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Today in Sweden: A round-up of the latest news

Today in Sweden: A round-up of the latest news
Interior Minister Mikael Damberg announces plans for a stronger civil defence system. Photo: Amir Nabizadeh / TT
Find out what's going on in Sweden today with The Local's short round-up of the news in less than five minutes.
No no-confidence vote as union negotiations resume
 
Government negotiations with trade unions over controversial hiring and firing laws are back underway after an earlier collapse.

There could be a lot at stake here. Sweden's Employment Protection Act is currently under review, and the Left Party, unhappy with the proposals, has found unlikely allies in the right-wing Moderates, Christian Democrats and Sweden Democrats. Together they would have enough numbers to push through a no-confidence vote in the government, risking a government collapse and snap election. Sjöstedt has said he will not follow through on the threat of a no-confidence vote while the negotiations are underway.
 
Swedish vocabulary: employment law – arbetsrätt


Left Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

 

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Sweden to boost civil defence to cope with three months of war or crisis
 
The Swedish government has presented new proposals for civil defence, with the aim of building up preparedness so that the country could cope with war or another crisis for at least three months. That includes doubling the number of available healthcare beds, providing training for staff, making transport routes secure, stockpiling food and medicines, and reviewing the need for shelters.
 
But this is a long-term project. In the early 2000s, Sweden halted a lot of its work on crisis preparedness, including building fallout shelters for example, before re-starting in 2015, and Interior Minister Mikael Damberg said it would take years to reach the desired level of preparedness. 

Swedish vocabulary: defence – försvar


The entrance to one of Sweden's shelters. Photo: Holger.Ellgaard/Wikimedia Commons

 
Coronavirus excess mortality in Sweden not unusually high, but lasted a long time

Excess mortality, a measurement of how many more people died in a specific time period compared to the same time historically, was not highest or lowest in Sweden compared to other countries, a new study shows. But it lasted for a much longer time. 

The study by researchers at Imperial College London, published in Nature Medicine Journal, tracked all recorded deaths in 21 countries from mid-February to the end of May. Across all the countries, mortality during this period was 18 percent higher than the historical average.

Researchers divided the countries into four groups: those with no detectable excess mortality (which included Norway, Denmark and Finland); those with a low level of excess mortality, those with a medium level, and those with a high level. Sweden was in the so-called “medium impact group”, while the countries with the highest excess mortality were Belgium, Italy, Spain, Scotland, England and Wales. But Sweden, together with England and Wales, had excess mortality for the longest period of time.

Swedish vocabulary: mortality – dödlighet
 
Ikea and H&M launch sustainability initiatives

Swedish flatpack giant Ikea has launched a counter-promotion to Black Friday. In an 11-day scheme across 27 countries this winter, it will buy back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price. Meanwhile, one Stockholm branch of H&M now has a machine that will recycle customers' old clothes into fibres for new garments right there in the store. 

Swedish vocabulary: recycling – återvinning
 

Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

 
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