Archive for the ‘Denmark’ Category

Danish revelations about Snowden suggest Swedish charges against Assange were trumped up for rendition to the US

February 5, 2016

The ridiculousness of the Swedish charges against Assange have always left with me with a sneaking suspicion that there is a very murky back story lurking somewhere. On the surface it just seems like Swedish feminism gone mad. But the Swedish Justice system does not pursue even murderers with the viciousness with which it has pursued Assange. It has seemed like just another crazy, paranoid, conspiracy theory to think that it was all engineered at the request of the US authorities to try and get Assange (by extraordinary rendition) to the US. But it does not look like such a crazy theory any more.

Assange and Wikileaks have been a thorn in the side of the US authorities. Just as Snowden and his associates were. The UK government was very active in helping the US authorities try to get hold of Snowden and his associates. It has now been revealed that by the Danish Justice minister that the Danish government of the time led by Social Democratic prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt was also ready to allow the rendition of Edward Snowden to the US on the flimsiest of paperwork. The FBI had requested the assistance from all the Scandinavian countries and it is pretty clear that Sweden and Norway and probably Finland would also have cooperated.

With the level of Danish cooperation with the FBI for the possible rendition of Snowden now being admitted, it does not seem that far fetched that Sweden, with its desire to join NATO, would also go to extraordinary lengths to be in the “good books” of the US.

The clear intention of the Danish government to cooperate with the US over Snowden suggested that Scandinavian governments “would probably do the same with Julian Assange”, were he to travel to Sweden to face rape allegations

I begin to suspect that the framing of charges against Assange – on extremely flimsy grounds – after the prosecutor’s office had first declined to proceed was a ruse devised at the highest levels of Reinfeld’s government to get Assange to the US via Sweden and gain a number of brownie points while doing so. Perhaps Assange has good reason to be paranoid.

The Guardian:

A US government jet was lying in wait in Copenhagen to extradite the whistleblower Edward Snowden if he had come to Scandinavia after fleeing to Moscow in June 2013, the Danish government has revealed.

……. Søren Pind, the justice minister, wrote to Danish MPs (pdf): “The purpose of the aircraft’s presence in Copenhagen airport is most likely to have been to have the opportunity to transport Edward Snowden to the United States if he had been handed over from Russia or another country.”

“I must note that my answer was not adequate at this point,” he wrote in the letter, dated Thursday 4 February and revealed by MPs on Friday. “Usually, information of this nature is confidential because of Denmark’s relations with foreign states. In view of the impression that my earlier answer may have created, I think it proper to inform parliament thereof. The US authorities have also been informed.”

Nicholaj Villumsen, MP and foreign affairs spokesman for the Red Green Alliance, said: “It is grotesque that the then government put the interests of the United States above citizens’ freedoms. They violated fundamental democratic rights. We owe Edward Snowden a big thank you for his revelations of illegal US mass surveillance. Denmark should therefore in no way participate in the hunt for him.”

The clear intention of the Danish government to cooperate with the US over Snowden suggested that Scandinavian governments “would probably do the same with Julian Assange”, were he to travel to Sweden to face rape allegations, Villumsen said. Assange’s insistence that he faces a risk of extradition was a central aspect of his appeal to the UN working group on arbitrary detention, which on Friday ruled in his favour.

Denmark to pillage refugees’ personal belongings

December 11, 2015

Why didn’t Donald Trump think of this?

Denmark has just passed a new law to deal with refugees who seek asylum. All their personal belongings can now be legally confiscated to help defer their living costs during the asylum process. In a splurge of hospitality and generosity these refugees will be allowed to retain their cell phones, their watches, their wedding rings and currency worth about $440. Any other jewellry or valuable belongings can be legally looted and liquidated. Not unlike pillage of old. But this time by the State.

It has been a thousand years since the Vikings considered “success” at rape and pillage as a sign of status.

Swedish Radio:

A cell phone, a watch, a wedding ring and cash up to a value of 3,000 Danish crowns. That is what asylum seekers may retain with the Danish law to confiscate valuables from asylum seekers takes concrete shape. 

