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Mie Olsen

Copenhagen, Denmark
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About Mie
Mie Olsen is a journalist based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She is specialized in European affairs, foreign reporting on macroeconomic dynamics and climate. She recently traveled to Colombia on a grant from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to report on environmental activism and extraction of natural resources.
Feature Stories Fact Checking
Climate Change Fact Checking

Young people in Greenland call new suicide prevention measures necessary

08 May 2024  |  www.courthousenews.com
Greenland's government, Naalakkersuisut, has launched a new national suicide prevention strategy called 'Qamani' to be implemented through 2028, aiming to provide better support for citizens with suicidal thoughts or behaviors. The strategy includes citizen courses and local contact points for professional and volunteer collaboration. Advocacy center MIO and Greenland’s Red Cross youth department, Kalaallit Røde Korsiat, emphasize the need for psychological aid and training in psychological first aid. Young people in Greenland, including Linda Lyberth Kristiansen, stress the importance of addressing the societal issue of suicide, which is prevalent in their communities, and the need for communal support spaces. The strategy also addresses the challenges of providing mental support in isolated villages and the impact of intergenerational trauma from Greenland's colonial past with Denmark.

Extreme weather hits Scandinavia, flooding parts of Norway

07 May 2024  |  www.courthousenews.com
Scandinavia experienced extreme weather with Denmark facing hurricane-level winds, and Sweden and Norway dealing with heavy rain and thunderstorms. In Norway, landslides prompted evacuations, and the Prime Minister vowed to enhance climate change adaptation efforts. The flooding is estimated to cost Norway $50 million. Scientists attribute the unusual weather to global warming, with a professor from the Danish Meteorological Institute explaining the role of temperature differences in the formation of the low-pressure system causing the rainfall. Europe is advised to prepare for more erratic weather, posing challenges to agriculture.

Copenhagen mall shooter was known to mental health services

05 May 2024  |  www.courthousenews.com
A 22-year-old man known to mental health services has been charged with seven attempted murders and the murders of three individuals, including two 17-year-olds and a 46-year-old Russian citizen, following a shooting at Field's shopping mall in Copenhagen. The incident, which resulted in additional injuries, is not being treated as a terror attack. The suspect, who cannot be named by court order, is to be held in a closed psychiatric ward pending trial. Mental health issues have become a focal point of discussion, with experts highlighting the under-resourced state of Denmark's psychiatric sector. A memorial for the victims is planned, and the investigation is ongoing.

Danish aid organizations to sue state over weapons delivery to Israel

01 May 2024  |  www.courthousenews.com
Four Danish aid organizations, including Action Aid Denmark, Amnesty International in Denmark, Oxfam Ibis, and Al-Haq, are preparing to sue the Danish state for allegedly breaching international obligations by exporting arms used by Israel in the Gaza conflict. They claim these exports contribute to human rights violations and war crimes. The lawsuit will target the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Police. Danish companies such as Terma and MyDefence are implicated in producing and exporting military technology. There is a strong public sentiment in Denmark for a cease-fire and protection of civilians in Gaza, with protests occurring in major cities. The Danish government has expressed concern over the situation in Gaza but maintains that Israel has the right to defend itself.

Finland bans fast-track tourist visas for Russians

Decades-old tensions drive escalating conflict in northern Kosovo

Turkey threatens to block Sweden NATO bid after Quran burning

18 Apr 2024  |  www.courthousenews.com
A Quran burning demonstration by Rasmus Paludan and his supporters outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm has led to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatening to block Sweden's NATO membership bid. The protest sparked international reactions, including the burning of a Swedish flag in Turkey. Sweden and Finland need approval from all NATO members to join, but Turkey has been hesitant, demanding Sweden hand over individuals tied to Kurdish militants. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson expressed sympathy for offended Muslims but upheld the country's freedom of speech. The Swedish and Turkish defense ministers' meeting was canceled following the incident.

