Breast feed, say Swedes!
Breast feeding can protect children against early infection from peptic ulcer bacteriaa according to research conducted with infected youngsters in Bangladesh by Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg. The findings, reported early in March, also reveal how childrens' immune responses help in fighting the bacteria with antibodies in breast milk. Hygienic improvements and sanitary living conditions also appeared to be important factors found in the examinations of 250 children from birth to two years. Physicians associated with the research hope for a vaccine to prevent peptic ulcer bacteria infection and secondary diseases, which may be peptic ulcers and, in severe instances, stomach cancer.

Swedish men 11th & 13th richest in the world.
Sweden has four of the 1,011 on the 2010 Forbes list of the World's Billionaires. For years, Ingvar Kamprad, Ikea's billionaire founder, wrestled with Microsoft's Bill Gates for the Forbes Magazine title of world's richest man, but now, both got bumped down the golden ladder by Mexico's telecom tycoon, Carlos Slim Helu. Hardly living up to his "Slim" name in real life, the owner of the huge giant mobile enterprise, America Movil, is worth $53.5 billion, which beats Gates $53 billion and more than doubles Kamprad's $23 billion, which lowered the famous Swede from fifth to a modest eleventh place. On his tail in 13th place, H&M's Stefan Persson has a worth of $22.4 billion. Sweden has four of the 1,011 on the 2010 Forbes list of the World's Billionaires. The club dropped from 1,128 in 2008 due mainly to the shrinking world economy. The tenth richest woman in the world is Antonia Johnson of Axfood.

Record unpaid bills.
The effects of the recession has become evident, according to new statistics from the Swedish government's debt collectors, Kronofogdemyndigheten, who have handled a record 1.2 million complaints filed by debt owners. With a jump of 18 percent nationally from last year, the pile of unpaid bills grew largest in Skåne, which saw 23 percent more filings, and least in Västernorrland, with 11 percent. On a positive note, about 95 percent of individuals in Sweden who declared bankruptcy to stay off the debt collectors roles, and the 4,000 persons who were granted total debt write-offs last year represented only a 9 percent annual increase during the recession.

Construction in Sweden recovering.
Recovery of the Swedish economy is shown by positive figures from the construction industry. Household optimism is increasing in the wake of last year's interest rate cuts, and this boosts housing prices. "The Swedish economy is steadily strengthening and it is making an impact on construction investment," says Johan Deremar, economist at the federation. Their projections predict that the 6% drop in total construction investments will turn around to a 5% increase this year, but only record around 3% in 2011. After several years of little new construction of apartments, current demand is causing residential development to again move forward. The federation's statistics also foresee that recovery will happen at quite low levels. Successive home construction increases will mean that the upswing will continue even through 2011, despite that public projects and private commercial starts will slow down during next year.

Firemen will take their red trucks home!
In order to shave minutes off response times for emergencies, especially when they happen at night, over weekends or during holidays, Lomma Fire Chief Bertil Persson has asked the local city fathers to allow its firemen to take their vehicles home, at least when they can find sufficient parking space. The Lomma fire brigade consists mainly of part time fire fighters, and Persson wants at least two to take their vehicles home after work. "If these two firemen can get to the scene first, no important time will be lost," he points out. Although they won't have hook and ladder vehicles, the large trucks that will be at their fingertips will hold 250 liters of water and a wide array of useful emergency equipment and supplies including oxygen, defibrillator and other life-saving devices.

America imports 16 percent less from Sweden.
Exports and imports fell sharply last year according to the SCB, the nation's census bureau. In 2009, the value of Swedish exports amounted to 998 billion kronor ($140 billion), a decrease of 16 percent compared to 2008. At the same time, imports plunged 17 percent, resulting in a net trade surplus of SEK 87 billion. Exports to European countries and America dropped by a fifth, and by 4 percent to Asia. However, exports to China rose 21 percent at the same time as imports from China fell 6 percent. The downturn was dramatic for most of the product areas, but pharmaceuticals and food were the exceptions. Exports of machinery and transport equipment plunged 22 percent during 2009. In this commodity group, exports of road vehicles dropped 42 percent.

