Danish News in Brief: Governors back school over dropped Christmas service

In other stories, bigger wine glasses for more good cheer, Trustpilot not so trustworthy and the bizarre case of the woman who tapped her son’s blood

The controversial decision to drop the Christmas service at Gribskolen, Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s old school in north Zealand, has taken a new turn.

A number of Danish politicians were quick to condemn the school’s decision on social media. However, Gribskolen’s board of governors has come out in support of the staff’s decision, reports DR Nyheder.

“The board is behind the school’s decision and its desire to create new traditions that include children and young people and helping to create friendships across age-groups,” a press release stated.

“For us, it is a question of creating space for anything that binds the pupils together.”

Glass half full or half empty?
Now something to gladden the heart during the festive season. Apparently, wine glasses are much bigger now than they used to be. A survey carried out by the Guardian newspaper shows that the average capacity of a glass in the 1700s was 66 ml and that has now ballooned to 449 ml today! A typical wine glass 300 years ago would only have held about a half of today’s smallest ‘official’ measure of 125 ml. Frederik Kreutzer, a wine expert with more than 20 years experience as both a seller and lecturer on wine, thinks that this is quite normal. “It has a lot to do with the knowledge that we have on how we taste wine. There has been a lot of research done and in order to fully appreciate the bouquet of the wine, we need a big glass,” he said. We’ll certainly drink to that …

Net purchasers registered on the sly
The internet firm Trustpilot, mainly known as a portal where people can give a review of an online company or service, has been in the spotlight for collecting data on users, DR Nyheder reports. Firms have been using Trustpilot to send messages to their customers asking whether they would rate their purchases. Trustpilot has then saved the names, email addresses, times and names of the companies sending the mails in its own database. “Most of us don’t expect that when we buy something online, some of the information we give will end up with a third party,” said Lars Pram, the head of the consumer council, Forbrugerrådet. “When the information is passed on, as consumers we lose control of our own data. We don’t know what happens to it or what it is used for, and that is a problem.” However, the general consensus appears to be that Trustpilot is operating within the law. “It is vital for us that we abide by the regulations, and we do. Personal data is something we take very seriously,” said Stine Tornmark from Trustpilot’s legal and compliance department.

Dracula rides again …
A 35-year-old woman has been charged by Mid and West Jutland Police of abusing her six-year-old son over a prolonged period. The woman, who has been in custody since September, has been accused of inducing sickness in the boy by draining blood from him, DR Nyheder reports. Allegedly, the incidents took place between August 2011 and her arrest six years later. During this time, the boy was given around 110 portions of blood in order to replace the amount his mother had drained. There is no clear motive in the case, but the boy’s mother may be suffering from a condition called Münchausen’s syndrome by proxy – a mental health problem in which a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury to a child under his or her care. In such cases, the caregiver is usually the mother and the child is her own.

Gulls once more in the firing line
A number of cities in Denmark such as Aarhus, Aalborg and Odense have been plagued with large flocks of European herring gulls. As well as leaving lots of unsightly guano, they also make a great deal of noise. For the last four years, the gulls have been protected, but now the minister of the environment, Esben Lunde Larsen, is looking at reintroducing a period in which they can be shot stretching from September to January. “Over the last few years there have been more and more herring gulls, so it makes good sense to reintroduce the culling period,” said Larsen. “By giving hunters the chance to shoot the gulls in areas outside the city, it will hopefully lead to less noise in the city,” added the minister. However, Egon Østergaard from the association of Danish ornithologists has doubts about the effectiveness of the plan. “If you want to reduce the noise, it is important to target the individuals that nest on flat roofs in towns, and these may not be the birds that you shoot over open country. But we will have to see,” he said.

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