Miscellaneous: September 27th, 2007 by JS
In a wonderfully acerbic piece in the New York Times, Roger Cohen contrasts Sweden’s intake of Iraqis with the number accepted by the United States. He quotes Migration Minister Tobias Billström, who points out the number of Iraqi asylum seekers accepted by Sweden “is the equivalent of the U.S. taking in about 500,000 refugees.”
Last time I checked, Sweden did not invade Iraq. Its generosity shames President Bush’s fear-infused nation.
The Middle East Online is carrying a lengthy interview with Swedish Migration Minister Tobias Billström.
Sometimes I think it is an irony that Sweden – a country that did not take part in the Iraq War, was not part of the alliance, did everything it could in order to speak for peace, and is farthest away from the conflict in geographical terms – receives the most refugees.
Billström calls on the EU to share the burden.
Miscellaneous: September 25th, 2007 by JS
The Swedish connection was being marked by an American Football team in Philadelphia this week. The Philadelphia Eagles celebrated their 75th anniversary in the National Football League by wearing the team’s original blue and yellow jerseys. The blue and yellow represents the flag of Sweden, and was chosen in honour of the city’s original Swedish settlers.
Thanks to Eagles’ fan Joe Augustyn for letting us know about this. He tells me: “Although commentators mocked the archaic design of the uniforms, the Philadelphia Eagles fans, notorious as the most rabidly enthusiastic fans in American football, grew to love them as their team scored a record high 56 points over the favored Detroit Lions, who they held to 21 points.”
Check out the Swedish outfits here
Tourism: September 24th, 2007 by PO
The New York Times finds much to recommend Sweden’s second city:
In the past, Swedes would get their degrees here (it is the country’s largest university town) and flee. But increasingly, musicians, artists, designers and shoestring entrepreneurs — the youth-ish culture that gives a city its raffish vitality and, arguably, its economic vitality — are staying, or returning, the latest wave of un-Swedish Swedes to colonize Goteborg for their own purpose.
A truly heroic performance from TV4 presenter Eva Nazemson. Do not watch during lunch.
Miscellaneous: September 21st, 2007 by PR
Sweden’s tabloids have a new excuse – if they needed one – to drape Paris Hilton across their pages. The hotel heiress and reality TV celeb is dating a Swedish tourist.
Can’t see her moving over to Gothenburg and settling down to a life of cinnamon buns and herring, but 20-year-old Alex Väggö (or Vaggo, as he is fast becoming known around the world) is said to be smitten.
Offbeat: September 20th, 2007 by PO
Extreme weather! Has to be seen to be believed.
Books: September 20th, 2007 by PO
The New York Sun has a review of Klas Östergren’s ‘Gentlemen’, a novel regarded by many as a modern Swedish classic.
The novel’s narrator, a fictive Klas Östergren, befriends and lives with the bohemian artists Henry and Leo Morgan in their grand Stockholm apartment, and “Gentlemen” is his homage to them and to a time lost. Klas’s picaresque account of the brothers’ lives between 1948 and 1978 forms the novel’s core. In a style that brilliantly fuses light-hearted humor with the darkness and paranoia of imminent apocalypse, Klas examines the brothers’ ultimately futile struggles to exist as unfettered iconoclasts in the real world.
The book was first released 27 years ago but has just recently appeared in English translation.
Politics: September 14th, 2007 by PO
The Economist looks at Sweden’s ruling coalition one year after the election that brought the four-party Alliance to power:
For now Mr Reinfeldt is sitting quite comfortably. But a sharp global downturn would test his leadership more than anything he has met so far.
Miscellaneous: September 14th, 2007 by JS
It’s hard not to be impressed by Neonode – a Swedish minnow among mobile phone makers that has survived against all the odds. Their touch-screen phone was devised eons before the iPhone was ever dreamt of. They (or one of their fans) are now indulging in a bit of amusing viral marketing: you’ve got to love them for their nerve.
Politics: September 13th, 2007 by PO
Sweden’s foreign minister looks to the break-up of the Ottoman Empire for clues on the future of Iraq.
“From Bihac to Basra,” he said, referring to towns in western Bosnia and Southern Iraq, “these things take time and benchmarks don’t count for much.”
Roger Cohen recounts a recent meeting with Carl Bildt.
Actually, ‘multi-coloured’ is a bit of an exaggeration. Simon Mills is fascinated by the dandy of Torsby and his wondrous wardrobe consisting largely of identical suits:
Sven-Goran Eriksson is looking for a new house. It has to be near the City of Manchester stadium and have a walk-in wardrobe the size of a goalie’s 10-yard box. Not for Nancy’s collection of provocative catsuits, mind. Sven needs the space because he is reported to have amassed a collection of some 150 suits.
