Denmark is the happiest nation in Europe, according to research published in Britain Tuesday, which ranks Scandinavians and the Irish top for contentment and Mediterraneans at the bottom.
Danes rated their national average happiness at 8.31 out of 10, with Finns second at 8.05, the Irish third at 7.98, Swedes fourth at 7.84 and the Dutch fifth at 7.78.
But at the other end of the scale, Greece ranked 13th with 6.79, Portugal 14th at 6.53 and Italy 15th at 6.27.
Researchers from Cambridge University’s economics department analysed responses from 20,000 people in the European Union’s 15 countries in 2004. They then cross-referenced their results with a separate study to find out the causes of happiness.
“The survey shows that trust in society is very, very important,” said Luisa Corrado, who led the research. “The countries that scored highest for happiness also reported the highest levels of trust in their governments, laws and each other.” She added that governments trying to improve happiness levels in their countries should do more than focus on creating wealth. “Our well-being would be more likely to flourish in a mutually supportive and trusting society,” she said.
In general terms, the research showed women were happier than men, while the old and the young were more content than middle-aged people. Denmark and Finland topped the poll despite their historically high suicide rates.
The number of people taking their own lives in Denmark was the highest in western Europe during the 1980s but has more than halved in recent years, with researchers crediting better availability of counselling and anti-depressants. Suicides are also declining in Finland for similar reasons, although the number of alcohol-related deaths is still on the up.
US entertainment giant Walt Disney still hopes to open a theme park in mainland China, but it will not necessarily be in the booming economic capital of Shanghai, state press said Monday.
“We are sure to build a second park in China in the long run, but we are now reviewing the market,” Xinhua news agency quoted Wing T. Chao, Disney’s vice head of development in the Asian and Pacific region, as saying.
Chao said the company had yet to decide on a location for its second theme park in China after Hong Kong Disneyland opened in September 2005, nor had any construction plans been formulated.
Last year, Disney held talks with the Shanghai government on a possible theme park in the booming city, the report said. Chao said that for the time being the company would focus on the development and expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland.
He made the remarks at the China Hotel Summit 2007 in Beijing where Disney’s Hollywood Hotel in Hong Kong won China’s Most Representative Theme Hotel Prize, the report said.
Colin Firth Joins Crooners for ‘Mamma!’ April 17, 2007Posted by grhomeboy in Movies.
Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard and Christine Baranski are joining the feature lineup of “Mamma Mia!”
The trio join Pierce Brosnan and Amanda Seyfried in the popular ABBA musical, which shoots from June-October in London and Greece.
The story revolves around a bride-to-be (Seyfried) and her formerly rebellious mom (Streep) who raised her on a Greek island and never disclosed the identity of her father. The bride locates three men who might be her father and invites them to her wedding. The musical features 22 ABBA songs, including “Dancing Queen,” “Take a Chance on Me” and “The Winner Takes It All.”
Firth is one of the three possible fathers, a British businessman. Skarsgard plays another possible dad. Baranski portrays a plastic surgery-loving party girl in her 40s who is bossy and boozy.
Firth may be best known to American audiences for playing Mark Darcy in the “Bridget Jones” movies. Skarsgard returns as Bootstrap Bill in this summer’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.” Baranski’s credits include the Academy Award-winning musical “Chicago.”
Phyllida Lloyd is directing the Universal Pictures project; Tom Hanks will serve as an executive producer, along with ABBA members and songwriters Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus.