News Snippets from the European Press

News Snippets from the European Press

PRINCESS ELISABETH: Belgium’s crown princess with King Charles Photo credit: CC/Ian Jones

Belgium: No romance There was no truth in rumours that Princess Elisabeth of Belgium, who is first in line to the throne and studying at Oxfor, was “in a relationship with a fellow student named Nicholas, the young man’s family said. “They merely go to the same college and study together,” a relative told the Manchester Evening News.

Denmark: Keep out Denmark is fighting a UK ban on fishing for sand eels on Dogger Bank in the North Sea, maintaining that Britain is reneging on the Brexit agreement. The sand eel is an important primary source for the country’s produce fishmeal and fish oil industry in Denmark, Foreign minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said.

Toxic buildup Waste from an abandoned steelworks in Frederiksvaerk is contaminating Roskilde fjord with hazardous manmade PFAS chemicals and equally dangerous phenols. The pollution, which accumulated over decades, could “probably” put the fjord at risk, a report by the Greater Copenhagen regional authority maintained.

Norway: Less rich Norway had Europe’s highest disposable income in 2022 but its average of €8,337 by late 2023 put it in sixth place after Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria according Eurostat, the European data agency.  Economic experts attributed the decline to higher interest rates on mortgages and bank loans.

Jellyfish peril A total of 65 million farmed salmon perished in Norway’s fish farms in 2023, a 27 per cent increase on 2022, the Institute of Marine Research reported. The “dizzyingly” high number was caused by jellyfish attacks on  fish farm pens as well as outbreaks of diseases which required the destruction of millions of fish.

Italy: Dog danger A girl of two was helicoptered to a Rome hospital in a serious condition after she was attacked by her grandmother’s two dogs, one of which was a German shepherd. The attack occurred at her grandparents’ home in Anguillara Sabazia where they were looking after the child while her parents were at work.

In a hole The occupants of a parked car and another that was moving were rescued with minor injuries after a sinkhole in a Naples street swallowed both vehicles in the early hours of February 21. Gaetano Manfredi, Naples’ mayor, said the incident was the result of neglecting the city’s sewage system “for many years.”

Germany: Empty pews Five Catholic churches closed recently in Kiel, where most of the population are Protestant and buildings are being deconsecrated and demolished to make way for housing.  By last year only 50 per cent of Germans belonged to the two principal Christian faiths, which have lost hundreds of thousands of parishioners.

Tesla tussle Residents in Grunheide, a rural community under 8,000, voted against authorising a rail goods depot and storage facilities which would have been used by Tesla’s batteries and car assembly plant.  Plans, which included building a goods depot and storage facilities, would have entailed felling 250 acres of trees.

Netherlands: Nice and warm February 15 was the warmest February 15 ever known, with temperatures reaching 15.5 degrees, announced the De Bilt weather station near Utrecht where official records are set. “We have broken a lot more heat records than cold records over the past few years,” said Marco Verhoef, the NOS broadcaster’s weatherman.

Wrong snow Ski accidents were 10 per cent up in the Netherlands so far in 2024, compared to 2023, the Eurocross emergency response centre said, with “breaks, knee injuries and torn ligaments.”  The problem was warm weather which produced the slushy kind of snow responsible for accidents like these, a spokesperson said.

 

France: Hot stuff Nine hundred tons of lithium batteries recently went up in smoke at a Viviez (Toulouse) recycling plant.  Essential for items ranging from mobile phones to electric cars, the batteries’ combination of inflammable materials and stored energy meant they ignited easily when exposed to heat, firefighters explained.

Veg pledge The French Nutrition Society (SFN), a body of public and private sector nutrition experts, together with Climate Action Network (RAC), issued a document stating that the French needed to change their eating habits.  They were also advised to reduce meat consumption “for the sake of the planet’s health.”

Finland: Moving out Hundreds of Finns who received more than €50,000 a year in unearned income moved abroad between 2019-2022 to dodge or reduce the amount of capital gains tax they had to pay, a report from the Finnwatch organisation maintained. Sweden, Switzerland, Spain and the US were the most popular boltholes.

In tune Gramex, Finland’s copyright organisation, quoted figures which showed that a record-breaking number of songs were registered in 2023.  The 21,785 new songs, many of them the work of social media influencers, that were registered with Gramex last year was 30 per cent higher than those copyrighted in 2022.

Ireland: More hope Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar announced an €800 million investment in cross-border projects, which he said was the largest-ever package of this kind. “The return of the power-sharing executive is hugely important for the people of Northern Ireland,” Varadkar said, “and has brought renewed hope.”

Penny-wise Ireland’s national debt works out at €42,000 for every member of the population, making it one of the highest in the world, the Department of Finance said.  It also warned that by 2030, the Irish state would need an additional €8 billion a year to maintain current funding levels for areas like healthcare and pensions.

Portugal: Back home Foreign residents working in Portugal sent €570 million to their countries of origin in 2023, an increase of 7.39 per cent on 2022 when they sent back €530.96 million and comfortably above the €504.17 million sent in 2021.  Much of this went to Brazil, which accounted for around half of the remittances.

Revenue losses Eliminating tolls on the former motorway in the Interior and Algarve would cost the state around €113 million, Miguel Cruz, stated-owned Infraestruturas de Portugal’s chairman, told the Portuguese media.  He also confirmed that the Beira Alta and South International Corridor railway lines would be completed in 2024.

Sweden: Boar off Wild boars were found dead near Fagersta, 145 kilometres north-west of Stockholm, in August and September 2023 although Swedish expert Karl Stahl said there was currently “zero” risk of more swine fever in Sweden. The last wild boar to test positive died in September and the disease was no longer circulating, Stahl said.

False alarm A Suspicious package found amongst luggage on an SAS flight taking off from Arlanda Airport turned out to be harmless, said police who were called to the scene on February 21.  Passengers were evacuated while the aircraft was cordoned off but allowed to return and continue with their journey.

 

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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 editorial@euroweeklynews.com.

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