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TODAY IN SWEDEN

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Find out what's going on in Sweden today with The Local's short roundup of the news in less than five minutes.

Swedish police standing during a minute of silence
Police held a minute's silence on Monday for two police officers and artist Lars Vilks who were killed in a car accident. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Majority support for at-home abortions

In February this year, the Moderate Party proposed an amendment to the abortion law so that women would be able to have medical abortions at home and not be required to go to hospital, as is the case currently.

Sveriges Radio Ekot reports that there is already widespread support for the change among Sweden’s political parties, with only the Christian Democrats against. According to sexual education charity RFSU, which is also supportive of the proposed change, 96 percent of abortions carried out in Sweden are medical (as opposed to surgical).

“If this is an important issue for women in a difficult situation, then we should not sit and claim that legislation from 1974 is the most relevant, we have to look at the issue,” Kristina Nilsson, the Social Democrat Deputy Chairperson of the parliamentary Social Affairs Committee, told Ekot.

Swedish vocabulary: abortion – abort

An update on vaccine passes for foreign residents

Sweden’s e-Health Agency has submitted a report on expanding the Covid-19 vaccine pass to more groups, including people without a personnummer and people vaccinated abroad. We will have an update on this shortly.

Who will win the Physics Nobel?

We’ll find out later this morning in the second Nobel Prize announcement of the season, after yesterday’s prize in medicine went to US duo David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for discoveries on receptors for temperature and touch.

According to experts, some of the possible favourites include France’s Alain Aspect for his research into quantum entanglement, Americans Charles Bennett and Peter Shor and Canada’s Gilles Brassard for their work on quantum computing, or Britain’s John Pendry for his work on what has been dubbed an invisibility cloak.

Swedish vocabulary: physics – fysik

Public Health Agency recommends Pfizer vaccine for children

With vaccination of 12-15-year-olds set to get underway from next week in most parts of Sweden, the Public Health Agency has recommended that children in this age group only receive the Pfizer/BionTech vaccine.

The reason is that Pfizer’s vaccine has been used to a greater extent among this age group and therefore there is more data about it.

Meanwhile, for most adults receiving a third dose of the vaccine, the agency has recommended either a full dose of the Pfizer vaccine or a half dose of Moderna. People with weakened immune systems however can receive a full dose of Moderna.

Swedish vocabulary: to recommend – rekommendera

Electricity prices soar again

The minus figures for electricity prices which we reported on in yesterday’s Today in Sweden didn’t last long.

After a low of 9.3 öre per kilowatt hour (kWh) across the whole country on Sunday, Monday saw the price increase in all of Sweden, with a 1417 percent rise in electricity area four (south-western Sweden, including Malmö) to reach 141 öre per kWh. Electricity area 3, which encompasses Stockholm and the south-east, saw a 512 percent increase. 

The high prices returned even despite strong winds on Monday; wind power accounts for a lot of Sweden’s electricity production and Sunday’s drop was due to the large amount of energy being produced. Prices have been high not just in Sweden but across Europe since September.

Swedish vocabulary: strong winds – kraftiga vindar

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TODAY IN SWEDEN

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

New moves towards Nato, Ukrainians to Lund, and a fall in online sales. Find out what's going on in Sweden, with The Local's short roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

Left-wing Aftonbladet newspaper backs Nato membership

The Aftonbladet newspaper, which describes itself as reflecting an “independent Social Democrat” viewpoint, has switched sides on Nato, with the newspaper’s chief political editor Anders Lindberg arguing in an editorial that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine makes membership of the security organisation necessary. 

“Vladimir Putin’s war demonstrates that we need to join Nato to guarantee Sweden’s security,” Lindberg wrote in an article on Wednesday.  

“I have never previously supported Swedish membership of Nato,” he explained. “On the contrary, I have argued that non-alignment, a strong national defence, and a pragmatic foreign and security policy has worked extremely well. It has kept us out of war and promoted our national interests.”  

But he said that Russia’s invasion had created a “security deficit in Northern Europe”. 

“When I read the arguments for continued military non-alignment, I cannot see any answers to the question of how we should compensate for this deficit,” he wrote. 

Swedish Vocab: en underksott – a deficit 

Finnish parliament to hold historic Nato debate 

The Finnish parliament is to hold a historic five-hour debate in parliament on Wednesday afternoon, which if it backs Nato membership, will make Nato membership for Sweden much more likely. 

The key will be the position taken by the Social Democrats, the part led by Prime Minister Sanna Marin, and also of the Centre Party, who say they will back Nato membership if the government as a whole does. 

The debate starts at 1.15pm Swedish time. 

Swedish Vocab: en besked – an indication/statement

‘No evidence riots result of foreign influence operation’

The new Swedish Psychological Defence Agency said on Wednesday that there was no evidence the riots over the weekend were encouraged by overseas powers. 

“At present we do not see any ongoing inappropriate influence operations against Sweden,” said Mikael Östlund, the communications chief at the Swedish Psychological Defence Agency. 

Police on Monday said that ahead of the riots over the Easter weekend, they had seen encouragement coming from overseas social media accounts. 

“We know that they is information about encouragement to commit violence against police officers, which has been orchestrated overseas,” said Jonas Hysing, the police officer leading the response to the riots, on Monday. ¨

Swedish vocab: påverkanskampanj – influence operation 

Lund wants to recruit more Ukrainian students 

Lund University wants to make it easier for students from Ukraine to study in Sweden, and has signed an exchange agreement with the Taras Sjevtjenko University in Kiev, it announced in a press release. There were ten Ukrainians studying in lund before Russia’s invasion, and the university aims for that number to increase and for those who are studying to be offered grants. 

Swedish vocab: att locka – to attract 

Swedish PM: ‘Police right to allow Paludan to burn Koran’
 
Sweden’s Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, has said that the police decision to allow Danish far-Right activist Rasmus Paludan to hold
a Koran-burning demonstration was correct under Sweden’s strong freedom of expression laws, and that, equally, those opposed have a right to mount a counter demonstration. 
 
“You have the right to demonstrate against it – but peacefully. What we’ve seen is something totally different, and it seems, as police are saying, that there have also been criminal gangs behind this.” 
 
“It’s important,” she added, “that those responsible are arrested and prosecuted.” 
 
She said the pictures of the riots had been “terrible”. “I have of course had a lot of thoughts about the police officers who were wounded.”
 
Swedish vocab: yttrandefriheten – freedom of expression
 
 
E-commerce falls from pandemic peak in Sweden

Revenues from e-commerce sites in Sweden fell 17 percent in March compared to the same month last year, according to the Swedish Trade Federation, with all the signs being that sales will decline this year compared to 2021.  

“The growth in e-commerce is flattening out, but it’s also a fact that the average purchase level in March 2022 was still 70 percent higher than just before the pandemic. The relatively high revenues from e-commerce are shadowed by the record year we saw in 2021,” said Johan Davidson, the trade body’s chief economist. 

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