In Denmark, police will confiscate valuables from asylum seekers to finance the asylum process. It is part of the migration deal between the political parties that was completed on Monday. And now comes the first information on how much a refugee may retain and what authorities get to impound.

The Danish newspaper Politiken has studied the documents showing how the Immigration and Integration Ministry will interpret the wording of the political settlement. In addition to a cell phone, watch and cash up to 3000 DKK asylum seekers may also keep valuables that are considered personal, such as a wedding ring. Any remaining valuables will be confiscated and sold and the proceeds taken as payment for the asylum seekers living costs during the asylum process.

I suppose there is some logic in getting asylum seekers who come in carrying suitcases full of diamonds to help pay their living costs. But to create a liability for asylum seekers to pay costs over some reasonable time is one thing — but State looting and pillage is something else.

What Donald Trump now needs to do is to use the Danish example. He could now suggest that all would-be Muslim immigrants be housed in special camps while they are thoroughly screened, and their belongings confiscated to pay for the security checks and their living costs while their fate is being decided.

How Swedish beer turned Norwegian into Danish

August 31, 2015

Thirty years ago when I first learned Swedish we had a couple of Danish/Swedish projects ongoing. I observed that at meetings between Danes and Swedes each spoke their own language. I thought they were all being very considerate and polite when they switched to English whenever I joined a meeting. But then I realised that I was being invited to meetings where I had no part to play and had nothing to say. Just so that the Danes and Swedes could switch to English and have some little chance of understanding each other.

But I had not realised that Norwegian became Danish because of all that Swedish beer!!!!

( from a slightly biased Norsk perspective)

Norwegian + Swedish beer = Danish

Denmark continues its campaign to exterminate giraffes named Marius

February 14, 2014

Denmark is a dangerous place to be a giraffe especially if your name is Marius.

I suspect that Jyllands Park Zoo is desperate for a little publicity. Though just killing giraffes named Marius as a publicity stunt seems a little drastic. They might have been better off starting a campaign to keep their Marius alive.

The Telegraph:The Danish Jyllands Park Zoo said on Wednesday it may put down one of its giraffes, which by coincidence has the same name, Marius, as the giraffe Copenhagen Zoo slaughtered on Sunday to the disgust of animal lovers around the world, according to Danish news agency Ritzau. …

Jyllands Park Zoo in western Denmark might put down its seven-year-old Marius if the zoo manages to acquire a female giraffe, which is most likely, zoo keeper Janni Lojtved Poulsen told Ritzau. The zoo also has a younger male called Elmer.

“We can’t have two males and one female. Then there will be fights,” Poulsen said.

Related:

Petition

Copenhagen Zoo’s justifications for killing Marius if applied to humans

I hope visitors to Copenhagen Zoo dry up….

Copenhagen Zoo’s justifications for killing Marius if applied to humans

February 12, 2014

Copenhagen Zoo has been marshalling support on the scientific and the ethical plane to try and justify their decision to kill Marius the healthy giraffe. They protest too much and it is a revealing exercise to apply their argumentation to humans.

Their basic theme is that He died so that others could live

Capital punishment could be applied for all humans convicted of murder or  causing a fatal accident or whose genes are defective in any way so that others may live. In current Danish politics, the wrong skin colour in a human is indicative of defective genes.

Culling is for the greater good of the giraffes

The man who pulled the trigger, the zoo’s own veterinarian Mads Frost Bertelsen, says that a very positive situation lies behind the Zoo’s action. 

”Up until now, we have not had to cull the giraffes. But now we have reached the point where the population is doing so well that a giraffe like Marius could not be relocated. Then the best solution is to put him down,” says Mads Frost Bertelsen.

The vet explains that a central European coordinator keeps track of pedigrees, and which genes are represented by individual giraffes in European zoos. The coordinator estimated from these data that Marius’ genes were already well represented and recommended that Marius was killed to protect the population best suited to the gene pool.

