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WEAPONS

Saab climbs on new list of global arms dealers

Swedish defence contractor Saab has moved up in a ranking of the world's 100 largest defence companies published Monday by a Stockholm-based think tank.

Saab climbs on new list of global arms dealers

Overall, the world’s 100 largest arms dealers, excluding China, sold weapons and military services worth $411.1 billion in 2010, a rise of one percent from 2009, the report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) found

“Total arms sales … maintained their upward trend in 2010, although at one percent in real terms, the increase was much slower than in 2009,” SIPRI said in a statement.

In 2009, sales swelled by seven percent to 406 billion dollars.

“The data for 2010 demonstrates, once again, the major players’ ability to continue selling arms and military services despite the financial crises currently affecting other industries,” SIPRI arms industry expert Susan Jackson said.

American firms dominated the Top 100 list as usual, with sales by 44 US-based companies accounting for over 60 percent of the market, or $246.6 billion.

Seven of them placed in the top 10, with Lockheed Martin in first place with sales of 35.7 billion dollars.

The only Swedish firm among the top 100 is Sweden’s Saab AB which saw its position rise from 31st place in 2009 to 28th place in 2010.

According to SIPRI’s figures, Saab sold $2.8 billion in 2010, up from $2.6 billion the year before.

The Swedish defence industry is also represented on the list by UK firm BAE Systems, which nabbed second place on the list and is owner of Swedish military vehicle manufacturer Hägglunds and munitions maker Bofors, known formally as BAE Systems Land & Armaments

Other non-US firms on the list include European group EADS in seventh, and Italy’s Finmeccanica in eighth position.

The number of European groups on the Top 100 list declined from 33 in 2009 to 30 in 2010, accounting for a total of 29 percent of sales worth 119 billion dollars.

The military services market, which includes systems support, training, logistics and maintenance, also continued to grow, with 20 companies on the list.

Several companies on this year’s list made company acquisitions in 2010, thereby inflating their sales compared to previous years, the institute said.

SIPRI noted that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had “mixed impacts” on arms sales, even with the drawdown in Iraq that began in 2010.

The think tank, which is specialized in research on conflicts, weapons, arms control and disarmament, was created in 1966 and is 50-percent financed by the Swedish state.

It defines arms sales as “sales of military goods and services to military customers, including both sales for domestic procurement and sales for export.”

It has published the Top 100 list of arms producers since 1990, a list that excludes China due to a lack of available data.

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FOOTBALL

Fights, riots and smoke bombs mar Swedish football derby

Sunday’s football derby between Stockholm area clubs AIK and Hammarby devolved into minor chaos, according to police.

Fights, riots and smoke bombs mar Swedish football derby
AIK fans light flares during Sunday's match. Photo: Sören Andersson/TT
The restaurant area surrounding Friends Arena saw at least one violent attack, three mini-riots and a number of smoke bomb attacks. 
 
Following the match in Solna, which AIK won 2-0, one fan was severely beaten in an attack that left him unconscious. According to the police report, the incident occurred outside of a restaurant in the Råsunda area and the male victim had to be transported by ambulance to the hospital. The victim is in his mid-40s and suffered “serious injuries”, police said. 
 
Police also responded to reports that unruly fans threw smoke bombs into one or more restaurants, and officers additionally had to contend with “three violent riots and numerous fights”. Some football fans also reportedly threw rocks at the police. 
 
 
The police report said that two people were arrested on riot charges, but no arrests had been made for the violent attack on the 40-something male victim or an unspecified separate attack that caused another victim to be transported to hospital. 
 
Violence and riots are not uncommon at Swedish football matches, especially when rivals like AIK and Hammarby face off. An August 2017 match between AIK and Djurgården, another bitter Stockholm area rival, was marred by violent clashes before the action even got underway and ultimately ended with 171 people being held in temporary police custody. 
 
In another incident, an October 2016 derby between Djurgården and Hammarby was suspended and six people were arrested for rioting after supporters threw flares and projectiles at security personnel then climbed the barricades. The referee removed players from the pitch and suspended the game for almost 30 minutes while police worked to end the confrontation.
 
Scuffles even broke out between supporters of the same teams during an U21 match earlier that year. A month later, Sweden legend Henrik Larsson and his son were targeted by angry fans following a Helsingborg match, after which Zlatan Ibrahimovic recommended violent fans should “step inside an Octagon cage and settle it there” instead.
 
 
In 2014, football violence hit a shocking new level when a 44-year-old male Djurgården fan died from head injuries he suffered during a mass brawl between Djurgården and Helsingborgs IF. Hooligans have also attacked players and referees on the pitch, caused fires to break out in the stands and turned their ire on police.
 
In an effort to try to cut down on the problems the Swedish government has brought in a ban on wearing masks at stadiums.
 
 
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