Swedish men top Web poll. Unemployment jumps in October. Men arrested for Viking treasure theft. Nobel Winners Guaranteed. 'Alla tiders pappa!' One in five priests refuse to wed same-sex couples.
Swedish men top Web poll.
A dating Web site that claims to filter out "unattractive people" says its registration numbers suggest Swedish men are the world's best looking. BeautifulPeople.com, which allows existing members to choose which applicants are good looking enough to join, said 65 percent of applications from Swedish men are accepted, compared with only 9 percent of Russian and Polish men. The Web site, which tells members they won't be "filtering through unattractive people" in searches, said 45 percent of Brazilian men who apply to the site are accepted while 40 percent of Danish men are welcomed. The site has rejected about 2 million people since it went online in 2002.
"It might sound morally wrong to our critics but our growing success is the beautiful truth," said Greg Hodge, the site's managing director.
Unemployment jumps in October.
Sweden's jobless rate rose to 5.4 percent in October, up from 5.3 percent in September, said a report Nov. 11 by the Public Employment Service. Economists' expected the jobless rate to be 5.3 percent. The jobless rate is measured by the number of unemployed registered with the Employment Service. The number of unemployed registered in the employment service totaled 251,000 in October, showing an increase of 2.1 percentage points or 96,000 persons over a year ago.
There were more men enrolled in unemployed than women in October, which was 142,000 for men and 109,000 for women, the agency said. Meanwhile, the number of vacancies notified to the country's employment service totaled 31,000, which is 13,000 less than in the previous year Consumer prices fell 1.5 percent in October from a year earlier, Statistics Sweden said on its Web site, stoking deflation fears. In the month, prices rose 0.3 percent over September.
One in five priests refuse to wed same-sex couples.
Only a week has passed since same-sex couples were given the right to tie the knot like everyone else in church. Yet 18% of pastors in the Göteborg region say they refuse to preside over homosexual weddings. A survey by Göteborgs-Posten questioned 147 priests in the local diocese on their willingness to wed gay couples. A total of 18 % said they would not partake in marriage ceremonies. Since November 1st, gay couples have been given the blessing to marry in church, it followed a decision by the Synod of the Church of Sweden in October, which also gave priests a right to refuse to partake in same-sex nuptials. “When I was ordained I promised to preach as it is in the Holy Scriptures,” Ingemar Scott, a priest from the Landala parish said. ”Because of that promise it is impossible for me to marry same-sex couples.” Scott also believes there is a majority of priests who share his views outside the Göteborg region and those that refuse to marry gay couples are subject to a discrimination label. “The Bible teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman. If I have that opinion I am, by default, one of those who is discriminating against same-sex couples.” he adds. Yet, that 7 out of 10 pastors are willing to marry gay couples is enough according to priest Gunnar Bäckström, chair of the Ecumenical Group for Christian HBT People (EKHO). What is most important, he says, is that the church has taken a step forward in HBT questions. ”For those that choose not to, it’s a case of how democracy works,” he said.
Alla tiders pappa!
