TIME Denmark

Denmark Claims North Pole via Greenland Ridge Link

The area is believed to hold an estimated 13% of the world's undiscovered oil and 30% of its untapped gas

(COPENHAGEN, DENMARK) — Scientific data shows Greenland’s continental shelf is connected to a ridge beneath the Arctic Ocean, giving Danes a claim to the North Pole and any potential energy resources beneath it, Denmark’s foreign minister said.

Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said Denmark will deliver a claim on Monday to a United Nations panel in New York that will eventually decide control of the area, which Russia and Canada are also coveting.

The five Arctic countries — the United States, Russia, Norway, Canada and Denmark — all have areas surrounding the North Pole, but only Canada and Russia had indicated an interest in it before Denmark’s claim.

Lidegaard told the AP that the Arctic nations so far “have stuck to the rules of the game” and he hoped they would continue to do so.

In 2008, the five pledged that control of the North Pole region would be decided in an orderly settlement in the framework of the United Nations, and possible overlapping claims would be dealt with bilaterally.

Interest in the Arctic is intensifying as global warming shrinks the polar ice, opening up possible resource development and new shipping lanes.

The area is believed to hold an estimated 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its untapped gas.

Lidegaard said he expects no quick decisions, with other countries also sending in claims.

“This is a historical milestone for Denmark and many others as the area has an impact on the lives of lot of people. After the U.N. panel had taken a decision based on scientific data, comes a political process,” Lidegaard told The Associated Press in an interview on Friday. “I expect this to take some time. An answer will come in a few decades.”

Between 2007 and 2012, Danish scientists with colleagues from Canada, Sweden and Russia surveyed a 2,000-kilometer- (1,240-mile-)long underwater mountain range that runs north of Siberia concluding that Greenland, a sparsely populated huge island that is a semi-autonomous Danish territory, is geologically attached to the ridge.

That prompted Danes to claim the right to exploit an area of 895,000 square kilometers (345,600 square miles).

“The Lomonosov ridge is the natural extension of the Greenland shelf,” ”said Christian Marcussen, a senior geophysicist with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. “Coincidentally, the North Pole which is a tiny, tiny abstract spot lies in the area.”

TIME Denmark

Dane Gets 4 Years Prison for Social Media Terror

(COPENHAGEN, Denmark) — A Moroccan-born Dane was found guilty Thursday of instigating and promoting terrorism, this time on social media.

Sam Mansour, 54, was sentenced to four years in prison at a Copenhagen court for violating Denmark’s terror laws.

Mansour had denied the charges, saying his postings were legal under freedom of speech laws. In Facebook postings, he wrote “terrorism is a duty” and “we are fearful,” and urged jihadis to kill several Danes whom he had named.

His online activities, which also include sending emails with similar content, took place from early 2012 until his arrest on Feb. 11, prosecutors said.

The court rejected the prosecution’s demand that Mansour, who has lived in the Scandinavian country since 1984, be expelled after having served his time, saying he could be “mistreated” by Moroccan authorities for his activities in Denmark.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Mansour would appeal the ruling by three judges and a six-man jury.

In 2007, Mansour, then known as Said Mansour, became the first person in Denmark convicted under a 2002 anti-terrorism law that forbids the instigation of terrorism. He was sentenced to three-and-half years in prison.

TIME China

China Tumbles in Annual Corruption Index

Chinese one-hundred yuan banknotes
Jerome Favre—Bloomberg/Getty Images

See where countries rank from most corrupt to least

China fell 20 spots in this year’s corruption rankings, despite President Xi Jinping’s massive campaign to weed out graft that has disciplined more than 60,000 government officials.

Transparency International’s annual study, released late Tuesday, scored 175 countries and territories based on how corrupt experts perceive them to be. The lowest rankings indicate the highest amounts of corruption. China, the world’s second largest economy, placed 100 on the Index, down from 80 in 2013.

“Fast-growing economies whose governments refuse to be transparent and tolerate corruption, create a culture of impunity in which corruption thrives,” José Ugaz, the chair of Transparency International, said in a statement released with the report. Brazil, Russia and India, the other members of the so-called BRIC developing nations, all placed in the lower two-thirds of the rankings.

