Let's get married!
Want to surprise your special someone with a proposal followed by an instant wedding? In Sweden you'll soon have that chance. As more and more Swedes choose a civil wedding ceremony, the bigger cities want to make tying the knot a little easier. Today, the waiting lines to get married can be long; for instance, in Göteborg you may have to wait as long as six weeks for a civil wedding, and in Stockholm it’s worse as you will have to wait as long as six months. But the city of Göteborg wants all that to change, and there are proposals to increase the number of wedding ceremonies and thereby shorten the time people have to wait. In Stockholm too, it might get easier to get married in a civil ceremony. ”We have to turn down 140 couples a week since there’s no time available in the town hall, and we think that’s sad,” says Sten Nordin, commissioner of finance of Stockholm. In a new proposal, Stockholm wants city servants as well as the chairmen and vice chairmen of the district councils to be eligible as wedding officiants. More time should be set aside for weddings at the town hall, and there should also be drop-in civil ceremonies” on special days like ”Alla hjärtans dag” (Valentine’s Day). Paul Trossö is a wedding officiant, and he was booked to marry a couple on Valentine’s Day. ”It’s a very popular day to get married,” he says. ”It’s an easy date to remember. Even if it’s not a public holiday, it’s a strong symbolic day.” In 2005 there were 575 civil wedding ceremonies in the city of Malmö. In 2013 there were 1,023 such ceremonies in the same city, so obviously getting married that way is increasing in popularity in Sweden.

Too political for the Swedish radio
Comedian Soran Ismail will no longer be heard on Swedish Radio, where he has been a popular host. He’s being excluded because this is election year in Sweden, and Ismail’s strong and loud protests against the Sweden Democrats make him ”too political.” "We cannot have a host who says he hates Sweden Democrats,” says Lotta Mossberg, who is publisher and channel manager at P3 Stockholm, and P4 Radio Stockholm. In a previous statement to daily Aftonbladet, Mossberg claimed Ismail wanted to "murder Sweden Democrats,” but she has since apologized for that.

The UN to investigate Hammarskjold death
Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, calls indirectly on the UN member countries to pull forward whatever information they might have about the plane crash in which Dag Hammarskjöld died. The decision is a welcome one to former Swedish Archbishop K.G. Hammar, who has been much engaged in the case. Hammar was one of the initiators of the international legal commission that last autumn asked the UN to reopen the investigation surrounding the crash, where not only Hammarskjöld (then Secretary General of the UN) but also 15 other people were killed. The commission then ruled that the NSA has information that may shed new light on Hammarskjöld’s death and want the top secret documents to be made public. "I interpret this as the Secretary General wants the member countries to ask themselves and look to see if they have some information,” says Hammar. "Since the commission pointed out NSA pretty clearly, I think Ban Ki-moon now wants to ease the pressure and ask: Who else knows anything about this at all? Now that it becomes a matter for the General Assembly, there’s a possibility for a discussion.” Dag Hammarskjöld died in what was then Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, in 1961 in a crash around which much has been speculated; there have been talks about sabotage and theories that political interests and security services acted to get the Swede out of the way. Several investigations have rejected these conspiracy theories, however. The Commission of Jurists, where among others the former UN Legal Counsel Hans Corell was included, showed that NSA conducted signals in the area around Ndola, where the plane hit ground, and asked to get the archived information from the USA. The answer from NSA was that there are two documents that corresponded to the request, but that they could not be disclosed as they are classified top secret on grounds of national security. Even information from British archives is thought to possibly provide new information. Hammar hopes that the issue will be viewed differently now, after the intense debate around NSA since Edward Snowden’s revelations. "This is a huge political issue, but since NSA is much questioned and Barack Obama is thinking about giving new directions, it may be brought to another level where it is politically advantageous to show that you don’t want to stay in the way of the interest in this,” Hammar says and points out that there probably are countries who had hoped Ban Ki-moon would have let the matter ”remain in the drawer.” "I feel a bit euphoric today that (the matter) didn’t get stuck, but is moving on to the General Assembly,” Hammar says. Now he hopes there will be pressure on the issue and urges the Swedish government to help create this pressure. Hammar has criticized the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for having acted passively in this issue saying they have relied in too high a degree on the single investigation that was performed by the former Ambassador Bengt Rösiö, in 1992. ”I think that the world expects Sweden to be interested in what actually happened. It would be somewhat scandalous if for instance African countries … push the issue along and Sweden does not,” he concludes.

Unemployment down
According to new statistics from Arbetsförmedlingen (the Swedish Public Employment Service), unemployment in Sweden has gone down, if you compare the week of February 3-9 this year with the same week last year.