Princess Madeleine expecting a baby
Sweden's Royal Palace has announced Princess Madeleine of Sweden and her husband, New York financier Christopher O'Neill, are expecting their first child. A statement on the Swedish royal court's website confirmed that Madeleine is due in March 2014, which means she's about two months along. Currently third in line to the throne, the princess lives in New York with her financier husband. She crossed the Atlantic to settle in New York following the breakdown of her first engagement to Swedish attorney Jonas Bergström amid speculation that he had cheated on her. Rumors of a romance with Mr. O'Neill first emerged in early 2011 when the pair were seen together at the Central Park Boathouse. She and Mr O'Neill got married in Stockholm on June 8.

Swedish scientists prove existence of new element
A research group led by a scientist from Lund has presented new evidence confirming the existence of a previously unknown element. The element, with the atomic number 115, has so far been called ununpentium, and was first discovered by Russian scientists in 2003 and 2004. However, the existence of the super heavy element hasn’t been established, until now when an international group of scientists led by physicists from Lund have conducted experiments at the GSI research facility in Germany. The group has managed to present new evidence that the element exists. Dirk Rudolph, professor of nuclear physics at Lund University, is the spokesperson for the experiment and he describes it as one of the most important in the area in recent years. ”It will become more and more likely that element 115 really exists,” he says. ”It is hard to imagine that it could be anything but just 115.” When calcium ions were fired off against a thin foil made of the element Americium, the scientists measured photons (light particles) in conjunction with the new element’s alpha decay. According to the scientists, certain energies within the photons match those that are expected for X-rays, which is a kind of ”fingerprint” for the element. ”What we have proved is that with today’s methods, one can make this type of experiment where you get ’fingerprints’,” says Dirk Rudolph. A scientific committee made up by members from international physics and chemistry organizations, will now examine the new research results, which were recently published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters, in order to determine whether further experiments are needed in order to recognize the discovery of the new element.

Wine is getting more expensive
The Swedish government wants to raise the tax on alcohol. The proposal will be presented in the fall budget, according to TV4 News. Both the customs and the police are against an increase of the tax on alcohol, since according to them it may lead to private import and illegal handling of alcohol. But the government doesn’t care, and a raise of 13% is included in the fall budget. This means that a bottle of wine that costs 79 SEK ($11) today, will cost 82 SEK ($12) after the raise. Calculations by the Ministry of Finance suggest that the state would receive 1.1 billion SEK extra with the raise, but Svensk Handel (the Swedish Trade Federation) doesn’t believe in this, and they too believe private import of alcohol will increase, also according to TV4 News.

Prisoners play Monopoly
Interns at Swedish penitentiaries have the right to work, which they also do (according to statistics). But a big part of the working hours is dedicated to watching movies and playing games like Monopoly. The prisoners’ salary is 11 SEK an hour ($1.60). Playing Monopoly is entered in the books as ”other structured activity”, which makes up for a fifth of all activity, according to daily Dagens Nyheter. There’s great pressure to arrange employment hours, say those who work at the penitentiaries. ”I’ve been urged by my bosses to ’clean up’ my numbers,” says one. And DN’s sources tell how interns may be recorded as working full time even though they’ve only worked an hour and that prisoners are said to have performed factory work when in fact they’ve just been sitting in the factory playing cards. Both taxpayers and the interns themselves are betrayed when incorrect information is compiled neatly and presented to the politicians, according to one source. Secretary General for Kriminalvården (the Swedish Prison and Probation Service) Nils Öberg, says he’s satisfied with the work there, even though there’s a long way to go. The Monopoly playing is something he’s never heard of before and he doesn’t want to comment.