Wednesday, November 30, 2016

UFO Flap In Turkey

Via Unknown Country:

This is one of a number of videos of unusual lights that were observed over the Turkish capital of Istanbul and other locations across the country on the night of November 26. The video begins with a small light, then moves to something larger and more complex. It ends with the unexpected sound of a jet passing an apartment building at low altitude and frightening the occupants. There is also some footage of people having difficulty with an escalator, but it doesn't seem to be related.

The usual YouTube trolls are seen making the usual comments that it's all fake, etc., etc., in the comments section. In fact, the large light with the smaller ones moving around it may well be a genuine unknown. Also, the extent of comment on social media about the sightings that people were experiencing across the country that night make prosaic explanations less likely.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How Trumpism Will Impact Sweden's Economy

Via The Swedish Wire:

SEB: Nordic Outlook: Trumpism will have an uncertain impact - Swedish economic optimism, Riksbank done with rate cuts

As we approach 2017, the world has become both more exciting and more frightening from an economic and political standpoint, according to SEB's economists in the November issue of the quarterly Nordic Outlook report. With the United States preparing to test a new fiscal stimulus strategy, there is new hope for economic growth now that monetary policy has reached the end of the road. But strong and growing anti-establishment forces are changing the domestic and foreign policy playing field in troublesome and unpredictable ways. SEB's forecast scenario confirms stronger, but far from impressive, global economic expansion - hampered by such factors as inequitable wealth distribution and heavy debt. In Sweden, domestic driving forces - including residential construction and public sector consumption, combined with somewhat stronger exports - will lead to continued robust growth in 2017. The Riksbank is finished with its key interest rate cuts, but the bank will be forced to buy government securities for another while.

Our picture of the international economic outlook has not changed especially much since our last Nordic Outlook in August. Sentiment indicators have rebounded, and financial markets have reacted in an unexpectedly positive way to the possibility of more growth-oriented economic policies in the wake of Donald Trump's US presidential election victory. The outlook for emerging market (EM) economies will improve somewhat, as Russia and Brazil emerge from recession and Chinese growth decelerates at a controlled pace. Average economic growth in the 35 mostly affluent member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will be 1.7 percent this year, down from 2.3 percent in 2015. In 2017 and 2018, annual GDP growth in the OECD countries will be 2.0 percent. Considering that many central banks are maintaining historically low key interest rates and are making large-scale purchases of securities (quantitative easing or QE policies), this is a rather mediocre growth rate.

Yet political conditions have changed dramatically since the United Kingdom's "Brexit" referendum on withdrawal from the European Union and the US presidential election. Anti-establishment forces are ascendant and may become even stronger in the important elections that will take place in Western Europe during 2017. A general shift among established parties towards prioritising national considerations - at the expense of international obligations - is likely. Fiscal stimulus measures may gain a more prominent role in the economic policy framework, and this may improve growth potential. But large and growing uncertainty about global trade and security policies is opening the way for completely new scenarios, which may have major negative economic consequences in the long term.

American fiscal "battering ram" will have global impact

The election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States is expected to lead to more expansionary US fiscal policies - a yearly dose of stimulus equivalent to some 0.5-1.0 per cent of GDP in 2017 och 2018 - based on tax cuts equally divided between households and businesses, as well as infrastructure investments. This is well below the dose of stimulus that Trump announced during his election campaign. We are uncertain about the coming administration's actual ambitions and about its chances of piloting these policies through Congress. Because of heightened political uncertainty and the potentially negative effects of various Trump proposals on international trade, we are making minor adjustments in our US forecast: GDP will increase by 1.6 percent this year, accelerate to 2.3 percent growth in 2017 and expand by 2.2 percent in 2018. This is somewhat higher than the potential rate of about 2 percent. The expansion is being held back by weak productivity growth, which hampers capital spending, and by demographic headwinds that slow consumption. Unemployment will fall to 4.5 percent (below equilibrium) by the end of 2018, and the increase in average hourly earnings will accelerate to 3.5 percent in 2018: a level that is compatible with the Federal Reserve (Fed)'s 2 percent inflation target.

EU political map being redrawn - stability of euro may be undermined

The power and momentum of populism is expected to be confirmed by the 2017 elections in the Netherlands, France, and Germany, and perhaps also in Italy in the aftermath of its December 2016 constitutional referendum. Governments and established political parties will eventually be under pressure to pursue more expansionary fiscal policies, for example by boosting defence expenditures due to the changing security policy situation. In March 2017, we expect the contours of the European Union's new roadmap to be unveiled during celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. In our assessment, the advocates of EU federalism will be forced to lower their voices so as not to provoke public opinion in member countries in a risky way. Established political parties, especially on the left, will be forced to find new strategies and alliances in order to slow the advance of new populist parties. EU economic policy regulations and cooperation will be under stress, with the risk of escalating tensions - for example between Germany and various other euro zone countries. Despite political anxiety, Brexit uncertainty and weaknesses in their banking systems, we expect the euro zone economies to grow by 1.8 percent this year and then decelerate cautiously to 1.6 percent both in 2017 and 2018.

The Brexit process is surrounded by big question marks. The British economy has been resilient - in line with our expectations - but we expect a slowdown in GDP growth to 1.4 percent next year (compared to 2.0 percent this year and 1.7 percent in 2018). New legal proceedings will take away the UK government's power to activate the EU "exit clause" by itself. This leads to three conclusions: the country's withdrawal from the EU may be delayed, a "soft Brexit" is more likely and the possibility of a new British election in 2017 will open up.

Our earlier forecast scenario for several major EM economies is proving correct. Their economic growth bottomed out last spring. In Russia and Brazil the worst GDP declines are now past, and both economies will return to positive growth in 2017. India remains the bright spot among the BRIC economies. We also expect China to deliver good annual growth of 6-6.5 percent, but high indebtedness, a shaky housing market and industrial overcapacity will continue to challenge economic policymakers in Beijing.

Fiscal policy may ease burden on monetary policy, but shift is complicated

Various elements of Trump's economic policies are well in line with what economists and international organisations have called for over a long period. New fiscal and structural policies may increase demand and boost potential US growth capacity. This may ease the burden on central banks, in a situation where the effectiveness of monetary policy is becoming weaker and weaker, while its disadvantages - greater economic inequality, weaker reform pressure and risks of increased financial market instability - are becoming increasingly evident.

