International News in Brief: Denmark backs Venezuelan opposition in wake of coup attempt

Elsewhere, Margrethe Vestager and Danish sustainability work in Indonesia both praised, while a Dane is robbed at knifepoint in Malta

Following a coup attempt in Venezuela this week, Denmark has officially stated that it intends to back opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who appointed himself the new interim president of the beleaguered country yesterday.

Guaidó, 35, declared at a rally that he would temporarily assume the reins of crisis-ridden Venezuela and end the controversial presidency of Nicolas Maduro – a statement that drew praise from the Danish foreign minister, Anders Samuelsen.

“New hope in #Venezuela. #Denmark will always support legitimate elected democratic institutions – not least the parliamentary assembly including @jguaido Juan Guaido. Working for a strong #EU statement,” Samuelsen wrote on Twitter.

READ MORE: Denmark to suspend arms exports to United Arab Emirates

A nation in turmoil
Aside from Denmark, the US and the EU have also officially conveyed their support to Guaido, and the Maduro-regime has ordered all US diplomats to leave Venezuela within 72 hours – an order that the US government has said it does not intend to obey as it now considers Guaido to be the leader of the country.

Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and Paraguay have also expressed official support for Guaido, while Maduro – president since 2013 after taking over from Hugo Chavez – still retains the support of Mexico, Cuba and Bolivia.

But having the support of the Venezuelan military is critical to assuming power, and Maduro’s socialist government has reportedly worked hard to ensure the military leadership remains on his side.

Venezuela has struggled with massive inflation, rampant crime, unemployment and goods shortages in recent years, and Maduro’s regime has been accused of human rights abuses. A reported 3 million people have fled the country since 2014, and the annual inflation rate reached 1,300,000 percent in November 2018.

Jehovah witness facing 6 years in prison
Dennis Christensen, the Danish Jehovah’s Witness apprehended by the Russian authorities in 2017 and charged with being a religious extremist, faces some stern prison time. A Russian prosecutor asked the city court in Oryol to sentence Christensen to 6.5 years in prison at a hearing yesterday. The 46-year-old Dane is understood to be the first person to go on trial in Russia for being affiliated with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In 2017, the Russian Supreme Court ruled that the religious organisation was considered extremist.

Danish-Indonesian island co-op showing potential
Two new reports based on Denmark’s energy co-operation with Indonesia shows that sustainable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass are competitive technologies on the island of Lombok in Indonesia. The reports found that it would be viable to integrate about 60 percent of the island’s electricity system into a sustainable form by 2030. One of the reports also concluded that the waste incineration is less competitive today, despite Indonesia’s massive waste challenge.

Vestager lauded by revered magazine
Earlier this month, the EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager was praised by the respected magazine Foreign Policy for being one of the top global thinkers of the past decade. Vestager was ranked third behind Alibaba founder Jack Ma and Christine Lagarde, the head of IMF. Vestager was praised for dishing out massive fines to companies like Google, Apple and Facebook in the struggle against monopolisation.

Teen robbed at knifepoint in Malta
A 19-year-old Danish woman was reported by the Maltese media to have been robbed at knifepoint in Malta this week. The woman was approached by a man outside her apartment in Triq il-Rebħa, Gżira close to midnight on Monday and subsequently robbed of her mobile phone. The police investigation is ongoing.

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