🛤️ Back on track
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|March 10, 2023||Sign Up|
Good morning! Today is Friday, March 10th. In today’s Riedia Sweden Morning Digest, we're covering:
Continuing snow, more cases of suspected human trafficking in Sweden, tougher rules for school staff control, and the NATO negotiation back on track.
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Last year, Mgrationsverket identified over 500 cases of suspected human trafficking in Sweden. Almost twice as many as the year before.
In 2021, the figure was 261 cases, while in 2022 Migrationsverket identified 515 cases of suspected human trafficking. The increase is largely due to a higher number of people moving to Sweden.
One of the reasons suspected for this increase is forced labor in Sweden, which is the most common form of exploitation detected by Migrationsverket. There are no statistics, but often industries with high staff turnover are involved in the process of work permits for exploitation.
For instance, forced labor immigrants in the construction industry were almost exclusively men. In the meantime, over 90 percent of human trafficking for sexual purposes were vulnerable girls and women. Additionally, Migrationsverket registered 45 cases of suspected human trafficking involving people from Ukraine in 2022.
Is it something new? Or just something we weren’t aware of?
Of the 515 cases of suspected human trafficking identified in 2022, the Swedish Migration Agency estimates that around 380 of them involved exploitation in Sweden.
It is not yet clear if human trafficking is increasing, or if the awareness of its existence is increasing.
by Boel Holm/TT | edited by Riedia
Wednesday's heavy snowfalls led to canceled flights and buses in the Stockholm area. Then, a new round of snow storms pulled in over the Gothenburg area and parts of West Sweden yesterday Thursday.
SMHI has issued yellow weather warnings in parts of the northwestern part of Västra Götaland and southwest of Lake Vänern, as the sometimes heavy snowfall can lead to traffic, transport, and power disruptions.
Take your precautions: Drive safe, and stay warm!
by TT | edited by Riedia
🎒 Tougher rules for school staff control
The Minister of Education, Lotta Edholm, is considering tightening up legislation regarding checks on future school staff.
Edholm wants to review whether more crimes should be included in the registration statement that job seekers show to employers, such as weapons crimes and assaults.
In light of gang crimes
The move comes after reports that people convicted of violent and drug crimes have been employed as assistants in Malmö schools.
Currently, those looking for a job in the school system are controlled for specific crimes, but minor violent crimes or drunk driving with multiple offenses are not checked.
Edholm believes that it is crucial to prevent individuals with criminal backgrounds from using their workplace as a recruitment base in light of the current gang crime situation.
"You can imagine that schooled people with a criminal background use their workplace as a recruitment base, then it's really serious", she says.
by TT | edited by Riedia
Swedish NATO Application
🇸🇪 NATO process back on track
NATO negotiations between Sweden, Türkiye, and Finland are back on track after almost two months of canceled meetings and strained relations.
NATO director Jens Stoltenberg is leading the talks in Brussels, which are expected to focus on implementing an agreement made at the NATO Summit in Madrid.
Hope for a thunderstorm
After almost two months of canceled meetings, harsh words, and cold relations – not least between Türkiye and Sweden – there is now hope for a thaw.
"I had good discussions with President Erdogan. We agreed to restart the talks and hold a trilateral meeting between Finland, Sweden, and Türkiye at the NATO Headquarters in mid-March, under my leadership, to discuss the implementation of the agreement made in June (at the NATO Summit in Madrid)", Stoltenberg said at a press conference in Tallinn two weeks ago.
Türkiye and Hungary have yet to ratify the membership of Sweden and Finland in NATO, with Türkiye expressing critical tones, particularly against Sweden.
The burning of the Quran in Sweden and the hanging of a doll representing President Erdogan at a manifestation in Stockholm have aroused great indignation in Türkiye.
by Wiktor Nummelin/TT | edited by Riedia
What else is happening in Sweden?
🥕 The Social Democrats demand that the government develops a plan to support households during the rise in food prices and interest rates. Party leader Magdalena Andersson said that families and single people are under pressure in a way not seen in decades and require support to put food on the table and pay bills. The party wants the government to call on food industry companies and banks to not charge higher profit margins than necessary, extend the temporarily increased housing allowance for families with children, and develop a plan to secure welfare and jobs.
💸 The Deputy Governor of the Riksbank, Aino Bunge, emphasizes the determination of bringing inflation down to the bank’s target of 2.0% this year, in order to maintain confidence in the inflation target. Inflation has been well above the target, with rates of 11.7% and 9.3% in January, measured by KPI and CPIF respectively. The Riksbank is expected to increase interest rates in the near future in response to the high inflation rate. Bunge has stated that low and stable inflation is necessary for the long-term development of the Swedish economy.
🚗 The automotive inspection industry (FBB) wants the Swedish Transport Agency to tighten up the rules for the inspection of electric cars as it considers that there are still no rules for specific control of parts and components of electric cars. The current demand is due not to a safety risk in traffic, but to a risk of damage and fire associated with charging.
