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

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

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
A young child died after a crash on the motorway in southern Sweden. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

New party poll as Swedish election year gets under way

Swedish public broadcaster SVT and pollsters Novus have released a new poll of the political parties, with eight months left to go until Sweden’s next general election.

The voter survey puts the ruling Social Democrats at 31.3 percent, the Sweden Democrats at 20.1 percent, the Moderates at 18.7 percent, the Left Party at 10.5 percent, the Centre Party at 6.7 percent and the Christian Democrats at 5.6 percent.

The Green Party and the Liberals would get 3.4 and 2.2 percent, respectively, of votes if an election was held today, putting both below the 4.0 threshold to get into parliament.

Swedish vocabulary: an election – ett val

Six-year-old dies in crash in southern Sweden

A six-year-old boy died in an accident on the E6 motorway at Borgeby north of Malmö, on Tuesday evening. Two cars and a truck with a trailer were involved in the collision, which saw two adults taken to hospital by ambulance with non-life-threatening injuries.

According to early witness reports, the truck was parked on the roadside and the cars drove into it, but police warned it was too early to say with certainty what happened.

Swedish vocabulary: an accident – en olycka

Sweden records highest number of daily Covid cases since start of pandemic

On December 30th, 11,507 new cases of Covid-19 were reported to Sweden’s Public Health Agency – the highest confirmed number for a single day since the start of the pandemic. The previous highest confirmed daily tally was 11,376 on December 23rd 2020, however, large-scale testing did not begin until the autumn of 2020.

In the western Västra Götaland region, cases increased last week by over 104 percent compared with the week before. Cases in the southern region of Skåne doubled over the same period – rising from 5,563 between December 20th-26th up to 11,158 the following week.

Swedish vocabulary: daily – daglig

King and Queen of Sweden test positive for Covid-19

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia have both tested positive for Covid-19, the Royal Court of Sweden confirmed on Tuesday.

The King and Queen, who are both in their 70s, have had three Covid vaccinations each and have mild symptoms.

They tested positive for Covid on Monday evening.

Swedish vocabulary: The King – Kungen

Swedish woman charged with helping IS recruit teenage son as child soldier

A Swedish woman is set to face trial for allegedly letting her young son fight for the Islamic State group as a child soldier in Syria. In the first case of its kind, the 49-year-old stands accused of having allowed her son to fight for armed groups, including IS, from the age of 12 to 15.

She denies all charges.

Swedish vocabulary: a trial – en rättegång

Ex-CEO of Swedish bank to face trial over money-laundering scandal

Birgitte Bonnesen, the former CEO of Swedish banking giant Swedbank, is set to face trial on fraud and market manipulation charges.

Authorities believe Bonnesen attempted to cover up money-laundering by the bank in Sweden by diffusing “intentionally or by aggravated negligence (…) false information about the bank’s measures to prevent, detect, block and signal suspicions about money-laundering in (its) operations,” the prosecutor in charge of the investigation, Thomas Langrot, said in a statement.

She denies all charges.

Swedish vocabulary: money-laundering – pengatvätt

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

Automatic preschool for three-year olds, Centre Party set eyes on government, Swede on trial in Donetsk and Sweden Democrat U-turn on work permits. Here's Sweden's news on Tuesday.

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

Centre leader Annie Lööf open to minister role in Social Democrat government

The Centre Party would consider minister roles in a Social Democrat-led government, leader Annie Lööf said on Monday.

In an interview with newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN), Lööf also described Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson as the best prime ministerial candidate.

“I believe Magdalena Andersson has the leadership needed,” she said.

According to Lööf, Andersson has “noticeably better openness for cooperation,” than her rival, Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson, although Lööf also underlined the fact that her support is conditional on “policy anchored in the centre”.

When DN asked if this also meant the Centre would be open to governmental positions, Lööf said that the party “would like to be in government with the Social Democrats.”

“That’s presuming policy leans towards the centre.”