But shifting the policy mix towards fiscal and structural measures is far from unproblematic; political decision-making processes take time and the independence of central banks is being questioned in countries like the US, the UK, and to some extent Sweden. Some central banks may also be forced into further extending their QE programs in order to soften the threat of rising long-term bond yields in countries with weak government finances, such as Italy. The Bank of Japan's new tools for directly controlling the entire yield curve may also be adopted by other central banks. Our main scenario is that in December the European Central Bank (ECB) will extend its securities purchases by six months until September 2017, later providing cautious signals that it plans to phase them out during 2017. The Bank of Japan will not change its current sharply expansionary monetary policy.

The international low-inflation environment will be tested during 2017-2018 as resource utilisation reaches relatively high levels. Meanwhile the UK and the US are on their way towards becoming more closed economies. This will tend to weaken global disinflationary forces and cause national conditions to have a greater impact on inflation. Inflation expectations in financial markets have already climbed a bit. The Fed will hike its key interest rate in December and then carry out rate hikes every six months during 2017 and 2018 to a level of 1.50-1.75 percent. Global concerns, the risk of a stronger dollar and a downward adjustment in the neutral key interest rate will hold back the Fed. The Bank of England and Norges Bank in Norway will hike their key rates during 2018, while the ECB will keep its refi rate unchanged. We expect US and German government bond yields to climb by 60-90 basis points, reaching higher levels than we had previously anticipated. The EUR/USD exchange rate will move close to parity during 2017 and later rebound towards 1.10 by the end of 2018.

Sluggish economic recovery in several Nordic and Baltic countries

The expansionary economic policies that have been employed to ease the negative effects of falling oil prices will contribute to a modest recovery in the Norwegian economy, but Norway's dual-track GDP growth will reach only 1.3 percent this year and 1.4 percent in 2017. In 2018 growth will reach 1.8 percent, aided by stronger private consumption. Norwegian inflation will fall when currency rate effects fade. Finland will also experience weak growth, although its outlook has improved. GDP will increase by 0.8 percent this year, accelerating to a 1.0 percent rate next year and 1.2 per cent in 2018 - supported by increased capital spending and other factors. Fiscal austerity will continue. In Denmark the recovery will broaden. GDP will increase by only 1.4 percent this year but then climb to a 2.1 percent rate in 2017 and 2.4 percent in 2018. Growth will be supported by a stronger labour market that will improve consumer purchasing power, while higher capacity utilisation and rising home prices will boost capital spending.

Economic trends in the three Baltic countries will also point in the right direction, with household consumption as the most important driving force, but challenges to the competitiveness of these countries - due to such factors as high pay increases and demographic headwinds - will limit their growth potential. Estonia's GDP will increase by only a weak 1.3 percent this year but accelerate to a 2.2 percent rate in 2017 and 2.8 percent in 2018. In Latvia, too, current growth is unsatisfactory, but we expect EU funds and private consumption to push GDP growth from 1.6 percent this year to 3.5 per cent in 2017, followed by a 3.0 percent expansion in 2018. In Lithuania, lower public sector investments are hampering economic growth, but the commercial real estate market is stable and the country will show the strongest economic expansion in the region at 2.2 percent this year. After that, there is good potential for Lithuanian growth to end up at 2.5 percent in 2017 and 3.0 percent in 2018.

Swedish GDP growth will remain well above trend - households hesitant

Although forecasters have lowered their estimates of Sweden's economic outlook in recent months, we are sticking to a more optimistic view. We expect GDP to increase by 3.7 percent this year. Next year, too, the economy will grow at well above trend, with GDP gaining 2.8 percent. In 2018 various bottleneck problems will contribute to a slowdown to 2.3 percent. The foremost GDP drivers are public consumption (due to refugee resettlement) and capital spending (due to the housing shortage). An undervalued krona will gradually provide support to exports. Mixed signals about household consumption are a downside risk: despite strong job growth, good real wage increases and positive wealth effects, the savings ratio is at a record-high 16 percent of disposable income. Households seem to be sceptical about the future, due to uncertainty about international conditions, Sweden's domestic political situation and the Riksbank's negative interest rates.

Swedish inflation has stabilized at a higher level - between 1 and 2 percent - but underlying cyclical forces are not yet strong enough to result in stable inflation of 2 percent. We expect next year's collective labor agreements to run for two years and lead to wage and salary increases 0.2 percentage points higher than the 2016 agreements. Including wage drift, pay hikes will be 2.9 percent in 2017 and 3.1 percent in 2018, up from this year's 2.6 percent. At the end of 2018, unemployment will stand at 6.5 percent. We expect CPIF inflation (consumer price index minus interest rate changes) to end up at 1.6 percent in 2017, in line with the Riksbank's latest forecast. CPI inflation is expected to reach 2 percent at the end of our forecast period, while CPIF will remain below this target. The foreign exchange market, which at present is underweighted in the Swedish krona, is awaiting the Riksbank's signal that it will be shifting its monetary policy; we believe this signal will come in late spring 2017. This will strengthen the krona despite its near-term weakness: at the end of 2017 the EUR/SEK exchange rate will be 9.30 and the USD/SEK rate will be 8.80; at the end of 2018 these rates will be 9.05 and 8.25, respectively.

Fiscal stimulus - key interest rate hike late in 2017

Swedish public finances are continuing to provide upside surprises, helped by large tax revenues in a domestically driven economy. Looking ahead, however, public finances will be squeezed as economic growth decelerates while strains caused by demographics and migration/integration expenditures grow. We expect public finances to be close to balance throughout our forecast period. Meanwhile general government gross debt will fall to 38 percent of GDP. Increased expenditure pressures on local governments will increase tensions between them and the central government, and we expect further central government grants aimed at avoiding large local income tax hikes. This will help boost the dose of stimulus in the budget for 2018, which is an election year.

Continued low inflation and the ECB's extension of its QE program suggest that the Riksbank will extend its own program of government securities purchases by another six months until June 2017, but reduce its scale (SEK 30 billion, compared to SEK 45 billion during the second half of 2016). A further key interest rate cut is unlikely, however, among other things because it would divide the bank's Executive Board. Although CPIF inflation will not quite reach 2 percent by the end of 2018, we expect the Riksbank to hike its key rate in late 2017. The main reasons for such hikes are that the level of inflation will have stabilized, credit growth will be high and central banks in other countries will be phasing out their asset purchases and/or hiking their key interest rates. New Riksbank rate hikes during 2018 will bring the repo rate to 0.25 percent by the end of 2018.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Giant Swedish Christmas Goat Has Been Set Ablaze Again

Via Business Insider:

A small Yule Goat made of straw is common in Swedish homes, and the Gävle Goat is a giant version of it, that is placed at Slottstorget in Gävle every Christmas since 1966.

