Posts tagged ‘sweden’

October 5, 2010

Right-wing Sweden Democrats walk out of anti-racist sermon

IT APPEARS AS IF the Sweden Democrats, the far-right party that recently gained twenty seats in Sweden’s 349-seat Riksdag, are not only skinheads but they are thin-skinned too.  (I have already written about the Sweden Democrats here.)  Today, Prime Minister Reinfeldt, the new parliament, the royal family, and other dignitaries met at Stockholm’s St. Nicholas Cathedral to celebrate a formal service to mark the opening the new parliament.  So far so good.  But as soon as Bishop Eva Brunne began telling the congregation of the thousands of people around the country who were demonstrating against racism, and that it is not worthy of a devout person to make distinctions on the basis of race or ethnic background, the SD group stood up and walked out of the church…

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September 20, 2010

The new New Right wins big in Sweden

AS COUNTRIES GO THESE days, you can’t get much more respectable than Sweden. Didn’t the Swedes remain (more or less) neutral during both World Wars? Don’t they spend more than almost any other people on foreign aid? And wasn’t it a Swede who created the Nobel Peace Prize? But Alfred Nobel also invented dynamite, and last weekend’s parliamentary election with its lurch to the “respectable right” is the most explosive in recent memory.

Things started out very well for conservative minister president Fredrik Reinfeldt, who hoped to walk back to power after a successful four years at the head of this traditionally…

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September 2, 2010

Swedish divers strike liquid gold

EVERYONE LOVES A TREASURE hunt, particularly a successful one, and it looks as if a team of Swedish divers has really struck (liquid) gold this time. While excavating a two hundred year-old shipwreck near Föglö Island in the Åland Archipelago just off the coast of Finland, which had already made headlines upon its discovery in early July, 2010 for its cargo of ancient champagne, they also came across three bottles of a different shape and size. One of the bottles sprung a leak while they were pulling it up from a depth of fifty meters beneath the Baltic. When the bottle broke the surface, squirting foam, the crew discovered that it was nothing other than a bottle of two century-old Scandinavian beer…

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August 25, 2010

Swedish attorneys weigh in on Assange case

THE RAPE AND MOLESTATION charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, which led to an arrest warrant in his name on Friday and its mysterious withdrawal on Saturday (I wrote about it here), continue to perplex Swedish society. The case is far from over, since Assange remains under investigation for molestation and has retained the services of the prominent Swedish lawyer and crime novelist Leif Silbersky.

In comments to Dagens nyheterna today, Silbersky said that…

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August 21, 2010

Swedes question rape accusations against Wikileaks founder

WHAT A SHOCK TO the global antiwar movement: Yesterday, the Swedish chief prosecutor announced that Julian Assange, founder of the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, which had recently leaked more than 91,000 classified documents to the press, had been accused of rape and should report to the authorities for questioning. Two women had claimed that Assange committed violent acts against them during his recent visit to Stockholm, where Wikileaks is based. The news, the Swedish press reported, spread across the Internet “like a wildfire.” The daily paper Expressen took the unprecedented step of both announcing the charges and publishing Assange’s photo, even though the two women had not filed formal charges against them. Then, at 4:30 p.m. today, it was suddenly all over. The prosecutor withdrew the charges and Assange remains a free man. Yes, free – and damaged goods as well. The faintest hint of sexual abuse can…

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August 11, 2010

Here we go again: Danish Mohammed caricature to be republished

THE MOHAMMED CARICATURE CONTROVERSY five years ago shook the world, although it’s hard to know which side of the world received more of a shaking: outraged Muslims across the globe who felt insulted by what they perceived as neo-imperialist European contempt for their religious values, or the so-called “West,” whose most outspoken pundits chose to depict the Muslim response to the provocation as a “clash of civilizations.” The crisis, which ensued from a series of cartoons sponsored by the conservative Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, led to an estimated 100 deaths around the world. It has been causing aftershocks ever since, most recently in the form of a spate of Holocaust-denying caricatures from the Muslim world and a physical assault on Swedish artist Lars Vilks (whom I’ve written about here) while he presented a provocative art lecture in Uppsala last spring…

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August 11, 2010

What, no trophy? Swedish playboy sets new Swiss speed record

YOU KNOW, IT’S TRUE: Sometimes, when the sign tells you to slow down, it really wants you to slow the eff down. This is the lesson a thirty-seven year-old Swede recently learned on a motor trip through Switzerland. His mistake? He confused this compact, respectable Alpine republic, which has a speed limit, with big, brassy Germany, which doesn’t. Maybe he missed the border sign – hardly surprising at the clip he was going. Whatever the reason,  last Friday Swiss highway police clocked the driver of a Mercedes SLS sportscar driving on an Autobahn between Bern and Lausanne at a speed of 290 km/h (180 mph) in a 120 km/h (75 mph) zone. As far as the police know, this is the highest speed ever recorded in the country. Not only did the driver ignore the signs…

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July 30, 2010

Crime author Henning Mankell’s Israeli surprise

HENNING MANKELL IS NOT only Sweden’s most popular crime author, he is also a very stubborn man. On May 31, 2010, he was on board one of the ships taking part in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. When his ship was seized by Israeli forces in international waters and he, along with the other 600 or so participants, was spirited away to Israel, he was forced to leave all his belongings behind. (I already wrote about Mankell’s Gaza adventure here.)

Since returning to Sweden soon afterwards, he has kept up the pressure on the Israeli ambassador in Stockholm to return his property. Finally, on Thursday …

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July 26, 2010

Find of prehistoric “tool” gets Swedish scientists aroused

WHAT A MONTH THIS has been for archeologists! First, a British team celebrated the discovery of a second vast Neolithic site just 900 meters from Stonehenge. Then, over the weekend, Swedish scientists announced the discovery of what may be one of the world’s very first “boners.” The twelve centimeter long and two centimeter thick phallus carved of antler was found at a Neolithic site near the banks of Sweden’s Göta Canal. Whatever the eventual scientific consequences of the find, one thing is for sure: It has pricked its finders’ imaginations like nothing else they have turned up in recent years.  

As archaeologist Sara Gummesson described the 6,000 year-old discovery on the expedition’s blog, “First I thought it was just a carved horn…

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June 11, 2010

Swedish millionaire said to be behind Auschwitz sign theft

THE SIGN OVER THE gateway to Auschwitz concentration camp bearing the infamous slogan “Work sets you free,” which was stolen by three Polish men last December 18, may have been purloined on behalf of a Swedish millionaire. (I already wrote about the Auschwitz theft here and here.) According to today’s edition of the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita, Lars-Göran Wahlström, a familiar figure in the Swedish neo-Nazi movement, had asked his friend Anders Högström to arrange the theft for money. Högström, a former neo-Nazi who until recently had been working to educate young Swedes about the evils of right wing extremism, was later arrested and admitted to having hired the three Poles to do the job. They have since received jail sentences of between one and a half and two and a half years. Högström is still awaiting trial in Poland.

Högström revealed Wahlström’s name…

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