Denmark held onto first place as the country seen as least corrupt, while recent and current conflict zones represented some of the poorest-faring countries, including Syria (159), Libya (166) and Somalia, which tied North Korea for last place.

Iraq, where the government said on Monday that an internal review had found some 50,000 soldiers were on the payroll but not showing up for duty, placed 170.

Read next: Hong Kong Protest Leaders Attempt to Surrender to Police

TIME politics

This Is How Much More Popular Same-Sex Marriage Is Today Than in 1989

A file picture taken October 1, 1989 sho
A file picture taken October 1, 1989 shows Denmark's Axel Axgil (L) and Eigil Eskildsen (R) on their Oct. 1, 1989, union, when they became the first registered gay partners in the world Keld Navntoft—AFP / Getty Images

Most Americans are in favor of gay marriage today. In 1989, not so much

Twenty-five years ago, on Oct. 1, 1989, Denmark became the first country to grant legal status to same-sex couples, allowing gay Danes to enter into domestic partnerships. Since then, dozens of countries have followed suit, as well as many U.S. states.

But Denmark in 1989 was an aberration — particularly to that country’s more conservative cousins in the United States. A TIME/CNN poll that year found that fully 69% of Americans opposed gay marriage in 1989, and 75% felt that gay couples should not be allowed to adopt children.

A prescient TIME story from November of that year, of which the poll was part, argued the merits of domestic partnerships — and went as far as to endorse gay marriage, despite the overwhelming unpopularity of that position at the time. Same-sex partnerships faced deeply entrenched opposition, from forces as diverse as major insurance companies concern about extending coverage to unmarried partners and social conservatives concerned about morals, Walter Isaacson wrote. When San Franciscans proposed that year allowing gay couples to register their relationships, John R. Quinn, the city’s Archbishop, called the idea a “serious blow to our society’s historic commitment to supporting marriage and family life.” And David Blankenhorn at the Institute for American values said the domestic-partnership movement “misses the whole point of why we confer privileges on family relationships.”

A quarter century later, it’s easy to forget how much societal mores have changed. In the intervening years, views on same-sex marriage have flipped, with 59% of Americans supporting it and just 34% opposed, according to a March 2014 poll by the Washington Post-ABC News.

In his 1989 column in TIME’s pages, Isaacson countered the prevailing views. He made a firm argument in favor of gay marriage that may have sounded eccentric in 1989 but has became mainstream in 2014. He writes:

Domestic-partnership rights and legal gay marriages… can be justified to the extent that the couples involved profess a willingness to accept the mutual financial obligations, community-property rights and shared commitments to care for each other that are the basis of family life. With this broader goal in mind, it makes sense for society to allow — indeed to encourage — domestic partners both gay and straight to take on all the rights as well as the responsibilities of marriage.

Today, 19 states have decided that it does indeed make sense to allow gay marriage, and it’s likely more states will follow their lead — if popular opinion has anything to do with it.

TIME Archaeology

The Bodies in the Bogs: An Eerie Gift From the Iron Age

Tollund man, victim of human sacrifice by ritual strangulation in Denmark.
Tollund man, victim of human sacrifice by ritual strangulation in Denmark. Werner Forman—UIG/Getty Images

There are cold cases and there are cold cases, but it’s hard to beat the one that came to light on May 6, 1950, in Silkeborg, Denmark. The local folks were already on edge after reports that a schoolboy from Copenhagen had recently gone missing, and when two brothers from the nearby town of Tollund went digging for peat in a Silkeborg bog, they made a gruesome discovery: a buried body with a rope around its neck showing no signs of decomposition. This was a murder — and it was clearly a fresh one.

Except it wasn’t. The body wore no clothes other than a pointed, leatherized, sheepskin cap that seemed not of this era. The rope was handwoven, not machine-made. And the face of the victim was covered with stubble — clearly not belonging to a young boy. All that, plus the noose, plus the ancient history of the site, suggested that this was not a body from the early years of the space age, but the latter years of the Iron Age. Carbon dating confirmed that — placing the man’s death somewhere between 375 B.C. and 210 B.C.

