Work till you’re 72.
That’s right. If Kristdemokraterna (Christian Democrats) get their proposal through, that’s what the Swedes can look forward to: Retiring no earlier than when they’re 72 years old. According to Expressen’s poll this isn’t a popular idea: 93% say ‘No thank you’ to the idea, while 7% are OK with it. What do you think?

Greet 2009 in tartan.
Many Scots have emigrated throughout history and what they’ve brought with them wherever they went is tartan – you know the criss-crossed woven cloths – and now it’s on the horizon again. Everyone from the British royal family to rock stars and hooligans wear tartan. And Sweden’s tartan designer Göran Broberg thinks we will see Swedes wrapped up in plaid too, in 2009. “There’s an increased interest in tartan,” he says. “It’s because our society moves so quickly and we need something that’s lasting, something with history and tradition. When you have designed a tartan patterns, you get it registered at The Scottish Tartan Authority, and once it’s registered you may not make any changes. It’s forever, and I think that’s cool.” Broberg has designed tartan patterns for Malmö FF (the soccer club) and the Stockholm Pride Festival, all his tartan designs are weaved in Scotland. Today there are around 2700 registered tartan patterns; one of the most famous ones is the Black Watch (green, blue and black). Swedish fashion designer Ylva Liljefors is known for her rock chic clothes and she, too, loves tartan. “To me it gives a feeling of punk,” she says. Be brave, greet 2009 in tartan, if not in a kilt, then perhaps a Burberry scarf will do? Or a tartan beret?

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Goat on fire.
Oh no, not again. The Gävle Goat (Julbocken i Gävle) is a giant version of a traditional Swedish Yule Goat in straw and it is erected every year at Slottstorget in Gävle. This is a tradition that dates back to 1966. The goat has since the beginning had a history of being burnt down almost every year, 2008 for the 25th time. Says one spokesperson: “We have been so happy that the goat survived through Christmas Eve, which is the toughest period every year. We haven’t applied any flame retardant the last two years and thought he would probably survive without it.” She continued to say that the goat’s fate is watched all over the world, prompting emotional responses from other countries regarding the julbock. No arrests have yet been made.

'Vi flytt int'
Afraid to move? You know the phrase “Vi flytt’ int.” That’s a phrase that’s being used when making fun of local patriotic people up north in Sweden, Norrlänningar. Turns out it’s valid for almost all Swedes. A new study made at Umeå University, shows that most Swedes rather be unemployed than move in order to get a new job. A fifth of all people asked said they would move if they had a the promise of a job elsewhere, a fifth said they would stay put and be unemployed, the rest said they’d rather start studying or commuting to a job further away.

No crisis for Blondinbella.
If you live in Sweden there’s no way you have not heard of Blondinbella. She’s a phenomenon. An 18-year old blogging phenomenon you either hate or love or love to hate. Her real name is Isabella Löwengrip, and she’s gained attention for blogging about her life as a student. Blondinbella is active within the Moderate Youth League, and even has her own TV-show. Her Blondinbella business has a million SEK turnover, and she plans to be economically independent by the age of 20. A few days ago, Blondinbella called “Karl Bertil Jonssons Julafton” (a very popular animated movie adaption of Tage Danielsson’s short story shown on Swedish TV at Christmas) Communist propaganda and thus caused a minor riot in Swedish media. This is what she said in a recent interview with Dagens Nyheter: “You had a big 18th birthday bash, how much did you spend on it?” “300.000 SEK.” “You’re selling stuff at your website, Bellme, and soon you’re launching your own clothes line.” “Yes, I have not noticed a financial crisis. My plans are to become a lawyer and to write a book. By branding Blondinbella I will accomplish both.”

Swedish artist got his nose bitten off.
A Swedish artist got into a fight in a hotel room, and during the fight he got his nose bitten off. Today he’s on a sick leave and wonders how the job situation will be in the near future. “It feels depressing,” he says. Some two centimeters of the nose were bitten off, but the tip was found and doctors managed to patch it on again. There’s a risk however, that the artist’s body will reject the nose tip, which was lacerated and torn. “If I am lucky my body will accept this piece of meat,” the artist said. In worst case, he’ll have to have plastic surgery.