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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

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 Friday
The rapper Yasin Mahamoud was jailed for ten months for aiding in a failed kidnap of the rapper Einár. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Excess mortality in Sweden so far this year ‘in line with a normal flu year’

Despite a high level of Omicron infection, excess mortality in Sweden this year has so far been no different from what you would expect from a mild flu epidemic, Sweden’s state statistics agency has declared. 

So far around 2,100 deaths have been reported a week to the agency, up from the weekly norm of around 2,000 seen recent years. 

“The difference from a normal year is actually pretty small, and is comparable with any normal influenza period,” said Tomas Johansson, a population statistician at Statistics Sweden. 

At the peak of the pandemic in the first wave of infections in April 2020, excess mortality hit 32.8 percent. 

The number of deaths now seems to be falling, with 300 fewer deaths reported in the seven days leading up to March 14th than in the previous seven-day period which ended February 28th. 

Swedish vocab: överdödlighet – excess mortality 

Swedish rapper Yasin appeals to High Court 

The Swedish rapper Yasin Mahamoud has appealed to Sweden’s High Court to have his sentence for aiding and abetting a kidnap quashed, on the grounds that his ownership of an Encrochat telephone should not have been treated by the court as a preparation for the kidnap. 

Mahamoud was jailed in February this year for ten months for aiding and abetting the kidnap of the rapper Nils “Einár” Grönberg in the spring of 2020. 

Mahamoud was jailed for involvement in a failed kidnapping, which took place before a second attempt succeeded, during which humiliating photographs and videos were taken of Grönberg. 

Grönberg was shot dead on 21 October 2021. 

Swedish vocab: överklaga – to appeal

Swedish government ready with labour law reforms  

Sweden’s government on Thursday presented the final version of its reforms to the country’s first-in, first-out labour laws, clearing the new law’s way for a parliamentary vote, which it is expected to sail through. 

The reforms, which were forced on the Social Democrats by the Centre and Liberal parties as part of the so-called January Agreement, in May 2020 threatened to topple the government, after the Left Party refused to accept the rules. 

The new law gives businesses greater flexibility in who they choose to dismiss, while providing fired employees with more opportunities for further education which will help them get back into the workplace. 

“Now we have the world’s best employment system in place,” said labour minister Eva Nordmark. “This is the biggest security and freedom reform in modern times.” 

Swedish vocab: en förhandling – a negotiation

Party leaders in Skåne slam new ID-checks 

The chair of the regional government in Skåne has sharply criticised the planned new ID controls on those entering Sweden from Denmark, Germany, Poland, and Finland. 

“This is not the way you handle a region of 4.4 million inhabitants,” he told state broadcaster SVT. 

Henrik Fritzon, leader of the Social Democrats in the regional government was also critical. 

“If we want to go back to normal Nordic borders, we need to learn to handle crisis in a better way than just slamming the borders shut,” he said. 

Swedish vocab: enhällig – unanimous 

Unemployment falls to 7.9 percent 

Unemployment has fallen 1.8 percentage points year-on-year to 7.9 percent, Sweden’s government statistics agency has reported. 

In February there were 435,000 people unemployed, down 96,000 on the same month last year. The number of people employed has risen by 151,000 to 5.1 million people. 

Swedish vocab: sysselsättning – employment 

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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

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