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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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
The site of a planned nuclear fuel repository in Sweden. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Man dead after shooting south of Stockholm

A man in his 20s has died after being found with gunshot wounds in Norsborg, south-west of the city of Stockholm. He was found by a passer-by in a car park shortly before midnight on Tuesday and was taken to hospital, but later died from his injuries.

The gunman was still at large in the early hours of Wednesday.

Swedish vocabulary: a passer-by – en förbipasserande

Swedish health chiefs hold Covid press conference

Sweden may lift most of its Covid restrictions starting February 9th, if the ongoing outbreak of the Omicron variant peaks by then and vaccinations continue apace, Health Minister Lena Hallengren told a press conference on Wednesday.

She was joined by Karin Tegmark Wisell, director-general of the Public Health Agency, at the press conference.

Tegmark Wisell said 270,000 new cases had been confirmed with PCR tests in the past seven days, but that the agency believes that the outbreak is currently so widespread that the true figure could be a least half a million people a week. Some 10 million people live in Sweden.

She said that the agency believes “the peak will be reached in the next few weeks”.

Swedish vocabulary: outbreak – utbrott

Covid-19: Record-high case numbers

The region of Västra Götaland – where Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city, is located – reported 44,791 positive cases of Covid-19 last week, the highest number in a single week since the pandemic began. Västra Götaland also reported the highest number of PCR tests taken in a single week during the pandemic, 130,554 tests.

Across the country, almost 140,000 new cases have been added to the total figures since last Thursday. New testing recommendations from the Public Health Agency mean that many regions now only offer free PCR testing to certain groups. This has led many individuals to take at-home antigen tests, which are not registered in official figures.

Swedish vocabulary: highest – högsta

Decision expected on Swedish nuclear waste site

On Thursday, the government is expected to approve an application from the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company for building a new repository for spent nuclear fuel, reports Swedish news agency TT. The site would be located at the nuclear power plant at Forsmark on Sweden’s east coast, 130 kilometres north of Stockholm.

In total, 12,000 tonnes of nuclear waste would be deposited in the repository, 500 metres deep into 1.9 billion-year-old bedrock, in an intricate system of 66 kilometres of tunnels, with space for more than 6,000 copper canisters of spent nuclear fuel.

Swedish vocabulary: nuclear fuel – kärnbränsle

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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

Nato, Nato, and more Nato: Find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

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

Sweden’s defence minister: Nato decision to be taken today

Sweden’s government will meet later on Monday to take the historical decision to join Nato, the country’s defence minister Peter Hultqvist, has told state broadcaster SVT. 

“I can’t say exactly when the application will be sent in, but the decision is going to be taken today,” he said. 

Turkey have voiced their opposition to Sweden and Finland joining the alliance.

Hultqvist said that Sweden was sending a group of civil servants to discuss Turkey’s objections to Swedish Nato membership — something Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday would not prevent Sweden joining the alliance. 

“We are going to a send a group of civil servants who are going to carry out a discussion and have a dialogue with Turkey, so then we’ll see how the issue can be solved and what the discussion is actually about. But the signals we’ve had from Nato are that there’s unanimity that both Sweden and Finland should join.” 

Swedish Vocab: avgör – to decide 

Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party backs Nato bid

Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party on Sunday said it was in favour of joining Nato, reversing its decades-long opposition and paving the way for the country to submit a membership application.

The turnaround comes amid soaring political and public support in Sweden for joining the Western military alliance after Russia’s February 24th invasion of Ukraine.

The issue has divided Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s Social Democrats, with some party members expressing concern that the decision was being rushed through.

The party said on Sunday that if Sweden’s application were approved, it would work to express “unilateral reservations against the deployment of nuclear weapons and permanent bases on Swedish territory.”

Swedish vocab: att vara orolig – to be worried/concerned

Finland confirms it will apply to join Nato as Sweden set to follow

Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö confirmed on Sunday that his country would apply for Nato membership as Sweden’s ruling party was to hold a decisive meeting that could pave the way for a joint application.

The announcement came after Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Thursday they both favoured Nato membership, in a major policy shift prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Today, we, the president and the government’s foreign policy committee, have together decided that Finland … will apply for Nato membership,” Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Sanna Marin in Helsinki on Sunday.

“I have great feelings, of course, this is an historic day. It started in the morning when I visited the memorial service to honour Finland’s fallen heroes”, Niinistö told reporters.

Niinistö said that the decision will secure Finland’s security policy and that it “does not disadvantage anyone”.

Sweden’s foreign minister Ann Linde said the decision would have “great significance” for Sweden.

Swedish vocab: betydelse – significance 

US in support of Sweden and Finland joining Nato

The State Department’s top diplomat for Europe, Karen Donfried, and President Joe Biden have reiterated US support for Sweden and Finland joining Nato, ahead of a meeting between Alliance foreign ministers in Berlin on Saturday.

In a phone call on Friday morning with Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, US President Joe Biden reiterated support for Nato’s open-door policy, the White House said. He had also stressed that Sweden and Finland had the right to decide their own future.

Donfried said on Friday: “The United States would support Finland or Sweden joining Nato should they choose to do so.” A formal membership application by the two countries would be “further evidence of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategic miscalculation,” she said.

Finland and Sweden are “valued Nato partners” and “thriving democracies,” Donfried said. Referring to remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the top diplomat said Turkey’s position must now be clarified. 

Swedish vocab: att stödja – to support 

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