Toy company Lego reports 2008 was "successful year"

Denmark Copenhagen- Family-owned Danish toy company Lego Monday said 2008 had been"successful," citing higher sales and turnover compared to 2007.

Pre-tax profit increased to 1.85 billion kroner (317 million dollars), compared to 1.41 billion kroner for 2007.

Sales increased over 18 per cent to 9.5 billion kroner, the group said, registering its strongest growth in English-speaking and Eastern European markets - this despite a slight decrease in the global market for traditional toys during 2008.

Danish brewer Carlsberg sees sales and profits jump in 2008

Denmark Copenhagen- Danish brewer Carlsberg A/S on Wednesday posted a 52-per-cent jump in operating profit for 2008 despite lagging beer sales at the end of the year as it completed the acquisition of British brewer Scottish and Newcastle PLC

The group's operating profit before special items was 7.9 billion kroner (1.3 billion dollars), compared with 5.2 billion kroner for 2007.

Turnover increased 34 per cent to 59.9 billion kroner while net profit was 2.6 billion kroner.

During the year, Carlsberg's beer sales increased 3 per cent, of which acquisitions accounted for 33 per cent of the growth, it said.

Danish premier Rasmussen downplays NATO job rumours

DenmarkCopenhagen - Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Tuesday downplayed speculation he was bidding for the post of NATO secretary-general, saying he was "not a candidate for any international post".

Speaking at a news conference the eve of a trip to key European capitals, Rasmussen was asked repeatedly if he planned to seek support as future head of the defence alliance during talks in London, Berlin and Brussels.

"I am not a candidate to any international post, and it is my intent to stay on as prime minister of Denmark," Rasmussen said.

Oldest known swan found dead in Denmark

Oldest known swan found dead in DenmarkCopenhagen - The remains of what is believed to have been the world's oldest mute swan have been found in Denmark, researchers at Copenhagen University said Friday.

The dead ringed bird was discovered on December 25 near the town of Korsor on the island of Zealand by swan expert Pelle Andersen- Harild.

The leg ring was sent to the Copenhagen Bird Ringing Centre at the Zoological Museum at Copenhagen University where records suggested that the swan had been ringed on February 21, 1970, at Heikendorf near Kiel in northern Germany.

Danish navy hands over pirates to Dutch authorities

Copenhagen - Dutch authorities on Tuesday took custody of five suspected pirates held since early January on a Danish navy vessel that averted an attempted piracy attack off the Somalian coast, a Danish navy spokesman said.

The handover took place in Bahrain. The five men were likely to be taken to the Netherlands to face possible charges, the spokesman said.

The Absalon has been deployed in the waters off Somalia since early September, patrolling international shipping lanes in the region.

Dan B Termansen, commanding officer on the Absalon, issued a statement saying the vessel was heading back for the Gulf of Aden to resume patrols.

Denmark hosts Gaza arms smuggling conference

Denmark MapCopenhagen - A two-day conference hosted by Denmark on how to halt arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip opened on Wednesday, the Dutch foreign ministry said.

The meeting was organized in conjunction with the United States to review how international help could be offered to prevent weapons smuggling, legal issues as well as charting the routes used by smugglers. It includes officials from the United States, several European Union member states and Norway.

Preventing the flow of arms to Hamas-controlled Gaza was one of the conditions Israel demanded on ending its 22-day offensive on Gaza last month.