Denmark explores ban on book burnings to quell Quran desecration furor

17 Apr 2024  |  www.courthousenews.com
The Danish government is considering legal measures to prevent public Quran burnings after such incidents led to violent protests and strained diplomatic relations, particularly with Muslim nations. Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen highlighted the need for unity and the potential for a new law to avoid international crises. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation expressed concern over increasing intolerance and far-right movements. Law professor Frederik Waage suggested that Denmark might reintroduce a blasphemy paragraph repealed in 2017 to criminalize book burnings. The debate in Denmark includes concerns about freedom of expression and the precedent such a law might set.

Denmark forms broad coalition government after long negotiations

15 Apr 2024  |  www.courthousenews.com
Denmark's Liberal party leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, alongside Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and the leader of the new Moderates party, announced a new broad coalition government controlling 89 out of 179 parliamentary seats. This coalition, formed after 42 days of negotiations, is the first since the 1970s to include parties from both Democratic and Liberal factions. The government aims to address crises such as inflation, energy prices, and the war in Ukraine. They have proposed labor and education reforms, tax reductions, and climate action plans, despite criticism from left-wing parties like the Red-Green Alliance.

Ecuador expands oil drilling despite fierce opposition from locals

12 Apr 2024  |  www.courthousenews.com
Ecuador is expanding oil drilling in Yasuni National Park, one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, despite opposition from local communities and environmentalists. The state-owned PetroEcuador and foreign companies like China's CNPC are operating in the park, encroaching on areas meant to protect uncontacted indigenous groups. The government's push to increase oil production for economic gain is met with criticism over the lack of local consent and environmental oversight, with fears of irreversible damage to the ecosystem. The situation echoes the country's history with oil pollution, including a controversial legal battle with Chevron.

Climate group sues Denmark over artificial peninsula

12 Apr 2024  |  www.courthousenews.com
In Copenhagen, Denmark, the city government's plan to create an artificial island called Lynetteholmen, intended to provide housing and 'green' workspaces for 35,000 people, has been met with a lawsuit from the Climate Movement. The group argues that the project's environmental and climate impact assessments are insufficient and that the process violates the Aarhus Convention. They also claim that the Danish state failed to comply with the Espoo Convention by not consulting neighboring countries adequately. The trial began in late November, with a provisional judgement expected in January. By & Havn, the building company, emphasizes the project's benefits, including flood protection and additional housing.

EU votes to criminalize ecocide

11 Apr 2024  |  courthousenews.com
The European Union Parliament voted to criminalize ecocide, with stricter penalties for environmental crimes, including up to 10 years in prison. The Environmental Crimes Directive expands the list of offenses and allows for significant fines and exclusion from public funds for violators. The directive, which still requires final approval, aims to better protect the environment and may inspire non-EU countries to adopt stricter regulations. Notably, climate emissions are not included in the new offenses, highlighting the difficulty of legislating against climate change.

Expert calls Danish royal family clash unprecedented

11 Apr 2024  |  courthousenews.com
Denmark's Prince Joachim expressed sadness over Queen Margrethe II's decision to strip his children of their royal titles, which was unexpected and publicly criticized by him. Historian Lars Hovbakke Sørensen noted the uniqueness of the situation, as the Danish royal family typically keeps disputes private. The titles' removal is symbolic, aiming to maintain public support by reducing taxpayer-funded costs. Queen Margrethe admitted to underestimating the decision's impact. The conflict could harm the royal family's reputation, especially amidst global issues like the energy crisis and war in Ukraine.

Environmentalists distrust Norway’s plan to explore for seabed minerals

10 Apr 2024  |  courthousenews.com
Norway's government has received parliamentary backing to explore mineral extraction on the seafloor, a move met with concern from environmental experts. They fear the unknown impacts on Arctic Ocean ecosystems, which are already facing significant changes. Marine biology expert Jørgen Berge and geomicrobiology professor Lise Øvreås, among others, have voiced their worries about the potential environmental effects of deep sea mining. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has identified valuable minerals in the area, and the government plans to initiate exploration, with companies vying for extraction rights. However, the environmental directorate criticized the government's impact assessment as insufficient. Meanwhile, companies like BMW, Volvo, Google, and Microsoft have stated they will not use seabed minerals to maintain sustainability. The World Wildlife Fund's Karoline Andaur called it a 'dark day for Norwegian nature,' highlighting the international push for a moratorium on seabed mining.

