Miscellaneous: July 23rd, 2007 by JS
For those of us already in Sweden and who entertain fantasies about buying that cute little cottage in the Archipelago (equipped with flushing toilet and broadband, please), let’s hope not too many Brits are reading The Times, which is waxing lyrical about the virtues of Swedish stugor:
Imagine that the Isle of Wight was an hour from London, and that, instead of just one island, there were thousands. Imagine old-fashioned ferries with velvet-lined wooden seats that delivered you right to the middle of the capital. Imagine beautiful people, wooden houses and mostly empty beaches.
In a comment that might seem a bit rich coming from a Brit, given the last few days’ of flooding in the UK, the writer of the article points to Sweden’s climate as one factor that might put potential buyers off. Today’s Daily Telegraph seems to justify British aspersions on Sweden: apparently, Sweden’s weather is to blamefor England’s current flooding.
The Montreal Economic Institute has responded to suggestions from “certain Quebec intellectuals” that the Canadian province could do worse than follow the Swedish model. The institute agrees, but reckons the intellectuals have misunderstood Sweden’s success.
“The Swedish model works because the country had the courage to liberalize its economy,” argues the institute.
Yanick Labrie, an associate researcher at the Institute, concludes that “unlike the situation often prevailing in Quebec, the government and various groups in Sweden have taken a pragmatic approach and have not been afraid to question dogmas that were paralyzing the country’s economy, including the sacred nature of the welfare state and the public sector.”
Sweden abroad: July 19th, 2007 by PR
Here’s one for our many readers in the US. If reading The Local every day has made you pine for…
…a Viking encampment; trolls; Danish hotdogs, IKEA’s signature Swedish meatballs and other Scandinavian delights; storytelling; children’s games; arts and crafts; the popular raffle; a soccer tournament; a vendors market offering hard-to-find Scandinavian products…
…then fear not. You’ll be able to experience all that and more at the Scandinavian Festival Atlanta 2007. The event will be held in October.
Did you know that the Sami have their own national football team? Steve Menary visited the Sami Cup, this year being held in the Norwegian town of Karasjok, and wrote an enlightening report for The Guardian.
The Sami have played as a national team since 1985 against the likes of Greenland, East Germany and Estonia and beat the Baltic nation 2-1 in Karasjok in 1991. Sami sports were organised by an umbrella organisation until 2003. A separate FA was then set up with funding from tribal parliaments set up by the governments of Norway, Sweden and Finland to give the tribe some autonomy.
Two thirds of the 70,000 Sami live in Norway, another 20,000 in Sweden, with 5,000 or so in Finland and the rest on the Kola Peninsula in Russia. The Sami Cup was set up to help reunite this disparate northern people with teams made up of relatives, local associations and reindeer herders getting together to play football. More than a dozen Sami football tournaments will be staged this summer but the Sami Cup, rotating annually between Norway, Sweden and Finland, is the big one.
Society: July 10th, 2007 by PO
A number of British newspapers mention the fact that Ramzi Mohammed, one of the men found guilty of plotting a terrorist attack in London in July 2005, was married to a Swedish woman.
He met his now wife, Azeb, when he was 19 and moved in with her. Mohammed had two children with Azeb, a Swedish Christian, and worked as a barman in Waterloo station. But by the time Azeb was giving birth to their second child in 2003, he had fallen under the spell of his friend Osman, and the preacher Hamza, the court heard.
He ordered Azeb to convert to Islam and wear a veil and took away his son’s computer games. “He went from a sweet man to a man who was totally ruled by his religion,” Azeb said later.
Mohammed gave up his job at the Reef Bar in Waterloo because as a strict Muslim he did not want to be near alcohol. He moved out of the flat he shared with Azeb and told her “I can only love Allah.”
The couple were married subsequently by an imam at Belmarsh jail after Azeb converted to Islam.
In early 2005, Mohammed moved into a housing association flat in Dalgarno Gardens, North Kensington, and set about decorating, hanging a picture of Mecca on the wall, which had been given to him by Azeb.
By then she was also practising Islam, praying five times a day and wearing full Islamic dress.
Mohammed’s suicide note to her read: “My family, don’t cry for me but instead rejoice in happiness and love what I have done for the sake of Allah. My children, be good Muslims and obey your mother … and we shall meet again in paradise God willing.”
The couple eventually married in Belmarsh high security prison.
Sweden is once again partying like it’s 1999, except with a bit more refinement and know-how this time.
The fascination of this boom lies not in its similarities with 1999 but with its differences. This time around there is excessive consumption – but it has been tempered by experience, the full measure of which can only be realised by journeying backwards to 1999 to make a comparison.
The Financial Times’s David Ibison wheels out the time machine (here reproduced in the LA Times) .
Society: July 10th, 2007 by PO
The International Herald Tribune carries an informative and troubling article about last year’s Swedes of the year – Mr and Mrs Garakoei of Gothenburg – and their life in the shadow of the city’s biker gangs.
Three and a half years after first receiving threats from members of the Bandidos motorcycle gang at his Iranian restaurant in Goteborg, Massoud Garakoei lives in fear.
