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The Swedes are truly captured by literary adventures, according to a DN report of an unprecedented rise in book sales last year. Members of the Swedish Publishing Association, SVF, sold approximately 40 million books - an increase of 12% on the year before - totalling 80 per cent of sales on the Swedish market. Factual literature was particularly popular, while children's books and teenage fiction also scored high on sales. Whether the rise is due to a hunger for learning or earning is unclear - but it's surely no coincidence that tax on books was halved last year.

In case any readers failed to spot every front page on Tuesday morning, 'our heroes' in Portugal won their opening game of Euro 2004 5-0. The headlines celebrating the win against mighty Bulgaria were about as unrestrained as Swedish journalism gets: "GOOD GOD!", "THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!", "WORLD CLASS!" and so on. The team is now expected to win the entire championships, as well as Wimbledon, the synchronised swimming in this year's Olympics and the Nobel Peace Prize. Sweden's next game is against Italy at 8.45pm today, Friday.

Sunday's DN reported on another folk hero: the security guard at the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad, who finally set foot on Swedish soil last week. Ali Suza has been serving mother Sweden in Iraq 30 not exactly peaceful years. He was presented with a North Star medal by Laila Freivalds and after a helicopter ride he declared that he loved the views of the Swedish countryside. He also joined officials for lunch at the foreign office. During Ali's service there have been several attacks at the Swedish embassy in Baghdad, which is still deemed too unsafe for Swedish personnel. He'll be back there next week though.

There's loyalty of another sort behind the many independent religious factions in Sweden today - and none of them is entirely without controversy. According to SvD, yet another pastor is in trouble. A 63-year-old leader of the pentecostal church in Öland claimed that same-gender couples are responsible for AIDS, much more inclined to have sex with animals and prone to becoming paedophiles. Outrage ensued and the pastor has been charged with provocation of a minority group.

While voices were raised in Öland, silence struck last Friday in the Stockholm region, where Swedish Radio lost its transmission for 40 minutes. A deeply worrying incident, according to Svante Werger, Head of Public Relations and Information Services at the Swedish Defence Unit, who pointed out that the public broadcast body is an important tool for the Swedish defence and acts as a channel for information in disaster recovery. The explanation for the failure has not yet been forthcoming.

The explanation for a murder in Degerfors earlier in the year was "the pressures of domestic chores", and last Monday a 49-year-old woman was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing her husband. The many recent arguments between the couple finally peaked over dinner in the kitchen one evening, when the woman attacked her husband with a knife. She has confessed to the stabbing, but claims she acted out of necessity. Tuesday's DN said that the court has agreed to respect the fact that she has been diagnosed with mental and psychological distress.

If there are hazards in the home, it's apparently no less dangerous in the workplace, according to SvD which reported that Swedish builders are afraid of dying at work. Over a thousand members of the trade union Byggnads expressed their concerns in a survey showing that 90 per cent believe they are at risk in their work environment and 15 per cent are afraid they might die. Stress, dust and heavy lifting are the greatest health risks.

Speaking of insecurities, a long-haired man sued a female colleague who cut his hair off whilst they were on a staff trip aboard a ferry to Finland. He claimed that he felt distressed, threatened and abused by the incident, according to Tuesday's Aftonbladet. The woman allegedly came up to him from behind and cut a large chunk off his hair, saying that she disliked the way he 'waved it about'. The man has started to recreate his hair with false extensions, which could cost up to 86,400 crowns, and is demanding compensation from his colleague. He told Aftonbladet that he feels like he's lost a limb.

The woman who cut off her colleague's hair won't receive a prison sentence for her mischief, but a Councillor who fraudulently spent 30 million crowns of a housing association fund has been sentenced to five and a half years. As The Local reported in an earlier edition, the Councillor used the money to fund his leisure pursuit of call girls from escort agencies around Europe. He was in control of accounts in the finance department at Uddevallahem and now he has to pay them 29.7 million crowns in compensation.

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