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

Airport chaos, cyber ads, Nato's Sweden plans, and tough talk from Turkey: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

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

Swedish airport operator warns of long queues this weekend

Swedish airport operator Swedavia has warned that queues at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport are likely to increase over the long Ascension Day weekend. 

“There is a rather low personnel level at security controls which will mean that it is tight from time to time,” said David Karlsson, the airport’s press officer on Thursday morning. “Together with the fact that travel levels have risen during the spring and summer, and that it’s a particularly intensive weekend, it’s a bit tight out there this morning.”

Jan Eliasson, a former Swedish foreign minister and former Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, criticised the queues on Twitter. 

“The chaos at Arlanda damages Sweden’s reputation in the world more than we realise,” he wrote. 

The press spokesperson for SAS said on Thursday that customers would not be recompensed for flights missed due to the queues. 

Swedish Vocab: bitvis – bit by bit/from time to time 

No need for Nato forces in Sweden: US general 

Nato is unlikely to place ground forces in Sweden or Finland as a result of them joining the Nato defence alliance, the US General Christopher Cavoli has said in a statement. 

Cavoli, who in July takes over as Nato’s highest commander in Europe, was interviewed in the US Senate on Thursday. 

He said that the Ukraine war had shifted Nato’s balancing point towards Eastern Europe, where member states are most worried about Russian aggression. 

Cavoli said that the US already has strong military links to both Sweden and Finland, and that there would be more joint exercises and other engagements in future.

Swedish Vocab: tyngdpunkt – balancing point

Sweden’s Psychological Defence Agency launches major advertising campaign 

Sweden’s new Psychological Defence Agency has launched a new campaign titled Bli inte lurad, meaning roughly “don’t be a mug”. The campaign has been launched on social media, in printed newspapers, and on billboards across Sweden. 

Swedish Vocab: lurad – conned/deceived

Erdogan: Sweden’s contact with Kurdish groups ‘against spirit of Nato’

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned Sweden’s contact with Kurdish groups as “against the spirit of Nato” in a telephone conversation with France’s President Emmanuel Macron. 

On Wednesday, delegations from Sweden Finland and Turkey held their first meeting in Ankara. 

“We communicated in clear language the message that the process cannot move forward until Turkey’s security concerns are met with concrete steps and within a certain timeframe,” Erdogan’s spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin, said after the meeting. 

Swedish Vocab: en tidsram – a timeframe