Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Via Yahoo! Finance: Oil prices have tanked this year. Oversupply and diminishing consumption have resulted in oil falling to its cheapest price since May of 2009. "It’s a three-way oil war between OPEC, Russia and North American shale", says Marin Katusa, author of "The Colder War", and chief energy investment strategist at Casey Research. Katusa doesn’t see production slowing in 2015: "We know that OPEC will not be cutting back production. They’re going to increase it. Russia has increased production to all-time highs". With Russia and OPEC refusing to give up market share how will the shale industry compete? Katusa thinks the longevity and staying power of the shale industry will keep it viable and profitable. "The versatility and the survivability of a lot of these shale producers will surprise people. I don’t see that the shale sector is going to collapse over night", he says. Shale sweet spots like North Dakota’s Bakken region and Texas’ Eagle Ford area will help keep production levels up and output steady. If you’re looking to invest in the energy sector, Katusa says don’t follow the crowd: "You have to be a contrarian and when everyone is hating oil that’s when you start looking#. Capitalizing on the lowest cost of production is a good rule of thumb. Right now oil is cheaper to produce but Katusa sees the shale sector eventually catching up. Also, look for shale to benefit from low interest rates. Katusa advises staying away from companies like Billionaire Harold Hamm’s Continental Resources (CLR), who’s stock saw nearly a third of its value wiped away this year. "You want to stick with the liquids. You want to stay away from companies that have high debt". He thinks there are plenty of good companies with big upsides: "I think Enterprise group (E.TO) is going to surprise a lot of people. They’re a $70B company, pay a 4% yield and they don’t have the volatility risk in the price of oil". As for oil prices in 2015, Katusa sees stability on the horizon: "I don’t see $20 oil. But I do see a trading range, a near term correction to maybe $65. We’re going to be in a trading range between $45-65 oil".
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Via The Local: The official website of the Swedish Parliament was taken down on Tuesday, in what officials labelled "an outside attack". The website, riksdagen.se, was taken down at 11am on Tuesday, with visitors met by a blank screen. By 2pm, the website was up and running again, but officials confirmed that the problem had not been caused by any internal IT troubles. "It went down because of an attack from the outside", Riksdag spokesperson Anna Olderius told the TT news agency. "But we refuse to comment on security issues in any more detail than that". The cyber attack marks the second against the website in the past two years. In October 2012, the website went down together with that of the country's central bank other government websites, news networks, and university home pages. Hacktivist network Anonymous claimed responsibility for the October attacks. "You don't fuck with the internet", the group wrote online, in what was apparently a response to police raids on the previous hosts to The Pirate Bay and WikiLeaks. The attacks were carried out via a Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS), where a website is bombarded with communication requests so that the servers become overloaded and the site crashes. As yet, no one has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack.
Monday, December 29, 2014
Via The Local: In autumn next year, Swedes will experience the biggest switch in bank notes and coins that the country has ever seen, a move that will include a brand new 200 kronor note and two kronor coin. October has been announced as the month that the first batch of the new currency will come into play, with over 300 million bank notes and two billion coins to be replaced. In their place - a fresh collection of bills featuring the likes of Swedish legends like director Ingmar Bergman, actress Greta Garbo, and children's author Astrid Lindgren. The notes were designed by Göran Österlund, whose colourful "Journey of Culture" (Kulturresan) design was selected from among eight finalists back in April 2012. Bergman will adorn the new 200 kronor note, Lindgren will replace Selma Lagerlöf on the 20 kronor note, Garbo will adorn the 100 kronor note, former United Nations secretary-general Dag Hammarskjöld will feature on the 1.000 kronor note, opera singer Birgit Nilsson on the 500 kronor, and musician Evert Taube on the 50 kronor note. New coins will also be in Swedish people's pockets next year, including a brand new two kronor. A fresh set of one and five kronor coins will also be introduced, while the ten kronor coin will be the only currency that doesn't get a makeover. The new 20, 50, 200, and 1,000 kronor notes will be introduced in October 2015, with the new 100 and 500 notes to arrive one year later exactly, together with the new coins. Today's 20, 50, and 1.000 notes will no longer be valid after June 30th 2016. The current 100 and 500 will be invalid after June 30th, 2017, together with the 1,2, and 5 kronor coins. Sweden's central bank, the Riksbank, stated that the new currency was designed in an effort to prevent counterfeits. It explained that the current set was designed 25 years ago and was in need of an update. The new set of coins will be smaller and lighter, it added, to reduce the costs of handling them. Swedes have become less dependent on cash in recent years and as The Local reported in October, four out of five purchases in Sweden are made electronically or by debit card. Researchers from Oxford University discovered in 2013 that Sweden's cash was among the filthiest in Europe, with bank notes containing more bacteria than all others across the continent.
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Via Business Insider: The risk of a financial crisis in Russia has risen because of a precipitous fall in the rouble in mid-December. Recession, falling living standards and rising economic uncertainty look set to be key sources of political instability over the near term. But despite differences between the economic and security elite, it seems unlikely that financial instability, at its current level, will be enough to produce a political revolution in Russia similar to the one that undid the Yanukovych government in Ukraine in February 2014. However, the desire to avoid such an outcome will continue to inform the actions of the Kremlin at home and abroad. And even if a full-blown financial crisis were to send the economy into a slump, bringing Vladimir Putin, the President, down with it, security hardliners look better placed to choose his successor than either the economic liberals or a vibrant popular protest movement that has yet to emerge. Russia finds itself in the middle of a multi-dimensional crisis. Even before the bust-up with the West over Ukraine, Russia's economy had been running into trouble, growing more slowly each year since 2011, owing to the government's failure to undertake structural reforms crucial for innovation and investment. In the second half of 2014 structural deficiencies have been exposed by a precipitous drop in global oil prices, Russia's main source of export revenue. The rouble followed the oil price down until mid-December, when the Russian currency plummeted owing to a loss of confidence in the exchange-rate policy of the Russian Central Bank (RCB). In turn, this has exacerbated the debt burden of foreign-currency loans taken out by Russian firms. But because Russia's military actions against Ukraine have led to the imposition of Western economic sanctions, Russia is cut off from Western capital markets.
