300 SAS layoffs
SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) reported a second-quarter net loss of 800 million SEK ($120 million) and a revenue drop of 15 percent during the same period. The airline will now make more cutbacks, including 300 job layoffs — within support, commercial operations, administration and management, primarily in Sweden. Says CEO and president of SAS Rickard Gustafson: “The Scandinavian airline market continues to be influenced by an intense competition and pricing pressures, which have reduced margins more than expected. We are deeply unhappy with the result, and it is worse than expected.” Facing stiff competition from budget airlines and high expenses, SAS embarked on a wide restructuring plan in November 2012, however beginning next fall SAS will focus on new direct routes from Oslo and Stockholm to the U.S. and Asia.

Brave men drowning
Many men have drowned during the past weeks in Sweden, and the number is expected to increase, especially among men over age 50. Says Anders Wernesten at Svenska Livräddningssällskapet (SLS or the Swedish Life Saving Society): “They say ‘I can swim.’ But I answer ‘You can’t.'” The drowning accidents happen all over Sweden, and this year over 30 people have already drowned, even though summer, the worst period, has barely begun. “It’s starting now. Nice weather brings more people to the water and drowning accidents can escalate around Midsummer, when people drink more,” Wernesten says. Half of those who drown have alcohol in their blood, and alcohol in combination with being in bad physical shape increases the risk of drowning. According to Svenska Livräddningssällskapet, nine of ten drowning are men, and closer to a third of them are over 70 years old. “They cannot evaluate the risks and go on as if they’re still 40.” SLS is trying to get people in the risk zone to understand that they are helpless without a life jacket if they fall into the water from a boat, but it is difficult for them to absorb the information, it seems it’s especially difficult for fishermen who fish alone, to understand this. One problem is that there are no knowledge requirements for being out on a lake, according to Wernesten. “People have respect for the ocean, but not the same kind of respect for lakes and rivers. And that’s where most drowning accidents occur.”

Plenty of Swedish strawberries
No need for Swedes to buy imported strawberries for Midsummer, there’s plenty of Swedish ones. “There’s no need to hurry. There are berries and you’ll be fine if you buy them the day before Midsummer,” says Anders Hagberg, chairman for Sweden’s berry growers at GRO Bär. Hagberg has just called growers in Skåne, Småland and Uppsala to check the access for the weekend. “We won’t need to import this year,” he says. Sure, local frost struck certain areas of Sweden earlier this year, but the warm weather in May and June has ensured the ripening of the strawberries, says Hagberg, who grows strawberries in Värmland. “Even here in Karlstad, we pick them out in the open, which isn’t all that common around Midsummer.” Swedish strawberries are popular with consumers. Many people chose Swedish strawberries rather than imported ones. A lot of people are also concerned about a previous alarm concerning hepatitis in imported frozen berries. “Swedish strawberries are, on the other hand, safe to eat, and you do not need to boil them.” If you keep the strawberries in the fridge, you should take them out in time before serving, to get the most out of their taste. Hagberg says that he prefers to eat the strawberries out in the fields. “The strawberry tastes the best when picked sun-warmed straight from the plant,” he says.