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

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TT/AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Police at the scene of a serious train accident at Örebro's Södra Station. Photo: Pavel Koubek/TT

Chemical weapons gas detected at Swedish security service headquarters, three people dead in train crash, man charged over military base secrets, and pollen season gets under way. Here's the latest news.


Chemical weapons gas detected at Swedish security service HQ

Sensors on the roof of the Swedish security service's building detected the deadly gas phosgene on Friday, when eight people in the building were taken to hospital with breathing difficulties, reports the SvD newspaper, citing public documents from the county administrative board.

Phosgene was used as a chemical weapon during the First World War. It can also be produced while welding.

The Swedish security service, Säpo, declined to comment on the information, and told the TT news agency only that the emergency services had ended the evacuation of their Stockholm headquarters after they could confirm no gas could be found in or outside the building.

Intelligence expert Joakim von Braun said he doubted that anyone had intentionally released the gas.

"It's several hundred years old and was mainly used during the First World War. The research into chemical weapons is with FOI [the Swedish Defence Research Agency] up in Umeå, so I find it very hard to find a reasonable explanation why Säpo has a phosgene alarm. It sounds bizarre," he told TT.

Swedish vocabulary: phosgene – fosgen

Three pedestrians die after train crash

Three people have died after being hit by a freight train in Örebro, central Sweden.

Their injuries were initially described as "very serious" but on Thursday morning it was confirmed they had died.

According to the Swedish Transport Administration, they had just stepped off a passenger train and were crossing the tracks, but didn't see the other train.

The incident happened at 10.44pm on Wednesday and emergency services were at the scene until midnight.

The driver of the train is not suspected of any criminal offence.

Swedish vocabulary: a train accident – en tågolycka


Swedish man charged over military base secrets

Swedish authorities have charged a 66-year-old man with illegally building up confidential information on military bases, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said "several people" were involved in the collection of the information and a "high level of expertise" was required.

Ljungqvist told AFP the suspect, Hans Georg Svanström, had "carried out military missions for the Swedish armed forces".

The classified information was found at Svanström's home at Vaxholm, near Stockholm.

About 40 pieces of evidence, including USB keys, cameras and files were seized and will be produced at the trial, the indictment said.

Swedish vocabulary: a trial – en rättegång


Sweden's pollen season begins

This year's pollen season got under way in Sweden last week and is expected to continue this week, with clouds of primarily alder pollen expected to move in from Poland, reports Stockholm newspaper Mitti

The alder and hazel season tends to peak around March 20th, followed by birch a month later.

To make your life easier, The Local has some handy tips for how to make it through the ordeal.

You can also check the local pollen forecast on websites Pollenkoll or Pollenrapporten to find out well in advance when the worst days are likely to be.

Swedish vocabulary: alder – al


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