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Former Danish President Reflects On Protecting The Press' Right To Free Speech: WATCH

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Days before the religiously-motivated attacks on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, former Danish President Anders Fogh Rasmussen sat down with Big Thing to reflect on his own struggles dealing with civil unrest sparked by controversial cartoons. In 2005 protests swept through the country after Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper, published a number of cartoons that depicted the prophet Mohammed. Despite calls for the Danish government to step in and mitigate tensions within the country, Rasmussen and his cabinet elected not to become directly involved.

Though Rasmussen describes that time as “Denmark's worst international relations incident since the Second World War,” he still stands by his decision not to bend to the public’s will. In remaining uninvolved, he said, he was defending the Danish press’s right to free speech.

Similar sentiment has echoed through the French press as Charlie Hebdo prepares to release its largest print run in the publication’s history. Soon after the shooting, an outpouring of financial support to the newspaper came from across the globe, enabling the surviving editorial staff to publish some 1 million copies of this week’s forthcoming issue. Since announcing its intentions, Charlie Hebdo has upped its projected publication numbers to 3 million copies to be printed in 16 languages, including Arabic, and distributed throughout 18 countries.

"There is a future. But we don't know yet what it will resemble. There will be a newspaper," said Hebdo’s sitting editor-in-chief Gerard Briard. "For the time being we can't tell you anymore because we don't know ourselves."

Listen to former Danish President Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s reflections on dealing defending the press AFTER THE JUMP...

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25 Years Ago: A Look Back at Denmark Becoming the First Country to Legally Recognize Gay Couples - VIDEO


This week marks the 25th anniversary of Denmark becoming the first country in the world to legally recognize same-sex civil unions. 

Ivan Larsen and Ove Carlsen were one of the first couples to register their union in Denmark and recently spoke with BBC about taking part in the historic 1989 moment. 

For many of us today, the idea of legal recognition for gay relationships is almost blasé  - so it's interesting seeing how alien the subject matter seemed to reporters back then. 

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands Redirect Aid Away from Ugandan Government Over Anti-Gay Law

Three countries have made moves restricting AID to Uganda after President Museveni's signing of the anti-gay bill, Al Jazeera reports:

Cnn_museveniThe Netherlands froze a $9.6m subsidy to Uganda's legal system, arguing that "if the judiciary is to enforce such laws, we do not wish to assist that process". Denmark and Norway said they would redirect around $8.5m each in government aid towards private sector initiatives, aid agencies and rights organisations.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said that the U.S. is "beginning an internal review of our relationship" in a statement released yesterday. The British Foreign Secretary has denounced the bill and said it would "continue to press the Government of Uganda to defend human rights for all."

Copenhagen To Host Gay And Straight Weddings During Eurovision This May

During last year's Eurovision Song Contest, Krista Siegfrieds of Finland performed "Marry Me," and placed a big 'ole kiss on one of her female back-up singers to boot (right). Looking to up the romantic ante, Eurovision's 2014 host city, Copenhagen, will offer three locations for all couples, same-sex included, to be married around the city. 

EurovisionkissEurovision reports:

“Since 2010, we have had a lot of success marrying same- and opposite-sex pairs in the open air at selected locations in Copenhagen. As a city, we put a lot of effort into making everyone welcome and the Eurovision Song Contest is an excellent opportunity to offer weddings," explains the director of Copenhagen’s Citizen Service, Thomas Jakobsen, who is responsible for marriage ceremonies in the City.

“In 1989, Copenhagen City Hall performed the world’s first ever civil partnership. Now, 25 years later, the City of Copenhagen will once again play host to diversity with wedding arrangements in the city," says Søren Lauersen, Chairperson of LGBT Denmark.

"I am sure that many couples, gay and straight from both home and abroad will accept this offer”, he went on to say.

The marriage ceremonies will take place May 7th, 9th, and 10th, and you can find more information about them at Copenhagen's tourism website.

Say Domo Arigato to The Robotboys: VIDEO


The Robotboys are burning up the internet with a video this week.


Mashable on their background:

The RobotBoys, whose human names are Nick Nitro and Jeppe Long, met in the Copenhagen breakdancing scene in 2004. They used their classic mime and physical comedy training to perform in everything from a hip-hop rendition of The Nutcracker to local dance battles, but they didn't hit the world stage until they won Denmark's Got Talent in 2008.

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10,000 March Against Russia's Anti-Gay Law in Copenhagen: VIDEO


The Copenhagen Post reports on a massive march against Putin and Russia's anti-gay laws in Copenhagen, Denmark yesterday:

Ten thousand people got an early start on Copenhagen Pride festivities on Tuesday with a demonstration against Russia’s recently passed anti-gay law. Protestors taking part in the ‘To Russia with Love’ demonstration gathered in front of Christiansborg, the house of parliament, and then proceeded to march to the Russian Embassy, where they submitted signatures of people opposing the law. The demonstration’s organisers had hoped 2,000 people would participate, but media reports put the turnout at upwards of 10,000 demonstrators.

Video of the march, AFTER THE JUMP...

Image via the Facebook group To Russia With Love.

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