Unfortunately, the Gävle Goat has become a popular target of arsonists. Since its first appearance in 1966, the goat has been burned to the ground or vandalized more often than not. Last year it burnt down on the 27th of December.

This year, celebrating its 50th anniversary, the goat didn't even survive for 24 hours. Just a couple of hours after the inauguration the Goat was on fire.

The event was caught on camera. A witness tells the Swedish news paper Expressen that he saw a man jumping over the fence, pouring a liquid over one of the Goat's legs and then setting it on fire. No arrests have been made.

The goat will not be rebuilt this year.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fidel Castro Dead At 90

Via Jezebel:

Following nearly five decades in power, Fidel Castro, the former Cuban president, has died at the age of 90. El Commandante, whose 1959 revolution overthrew the American-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, survived some 638 attempts on his life devised by the CIA and Cuban exiles.

Despite the United States’ best efforts, Castro established a communist state fewer than 100 miles from the coast of Florida. Castro has receded from public life in the past decade, ceding power to his brother, Raúl, in the wake of an emergency intestinal surgery in July 2006. His impact on Cuban life, however, remains inestimable. From the Guardian:

His greatest legacy is free healthcare and education, which have given Cuba some of the region’s best human development statistics. But he is also responsible for the central planning blunders and stifling government controls that – along with the US embargo – have strangled the economy, leaving most Cubans scrabbling for decent food and desperate for better living standards.

The man who famously declared “history will absolve me” leaves a divided legacy. Older Cubans who remember brutal times under Batista tend to emphasise the revolution’s accomplishments. Younger Cubans are more likely to rail against gerontocracy, repression and lost opportunity. But even they refer to Castro by the more intimate name of Fidel.

Castro repeatedly outwitted his American counterparts, besting Kennedy in 1961, Carter in 1980, and Clinton in 2000. “No sober person in Latin America wants to adopt the Cuban system. But wherever he went in Latin America he received a raving ovation”, Wayne Smith, a veteran U.S. diplomat who worked in Havana, told the Los Angeles Times. “Why? Because he stood up to the United States, told us where to go, and got away with it”.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of the $6 billion in annual subsidies from Moscow, in conjunction with economic sanctions enforced by the United States, sent Cuba’s economy into a tailspin until Raúl Castro—who trained leftist guerrillas around the world in the 1970s and 80s—negotiated an easing of trade restrictions in December 2014.

“I’ll be 90 years old soon”, Castro said earlier this year, just before his birthday, at a Communist Party congress. “Soon I’ll be like all the others. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban Communists will remain as proof that on this planet, if one works with fervor and dignity, they can produce the material and cultural goods that human beings need and that need to be fought for without ever giving up”.

Friday, November 25, 2016

This Swedish Billionaire Has Issued A $5 Million Award For Anyone Who Comes Up With A UN 2.0

Via Business Insider:

Laszlo Szombatfalvy, one of Sweden’s most successful investors of all time, is urging on the younger generation to re-think global governance.

Now he has issued a large award for the best idea to replace the current global governance system, centered on the United Nations. This was reported by Jill Bederoff at Veckans Affärer.

Laszlo Szombatfalvy is something like the Warren Buffett of Sweden.

Like Buffett, he started life in very humble circumstances. He arrived to Sweden from Hungary in 1956, when his native country faced Soviet oppression.

The 88-year old finance sage has some of the world’s best investing track records. Over 45 years, he has achieved an average annual return of 30 percent.

His philanthropy aims to solve global problems.

Szombatfalvy is donating more than half a billion Swedish krona ($50m USD) through his fund, Global Challenges Foundation.

Szombatfalvy believes the world is going in the wrong direction, largely due to a failing global governance system:

He told Veckans Affärer: ”The biggest threats to humanity stem from the global community’s inability to deal wit them effectively.”“[The Politicians] cannot agree on the necessary measures [for climate change]. Even less are they able to agree on how to divide the costs between countries; or the responsibilities for future generations. Now it’s only short-term national interests that dominate”.

He wants to engage the younger generation, to get the world in a better shape. He believes radical measures are required to tackle inequality.

“Rich people need to take more responsibility”

His fund’s Global Challenges Prize is awarding $5m USD “in prizes for the best ideas that re-envision global governance for the 21st century”.

The Foundation's website explains further: “Entrants should focus on designing a decision-making structure or framework that could galvanize effective international action to tackle these risks. The proposed model may encompass an entirely new global framework or a proposed reform for existing systems”.

The competition, called ‘A New Shape’, is open to any individual or organization, and at least $1 million will be awarded to the winner. The fund is accepting proposals until May 2017.

Here are Szombatfalvy’s 4 advice for young people:

1. Be conscious of the fact that you are not only your own country’s citizen; you are a global citizen.

2. Realize that your children’s and grandchildren’s living conditions to a growing extent will depend on other countries’ citizens, even more than on their compatriots.

3. Understand, that without a global governance system that can tackle global risks, the likelihood of major catastrophes will become incomparably higher.

4. Demand action from your elected politicans! Vote out the incompetent people – you cannot afford them!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Half Of Sweden's Population Is Now Using This Insanely Popular App

Via Business Insider:

The payment app Swish is insanely popular in Sweden. The app is a collaboration between some of the largest banks in the country and allows the users to send small amounts money to each other, so far without a fee.

"Can I swhish you?", is heard everywhere in Sweden. Especially when it comes to splitting up restaurant tabs. Some vendors even use the app as a payment method, instead of cash.

The app was launched in 2012 and is adding 100.000 new users every month. According to Getswish AB, the number of users now surpass 5 million. That means more than half of Sweden's population is now using the app.

This October 16.2 million transfers were made on Swish, totaling 8.19 billion Swedish crowns.

In Denmark, a similar app, Mobile Pay, is used by an even higher proportion of the population. It is installed on more than 90 percent of all smartphones, and used by over 3 million people out of a population of approximately 5,6 million.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Swedish Police Is In A Lousy Shape, But The Chief Is Refusing To Resign

Via Business Insider:

The Swedish police is in dire straits. Results are falling, senior officers are quitting, and others are openly critical of the organization.

During parts of the summer, one patrol was in charge of policing an area in the north of Sweden almost as big as Denmark.

The Swedish goverment has made it clear that the police has to improve. Minister for Home Affairs Anders Ygeman told the Swedish news paper Dagens Nyheter this August that he wants results to improve before the end of this year.