The extraordinarily well-preserved state of what became known as the Tollund Man was due to the unique chemistry of the bog, with its lack of oxygen, cool temperatures and bacteria-unfriendly acidic environment. The fact that there were remains to unearth at all suggested that, despite the noose, this man was not technically murdered or hanged as a criminal. If he had been, he would have been cremated. Rather, he was probably ritually hanged as a spiritual sacrifice.

Some parts of the man’s body did not fare as well as others. His arms and hands were reduced to little more than a thin layer of toughened tissue covering bones. But his internal organs — particularly heart, lungs and liver — were very well preserved. He is thought to have been about 40 when he died and stood no taller than about 5 ft. 3 in. (1.6 m).

The Tollund Man is by no means the only bog person to have been uncovered in recent decades. About a thousand others have been found in Ireland, England, Denmark and the Low Countries. This July 27, which is, yes, International Bog Day, is a good time to tip a hat to these unglamorous mires of mud and decayed vegetation. They provide an extraordinary look into an often mysterious past — and allow the people of the Iron Age to make themselves mutely known in the modern one.

TIME Travel

Copenhagen: What to See and What to Skip

The world's best restaurant "Noma" in Copenhagen on May 5, 2014.
Tivoli gardens seen at night on July 12, 2012. Jean-Pierre Lescourre—Corbis

Denmark's capital may be expensive but it's worth it

On paper, Copenhagen sounds too good to be true. For years now the Danish capital has been heralded for its design-consciousness, trumpeted as the globe’s most sustainable and bike-friendly city, venerated as a culinary destination that houses the best restaurant in the world, and held up as home to the world’s happiest people. In truth, this supposed urban utopia does have some flaws: ridiculously high prices and a tragic lack of decent Mexican restaurants among them. But from its striking architecture to its happening cocktail bars to its abundant green space, Copenhagen comes pretty close to the platonic ideal of a city.

What to See

Copenhagen - Black Diamond
View of the modern waterfront extension to the Royal Danish Library The Black Diamond in Copenhagen on April 18, 2014. Nicole Becker—dpa/Corbis

Tivoli Gardens completely lives up to its hype. The amusement park’s old-school rides (including a century-old roller coaster) are tucked between flowering gardens and outdoor cafés right in the city center, making it charming in a way that Six Flags will never be. For more modern design, check out the Design Museum, which will teach you more about the chair than you thought possible, or simply take in some of the city’s more gorgeous buildings, like its soaring Opera House, or the Black Diamond, a dramatically angled building that also houses the Danish Royal Library. The National Gallery houses an excellent collection that runs from Rembrandt to the avant-garde Asger Jorn, but for contemporary art, the Louisiana Art Museum, overlooking the Oresund Sound, is a quick 35-minutes by train away and hard to beat.

Christiansborg palace where the Danish parliament resides April 28, 2014.
Christiansborg palace where the Danish parliament resides April 28, 2014. Francis Dean—Deanpictures/Corbis

Back in town, fans of the gripping political TV drama Borgen can see where fictional Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg went to work each day at Christiansborg Palace, which houses all three branches of the national government, as well as some royal reception halls. But the city’s other famous female resident, the Little Mermaid, can safely be skipped. The harborside statue of native Hans Christian Andersen’s aquatic heroine may be one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions, but it is also disconcertingly small and of questionable artistic value.

Where to Eat and Drink

The world's best restaurant "Noma" in Copenhagen on May 5, 2014.
The world’s best restaurant “Noma” in Copenhagen on May 5, 2014. Joerg Carstensen—Corbis

You might as well start at the top. Noma has been voted best restaurant in the world four times for its artful, delicious “New Nordic” cuisine, which relies solely on pristine ingredients from the region. Reservations can be hard to come by (try requesting them for lunch instead of dinner), but happily, chefs who formerly worked at Noma have been opening their own restaurants in recent years. At the casual Relæ, Christian Puglisi treats the ingredients on his vegetable-heavy menu with a gentle hand but an innovative eye, while at Amass, American chef Matt Orlando is so deeply in tune with the seasons that he changes the rustic-looking but technically-sophisticated dishes on his tasting menu almost daily. Not all of Copenhagen’s gustatory pleasures are so high-end, however. Smørrebrod, the open-faced sandwich that is the most typical of Danish foods, is elevated to a complex art at Schønnemann. And Copenhageners have been packing the recently-opened Papirøen, where stalls sell all manner of street food, from Moroccan merguez sausages to German apple pancakes. It’s a much more interesting option than the city’s one indigenous form of food truck, the omnipresent pølser wagons, or hot dog carts.