But now we have reached the point where the human population is doing so well in so many countries. Many individuals cannot be relocated. From East Europe or Africa to Europe for example. Then the best solution is to put them down, especially if their genes are already well represented. Something like the policy China had. Enforced abortion for all children after the first. 

The right time for Marius to die

Marius was allowed to live for one and a half years, then that was it. At that age he can, according to Bertelsen, be described as a ‘teenager’. It was an age when his father had also started roughing him up.

“In the wild he would leave the herd. If he were lucky, he would meet and join up with other young male giraffes. If he were  unlucky, he would be killed by lions,” says Mads Frost Bertelsen, explaining that it was not unnatural for Marius to die young.

In fact, the young male giraffes are most at risk of being killed and eaten on the savannah, because they do not have the protection of the herd when they are looking for females to mate.

If contraception or abortion are not permitted then the individual can be allowed to live for a while and put down just before it reaches child-bearing age. Lions and other carnivores could soon develop a liking for human flesh.

How to lead a natural life in the zoo

The Copenhagen Zoo lets the animals breed because one of the biggest challenges of keeping animals in captivity is that they are bored. …… a great activity for the captive animals is to find a partner, nest, have offspring, feed an raise their offspring, and finally spend energy on throwing the kids out.

“The side effect is that we have a surplus of animals. It is in fact fortunate that we can use them as food. Instead of killing 20 goats or a cow, we can use the giraffe,” says Mads Frost Bertelsen. ….. 

“Our function is not to keep the individual animal alive, but to keep the species alive,” says the Jens Sigsgaard and continues:

“We have decided that even if an animal is over-represented in the gene pool, we will let it breed and have as normal a life as possible. We prefer to kill ‘surplus animals’ rather than send them to zoos we cannot approve.”

For defective humans or humans of low intelligence, breeding could be encouraged as an antidote to boredom. Surplus individuals produced by such breeding can always then be culled and used as food. They should be killed rather than being sent to countries unwilling to accept them or to countries which cannot be approved.

The adult animals breed – the young must die

Aalborg Zoo has several arguments for allowing animals to breed, even if it may result in too many babies. …. “The animals are allowed to breed because it is an important part of their natural behavior to have offspring and experience the process of taking care of the them. Looking after the young is one of the best and most natural ways to occupy animals in captivity, In the wild there comes a time when the baby is old enough to break away from the mother and maybe become part of another group. That is the time when we try to find another well-suited zoo for it. If that is not possible, the young animal must be put down,” ”says Jens Sigsgaard. 

The animals can also be adversely affected if they are not allowed to breed and have offspring. They may find it difficult ever to start breeding again. And if there are no kids in the flock, the younger animals will not get the experience of what it is like to care for babies. 

The humans with the defective genes are allowed to breed as part of their natural behaviour. But when any young individual is old enough to break away from the mother we can try and find a new location for the individual. If that is not possible then it must be put down.

It is not the killing of an animal that is the problem; it is allowing the individual to be bred with the intention of killing it (and where the feeding of the carcass to lions is only incidental). And there is a difference in the breeding of mice for the purpose of being fed to snakes.

Animals are kept captive and alive in zoos just for gawking at. Once upon a time we did that with human “freaks”. I would like to think that we are more “civilised” now where I take “civilised” to be elegance in behaviour. The behaviour of Copenhagen Zoo with Marius was particularly inelegant.

The fundamental issue is that Copenhagen Zoo – like all zoos – are places for human entertainment.  They fool themselves – and others – into thinking that they are performing a scientific or conservation function – but that is just twaddle. (That is also the fundamental flaw in the conservation of species in zoos where – instead of trying to get the species to adapt genetically – the zoos try to “freeze” the animals genetically in a frozen and artificially maintained habitat).

There is something lacking in the ethics of Copenhagen Zoo – and all zoos for that matter.

I hope visitors to Copenhagen Zoo dry up….

