In a story making news around the world, Inger Støjberg, Denmark’s immigration and integration minister, said that the Islamic practice of fasting during Ramadan is a safety hazard and “dangerous”. In a blog post, Støjberg questioned whether observance to the practice of daytime fasting during Ramadan fit into the modern workplace. She urged all Muslims to take leave from work during Ramadan “to avoid negative consequences for the rest of Danish society”. Former MP Özlem Cekic, a Muslim, said Støjberg “demonises Muslims on a regular basis. Which is really bad, because she’s the integration minister”.
Greenland/Denmark host Arctic meeting today
The five Arctic coastal states will meet today in Greenland to reaffirm the Ilulissat Declaration, which was signed in that city 10 years ago.The declaration affirms that Russia, the US, Canada, Norway and Greenland/Denmark would negotiate Arctic issues based on international agreements. The aim is to keep peace in the Arctic, even as NATO and Russia lock horns around the rest of the world. Climate change has brought the Arctic into focus as the sea ice melts and opportunities for shipping and mining increase. Danish foreign minister Anders Samulsen said that reaffirming the declaration will help keep the area free of tension as claims to the North Pole seabed are addressed. The meetings takes place today and tomorrow.
Maersk will comply with US sanctions on Iran
Maersk is set to wind down its activities in Iran in response to the US dumping the nuclear deal with the country. The timeline for withdrawal is unclear, but a spokesperson said that the company will comply with the US regulation and “keep our customers directly informed about any changes”. John Bolton, the US National Security Adviser John Bolton said earlier this month that European companies would have a maximum of six months to end operations before being considered in violation of sanctions.
Skat suing US pension funds
Skat has filed more than three dozen suits this month against US pension funds, alleging fraudulent practices. The Tax agency said that a tax-refund scam has cost Denmark nearly 13 billion kroner. The payouts went to agents representing 277 pension plans in the US, UK, Canada, Malaysia and Luxembourg. Skat said that it discovered in August 2015 that it had paid dividend tax refunds to foreigners on shares they never held. The scheme is also under investigation in Denmark, where at least three people have been charged.
Denmark and Sweden to increase surveillance cooperation in the Baltic Sea
Defence ministers from Denmark and Sweden will meet this week to expand their cooperation on surveillance in the Baltic Sea. Denmark’s Danish Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen and Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist will meet to discuss what they call a “change” in the threat level in the Baltic Sea region. The cooperation is specifically aimed at increased air surveillance.The increased cooperation comes at a time when both countries are focusing on strengthening their armed forces. This year, Danish forces received their first real budget increase since the Cold War.