Saab seeks clarity from government.
Saab CEO Jan-Åke Jonsson asked the Swedish government Feb. 23 to clarify its stance on a possible bailout of the struggling carmaker. "We get mixed messages from the government," Jonsson said during a televised debate with Swedish Enterprise and Energy Minister Maud Olofsson, news agency TT reported. Saab filed for court-supervised protection Feb. 20 with the government holding to its stance of not offering aid to the automaker. Jonsson said the government recommended Saab apply for a loan from the European Investment Bank but later said General Motors Corp, Saab's parent company, should submit the application. "It's important for us to get a signal from the government. I think the signals we've been getting from the government have been different," Jonsson said. Saab has applied to EIB for a $647 million loan but the bank first wants to know if the government plans to step in emergency loans, TT reported. Olofsson, who is scheduled to tour a Saab's manufacturing plant in Trollhattan, said the company's current business plan was "too optimistic." Olofsson said she thought it would be "irresponsible" to use taxpayer funds to help a company that has lost money for years.

Obesity, smoking carry same risk.
Researchers at the Karolinska Institute say obesity carries the same risks of heart disease as smoking. Study leader Dr. Martin Neovius at the Karolinska Institute analyzed the cause of death of more than 45,000 men who underwent mandatory military conscription tests in Sweden. The participants all had their body mass index measured and whether they smoked at the age of 18 and were followed up for an average of 38 years. In total, the authors assessed 1.7 million person-years of follow-up in relation to the health and mortality of all the participants. During the follow-up period 2,897 subjects died, the incidence of death was lowest for people with normal weight and highest in obese subjects. Compared to normal weight adolescents, being overweight at the age of 18 increased the risk of premature death by just over a third, while being obese more than doubled the risk. The study, published in the British Medical Journal, also said being underweight carried no increased risk, irrespective of smoking status. However, being seriously underweight — a body mass index of less than 17 — carried the same risk of premature death as being overweight.

Swedes eat semlor for 800 million SEK.
How many semlor did the Swedes consume – approximately – last Fat Tuesday alone? Try 5 million. “When you don’t have a lot of money, you feel the need to comfort yourself and so you eat a semla,” says Bertil Elvin at Sveriges Bagare och Konditorer. “Many people start way ahead of Fat Tuesday, right after Christmas, and manage to eat quite a few semlor per season. When you’re tired of the sweets of Christmas – the semla offers something new and different, yet familiar.” The average Swede consumes 4-5 semlor per year – bringing the turnover of semlor to 800 million SEK a year.

Committed, simple and down-to-earth.
That’s how Crown Princess Victoria is described. She’s in a unique position in that she is the only crown princess in Europe right now. But there’s evidently nothing vain or arrogant about her. Crown Princess Victoria doesn’t feel at home with the luxe life; no, she likes things to be simple. As royalty she frequently has to wear beautiful gowns, but as soon as she can she changes into something more relaxed. “The first time I met the Princess, she gave the impression of being a happy and nice gal, and that has never changed. She shakes off intrusive questions and I have yet to see her yawn or look bored,” says Jenny Alexandersson, reporter for Svensk Damtidning. “Sometimes she looks a bit uncomfortable, and she doesn’t like to be the center of attention – but of course she has no choice. She might seem a bit stiff but that’s just when she appears in public, during the breaks she is just a happy and bubbly girl.” That’s good to know.

Finally snow!
Stockholm finally got some snow and now it’s time to enjoy it. Here’s a little guide to where you can go cross country skiing, sledding and ice skating. For sleds and pulka, try Observatorielunden, close to Odenplan where Drottninggatan and Norrtullsgatan meet – this is a perfect place for families with children to bring along their pulka. At the top you can enjoy warm sandwiches at Kafé Himlavalvet. Another great place to bring your kids and your pulka is Tanto at Södermalm, close to Tantogården. What if you want to do some long-distance skating? There’s Hellasgården in Nacka and Lida friluftsgård in Tullinge. For cross-country skiing, there’s Domaruddens friluftsgård in Åkersberga, and Skavlötens friluftsgård in Täby.

Interview with Prince Carl Philip.
He’s turning 30 this spring, our Prince Carl Philip. And just like his big sister Victoria, he’s never liked being in the lime light. Recently he was interviewed for Expressen. “What did the King and Queen say when you told them you had decided to study to become a farm foreman?” “They were surprised. As were my sisters.” “Is it true that your classmates must address you as Prince?” “No, that’s not true. I also heard that story, and it’s a misunderstanding. Of course I am not asking my classmates to do that.” “Do I have to address you as Prince?" The prince laughs. “It’s entirely up to you.” Prince Carl Philip is currently studying farming in Alnarp, Skåne. He says he loves it there. His father, the king, also had dreams of becoming a farmer. “He says that had he not been a king, he would have loved to be a farmer,” Carl Philip says. And Carl Philip’s own interest in farming started early. “Each summer at Solliden on Öland, my father was always out fiddling with an excavator or a tractor or something. And I always wanted to know more about animals, woods and fields.” And that farming was the perfect choice for the prince is obvious as he is glowing with happiness. “I’m somewhat divided, though,” he says. “I love city life as well as life in the country.” But life in Alnarp isn’t just fun, there’s a lot of homework, and just like the king and Princess Victoria, Carl Philip suffers from dyslexia. “It takes a long time for me to read something,” he confesses. “And I have to read it over and over to make it stick.” In the evenings he tries to make time for a jog or to see a movie. As for the future, the prince says he doesn’t quite know what he wants. “Perhaps I can combine farming with my prince title,” he says. The prince adds that he watches quite a lot of TV and that his favorite program is “Bonde söker fru” (“Farmer in search of a wife”), that he likes soccer (his favorite player is Zlatan Ibrahimovic) and music (he listens to almost everything, Coldplay is a favorite as is Kent and Lars Winnerbäck).

Should Swedish tax money save SAAB?
A recent poll done by shows that 62% of Expressen’s readers think SAAB has to manage the crisis on its own, while 19% believe Swedes should help with their tax money as “Sweden needs SAAB.” Another 19% believe it doesn’t matter, since it’s all over for SAAB anyway.

New names.
Remember Idol-Kevin? Kevin Borg, the Maltese heartthrob who won the Swedish version of “American Idol”? We’ve got good news for him – soon he can celebrate his name’s day. In 2011 there will be some new names added to the Swedish calendar. To be more precise, Kevin, William and Fatima. That means some names are saying bye-bye and those are Helmi, Gurli and Regina. All according to a decision by Namnslängdskommitén. “When we decide what names should share days in the Swedish calendar, we look at how the names are related and what cultural relationships they might have,” says Eva Brylla, director of the department of names at the Institut för Språk och Folkminnen. “We’ve been doing this since 2001, when we did some changes in how we paired names. We used to think that Leila and Gurli were both Arabic names, and thus they shared name’s day, but that’s incorrect. Only Leila has Arabic roots, therefore Gurli is being replaced by Fatima, another Arabic name.” Leila and Fatima’s name’s day will be on August 28. Regina and Roy are celebrating on September 7 – another mistake according to Brylla. Regina means “queen” in Latin and it was thought that Roy meant “king”. Instead Roy is a Celtic name meaning “red” and so from 2011 Roy will share his day with Kevin, another Celtic name, which means “beautiful”. Another change is that Samuel will share his name’s day (September 1) with Sam. But not until 2011.