But things are looking bleak.

According to an examination recently conducted by Dagens Nyheter, the number of criminal investigations has now fallen to levels not seen before in modern times. The number of investations fell with 9 percent between January and October this year.

To counter the negative trend, hundreds of civil investigators were recruited in september. But even so, the fall in the number of investigations accelerated during October.

Many say that the culprit is the new police organization. It is more heavily centralized than before, but critics say that important local knowledge was lost in the process.

At the center of the storm is director general Dan Eliasson. He is a former director general of the Swedish Migration Authority and Swedish Social Insurance Agency. He has been heavily criticized during his tenure, for his lack of police experience, for politically sensitive statements he has made while in office and for the difficulties the police organization is facing.

So far Eliasson has refused to budge, and he still has the support of Anders Ygeman. When confronted by Dagens Nyheter with the falling number of investigations, Eliasson said: "It's going to improve goddamnit, to speak proper Swedish".

Even Leif GW Persson, professor in criminology at the Swedish National Police Board and a well-known author and tv celebrity, as well as friend of Dan Eliasson is calling for him to resign.

He writes that the police chief, "and everyone that is thinking like him" needs to be fired.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

DRAMA: Trump Reportedly Explodes At Media Bigwigs In Off-Record Meeting

Via Business Insider:

President-elect Donald Trump on Monday reportedly lashed out at several top media executives and their outlets in a high-profile meeting, according to The New York Post.

Prominent journalists and executives from CNN, NBC, CBS, and Fox were among those in attendance at the meeting at Trump Tower.

"Trump kept saying, 'We're in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong'. He addressed everyone in the room calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars. He called out Jeff Zucker by name and said everyone at CNN was a liar, and CNN was [a] network of liars", a source told the Post.

Trump specifically took aim at Zucker, CNN's president, telling him: "I hate your network. Everyone at CNN is a liar, and you should be ashamed", according to the Post.

Those in attendance were under the impression that the media's access to Trump would be discussed, but instead got an earful from Trump.

Earlier, Kellyanne Conway, Trump's senior adviser who ran his presidential campaign, called the meeting "excellent" and "unprecedented", praising the fact that it was arranged in two days.

Conway later denied that Trump lashed out at the media during the meeting.

"No that's not true at all. I sat right to his left. He did not explode in anger", Conway said during an appearance on Bloomberg's "With All Due Respect".

She added: "By the way, it's an off the record meeting, so whoever said that and mischaracterized it should think twice. But no he did not explode in anger. He's the president-elect. He won … winning solves a lot of problems. Winning makes a lot of statements. I'm really happy he reached out to them after a very long and bruising, hard fought, not always fairly covered campaign".

The meeting came as the media has scrutinized Trump for his lack of press access. He has not held a press conference since winning the election and has yet to accommodate a protective pool, which would allow a member of the media to be with him at all times.

Last week, Trump broke protocol and left Trump Tower to have dinner in New York City without alerting a pool of journalists waiting outside of his home.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

McCain: If Trump Tries To Bring Back Waterboarding, He'll Be In Court In A "New York Minute"

Via Business Insider:

Sen. John McCain of Arizona issued a forceful warning to the incoming Trump administration on Saturday, declaring that any government agency that reinstates waterboarding will be taken to court in a "New York minute".

McCain, who himself survived torture while he was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, made the remarks at the Halifax International Security Forum in response to a question about Congress' power to rein in a president on issues such as waterboarding.

"I don't give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do, or anybody else wants to do - we will not waterboard, we will not torture", he said to applause.

"My friends, it doesn't work. If you inflict enough pain on somebody long enough, they're going to tell you whatever they think you want to hear to get it to stop".

During his campaign, Trump advocated for reinstating waterboarding and "enhanced interrogation techniques" as a means to question suspected terrorists. He even expressed a desire to use torture methods more severe than waterboarding.

"I would absolutely authorize something beyond waterboarding", Trump told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in February.

McCain said waterboarding and other torture methods are prohibited by federal law and the Geneva Convention, and argued that no judge in the country wouldn't view torture as a violation of those laws.

"My god, what does it say about America if we're going to inflict torture on people?" he said.

"It makes it hard for us to make the argument about the moral superiority of our government and our way of life".

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Google And Sweden's Hippest Museum Are Making It Possible For Anyone To Have Their Own Photo Exhibition - First Out Are Rebecca And Fiona

Via Business Insider:

Since its opening in 2010, the Swedish Museum of Photography - Fotografiska - has exhibited some of the biggest names in photography.

In a new collaboration, Google and Fotografiska will take the democratization of photography one step further than Instagram and make Fotografiska's wallspace available to less famous names - you, or me, or anyone - in a special exhibition lasting from November 23 to December 4.

The project, called Re:Collection Gallery, recognizes that 9 in 10 Swedes have old developed photographs, and one fifth of these have over a 1.000 analog photographs laying around - unable to be shared with the world because they're not in a digital format.

These are the photos Fotografiska wants to display during the Re:Collection Gallery exhibition.

Google is behind the initiative of the exhibition and is also powering it with a newly developed app called Google PhotoScan, which scans old photographs and converts them to a digital format, improving the picture quality in the process. And this app will be used for the Re:Collection Gallery exhibition(s).

Anyone can apply to get their analog photography collections scanned, remastered and displayed at Fotografiska. It's as simple as publishing an analog photo on Instagram with the hastag #RecollectionByGoogle. Fotografiska suggests taking the opportunity to share a photo of someone dear to you.

"With Re:Collection Gallery we're digitally exhibiting amateur photographs that bear old memories and new stories. As an inclusive metting place for all of Sweden we want to inspire the people and hope to be able to show many unique and touching stories in the coming weeks", says Karl Skoog, marketing director at Fotografiska.

First out sharing their personal photos will be the Swedish DJ duo Rebecca and Fiona, on display November 23-24. After that the exhibition will feature new collections daily based on the analog photos of selected applicants. Fotografiska will choose which pictures are to be displayed and each applicant will receive a time slot when Fotografiska features their pictures exclusively - so, in effect, this is a chance to have a personal exhibition of your life at one of Sweden's most high-profile museums.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Ecuador Says Sweden Should Promise Assange Will Not Be Extradited

Via Reuters:

Ecuador's Foreign Minister said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should receive guarantees that he will not be extradited if he faces justice in Sweden after four years of living in the South American nation's embassy in London.

Assange, who enraged Washington by publishing a flood of secret U.S. diplomatic cables, fled to the embassy fearing that Sweden could end up sending him on to the United States where he could face prison for leaking U.S. secrets.