Danish farmers face carbon tax as part of climate goals

04 Apr 2024  |  courthousenews.com
Danish farmers may soon face carbon taxes for climate-polluting activities as the government considers three new taxation and regulation models proposed by an expert panel. The most comprehensive model suggests a tax of approximately $100 per ton of carbon dioxide emitted, with alternative schemes proposing lower taxes and support for technology development. The Danish Agriculture & Food Council warns that the highest tax could harm jobs and competitiveness, while dairy farmer Nis Kristian Hjort fears it could lead to the closure of smaller farms. The sector, which occupies 60% of Denmark's land, is a significant contributor to the country's emissions and has been under scrutiny for its use of pesticides and chemicals. The proposed taxes target emissions from livestock and fertilizers, with suggestions for tax credits for reforestation. Negotiations on the tax proposal are expected to be challenging and prolonged.

Foreign fighter loses bid to prove he worked for Danish intelligence services

04 Apr 2024  |  courthousenews.com
Ahmed Samsam's lawsuit against the Danish domestic and foreign intelligence services was rejected by the Eastern High Court, which declined to test his claim of working as an undercover spy in Syria. Samsam, convicted in Spain as an Islamic State group militant supporter, sought to reopen his case by proving his collaboration with Danish intelligence. Despite evidence that could provide an alibi, the Spanish Supreme Court upheld his conviction. Samsam plans to appeal to the Danish Supreme Court.

The great housing divide: How wealth inequality in Denmark starts with property

04 Apr 2024  |  courthousenews.com
Denmark has one of the highest housing cost overburden rates in cities, with homeowners benefiting more from economic growth than renters. Since 2020, housing prices have surged by 21%, with a bubble forming in major cities like Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense, and Aalborg. Housing expert Jørgen Munksgaard Rasmussen from Bolius describes a wealth inequality spiral where property owners in cities gain equity and leverage to invest further. Rural areas, however, face stagnation. Anders Svendsen from the Danish Tenants Organization highlights the challenges for tenants, including rent increases outpacing salaries and the impact of deregulation. Simon Halphen Boserup from the University of Copenhagen notes that property is the most advantageous investment under Denmark's tax system, contributing to wealth disparities. The Danish housing market, with its state-controlled mortgage system, is relatively stable, but the tax system complicates regulation of sales gains. New property taxes are expected in 2024 to address the market imbalance.

Wary of recent flooding, Denmark looks to unleash an array of solutions

31 Dec 2023  |  courthousenews.com
Denmark experienced record-breaking rainfall in 2023, with 35.7 inches, despite a drought earlier in the year. The country's extensive coastline and history of settlement near shores make it vulnerable to sea level rise and storms, as evidenced by several damaging floods and storms, including a low-pressure storm named Pia. The government has increased funding for coastal protection, and experts like Birgitte Hoffmann from Copenhagen University advocate for building natural dunes, dikes, barriers, and canal locks, as well as adapting urban infrastructure to handle excess water. Measures such as creating barriers, returning areas to nature, and establishing new water management systems in cities are imperative. Portland, Oregon's Green Streets Program is highlighted as a successful example of infrastructure design that addresses water management and public health.

Danish government aims to crack down on gang recruitment

23 Aug 2023  |  www.courthousenews.com
The Danish government, led by the Social Democrats, has introduced a new legislative package aimed at curbing gang recruitment, particularly targeting the recruitment of minors. The proposal includes 30 measures to tackle organized crime, such as drug trafficking and money laundering, and introduces a new criminal code section to outlaw gang recruitment of individuals under 18. The package also proposes municipal employment schemes for young people and improved information-sharing between schools, social authorities, and police. The timing of the proposal is seen as related to the upcoming national elections. Expert Steffen Bo Jensen notes the shift in focus from punitive measures to preventive strategies.

