revealed.  This was the first known case of measles in 2024, while four cases were reported in 2023, with two in 2022, none in 2021 and five in 2020.

Portugal: Green power RENEWABLE energy supplied 81 per cent of Portugal’s electricity in January, according to Redes Energeticas Nacionais (REN), the national grid operator. Hydro-power plants made the most significant contribution to the country’s needs, accounting for 47 per cent, followed by windfarms (25 per cent).

Brussels ire THE European Commission announced that it is taking action against Portugal at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for not complying with a December 2023 ruling.  This required the country to designate 61 “sites of community importance” as “special conservation sites” under habitat conservation rules.

Sweden: Huge loss LABORATORY samples collected over decades and used in leukaemia research amongst other fields, were destroyed owing to a freezer fault over Christmas at the Karolinska University Hospital in Solna.  The samples’ value “was easily in the millions”, said Matti Sallberg, dean of the university’s southern campus.

Less timber SWEDEN’S timber stocks fell to 7.4 million cubic metres during the last quarter of 2023, a 4 per cent reduction on the same period the previous year,  “Timber stocks were low compared to the end of 2022, but also compared to the average for the same time over the past five years,” the Swedish Forest Agency announced.

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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