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

A new Covid-19 wave, disgraced surgeon on trial, and the special needs lottery: find what's going on in Sweden today with The Local's short roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
The disgraced Italian surgeon Paolo Macchiarini goes on trial in Stockholm on Monday. Photo: Lorenzo Galassi/AP

Sweden could see new Covid-19 wave in mid-May: health agency

The Swedish Public Health Agency has warned that the number of people being treated in hospital for Covid-19 will more than double by mid-May, as the new Omicron BA.2 variant sees a “significant” spread. 

The 25 people a day currently being treated for Covid-19 in Sweden will rise to around 60 a day by mid-May, after which the agency expects hospitalisation rates to decline again. 

Swedish vocab: att spå – to predict 

Italian surgeon Paolo Macchiarini on trial for trachea implants

A court in Sweden will on Monday begin the trial of the former star surgeon Paolo Macchiarini for implanting plastic trachea implants in patients, with the prosecuting lawyer Mikael Björk arguing that the operations were “totally against science and any proven evidence”. 

Macchiarini is charged for serious assault against three patients who had artificial trachea implants, only to later die in severe pain after the operation failed. Macchiarini denies committing a crime. 

Swedish vocab: luftstrupe – trachea

Sweden to launch new survey of MS Estonia wreck in June 

The Swedish Accident Investigation Authority will in May carry out a new investigation of the wreck of MS Estonia, which sank in 1994 in the worst peacetime maritime disaster in European waters, with 852 lives lost. 

“We do not necessarily hope to discover anything new, but we want to make a proper photo documentation,” Jonas Backström, from the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority told the country’s TT newswire. 

The investigation will be carried out by Sweden’s Ocean Discovery in Västervik and the Danish company JD-contractor, using the latest technologies in photogrammetry, which uses multiple photos to create a three-dimensional model. 

“It means that you get a good overview, can zoom in and out, and turn the picture on a computer so you can see everything that can be seen,” Backström said. 

On 28 September 2020, a Swedish documentary was released which used underwater equipment to film the wreck. This investigation found a four-metre hole in the ship’s hull.

Swedish vocab: att genomföras – to be carried out

Special needs support in Swedish schools is ‘a lottery’ 
The proportion of students receiving extra special needs support at school in Sweden varies from zero percent in some municipalities in Sweden to as high as 20 percent in others, according to new statistics from the Swedish National Agency for Education. 
“It’s a lottery,” said school expert Per Kornhall, who told the TT newswire that teachers should be given the powers to call in special needs teachers themselves when required.
“This would be extremely expensive, but it’s even more expensive if the pupils don’t get help. If we want to be able to put some pressure on the system, then teachers need a bigger mandate.” 
Swedish vocab: ett lotteri – a lottery
Trial begins over Ericsson Djibouti bribery case 

Ten years after the accusations first came to light, four senior former top Ericsson executives are going on trial in Sweden for giving bribes of 20 million kronor (€19.4m) to win contracts in the African country of Djibouti. 

The trial is being held at Solna district court over 17 days. 

All four accused deny committing an offence, claiming they had no knowledge of the payments. 

Swedish vocab: mutor – bribes

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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