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Reinfeldt breaks silence on Boston bombing

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt commented on the Boston Marathon bombings for the first time on Wednesday, admitting it is "impossible" to completely prevent such attacks, either in Sweden or the United States.

Reinfeldt breaks silence on Boston bombing

“One should be aware that increasingly stringent controls come at the expense of people’s freedom,” Reinfeldt said during a visit to a company in Gävle in eastern Sweden, according to the Aftonbladet newspaper.

“This is perhaps the highest price we pay for the open society that gives us freedom and mobility that I think people take for granted and feel is too valuable to forego.”

Reinfeldt called Monday’s blasts in Boston, which left at least three dead and injured more than 170 people, “totally reckless”, adding however that it’s often impossible to track people committed to expressing their “hate of society” through violent acts.

The prime minister made reference to Stockholm suicide bomber Taimour Abdulwahab, who blew himself up on a busy street in the middle of the holiday shopping rush in December 2010, as an example of how difficult it can be to understand an attacker’s motives ahead of time.

“When we learned who he was and what the background was, that showed how complicated it is to find these people,” said Reinfeldt.

“One experience is that it often involves specific individuals who develop their ideas and hate of society largely in isolation. We can’t control that completely but we can learn from it. That’s why it’s so important that those in the United States find who did this and from that we can built up an analysis in order to increase our resilience.”

On Wednesday, it also emerged that the bombs used in the Boston attack appeared to be made from pressure cookers packed with bits of metal, a bomb design reminiscent of the one used by Abdulwahab in 2010.

There is nothing to indicate any connection between the Stockholm and Boston attacks, but according to Swedish terrorism expert Lars Nicander, the pressure cooker bombs may have been used in both incidents because they are the “simplest way to make a bomb”.

While expressing his horror over the Boston bombing, Reinfeldt added he was sceptical about the whether simply implementing more stringent security measures would help prevent future attacks.

“I don’t think we should imagine that we have complete protection, because that is in some ways connected to our choice to live in an open society,” he said.

“The alternative would be keeping an eye on citizens in every situation. I don’t think anyone wants that.”

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OFFBEAT

Swedish teen hits gold with love tweets to PM

A perky Swedish schoolgirl with a wry sense of humour has suddenly found herself with thousands of fans fascinated with details of her fictional crush on Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, making her our pick for Swede of the Week.

“Imagine you and Reinfeldt sending silly snapchats to eachother ♡,” reads the maiden tweet from the @imaginreinfeldt Twitter account.

The tweet is accompanied with a picture of the Swedish prime minister in profile, a finger on his nose as he stares at a microphone, apparently deep in thought.

 

 

Since taking its place in the twittosphere on the evening of September 8th, a mere four days ago at time of writing, the account has attracted more than 3,200 followers, much to the surprise of its creator, 14-year-old Ebba.

“The response has been great fun. It's great to know that I'm able to make people laugh,” she says.

When contacted by The Local on her mobile phone, Ebba is in gym class, huffing along on a run with her fellow sixth graders in Hallen, a community of 200 residents on the shores of Storsjön lake in Åre municipality in northern Sweden.

“I really never imagined this would attract any attention. I did it because I thought it was fun,” she explains when asked about the Twitter account.

 

 

Ebba says she first began to reflect on the gold mine of humour hidden beneath the prime minister's austere exterior when she was 11-years-old, around the time of Sweden's last general election when Reinfeldt and his government earned a second term in office.

“He has this appearance that is somewhat serious. But I think he looks a lot like a puppy dog,” she says.

“I've always thought he's sort of an amusing guy who is easy to make fun of.”

 

 

Over the past couple of years, Ebba, a girl with a “special sense of humour who likes to joke about inappropriate topics” offered up a range of Reinfeldt-inspired quips to her friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Seeing Reinfeldt's face plastered on the television and the front pages of newspapers during last week's visit of US President Barack Obama prompted Ebba to think anew about the next step in her ever-evolving Reinfeldt joke meme.

“I'd gotten a lot of positive responses to my postings on social media,” she explains.

“And I had all these ideas of imagining Reinfeldt in different made-up scenes, so I decided to launch an entire Twitter account dedicated to the joke of having a crush on Reinfeldt.”

 

 

Ebba, who is currently single, emphasizes that flirtatious Twitter account is “totally made up” and that she in no way harbours feelings for Reinfeldt, who finalized his divorce from his wife Filippa in February 2013 after two decades of marriage.

Nor does she harbour any political leanings of her own.

“I'm not into politics. I don't have any real political opinions of my own. The account is meant to be totally neutral,” she says.

All the @imaginreinfeldt tweets are written in English, Ebba says, for the simple fact that “everything sounds much funnier in English”.

While Ebba has yet to meet Reinfeldt face-to-face, she knows exactly what she'd do should the opportunity arise.

“I'd simply tell him he's really lovely,” she says.

“And then I'd give him a big hug.”

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.

SEE ALSO: A list of The Local's past Swedes of the Week

David Landes

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