Lööf further repeated her previous line that the Centre Party are not interested in working together with the Left Party on a possible budget.

“The Centre Party is a right-wing liberal central party. We will not collaborate on the Left Party on a budget.”

Lööf did not rule out working together with her previous allies on the other side of the political divide, either.

“We are open to continued collaboration over bloc boundaries,” she said.

“But that’s conditional on the future prime minister being receptive to where the political majority are located.”

Swedish vocabulary: att ingå i en regering – to take part in a government

Sweden’s Social Democrats propose automatic preschool for three-year-olds

Sweden’s Social Democrats want to force municipalities to sign three year olds up for preschool if they or their parents have recently arrived in Sweden, in a move aimed at combatting segregation.

“We need a joint offensive to break the segregation which is tearing apart our country,” integration and migration minister Anders Ygeman said in a press conference announce a package of measures on Monday. 

His party, the Social Democrats, want to make it obligatory for municipalities to sign up all children over the age of three for preschool, if they or their parents have recently arrived in Sweden.

“We want more children with bad Swedish skills to start preschool, giving them a better chance of succeeding when they start school,” Ygeman said.

The measure would not be obligatory for parents, who would still be able to turn down a preschool place if offered one.

“We think that lots of parents will take this opportunity and we want it to be combined with outreach measures from the municipalities,” he said.

In addition to this, the Social Democrats want to force municipalities to contact residents who are eligible for SFI (Swedish for immigrants) classes in their area and encourage them to participate in classes.

Swedish vocabulary: bryta segregationen – break segregation

Trial begins for Swedish man in Donetsk

Five men captured in eastern Ukraine went on trial on Monday in a court administered by Kremlin-backed separatists in the city of Donetsk, Russian media reported.

The five — one Swedish, three British and one Croatian — all pleaded not guilty to charges of being mercenaries, according to Russian media reports.

They could face the death penalty under the laws of the self-proclaimed, unrecognised Donetsk People’s Republic.

The next court hearing in their case is scheduled for October, Russian media reported.

Three of the men were captured in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol and face possible execution for attempting to “seize power by force” and “taking part in armed conflict as mercenaries”, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The other two face charges of being a mercenary and recruiting mercenaries for Ukraine, the news agency

On June 9, the supreme court of the self-proclaimed republic already sentenced two Brits and a Moroccan, all of whom were captured by pro-Russian forces in Ukraine’s industrial east, to death for being mercenaries. All three have appealed their verdicts.

There has been a moratorium on the death penalty in Russia since 1997, but it does not apply in the two separatist regions in Ukraine.

Swedish vocabulary: rättegången – the trial

Sweden Democrat leader: ‘We don’t want unions to control work permits’

The leader of the populist Sweden Democrats party has told The Local that he is opposed to Social Democrat plans to bring back ‘labour market testing’ for work permits, preferring to instead raise the salary threshold.

In an interview after holding his summer speech in his home town of Sölvesborg, Jimmie Åkesson told The Local that while his party believed Sweden’s system of work permits should be made stricter, he was now opposed to bringing back the old system of arbetsmarknadsprövning, or labour market testing, scrapped by the Moderate-led Alliance government in 2008, where labour unions worked together with government and employers to identify jobs and sectors where there is a labour shortage.

“We don’t want the unions to have the power to decide who gets permits to come to Sweden,” Åkesson said. “But we want society, in some way, [to] have to see if it’s needed or not, and exactly how we’re going to do that I cannot say at this time.”

He said he believed “a better solution” than a return of union involvement would be something similar to proposals made by the Christian Democrat and Moderate parties, who want to increase the minimum salary that those seeking work permits are being offered.

Åkesson’s views on work permits seem to contradict what is on the Sweden Democrats’ website, where it still states that the party wants “to reinstate government labour market testing, and a demand for qualifications, salary, and need”. 

Swedish vocabulary: arbetstillstånd – work permit