🍭 No more sweets… new sugar tax??
To: Riedia Readers
|January 18, 2023||Sign Up|
Good morning! Today is Wednesday, January 18th. In today’s Riedia Sweden Morning Digest, we are covering:
The EU’s worries about the Sweden Democrats, the government’s concerns about electricity support fraud, and a look at how the country could reduce its sugar intake.
– Julia Powanda, Viviana Levet, and Carlos Lago
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson presented his program to the European Parliament in Strasbourg . But his participation was met with concerns and criticisms from the European Parliament for his cooperation with the Sweden Democrats.
“Perfectly normal Nordic government”
Sweden has been leading the work of the EU Council of Ministers since January 1st. However, concerns in Brussels about how the influence of the EU-critical Swedish Democrats would affect the current government started way before the Presidency.
One of the main concerns is how a government with the Sweden Democrats will reduce Sweden's commitment to the climate issue. Additionally, members of the EU Parliament are questioning Sweden’s current lack of commitment to women's rights and migrants' rights in the Swedish EU Presidency program.
Kristersson responded to the concerns and criticisms, pointing out that his government consists of three bourgeois and liberal parties, and that working with the Sweden Democrats as a party was part of a “perfectly normal Nordic government” to solve Sweden's biggest problems, including crime .
During the encounter, left leaders from other countries, such as Spain and France, expressed their concerns regarding the Swedish Democrats’ far-right and "neonazi" values, which have been widely spread among Europe.
Belgian Philippe Lamberts, Chairman of the Green Group in the European Parliament even mentioned that the Swedish government was “being held hostage by the Sweden Democrats" and stated that the Green Group within the EU Parliament was very concerned about the direction in which the Swedish Government would take the EU's legislative work.
by Peter Wallberg/TT | edited by Riedia
During the 2022 election, Moderates, Christian Democrats, Liberals, and Sweden Democrats promised electricity support by November 1st to help households in southern and central Sweden (electricity zones 3 & 4) before Christmas.
However, when victory came, along came the realization that this promise was more complicated than imagined. The timeline changed from “as soon as possible” to February.
Now, the first of 4.3 million households in southern and central Sweden will receive the promised electricity support by the end of February, but the rest can expect their money back in March.
Some could take advantage of the long wait
The electricity support is to be kept completely separate from other payments in a system created for that purpose. Households in electricity areas 3 and 4 are expected to receive about 17 billion that they have previously paid in the form of bottle-neck fees to the Swedish Power Grid (Svenska Kraftnät).
By the end of January, Försäkringskassan will come out with more information to households about when and how the payments will be made. In the meantime, Försäkringskassan is warning individuals not to disclose any account details or other information if someone calls claiming that this information is needed for the electricity support to be paid out .
As a private person, you should not be required to provide any information.
by Lars Larsson/TT | edited by Riedia
The Swedish Food Administration has investigated whether higher taxes can make people eat healthier, ultimately deciding to hold out on a sugar tax for now .
Minister for Social Affairs Jakob Forssmed would prefer the industry to voluntarily agree to reduce sugar levels , saying that, "at present, the government has no plans to introduce a sugar tax."
A new report from the National Food Administration found that a growing number of people are in poorer health due to eating habits. According to the report, 85 of the 194 WHO member states have introduced some form of sugar tax. This has been shown to reduce consumption and make products healthier.
“In the UK, for example, they have introduced a fee for products that come above a certain level of sugar. Therefore, there is less sugar in the soda in the UK," says Åsa Brugård Konde, nutritionist at the Swedish Food Administration.
The report also points out that Sweden is the only EU country that does not use the EU's school fruit subsidy , which provides financial compensation to schools that distribute and teach about fruit and vegetables during school time. This should be changed, says the Swedish Food Safety Agency.
The next step for the government is to analyze which methods for reducing sugar consumption would be relevant to Sweden. The final report will be presented in February 2024.
by Marc Skogelin/TT | edited by Riedia
Russian Invasion of Ukraine
According to Russia’s Ministry of Defense, Russia will make "great changes" within its armed forces and the military structure from 2023 to 2026.
In addition to administrative reforms, the plan is to strengthen combat capacity at sea, in the air, and within the strategic missile forces, reports Reuters.
Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Sjojgu says, “only by strengthening the main structural components of the armed forces is it possible to guarantee the military security of the state and to protect new units and critical facilities in the Russian Federation."
According to Kremlin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, the changes are necessary because of what he calls the "proxy war," which according to him is being conducted in Ukraine by the West sending weapons to the country.
