Morning Briefing – Monday, August 12

The Copenhagen Post’s daily digest of what the Danish press is reporting

Parents prefer homework
With the time-honoured tradition of homework likely to come to an end starting in 2014, parents say they will lose their primary method of following along with what their children are learning. Last year’s school reform makes it possible for schools to let students do their assignments during school hours, and many are expected to do so. Educational experts say there is no educational benefit of homework, but 70 percent of parents said it helped their children by giving them additional academic practice and by instilling a sense of discipline and responsibility. Christine Antorini (Socialdemokraterne), the education minister, expected parents to be able to follow along with their children’s schooling by reading their lesson plans online. – Berlingske 

Language problems go unnoticed
As many as one in four Copenhagen children between the ages of thee and five who suffer from a language development problem may be going untreated. The earlier such problems are detected, the easier they are to correct, but the number of Copenhagen children identified as having language problems is below the national average of 17 percent. Previously, all children were screened for language problems, but budget cuts in 2010 led to that being reduced to only at-risk children. Dorthe Bleses, a professor of child speech development at the University of Southern Denmark, said all children should be tested annually in order to identify their specific learning needs. – Information

Opposition: EU vote now
Former PM and current opposition leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen (Venstre) is expected today to call on the government to hold a referendum on two of Denmark’s three EU opt-outs, as well as the EU Patent Court. Rasmussen, scheduled to speak about the EU in Norway today, wants a vote on whether Denmark should keep its exemptions from common justice and defence policies. He will propose that the referendum be held in May, in connection with the European Parliamentary Election. The government has already announced its support for a vote, and experts said that with the opposition’s support, it was likely to go forward. There was no mention of a vote on whether Denmark should adopt the euro, the country’s third EU opt-out. – Politiken

Government going left
Last week’s cabinet reshuffle represents a turn to the left that will see the government more likely to come into conflict with the opposition, say leading opposition MPs. The reshuffle saw the appointment of Henrik Sass Larsen (Socialdemokraterne), an open critic of corporate bailouts, as the business and economy minister and Annette Vilhelmsen (Socialistisk Folkeparti) as the social affairs minister, a position from which she will better be able to push socialist policies. Analysts said the new cabinet appeared to have closely aligned ministers with ministries that matched their political strengths. Members of governing parties said the reshuffle should result in a clearer delineation between the government and the opposition. – Børsen

“Costly” visa rule change
New rules making it more difficult for seamen to obtain visas to come ashore are costing the nation’s businesses, according to representatives for port facilities and ship brokers. The new rules mean that foreign sailors cannot come ashore unless their ship docks in a Danish port. Moreover, visas can only be issued at Copenhagen Airport between 7am and 5pm. Allan Houtved, the head of shipbrokers’ association Danmarks Skibsmæglerforening, said the changes made it less likely ships would change crews in Copenhagen, meaning less business for hotels and other service providers. The police, who are responsible for issuing the visas, said the rule change was due to a lack of resources. – DR Nyheder

Catholics OK gay organist
A Catholic church in the town of Roskilde has been allowed to hire a gay organist after initially being instructed by the head of the Church of Denmark not to do so. In a letter to Skt. Laurentii Church, Bishop Czeslaw Kozon initially “advised against hiring the new organist” because he is “legally married to another man”. Now, however organist Ole Knudsen says the church has been informed that he may be hired. Kozon declined to comment about the change, but Knudsen indicated that it may have been due to the nature of his relationship with his husband. He said the two live in a platonic relationship and have abstained from having sex for 15 years. “You’re not allowed to be a practising homosexual,” he said. The church said it was looking forward to hiring the “talented” organist. – Kristeligt Dagblad

Still the worst
Last year’s first and second place Superliga finishers remain this year's worst teams after playing to a 2-2 draw yesterday. With just ten minutes remaining in the match, it looked as if FC Copenhagen would find its first win of the season, but FC Nordsjælland striker Morten Nordstrand equalised on a perfectly placed bicycle kick that is already being called everything from the league's best goal ever to a shoe-in for goal of the year honours. FC Copenhagen is last in the league with one point. FC Nordsjælland has two points and is second last.