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GM extends deadline for Saab sale: report

General Motors (GM) has extended its December 31st deadline for the sale of Saab Automobile, according to a Saab official. Meanwhile, Swedish unions have turned to Washington for help in urging GM to sell the Swedish automaker.

GM extends deadline for Saab sale: report

“The 31st of December deadline is not valid any more because GM announced that it will start the wind-down but at the same time that the bids that are coming in they will also evaluate,” Saab spokesperson Eric Geers told AFP.

General Motors is currently in negotiations to sell Saab to Spyker, a Dutch

sportscar maker. Spyker’s chief executive Victor Muller said earlier on Wednesday that he expects an answer from GM this week on his company’s offer.

He added that other potential buyers than Spyker, which made a second offer for Saab last week, may have entered into the mix.

Asked about reports that a new deadline for the deal of January 7 had been set, Geers declined to comment but added that Saab would resume production on January 11 after a four-week shutdown as part of plans to close the plant.

“We will build all the customer orders,” he said.

News of the deadline extension comes at the same time as various unions at Swedish car maker Saab have approached the US Department of the Treasury regarding GM’s announced wind-down of its Swedish unit.

tefan Löfven, head of the influential Swedish union IF Metall, told the TT news agency that the union has a contact at the US finance ministry who will guide them through the American bureaucracy.

“We have also received positive signals that a solution for GM and Saab is being worked out. The American Department of the Treasury wants a positive outcome for GM and for American tax payers. In the long-term, this should also mean a good outcome for Swedish taxpayers and for Saab,” said Löfven, who has also voiced criticism that the Swedish government had not stepped in to negotiate with its American counterpart.

“The world is not run by politicians calling each other. You don’t solve problems like that. There must be a buyer that GM wants to sell to,” TT quoted Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt as saying previously.

Last week, the unions urged GM to consider Spyker’s second bid for Saab.

Spyker renewed its offer on December 20th, two days after GM said it wanted to shut down the Swedish car maker.

On Tuesday, Swedish media reported that GM agreed to re-open negotiations on the sale of Saab to Spyker after the withdrawal of two of Spyker’s Russian investors.

Saab, which has barely turned a profit in two decades under GM management, employs about 3,400 people in Sweden. Media reports suggest a Saab closure could lead to more than 8,000 job losses, including subcontractors.

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The Swedish beach that was the Ibiza of the early 1900s

Dubbed the "Swedish Riviera", a beach in Skåne once attracted foreign royalty and tourists with the promise of abandoning conventional morality.

The Swedish beach that was the Ibiza of the early 1900s
Bathers at Mölle taken in the early 20th century. Photo: TT

This article was written for Members of The Local. Read more Membership Exclusives here.

In the early 1900s, Europeans who wanted to defy social conventions while on holiday didn't go to Ibiza, they went to Mölle. In this small seaside village on the Kullen Peninsula in Skåne, about 37 kilometres from Helsingborg, they could do something considered quite shocking: swim openly with members of the opposite sex.

At the time, throughout much of Europe, “mixed bathing” was considered by many to be indecent and immoral. Even in the modest swimsuits of the time – which typically covered a great deal of skin and frequently resembled regular clothing – bathers were considered to be practically naked. The temptations this presented would ostensibly be too much to constrain behaviours perceived as licentious and lewd, and, it was feared by some, would lead to moral and social collapse.

As a result, public beaches were usually segregated, with women and men swimming in different areas or at different times. What little mixing of men and women existed was usually limited to “family bathing”, where wives could swim alongside husbands, and children could swim with their parents. Though this was obviously intended to be quite wholesome, it still generally took place apart from the other designated swimming areas.

READ MORE: See a new side of Swedish history in The Local's Throwback Thursday series

What Ransvik, the rocky stretch of beach near Mölle, offered was a chance to break loose from all these conventions. There, men, women and children were free to swim and sunbathe when, with whom, and in what they chose. Those who did – as well as those who looked on – would have experienced displays of bare skin, physical contact with strangers, and other behaviours that scandalized traditionalists. But, as Professor Henrik Ranby of the University of Gothenburg explained in a 2016 journal article in RIG, many others considered it a paradise.

One notable individual who may have held the latter view was Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, who visited the beach in 1907. This royal seal of approval helped make the site a popular destination for Germans, as did the extension of train service directly to Mölle in 1910. According to a 1922 travel guidebook cited by Professor Ranby, in the years before the First World War, Mölle was Sweden's largest bathing and recreation area, with between 2000 and 2500 beachgoers on weekdays and twice as many on Sundays.

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Mölle harbour today. Photo: Apelöga/imagebank.sweden.se

“Mölle grew fast, the taxes went up, many new shops were opened and the rate of childbirths rose during this period of optimism”, wrote Danish historian Karen Klitgaard Povlsen in the 2010 book Re-Investing Authenticity: Tourism, Place and Emotions. “Those were the years in which Kullen acquired the name ‘the Swedish Riviera'…”.

Though visitors to the beach at Ransvik were able to push social and cultural boundaries, they were still subject to a few restrictions. One of these was a ban on private photography, which was ostensibly intended as a nod to public decorum and/or a defence against exploitation.

Whatever the exact reason, it became a lucrative opportunity for Swedish photographer Peter P. Lundh, who secured exclusive rights to take photographs at the beach. Between 1907 and 1914, he produced many pictures, which were sold to the beachgoers as souvenir postcards or published in area guidebooks and Lundh's tourist magazine.

The photograph featured here, which represents everything that horrified traditionalists and was enjoyed by modernists, was possibly one of Lundh's as it closely resembles those he took, some of which have been preserved in the Höganäs Museum.

Victoria Martínez is an American historical researcher, writer and author of three historical non-fiction books. She lives in Småland county, Sweden, with her Spanish husband and their two children.

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