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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
Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson at a press conference about the security situation. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Sweden sets tentative date for lifting Covid restrictions

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”.

Neither Tegmark Wisell nor Hallengren specified which restrictions could be eased on February 9th, saying only that they would be lifted in steps – not all at once – and that the government and health authorities would present a more detailed plan next week.

Swedish vocabulary: ta bort – remove or lift (e.g. lift restrictions)

Prime minister holds cross-party meeting on national security strategy

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson held a two hour long meeting with parliamentary parties on Sweden’s national security strategy on the back of increased military activities along the Ukrainian border and Russian demands on Nato and the USA, including the demand that Sweden does not join Nato.

In a press conference after the meeting, Andersson said that the government “regards the increasingly confrontative rhetoric from Russia as extremely serious”.

“The security situation in our surrounding areas have become worse over a longer period of time and recent actions by Russia have further worsened the situation,” she said.

The Prime Minister underlined that the government considers Russia’s demands are unacceptable. “The European security strategy is non-negotiable and national rights must be respected,” she said.

“In Sweden, we decide over our own foreign and security policy, and which countries we decide to cooperate with.”

Swedish vocabulary: säkerhetsläge – security situation

Crows may soon be Södertälje municipality’s new litter pickers

A new method is being developed to train wild crows to pick up cigarette butts and other small pieces of litter, which will soon be ready for testing.

The wild crows can be trained through a step-by-step learning process. The birds can learn to pick up litter by placing it in to a machine which dispenses food.

“They’re wild birds taking part on a voluntary basis,” said Christian Günther-Hanssen, founder of the company behind the method, Corvid Cleaning, to TT newswire.

The company chose to use crows as they are the most intelligent bird, Günther-Hanssen told TT.

Over a billion cigarette butts are left on Sweden’s streets each year, and they represent 62 percent of all litter, according to the Keep Sweden Tidy Foundation.

Now, the method is ready for large-scale testing. A potential pilot project is being investigated in Södertälje municipality, where crows will help pick up litter.

“It depends on whether we can find a place in Södertälje which will work with the food dispenser, and then if there are opportunities for financing,” Tomas Thernström, waste strategist at Södertälje municipality, told TT.

Günther-Hanssen believes that the scheme could save the municipality at least 75% of costs involved with picking up cigarette butts, depending on how many the crows collect.

Member comments

  1. Many streets in Stockholm are absolutely disgusting with cigarette litter. Seems like new laws from 1st January about littering have not helped reduce it much. Such a shame as it really spoils the look and feel of certain suburbs.

    I have reported several bars to the council who seem to encourage smokers to smoke outside apartment buildings next door and drop all their little right outside apartment entrances. Awful

  2. Parts of society so degenerated that it is a marked for start-up companies to clean after them. Fixed the headline for you. Have been living in Södertälje for a while. The cigarette litter is unbearable. Not that the swedish way of addiction, snus, is any better. Justification for a number of oncologists specializing in rising numbers of mouth and neck cancer, not to mention dentists.

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For members


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

Magdalena Andersson in the US, property prices drop and Turkey's Nato objections. Here's Sweden's news on Thursday.

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

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson to visit US President Biden

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson is in Washington today alongside Finland’s president Sauli Niinistö. The two will visit US President Joe Biden to discuss the war in Ukraine and Turkey’s opposition to their Nato applications, which were handed in yesterday.

“The meeting is an important security policy signal,” Andersson wrote on her Instagram account from Washington DC.

The two Nordic leaders boarded the flight to Washington DC shortly after their Nato ambassadors applied to join the alliance.

At the meeting in the White House today, the delicate security situation in both Finland and Sweden will be discussed. A number of countries, including the USA, have stated that they will support Sweden and Finland in the period before their Nato applications are approved by all member states in the alliance.

A final approval could take up to a year, and Russia is expected to react to the two countries joining Nato in some way.

Sweden and Finland’s decision to join the Nato alliance was applauded by Ukrainians taking part in a demonstration outside the White House.

Swedish vocabulary: stöd – support

Property prices plummet after central bank increases inflation rate

Property prices have dropped after the Swedish central bank increased inflation rates.

At the same time, the amount of apartments on property website Hemnet has increased to a record level, as sellers seek to get their property on the market quickly.

Valueguard’s price index, which measures changes in prices, sank by 1.7 percent in the two first weeks of May in the Stockholm region. In Gothenburg, prices decreased by 1.3 when compared with April.

This is the first property price measurement in May since the central bank decided to increase key index rates by 0.25 percent while also sharply raising their interest rate forecast.

Having said that, there was also a decrease in property prices in April – 0.3 percent for apartments and 0.5 percent for houses.

Swedish vocabulary: en nedgång – a decrease

Turkish president Erdogan urges Nato to ‘respect’ concerns over Sweden joining

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has threatened to block Finland and Sweden from joining Nato, urged the alliance’s members on Wednesday to “respect” Ankara’s concerns about the two countries, which Turkey accuses of harbouring terrorists.

“Our only expectation from Nato allies is… to first understand our sensitivity, respect and finally support it,” Erdogan told his party’s legislators in parliament.

Finland and Sweden submitted a joint application to join Nato on Wednesday May 18th as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forces a dramatic reappraisal of security in Europe.

Erdogan accused Stockholm of providing safe haven to members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) designated as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.

“We asked them to extradite 30 terrorists but they refused to do so,” he said.

“You will not send back the terrorists to us and then ask our support for your Nato membership … We cannot say ‘yes’ to make this security organisation being lacking in security,” he added.

Swedish vocab: terrorister – terrorists