Best in English
Sweden has once again scored 1st among 88 countries for having a very high proficiency in English, according to the 8th edition of the EF English Proficiency Index, the world’s largest ranking of English skills among non-native speakers. The Nordic country has been in the top 5 since Education First started collecting data in 2011; it’s been in the top spot in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Data across the globe reveals that women tend to achieve better results than men, and non-native English speakers in Europe continuously rank high in the world. EF notes that a high level of English proficiency correlates with an increase in income, quality of life, economic success and innovation. www.ef.se/epi

Delay could affect defense budget
With only a caretaker government, the budget (scheduled for presentation on Nov. 15) should on principle be a limited one, without controversies or political reforms. This would mean the extra SEK 3 billion ($333 million) the Armed Forces need won’t be part of it. According to defense spokespeople, the Armed Forces are already preparing for an insufficient economy. Sweden's highest military commander, Micael Bydén, said the gap of three billion in funding will mean "consequences for all combat forces," reduced training and deficiencies in equipment.

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A cashless society's mobile bank
The mobile bank N26 is now available in Sweden. Founded in Berlin in 2013, N26 has been growing rapidly in European markets, its advantages of choosing a digital bank made clear: It offers free ATM withdrawals, money transfers with no fees, and the lowest currency exchange fees. The free-of-charge N26 standard account or N26 business account apps help track and manage spending, the bank accounts are denominated in euros and come with a free debit Mastercard. N26 customers can organize, withdraw and spend money, and control their finances entirely from their smartphone, a welcomed step in a country that’s on its way to being the first cashless society. N26 is continuing its global growth strategy with a planned launch in the US in the first half of 2019.

Sweden promotes peace
Top American officials called for a ceasefire in Yemen, and Sweden offered to host the U.S.-proposed peace talks this month. Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström underlines Sweden's involvement in aiding the victims of the conflict in Yemen, which she says is one of the most serious humanitarian crises in the world.

The Swedish Academy
Theology professor Jayne Svenungsson is the latest in a line of people to quit or be forced off the 18-member board of the Swedish Academy since sex-abuse and financial scandals broke last year. The Swedish Academy, the body that awards the Nobel Prize for Literature, has made steps toward recovery after the scandal forced it to postpone this year’s prize. They have elected three new members, but Svenungsson, who will return to focusing on her full-time job at Lund University, is the eighth person to quit.