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TECH

Sweden gives 300m more kronor to Lund neutron accelerator

The Swedish government announced plans on Tuesday to grant 300 million Swedish kronor extra to the ESS research institute in Lund, southern Sweden.

Sweden gives 300m more kronor to Lund neutron accelerator
The ESS building site in Lund, southern Sweden. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

“ESS is a strategically important investment for Swedish and European research, and the facility will contribute within climate research, life science, new materials and clean energy, areas where we see several of the world’s major societal challenges,” education minister Anna Ekström said on a visit to the facility. “ESS strengthens Sweden’s position as a leading research nation.”

“The construction delay caused by the pandemic must be addressed, and as host country, the Swedish government takes action with additional funding.”

In December, ESS – the European Spallation Source – announced that the research site would not be fully functional until 2027, four years after originally planned, while they simultaneously noted a substantial increase to the cost of the project.

“My assessment is that 300 million is what is needed to continue the process of completing the project,” Ekström continued. The new funds will be included in a budget proposal to be presented on Tuesday.

Newswire TT asked Ekström whether these funds would be taken from other research projects.

“No, this money comes from the budget for adult education, where not all funds have been used,” she replied.

Construction commenced on the ESS project in 2018, and the facility will have the world’s most powerful neutron source when it is finished. Sweden and Denmark are host countries for ESS, but there are representatives from 13 different countries on the ESS council.

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GOOGLE

Why a Swedish price comparison site is suing Google

A Swedish price comparison site has launched a billion-euro lawsuit against Google, in a row over search results.

Why a Swedish price comparison site is suing Google
Swedish company PriceRunner is seeking damages from Google. Photo: AP Photo/Michel Euler

PriceRunner said on Monday it was suing tech giant Google for 2.1 billion euros ($2.4 billion) for promoting its own shopping comparisons in search results.

Europe has cracked down on the business practices of Big Tech in recent years, while the EU is moving forward with legislation to tighten regulation.

US behemoths are facing facing fines and legal challenges in many European nations.

The Swedish tech startup said it expected the “final damages amount of the lawsuit to be significantly higher”, given that “the violation is still ongoing”.

Chief executive Mikael Lindahl said the lawsuit was also a fight “for consumers who have suffered tremendously from Google’s infringement of the competition law for the past fourteen years and still today”.

The Swedish tech startup filed its suit with the Patent and Market Court in Stockholm after the European Union General Court ruled that Google “breached EU antitrust laws by manipulating search results in favour of their own comparison shopping services”.

In November, the EU court upheld a 2.4-billion-euro fine the European Commission had slapped on Google in 2017, saying results from Google’s own comparison service were “displayed in a more eye-catching manner”.

PriceRunner said it was seeking damages for profits it lost in Britain since 2008 as well as in Sweden and Denmark since 2013.

PriceRunner said Google had a “monopoly-like position” within the European Economic Area (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), with over 90 percent of the market share for internet search engines.

The price comparison site is based in Sweden but also operates in Denmark, Norway and the UK. It has previously said it plans to expand to more countries.

In November, Swedish fintech Klarna bought PriceRunner for an undisclosed sum, with media reports putting the price at over $1 billion.

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