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

Gang shootings "to continue", Sweden "a cradle of terrorism", a time capsule, and the biggest rate hike in 30 years: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Sweden's national police chief Anders Thornberg meets the press in Lund, southern Sweden: Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police chief warns of record year for gang shootings 

The chief of Sweden’s national police, Anders Thornberg, has predicted that 2022 will be a record year for gang shootings, with shootings reported in recent weeks from Malmö, Västerås, Märsta and Eskilstuna, among other places, with 289 shootings, and 47 people shot dead. 

“It seems like it’s going to beat the record this year,” Thornberg said. “That will mean, if it continues at the same rate, more than 60 fatal shootings.”

“This is going to continue,” he said. “This is because there are more young people coming in and joining these gangs than those we can incapacitate.” 

Swedish vocab: att inkapacitera – to incapacitate 

Erdogan: Sweden has been ‘a cradle of terrorism’ 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reiterated his accusation that terrorists have infiltrated Sweden to such an extent that they have even won places in the country’s parliament, indicating that he is likely to throw further obstacles in the way of the country’s Nato membership. 

“Sweden has been a cradle of terrorism,” Erdogan said in an interview with US public broadcaster PBS. “And terrorists have infiltrated all the way into their parliament.” 

He complained that in Sweden, “terrorists are permitted to demonstrate in Stockholm”. 

He said that Sweden always “gives various reasons”. “They use various excuses. They always talk about the constitution, and that the constitutions fundamental principles enshrine freedom of expression. And in return, I say that terrorism has nothing to do with freedom of expression, and that it is the Turkish parliament that is the final decision maker.” 

Swedish vocab: yttrandefriheten – freedom of expression. 

Centuries-old time capsule opened in Stockholm Cathedral

Multiple time capsules from the 1700s and early 1900s were discovered during renovation works at Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan).

The first and oldest of the boxes, from 1742, contained a tightly-folded A3-size piece of paper covered in elaborate handwriting stating that the old tower was removed in 1736 and the new one was completed in 1742, a date which had not previously been confirmed.

“This is the nicest capsule I’ve ever opened,” building restoration expert Max Laserna told church magazine Kyrkans Tidning.

“The handwriting from 1742 was so beautiful, almost like a piece of art, it really stood out,” he said.

The capsule from 1903 was flat like an envelope and difficult to open. It contained a newspaper, some letters and an old piece of sheet metal with the text “gammal plåt” (old sheet metal), presumably a piece of the old roof from the 1700s.

Swedish vocab: i snirklig skrift – in squiggly writing 

Sweden’s central bank announces biggest interest rate hike in 30 years

Sweden’s Riksbank has announced a shock one percent rise in interest rates, the biggest increase since it was given its two percent inflation target back in 1993.

The bank has decided to raise its key interest rate, the repo rate, by one percentage point to 1.75 percent, wrong-footing analysts who had expected the bank to hike rates by just 75 points to 1.5 percent

At a press conference announcing the decision, Stefan Ingves, the bank’s governor, apologised for not acting sooner to head off inflation.

“There is nothing to do but apologise that it took a little time before we understood what was happening to the Swedish economy,” he said. “We’ve been wrong on our predictions on a number of occasions, but when inflation is as high as it is right now, it’s obvious what we are forced to do.”

Sweden’s inflation rate hit 9 percent in August, the highest level since 1991, indicating that the rate hikes imposed earlier in the year have not yet started to pull price rises down.

Swedish vocab: en räntehöjning – a rate increase

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

Right-wing parties back Norlén, gangs 'recruited children over summer', passport queues, and Södermalm explosion: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

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

Right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The four parties backing Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson as prime minister on Sunday announced that they have agreed to vote on Monday to keep the current Speaker, Andreas Norlén in place. They have also agreed that the Sweden Democrats will hold eight out of the 16 chairmanships the bloc has of parliamentary committees. 

In a joint press release, the parties said that Norlén had under the last four years shown that he has “the necessary personal qualities and qualifications which the role requires”. 

The decision was praised by Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson, who said that Norlén had “managed his responsibilities well over the past four years and been a good representative of Sweden’s Riksdag.” 

Under the agreement, the right-wing parties have also nominated Julia Kronlid as the second deputy Speaker, a decision that was opposed by the Left Party, who accused Kronlid of wanting to tighten abortion laws.  

Swedish vocab: erforderlig – required/necessary

Police fear more children recruited to gangs over summer 

Police have warned that gangs in Sweden have been recruiting school children when they are free during the summer months, with officers fearing that these children will then be put to use in their networks in the autumn. 

“I am extremely worried that this is going to continue,” said Carin Götblad, senior police at the Swedish police’s National Operative Division NOA. 

Swedish vocab: oro – worry 

Pandemic effect means a two-month wait for a passport in Sweden 

It is still taking at least two months to renew a passport in Sweden, with police hoping to get waiting times down to normal by December. 

According to Per Engström, the police officer brought in to lead the police’s crisis response to the situation, the police had so far offered three million passport application visits, compared to two million in a normal year. 

He said that in future, the passport office would send sms reminders to people whose passes are about to expire to avoid such a rush in the months leading up to the summer. 

Most regions can now offer passport application appointments without unusual delays, with the exception of Eastern Sweden and Bergslagen, where there are no appointments for seven to eight weeks. What is causing the delay elsewhere is the time taken to print and deliver the documents. 

Swedish vocab: väntetider – waiting times

Major explosion in Södermalm, Stockholm, on Friday night 

Many of the 20 people evacuated after an explosion in an apartment building in the trendy Stockholm district of Södermalm were allowed to return home on Sunday. 

The explosion took place in the stairwell of the building, and one person has been taken in to be interviewed by police and then released. There is currently no suspect for the blast. 

Police are considering whether the attack is connected to another which took place in Huvudsta in Solna on Thursday evening. 

Swedish vocab: en koppling – a connection