February 9, 2014

One wonders what the purpose of the Copenhagen Zoo is? First they breed them. Then if they don’t like them or find them surplus to requirements they kill them. They invite zoo visitors to the autopsy. Why not to the executions? A healthy, 18 month old giraffe bred by the Copenhagen Zoo was killed off for being surplus to requirements (genetically)! Why breed it in the first place? And apparently this is standard practice.

If it had been culled in the wild because of an excess population it might have felt different. And the zoo had been offered alternatives.

Marius the giraffe bred to be killed by Copenhagen Zoo

I hope visitors to the Copenhagen Zoo dry up.

From the Copenhagen Post:

An online petition to save the life of a young giraffe at Copenhagen Zoo is currently accumulating close to 2,000 votes an hour. But all the votes are in vain because the unfortunate animal was destroyed this morning in accordance with the zoo’s policy on in-breeding. 

The zoo said it has taken the decision to kill the 18-month-old male giraffe Marius and feed him to some of his fellow animals at the zoo in order to keep the giraffe population “genetically sound”.

“Giraffes today breed very well, and when they do you have to choose and make sure the ones you keep are the ones with the best genes,” Bengt Holst, the scientific director at the zoo, explained to the BBC.

Between 20 and 30 animals are put down in a similar fashion every year, added Holst. According to Ekstra Bladet tabloid, this has included bears, tigers and zebras.

…. Marius was killed by a bolt gun instead of a lethal injection, which would have contaminated the meat.

While most of him will be fed to the carnivores at the zoo, part of his carcass will be used for scientific research. Visitors to the zoo on Sunday were invited to attend the autopsy.

Ottawa CitizenCopenhagen Zoo turned down offers from other zoos and 500,000 euros ($680,000) from a private individual to save the life of a healthy giraffe before killing and slaughtering it Sunday to follow inbreeding recommendations made by a European association.

The 2-year-old male giraffe, named Marius, was put down using a bolt pistol and its meat will be fed to carnivores at the zoo, spokesman Tobias Stenbaek Bro said. Visitors, including children, were invited to watch while the giraffe was dissected.

Marius’ plight triggered a wave of online protests and renewed debate about the conditions of zoo animals. Before the giraffe was killed, an online petition to save it had received more than 20,000 signatures.

Stenbaek Bro said the zoo, which now has seven giraffes left, was recommended to put down Marius by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria because there were already a lot of giraffes with similar genes in the organization’s breeding program.

The Amsterdam-based EAZA has 347 members, including many large zoos in European capitals, and works to conserve global biodiversity and to achieve the highest standards of care and breeding for animals.

Bengt Holst is the scientific director of Copenhagen Zoo who has implemented this policy of the EAZA.

Zoos are of course just places of entertainment for humans and I don’t really think they perform any other useful function. And I don’t much believe that their much vaunted  “conservation” which consists of freezing an unsuccessful species in an artificial habitat does that species any service at all.

Meanwhile in the UK: lioness and cubs who were the pride of Longleat are put down

Graphic pictures of Marius being cut up and fed to the lions.

Commemorating the escape from Nazi-occupied Denmark to Sweden 70 years ago

September 30, 2013

image Pierre Mens

The Öresund Bridge connecting Copenhagen with Malmö will be lit up on Tuesday night to commemorate the escape of 7,800 Jews from occupied Denmark to Sweden. They were evacuated by an armada of Swedish and Danish fishing boats with the help of the Danish resistance. The Nazi’s had planned to have a Great Arrest on the night of the Jewish New Year on 1st October, 1943 and transfer the Danish Jews to concentration camps. But their targets largely disappeared. The Gestapo succeeded only in arresting some 450 people.

Wikipedia: Only around 450 Danish Jews were captured by the Germans, and most of these were sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in German occupied Czechoslovakia. After these Jews’ deportation, leading Danish civil servants persuaded the Germans to accept packages of food and medicine for the prisoners; furthermore, Denmark persuaded the Germans not to deport the Danish Jews to extermination camps.

