Swedish Pirate Party to Brussels.
The Swedish pro-file sharing Pirate Party secured more than 7% of the country’s votes in the European Parliament elections and is now on its way to Brussels. When Swedish Television announced a projection likely to give the party enough votes to claim two seats in the EU parliament, euphoria broke out at the party’s headquarters. Said party leader Rick Falkvinge: “The polls beforehand had us at between eight and nice percent, but everything over four percent is a political sensation.” Among voters aged under 30, some 19 percent are believed to have cast a vote for the Pirate Party. And according to Professor of Politics, Sören Holmberg, the Pirate Party is the biggest party among young people in Sweden today. “They are bigger than both the Social Democrats and the Moderates,” he says. The Pirate Party voters said they considered the freedom to file share by far the most important issue when deciding their party allegiance. The Pirate Party was founded in 2006 and quickly attracted members angered by controversial laws adopted in Sweden that criminalized file sharing and authorized monitoring of emails. Its membership shot up after a Stockholm court on April 17th sentenced four Swedes to a year in jail for running one of the world's biggest file sharing sites, The Pirate Bay.
Two of ten willing to peddle.
Two out of every ten adults in Sweden claim they’re willing to peddle booze to youngsters, a fresh study from Stockholm shows. Björn Fries, Director at Preventivcentrum in Stockholm says most young people get their alcohol from “regular” adults. Mostly it’s men age 20-31 who are willing to buy alcohol for those who can’t.
It’s finally summertime! And for Swedes that means finally being able to see the sun. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? Well, maybe not. While people who live near the equator have a more stable temperament all year around, Swedes (and other people who live under more extreme weather conditions) are more likely to be hit by melancholia as well as euphoria. The magic light that seem to stay for the entire night make us more social and easy-going. But that same light can also cause nightmares. Psychiatrist Karin Sparring Björkstén has studied suicides occurring at summertime. She spent some time on Greenland where 12% of all men die in suicide. “It’s terrible,” Sparring Björkstén says, “they all say that when the light comes, they’ll shoot themselves.” And it was on Greenland where Sparring Björkstén felt she found some kind of answer, after having analyzed 1,351 suicides during 1968-2002. Even in Sweden most suicides occur during the summer, as opposed to October to January, where few suicides occur. Why is that then? Sparring Björkstén’s theory is that it’s difficult to sleep when there’s no darkness, and that sleep deprivation leads to such mental ill-health that it in turn can lead to suicide. And keeping a person awake is of course a well-known and effective method of torture. “After a while you just go insane if you cannot get any sleep,” says Sparring Björkstén. “And what happens summertime? You sleep less.” Her advice for all of us, is to make sure we get enough sleep.
Fashion against AIDS.
Oh no, not another boring white T-shirt! There are a slew of pretty tees out there, no need to walk around in a plain white one. Here’s one favorite, designed by the popular Swedish singer Robyn. Buy it at H&M and your money will go to Fashion against aids. For more info: www.hm.com
ABBA boosts Feminist Initiative.
ABBA-composer Benny Andersson donated $128,000 to ensure that Swedish voters had a chance to vote for Gudrun Schyman’s Feministiskt initiativ (Feminist Initiative) political party in Sunday’s EU parliamentary elections. Schyman had previously taken offence at the fact that ballots for FI were not available at all polling stations. She claims that Andersson wants to spend his money to bring attention to the technical issues related to voting. “This is not a contribution to an electoral campaign,” Schyman told Swedish TV. “It is the question of democracy that is important here.” Benny Andersson confirmed the news in a statement of his own, saying, “Because I sympathize with Gudrun Schyman’s persistent struggle for equal treatment, I offered to try and help by providing financial support for an advertisement that explains what to do when the pre-printed ballots are missing.” But Andersson also supports Schyman's politics and would like to see her gain a seat in the EU Parliament.
Bruce signs for Dawit.
The Swedish-Eritrean playwright, journalist, and writer Dawit Isaak has been held in Eritrean prison since 2001 without trial (ostensibly for demanding democratic reforms in a series of letters). In March of this year, four of the five largest newspapers in Sweden (Aftonbladet, Expressen, Dagens Nyheter, and Svenska Dagbladet) featured a plea for the release of Isaak on their first pages. Also, a joint petition was handed over to the Eritrean Embassy in Stockholm, and by May 209,963 people had signed it. The latest to sign was Bruce Springsteen, who was on tour in Sweden. “It’s a pleasure to sign,” Springsteen (a.k.a The Boss) said. “It’s a very important issue. Springsteen’s saxophone player Clarence Clemons also signed. It’s not the first time Bruce Springsteen gets involved politically. In 2004 he supported John Kerry, in 2005 he was engaged with the victims of Katrina, and last year he supported Barack Obama, and played at his inauguration earlier this year. Here he is signing next to Maja Åberg from Amnesty International.