Saturday, December 27, 2014
Via WorldBulletin News: Russian Defense Ministry announced the successful test of the RS-24 "Yars" ballistic missile on Friday. "Test warheads hit their targets in the Kura testing range on the Kamchatka peninsula with pinpoint accuracy", said Col. Igor Yegorov a spokesman for the ministry. The missile was launched at 11:02 Moscow time on Friday, Yegorov said. "The adoption of the RS-24 ICBM with multiple re-entry warheads has increased the combat capabilities of the Strategic Missile Forces assault group to overcome missile defense systems, thus strengthening the nuclear deterrent of Russian strategic nuclear forces", Col. Yegorov said. The RS-24 carries up to ten independently targetable warheads. Russia's strategic nuclear forces are actively rearming with the new RS-24 "Yars" missile, which replaces two older models that have been in use for more than 50 years. The ballistic missile uses solid fuel and has a range of 7.500 miles. It can be launched either from a silo or from a road-mobile launcher.
Via The Local: Sweden's government has abandoned plans to run a snap election in 2015 after crisis talks between Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and the Alliance parties, which has been dubbed the "December agreement". "We who are here are prepared to take responsibility for how Sweden is to be governed. Constructive talks have taken place in the last few days", Löfven told reporters at a 10:30 press conference held in Stockholm. He added that the arrangement has been called the "December agreement" and its goal is to ensure that a minority government can govern. Swedish daily Expressen leaked the story early on Saturday morning citing multiple sources within the government. At the press conference Löfven was flanked by the party leaders of the Greens, Moderates, Center Party, Liberal Party, and the Christian Democrats. Neither the Left Party or the Sweden Democrats were present. "With this agreement the government will not be making any decision about an extra election, it is simply not of the immediate interest", said Löfven. The "December agreement" which will last until 2022 means that the the biggest coalition in government will be able to able to get their budget passed and rule, even if they have a narrow majority. "It's the politics which should be in focus, not questions of its form, and this agreement makes this possible", said Christian Democrat leader Göran Hägglund. Earlier this month Löfven had called early elections after the Sweden Democrats torpedoed his fledgeling government's budget by opposing it in parliament.
Friday, December 26, 2014
Via The Swedish Wire: Great companies and entrepreneurs can come from anywhere; the qualities needed to be a great entrepreneur are not confined to any one country. But some countries or cities are home to more successful tech companies than other – and Stockholm is one of these, according to new research by investment firm Atomico, which is controlled by Skype's co-founder Niklas Zennström. The study combined data from multiple sources along with the investment firm's own research, and for the first time looked at the global distribution of Internet and software companies founded within the last decade that had reached a valuation of over $1 billion. "Valuation isn’t everything and is in many senses a crude yardstick, but the billion-dollar mark is generally accepted to represent truly phenomenal success", Zennström wrote in an analysis. In absolute terms, Silicon Valley is the single most prominent tech hub, with 53 companies. But the majority of the 138 companies that met the billion dollar bar have actually been built outside the Valley, with 61% coming from other cities. The rest of the top five hubs are: Beijing (17), New York (7), Stockholm (5) and Los Angeles (4). However, on a per capita basis, Stockholm is the second most prolific tech hub globally, with 6.3 billion-dollar companies per million people, compared to Silicon Valley with 6.9. The five Stockholm based companies with the billion dollar plus value are: King, Skype, Klarna, Mojan and Spotify –- all world famous brands. On a country level, Sweden had the third most billion-dollar firms, after the US and China, the results showed. Zennström wrote in an opinion piece published by daily Svenska Dagbladet that Sweden has every reason to feel proud of the results, especially the entrepreneurs who contributed to the development. "Personally, I am extremely pleased and proud of this result", he said, adding that Stockholm has the potential to be a great place even for the next generation of IT entrepreneurs to build multinational companies. Other findings in the study included: • The average time taken to reach the level is six years from founding. • The sectors with the largest number of billion dollar companies are: Enterprise Software Applications (23), E-commerce (21), Social communications (18), Gaming (13). • Healthcare (2 companies) and education (1 company) are two of the most obviously underrepresented sectors in terms of number of billion-dollar companies founded since 2003. • 48% of billion-dollar companies have enjoyed a liquidity event: 43 via IPO and 23 via M&A. • Companies from 15 different countries have reached a billion-dollar valuation. The US, China, and Sweden are the top three nations. Atomico invests in fast-growing technology companies around the world, with the aim of helping them scale up to become global leaders.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Via BBC News: Ukraine's parliament has voted to drop the country's non-aligned status and work towards Nato membership. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the move "counterproductive" and said it would boost tensions. The BBC's David Stern in Kiev says it is not clear when Ukraine will apply for Nato membership and many officials see it as a distant prospect. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko pledged to seek Nato membership over Russian support for rebels in the east. Russia, which annexed the Crimean peninsula in March, denies supplying the rebels with weapons. However, it is subject to EU and US sanctions over the crisis. In a vote in Ukraine's parliament on Tuesday, MPs overwhelmingly backed the move by 303 to eight. Speaking before the vote, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said Ukraine was determined to pivot towards Europe and the West. "This will lead to integration in the European and the Euro-Atlantic space", he said. The non-aligned status, which Ukraine adopted in 2010 under Russian pressure, prevents states from joining military alliances. For the Kremlin, the idea that Ukraine might one day join the European Union is like a bad dream. But the thought of Ukraine joining Nato is a nightmare. Russia has long complained about Nato "expanding" east, up to Russia's borders. The Kremlin would view Ukraine's membership of the alliance as a direct threat to its national security. That's unlikely to happen any time soon, especially with the conflict continuing in eastern Ukraine. But Moscow has been quick to denounce the Ukrainian parliament for renouncing the country's non-aligned status. Today's vote in the Rada, Ukraine's parliament, certainly drives another wedge between Kiev and Moscow. And it may complicate efforts to resolve the current crisis. But critics of the Kremlin argue that it is Russia's direct involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine which is pushing Kiev closer to Nato. Addressing foreign ambassadors on Monday night, President Poroshenko said Ukraine's "fight for its independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty has turned into a decisive factor in our relations with the world". Russia has made clear that it opposes Ukraine's move towards Nato. Andrei Kelin, Russia's envoy to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), said on Tuesday: "It's an unfriendly step towards us. This political vector will only add to nuisances and acuteness in ties". In a Facebook post on Monday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned that Ukraine's rejection of neutrality would have "negative consequences". "In essence, an application for Nato membership will turn Ukraine into a potential military opponent for Russia", he wrote. A Nato spokesman in Brussels said on Tuesday that any accession to the alliance would probably take years, Reuters reported. Some Nato members are also lukewarm towards accepting Ukraine, says the BBC's David Stern in Kiev. The roots of the current conflict go back to Ukraine's pro-EU street protests at the end of last year that led to the fall of Russian-leaning President Viktor Yanukovych in February. After Crimea was annexed, pro-Russian separatists seized parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine and later declared independence. Since then, nearly 5.000 people have died and another million have been displaced by fighting. A ceasefire was signed by both sides in Minsk in September but observers says some fighting is continuing.