Not all of the city’s gustatory pleasures require chewing. Coffee Collective is renowned among coffee geeks, and Atelier September makes an exquisite matcha tea. Mikkeller serves up some of the best, if quirkiest, artisanal beers in Europe, and the city positively swims in personable wine bars like Ved Stranden, Den Vandrette, and Sabotøren. And there is no shortage of cozy cocktail bars either. Ruby specializes in the classics.

Tourboats in Nyhavn Canal Copenhagen
Tourboats in Nyhavn Canal on in Copenhagen on May 7, 2011. MyLoupe/Universal Image Group/Getty Images

What to Do

Much of Strøget, the world’s longest pedestrian shopping street, is given over to high street brands like Zara, but there are some quintessentially Danish jewels there too, like Hay and Illium Bolighus, both of which sell irresistible, beautifully-designed housewares. The Torvehallerne market is great for shopping of a more edible sort, with an outdoor produce market and indoor stalls selling everything from cakes to sushi. A canal tour is the most popular option for seeing Copenhagen’s many waterways, but a DIY version, via kayak, gets you even closer.

City electric bikes are for rent for visitors at central station on April 24, 2014 in Copenhagen. Francis Dean—Corbis

And in a city with over 390 kilometers of dedicated lanes, you may as well give in to peer pressure and rent a bike; it’s the most scenic way to get to Amager Strandpark beach south of the city, and the rolling deer park, Dyrehave, to the north. The restaurants and cafes of Nyhavn are thoroughly missable, specializing as they do in serving over-priced, mediocre food and drink to generally drunk tourists. But the pastel houses lining the harbor there are just as picturesque as the postcards suggest, especially on those long summer days when the clear northern light illuminates this lovely, near-perfect city.

TIME Marketing & Advertising

A Recent History of Campaigns to Get Couples to Do the Nasty

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Kathrin Ziegler—Getty Images

The new “Do It for Denmark” campaign is just what it sounds like: an initiative encouraging couples to have sex—and make babies—for the good of the country.

The campaign, reminiscent of a cheesy song from “Grease 2,” was launched by the travel operator Spies Rejser, which claims that it is simply doing its share for an extremely important cause: helping couples get busy. “Do It for Denmark” offers couples the opportunity to book vacations with an “ovulation discount,” and those who prove they conceived while on holiday are eligible to win a three years’ worth of baby supplies, as well as a child-friendly vacation in the future. The point—beyond generating media attention and booking more vacations—is to combat a low birth rate that has been described as “approaching epidemic levels” in Denmark.

The company points to research indicating that 46% of couples have more sex on vacation, and that 10% of all Danes are conceived while couples are away from home. “Do It for Denmark” is hardly the first or only campaign making the case that a hotel or resort is the perfect spot for procreating, for the good of a country’s future or otherwise. In the late ’00s, a range of hotel companies and tour operators latched onto the idea that there was a strong demand among couples for “procreation vacation” packages, or “conceptionmoons,” if you’d rather. As the Wall Street Journal noted, the trend was largely an extension of other ‘moon vacation ideas, including “babymoons” (a last vacation before a baby arrives), “anniversarymoons” (basically another honeymoon on a big wedding anniversary year), and “divorcemoons” (a celebratory trip after a split).

(MORE: Snickers Ad Manages to Be Sexist to Both Men and Women)

Much larger pro-procreation movements have been undertaken by nations seeking to kick lackluster birth rates into higher gear. The most notable—and certainly, memorable—took place last year, when R&B greats Boyz II Men played in Moscow before Valentine’s Day, supposedly to help Vladimir Putin in his quest to boost the country’s birth rate, which has been falling for decades. While it was unclear it Putin had anything to do with the booking of the “I’ll Make Love to You” crooners, Slate pointed out that the Putin era has been filled with baby-making and pro-family initiatives, including the introduction of special holidays more or less created for the purpose of conception and cash bonuses for moms having second kids. In Asia, Singapore and South Korea have tried to hike birth rates with big discounts on childcare and a commercial featuring a rap song proclaiming how inherently patriotic it is to make babies.

