Ozone layer thickens over Sweden
SMHI – the Swedish meteorological institute, is trying to figure out why the ozone layer over the country in February was thicker than it has been in decades, just a year after the second-thinnest level was recorded in the previous year. Measurements taken at SMHI's station in Norrköping, just south of Stockholm, showed the ozone layer was at its thickest in February since recordings there began in 1988, with a measurement of 426 Dobson units (DU). At the Vindeln station in northern Sweden, where measurements began in 1991, a record high of 437 DU was recorded. "We have to go as far back to the measurements taken in Uppsala between 1951 and 1966" to find levels that high, SMHI said in a statement. There, the highest level for February was in 1957, when a value of 439 DU was recorded. The circumpolar whirl over the Arctic — a polar high pressure system formed of a distinct column of cold air that develops during the long polar night — disappeared very quickly in mid-January, and the stratosphere warmed up quickly in the space of a few days, SMHI explained. As a result, "the low temperatures that usually cause rapid depletion of the ozone layer did not take place," it said.

Lund wants tourists without children.
The members of the municipal board of the city of Lund (famous for its university and cathedral) know what they want when it comes to tourists: They want their tourists to be WHOP (Wealthy, Healthy Older People) and DINK (Double Income No Kids). Board member Tove Klette (Liberal People’s Party) says: “We have looked closer at what Lund has to offer and what groups of tourists we should focus on. We have a lot of interesting historical parts and lots of culture in Lund, but no beaches.” Mats Olsson has reported the city of Lund to Diskrimineringsombudsmannen. “Prioritizing those who are rich and healthy is a conscious way of discriminating against those who aren’t,” he says. “It leads to an elitist view of humans.” Klette is not concerned. “Of course everybody’s welcome to Lund,” she says.

The sad fate of Raoul Wallenberg.
The disappearance of WW2 hero Raoul Wallenberg had an even sadder fate than previously thought. Nina Lagergren, his half-sister, recently confirmed reports that her parents committed suicide. The Wall Street Journal reported that Wallenberg’s mother Maria von Dardel, and his stepfather Fredrik von Dardel overdosed on prescriptions drugs two days apart in 1979. “That’s correct,” said Lagergren, who just turned 88. Wallenberg worked as a Swedish diplomat in Budapest, and is credited for having saved at least 20,000 Jews during the war. He was recruited and financed by the U.S. and was arrested by Soviet troops in 1945. According to the Russians, Wallenberg died in prison in 1947, but no proper death certificate ever appeared. “When he did not return home, it became a tragedy for the entire family, but most of all for himself,” said Lagergren. Asked why the family had not revealed the cause of the Dardels’ deaths sooner, Lagergren said, “there was no reason to talk about it.” She accused Moscow of giving misleading information about her brother’s fate. “It has been a fight against a giant, and as far as we understand it they have been lying all the time.” Lagergren also blamed Swedish officials for not doing enough to investigate the disappearance. “It is easy for his story to be forgotten, but we think it is important. He is a good role model,” she said. She described her brother as “a strange person, very thirsty for knowledge, and very knowledgeable. He was full of humor and had a wide range of interests. He was a very lively person; he put his all into this rescue mission. We loved him, and looked up to him, the entire family.”

You’d better wait before you say “polis, polis potatisgris” next time. A 15-year-old has to pay 200 SEK (approximately $20) for grunting at policemen. The policemen were on patrol, talking to an older lady, when the teenager walked up to them and said “Oink!” He was quickly caught but kept calling the police “pigs.” “I don’t like pigs,” he said, “I could’ve kept it to myself, but I told them because I like to be provocative.” For the policemen involved, the 15-year-old was way to provocative: “To make fun of my profession, to call me a pig, to grunt – that’s just not OK,” one of them said. The district court agreed – and the youth has to pay up. But the verdict will be appealed. “This is an interesting case," says the boy’s lawyer. “It’s OK to call a girl in school ‘whore’ but it’s not OK to call a policeman pig? Of course we’ll appeal.”

A third want to see the King gone.
According to a survey carried out by the Sifo polling firm for Aftonbladet, a third of all Swedes think that the 62-year-old King ought to abdicate the throne when he retires in favor for Victoria. The same study showed that Victoria is the most popular of the royal children.

Say cheese!
Swedes like cheese, and the most popular kind is Hushållsost. Coming in as second, third and fourth are Prästost, Herrgård and Grevé. Swedes consumed 18.5 kilos of cheese on average per person in 2006, which put them in 8th place in the world. Europe is the continent that consumes the most cheese. Greeks eat the most cheese (28.9% kilos per person and year), France comes in second with 22.5 kilos and Germany takes third place with 21.7%.

Hollywood diets are a joke.
At least according to Swedish author and dietician Anna Ottosson who, after taking a closer look at the diets of the stars in Hollywood, disses them all. The pop star Lily Allen says she uses hypnosis to lose weight. “I’ve never read any scientific reports that shows hypnosis really works,” is Ottosson’s verdict. And the “shoe method,” used by Desperate Housewife star Marcia Cross and Oscar winner Hillary Swank, well, Ottosson calls it a joke. (A certain shoe is supposed to correct your posture and make you burn more fat as you walk). Ottosson also calls Reese Witherspoon and Liz Hurley’s diet of children’s food “crazy.” And about the famous Atkins-diet, used by Jennifer Aniston, Renée Zellweger and Courtney Cox, she says: “I would refrain from it. Many studies show that a low-carb diet lead to an early death. You shouldn’t just eat to stay slim and attractive, but to care for your heart and the rest of your body, too.”

In a rush.
Do you have some time for a cup of coffee? For a friend? For a break? Expressen polled its readers about how they felt about their time: Did they feel like they had enough time? 34% answered “Yes, mostly.” 49% said “No, I wish there were more hours in a day,” and 17% said “I don’t have time to answer the question….”