Monday, December 22, 2014
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Via The Washington Free Beacon: Russian strategic bombers conducted a third circumnavigation of the U.S. Pacific island of Guam last week as other bombers flew close to Alaska and Europe, defense officials said. Two Tu-95 Bear H bombers made the flight around Guam, a key U.S. military hub in the western Pacific, on Dec. 13. No U.S. interceptor jets were dispatched to shadow the bombers. Separately, two Canadian F-18s intercepted two Bear bombers that intruded into the Alaska air defense identification zone on Dec. 8 that a military spokesman called “unwanted, provocative, and potentially destabilizing”. Around the same time in Europe, NATO jets intercepted Russian Tu-95 and Tu-22 Backfire bombers also conducting provocative flights. Russian warplanes, including four Bear Hs and two Tu-22M Backfire bombers were shadowed as they flew simulated bombing runs from bases in Russia to the Baltic Sea enclave of Kaliningrad for four days beginning on Dec. 7. Regarding the Guam air defense zone incursions, “U.S. Pacific Command can confirm that two aircraft entered Guam’s outer air defense identification zone on Dec. 13,” said Maj. Dave Washburn, a command spokesman. “The aircraft were flying safely in international airspace and in accordance with international norms; as such, the decision was made to not intercept them”. It was the second time in a month that nuclear-capable Russian bombers buzzed the island in what U.S. officials have said is nuclear saber-rattling by Russia under its strongman Vladimir Putin. Earlier Russian bomber flights around the 36-mile-long island took place in November and on Feb. 12, 2013. During the 2013 incursion, F-15 jets were scrambled to intercept the part of bombers. Both earlier flights were timed to political events, including President Obama’s meeting with Putin in Australia and the president’s state of the union message in 2013. The latest bomber flights near Guam appear timed to the Obama administration’s plan for imposing additional economic sanctions on Russia for its military annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and continuing destabilization operations in eastern Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Secretary of State John Kerry during a phone call Friday that new U.S. sanctions will damage U.S.-Russia relations. In the Alaska incident, two bombers were flying northwest of Anchorage and into the Beaufort Sea off of the Canadian coast, said Navy Capt. Jeff A. Davis, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command. Davis said the Russian bombers entered both the Alaska air defense identification zone and the Canadian air defense identification zone, but did not enter sovereign U.S. or Canadian airspace. “While we recognize the need for routine military training activity, we have noticed an increase in the number of these flights near North America in recent months since Russia’s incursion into Ukraine and Crimea”, Davis said. Foreign aircraft are not required to file flight plans in advance of flights through defense zone, however, “such unannounced operations by strategic bombers near the U.S. and Canada are unwanted, provocative, and potentially destabilizing”, he stated. Davis said Russian long-range bomber flights around North America “largely ceased” after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. “But they restarted in 2007”, he said. “Since 2007, Norad fighters have conducted intercepts about five times per year of Russian long-range bombers in the U.S. or Canadian air defense identification zones”. Shirley A. Kan, a Congressional Research Service analyst, stated in a report made public Nov. 27 that Guam is a key element in the Obama administration’s shift to Asia. “Guam is critical to enhancing the forward presence, strengthening alliances, and shaping China’s rise”, Kan stated. The U.S. territory is about 3.800 miles west of Hawaii and includes 160.000 people including 6.000 military personnel. The Pacific Command beginning in 2000 started “to build up air and naval forces on Guam to boost U.S. deterrence and power projection in Asia”, Kan said. The U.S. Army deployed its newest missile defenses to Guam last year. The terminal high-altitude area defense battery, or THAAD, is based on Andersen Air Force Base. The Navy also has deployed three attack submarines on Guam. The island is also a major electronic intelligence-gathering base. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said during a visit to the island in August that “Guam has always been a central part of our plans” for shifting military forces to the region. The Air Force frequently deploys both B-2 and B-52 strategic bombers and fighter aircraft, along with long-range Global Hawk drones. Around 5.000 Marines now based on Okinawa are slated to be moved to Guam. THAAD is a land-based element that can shoot down a ballistic missile inside and just outside the atmosphere. It uses hit-to-kill technology: Kinetic rather than explosive energy destroys the incoming warhead. Bear H bombers are relatively old aircraft. They carry Kh-55SM cruise missiles armed with nuclear or conventional warheads. The missile has a range of up to 1.800 miles. The Russian flights over the Baltic “represented a significant level of activity by Russia”, NATO Spokeswoman Oana Lungescu told Agence France Presse. “Such activity can be destabilizing and potentially dangerous, if international norms are not respected”, Lungescu said. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said alliance jets conducted about 400 intercepts of Russian aircraft this year, a 50 percent increase over last year. Russia is of course a close friend and ally of Sweden. Jens Stoltenberg is Norwegian and we here in Sweden must now take a closer look at Norway from a military point of view. Norway and Sweden were in alliance until 1905. Maybe it's time to revive that Sweden-Norway alliance to avoid that our friends in Norway commit a mistake with our Russian friends and allies in the region. Still we should avoid war with the U.S. The Americans are in fact like us and our friends. We like the Americans here. They are part of us. Nazi-Germany was not strong enough to win a war against America. That's why we have the E.U. today. The problem is not really Russia, but rather that the E.U. wants to be the actor that goes to war against the United States on its own without Russia. The E.U. bankers are too greedy and they don't want to share the military victory over the U.S. with Russia. The E.U. rather put the military victory over the U.S. and the English language at jeopardy and at risk by isolating Russia.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
