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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

An Islamic State member freed, fewer Ukrainians arriving, and a shortage of corpses: Find out what's going on in Sweden today with The Local's short roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
A sketch of the woman in Gothenburg district court. Photo: Johan Hallnäs/TT
 

Swedish medical university warns of shortage of corpses 

The Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University has said it needs the number of people donating their bodies for medical research to double for it to be able to train future surgeons.

“Surgeons who operate need to have good manual craftmanship. It’s an important part of the profession,” said Magnus Braide, Professor of Anatomy. “It’s good to be able to train on corpses, as it’s risk-free.” 

He said that people in Sweden knew about donating their organs but that not enough people were aware that they could go one step further and donate their entire bodies.

Sweden proposes ban on new religious free schools

Sweden’s education ministry has proposed a ban on the establishment of new schools and after-school activities centres, with a religious orientation. 

The compromise proposal will allow existing Christian, Muslim and Jewish schools to continue their operations, but prevent new ones from being established. 

The ban on new religious schools is now being sent out to consultation, with the government hoping that it can come into force by June 2024. 

Swedish woman who joined Islamic State found ‘not guilty’ 

 A court in Gothenburg has found a Swedish woman who joined the Islamic State terror group in Syria not guilty of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and violations of international law, after which all cases against her have been closed. 

The woman left Gothenburg in 2013 to join the terror group and was held in the al-Hol och Camp Roj prison camps until October, when she was returned to Sweden with her two small children. 

“It’s hard to investigate crimes in Syria, hard to get evidence, hard to know what the person did or didn’t do, hard to get to the bottom of what happened there,” the prosecutor Peter Larsson told the GP newspaper. 

Fewer than expected Ukrainian refugees: border police 

The number of new refugees coming to Sweden has reduced rapidly in recent days, with only between 100 and 200 coming a day, compared to 1,000 in the early stages of the Russian invasion, according to Swedish border police. 

“We never expected such a rapid decrease,” Mats Bergren, head of the border police in southern Sweden, told state broadcaster SR. 

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.

“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.”

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.

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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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