The Local:The light manifestation will be focused on the man-made island Peberholm in the middle of the Öresund straight and along the bridge itself.

“Öresund was the route to safety in October 1943. It is a beautiful idea, to use the foundation of the fixed link over the Öresund, which rests on Peberholm, as a platform for all the lanterns we want to light in the October darkness,” said Ingeborg Philipsen at the Museum Amager in Denmark.

Some 700 lanterns will be lit on Peberholm to symbolize that “October 1943 was a light in the darkness”.

One of those who escaped was Nils Bohr and Lubos Motzl describes his story which I reblog here. His reference to 60,000 Danes who escaped to Sweden must include all Danes during the II World War and not just the Jews. I am also not sure if his reference to the help provided by the Swedish aristocracy is entirely accurate. The Swedish King, Gustav V was an alleged Nazi sympathiser – even if not a fanatic. He is “credited” with blackmailing the Swedish Government into permitting the transit of German troops through Sweden by threatening abdication. He certainly had great admiration for Hitler’s actions against Russia and even sent a congratulatory letter to Hitler – privately – against the wishes of his government:

Bohr’s dramatic escape: 70 years ago

Exactly 70 years ago, on September 29th, 1943, the Danish underground movement received the message. Brothers Niels and Harald Bohr – who had a Jewish mother but that wasn’t the only sin – would have to be arrested and transferred to Germany.

So far, Bohr would be often invited to emigrate but he would be refusing it with words resembling Zeman’s “Why should I leave? They should leave!”

But the new situation was way too serious so both brothers and all of their offspring and families had to escape Denmark. So Bohr and his wife Margareta are suddenly walking on a Copenhagen street and meet a biochemistry professor they know. He is a part of the resistance movement and gives them a secret sign, everything is fine.

They go to a Copenhagen dwellers’ popular recreational beach with fancy buildings outside of the capital. Harald, his wife, and children are there in a moment, too. The boat needs two hours. The fishermen, also belonging to the underground, know the schedule of German patrols so they may optimize the trajectory. On Thursday, September 30th, they finally reached a Swedish village.

Margareta stays in the village. Niels Bohr has some extra work to do. He takes an express train to Stockholm. There he meets with the secretary of state and other officials. Ultimately, he has a meeting with the king, too. Bohr has almost certainly contributed to the official October 1943 publicly declared decision of Sweden to accept all refugees. Thanks to the friendly and courageous Swedish aristocratic reaction, about 60,000 Danes escape a German prison during October 1943.

Sweden is not quite safe for Bohr, either. Germany could send secret agents or soldiers to silence him. Britain and America are safer; they seem like a more practical place for Bohr to help the Allies to kick the German bastards into their socialist balls (or, in the leader’s case, ball).

Bohr agrees with the British proposal. His condition is that his son Aage, a physics student, must accompany him. Now, the main technical task is to transfer Bohr from Sweden to Britain. In between these two countries, you find Norway which is occupied just like Denmark.

The solution is a British combat aircraft, a bomber called Mosquito. The model is fast and can reach great heights – and escape from most German aircraft into the clouds. At some points, it’s actually crucial for the height to be above 10 kilometers to be mostly safe; this also requires the British pilots to teach Bohr to use the oxygen mask. Where would Bohr sit? Well, in the bomb bay! Aage would fly in another aircraft.

A small technical glitch forces Niels Bohr’s aircraft to return. He wants to take the first yellow cab. The Swedish agents are pulling their guns. But OK, they force him to sleep at this airport and nervously await the invasion of some Germans who could just find out where Bohr is and make a “friendly visit” at every moment.

Mosquito’s average speed is about 600 km/h which means that 1,200 km to Britain is a 2-hour trip. Things went fine and the Mosquito landed in Northern Scotland. The pilots immediately go to see Bohr in the bomb bay. A sleeping and tired man didn’t hear any instructions because the helmet wasn’t large enough for his quantum skull. Also, he failed to use the oxygen mask so he fainted somewhere in the clouds but survived. “Next time, it will be better,” he promised.

