The rich king with a 'poor' royal court
King Carl XVI Gustaf has made close to 134 million SEK during the last ten years. That’s $20,167,111. Meanwhile he asks for more and more money from the state in order to carry out his job as head of state. According to an investigation done by daily Dagens Nyheter, the king’s private fortune is worth 300 million SEK ($45,149,424). A year ago, the Swedish government asked the royal court for more transparency so the Swedish people know more about how their tax money is being spent. But, so far nothing has come of that request. The king has received 122 million SEK ($18,360,765) from the taxpayers this year alone. Half of that goes to Slottsstaten (the royal castle state), which takes care of the royal cultural heritage; the rest goes to Hovstaten (the royal household) and is supposed to cover the costs of representation, personnel, food and household expenses. For those over 60 million SEK (a little over $9 million) there’s no obligation to render accounts. And the Swedish government keeps giving the royal court more and more money. While the royal court maintains they are not making ends meet, the king himself is getting richer as a private person. He is not obliged to show how much of the taxpayers’ money he uses for private needs. Says Lena Westin, senior adviser at the cabinet office: “(The king) has this duty as head of state and for that he receives an apanage, over which he decides himself. He himself creates his organization and does his duty.” The opposition has asked for increased insight in how Hovstaten uses its money, and since a parliamentary resolution last year, the government is working on a new agreement regarding increased openness. But it’s moving along slowly. Last time the royal court agreed on increased openness was seven years ago. (story from November, 2012!)

196 kronor in the wallet
Sweden has yet to become a cashless society. The average Swede carries around 196 Swedish kronor ($29) in his wallet. Even younger Swedes carry money around. Mastercard wanted to investigate just how much cash Swedes carry, and although statistics from Riksbanken show the amount of cash we have in our wallets in slowly decreasing, it is still there. In 2007, there were almost 110 billion SEK ($16,553,085,352 ) in bills and coins. Toward the end of 2011, the amount had decreased, but 100 billion SEK was still in circulation.

Actor Göran Stangertz has died
Actor and director Göran Stangertz has lost his fight against cancer. When he died, Stangertz was the artistic leader at Helsingborgsteatern. Twice he won Guldbaggen, Sweden’s equivalent to the Oscar, as best male lead role for his parts in “Det sista äventyret” (The Last Adventure) and “Spring för livet” (Run for Your Life). Göran Stangertz was 68 years old.

Finnish campaign against Swedish in schools
The organization Vapaa Kielivalinta wants to inform Finns about the value of choosing a language in school. Instead of having to choose Swedish, the organization says they want the students in Finnish schools to be able to choose lessons in another subject or another language. Vapaa Kielivalinta has begun campaigning for this, and ads can be seen on buses in Tammerfors in Finland.

Cordelia Edvardson dead
Author Cordelia Edvardson (born 1929 in Munich, as the illegitimate daughter of the German writer Elisabeth Langgasser and an unidentified Jewish father) has died. During 1977 and 2006, Edvardson worked for daily Svenska Dagbladet as a correspondent, stationed in Jerusalem. She was a survivor of Auschwitz (prisoner A 3709) and came to Sweden after the war. Her journalism is noted for its biting, humoristic undertone. She also wrote for the ladies’ magazine Damernas Värld, the Finnish Hufvudstadsbladet and several German papers. In 1984, she published her autobiography “Bränt barn söker sig till elden” (“Burned Child Seeks the Fire” - ISBN-10: 0807070955), which received a lot of attention. In 2004, filmmaker Stefan Jarl made a documentary about Edvardson's life, titled "Flickan från Auschwitz.”

Murderer to become psychotherapist
A man who was condemned to life in prison for a double murder committed in Västervik in 1998, may be given a conditional release in 2016, according to daily Västerviks-Tidningen. The murders have been described as “execution style,” while the prisoner himself is described in all reports as the perfect inmate. During his time behind bars, he earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees, with the goal of becoming a psychotherapist.