Sweden doesn’t really have the poo taboo apparently. And that’s good because it means that people are willing to put their waste to good use:
Recycling urine may be the answer to a looming global shortage of phosphorus, an Australian researcher says.
And nobody does it better than the inhabitants of Tanum in western Sweden.
Zero Paid has some background info and plenty of speculation about recent file-sharing developments in Sweden.
First came a swift about turn from Swedish police following threats at the weekend that it was planning to shut down The Pirate Bay for an alleged failure to remove child pornography from its site.
According to Zero Paid:
The decision to not include the Pirate Bay in this week’s blocklist merely reinforces the fact that the charges were dubiously propagated by people higher up the chain in a bid to smear the Pirate Bay and get it shut down for good.
Business: July 9th, 2007 by PR
The contenders for the purchase of Vin & Sprit, the state-owned booze-maker that is earmarked for a sell-off by the Swedish government, are starting to emerge.
According to William Lyons, writing in Scotland on Sunday, Carlsberg, with a possible war-chest of £6.3 billion, are tipped to keep the brand Scandinavian.
But according to Paul Bergqvist, chairman of Carlsberg’s Swedish operations, they’re not interested in the jewel in Vin & Sprit’s crown – Absolut vodka.
“Absolut does not fit our portfolio. We think Absolut can be developed even better by those who are specialists at spirits.”
And that could be Pernod Ricard.
Could another Swede be about to join Sven-Göran Eriksson at Manchester City? The football rumour mill is certainly grinding a story to that effect and the cereal in question is Toulouse forward Johan Elmander. But the price tag is a tidy €25 million.
Swedish design no longer cuts the mustard for a certain niche of car-buyer, according to Tyler Brûlée, writing in the International Herald Tribune:
Once upon a time Saab and Volvo owned the “small and interesting” automotive territory with a community of drivers who responded to the cars’ high safety standards, slightly quirky designs and Swedish values.
In a time when it was still acceptable to be an environmental campaigner and still put pressure on the pedal, buying a Swedish-made vehicle somehow suggested you were putting your bottles in the recycling bin and you were raising children who were going to be concerned with important global issues.
Nowadays the monied environmentalists are turning to Subaru – and Brûlée blames American ownership of the Swedish car giants for the lost ground.
Read the full article.
Society: July 6th, 2007 by PO
The BBC tracked down the Hamil Ibrahim and his family, who are among the thousands of Iraqis who have sought refuge in Sweden:
“Everyone wants to go to Sweden, it has always been good to Iraqis. They respect human rights here. I wanted my children to grow up in a safe country, that’s why we chose Sweden,” said Halim.
But a new ruling from the Swedish Migration Board may make the journey from Iraq to Sweden considerably more difficult.
Sport: July 6th, 2007 by PO
Could Rafael Nadal be the new Björn Borg? Tom Perrotta at the New York Sun certainly hopes so:
Wimbledon desperately needs another Borg, someone to inject some life into a tournament that’s become every bit as predictable as England’s wretched weather. It needs a champion who, like Borg, doesn’t belong.
Sport: July 6th, 2007 by PO
Jonas Björkman left nobody in any doubt as to his feelings towards the umpire during Thursday’s fourth round clash with Tomas Berdych.
“That’s why you suck. That’s why you shouldn’t be having matches like this. You are absolutely useless.”
And that was just what he said in English. This is London had a translator at hand to explain some of the Swede’s choice phraseology.
Sport: July 6th, 2007 by PO
Denmark has been let halfway off the hook by UEFA following a fan’s attack on the referee during a Euro 2008 qualifying match against Sweden on June 2nd. The International Herald Tribune reports:
European soccer’s governing body ruled that Denmark will only be banned from playing home games at its national stadium in Copenhagen for the next two games, not four as previously decided.
In a lengthy interview with fifa.com, Sweden’s coach Lars Lagerbäck gives hisview of the controversy in Copenhagen:
It was very sad because, for me, it spoiled a real football party. It had been a fantastic football match that had everything: excitement, quality, goals and a great atmosphere.
Sweden has secured third place in a new Global Prosperity Index:
In today’s index, the Scandinavian countries, which regularly top lists of the best places in the world to live, were applauded for having good economic growth as well as high levels of political and civil liberties, leisure time and equality of opportunity.
The Guardian has more.
Trade Minister Sten Tolgfors talks to the Associated Press about, among other things, the importance of maintaining good trade relations with the Muslim world.
“We have to see the opportunities to build bridges with the Muslim world and the opportunities that trade presents.”
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"A week full to the brim with LFC football…. Div 5 LFC match against Nåjdens FK has been moved. This is due to the Svenska Cupen final: 26 May, 17.00 kick off, Nationalarenan Friends Arena, Solna. Next match is on Tuesday (see below). ………………………………………………………… Friday: Div5 Ladies: Rotebro IS FF – Långholmen FC (Skinnaråsens IP) KO: 16.15 ………………………………………………………… Saturday: Vets: Långholmen FC – IFK..." READ »