"If we can obtain guarantees that Mr. Assange will not face extradition to the third country, I think it's fine for him to face Swedish justice - if there are charges, because there are still no charges", Foreign Minister Guillaume Long said in an interview on Wednesday with an Ecuadorean radio station.

But a Swedish government official said on Thursday it would not be possible to offer Assange or Ecuador a guarantee, as Sweden has not been asked by the United States to extradite him.

"It would actually breach the constitution if the government would give such a guarantee in advance", Cecilia Riddselius of the Swedish Ministry of Justice's Division for Criminal Cases and International Judicial Co-operation said.

Swedish Chief Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren posed questions through an Ecuadorian prosecutor at the embassy earlier this week, but did not give any comment on the case.

Assange, who has repeatedly denied the rape allegation, sought refuge in Ecuador's embassy in August 2012. He is wanted in Britain for breaching bail.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

After Saving Denmark With Sex, This Travel Agency Is Back With A Hilarious New Campaign And A Clever Price Discrimination Model

Via Business Insider:

The Danish travel agency Spies Rejser has taken it upon itself to promote pregnancy and thereby save the welfare system from the perils of an ageing population. After promoting vacation as a means to more babies with the campaigns 'Do it for Denmark' and 'Do it for Mom', Spies Rejser has now turned to a different problem.

Yes, it seems to imply that not having sex leads to death.

More children are finally being born, and the travel agency laments to inform the Danish population that more children unfortunately leads to less sex. That, however, can be remedied by booking a vacation, ensuring sex throughout life, Spies Rejser suggests. And it should not be taking lightly because having more sex improves both health and quality of life - thereby alleviating stress on the welfare system.

However true this may or may not be, the ad campaign is somewhat of a phenomenon. Spies Rejser takes the 'sex sells' principle to the next level - although the most recent campaign is not as sophisticated as their previous roundabout approach of suggesting that aspiring grandparents should treat their children to vacations in order to make babies...

More children → bigger discount. This approach recognizes that children are super-expensive. In Sweden, for example, the cost of raising a child until their 18th birthday has been estimated to SEK 1.4 million (~$160,000) by Swedbank.

So the more children you have, the less you can afford a vacation. Spies Rejser's discounts may not do much to offset the cost of having a family, but it does at least take in the difference in purchasing power of different family constellations. And the travel agency manages to get away with this price discrimination with a wink and a smile.

In 2014 Spies Rejser also promoted pregnancies by offering Danes who had conceived during their trips a couple of years worth of baby supplies, and this very informative ad for 'child-friendly holidays'. Can sex save Denmark's future? Apparently the actress in the ad was 'Made in Paris', along with 10% of Danish children conceived on holidays. The ad cites a survey saying that Danes have 46% more sex while on holiday than at home.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Finland Succeeded In Making The Unicode Consortium Adopt A Sauna Emoji – But It Didn’t Go Exactly As Planned

Via Business Insider:

Saunas are literally part of the furniture in Finland. The country has more than three million saunas – more than cars.

Finland has achieved an historic digital milestone.

The country’s best known symbol, the sauna, has now been approved as a new emoji by the Unicode Consortium, a gate-keeper of the global smartphone language, Unicode.

Hence Finland is now the first country in the world to have a national emoji, The Wall Street Journal reports.

It was in December 2015, when Finland unveiled its proposals for national emojis. Since then, Petra Theman, director of public diplomacy for Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has been the main lobbyist for initiative. Theman told WSJ: “Finland is not known for many things. We don’t have the Eiffel Tower. But we do have the sauna”.

Among the four emoji proposals Finland sent to the Consortium, two have now been approved: one sauna emoji, and one woollen socks emoji. They will be available with the Consortium’s upcoming release of the latest version of the character set, Unicode 10.

The secretive Unicode Consortium consists currently of 18 people, who approve emojis that are in heavy use among both Android and iOS smartphone users. Once an emoji has been approved, it cannot be removed.

But there is one thing that may disappoint Finns.

The characters sitting in the sauna were not approved, due to their nudeness. Instead, The Foreign Ministry worked together with the Consortium and settled on a character wearing a towel.Thielman points out that Finns are always naked in the sauna: “The added towel makes it a bit more difficult for Finns to relate to it”.

Either way, these news should make Finns look forward to the next emoji update.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

What It's Like To Have Kids In Sweden — The Country With The Best Parental Leave Policies In The World

Via Business Insider:

Earlier this year, US News published a survey of more than 16,000 people that determined Sweden is the best place in the world to have kids.

Susanna Le Forestier, a 41-year-old mother of two, didn't needed a study to tell her that.

"It's wonderful", the Stockholm native tells Business Insider.

Le Forestier is the head of the Events Unit at the Swedish Institute, a government agency that promotes all the great things Sweden is doing around the world. Among the country's many virtues: generous parental leave policies.

New parents in Sweden are entitled to 480 days of paid leave per child at 80% their normal salary. They are free to split the time however they choose, although one parent must take at least 90 days.

If they don't, that time is lost - an undesirable situation given that the days don't expire until the child turns 8. That allows people to combine their vacation days and remaining leave days, and use the time off for longer summer trips or extra visits to museums as their children grow up.

But the greatest benefits of generous parental leave, of course, come in the early months, when parents can be with their kids as they conquer their many "firsts" - first smile, first word, first step.

Le Forestier and her husband went the route of most parents, and split their leave time down the middle. Each stayed home a few days out of the week while their kids were babies, but Le Forestier says they still have about 100 days of leave left to take for their 4-year-old son and 200 days for their 3-year-old daughter.

Le Forestier says she also received a huge amount of social support as a new mom. When her 4-year-old son was a baby, she read to him at the library, bounced him through mommy-baby workouts at the gym, and attended reserved screenings for parents at the local movie theater.

"It's open to everyone, but I don't think anyone would want to go to the movies with like 15 babies in the room", she says, adding that the theaters set up diaper-changing stations for when babies create their own intermissions.

Throughout all this, Le Forestier says the obligation to return to work never felt like a rain cloud looming over her. No one pressured her to come back. Her boss was surprised when Le Forestier announced that she was pregnant with a second child only a month after she'd returned from her first leave, she says, but he was happy for her nonetheless.

"For my husband it's a little bit different", she says.

Le Forestier's husband works at a private company in a smaller town outside Stockholm, where the attitudes toward fathers taking leave haven't caught up to Stockholm's affinity for fairness. She says he had to explain himself a bit more than she did, but the law is the law, so his application for leave was approved regardless.

