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PENSIONER

70-year-old fined for slapping cheeky youth

A pensioner from Värnamo in south central Sweden has been fined 3,000 kronor ($420) on assault charges by a Swedish court for slapping a 12-year-old boy who called him an old fart (‘gubbjävel’).

70-year-old fined for slapping cheeky youth

Seventy-year-old Ronald Fasth said he didn’t know yet whether or not he would appeal the court’s decision.

“I was hoping to be found innocent,” he told TT news agency.

“I think this (decision) is wrong. It’s not about the money, it’s the principle. I haven’t yet decided if I will appeal,” Fasth told Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.

Fasth readily admits that he slapped the boy, saying he did it to keep the peace.

“You have to demand a little respect, otherwise I might have gotten slapped myself,” he told SvD.

“I don’t regret that I slapped him, but I never thought it would become such a big deal,” he said.

The assault occured in July at Folkets Park in Värnamo, where Fasth slapped the 12-year-old after the boy insulted him and then began riding his bicycle across the park’s miniature golf course.

Fasth has been a volunteer at the park since the 1960s.

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PENSIONER

Poor Swedish pensioner shoplifts to eat

In a country known for its generous welfare system, our Swede of the Week is a woman who has been turning heads nationwide for highlighting the other side of the spectrum - an 85-year-old woman whose pension was so insufficient that she turned to stealing food.

Poor Swedish pensioner shoplifts to eat

The pensioner, who lives in Västerås in eastern Sweden, was waiting for her daughter to visit when she decided to shoplift a meal for the pair.

“I’m so ashamed, but it’s so hard to make my pension suffice,” she told the Västmanlands Läns Tidning (VLT). “It’s not the first time I’ve stolen. I’ve done it before when I was hungry.”

The woman was sentenced on Tuesday for shoplifting, and was ordered to pay a fine of 5,400 kronor ($825).

The woman’s pension is 9,000 kronor and her rent is 6,500 kronor. On the day of the theft, the woman admitted that she hadn’t even planned to shop, but simply became jealous while watching her friend choose groceries without paying a second thought.

Staff at the Ica supermarket in Bäckby caught the woman with groceries valued at roughly 500 kronor, including salmon, mince, cheese, ham, bread, and sausages.

The woman told the paper that she has never stolen anything besides food every now and again, and that her monthly allowance hardly covers the costs of her medicine that she needs for her asthma and blood pressure.

The story has caught the attention of the Swedish public, with many national newspapers picking up the story.

Sweden’s pensioners often live on a tight budget, with LO union newspaper Arbetet pointing out in June that one in three retired Swedes are living below the poverty line.

Around 45 percent of the female pensioner population, and 25 percent of the men, have such low income from their pension that they are living in poverty, the paper wrote. Poverty is more common among the unmarried than the married, and among the foreign-born than those born in Sweden.

Editor’s Note: The Local’s Swede of the Week is someone in the news who – for good or ill – has revealed something interesting about the country. Being selected as Swede of the Week is not necessarily an endorsement.

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