American Jihad Jane arrested.
A suburban woman from Pennsylvania, known as “Jihad Jane”, has been arrested and charged with trying to recruit Islamic fighters and for plotting to assassinate Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks who made fun of the Prophet Mohammed, according to a federal indictment unsealed today. Described by her neighbors as an average “housewife”, “Jihad Jane” or Colleen LaRose as is her real name, is accused of being the brain behind the plan to assassinate Vilks. In order to carry out the plan, the 46-year old American became an active member of Vilks’ social network and also asked for a residence permit in Sweden. She got as far as to Europe but never succeeded in coming to Sweden. Jihad Jane was arrested in October last year, but her arrest was made public only this week.

'Catch me if you can'
A Swedish man flew jumbo jets for 13 years without a license. Although he had never been licensed to fly a Boeing 737 jumbo jet aircraft—with over a hundred passengers—and had not held a valid pilot's license of any sort since he was in his late twenties, a 41-year-old Swedish man was about to pilot a regular route from the Netherlands to Ankara, Turkey. On a tip sent to the Dutch police from their Swedish counterparts, the masquerading jet captain was apprehended in the cockpit before taking off on a route he had flown numerous times. Flying for over 13 years on licenses he had forged, the Swedish man, who listed himself as an Italian resident, claimed he had logged some 10,000 hours in the air and flown aircraft in and out of major airports throughout the EU. The Turkish airline which employed him was obliged to rapidly find a replacement.

Robotic vision.
Doctoral candidate Anders Ryberg at Högskolan Väst is working on improving the vision of robots. “A robot has to be able to weld an edge in the center of a metal disc, the problem is just that the welding track can look very different, and then it’s impossible for the robot to adjust itself without ‘eyes’,” Ryberg explains. Thus he mounted a camera on top of the robot and the camera adjusts accordingly thanks to a model Ryberg has constructed. “The model will work with all kinds of cameras.” It took Ryberg 5 years to develop the model, and it was part and parcel of his doctor’s dissertation. This camera model makes it possible for the robot to alter its work if for instance the metal is deformed. Ryberg says that the robot’s “eyes” work on any kind of robot that needs to change its behavior in real time. “Many businesses have expressed interest in the product,” he adds.

The King needs mo’ money.
The Swedish king takes no risks. New documents show him asking for 2 million SEK ($280,145.20) extra, per year, to guarantee the safety and security of Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling. The documents also reveal that Victoria and Daniel will move in at Haga slott (Haga Palace) shortly after July 1. The 2 million SEK is to cover mostly personnel. Meanwhile, the renovation of Haga slott has cost 40 million SEK ($5,603,749.23). The renovation was deemed necessary in order to turn the palace into a home. The young couple will be on their honeymoon when the moving trucks park at Haga, but the idea is that the palace will all be done and ready by the time they are back. Haga Slott, formerly known as the Queen’s Pavilion, is located in Hagaparken and was built in 1802-1805 by architect Carl Christopher Gjörwell. The King and his sisters were raised here. It’s the size of 15 regular private houses combined. Do you think the King himself should pay for Victoria and Daniel’s security? When Expressen polled its readers, 71% answered “Yes” and 29% said “No.”

Wedding of the week.
Let’s forget about Victoria’s upcoming wedding… for a minute. The wedding all Swedes talk about now is that of Niclas Wahlgren and Laila Bagge. Niclas Walhgren is a famous actor/singer, a member in the equally famous Wahlgren/Schollin family (father Hans Wahlgren, mother Christina Schollin, sister Pernilla Wahlgren to mention a few) and Laila Bagge is a Swedish manager and songwriter. Because many of Niclas’ family members are in the entertainment business, some of them could not, because of their work, attend his wedding. That raised a lot of questions. Now, the rings, Laila’s wedding gown and the flower arrangement, are under scrutiny as well. Inspired by a river and a waterfall, Laila’s ring is made of white gold and pink diamonds, hence its name “Pink River”. Also Niclas’ ring is of white gold with a pink diamond. The rings are worth approximately 200,000 SEK ($28,032.85). But were they paid for? The answer, the shocking answer, is no! The wedding, as well as the couple’s rings, was all sponsored. Niclas and Laila sold the rights to their wedding to Swedish newspaper Expressen for an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 SEK ($7,000 – $8,000). And it turns out the couple also chose the date for their wedding, March 6, because that was the day they could get everything “for free”. The couple is now on honeymoon in Aruba. Do you think it’s important that a man pays for the woman’s wedding ring himself?