Author fired
Poet, author and journalist Marcus Birro was set to be the new lead of a debate program on Swedish TV4 this fall, but when he let it be known that he at the same time would also candidate as new chairman for the Christian Democrats, TV4 said they’d remove him from the program. Birro chose to interrupt his candidacy, but it was too late. TV4 announced they’d break off all collaboration with Birro. Born in 1972 in Göteborg, Marcus Birro is a famous poet, author and columnist at Sveriges Radio (Swedish Radio Ltd), he also blogs for daily Expressen. He’s brother of author Peter Birro. Marcus Birro is an outspoken Catholic.

Maja and Oscar
Most popular baby names in 2010 were Maja and Oscar. It's the third time during the past five years that Maja tops the girl's list of popular names, and Oscar has been the most common boy's name both in 2002 and 2005. Maja stems from the Biblical name Maria and was very popular during 1910-1920 and from 1990-today. Oscar is an English, originally Irish, name that seems to be a combination of “os”, meaning deer, and “cara” meaning friend. The name was popularized through “The poems of Ossian” (1761-1763) by James Macpherson, where Oscar is the son of the poet Ossian. The name has been popular from 2000- now and was also very popular during the time period 1885-1909. Names that have increased the most in popularity since 2009 are: Tove, Minna and Novalie for girls and Frank, Elvin, and Milo for boys. Decreased mostly in popularity? Kajsa, Emelie and Cornelia for girls, and Carl, Marcus and Jonathan for boys. New on the list of the 100 most popular names for girls are: Tove, Minna, Majken, Annie, Juni, Hedvig, and Novalie and for boys: Frank, Ebbe, Elvin, Julian, and Ivar. Leaving the same lists: Malva, Victoria, Fanny, Alexandra, Rut, Miranda and Johanna as well as Dante, Mattias, Jesper, Dennis and Ruben.

Swedes kill when drunk
Remember "When Finns kill, they use a knife"? Prejudiced, yes, but true nonetheless. Same thing with Swedes: The average Swedish murderer is a drunk man with a knife, according to a new survey. In the Netherlands, the “average murderer” is sober and uses a gun. The deadly violence in Sweden and Finland is highly influenced by alcohol, and the standard murder, horrible though the expression sounds, is when two male friends or acquaintances are sitting at home drinking. A fight erupts and suddenly one of them is lying on the floor dead. The weapon? Most probably a kitchen knife. “The murders in Sweden are usually not premeditated, but spontaneous,” says Johanna Hagstedt, investigator at Brå (the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention). Brå participates in an international crime comparison study with Finland and the Netherlands. The situation in the Netherlands is completely different. “They have a gang criminality that we don’t have and their murder statistics are therefore different,” Hagstedt explains. Gangs use violence in the streets more often, with guns. The murders happen in cities where the gangs are. Compare that to Finland, where most murders are committed out in the country. Alcohol is not even a variable in the Netherlands. But how dangerous is Sweden after all? “I say this when friends ask: If you as a woman don’t live in a destructive relationship with a man who beats you up, and if you, as a man, don’t belong to a marginalized group, abuse alcohol or are a criminal then you’re fine here,” Hagstedt concludes.

Swedes are increasingly thirsty for beer
In spite of the financial crisis, Swedish breweries are flourishing, and during the month of August restaurants were reporting they served rivers of beer. Good weather and an increased interest in (and thirst for) beer is the reason why. The total increase of beer sales in August was 12 percent compared to the same month last year. “Systembolaget (the government owned chain of liquor stores in Sweden) doesn’t show the same increase, so it is mainly restaurants that have an increase in their sales of beer,” says Cecilia Giertta at Svenska Bryggerier (Swedish Breweries). And Henric Byström, press officer at Carlsberg Sverige, adds: “There’s a growing interest in beer and a wish to gain more knowledge about what beer to serve with what food.” Soft drinks, cider and bottled water have also increased in sales.

Former foster children receive payment
The Swedish government has changed its mind, and now former foster children who were mentally or physically abused will receive a payment of 250 000 SEK ($37,000). The victims will also receive an official apology. At first the government said no to any payment, as it felt payment could not be handled in a legally correct way. But after discussions that viewpoint changed. Says Minister of Public Health and Social Services Maria Larsson: “We will make a departure from our usual principles in this particular errand. The state is now taking a responsibility that is over and above the norm by treating this particular group (the former foster children who were abused) differently.”

Wrong on breastfeeding
A study on breastfeeding gives bad grades to Swedish nurses. Of the 73 nurses asked (at 73 different hospitals/child health stations), only one knew how to give correct advice concerning breastfeeding.

Rose is a rose is a rose
“Rosor äro röda, violer äro blå, smultron äro söta och du likaså.” The rose is definitely the queen of all flowers, but not all roses are equal. 35 percent of all roses sold in Sweden are imported from low income countries like Kenya, and Swedish florists and flower importers aren’t very good at making demands on rose producers, making sure their workers are paid a fair salary and have a decent working environment, according to Fair Trade Center. For more info, see Vissen Blomsterhandel The article itself is only available in Swedish, information on Fair Trade Center is, however, bilingual.