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OBAMA

Swedish union plea to Obama: ‘help save Saab’

Swedish union IF Metall has written a letter to US president Barack Obama about bankrupt Swedish automaker Saab, hoping for a similar result to the General Motors bailout of 2009.

Swedish union plea to Obama: 'help save Saab'

The letter urges the president to force former Saab owner General Motors to release the technology licenses for any potential buyer for Saab.

The hope is for a similar treatment from Obama as was the case with General Motors in 2009, when the company was saved from bankruptcy thanks to a $50 billion bailout government bailout of GM orchestrated by Obama’s administration.

“Our hope is that you will feel that Saab Automobile is worth being saved. We, more than 4,500 car workers in Sweden, look forward to your answer,” the letter said, according to the TT news agency.

A spokesperson for the union indicated that a start to negotiations is the first goal of the letter.

“We’re doing everything to try and influence GM so the company can at least begin to negotiate,” said Tonnie Andersson, spokesperson for IF Metall, to Sveriges Radio (SR) P4 Väst.

The letter, in which the workers claim to be “frustrated” with the lack of negotiations over a possible purchase of Saab, urges the president to consider the company, the workers, and the Unites States’ previous cooperation with GM.

“The efforts you made a few years ago to save General Motors were exceptional. However, in the process, Saab became badly damaged. After five months we became forced to declare bankruptcy and time has nearly run out,” the letter said.

Saab Automobile filed for bankruptcy in the Swedish courts in December 2011 following the failure of a Chinese consortium to complete a takeover in part due to GM’s unwillingness to release Saab technology licences that are key for producing the Saab 9-4X and Saab 9-5.

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OBAMA

Obama reveals he wants to work for… Spotify?

Barack Obama may be leaving the White House, but it looks like he's got his future all planned out.

Obama reveals he wants to work for... Spotify?
Barack Obama on a visit to Sweden in 2013. Photo: AP Photo/Frank Augstein

One of Obama's favourite trips abroad was his 2013 visit to Sweden, US tech entrepreneur, podcast editor and former The Local blogger Natalia Brzezinski has revealed the president told her.

She and her husband Mark Brzezinski, who was the US ambassador to Sweden 2011-2015, were invited to the White House on Wednesday evening along with other diplomats appointed by Obama.

“I finally got the chance to thank him for the life-changing appointment to Sweden,” she wrote in a post on Instagram.

“He said word for word: 'I loved visiting you in Stockholm, it was my favourite trip. I plan to go back there really soon'.”

Obama went to Stockholm on an official state visit in 2013. And Brzezinski, the CEO of creative tech festival Symposium Stockholm, revealed she tried to tempt him back to attend its Brilliant Minds conference in June.

He did not promise anything, but did at least urge Brzezinski to “send him the details”.

Obama leaves his post on January 20th, handing over the reins to Republican president-elect Donald Trump. As for the outgoing president's future, it looks like he's got his heart set on a certain Swedish music streaming giant.

“I'm still waiting for my job at Spotify… 'cause I know y'all loved my playlist,” Brzezinski quoted him as saying.

We are pretty sure he was joking, but it is not the first time Obama has praised Sweden.

Former prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt revealed in an interview last year that the US president had told him on his visit to Stockholm that he would love to return again with his family.

“Shortly thereafter I met Michelle and Barack Obama again in New York and Michelle confirmed that Barack talked to her about it after his visit to Stockholm. I said I hoped they would find time to return after his presidency,” Reinfeldt told the Aftonbladet tabloid in September.