News Snippets from the European Press

News Snippets from the European Press

Caption: NUNO MELO: No plans for reintroducing military service Photo credit:

Portugal: No call-up National Defence minister Nuno Melo said there were no motives for reintroducing national service despite hints from some military high-ups.  Melo did, however, suggest military service as option for young offenders instead of serving time in institutions that functioned as “schools for criminals.”

Denmark: Ticked off Demand for the vaccine against tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is rising in Copenhagen and the adjoining Zealand area, although the known hotspot for the TBE virus is Bornholm Island in the Baltic.  According to the State Serum Institute, 89,000 doses were distributed in 2023, a 300 per cent increase on 2023.

Not for real The Danish People’s Party was reproached for circulating a deepfake video that apparently showed PM Mette Frederiksen unveiling plans to cancel the Christmas, Easter and Whitsun holidays as well as the now-discontinued Great Prayer Day.  Only a small icon on the video showed that it was not genuine footage. 

Norway: In the bag The cost of a plastic bag in a Norwegian supermarket, which went up to 4.25 krone (€0.36) in 2023, rose to 5.5 krone (€0.46) on May 1 in a bid to dissuade people from requesting them.  In practice the bags are going to cost 6 krone (€0.51) because one-krone coins are the lowest denomination now in circulation.

Seabed mining The Norwegian Offshore Directorate has invited applications for prospection licences for deep sea mining. The government has responded to criticism from environmentalist groups by arguing that it is essential not to depend on China or other authoritarian countries for the minerals needed in renewable technology.

Italy: Toxic mixup A baby of four months was rushed to A and E where his stomach was pumped and he was intubated after his grandmother mistakenly used wine instead of bottled water for his formula. He is now recovering in a Bari paediatric hospital although the authorities are checking his medical records to decide whether to take further action.

Bear with us There are 100 or so bears now living in the Trentino region, compared with 10 at the start of the 2000s.  Wildlife expert Claudio Groff recognised that few farmers, and not all residents, welcomed them but said only 5 to 10 per cent of the population lived close to the animals, a similar proportion for bears “anywhere in Europe.”

Belgium: Right place Carlo Mestdagh and Sofie Verfaillie from Astene chose the Colruyt supermarket in nearby Deinze as the setting for their wedding photographs. While astonished clients looked on, the couple explained that since they had met and fallen in love while both were working there, the supermarket had been a logical choice.

Page view A fragment of Exposition of the Psalms, written between the third and fourth centuries by St Augustine and transcribed onto parchment by monks in the ninth or tenth century, has been found in the Felix Archive in Antwerp. Researchers have identified it as the oldest document now contained in the city archive.

Germany: Mayday call Thirty people were injured, 10 of them seriously, after a float towed by a tractor overturned during a May Day parade in Kandern located in the Black Forest area near the German, French and Swiss borders.  Police investigating the accident said afterwards that the float had toppled as the tractor made a sharp turn.

In work Seventy-five per cent of male refugees who arrived in 2015, fleeing war and ethnic conflict during Angela Merkel’s “open door” policy, had jobs by 2022, a study for the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) showed.  In contrast, only 31 per cent of the women accompanying them were working, the IAB said.

Netherlands: Danger level Whooping cough reached its highest level in 10 years, with 7,187 cases reported to the Public Health Institute (RIVM) by May 1 and 1,800 notifications received during the second half of April.  Half of the 50 babies under five months who caught the disease needed to be hospitalised, while two elderly adults have died.

Rainy month The Netherlands experienced its rainiest April since 1932 with an average of 93 millimetres falling nationwide, compared with 42 in a normal year, according to the Weeronline weather service. Farmers said the ground was too wet to plant onions, potatoes and sugar beets and “time was running out” for crops.

France: Hard cheese Camembert’s future is uncertain, warned the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), owing to insufficient microbial diversity.  Investigators said the survival of the iconic soft cheese was threatened now that the Penicillium camemberti mould strain, essential for producing camembert, could no longer reproduce.

Turn it of Paediatrician Sylvie Dieu Osika, who treats children for excessive screen use, said that when she opened her practice in 2019, the average age for patients was 11 but has dropped below three.  She warned that there should be no screen use until children have developed language skills at around two years old.

Finland: In a jam Interference to aircraft GPS prevented Finnair planes flying from Helsinki to Tartu in Estonia rom landing on two consecutive nights, a spokesman for the airline said. The jamming, probably by Russia, is a particular problem for Tartu airport which lacks multiple systems and has to depend on GPS signals.

Hacked off Aleksanteri Kivimaki received a 75-month prison term after a Uusimaa court found him guilty of hacking the Vastaamo Psychotherapy Centre database. The 26-year-old attempted to blackmail thousands of patients and demanded a €400,000 payment from the psychotherapy company which operates nationwide.

Ireland: Tight cap Daa, which operates Dublin airport, foresaw that the passenger cap would cost jobs in 2025 and 2026 as it awaited a decision on increasing this from 32 million annually to 40 million.  It would comply with the cap, Daa said, but warned that it reduced connectivity and impaired Ireland’s reputation in international aviation.

Coffee time: Bewley’s Coffee Consumption Report in 2021 revealed that, on average, 78 per cent of Irish adults drank coffee three times a day.  Research that same year by BrewSmartly also found that Dublin’s ratio of 181 coffee shops per 100,000 people was one of the highest in the world and second only to Amsterdam.

Sweden: Passport hike The cost of a Swedish passport went up by 25 per cent on May 1 from 400 kronor (€34.34) to 500 kronor (€42.92).  A press release from the government said the higher fee was necessary to maintain the level of service and ensure that the charge was enough to cover the cost of processing the passport.

Stop-go Police can designate a certain area as a “security zone” if they suspect conflict between criminal gangs involving shootings or explosions.  These zones can be maintained for up to two weeks at a time, and will allow officers to stop adults or children, and search vehicles even when no crime has been committed.

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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