A more luxurious commercial aircraft took the co-father of quantum mechanics to London. He met some similarly active British physicists like Chadwick. Niels Bohr was impressed by the progress made by British on their tube alloys project (British nuclear bomb). In December 1943, he would fly to the U.S. As guests of the Manhattan Project, Niels and Aage would be renamed as Nicholas Baker and James Baker, respectively, for security reasons. I doubt that this secret name enabled Aage Bohr to become Reagan’s Secretary of State.

Bohrs would only spend some time in Los Alamos. Oppenheimer credited Bohr for contributing to modulated neutron initiators and for his being an inspiring role model for younger physicists like Feynman – although Feynman himself wasn’t exactly obsessed about authorities of any kind.

Incidentally, Enrico Fermi started the nuclear age 10 months before Bohr fled Denmark. It just happens that Fermi would celebrate his 112th birthday today. Enrico Fermi was born on September 29th, 1901.

Mutation in gene SIRT1 which protects against cancer and heart disease may cause Diabetes type 1

March 15, 2013

I was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2 a few years ago but a number of friends have children and grandchildren suffering from Diabetes Type 1.  This is a life-long condition and with modern drugs is manageable but not apparently curable. But treatment starts as babies and the children have a tough time in handling all the injections. The causes are not very clear but a genetic origin has long been suspected since the highest prevalence of Diabetes Type 1 is in Northern Europe, particularly in Scandinavia. Incidence varies from 8 to 17 per 100,000 in Northern Europe and the US, with a high of about 35 per 100,000 in Scandinavia to a low of 1 per 100,000 in Japan and China.

Now Danish researchers have found that a mutation in a particular gene  – SIRT1 – may be a prerequisite for the development of Diabetes Type 1.

Identification of a SIRT1 Mutation in a Family with Type 1 Diabetes

Anna Biason-Lauber, Flemming Pociot et al, Cell Metabolism, Volume 17, Issue 3, 448-455, 5 March 2013, 10.1016/j.cmet.2013.02.001

  • Individuals carrying mutation in SIRT1 are susceptible to type 1 diabetes
  • Human SIRT1 regulates the production of nitric oxide and cytokines
  • SIRT1 regulates immune and metabolic function in humans

Summary

Type 1 diabetes is caused by autoimmune-mediated β cell destruction leading to insulin deficiency. The histone deacetylase SIRT1 plays an essential role in modulating several age-related diseases. Here we describe a family carrying a mutation in the SIRT1 gene, in which all five affected members developed an autoimmune disorder: four developed type 1 diabetes, and one developed ulcerative colitis. Initially, a 26-year-old man was diagnosed with the typical features of type 1 diabetes, including lean body mass, autoantibodies, T cell reactivity to β cell antigens, and a rapid dependence on insulin. Direct and exome sequencing identified the presence of a T-to-C exchange in exon 1 of SIRT1, corresponding to a leucine-to-proline mutation at residue 107. Expression of SIRT1-L107P ininsulin-producing cells resulted in overproduction of nitric oxide, cytokines, and chemokines. These observations identify a role for SIRT1 in human autoimmunity and unveil a monogenic form of type 1 diabetes.

ScienceNordic reports:

“Scientists have known for years that type 1 diabetes has a strong genetic component. But this is probably the first time that a mutation has been discovered in a single gene that causes type 1 diabetes,” says Professor Flemming Pociot, MD, a research group leader at Glostrup Hospital, Denmark, who took part in the international study. .. 

It is normally very difficult to locate the right places in the genome as there are some 20,000 different genes in the human body to go through. ”For this reason, scientists often search for defective genes in families where many members are affected by the same disease. That way we can see whether the affected family members share any specific gene mutations,” explains Pociot.

In the new study, the researchers examined an Israeli family in which four members suffered from T1D. Having searched through the family’s genome, they located a mutation in a gene known as SIRT1. ”This gene is incredibly interesting because other studies indicate that it could play a part in prolonging life, and that it can for instance prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease.”