Via Reuters: How low can it go — and how long will it last? The 50 percent slump in oil prices raises both those questions and while nobody can confidently answer the first question (I will try to in a moment), the second is pretty easy. Low oil prices will last long enough for one of two events to happen. The first possibility, the one most traders and analysts seem to expect, is that Saudi Arabia will re-establish OPEC’s monopoly power once it achieves the true geopolitical or economic objectives that spurred it to trigger the slump. The second possibility, one I wrote about two weeks ago, is that the global oil market will move toward normal competitive conditions in which prices are set by the marginal production costs, rather than Saudi or OPEC monopoly power. This may seem like a far-fetched scenario, but it is more or less how the oil market worked for two decades from 1986 to 2004. Whichever outcome finally puts a floor under prices, we can be confident that the process will take a long time to unfold. It is inconceivable that just a few months of falling prices will be enough time for the Saudis to either break the Iranian-Russian axis or reverse the growth of shale oil production in the United States. It is equally inconceivable that the oil market could quickly transition from OPEC domination to a normal competitive one. The many bullish oil investors who still expect prices to rebound quickly to their pre-slump trading range are likely to be disappointed. The best that oil bulls can hope for is that a new, and substantially lower, trading range may be established as the multi-year battles over Middle East dominance and oil-market share play out. The key question is whether the present price of around $55 will prove closer to the floor or the ceiling of this new range. The history of inflation-adjusted oil prices, deflated by the U.S. Consumer Price Index, offers some intriguing hints. The 40 years since OPEC first flexed its muscles in 1974 can be divided into three distinct periods. From 1974 to 1985, West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, fluctuated between $48 and $120 in today’s money. From 1986 to 2004, the price ranged from $21 to $48 (apart from two brief aberrations during the 1998 Russian crisis and the 1991 war in Iraq). And from 2005 until this year, oil has again traded in its 1974 to 1985 range of roughly $50 to $120, apart from two very brief spikes in the 2008-09 financial crisis. What makes these three periods significant is that the trading range of the past 10 years was very similar to the 1974-85 first decade of OPEC domination, but the 19 years from 1986 to 2004 represented a totally different regime. It seems plausible that the difference between these two regimes can be explained by the breakdown of OPEC power in 1985 and the shift from monopolistic to competitive pricing for the next 20 years, followed by the restoration of monopoly pricing in 2005 as OPEC took advantage of surging Chinese demand. In view of this history, the demarcation line between the monopolistic and competitive regimes at a little below $50 a barrel seems a reasonable estimate of where one boundary of the new long-term trading range might end up. But will $50 be a floor or a ceiling for the oil price in the years ahead? There are several reasons to expect a new trading range as low as $20 to $50, as in the period from 1986 to 2004. Technological and environmental pressures are reducing long-term oil demand and threatening to turn much of the high-cost oil outside the Middle East into a “stranded asset” similar to the earth’s vast unwanted coal reserves. Additional pressures for low oil prices in the long term include the possible lifting of sanctions on Iran and Russia and the ending of civil wars in Iraq and Libya, which between them would release additional oil reserves bigger than Saudi Arabia’s on to the world markets. The U.S. shale revolution is perhaps the strongest argument for a return to competitive pricing instead of the OPEC-dominated monopoly regimes of 1974-85 and 2005-14. Although shale oil is relatively costly, production can be turned on and off much more easily – and cheaply – than from conventional oilfields. This means that shale prospectors should now be the “swing producers” in global oil markets instead of the Saudis. In a truly competitive market, the Saudis and other low-cost producers would always be pumping at maximum output, while shale shuts off when demand is weak and ramps up when demand is strong. This competitive logic suggests that marginal costs of U.S. shale oil, generally estimated at $40 to $50, should in the future be a ceiling for global oil prices, not a floor. On the other hand, there are also good arguments for OPEC-monopoly pricing of $50 to $120 to be re-established once markets test the bottom of this range. OPEC members have a strong interest in preventing a return to competitive pricing and could learn to function again as an effective cartel. Although price-fixing becomes more difficult as U.S. producers increase market share, OPEC could try to impose pricing “discipline” if it can knock out many U.S. shale producers next year. The macro-economic impact of low oil prices on global growth could help this effort by boosting economic activity and energy demand. So which of these arguments will prove right: The bearish case for a $20 to $50 trading-range based on competitive market pricing? Or the bullish one for $50 to $120 based on resumed OPEC dominance? Ask me again once the price of oil has fallen to $50 – and stayed there for a year or so.
Friday, December 19, 2014
Via WWTDD: If you’re not getting an invite to be in this Love Magazine Christmas not quite nude melange, you ought start figuring out how to get frigid magazine editors to anoint you the next Lena Dunham. Every girl with a pretty smile and a nice ass has been featured in these videos this month. They even let Kris Jenner pose after she promised to buy a ton of copies and not flash the triple-6′s etched into her skull during The Creation. Not being featured in this feature is like going through college without getting an STD. It only means you weren’t popular.
Via The Swedish Wire: With the sharp rouble depreciation and ensuing financial squeeze, Russia will fall into deeper recession than previously forecast, Swedish bank Swedbank said in a new report. In the most likely scenario we pencil in a mid-to-high single digit GDP contraction in 2015, but risks are tilted towards a downside and more negative outcomes are possible. Exports (and possibly investments) of the Baltic economies will suffer from the recent rouble depreciation, but household consumption and GDP will continue to grow in the most likely scenario. In this case, GDP growth in the Baltics will be somewhat slower than forecast before, but it will still be growth and not recession.
