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

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 Thursday
Johanna and Klara Söderberg, the two sisters in First Aid Kit, complained when the centre-Right Moderate Party used one of their songs. Photo: TT

Swedish foreign minister in Washington to discuss Russia and Ukraine

Sweden’s foreign minister Ann Linde is in Washington today to discuss “Russia’s actions and the situation around Ukraine”.

Linde is meeting Wendy Sherman, Deputy Secretary of State, Jonathan Finer, President Joe Biden’s national security advisor, and Uzra Zeya, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights of the United States. 

The trip comes after Russia last month said it wanted a written guarantee that Sweden and Finland, together with other neighbouring nations, not be admitted to Nato. 

Every expectant mother tests positive for Covid-19 in Gothenburg ward 

All of the people admitted to the maternity ward at Sahlgrenska University Hospital East have tested positive for Covid.-19, underlining the current spread in society. 

”For the first time since the start of the pandemic, all patients in the entire maternity unit have tested positive for Covid-19. Almost none of those who became ill with Covid-19 were vaccinated,” the hospital wrote on social media.  

All patients at the hospital are tested on arrival and then again three days later. 

Police in Sweden have reported 23 people for faking vaccine passes

In the month since vaccination passes came into use in Sweden for large events, police have reported 23 cases of people using fake vaccination passes or attempting to use someone else’s to get into a venue or event. According to data given to SVT, there have been six reported cases of fake vaccination passes and 17 of people using someone else’s pass. 

“The number of reports is relatively low, but we have to assume that there’s a large hidden number of cases which haven’t been reported, as [arrangers] might just choose to turn away people and not call the police,” Lotta Mauritzson, at the police’s fraud centre, told SVT. 

Sweden’s Moderate Party remove First Aid kit song from Instagram after sister duo’s protest 

Sweden’s centre-right Moderate Party have removed a cover of Willie Nelson’s On the road again by the Swedish folk-pop duo First Aid Kit from the Instagram account of Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson, after Johanna and Klara Söderberg, the two sisters in the duo, complained that their music had been used without permission. 

“We want nothing to do with you. We believe in an inclusive society and believe that your politics contributes to the opposite of that,” the sisters write on Twitter. 

High diesel prices “an important market signal”: Swedish energy minister 

Sweden’s new energy minister Khashayar Farmanbar has defended the spiralling diesel prices in Sweden by arguing that they will prompt the market to increase supplies of biodiesel, arguing that the “reduction requirement’, which forces fuel retailers to mix in gradually larger proportions of biodiesel in their fuel will initially push up prices at the pump, but will later boost Sweden’s production of biofuel. 

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

Party leaders' summer speeches, SAS loan, and Koran burnings lose impact: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup

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

Social Democrats launch package of laws against gang crime

Sweden’s Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, on Sunday proposed a raft of new proposals to combat gang crime, including criminalising “recruiting minors to gang crime”, and tougher punishments for those who commit gang-related crimes. 

“We do not tolerate twelve-year-olds working as watchmen for drug deals,” Andersson said in her speech in Gothenburg, while adding that, unlike the right-wing parties, the Social Democrats also wanted to address the causes of crime. 

“We need to go directly and address the breeding ground for new recruitment, which is to say ‘segregation’,” she said. “First, you’re driven to an area where not many people speak Swedish or have a job to go to, then your chances of entering broader society are much too small. Then the gang criminals get their claws into your children and try to drag them into drug dealing.” 

Swedish vocab: en grogrund – a breeding ground 

Moderate leader promise 31.5 billion in tax breaks for ‘low and middle income’ people

Ulf Kristersson, leader of Sweden’s opposition Moderate Party, on Sunday promised to bring in 31.5bn kronor in tax cuts for low and middle income people, with a more generous tax break for those in work, giving an extra 500 kronor more a month to the average worker, a new job bonus for those who leave long-term unemployment worth ten percent of their monthly salary, and a new tax cut for pensioners worth a further 500 kronor. 

“We must move from welfare payments to jobs,” Kristersson said. “More people need to work more.” 

Sweden’s finance minister Mikael Damberg warned that the proposals, if enacted, risked driving up inflation and as a result interest rates. 

Swedish vocab: en skattesänkning – a tax cut 

Sweden Democrats call for prison service to be renamed ‘punishment agency’ 

The populist Sweden Democrats on Saturday called for the Swedish Prisons and Probations Agency to be given a name that reflects its chief purpose: to administer punishments. 

Rather than being called Kriminalvården, which literally means “criminal care”, or “criminal ward”, the agency should be called Straffverket, the punishment agency, the party’s leader Jimmie Åkesson said at his summer speech on Saturday. 

“The main focus should be to punish criminals,” Åkesson told TT after the speech. “It should be to lock in, punish, and keep criminals away from honourable, law-abiding people.”

“The prison agency’s main focus today is mainly just care, and we think that can’t be the main focus of how society handles serious criminals, and dangerous criminals, and that should be reflected in the agency’s name.” 

Swedish vocab: hederlig – honourable 

Koran burnings by Danish far-right extremist ‘no longer causing riots’

Swedish police said there have been no disturbances associated with the Koran burning by Danish far-right extremist Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (“Hard Line”) this week around Stockholm, unlike the riots seen over Easter.

Paludan and his party have been holding demonstrations this week involving burning the Koran, in what Paludan describes as an “election tour” ahead of standing in Sweden’s parliamentary election in September.

However Swedish newswire TT has reported that few people have seemed to care about the shock tactics used and police have confirmed that no major disturbances have occurred as a result of the demonstrations.

This is in stark contrast to the demonstrations over Easter, which resulted in riots involving vandalism and violence aimed primarily at police. A total of 26 police officers were injured and at least 40 people were arrested.

Swedish vocab: kravaller – riots

Struggling Scandinavian carrier SAS gets $700m loan

Ailing Scandinavian airline SAS, which filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States in early July, said Sunday it had secured a 700-million-dollar loan.

The move follows a crippling 15-day pilot strike, also in July, that cost the carrier between $9 and $12 million a day.

The pilots were protesting against salary cuts demanded by management as part of a restructuring plan aimed at ensuring the survival of the company.

SAS said it has entered “into a debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing credit agreement for $700 million with funds managed by Apollo Global Management”.

SAS had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States and said the “DIP financing, along with cash generated from the company’s ongoing operations, enables SAS to continue meeting its obligations throughout the chapter 11 process”.

“With this financing, we will have a strong financial position to continue supporting our ongoing operations throughout our voluntary restructuring process in the US,” SAS board chairman Carsten Dilling said.

Swedish vocab: ett låneavtal – a loan agreement