Göteborg to adopt congestion toll.
Sweden's second city Göteborg plans to introduce a road toll in 2013 similar to one adopted in Stockholm, the city council said following a vote late Jan. 28. "The issue will now be put to the government. A decision about a congestion charge will be taken by parliament this spring and the plan is for the congestion charge to be introduced in 2013," a statement said. The system, aimed at financing infrastructure investments, reducing greenhouse gases and cutting traffic in the city center by around 15 percent, would include some 40 toll stations around the city. Göteborg has some 506,000 inhabitants. The charge would be similar to the one levied in Stockholm in 2007, where motorists entering and leaving the city Monday to Friday pay between 10 and 20 kronor (1.50 and 3.00 dollars, 1.10 and 2.20 euros), depending on the time of day, with an upper limit of 60 kronor a day. A number of other cities have introduced similar toll schemes, including London, Rome and Singapore.

More bad weather in southern Sweden.
The American Southeast and Mid-Atlantic weren’t the only places to get a dose of wintry weather. The Swedish Meteriological Office (SMHI) warned Skåne residents Jan. 30 to expect strong winds and more heavy snowfall. The weather office also warned of heavy weather on Sweden's east coast toward Lapland and other parts of the south. It warned drivers to avoid the Öresund Bridge, connecting Malmö and Copenhagen, where possible. Despite worsened weather and road conditions, particularly in the south of the country, police in Skåne reported no major accidents.

Academy not blowing hot air about wind.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences says it expects a massive expansion of wind power during the decades ahead, with an annual worldwide average increase of 8 percent. The academy's energy committee says, globally, wind power is expected to rise from the 260 terawatt hours of electricity generated during 2008 to approximately 5,000 terawatt hours during 2050. The scientists said by 2050 they expect wind power to account for about 10 percent of electricity worldwide, compared with the 1.3 percent generated today.

Sweden’s getting bigger.
Yes, that’s right. The northern border between Sweden and Finland is changing after 25 years, and the winner in the duo is Sweden, which will become a few acres bigger. The reason is that the deep grove of Torne River, which constitutes the border, has moved. The Swedish government has confirmed an agreement with Finland about the new border, and a similar confirmation is expected to come from Finland shortly. “Every 25 years, we inspect the border between Sweden and Finland,” said Karin Kristiansson, secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A Swedish-Finnish team has now registered that the groove has moved a little bit. A small part of Sweden will be given to Finland, but we’re getting more back in return. Finland will not be compensated economically.

George Clooney’s Swedish hideout.
Question: Where did George Clooney stay when filming “The American”? Answer: In a little cabin by the lake Singsjön outside of Brunflo, a locality situated in Jämtland, Sweden. Most folks thought the star would spend his time at Hotel Clarion in Östersund, but it turned out Clooney preferred the loneliness of a cabin in the Norrland nature. “The first day he seemed to be in his own little world entirely,” said an anonymous source. “He got out of his cabin and just stood there for a long time, enjoying what he saw.” The cold didn’t seem to bother Clooney at all. “The American” is directed by Anton Corbijn and apart from Clooney the film also stars Violante Placido and Thekla Reuten.

Ban the burkha?
Several Swedish Christian Democrats want to ban the so-called burkha (the enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic traditions for the purpose of cloaking the entire body) in Swedish society. “It’s nasty and not sanitary,” says Annelie Enochson, a Christian Democratic member of the parliament. A few days ago, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt was asked what he thought about the French proposition of banning burkhas and niqabs (the veil that covers the face) in the subways. Reinfeldt has expressed a wish not to ban. But he doesn’t have the entire alliance behind him in this decision. Enochson would like to see the burkha banned in public. “It’s just nasty to have a woman breathe behind that,” she said. And several of her colleagues agree. “I am also for a ban,” said Ingemar Vänerlöv, also a Christian Democratic member of the parliament. “Wearing a burkha is like being masked, and being masked on the subway… Well, we don’t know who’s under there.” Lennart Sacrédeus from the Christian Democrats said: “Rather than banning the burkha, I’d like to ban being masked.” When Expressen polled its readers on the topic “Do you think burkhas should be banned in public?” 91% said yes, 8% said no and 1% had no thoughts about it. One reader wrote: “Would you like to leave your children at the daycare if the teacher showed up wearing a burkha?” Another reader wrote: “Wearing a veil has nothing to do with religion, it’s about discrimination of women.” What do you think?

Alice and Lucas – topping the list.
Alice and Lucas were the most popular names in 2009 in Sweden, according to brand new statistics from Statistiska Centralbyrån (Sweden Statistics). The name Lucas also topped the list in 2008 and 2006, but Alice is new on the first spot. In 2008, Maja was the most popular girl’s name with Alice coming in second. A list with the five most popular girl’s names for 2009 looks like this: 1. Alice 2. Maja 3. Ella 4. Emma 5. Elsa. For boys it’s 1. Lucas 2. Elias 3. Oscar 4. William 5. Hugo.