Via Disclose.tv: We live in the age of social media, an age where we collect friends like stamps. However, there seems to be a connection between using social networks and being lonely. At 0:40 I was shocked but my mind was blown at 3:40.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Via The Local: Sweden's Migration Board is set to hire 1.000 extra workers to deal with the influx of asylum seekers, an increased workload which has seen staff members working late nights and weekends. The authority has estimated that 80.000 people will have sought asylum in Sweden before the year is over, most of them coming from Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Eritrea. The influx marks the most refugees to arrive in Sweden since 1992 during the Yugoslav wars, when 84.000 people came seeking a new life. Employees at the Swedish Migration Board haven't been able to cope with the workload. "Many of the workers are stressed and are feeling a little worn out", said Jörgen Broman of the Saco trade union confederation told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper. He said that at its worst, workers in Malmö dealt with around 2.500 cases in one week alone. "Now we're down to around 1.400-1.500, but it's still a struggle. The hardest part is making sure people have food and a roof over their head", he explained. He added that staff members had no choice but to work until 9pm and even on Saturdays. The board, which currently employs around 5.000 people, plans to recruit new workers within administration and for dealing with asylum and residence permits. Migration Board spokesman Fredrik Bengtsson acknowledged the need to alleviate stress and overworking. "We're aware of it. Sweden is one of the countries that take in the most asylum seekers in Europe, after Germany. To meet this demand we have to work more than work five-day weeks. We're trying to even out the work load through a new and more flexible roster", he told DN. With the average cost of employing a new worker around 600.000 kronor ($78.400), the move is expected to cost the board around 600 million kronor. The board estimates that 95.000 people will seek asylum in Sweden next year.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Via Yahoo! Finance: Russian consumers flocked to the stores Wednesday, frantically buying a range of big-ticket items to pre-empt the price rises kicked off by the staggering fall in the value of the ruble in recent days. As the government considered ways to ease the selling pressure on the ruble, which has slid 15 percent in just two days and raised fears of a bank run, many Russians were buying cars and home appliances — in some cases in record numbers — before prices for these imported goods shoot higher. The Swedish furniture giant IKEA already warned Russian consumers that its prices will rise Thursday, which resulted in weekend-like crowds at a Moscow store on a Wednesday afternoon. Shops selling a broad range of items were reporting record sales — some have even suspended operations, unsure of how far down the ruble will sink. Apple, for one, has halted all online sales in Russia. "This is a very dangerous situation, we are just a few days away from a full-blown run on the banks", Russia's leading business daily Vedomosti wrote in an editorial Wednesday. "If one does not calm down the currency market right now, the banking system will need robust emergency care".
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Via EUobserver: In a surprise announcement on Monday (15 December), the Russian central bank said it would raise its key interest rate to 17 percent from 10.5 percent. The move is aimed at shoring up the tumbling currency as the Russian economy feels the pain of a low oil price - oil and gas are Russia's main exports - combined with US and EU sanctions over Russian involvement in the Ukrainian war. It is the highest interest rate increase since 1998, when the Russian currency collapsed and the government defaulted on its debt, sending ripples throughout financial markets around the world. “This decision is aimed at limiting substantially increased ruble depreciation risks and inflation risks”, the central bank said in a statement after its impromptu meeting. The rouble lost 9.7 percent to 64.4 per US dollar on Monday alone, after having slid almost 50 percent this year in comparison to the dollar. One euro now buys 77 roubles, compared to 45 roubles in January. About half of Russia's budget revenues come from oil and gas taxes and a quarter of its GDP is linked to the energy industry. With the oil price having started to fall from above 100 US dollars a barrel in June to 60 dollars now, Russia's economy is feeling the pinch. On top of this comes the closed access to EU and US capital markets as part of the joint sanctions. The central bank in Moscow expects the economy to contract by 4.5 to 4.7 percent next year if oil prices remain this low. With the US and its ally Saudi Arabia determining the oil price, it is likely the squeeze will continue until Russian President Vladimir Putin reverses his course in Ukraine. So far, he has kept a defiant stance and has offered amnesty to Russians who bring money - no matter how it was earned - back into their country. Other forms of "patriotic" support appear in hipster Moscow shops, with tshirts displaying the message "I support the rouble", as AP's Moscow correspondent has tweeted.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Via Before It's News: Has Vladimir Putin managed to bring the Rothschild Dynasty to its knees? Has someone finally destroyed the monopoly known as the Rothschild Empire. In the video, Lucia Costants explains just how Putin has destroyed the Power Elite. The illuminated Cabal are desperate to start a world war, not only to white wash their scams worldwide, but so that Wall Street can keep the $40 trillion they have stolen.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Via Yahoo! Finance: As oil goes down, Obama's approval ratings could go up. The historic drop in crude-oil prices is poised to give a clear boost to President Barack Obama both in the U.S. and abroad. "Even President Barack Obama likely would agree that 2014 has been a tough year for him—and he doubtless would welcome a sign that he will catch a break or two in 2015", Gerald Seib, the Washington bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, wrote on Monday. "Well, here’s one: Low oil prices ... are shaping up as a win-win for the President". Earlier on Monday, the price of both Brent and WTI crude hit a five-year low. Prices have fallen more than 30% since peaking in June, and the decline has accelerated since OPEC declined to cut production at its November meeting. Declining global demand and rising U.S. production have led to a glut in supply this year. Seib argued this price drop has both domestic and international benefits for the Obama administration. High gasoline prices, which result from high oil prices, are widely detested among American consumers. And many of the countries hurt by low oil prices could be on a who's-who list of US geopolitical foes. "It's hard to imagine a single development that carries so many upsides and so few downsides. The domestic economic benefits are obvious", Seib wrote. "It just happens that the countries hurt most by the oil-price decline are on the current U.S. naughty list, from Iran and Syria to Russia and Venezuela. Meanwhile, many obvious economic and strategic beneficiaries—Jordan, Egypt, Israel, and Japan among them—are on the nice list". A senior administration official told the Journal the impact would be "very profound" in Russia, an oil exporter that has repeatedly clashed with the U.S. over its recent annexation of Ukrainian territory. "They may be heading into a recession", the official remarked, suggesting the Russian government may need to curtail its financial support for Ukrainian separatists. "There are going to have to be tradeoffs". Seib said Obama would also see benefits in the Middle East, where the White House is hoping to negotiate a deal with Iran to rein in its nuclear program in exchange for ending economic sanctions. The jihadists of the Islamic State, or ISIS, also use oil sales to partially self-fund their military in Iraq and Syria. "Iran’s predicament is similar and, from the American point of view, particularly well timed", Seib wrote. "The Obama administration has perhaps three months to pressure Iran into a long-term deal restricting its nuclear program. Only economic pressure has brought such a deal into view, and the pinch on Iranian oil revenues now will escalate the pressure at precisely the right time".
