Andersson och Pettersson och Lundström och jag.
Jungfru, jungfru, jungfru skär - do you remember that old song about Andersson and Pettersson and Lundström and me? How common are those names really? We checked with Statistiska centralbyrån and got the following results. There are 266,971 Anderssons of both sexes in Sweden today, and 68,336 Petterssons and 12,227 Lundströms. And while we’re at it… There are 204,801 Karlssons, 108,328 Svenssons, and 180,993 Nilssons. The most common woman’s name in Sweden today is Maria (there are 447,975 Marias) the most common man’s name is Erik (there are 312,824 Eriks) and the most common last name is Johansson (268,887 Johanssons can be found).

Reese and Jennifer – best moms.
When the Swedish magazine Allt om Barn asked their readers who they thought were the best celebrity mom, American actresses Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Garner topped the list. Reese won, Jennnifer came in second, and oh yes, Angelina Jolie took the third spot.

Sweden slashes growth forecast.
The economic doom and gloom could last another three years, the Swedish government said Dec. 16 as it slashed its growth forecasts through 2011. Finance Minister Anders Borg said the government now expects gross domestic product to fall by 0.8 percent in 2009. It previously forecast an increase of 1.3 percent. "Essentially, we downgrade every component of Swedish growth," Borg said. "We have a long and cold winter." Borg said the global recession is weakening exports, which account for a major portion of Swedish gross domestic product. It has also hampered investment, caused a marked decrease in consumer spending and increased unemployment, he said. The government said is now expects the jobless rate to hit 7.7 percent in 2009 and 8.5 percent in 2010 before sliding to 8.2 percent in 2011. The government also slashed its growth forecast for 2010 to 1.5 percent from 3.1 percent while it cut its 2011 forecast to 3 percent from 3.5 percent. However, the finance minister said the government would not raise taxes. "Thanks to the fact that we have protected the strong public finances in good times, we can meet the downturn without being forced to cut-downs or tax increases," he said.

Swede of the Year.
Anita Dorazio, a 72-year-old advocate who pioneered health clinics for refugees in hiding, has been named Swede of the Year for 2008 by the weekly news magazine Fokus. Dorazio, who resides in the upscale Stockholm suburb of Lidingö, opened her first underground clinic in the back of neighborhood café and bookstore in 1995 with the help of infectious diseases specialist Anders Björkman. At the time, providing health care to refugees in hiding was a little known issue and Dorazio depended on volunteer healthcare workers, many of whom had experience working in makeshift clinics in developing countries, according to Fokus. At Dorazio’s urging, a second clinic opened in Gothenburg in 1998. In the last decade, a number of similar clinics have been launched around the country, all drawing inspiration from Dorazio’s original café clinic on Lidingö. In honoring Dorazio, Fokus cited her “tireless, engaged, and goal oriented work for the rights of refugees” saying that her efforts have “contributed to a tolerable existence for many vulnerable refugees”. Dorazio now represents the Swedish Network of Asylum and Refugee Support Groups (FARR) as she continues her nearly 40 year career supporting refugee rights.

Sweden, Denmark to bail out Latvia.
Sweden and Denmark are living up to the adage, “Love thy neighbord.” The central banks of the two Scandinavian nations set up credit facilities with $690 million to help Baltic neighbor Latvia stabilize its economy. Martins Gravitis, a spokesman for Latvia's central bank, said the country would use the funds to stabilize its macroeconomic and financial stability. Latvia’s central bank has burned through nearly one-third of its strategic reserves as confidence collpased in the national currency, the lat. Swedish Riksbank Governor Stefan Ingves said the two Scandinavian countries made the move because of the risk of Latvia's financial woes spreading to financial markets in Sweden and neighboring countries. "Ultimately, it could affect the payment system and the Swedish economy," he said. "It is therefore in the Riksbank's interest to help to avoid such a situation by entering into a swap agreement with the central bank of Latvia." The announcement comes as Latvia's government is in talks for a larger loan of about $6.8 billion from the International Monetary Fund.