Stockholm reeling after weekend of escalating street violence

06 Jun 2023  |  www.courthousenews.com
Sweden is grappling with a surge in street violence, highlighted by a weekend of shootings in Stockholm's Farsta neighborhood that left two dead and several injured. The incidents have sparked national concern, with political leaders like Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Social Democratic Party leader Magdalena Andersson calling for increased crime prevention measures and support for children in criminal environments. Despite a decline in fatal shootings compared to last year, the situation remains dire, with authorities mobilizing new resources to combat the violence. Experts note the involvement of young people in loosely organized criminal networks, exacerbating the challenge for law enforcement.

Danish billionaire faces scrutiny after leaving authorities to clean up toxic landslide

15 Feb 2023  |  www.courthousenews.com
A landslide involving toxic material at Nordic Waste's premises in Denmark has led to significant environmental concerns and financial burdens on the government. The company's owner, Torben Østergaard Nielsen, filed for bankruptcy, leaving the government to manage the cleanup. Politicians and officials have criticized the company's actions, calling for stricter regulations and financial responsibilities for companies in high-risk industries. The Danish government is considering legislative changes to prevent similar situations in the future.

Danes Skeptical of EU Minimum Wage Proposal Amid Fears of Overruling National Laws

21 Jan 2023  |  EUobserver
The article discusses the concerns of Danish trade unions and politicians regarding the European Commission's proposal for a debate on a European minimum wage. Despite assurances that the Nordic model of collective bargaining would not be affected, there are fears that the European Court of Justice could overrule national laws. Danish stakeholders like Johan Moesgaard Andersen of the Danish Metalworkers' Union and Bente Sorgenfrey of the Danish Trade Union Confederation are skeptical due to the lack of legal guarantees. The case of Laval u Partneri is cited as a precedent where the EU court limited the ability of trade unions to create collective agreements. The article also touches on the potential negative impact of a European minimum wage on Nordic wage negotiations and the rise of income inequality in the region.

Embattled Denmark PM announces national elections, citing crises

05 Oct 2022  |  www.courthousenews.com
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen of Denmark has called for general elections on November 1, amidst a vote of no confidence driven by the Danish Social Liberal Party over the government's handling of a mink scandal. The election campaign will address multiple crises including the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, an energy crisis, and economic challenges. Denmark's political landscape is divided, with left-wing parties advocating for welfare support and right-wing parties focusing on tax reductions and easing regulations. The new Denmark Democrats party, led by Inger Støjberg, is expected to gain significant voter support.

Why did Denmark ditch the AstraZeneca vaccine?

22 Apr 2021  |  www.euronews.com
Denmark decided to stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine due to concerns about its side effects and the country's low COVID-19 infection rate, which made the risks outweigh the benefits. Despite endorsements from the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization, Danish health authorities and experts highlighted the potential for severe blood clots and the relatively low efficacy of the vaccine compared to alternatives like Pfizer. Public sentiment in Denmark shows significant hesitancy towards the AstraZeneca vaccine, with many preferring other options.

The tiles on this Danish square help tackle air pollution

10 Mar 2020  |  www.euronews.com
A square in Copenhagen's Frederiksberg district uses innovative tiles coated with titanium dioxide to absorb nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a harmful pollutant from transport. This technology, provided by the company Photocat, transforms NO2 into a harmless solid substance, nitrate, which is absorbable by plants. The tiles also help absorb rainwater, preventing sewer overload. While common in Asia, this technique is rare in Europe, with limited applications in public squares in Spain.

Happy young Finns don't vote in EU elections

21 May 2019  |  euobserver.com
In 2014, Finland had one of the lowest turnouts among young voters in the European Parliament elections, with only 10.4 percent participating. Minimal media coverage and a lack of knowledge about the candidates and the EU's workings are cited as factors contributing to the low turnout among the youngest generation of voters across the 28 member states.

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