Denmark unboxes its fearsome F-35 combat aircraft and new Light Rail project

Today’s top stories, in brief. To read more on a specific story, follow the links to our sources throughout.

Denmark’s first new F-35 fighter jets landed at the air station in Skrydstrup, Jylland on Thursday.

In total, 27 of the state-of-the-art combat aircraft have been added to the Danish military arsenal to replace the earlier F-16 fleet. 

According to Ritzau, the F-35s, delivered by American manufacturer Lockheed Martin, cost some DKK 16 billion.

“The F-35 is a big step forward technologically. It’s like trading a Nokia 3210, where you could play ‘Snake’, for a brand new iPhone overnight. There is a lot of extra technology and extra combat power built into these planes,” says DR’s defence correspondent Mads Korsager.

He adds that, with the new aircraft in its toolbox, Denmark has leapt to the forefront of military airpower, globally: “These are the combat aircraft that the United States and other leading military nations are betting on.”

One in three Ukrainian refugees in Denmark have PTSD

Around 40,000 Ukrainians have fled to Denmark since the Russian invasion in February 2022. Now, the first broad study of the lives of Ukrainian refugees in Denmark by Københavns Universitet shows that almost one in three exhibit signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Th study follows almost 7,000 adult Ukrainians who were granted residence in Denmark, of whom over 40 per cent have personally witnessed acts of war, while almost as many have lost family or friends between February 2022 and February 2023.

“The group who show PTSD symptoms feel bad across the board. They have a low mental well-being and a higher alcohol consumption, and they find it difficult to cope with daily tasks,” explains Associate Professor Karen-Inge Karstoft from the Department of Psychology.

“If you have such a painful disorder, it is hard to participate in social life and the labour market in Denmark – or perhaps later in Ukraine. So it is also a societal problem.”

Meanwhile, there is a strong feeling of trust in Danish society, and half of the Ukrainian refugee population dreams of permanent residence in Denmark.

Copenhagen unboxes first train for its new light rail system
Today, the Metro Company will present the first of 29 light rail trains, ordered from Germany, that will comprise the new city transport network Greater Copenhagen Light Rail, reports Ritzau.

The light rail (‘letbane’) will run from Lundtofte Station in the north, to Ishøj Station in the south. It is expected to carry 13-14 million passengers annually. The first stage of the light rail network is called the Ring 3 Light Rail and will be operational in 2025, according to Metro Company.

Rescue mission finally dislodges giant luxury cruise ship in Greenland
The cruise ship Ocean Explorer, carrying 206 people, which ran aground in northeast Greenland on Monday was finally pulled free yesterday, reports Associated Press.

An earlier unsuccessful rescue attempt was carried out on Wednesday by the Danish Institute of Natural Resources’ fish research vessel Tarajoq, which is owned by the Government of Greenland.

The location is isolated and conditions harsh; when Ocean Explorer first raised the alarm, Danish defence ships were some 2000 kilometres from the site. “Our units are far away, and the weather can be very unfavourable,” said Commander Brian Jensen of the government maritime organisation Joint Arctic Command.

Since the rescue, authorities have confirmed that no one on board is in danger and no damage has been reported, according to Euronews.

Government to establish a ‘Committee for a More Dignified Death’
The government will facilitate a social debate in Denmark about assisted dying, by launching a ‘Committee for a More Dignified Death’.

The committee will be chaired by parish priest and author Kathrine Lilleør, and comprise experts, practitioners and people with personal end-of-life experience.

According to Politiken, the work will result in a paper, which will provide the government with a decision-making framework for ‘a Danish model for a more dignified death’. 

The top three government leaders are behind the proposal: foreign minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen credits the ‘deeply moving’ book The Promise – A Love Story with inspiring the debate.

The book, about two of Løkke’s close friends, documents the author’s promise to help her husband end his life if he asked for it. Though, when it came down to it, she couldn’t.

“We need to have a difficult but deeply necessary conversation about what we do when you want to leave here in a dignified way, perhaps sooner than nature intended,” deputy prime minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen told Politiken. 

Prime minister Mette Frederiksen agreed: “that dignity is not there today. You can get help for something, you can get relief for other things, but you can’t make an active decision to leave here.”

  • Jagger burger chain in name dispute with legendary rock singer

    The Danish burger chain Jagger is embroiled in a name dispute with frontman of the band The Rolling Stones Mick Jagger, reports Børsen.

    According to case documents from the EU’s patent and trademark authority, the burger chain has been striving for seven years to obtain the exclusive right to sell burgers and operate restaurants under the name Jagger.

    The company behind The Rolling Stones, Musidor, has protested the Danish burger chain since it was established in 2016 by Christian Brandt and Rasmus Oubæk. 

    Two years after the pair started the Jagger chain, they applied for trademark registration in both Denmark and the EU. Jagger has since grown to 18 restaurants, all of which are located in Copenhagen. 

    Musidor owns the rights to the name of the band, the name Mick Jagger, and the band’s iconic red-lips logo.

    Musidor maintains that the Danish burger chain’s name is a breach of its rights to the name Mick Jagger.

    Børsen reports that Musidor’s claim was partially upheld by the EU’s patent and trademark authority in 2021. 

    In 2023, the burger chain filed a new case with the European authority with the aim of cancelling the Mick Jagger trademark because, according to the chain’s lawyer, “no real use has been made of it”.

    Mikkel Kleis, a lawyer and partner in the Danish law and consultancy firm Patrade, which specialises in the protection and enforcement of patents and trademarks, has seen several of the case documents.