Then there’s France. A wide range of pro-family policies, including tax breaks, generous maternity leave, and discounts on train travel and other services, was credited for helping France achieve the second-highest fertility rate in Europe in the mid-00s, 1.94 children born per woman, the Washington Post reported.

According to Reuters, the fertility rate in France climbed as high as 2.03 in 2010, but has since retreated, to 2.01 in 2012 and 1.99 last year. It might be time to call Boyz II Men.

TIME Denmark

A Danish Zoo Tries To Explain Why It Killed Four Healthy Lions

File photo of a lion and her cubs entering a lion enclosure for the first time in Copenhagen Zoo
A lion and her cubs were euthanized together with their father this week in Copenhagen to make way for a new male ©Reuters

Yes, this is the same zoo that killed Marius the healthy young giraffe

Little more than a month after it caused global dismay by euthanizing a healthy giraffe named Marius, a Danish zoo is again is the spotlight for putting down four healthy lions — a male, female and two cubs.

In a statement on its website, Copenhagen Zoo says that it culled the animals this week to avoid inbreeding, as the euthanized male might have mated with his own offspring if he hadn’t been put down. It added that the killings “had to happen now” to make way for a new male, who would have killed all sexually immature young lions if he were not himself killed by the now euthanized female.

That explanation may prove to be too little and too late. Outrage is once again spreading on the Internet, where more than 87,000 people have signed a petition to tell the zoo to stop killing healthy animals, and close to 36,000 have liked a Facebook page demanding that the zoo be shut down.

TIME

Danish Zoo Behind Giraffe Killing Just Put Down Four Healthy Lions

Copenhagen Zoo lions tuck into the remains of Marius the giraffe, Feb. 10, 2014.
Copenhagen Zoo lions tuck into the remains of Marius the giraffe, Feb. 10, 2014. Gonzales Photo—Demotix/Corbis

A zoo in Copenhagen has put down two lions and two cubs to make way for a new male, who would have killed them "as soon as he got the chance," just one month after euthanizing Marius the giraffe to an onslaught of international outrage

The Copenhagen Zoo put down two lions and two 10-month-old cubs, all healthy, to make room for a new male lion Monday.

A spokesperson told Agence France-Presse that the lions were killed because the new male would have killed them “as soon as he got the chance.”

This news comes just one month after the Danish zoo incited international vitriol, not to mention death threats, for shooting a healthy 18-month-old giraffe named Marius in the head with a bolt gun and then publicly dissecting him in front of small children and feeding him to lions.

The zoo defended its killing of the giraffe because of Europe’s inbreeding laws, even though other zoos offered to take Marius off its hands.

[AFP]

TIME Denmark

Giraffe-Killing Danes Anger Jews and Muslims With New Animal Cruelty Law

People look at the carcass of the giraffe Marius after it was killed in Copenhagen Zoo
People look at the carcass of the giraffe Marius after it was killed in Copenhagen Zoo, Feb. 9, 2014. Kasper Palsno—Scanpix/Reuters

A new Danish law ordering that all animals must be stunned before slaughter effectively bans production of kosher and halal meat

They may kill giraffes in Denmark, but they anesthetize them first. And as of February 24, the same goes for any animal killed for meat in the kingdom. Thanks to a new law that went into effect this week and that seeks to reduce the pain that livestock suffer on their way to becoming dinner, all animals slaughtered in Denmark must be stunned before being killed. The government says the legislation is founded on a concern for animal welfare. But Muslim and Jewish groups, who note that it effectively bans the production of kosher and halal meat on Danish soil, wonder if there are darker motives behind it.

