Bob Dylan sends speech in absence
(Nobel) American Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan has sent a speech to be read in his absence at the Nobel Banquet on Dec. 10, and his work will be recognized at the ceremony by singer Patti Smith who will perform Dylan's “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall.” Dylan won this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature, but he will not be able to attend the Stockholm event due to other commitments.

Lucia ad campaign met with hate
(Culture) An Ahlens Christmas ad was met with strong reactions when a smiling dark-skinned boy appeared in Lucia clothing. The image resulted in so many racist comments that the boy’s family asked for the image to be removed; however, a Facebook group working to counter hatred online, Jag Är Här, chimed in with comments of love and soon the ad had 10,000 supportive comments. Most of the racist or hateful comments have been removed.

PISA results show student improvement
(National) The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey results released on Dec. 6 show that marked improvements have been made by Swedish students; performance is back at the high level shown in 2009. The result is that Sweden is now average among the 34 democratic OECD countries. Finland and Denmark ranked highest in mathematics followed by Norway, Sweden and Iceland. Reading skills in Sweden also improved showing an above average performance. In the area of science, Sweden results were slightly better than three years ago but not statistically significant. PISA surveys are conducted every three years.

Sahlgrenska Hospital opens clinic for exhaustion
(Science) Despite the Swedish model for life and work balance, even Swedes are finding themselves exhausted in today’s society. On Dec. 5, Sahlgrenska Hospital in Gothenburg opened a clinic for those with chronic fatigue. Even before the clinic opened, calls from primary and psychiatric care agencies were received. The clinic plans on taking its first patients in December and anticipates approximately 350 new patients will be admitted each year.

Honor crimes increase among female asylum seekers
(National) A sharp increase in honor crimes has been noted by a national team assigned to help women and girls who fled war and came to Sweden seeking asylum. The number of calls coming to the support hotline has increased as victims who are facing oppression and abuse within their own families or communities here in Sweden have been calling in for help.