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Via BusinessWeek: Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro had a Plan B in the event the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries declined to back his country’s proposal to cut output to boost prices. The day after OPEC’s Nov. 27 decision to maintain production at current levels, a move that drove oil prices to new lows, a somber-looking Maduro went on national television to tell the Venezuelan people he was dispatching Finance Minister Rodolfo Marco Torres to Beijing. Torres spent the first week of December in China, during which he tweeted photos of his meetings with Chinese officials and bankers. The late Hugo Chávez cozied up to China as part of his drive to curb U.S. influence in the Americas. Maduro, like his predecessor, has relied on Beijing to underwrite Venezuela’s flagging socialist revolution and finance the country’s gaping fiscal deficits (this year’s shortfall could amount to 15 percent of gross domestic product). Without loans from the Chinese, Maduro’s government might not have been able to weather a deep economic crisis. Under his watch, Venezuelans have had to put up with massive shortages of basic goods, the world’s highest inflation rate, and a steep currency devaluation. Beijing has so far been happy to oblige Maduro. Since 2007, China has advanced Venezuela about $46 billion in loans repayable in oil, of which about $20 billion has been repaid. The latest loan agreement was in July, when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the country and pledged $5.69 billion in credits. Now Maduro needs more. The price of Venezuela’s market basket of crude and petroleum products is now skirting $60 a barrel. Many analysts estimate that the Maduro government needs a price of $120 a barrel to avoid cutting back or postponing spending commitments.
Friday, December 12, 2014
Via The Telegraph: Falling oil prices and and U.S. shale drillers drowning in a sea of debt could be the spark for a new credit crunch. Remember the global financial crisis, triggered six years ago when billions of dollars of dodgy loans - doled out by banks to subprime borrowers and then resold numerous times on international debt markets - began to unravel and default? Stock markets plunged, banks collapsed and the entire global financial system teetered on the brink of catastrophe. Well a similarly chilling economic scenario could be set off by the current collapse in oil prices. Based on recent stress tests of subprime borrowers in the energy sector in the US produced by Deutsche Bank, should the price of US crude fall by a further 20pc to $60 per barrel, it could result in up to a 30pc default rate among B and CCC rated high-yield US borrowers in the industry. West Texas Intermediate crude is currently trading at multi-year lows of around $75 per barrel, down from $107 per barrel in June. "A shock of that magnitude could be sufficient to trigger a broader high-yield market default cycle, if materialised", warn Deutsche strategists Oleg Melentyev and Daniel Sorid in their report.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Via The Local: The Swedish government has announced plans to re-train Swedes who served conscription, in an effort to increase war capacity after recent Russian unrest. "The world has changed in a negative way", Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told Swedish broadcaster SVT. He cited the rearmament of Russia, the country's annexation of Crimea in Ukraine, and the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine as justification for the re-training plans. The move will mean that around 7.500 people who have served in the Swedish army since 2004 may be called in for a month of re-training. "The armed forces will be able to carry out fully-manned war preparations which will result in increased operational capacity", Hultqvist explained. The earliest the training could be introduced would be the beginning of next year, reported the TT news agency.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Via Disclose.tv: Uh oh, somebody of the film crew left a vaccum cleaner attachment on "Mars". Here is the link to the original picture: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl-raw-images/msss/00821/mcam/0821MR0036170080500530E01_DXXX.jpg What else could it be. Certainly looks man made.
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
Via Charisma News: With Christmas just around the corner, Brother Guy Consolmagno gets a lot of questions this time of year about the Star of Bethlehem that led the Magi to Jesus in the manger. Consolmagno is an astronomer—a planetary scientist for the Vatican observatory, in fact—who specializes in asteroids and meteorites, the very sort that may well have been the famous "star" described in the gospel of Matthew. "It's fun speculation", Consolmagno said, smiling though a graying beard while sitting on a bench in Central Park on an unseasonably warm afternoon. "It's fascinating to realize that there actually are a couple of quite plausible things it could be". "But what's even more interesting to me is that this story was included, of all the stories that Matthew might have included", he said, growing animated as he does when diving into his twin vocations of science and theology. "Whether it's something he heard from Mary, or whether it's something he made up, why was it included?" If those are the sort of musings you enjoy, and a level of ambiguity you can handle, then you will like the new book that Consolmagno has written with his fellow Jesuit, the Rev. Paul Mueller, who heads the Jesuit community at Castel Gandolfo, a hilltop town near Rome where the Vatican's main telescope is located. (The other is on a mountaintop near Tucson, Arizona.) Their book is titled Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? another question that Consolmagno is asked a lot in his many speeches and media appearances, and one that Pope Francis—a fellow Jesuit and a trained chemist—has posed as part of his focus on Catholic inclusivity. Consolmagno's short answer is yes. But "only if she asks!" While the longer answer is spelled out in the book, the two Jesuits are really aiming their lens at a bigger goal: to show how people of faith can also believe in science. "God is reason. If you reject reason, you are rejecting God", Consolmagno said.