A lot of research about worker productivity suggests employees would be better off if more governments or companies took cues from Sweden. When people have more time to spend with family, and can avoid juggling their job with child-rearing, they tend to be happier and do better work.

"There is no opposition to this, left to right", Le Forestier says.

That kind of widespread support has led to a broad set of policies aimed at helping kids get the best possible start in life. For example, day care in Sweden is guaranteed to each child and heavily subsidized by the government. Le Forestier says it should cost her $1,300 a month to send both her kids to day care, but she pays just $165.

While there, her kids get prepared for school while still getting ample play time. Plus, they eat well.

"And the food's really good", she says of school lunches. "It's all organic, very healthy, and they eat together for a long time every day. It's very good. The system is very good".

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Signups For Encrypted Mail Client ProtonMail Double After Election

Via Tech Crunch:

The election of Donald Trump has lots of Americans worried about their privacy, and they’re turning to encrypted communication platforms to protect themselves. During an interview yesterday, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden encouraged those concerned about the ramifications of Trump at the helm of the NSA to use encryption — and it seems like people are listening.

ProtonMail, an encrypted email service headquartered in Switzerland, announced today that it’s seen an influx of new users since the election.

“Since Trump’s victory, the number of new users coming to ProtonMail has doubled compared to the previous week”, CEO Andy Yen wrote in a blog post. “Given Trump’s campaign rhetoric against journalists, political enemies, immigrants, and Muslims, there is concern that Trump could use the new tools at his disposal to target certain groups”.

However, Yen is quick to note that the mass surveillance apparatus that Trump will helm expanded and flourished under President Obama.

“Today, we are seeing an influx of liberal users, but ProtonMail has also long been popular with the political right, who were truly worried about big government spying, and the Obama administration having access to their communications. Now the tables have turned”, Yen wrote. “The same terror the political right has experienced is now being felt in liberal bubbles such as Silicon Valley for the first time”.

Like Snowden, Yen argues that Trump is just an example of how quickly governments can change and his rise to power demonstrates the importance of privacy, no matter who sits in the White House. Yen recommended his own service for those looking to avoid surveillance, as well as the encrypted messaging app Signal.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Malmö's Hot Startup Scene Is Consistently Producing Many Of The World's Best-Selling Games

Via Business Insider:

It’s no secret that Sweden and Finland are the powerhouses of the global game development industry. For Sweden, Malmö is where it happens.

With a population of only 320.000 Malmö is home to some 40 game companies – 4.8 more per capita compared to, for example, London. Ubisoft and King are two big names in Malmö, yet the bulk consists of smaller studios. But being small doesn’t prevent them from consistently delivering best-sellers.

“When you think of the game scene in Sweden you’ll probably think of King or Mojang, but that’s only part of the story. We have game companies in Malmö consisting of only one or two people that deliver exceptionally high quality games,” says Mårten Öbrink, CEO of the startup incubator Minc, which recently set up an initiative called Game Startup Academy to boost the potential of Malmö’s game developers even further.

“It’s part of the startup culture here that people want to help each other out, so we’ve managed to get some pretty big names to the Game Startup Academy with almost no budget. As a start-up scene, that’s wholly unique to Malmö”, Öbrink says.

Just last week the Malmö-based game studio Mediocre released PinOut! Which became an instant success. It’s already been downloaded 7.5 million times, been the most downloaded game in 65 countries, and the most downloaded app in 30 countries. The same studio is also behind Smash Hit – a game that’s been true to its name with 120 million downloads, according to DI Digital.

There are plenty of more examples. Simogo and Illusion Labs have made their mark with successes like Sailor’s Dream and Touch Grind Skate, respectively.

The Division was the world’s bestselling game 2015. The studio behind it, Massive, made £270 million in the game’s first week after launch and just bought an entire block in Malmö, Sydsvenskan reports.

Something to look forward to is Little Nightmares, by Tarsier Studios – the game’s trailer was recently shared 135,000 times on Facebook.

Malmö’s startup environment isn’t only unique for the game development scene. Outside of the Nordic capital cities, Malmö received more venture capital this year than any other Nordic city, writes The Nordic Web. Perhaps that’s not so surprising considering Malmö’s connection to greater Copenhagen to form the bi-national metropolitan area of the Øresund region, with a quickly growing startup ecosystem. Malmö thereby offers an international context, while being a considerably cheaper place to run a business compared to many other startup hubs – the Nordic capitals aren’t exactly known for being cheap.

“It’s fairly easy setting up your own venture in Malmö, and cheap too,” Mårten Öbrink explains, “Running your own business is 19% cheaper in Malmö than it is in Berlin for instance”.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

What Would A Trump Victory Mean For The EU?

Via EUobserver:

With polls predicting a victory by Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party candidate, whose presidency would augur more of the same in trans-Atlantic relations, Europeans are unlikely to wake up, on Wednesday (9 November), to a populist business tycoon, who speaks in glowing terms of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, having become the leader of the free world.

If they do, the unpredictability of what Donald Trump might do would cause cold sweats in Europe’s chancelleries.

Trump has spoken of abandoning Nato mutual defence, recognising Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, scrapping EU free trade, and scrapping the Paris climate deal.

He has also spoken of jailing Clinton and whipped up racist hysteria in developments that risk emboldening autocrats and populists in Europe.

“He’s totally unpredictable. He has zero experience in foreign policy and we don’t know who he’s listening to. I know several of his advisors, and I don’t know who he really listens to”, Andras Simonyi, a Hungarian diplomat who heads a faculty on transatlantic relations at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, told EUobserver on the eve of the US election.

“It could be something insane, or it could be down to earth”, he said.

Steven Blockmans, a Belgian scholar at the Ceps think tank in Brussels, said US institutions, such as Congress, would have limited power to contain a rogue leader.

“Under the US constitution, presidents enjoy considerable latitude on foreign policy. Only Congress can officially declare war or ratify treaties, but presidents may use (or refuse to use) military force without explicit congressional approval. They can also enter into international agreements other than treaties, appoint powerful White House staff, and change US foreign policy by executive action”, he said.

“Individuals matter. Their character matters”, he said.

A US diplomat, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Checks and balances do exist, but more in the domestic than in the foreign policy realm, and even with them he [Trump] could do a lot of damage”.

Jonathan Eyal, a security expert at the Rusi think tank in London, said Trump might try to make a grand bargain with Putin that would “divide Europe into spheres of influence”.

