First woman to lead Supreme Court.
The Swedish government Jan. 14 named the first-ever female judge to head the Supreme Court. Marianne Lundius, 49, is the court’s new president and administrative head. She has been a judge on the Supreme Court for 11 years. Lundius also serves as vice chair of the Fideikommissnämnden (Entailed Estates Council), as well as substitute chairs of both the Oljekrisnämnden (Oil Crisis Council) and the Prövningsnämnden för stöd till kreditinstitut (Credit Institutions Support Approval Commission). Lundius is also vice chair of the disciplinary committee of the Stockholm stock exchange and vice chair of the Swedish Securities Council (Aktiemarknadsnämnden).

Industrial orders increase in Sweden.
Industrial orders increased a modest 1.5 percent in November, Statistics Sweden reported Jan. 8, raising hopes the recession was at last passing. The increase in the year-on-year number came after a dismal October report, which saw orders decline 13.4 percent, revised from the 13.3 percent decline initially reported. For the September to November period, new orders grew 2.6 percent compared to the previous three months period.

Norway now top trading partner.
Norway passed Germany to become Sweden's biggest important trading partner. Norway, with its population of 4.8 million, bought more Swedish-made goods than Germany, with a population of 82 milllion Germans, Dagens Næringsliv reported Jan. 14. From January to October last year, Swedish exports to Norway totalled NOK 87.4 billon, while the export to Germany reached NOK 84.8 billion. The Norwegian business daily said the main reason for the change is the global recession: Swedish exports to Germany dropped 30 percent, while exports to Norway drooped only 10 percent.

Math will solve crowded railways.
The Swedish railways are crowded. - too crowded. And now advanced mathematical models will be used to solve the problem. As more and more people in Sweden travel by train, it’s become important to schedule the trains so that they don’t interrupt each other. “This is something we’ve been looking at for quite some time, but we want to work with other kinds of models,” says Anders Peterson, Professor in traffic systems at Linköping University. Peterson together with Statens Järnvägar, SJ (Swedish State Railways) and Banverket (Swedish Rail Administration) is now working on a research project constructing timetables where these interruptions can be dealt within a better fashion. “SJ used to make up their timetables by hand, with pen and paper,” Peterson continues. “The time has come for something more exact.” Methods and models from mathematical programming will be used to shape things up at the Swedish railways.

Lasse and Lena are coming home.
Swedish director and actress couple Lasse Hallström and Lena Olin are moving back to Sweden after many successful years in Hollywood. It was Hallström who revealed the news to Swedish Aftonbladet when they interviewed him in Beverly Hills. “We aim at being back (in Stockholm) this fall, when school begins,” he says. Lasse and Lena’s daughter Tora is 14 years old and Hallström explains that moving home now is their last chance, before they “lose (her) to America for good.” But he is happy for his and wife Lena’s sake as well. “It’s very exciting. We tried moving back a couple of years ago, but the timing wasn’t right then.” Hallström hopes the move will do something for his career as well, as the last years haven’t had much success in storage for him. His film “Hachiko: A dogs story” with Richard Gere, which will premiere in Sweden shortly, didn’t even open in American movie theaters. “It makes me so mad. I’m proud of that film and I think it would have done very well. It’s been so successful in Japan and Italy.” Hallström and Olin are currently living in a house in Westchester, New York and they are looking for an apartment on Stockholm’s Östermalm, preferably on the elegant Strandvägen.

Carl Philip’s new girlfriend.
With so much focus on both his sisters’ upcoming weddings, we wonder what’s up with Prince Carl Philip? Well, it looks like he has a new girlfriend. Last year, his long relationship with Emma Pernald came to an end, and ever since the prince seems to have been happily single. But now, a 25-year old reality TV-star has captured his heart. Her name is Sofia Hellqvist and according to sources, the couple has met in secret for quite a while now. There have been dates in Stockholm, in the U.S. and in Sälen, and some say Sofia has already met Carl Philip’s family. Sofia Hellqvist participated in a Swedish reality TV show called “Paradise Hotel” and also posed for the magazine Slitz.

Jonas Gardell on faith.
Swedish novelist, playwright, screenwriter and comedian Jonas Gardell is always interesting. Last year his book “Om Jesus” (On Jesus) became a hit, and since religion is a burning topic in Sweden (and elsewhere too) we took a look at Gardell’s views on Jesus and faith, as presented in the Vi magazine. Gardell, who is openly homosexual, grew up in the Baptist Church and has always talked about the importance of his faith, which is a recurrent theme in his works. He often cites the Bible as the most important source of inspiration for him. About his different view on Jesus, he says: “I think my interpretation of Jesus can be liberating. Perhaps some feel their own image of Jesus threatened, but the Swedish Church has a high ceiling and I’ve been invited to several churches to hold lectures and to preach.” He also reveals that his favorite “frikyrkosånger” (songs from the free churches) are: “Namnet framför andra namn”, “Pärleporten”, “Gyllne morgon” and “Var jag går i skogar berg och dalar”. Gardell has said he received his faith “with his mother’s milk”. “Without my faith I am empty,” he once said in an interview. “One woman once wrote me and asked: Will we get a second chance if we blow the first one? And I answered her: My dear, life’s not an audition. It’s not about being forgiven, it’s about realizing we already have been forgiven. And after that follows the next step: What to do with our freedom?” This, he says, is a much more interesting issue than that of our everlasting sin.