Monday, December 08, 2014
Via Disclose.tv:: Our entire culture suffers from what the shamans call “soul loss”, a loss of meaning, direction, vitality, mission, purpose, identity, and genuine connection; a deep unhappiness that most of us have come to consider as simply ordinary. The soul is our source of absolute uniqueness, a place within that connects you not only to your own value and essence, but to the value and essence of every other living being. What makes soul loss so subtle and dangerous is that very few people have realized that it has happened. Most of us do not know that we have disconnected from our soul and have come to accept as normal a numbness and lack of meaning in our lives. Because we all belong to this culture, we all suffer from soul loss. Soul loss is epidemic and blinds us from seeing the potential for joy and wholeness in ordinary life. When you heal from soul loss, you see familiar things in new ways so you can increase your joy in what you already have. NOT SURE IF YOU’RE SUFFERING FROM SOUL LOSS? Here are 20 diagnostic signs that signal soul loss: 1. You feel like you’re not as good as other people. 2. You yearn to be of service, but you have no idea what you have to contribute and why it matters. 3. You find yourself striving in vain for an impossible-to-achieve standard of perfection. 4. Your fears keep you from living large. 5. You’re frequently worried that you’re not good enough, smart enough, thin enough, young enough, [fill in the blank] enough. 6. You feel like a victim of circumstances that are beyond your control. 7. You feel like your daily life is meaningless and task-driven. 8. You often feel helpless, hopeless, or pessimistic. 9. You protect your heart with steel walls. 10. You often feel you don’t really matter and your love doesn’t make a difference. 11. You’re always trying to fit in and belong, but you rarely feel like you do. 12. You feel beaten down by the challenges you face in your life. 13. You suffer from a variety of vague, hard to treat physical symptoms, such as fatigue, chronic pain, weight gain or loss, insomnia, skin disorders, or gastrointestinal symptoms. 14. You struggle with being able to accept love and nurturing. 15. You feel depressed, anxious, or chronically worried. 16. You feel like you’re not appreciated enough. 17. You find yourself often judging others. 18. You frequently numb yourself with alcohol, drugs, sex, television, or excessive busyness. 19. You feel disappointed with life. 20. You’ve forgotten how to dream. It can be astounding to discover that you’ve had what you needed all along and have been looking in all the wrong places. Perhaps all that is needed is to see the life you’re already living in a different way.
Sunday, December 07, 2014
Via The Local: A female train attendant was seriously injured on Saturday night when a passenger attacked her with a knife. A 29-year-old man was arrested by guards at the site. The knife attack occurred on an SJ train en route from Stockholm to Copenhagen. The police were alerted to the suspected assault shortly before 6pm. The man produced a knife as he was being ejected from the train at Lund station due to his unruly behavior. Aside from the injured woman, a further member of the crew was treated for shock. Both have been taken to hospital for treatment, according to Ronny Hörstrand at SJ's press office. The stabbed woman is being cared for at Skåne University Hospital in Lund. "A woman in her thirties was admitted to the emergency room in Lund. Her situation is stable", said Anna Möller at Region Skåne's press office. The 29-year-old suspect is now set to be interrogated by the police. He was initially suspected of assault, but the case has since been reclassified as attempted murder. The train was held at the station by police following the incident. "We need to know who had seen what, what they had seen and to collect their testimony", said Linda Pleym at Skåne police. Police confirmed that further interviews would be conducted on Sunday.
Saturday, December 06, 2014
Via Disclose.tv: At a black hole, Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity apparently clashes with quantum physics, but that conflict could be solved if the Universe were a holographic projection. A team of physicists has provided some of the clearest evidence yet that our Universe could be just one big projection. In 1997, theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena proposed that an audacious model of the Universe in which gravity arises from infinitesimally thin, vibrating strings could be reinterpreted in terms of well-established physics. The mathematically intricate world of strings, which exist in nine dimensions of space plus one of time, would be merely a hologram: the real action would play out in a simpler, flatter cosmos where there is no gravity. Maldacena’s idea thrilled physicists because it offered a way to put the popular but still unproven theory of strings on solid footing — and because it solved apparent inconsistencies between quantum physics and Einstein’s theory of gravity. It provided physicists with a mathematical Rosetta stone, a "duality", that allowed them to translate back and forth between the two languages, and solve problems in one model that seemed intractable in the other and vice versa. But although the validity of Maldacena’s ideas has pretty much been taken for granted ever since, a rigorous proof has been elusive. In two papers posted on the arXiv repository, Yoshifumi Hyakutake of Ibaraki University in Japan and his colleagues now provide, if not an actual proof, at least compelling evidence that Maldacena’s conjecture is true. In one paper, Hyakutake computes the internal energy of a black hole, the position of its event horizon (the boundary between the black hole and the rest of the Universe), its entropy and other properties based on the predictions of string theory as well as the effects of so-called virtual particles that continuously pop into and out of existence. In the other 3, he and his collaborators calculate the internal energy of the corresponding lower-dimensional cosmos with no gravity. The two computer calculations match. “It seems to be a correct computation”, says Maldacena, who is now at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and who did not contribute to the team’s work. The findings “are an interesting way to test many ideas in quantum gravity and string theory”, Maldacena adds. The two papers, he notes, are the culmination of a series of articles contributed by the Japanese team over the past few years. “The whole sequence of papers is very nice because it tests the dual [nature of the universes] in regimes where there are no analytic tests”. “They have numerically confirmed, perhaps for the first time, something we were fairly sure had to be true, but was still a conjecture — namely that the thermodynamics of certain black holes can be reproduced from a lower-dimensional universe”, says Leonard Susskind, a theoretical physicist at Stanford University in California who was among the first theoreticians to explore the idea of holographic universes. Neither of the model universes explored by the Japanese team resembles our own, Maldacena notes. The cosmos with a black hole has ten dimensions, with eight of them forming an eight-dimensional sphere. The lower-dimensional, gravity-free one has but a single dimension, and its menagerie of quantum particles resembles a group of idealized springs, or harmonic oscillators, attached to one another. Nevertheless, says Maldacena, the numerical proof that these two seemingly disparate worlds are actually identical gives hope that the gravitational properties of our Universe can one day be explained by a simpler cosmos purely in terms of quantum theory.
Friday, December 05, 2014
Via Bloomberg News: President Vladimir Putin vowed to punish speculators attacking the ruble with “harsh” measures in a defiant speech that reached into Russian history to defend his annexation of Crimea and compared his international opponents with Adolf Hitler. “The authorities know who these speculators are and the instruments we can use to influence them”, Putin said in his annual address to parliament regarding efforts to defend the country’s currency, which is trading near a record low. “The time has come to use these instruments”.