💰 Last year, Försäkringskassan, Skatteverket, Migrationsverket, Pension Authority, CSN, and Arbetsförmedlingen stopped 1.8 billion SEK in incorrect payments, according to reports from Sydsvenskan. Additionally, the report says that welfare crimes are also increasing, after around 11 300 suspected cases in 2022 were detected. These welfare crimes are mainly concerned with fraud. For instance, in the case of Försäkringskassan, the incorrect payments concern child benefit, housing allowance, and parental allowance. Meanwhile, for Arbetsförmedlingen and CSN, the reports of suspected welfare offenses are regarding support for jobseekers and fake students.
What is happening in the world?
🇬🇪 After several protests in the capital Tbilisi, the Georgian government has withdrawn a proposed “agent law” which would have required media and organizations with foreign links to register as “foreign agents.” The proposal was seen as a move towards Russia, which has a similar law. While the government says it will explain the law’s intentions once public emotions have settled, the opposition remains skeptical and has announced further protests and demanded the release of the many arrested from the previous demonstrations of the week. The EU office in Georgia has welcomed the government‘s withdrawal and urged Georgia to continue with EU-friendly reforms. Georgia’s relationship with Russia has been strained since a 2008 conflict over the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and the country has been seeking closer ties with the EU.
🇺🇦 Russia has attacked several cities and areas in Ukraine and civilians have been killed during night bombings . According to local authorities, the electricity grid and nuclear infrastructure have been the target, such as the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhya, which has been hijacked. For several months Russia has attacked infrastructure in Ukraine with missiles and drones and managed to knock out water, heat, and electricity supplies for millions of people.
🇮🇩 A four-meter-high wave of mud washed away into residential buildings located in the village of Genting, located on Serasan, one of the Natuna Islands far out into the sea in northern Indonesia . At least 1 300 people have fled their homes, but about 50 are feared to be buried under the mud. After several days of work, repeatedly interrupted by bad weather, a large rescue effort has found 30 people dead, while the rest are still classified as missing.
Meanwhile, in Stockholm
📽️ The Museum of Technology in Stockholm has created an exhibition, documentary, and podcast to highlight the cultural and historical value of Sweden's first commercial nuclear reactor, the Ågesta nuclear power plant , which was closed in 1974. Visitors to the museum can see documentation, models, and drawings of the plant, as well as hear stories from those who worked there. The museum also invites discussions on energy and cultural heritage, and will premiere the documentary “Ågesta - A Ripple in Time” on March 16.
👮 A man in his 30s who pretended to be a police officer and tricked older people into giving him money has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison. The man reportedly made phone calls to elderly people in the Stockholm area, claiming that someone was trying to make purchases using their personal data, and asking to visit their homes. Once there, he convinced his victims to give him their bank cards and codes, and then withdrew money from ATMs using the stolen information.
🚑 A shooting took place in an apartment in Sollentuna, northern Stockholm, resulting in one person being taken to the hospital. Three men in their 20s were arrested. The incident is being investigated as attempted murder or manslaughter, and the police do not believe that more people were involved in the shooting.
🎿 Elvira Öberg, who was uncertain about participating due to her health, became the top Swedish biathlete at the Östersund World Cup race, despite finishing 20th. She admits it was mentally challenging to compete while not at her physical best. Meanwhile, Dorothea Wiererer, who was feeling unwell and lacking confidence in her shooting, unexpectedly won the race.
🇳🇴 The Swedish cross-country skiing team is preparing for upcoming competitions in Norway, including a historic 50 km race . The team is hoping to continue their success from the World Ski Championship in Planica, where they set a new medal record with twelve medals. Some skiers will compete in a classical city sprint in Drammen, while others will participate in the 50 km race in Oslo.
⚽ FIFA is considering changing sponsors for the women's World Cup in response to protests against the original sponsor, Visit Saudi, due to concerns over human rights violations and restrictions on women and LGBTQ+ individuals in the country. However, FIFA may replace Visit Saudi with another Saudi company, potentially leading to further protests. FIFA aims to present the World Cup sponsor at the congress in Rwanda next week.
Phrase of the Day
❗️A och O
In Swedish, “A och O” is a common expression describing something of utmost importance or crucial significance, similar to “alpha and omega” in English.
The origin of the phrase can be traced back to ancient Greek philosophy, where the letters alpha (α) and omega (ω) are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In the New Testament, the phrase "I am the Alpha and the Omega" is used to refer to God, emphasizing his importance and omnipotence.
The phrase was introduced in the Swedish language and has become part of everyday conversations.
For example, you can say "När man går ut i snöstormar i Sverige är det A och O att klä sig varmt." This means "When going out in snowstorms in Sweden, it's essential to wear warm clothes.”
by Xuecong Liu/Riedia
Made with 💛 in Stockholm
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