He said that a bad deal, such as handing Ukraine to Russia in return for Russia helping the US to “fight some unspecified terrorists in some unspecified time and place”, would “encourage the worst instincts in Moscow”.

He added that a populist in the White House could prompt a “backlash in Europe”.

Eyal said right-wing populists in Hungary or Poland would take it as a green light to erode EU values, while left-wing “agitators” in France and Germany would use Trump as “an irresistible icon of the ugly American”.

”Not an idiot”

No matter who wins on Tuesday, Europe is unlikely to feel the effect until mid-2017.

Clinton or Trump would not be sworn in until January and, on past form, would require a few months more to put new teams and policies in place.

If Trump wins, there is a chance that Republican Party elites who distanced themselves from his campaign would come flocking back.

Rusi’s Eyal said Republican grandees would “gravitate back to him … to save the US by calming him down”.

“Congressional Republicans are going to exert a lot of influence if he should be elected”, he said.

Simonyi drew a parallel between Trump and Ronald Reagan, a former Hollywood actor who also had little political experience when he became US president in 1981, but who conducted his foreign policy under the tutelage of respected figures, such as his secretary of state George P. Shultz or his defence chief Caspar Weinberger.

“The real question is whether Trump will listen only to himself or to the big boys in the Republican party”, Simonyi said.

Eyal said Trump does not look like the kind of man “who would sit in an armchair studying briefing papers” prior to taking decisions.

He said that Trump, in his business career, had always relied on his team of lawyers to make realistic deals, however.

“This guy’s not an idiot”, Simonyi said.

“Is he a pleasant person? No. I’ve met him and he isn’t. But you don’t get where he’s got to if you’re aren’t a tough guy. He’s outsmarted the smartest people in the Republican Party. He has his talents”, Simonyi said.

Manchurian Candidate?

If president Trump did listen to Republicans, he might well take a tougher line on Russia than his verbal accolades of Putin indicate.

The Republicans want the US to arm the Ukrainian military and to strike harder at Russia’s ally in Syria, president Bashar al-Assad.

If Trump did bargain with Putin on spheres of influence, he might also prove a tougher negotiator than his critics imagine.

Rusi’s Eyal said Trump’s campaign rhetoric did not mean he was a Kremlin puppet.

“A lot of the stuff he said on Putin - it’s just empty bragging to make himself look big. He’s never even met the guy”, Eyal said.

“Trump’s not the Manchurian Candidate”, Eyal addd, referring to a Cold War-era film about a US president brainwashed by Soviet spies.

Simonyi added: “Every deal he’s [Trump] done, he’s bullied people into accepting his terms. He’s not a win-win guy. He’s a win guy”.

“The man is fickle. One false move from Putin and he [Trump] could turn around 180 degrees. This isn’t a guy to try to fool around with”, Simonyi said.

Ukraine aside, Marc Pierini, a former EU ambassador to Turkey who works for the Carnegie Europe think tank in Brussels, said US interests in the Middle East are so deeply entrenched there would be “no change” in policy.

He said any US president would try to keep Iraq from falling apart, continue to fight jihadists in Syria, protect Israel, and maintain the alliance with Turkey.

Judy Dempsey, who works for Carnegie Europe in Berlin, said: “Whoever wins, Nato will become more important … There is a deep consensus that Nato is the thread that keeps the trans-Atlantic relationship together”.

EU defense

Rusi’s Eyal said Trump’s remarks on Nato indicate that he would force the EU to spend more on defence, not that he would scrap the alliance.

“The message is that he wants the Europeans to pay their share”, Eyal said.

Simonyi said Europe would have to pay more and show more readiness to use force whether Trump or Clinton won.

“The more the Europeans are wiling to pay, the more the Americans are willing to stay in Europe”, he said.

“The feeling of most American people these days is that America is paying for Europe’s defence that Europe doesn’t want to share the burden”, he said.

“The feeling is: ‘You guys don’t get it. We protect you from Russia, but you criticise us for being tough on Russia sanctions. You ask us to protect you, to send more troops, then you build the Nord Stream 2 pipeline’,” he added, referring to Germany’s plan to build a new gas pipeline with Russia.

He said escalating tensions with North Korea could also force the US to pivot away from Europe no matter who won Tuesday’s election.

“The main topic in Washington today isn’t Russia … It’s that North Korea might go insane, which would mean the US couldn’t worry about Europe the way they used to”, Simonyi said.

Anti-Trump ‘hysteria’

Dempsey, from Carnegie Europe, warned EU leaders to avoid anti-Trump “hysteria” and “bandwagon” politics.

“Europe should take on a serious leadership role and start preparing an agenda of practical things that we could achieve together,” whether Trump or Clinton won, she told EUobserver.

“Whoever wins, Europe must have an agenda - on Russia, on migration, on trade, on how we’re going to deal with the Middle East and with Turkey, but also on US concerns, such as the South China sea dispute”, she said, referring to a brewing US-China confrontation.

“If we don’t, the Russians will be very happy”, she added.

“EU leaders and ministers can’t afford to keep talking, for hours on end, about issues of existential importance for Europe without coming up with any serious proposals that can be implemented”, she said.

Monday, November 07, 2016

The Nordics Exercise The Most And Smoke The Least In Europe

Via Business Insider:

The European Social Survey has released its findings on European countries’ physical and mental health status. The survey included 21 European countries including Israel; where each country individually self-reported their citizens’ health.

The report found that the Nordic people’s (and Ireland) are the most physically active in Europe. Among the Nordic countries between 25 and 30 per cent of people exercise three to four times a week, with the only exception being Danish men with 20 per cent.

Another area where the Nordics stood out was in their low smoking rates. While Sweden is the country with the smallest share of smokers, around 15 percent, all of the Nordic countries have seen huge drops from their peak smoking days. All countries used to have more than 60 per cent of their citizens smoking regularly. Currently Danish and Finnish men report the highest smoking rates, at around 27 and 28 per cent, respectively.

The Swedish people had the third highest overall score in Europe, the best among the Nordic countries, and trailing only Switzerland and Ireland, according to, a magazine covering working environments.

The Nordic countries had relatively good overall health results. Here are some selected findings:


Lowest smoking-rates in Europe; only 15 per cent are smokers, which is a striking drop when considering that more than 75 per cent of the people used to smoke. Lowest incidence of heart problems


The percentage of respondents reporting heart and circulation problems is particularly high in Finland. Finland is among the happiest countries, with the lowest rates of serious depressive symptoms, together with Norway


Lowest rates of self-reported obesity among women. Merely 38,9 per cent of women think of themselves as overweight or obese


The lowest share of people currently suffering from cancer, together with Sweden

The report also revealed a lot about the general health habits of Europeans...