Thursday, December 04, 2014
Via The Local: Swedens's top politicians were spending Thursday looking ahead to fresh elections in March 2015, after the country's Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Löfven called a snap vote following a budget defeat. The key questions being asked by political commentators on Thursday included when campaigning was set to start, how much it was going to cost, and whether parties intended to change any of their policies ahead of the election. The Social Democrat party, which leads the current coalition government, said it did not want to spend the next three months campaigning. "You can't start now. We don't want to. No one wants to. The voters certainly don't want us to. You can't drive an election campaign for four months. It's too long", commented the group's party secretary Carin Jämtin. She said that her party would encourage others to begin competing in earnest in February. "It's winter. It is more difficult to campaign when there is snow", she told news agency TT. But she added that there had already been an "unbelievable drive in the party's organisation". "I know several places around the country where there are people carrying out party activities at the weekend. In some places, people were out and knocking on doors last night", she said. Ten million ballot papers are on standby for the vote in March, with all parties expected to prepare new posters and adverts for the contest. The Left Party, which has close links to the Social Democrats and the Green Party but is not part of the current coalition, released a statement saying "an extreme right wing Party must not dictate the agenda of Swedish politics, it must be isolated". Speaking to The Local, its spokesperson on migration Hanna Löfqvist said it was important for Sweden to continue to welcome immigrants. "The right to seek asylum is a basic human right. There are more than 50 million refugees in the world as we speak and Sweden has signed international conventions – which we have an obligation to fulfil as a civilized country. We - as a progressive political party - have to stand up for the Human Rights. It’s more important than ever. Nobody should be sent back to war and persecution", she said. Sweden, with a population just shy of 10 million, is expecting nearly 100.000 asylum seekers this year, many of them Syrians who automatically receive residency on arrival.
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Monarchy Infidelity: King Richard III’s DNA Places Doubt On Queen Elizabeth’s Claim To England Throne
Via Inquisitr: DNA extracted from the body of Richard III proves even the Royal Family has some skeletons in the closet. The DNA proves that somewhere in the male lineage of Richard III, infidelity took place. The infidelity could mean that Queen Elizabeth’s right to rule is in question. According to BBC, depending on where in the family tree the infidelity occurred, it could cast doubt on the Tudor claim to the English throne or, indeed, on Richard’s. How exactly did the researchers determine that infidelity took place? Their analysis shows that DNA passed down on the maternal side matches that of living relatives, but genetic information passed down on the male side does not. Dr. Turi King from Leicester University, who led the study, spoke at a news briefing to discuss the findings. She said that the lack of a match on the male side was not unexpected because her previous research had shown there was a 1-2% rate of “false paternity” per generation. So which Queen was responsible for producing the “fake” heir to the throne? The Daily Mail notes that there was a break in the male lineage as the wives of one of the men were unfaithful to them. Does royal infidelity surprise you? Does it make a difference if Queen Elizabeth is the “rightful” ruler based on blood, or is there more to the now figurehead role than just blood line?
Via The Local: Sweden’s election authority says it has already ordered millions of new ballot papers as the country faces the prospect of a new election. A future vote could spring some surprizes, according to polling firm Novus. Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven is widely expected to resign after his budget fails to gain the support of a majority in parliament later on Wednesday. The extent of the budget crisis may have caught many people of guard, but the country’s election authority already has already stocked up on enough election ballots to cope with demand. “We always have to have ten million in stock and we only had four, so we did his a few weeks ago to replenish our stocks”, spokesman Hans Lejsäter told news agency TT. A new vote in the spring would also make a further dent in the country’s coffers. The election authority said the September general election had cost the country around 250 million kronor ($33 million). “An extra election would be a bit cheaper”, said Lejsäter, noting that there would not be separate regional and municipal elections next time around. “There would be fewer ballots and fewer envelopes, but otherwise there aren’t really any major differences”, he said. But would new elections pave the way for the formation of a viable government? Torbjörn Sjöström, the head of Novus, believes a new election would lead to “very big changes” in the make-up of the Swedish parliament. A study of polls released by Novus at the weekend showed only marginal changes in voter preferences since the September election. “But should there be an extra election it would be a completely different sort of live situation”, said Sjöström, who speculated that voters could punish the Social Democrats for failing to put forward a budget that was acceptable to the opposition. “In the 2014 election, protest set the tone. The Social Democrats and Greens also got votes because of protest", he added. “Something was broken and they were going to fix it. But if they can’t show they can fix it and instead it got much worse then protest voters might think they’re better off with an Alliance government”. Sjöström said the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, the party with the strongest protest profile, had most to gain from a new election. “’They have a big idea of the problems and a clear solution… A country in chaos that doesn’t have any future beyond further chaos and radical solutions – that’s the best scenario for the Sweden Democrats”. It is unfortunately only the Left Party - Vänsterpartiet - which takes responsibility for Sweden and acts responsibly. In upcoming new elections in Sweden it is the Left Party which will emerge victor, after the current parliamentary chaos in Sweden.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
Via The Week: The world's most wanted Nazi criminal died "unrepentant" in Syria, the Simon Wiesenthal Center announced Sunday. SS captain Alois Brunner was second-in-command to Adolf Eichmann, who called Brunner his "best man". The news of his death in 2010 at the age of 98 came from a former German secret service agent deemed reliable by the center. Brunner was responsible for deporting 128.500 Austrian, Greek, French, and Slovakian Jews to concentration camps, and was able to flee Germany in the 1950s after a mix-up led to another SS officer being tried and convicted of his crimes, the Times of Israel reports. After stops in Rome and Egypt, where he rented a room from a Jewish family, Brunner settled in Syria using the pseudonym Dr. Georg Fischer. Although this hasn't been confirmed, it's believed that Brunner taught late President Hafez Assad torture tactics. "He was involved in the harsh treatment of the Jewish community of Syria and was an expert in terror and torture", Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff said. "He said himself his one regret was he did not kill more Jews. He was unrepentant". Brunner survived two assassination attempts by Israel's Mossad, in 1961 and 1980, and upon his death was buried somewhere in Damascus. - - Catherine Garcia
Monday, December 01, 2014
Via The Local: Sweden's FM signal should be turned off by 2022, according to a government-funded report looking at Sweden's digital switchover strategy. FM radio should be replaced by digital radio within the next eight years in order to make more channels available for commercial networks and the country's public service broadcaster Sveriges Radio, concluded the report's authors. The study was commissioned by Sweden's former center-right coalition and was presented to the current Social Democrat-Green government on Monday. It is unclear how ministers will react to the findings, with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's party having previously argued against the digital radio switchover, saying it would be too expensive. Hundreds of sites around Sweden would require new specially designed radio masts. Sweden has already made the move to digital television, with all homes ditching analogue services by 2007.