The European Union, like the United States, requires that cows, sheep, and pigs be stunned before slaughter, but makes an exception for ritual slaughter. That was Denmark’s policy as well until last summer, when the agriculture minister at the time, Karen Haekerrup, proposed that the exception be lifted. The measure was approved by parliament on February 18, and went into effect six days later. A few days earlier, the current agriculture minister, Dan Jørgensen, explained the decision to Danish television. “There has to be a balance between religious issues and animal rights,” Jørgensen said. “We are not forbidding ritual slaughter, but it should be conducted by (first) stunning the animal.”

Yet most—though not all—Jews and Muslims believe that their traditions prohibit pre-stunning. Under dhabiha and shechita, (as ritual slaughter under the dietary laws of halal and kashrut, respectively, is known), Islam and Judaism require animals intended for human consumption to be killed with a single slash through the carotid artery in the neck. The practice is intended in part to assure that animals die with as little pain as possible (that is why, for example, both religions specify that the blade used must be sharp and perfectly smooth).

In fact, no animals have actually been ritually slaughtered in Denmark in a decade, and Jews and Muslims in Denmark are accustomed to getting their kosher and halal meat from abroad. That fact, say some, makes the legislation all the more questionable. “From the Jewish point of view, there are no practical effects to this law,” says Finn Schwarz, president of the Jewish Community of Denmark. “So you have to wonder why regulate something that is not happening?”

Benyones Essabar, chairman of the organization Danish Halal, has questions too. He notes that the proposal emerged in the wake of a controversy last summer provoked by the discovery that a Copenhagen hospital was, out of deference to Muslims, serving halal meat to all its patients regardless of their religion. And he points out that Danish Muslims have been actively trying in the past few years to find both farmers and a slaughterhouse that could supply the community locally. “While we are working on it,” he says, “The government has closed the only door.” Like Schwarz, he points out that in other critical areas of animal welfare such as hunting, pig production (Denmark is one of the biggest producers of pork in Europe) and mink farming (ditto), the government has taken no action.

The Danish government is at pains to point out that the new legislation does not, in fact, ban halal and kashrut, since those products are still available for purchase within the kingdom. But given the questions about timing of targets, it’s little wonder that Jews and Muslims outside of Denmark have found an explanation for the ruling that has nothing to do with animal welfare: prejudice. Eli Ben Dahan, Israel’s deputy minister of Religious Affairs responded to the measure by saying “European anti-Semitism reveals its true face,” and called on the Danish ambassador to Israel to prevent the law’s implementation. Noting that Denmark was also home to the Mohammed cartoon scandal, the Saudi English-language newspaper Arab News reports that many in the Middle East are calling for a boycott of Danish products.

It doesn’t help that Sweden and Norway, the two nations that also require pre-stunning, passed their legislation in the 1930s—just like Germany and Italy did. (The Allies eventually reversed the measure in the latter two countries.)

Yet neither Schwarz nor Essabar, whose organization collected nearly 20,000 signatures protesting the new law, believe that anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic sentiments are the true motive for the reform. Rather, they point to a rejection of religion in general. “Denmark is a very secular country,” says Schwarz, “and arguing anything from a religious point of view is counterproductive. So the government knows this is an easy way to show they’re protecting animal welfare. It’s like [they’re giving out] free beer.”

Free beer or not, an ever-increasing number of incidents in Denmark and throughout Europe—from hate crimes to proposed legislation limiting the number of Muslim immigrants to uproars over whether kindergartens should be required to serve pork — have contributed to the sense that neither religious group is “really” Danish. “We are Danes born in Denmark,” says Essabar. “But every time something like this happens, we are marginalized more.”

The marginalization probably isn’t over either. For all the controversy provoked by the pre-stunning law, a bigger storm is gathering over another religious practice shared by Muslims and Jews: circumcision. In December, the Danish Medical Association called on the government to ensure that boys were allowed to decide for themselves whether to have the operation and the Jyllands-Posten newspaper called for an outright ban on the practice of circumcising at birth. Another major newspaper, BT, conducted a survey that found that 87% of Danes supported such a ban.

Even Essabar, who believes that Danes are genuinely tolerant, is beginning to wonder about the impression his country is creating. “We slaughtered a giraffe in a zoo. Our military shoots pigs for practice. So do we really care so much about animal welfare? Something is not as it should be.”

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