In most T1D patients, the disease is autoimmune, i.e. the patient’s immune defence attacks the body’s own cells. This was also the case with the Israeli patients, and it soon became clear that the defective sirtuin protein was partly responsible for these faults in the immune system. “We compared the cell behaviour in the patients to that of the healthy family members. It turned out that the patients were far more sensitive to some of the factors we know are central in autoimmune diseases,” says the researcher.

They also carried out a series of experiments on mice to see if they could identify the detailed mechanisms behind the defective sirtuin protein.

They noted that the sirtuin proteins appeared to affect the so-called cytokines – a type of protein that plays a key role in the regulation of the immune system.

The researchers’ theory is, simply stated, that the mutated sirtuin proteins cause the cytokines in the immune system to kill the wrong cells, including those that produce the body’s vital hormone insulin.

The lack of insulin, which helps regulate the blood sugar, is one of the hallmarks of T1D.

Greenland votes today on whether to let the Chinese in

March 12, 2013

Greenland flag

UPDATE!

Greenland’s main opposition leader, who campaigned on a platform of greater control and higher taxes of foreign miners, gained the biggest number of votes in a national parliamentary election, underscoring a backlash against the island’s fast globalisation.

Aleqa Hammond’s Siumut party won around 42 percent of votes, or around 14 seats in the 31-seat parliament, meaning she will need to form a coalition. Prime Minister Kuupik Kleist won around 34 percent of votes, according to official results published by Greenland’s national KNR broadcaster.

=====================================================

Not that it is very relevant to the “general” election being held in Greenland today, but I had not really appreciated that Greenland (and half of Iceland and a large chunk of Siberia and part of Japan) are part of the North American Continental plate.  Greenland has been inhabited – off and on – for some 5000 years (from c. 2500 – 3000 BCE) and initially by the ancestors of the Arctic peoples (paleo-Eskimos). The Scandinavian link goes back to around 1200 years ago (900 CE).

 Norsemen settled on the uninhabited southern part of Greenland beginning in the 10th century. Inuit peoples arrived in the 13th century. The Norse colonies disappeared in the late 15th century. In the early 18th century, Scandinavia and Greenland came back into contact with each other, and Denmark established sovereignty over the island. Having been ruled by Denmark-Norway for centuries, Greenland became a Danish colony in 1814, and a part of the Danish Realm in 1953 under the Constitution of Denmark. In 1979, Denmark granted home rule to Greenland, and in 2008, Greenlanders voted to transfer more power from the Danish royal government to the local Greenlandic government. Under the new structure, in effect since June 21, 2009, the Danish government retains control of foreign affairs, national defence, the police force, and the justice system. …

Following World War II, the United States developed a geopolitical interest in Greenland, and in 1946 the United States offered to buy Greenland from Denmark for $100,000,000, but Denmark refused to sell.

Kuupik Kleist, prime minister of Greenland Рус...

Kuupik Kleist, prime minister of Greenland (wikipedia)

The Inuit Ataqatigiit Party which is currently in power in the “Home Rule” Government is a curious mixture of being both left-leaning and somewhat nationalistic. Their target is for an economic and politically independent Greenland and want to reduce the financial support from the Danish government by increasing the rate at which Greenland’s mineral resources are exploited. But to do that they will need labour and it seems that this could come from China. If they win the election today it could open the door for 2,000 – 3,000 Chinese engineers and miners. The opposition Siumut Party seems to have very similar goals but they don’t agree with bringing the Chinese in.

Aleqa Hammond Siumut leader

The BBC reports:

Voters go to the polls in Greenland on Tuesday, in an election dominated by the question of how the territory should exploit its mineral riches. Nearly 70% of 57,000 inhabitants are eligible to vote in Greenland, a Danish territory with partial autonomy.

Many are keen to reduce reliance on Denmark’s annual subsidy of $576m (£387m).