Update from Ukraine
Oleksiy Aresovych, a close advisor to Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, has submitted his resignation after his comments on the Russian missile that hit an apartment complex in Dnipro Ukraine.
In a Facebook post, Arestovych apologized for a previous statement he made claiming that the missile that hit the building had most likely been shot down by the Ukrainian army; "I sincerely apologize to the victims and their families, the residents of Dnipro and all those who were deeply hurt by my hasty and incorrect version of the cause of the Russian missile hitting a residential building."
More than 40 people were killed in the attack, including several children.
by TT | edited by Riedia
What else is happening in Sweden?
🏛️ The Swedish Museum on the Holocaust is conducting a nationwide tour to collect material from survivors' families and others. The tour will begin in Malmö, a significant city to start the tour, as Malmö welcomed thousands of refugees and survivors via white buses and boats during the war. Just before midsummer this year the museum will open a new exhibition above the Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm.
🌊 Floods have continued to affect parts of southern Sweden non-stop. Since last week, SMHI warned about high flows in many places where the water masses could penetrate buildings. These warnings have been issued red, the highest level on the scale, for upper Viskan and upper Ätran; orange to Arbogaån, Dyltaån, Storån, lower Ätran, Kilaån, upper Tidan, upper part of Nissan, and lower Lagan.
🧑🏽🔧 Unemployment is estimated to rise this year up to 6.9 percent. According to the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen), the agency has never had so many vacancies in the job bank as last year, although the number decreased in the autumn.
What else is happening in the world?
🇨🇳 China’s growth is expected to pick back up again in 2023. According to the head of SEB in Beijing, Peter Ling-Vannerus, China’s economic outlook this year is "much better." The country’s growth fell by 3 percent in 2022—a year of strict covid restrictions and lockdowns. Since the restrictions have been lifted, there are signs that the economy is taking off again.
🇺🇳 The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the UN is establishing a permanent presence at all five Ukrainian nuclear plants. According to IAEA Director Rafael Grossi, the IAEA will send experts to work with Ukrainian staff at nuclear power plants. These experts will help with technical support and provide equipment to ensure that the plants can run smoothly.
🇪🇺 The EU is opposed to Microsoft's mega deal. Microsoft wants to become an even bigger player in the gaming market. However, the purchase of the big company Activision Blizzard has made both industry competitors and various states worried. The concern is that Microsoft might become too big in the gaming world if they get exclusive control over "Call of Duty," "World of Warcraft," "Candy Crush," and several other series of games.
Meanwhile, in Stockholm
🚔 Eight people have been convicted of revenge killing after a twelve-year-old's death . According to the verdict, the attempted murder on September 7th was retaliation after a shooting in Norsborg in Botkyrka in southern Stockholm on August 2nd, the same year. Twelve-year-old Adriana was killed by shots fired from a passing car.
🚨 A large explosion detonated outside the entrance to a restaurant on Södermalm in central Stockholm Tuesday night. No injuries were reported, but there is extensive damage to the building. The police sealed off the area to conduct an investigation.
🎶 Martha Wainwright comes to Sweden . The Canadian artist will come to Sweden for three gigs in March. First stopping in Malmö on the 27th, Gothenburg on the 28th, and then finally Stockholm on the 30th. Her latest album "Love will be reborn" was released in 2021.
🤖 Microsoft is launching Azure OpenAI service that allows businesses to integrate OpenAI's AI tools such as DALL-E into their cloud apps. The service includes a number of AI models such as GPT-3.5 and Codex, and will soon include ChatGPT. Microsoft plans to integrate ChatGPT and other OpenAI language AI models into its products and services such as Bing, Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
🍎 Apple has launched its new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips in a surprise announcement, weeks ahead of its traditional launch event. The latest chips are part of Apple's efforts to rely more on chips designed in-house after it moved away from using Intel's technology in 2020, after 15 years of collaboration.
🚗 A 2016 video that Tesla used to promote its self-driving technology was staged to show capabilities that the system did not have, according to testimony by a senior engineer, Ashok Elluswamy, director of Autopilot software at Tesla. He said the video was engineered and recorded at the request of CEO Elon Musk. The video carries a tagline saying: “The person in the driver’s seat is only there for legal reasons. He is not doing anything. The car is driving itself.”
Swedish Pop Culture
Swedish pronunciation to the untrained ear can be tricky… which might be what led rapper Eminem to some confusion over the Swedish beer Åbro. In a 2001 clip , the rapper is seen jokingly referring to the Swedish beer as Ey’ bro.
Åbro took advantage of the clip for its own marketing (twelve years later), re-releasing the beer with the name Eminem gave it.
Made with 💛 in Stockholm
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