    He assesses that the burger chain may ultimately be forced to change its name.

  • Denmark to collaborate with Czech Republic on pan-European ID app

    Denmark and the Czech Republic have signed a cooperation agreement to develop a pan-European ‘digital identity wallet’.

    At an EU meeting in Belgium on Thursday, the Danish Digitization Minister Marie Bjerre and the Czech Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Bartos agreed on a roadmap of national projects and knowledge-sharing to build a ‘wallet’ app that will give citizens and businesses access to public digital services across the EU.

    “The Czech Republic is one of our strong partners on the European digitalisation agenda and I am pleased to strengthen our cooperation. The digital ‘wallet’ app is an exciting tool that we must implement well – both nationally and in the EU. This cooperation will be crucial for the ‘wallet’ app to achieve its potential,” said Bjerre in a press release.

    The cooperation agreement will facilitate the exchange of experience between the Digitalization Agency in Denmark and the Czech Digitalization and Information Agency.

    About the European digital identity wallet

    The European Digital Identity Wallet is a secure and simple way for European citizens and businesses to prove their identity when using digital services. 

    With the ‘wallet’ app, one can securely obtain, store and share important digital documents as well as use for electronic signature of documents. Some of the many uses for the wallet app include:

    • Education: Store and share your education certificates when applying for new jobs.
    • Payment: Authorise payments easily through your wallet.
    • Travel: Store and share important travel documents like boarding passes and identify yourself for hotel reservations.

    The European digital identity wallet is intended for use by citizens, public authorities and private companies, and aims to provide easy access to services, protect personal data and comply with GDPR and cybersecurity standards.

    Security and privacy are a central focal point for the European identity wallet. You will have full control over the data you share, and your own data will be certified in accordance with the highest European standards for data protection and cyber security.

    Source: The Ministry of Digitalization and Gender Equality

  • BREAKING: Ex-Chief of Defence threatens to sue Ministry for unfair dismissal

    Ex-Chief of Defence Flemming Lentfer is threatening to sue the Ministry of Defense for unfair dismissal, according to information in a letter, obtained by TV2, that the Ministry received on Friday morning from Lentfer’s lawyer Torben Koch.

    “My client completely disputes that there is even a shadow of factual justification for any subsequent disciplinary action against my client, in the last instance dismissal,” writes Koch in the letter.

    He calls on the Ministry to drop the whole case, and warns that his client is ready to proceed with legal action.

    “I can already state that my client is prepared to sue the ministry alleging that a decision to resign will be an invalid decision on the basis of a lack of factual considerations,” writes Koch.

    General Flemming Lentfer was fired as Chief of Defence last week after it came to light that a weapons-system malfunction aboard the Red-Sea-deployed frigate Iver Huitfeldt during a drone attack on March 9 had not been directly reported to Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen.

    Poulsen, who instead learnt of the Danish warship’s malfunction from an article in the defence media Olfi almost a month later, justified the dismissal by saying he “no longer trusts” Lentfer.

  • Demand for crisis preparation and response courses soars

    In just a few years, the number of signups for the Association for Emergency Preparedness’ crisis preparation courses has exploded. 

    In 2022, there were 270 students on the course, while in 2023 there were 2,160 – an increase of almost 700 percent. This year, the association expects over 4,600 to take part.

    Speaking at a community centre in Gedser, where some 40 citizens were gathered for the course ‘Get ready for 3 days’, participant Finn Hansen told TV2: “I would like to hear whether the Emergency Management Association advises us to take any special precautions or whether we should buy some provisions.”

    Director of the Association for Emergency Preparedness Carsten Iversen says: “The world situation has changed, both in terms of war and climate change, and we are now experiencing a doubling of the number of course participants.”

    The course equips people to handle crisis situations, with teaching on topics like how to stay warm in a power cut, and how many supplies to stock at home to survive inside for three days.

    According to the Danish national emergency plan, Danes should prepare themselves to manage without electricity, water, heat and shopping facilities for up to three days.

  • Online banking fraud doubles in one year – older women particularly targeted

    In 2023, a record number of cases of online banking fraud were reported – as much as double the amount in 2022, according to Finans Danmark, an interest organisation for banks and credit unions. 

    Michael Busk-Jepsen, director of digitization at Finans Danmark, says fraudsters have become better at deceiving their victims:

    “The criminals have gotten better, their tools have become more efficient, and unfortunately we have to admit that they are also successful, and that’s why they keep doing it,” he said in a press release.

    He points out that the police struggle to solve this type of cybercrime, and perpetrators are rarely caught.

    Last year, there were 9127 cases of online banking fraud. In 3842 of those cases, either the customer or the bank lost money.

    Finans Danmark observes that online banking fraudsters specifically target older women.

    “They have gone for names that are overrepresented in the older part of the female population,” says Busk-Jepsen.

    The fraud, also called ‘phishing’, typically involves the criminal sending text messages or emails to the victims, where they are asked to enter their information.

    “It is very common for criminals to use an occasion to send these emails and text messages. For example, it could be payment of tax or holiday pay,” says Busk-Jepsen.

    Although phishing is the most widespread form of online banking fraud, there is another method that is more effective.

    “The biggest losses actually happen when a criminal calls and asks the victim to disclose some things by telling a false story – perhaps that something is about to happen to one’s account and that funds must therefore be quickly transferred,” says Busk-Jepsen.

    “You have to hang up the phone. The banks and the police don’t call like that,” he asserts, adding that you should never share your codes or personal information, and be mindful of what you approve on MitId.