The Guardian has more on the “Beau Brummel of the light blues”.
Swedish Life: September 12th, 2007 by PO
The New York Times liked what it saw when paying a visit to the Poma family in Lännersta on the outskirts of Stockholm:
With their new house, Michele Anenberg Poma and Stefano Poma have bought themselves a piece of the Swedish dream.
In February, when they first saw the newly renovated white wooden house, they fell in love. It was built in 1921 in Lannersta, a suburb on an island 10 kilometers (6 miles) west of central Stockholm.
The Washington Times casts an eye over Sweden’s gambling monopoly:
Sweden says the monopoly is needed to protect the public from “addiction,” illegal rackets and fraud. But EU regulators don’t buy the argument.
Books: September 10th, 2007 by PO
Tibor R. Machan at the Orange Country Register enjoys his detective fiction as much as the next man. And time spent in the company of Henning Mankell’s moody Inspector Wallander is often time well spent.
But when it comes to the dynamics of the free market, Machan parts company with the Swedish author:
No one I have read commenting to Henning Mankell’s well-written and well-plotted crime novels has faulted him for injecting slipshod political-economic comments into his works. Somehow doing didactic, not to mention primitive, political economy seems to be OK by novelists if they oppose full human freedom, if they champion the welfare state (which Swedish Inspector Wallander supports wholeheartedly and whose inefficiencies and other faults he tends to blame on various vague cultural influences).
The Daily Mail is tipping Sweden as one of the places to head to for a cheap spa getaway. Certainly if you’re looking for a full chocolate basting, you’ve come to the right place:
Gothenburg’s restored hydrotherapy centre, the Hagenbadet, offers a chocolate treatment during which the entire body is slathered in molten aphrodisiac. Get an all-over chocolate coating – a treatment that has restorative properties and improves the texture and tone of the skin – for around £55.
Music: September 10th, 2007 by PO
Here’s a profile of Swedish singer Robyn on a website so Australian it even uses the term “daggy”:
She’s made the perfect pop song – the type that makes you want to singalong, makes you want to dance, definitely gives you the shivers, and if you’ve just broken up with someone – well, god help you.
Technology: September 10th, 2007 by PO
The Seattle Times runs a postmortem on Microsoft’s recent Swedish misadventure.
Is Microsoft up to its old tricks? Could it be that the Colossus of Redmond wasn’t chastened by a decade of antitrust oversight, and it’s still bullying and conniving the tech industry?
Offbeat: September 10th, 2007 by PO
Zoe Williams in The Guardian is none too impressed by the supposedly sophisticated Swedes who run Preem.
The Swedish oil distribution company Preem has designed a petrol station aimed specifically at women. I know, very weird – women don’t like to drive! It’s like designing a Tour de France for fish.
Press TV, a news outlet funded by the Iranian government, has a curious take on an article from Agence France Presse (AFP) concerning Sweden’s ongoing Muhammad cartoon row:
Muslim organizations have voiced their contempt for the prime minister’s efforts at dialogue, and the Oerebro Muslim community cancelled a demonstration planned for Friday.
With access to the same AFP text, we at The Local couldn’t help but notice that the Press TV people had mangled the original somewhat. It reads as follows:
Muslim organisations said they were pleased with Reinfeldt’s efforts at dialogue, and the day after the meeting the Muslim community in Oerebro, where Nerikes Allehanda is based, said it had cancelled a demonstration planned for Friday.
So which is it to be? Did they voice their contempt or express their pleasure?
The answer can be found in a news item earlier in the week, again from AFP:
“There is no reason anymore to demonstrate again,” the head of the Muslim cultural centre at Örebro, Jamal Lahamdi, who had organized two earlier protests, told AFP.
The next protest had been planned for Friday.
“The dialogue is good. The talks organized by the prime minister yesterday are a very good step,” he added.
Click here for full coverage of the Muhammad cartoon controversy.
Footnote (September 9th)
The passage in the Press TV article has now been changed to read:
Muslim organizations have voiced their satisfaction over the prime minister’s efforts at dialogue, and the Oerebro Muslim community cancelled a demonstration planned for Friday.
You are currently browsing the The Local's Blog blog archives for September, 2007.
"Sweden is a veritable smorgåsbord for UK business. I see our work as a bit like a kind of dragon’s den for both for larger and smaller British companies. It is about matching the UK companies, not with cash, but with Swedish market opportunities." READ »