Iron, uranium and rare earths lie underground, but opinions differ over how to extract them. The latest poll predicts a tight race between the governing left-leaning Inuit Ataqatigiit party (IA) and the opposition Siumut party, reports the BBC’s Malcolm Brabant from the Danish capital, Copenhagen.

They will be fighting for 31 seats in a home rule government. There is only one polling station in the capital, Nuuk – a town of 15,000 with only two traffic lights.

The IA – headed by Prime Minister Kuupik Kleist – is in favour of importing cheap, foreign, mainly Chinese labour to mine iron ore. Siumut – led by Aleqa Hammond – is opposed to the plan, which could see Greenland’s population increase by 5%.

The election will be monitored in China, which wants Greenland’s iron for its expanding economy, and in turn by European Union officials who have expressed concern about China’s influence in the territory. ..

Wind farm performance declines by a third in just 10 years

December 20, 2012

The intermittent nature of wind and the speed restructions on wind turbines means that the load factor of wind farms is low to begin with (about 20 -25% for on-shore units and about 35-40% for off-shore units). But this is only when they are new. They seem to age very rapidly. This study of UK on-shore plants and Danish on-shore and off-shore plants shows that

  1. Wind farms age rapidly with on-shore plants declining in performance by about one-third in 10 years and off-shore plants declining by over 60% in 10 years, and
  2. The economic life of a wind farm is, at best, around 15 years and not the 25 years considered “normal” for a power plant

REF’s press release:

The Renewable Energy Foundation [1] today published a new study, The Performance of Wind Farms in the United Kingdom and Denmark,[2] showing that the economic life of onshore wind turbines is between 10 and 15 years, not the 20 to 25 years projected by the wind industry itself, and used for government projections.  

The work has been conducted by one of the UK’s leading energy & environmental economists, Professor Gordon Hughes of the University of Edinburgh[3], and has been anonymously peer-reviewed.  This groundbreaking study applies rigorous statistical analysis to years of actual wind farm performance data from wind farms in both the UK and in Denmark.

The full report is available here.

The Executive Summary states.

1. Onshore wind turbines represent a relatively mature technology, which ought to have achieved a satisfactory level of reliability in operation as plants age. Unfortunately, detailed analysis of the relationship between age and performance gives a rather different picture for both the United Kingdom and Denmark with a significant decline in the average load factor of onshore wind farms adjusted for wind availability as they get older. An even more dramatic decline is observed for offshore wind farms in Denmark, but this may be a reflection of the immaturity of the technology.

2. The study has used data on the monthly output of wind farms in the UK and Denmark reported under regulatory arrangements and schemes for subsidising renewable energy. Normalised age-performance curves have been estimated using standard statistical techniques which allow for differences between sites and over time in wind resources and other factors.

3. The normalised load factor for UK onshore wind farms declines from a peak of about 24% at age 1 to 15% at age 10 and 11% at age 15. The decline in the normalised load factor for Danish onshore wind farms is slower but still significant with a fall from a peak of 22% to 18% at age 15. On the other hand for offshore wind farms in Denmark the normalised load factor falls from 39% at age 0 to 15% at age 10. The reasons for the observed declines in normalised load factors cannot be fully assessed using the data available but outages due to mechanical breakdowns appear to be a contributory factor.

4. Analysis of site-specific performance reveals that the average normalised load factor of new UK onshore wind farms at age 1 (the peak year of operation) declined significantly from 2000 to 2011. In addition, larger wind farms have systematically worse performance than smaller wind farms. Adjusted for age and wind availability the overall performance of wind farms in the UK has deteriorated markedly since the beginning of the century.

5. These findings have important implications for policy towards wind generation in the UK. First, they suggest that the subsidy regime is extremely generous if investment in new wind farms is profitable despite the decline in performance due to age and over time. Second, meeting the UK Government’s targets for wind generation will require a much higher level of wind capacity – and, thus, capital investment – than current projections imply. Third, the structure of contracts offered to wind generators under the proposed reform of the electricity market should be modified since few wind farms will operate for more than 12–15 years.


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