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News Snippets from the European Press

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News Snippets from the European Press
Caption: EURASIAN LYNX: Belgium could provide a habitat for 75 of the felines
Photo credit: CC/Johannes Jansson


Belgium: Big cats The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said that Belgium and areas in adjoining countries could provide a viable habitat for around 75 lynxes in the wild. The last wild lynx was seen in Belgium a century ago but wildlife cameras have intermittently spotted one animal in the Semois Valley since August 2020.


Denmark: Varied VAT The government could adopt Europe’s practice of varying VAT rates for different products instead of Denmark’s present 25 per cent on all items.  “There is potential for differentiating VAT on goods we would like people to buy, like fruit and vegetables,” Taxation minister Jeppe Bruus told a newspaper interviewer.


Mammoth find When a gravel pit worker found part of a tusk in an excavator scoop, he guessed it was linked to the mammoth’s cheekbone discovered at the site some years before.  Aarhus Natural History Museum experts will restore the tusk, which shows signs of a fresh crack caused during the excavation, before putting it on show.


Norway: Royal visit The two-day visit to Norway by the UK s Princess Anne included a visit to the Resistance Museum accompanied by her godson, Crown Prince Haakon. Located in Oslo’s Akershus Fortress, the museum features equipment, photos and documents from the 1940-1945 Nazi occupation during the Second World War.


Pass mark Just over 91 per cent of  5,333 immigrants eligible for Norwegian citizenship passed tests last year that were introduced in 2017 to measure their knowledge of Norwegian life and society.  “We can only congratulate them,” said a satisfied Tonje Brenna, the minister responsible for Labour and Social Inclusion


Italy: Past events Mario Moti, an 85-year-old former Carabinieri brigadier-general acquitted of state-Mafia negotiation in 2023, is under investigation again. The Florence Public Prosecutor will now question Mori under caution about the Mafia bombings that killed 10 people and injured 40 in Rome, Florence and Milan in 1993.


Orange alert Last Generation activists sprayed the entrance to the Health ministry in Rome with orange paint in protest at the “deaths and conditions” caused by global warming. The same group targeted Florence’s Uffizi Museum last February by pasting photographs of flooding on the glass over Boticelli’s Venus.


Germany: Electric storm A lightning strike during a storm on the evening of May 20 injured a group of 10 people in Dresden, seriously harming four of them, the dpa news agency said. Two men aged 27 and 30 who suffered cardiac arrest were successfully resuscitated and later admitted to hospital after receiving emergency treatment.


Booker Prize Jenny Erpenbeck and translator Michael Hofmann won the International Booker Prize for her novel, Kairos, set in East Berlin where the author was born and raised.  The book was selected from 149 submissions for the UK award, and Erpenbeck and Hofmann will now share the prize money of £50,000 (€59,00).


Netherlands: Other habits Police detected and dismantled 1,230 clandestine marijuana plantations in 2023, considerably down on their 2022 haul of 1,604.  In contrast, they raided and destroyed 151 drugs labs specialising in synthetic drugs as well as heroin and cocaine in 2023, a 50 per cent increase on the 100 they detected in 2022.


On foot People are visiting shopping streets more often this year, with levels that are equal to those prior to the pandemic, according to retail research service Locatus. This recovery was more noticeable in big cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht and Maastricht than in smaller cities, where Locatus noticed fewer crowds.


France: Me too Aswomen in France’s armed forces reveal more details of the abuse and violence they experience, the military authorities are increasingly inundated with complaints, Le Monde newspaper said.  An investigation also found that women were routinely penalised for reporting abuse, while attackers remained in their posts.


Trump card Film director Ali Abbasi made light of threatened legal action following the premiere of his Donald Trump biopic, The Apprentice, at the Cannes Film Festival.  Abbasi said he was not bothered by the Trump camp’s reaction but admitted that the film was unlikely to be released before the US elections on November 5.


Finland: Good faith Finland s latest Youth Barometer survey found that most young people were not interested in religion.  Approximately 20 per cent of the 15-29 age group described themselves as believers, while 60 per cent said they were “not at all religious” although 6 per cent explained they were non-religious “but spiritual.


Helping hand Social Security institution Kela’s annual report and 2023 financial statement  showed that it paid a total of €16.6 billion in benefits and emphasised how challenges like inflation and the energy crisis had impacted its operations. “Exceptional times highlight Kela s vital role,” director general Outi Antila said.


Ireland: In a fix A United Airline s Zurich-Chicago flight was diverted to Shannon after a passenger’s laptop became wedged in their seat when the aircraft was over the Atlantic.  Engineers freed the laptop within minutes of landing but passengers had to spend the night in Ireland as the flight crew had by then flown maximum hours.


Dance off The Irish Dancing Commission (CLRG) confirmed in Dublin on May 22 that would not be taking further disciplinary action against 44 teachers and judges accused of rigging the results of Irish Dancing competitions for several years. According to the BBC, there had been “an issue” with finding a suitable witness for the process.


Portugal: Tuna time Bluefin tuna fishing began off Tavira Island in the Algarve with a catch of 100 fish, the largest of which weighed in at 330 kilos.  Fisherman used the Mediterranean’s traditional and sustainable “almadraba” method where boats set up a huge structure of nets between them, instead of trawling which damages the seabed.


Playing safe Prime Minister Luis Montenegro declared that despite the presence of “certain  crimes”, Portugal was one of the safest countries in Europe, although the Annual Security Report (RASI) registered an overall rise in the crime rate.  It also revealed that violent crime had increased throughout mainland Portugal.


Sweden: Less hassle Applicants for a Swedish work or student’s permit will now be able to verify their passports by using an online app instead of having to visit a Swedish embassy.  The scheme will benefit 19,000 workers and 5,000 students living in one of 23 countries which include the UK, the US, Australia and Canada.


Not listed Ahn-Za Hagstrom, head of the Terrorist Threat Assessment Centre (NCT), said Sweden was no longer a priority for terror propagandists. The threat level was raised in August 2023 following the Koran burnings, but Isis and Al Qaeda were now focusing on this summer’s big sporting events, Hagstrom said.


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Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share?
Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.


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