Women are much more likely than men to report depressive symptoms and severe headaches

Almost a third of French women are suffering severe headaches

Portugal has the lowest exercise-rates

British, Irish and Portugese people drink the most

Lithuania has the most smokers, almost half of the population

Thursday, November 03, 2016

From Nothing To A Super-IPO In Only 10 Months - Cellink Is Making It Possible To 3D-Print Human Tissues And Organs

Via Business Insider:

Cellink was founded in January 2016. Today was listed on Nasdaq First North, after a 1070% oversubscribed IPO - another success story from the Swedish tech scene - this one combining biotech and additive manufacturing.

During the morning the price per share has risen 88% from SEK 26 to SEK 49 (at 10.30 a.m.), implying a total valuation of more than SEK 152 million (~$16.8 million). SEK 23 million (~$2.5 million) was raised through the IPO.

Cellink's previous financing amounts to SEK 3.7 million (~ $470.000), but it made a net loss of SEK 250.000 (~$29,000) over the first nine months of its existence.

"It's relatively common within biotech and lifescience that you go to the stockmarket early on. We already have technology on the market and revenues in the company, so we've come comparably far," Erik Gatenholm, co-founder and CEO of Cellink told Di Digital.

3D-printers that could print tissue were already a reality when Cellink was founded, but Erik Gatenholm's and Hector Martinez Avila's idea was to produce 'biological ink' that could be used in various printers to print different types of cell tissue. Having done that, Cellink's founders quickly discovered that the market for tissue-printing 3D-printers was far from saturated so Hector built a prototype for Cellink's own printer model and it turned out to be very cost efficient; you get your own for only $10.000.

Cellink's business model mimics that of the conventional printer manufacturers.

The stock market reaction to Cellink's IPO can be understood against the background of the combination of hot biotech and lifescience with a proven business model. Biotech companies often promise big future rewards for risky investments in R&D, whereas Cellink has been able to start selling its rpoduct right away.

Cellink's has a business model that mimics that of conventional printer manufacturers: promoting sales of their ink by also selling the printing technology.

Other Swedish additive manufacturing companies have opted for the same strategy. Höganäs AB got into the 3D-printing business to promote new applications for the company's main product, metal powder.

Arcam, which was recently acquired by GE, went through the reverse process: first developing the 3D-printing technology and then aquiring the Canadian metal powder producer AP&C.

It's a concept that feels reliable, but at the same time offers the excitement of biotech's seemingly unlimited possibilities.

Cellink puts Sweden on the map for bioprinting.

Cellink's affordable printers have already been bought by customers in 25 countries around the world, mostly universities in the US and Asia, but even some private customers.

The current application for bioprinting is mostly research purposes.

The stockmarket listing may seem surprising coming from such a newly founded company, but Cellink has been a success story throughout its short history. It was listed as a Superstartup by the Swedish business magazine Veckans Affärer in May. In July, at the Serendipity Challenge at Almedalen, Gotland, it won the title of Startup of the Year.

The dream is to be able to print human organs.

"Out vision is to be able to print new human organs. We want to write the history of 3D-bioprinting and always be at the edge between science fiction and reality", Erik Gatenholm told Veckans Affärer in an interview.

Printing replacement human organs is great of course, but a more interesting prospect is perhaps that of printing new types of tissues, and new types of organs, for non-human and non-medical applications. With the advancement of CRISPR technology it is pretty much possible to design your own genes, bacteria and cells. If Cellink's vision is realized it will be possible to print designer cell types in complex 3D configurations - to create all manner of biological machines.

Cellink's inks currently cover a limited number of cell types and the printer can only print so many types in one project. A nose can be printed for example, it just needs skin and cartilege. More complex organs will be possible in the future but to get there Cellink needs to scale up. That's where the IPO comes into the picture.

Co-founder Erik Gatenholm tells Di Digital that taking the step to stockmarket listing also has a lot to do with credibility.

"As a small startup company, being able to tell clients that 'we're listed on Nasdaq' builds a lot of trust. It shows that we're serious", Erik Gatenholm tells DI Digital.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Danish Food-App That Lets You Buy Restaurant Meals For $2.5 Has Saved 700 Tons Of Food In A Year - And Just Won The Nordic Council Environment Prize

Via Business Insider:

Too Good To Go is a Danish app that let's users buy leftover food that would go to waste at closing time, at heavily discounted prices.

Takeaway restaurant meals for as little as $2.5 sounds pretty good, doesn't it?

It's not only good for your wallet - it's also good for the environment. If it's possible to save half of the food that is wasted globally, the whole world could be fed, Too Good To Go claims. At the same time, food waste is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

In recognition of Too Good To Go's sustainable solution to eliminating food waste, and thereby curbing resource consumption and stress on the environment, the Nordic Council of Ministers just awarded the startup the Nordic Council Environment Prize. The motivation is not only the sustainable business model, but also that Too Good To Go may inspire other industries to explore similar concepts.

The startup was only founded a year ago, but Too Good To Go has already expanded to several European countries: Norway. Germany, France, UK, and is currently being tested in New York City. In 2017, the company is set to expand to several new markets.

The screendump and the statistics above are from the startup's UK site. In total, Too Good To Good has distributed 353,000 meals - saving 700 tons of food from being thrown away.

If you're not looking to eat yourself, you can donate a meal to a homeless person for DKK 20 (less than $3) instead. So far some 5,000 meals have been donated to homless people through the service, according to Too Good To Go's Danish website.

Besides winning the Nordic Council Environment Prize, Too Good To Go was recently selected to participate in Green Tech Challenge's intense training program for promising green startups.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

40.000 Oil Jobs In Norway Have Been Shed In A Short Time

Via Business Insider:

In the last couple of years, the Norwegian oil and gas industry has been hit hard by the falling oil prices.

Early in 2016 Bente Nyland, director general of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said that Norway's oil industry was in a crisis.

It has taken its toll on employment.

More than 40.000 jobs have been lost since the beginning of 2014, according to a new survey by DNB Markets. 5.000 jobs have been lost in the last six months.

More than 33.000 permanently employed and 7.000 temporarily employed have been affected by the reductions.

Analysts at DNB Markets believe that the reductions will continue, even though oil prices have rebounded somewhat.

Aker Solutions has cut 3.270 jobs and Statoil has cut 3.023 jobs.