Last weekend it was Father’s Day in Sweden, and Swedish media took the opportunity to examine the image of the official pappa. In 1959, he was an absent father, just like his own father had been. One of the internationally most famous Swedes, Ingemar “Ingo” Johansson had small children at home in 1959, but rarely mentioned fatherhood in interviews. A decade later, in 1969, the image has changed. Now, our pappa is depicted as someone who is somewhat of a blockhead, sometimes a well-meaning blockhead, in the worst cases an egocentric one. Some of the most known fathers from this decade is Melker in the TV-series “Vi på Saltkråkan” and Keve Hjelm’s father figure in Bo Widerberg’s film “Kvarteret Korpen”, an alcoholic, self-pitying liar. In 1979 it’s time to say hello to “velourpappan”, Velveteen Daddy. Swedish fathers were, in 1974, the first to gain right to paid paternity leave. But it was an uphill battle, and in order to make it more attractive and interesting, Försäkringskassan (Social Insurance) began an ad campaign starring heavy weight Lennart “Hoa-Hoa” Dahlgren who posed with an infant in his arms. The point was not lost: Even big strong men can stay at home and take care of little babies. Another velourpappa who made his entrance in the 1970’s was Alfons Åberg’s father (Alfon’s American name is Alfie Atkins), a daddy who spends most of his time relaxing in an armchair. It is also in the 1970’s that Babybjörn introduces the favorite item for all velveteen daddies: the modern, designed baby carrier. Another decade another image, but the 80’s gave us a wider variety of father figures. First there’s the hurried yuppie dad, the one who wants to have a career but also wants to help take care of his child. He writes down the times for baby swim classes in his filofax, and bikes all over town with his tot on the luggage carrier. There’s also the rock n’ roll dad who puts earmuffs on his children and brings them to music festivals everywhere. The backpacking vagabond dad takes his children with him to the beaches of South East Asia. Max von Sydow gives us a father who is repressed and afraid of conflicts in Bille August’s “Pelle the Conqueror”, while August himself is the Big Daddy of Denmark. Klas Eklund is revelaed as a career father in his son’s book “Det är 1988 och har précis börjat snöa”. We forward yet another decade, to 1999. What makes a good father? There are piles and piles of demands, and just as many pieces of advice. The most famous TV-father of the late 1990’s is of course Tony Soprano from “The Sopranos”, a mafia boss and father of two who tries to master his panic attacks with therapy. And then we have Kevin Spacey’s father figure in “American Beauty”, a father going through a middle age crisis, falling in love with his daughter’s friend. Now what about today? In 2009 Ragnar Bengtsson made headlines in Swedish media as he tried to nurse his child. On the book front, the interest in dissecting the father figure is bigger than ever. There have been more novels about fathers in 2009 than any other recent year. Nils Claesson talks about his father Stig “Slas” Claesson in a book called “Blåbärsmaskinen” and although “Slas” was a beloved author, everything he did as a father wasn’t as admirable. Erik Wijk talks about his father Olof in “Allt vi här drömma om” and Hanna Hellquist about hers, Lars-Erik, in “Karlstad Zoologiska”. All the men have one thing in common: Even though they were seen by the public as great, they had complicated relationships with their children. We wish all fathers, alla pappor, a belated Happy Swedish Father’s Day and less complicated relations with their children.
Men arrested for Viking treasure theft.
Three men, including the board member of an auction house, have been arrested on Gotland in connection with the plunder of hundreds of Viking-era silver artifacts from the island in the Baltic Sea. The men were arrested on Tuesday afternoon. A remand hearing is to be followed later by a police press conference. Two archaeologists employed by Gotland county discovered that the valuables had vanished when they arrived at a field in Alva in Gotland to follow up on a recent find. The methodical thieves dug some 250 holes in a bid to secure as much booty as possible. Majvor Östergren at the Gotland County Administrative Board estimated that the impostors had made off with 500 silver pieces worth a combined total of SEK 250,000 - 500,000 ($35,000 - $70,000). The last time someone was been convicted of cultural heritage offences on Gotland was back in 1991, when two German geologists with metal detectors were each sentenced to three months in prison when they tried to make off with a number of artifacts.
Nobel Winners Guaranteed.
This year’s winner of the most famous of Nobel prizes, the one in literature, went to the German author Herta Müller, and she was one of the most expected authors ever to actually win it. But Dagens Nyheter’s Håkan Lindgren has discovered three authors yet to win the prize and he guarantees they will… eventually. “Witness Literature” is a book that the Swedish Academy let publish in 2002, and according to Lindgren, it appears almost like a blueprint for the Academy’s work. The very term “witness literature” was coined by Elie Wiesel during the 1970’s, and means authors writing about witnessed oppression (like Solzhenitsyn in “The Gulag Archipelago”). For the Swedish Academy “witness literature” seems to mean a lot, and the book is a collection of contributions from a seminar the Academy held in 2001, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize, and among the contributors we find Nadine Gordimer (who received the prize in 1991), Kenzaburō Ōe (1994 recipient), Gao Xingjian (2000 recipient), Imre Kertész (who was to receive the prize a year later, in 2002) as well as Herta Müller (who is, as we mentioned, this year’s winner). Of the ten contributors to the book there are three who have yet to be awarded: the British historian Timothy Garton Ash, the Somalian author Nuruddin Farah, and the Chinese author Li Rui. Could they be future Nobel Laureates? Lindgren guarantees it. He who lives will see.