Stockholm suffers gloomy month.
Stockholm registered only 17.5 hours of sunshine for the entire month of November, making it the gloomiest November since 2000, meteorologists said Nov. 30. The sun shone on average for only 35 minutes a day during the month, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) said. In the past quarter-century, only the years 2000 and 1993 had darker months of November, with eight and nine hours of golden rays respectively, while the average for the month is 54 hours. Because clouds trap heat and prevent clear skies and crisp temperatures, November 2009 was also one of the warmest Novembers in 25 years. The average temperature in Stockholm was 5.6 degrees Celsius (42 Fahrenheit), compared to an average of 2.9 degrees over the past 25 years. Only the year 2000 was warmer at 7.0 degrees. Stockholm, one of the northernmost capitals in the world, also has less sunshine in November because of the shorter daylight period, with around seven hours of daylight in November. By contrast Sweden has long sunny days during the summer months, on average 292 hours of sunshine in June and 260 hours in July.

Elin to the rescue.
Tiger Woods was injured early Friday when he lost control of his SUV outside his Florida mansion, and a local police chief said Woods' Swedish wife Elin used a golf club to smash out the back window to help get her husband out. The world's No. 1 golfer was treated and released from a hospital in good condition, his spokesman said. The Florida Highway Patrol said Woods' vehicle hit a fire hydrant and a tree in his neighbor's yard after he pulled out of his driveway at 2:25 a.m. Windermere police chief Daniel Saylor told The Associated Press that officers found the 33-year-old PGA star lying in the street with his wife, Elin, hovering over him. “She was frantic, upset," Saylor said in a briefing Friday night. "It was her husband laying on the ground." She told officers she was in the house when she heard the accident and "came out and broke the back window with a golf club," he said, adding that the front-door windows were not broken and that "the door was probably locked." "She supposedly got him out and laid him on the ground," he said. "He was in and out of consciousness when my guys got there." Saylor said Woods had lacerations to his upper and lower lips, and blood in his mouth; officers treated Woods for about 10 minutes until an ambulance arrived. Woods was conscious enough to speak, he said. The crash knocked Woods unconscious for about six minutes, according to a call report compiled by the Orange County Sheriff's Office, the Orlando Sentinel reported. In a telephone interview, Woods' father-in-law, radio journalist Thomas Nordegren, told The Associated Press in Stockholm that he would not discuss the accident. "I haven't spoken to her in the last few ... " Nordegren said about his daughter, Elin, before cutting himself off. "I don't want to go into that." Woods' mother-in-law Barbro Holmberg also refused to address the matter "She doesn't want to comment on private issues like these," Holmberg's spokeswoman Eva Malmborg said.

Glögg with a taste of saffron.
Flavored glöggs aren’t always successful, but this might actually be a winner. A glögg with a taste of saffron. Here’s what you need to make it: 1 bottle of white wine, 2 cinnamon sticks, 5 white peppercorns, 5 cloves, 0.5 g saffron, 1 vanilla pod (cut and scooped out but put the entire pod into the pot), ½ Tablespoon liquid honey, 1 orange, peeled and wedged, 1 piece of ginger (1.5”), grated, 1 Tablespoon confectioner’s sugar. For serving: small cinnamon sticks, raisins and almonds. Put all ingredients except the confectioner’s sugar in a pot and bring it to a simmer, but do not let it boil. Let simmer for an hour. Strain but save the vanilla pod and the cinnamon sticks. Reheat and add confectioner’s sugar to taste. Serve in small glasses with a bit of cinnamon in each glass. Also don’t forget to add raisins and almonds.

Studying the Da Vinci Code in Sundsvall.
The bestselling and controversial book “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown has been made into a film (with Tom Hanks) and talked about and criticized ever since it came out (in 2003). Now it has become a university course – in Sundsvall. Arne Wiig, a researcher in religion at Sundsvall’s Mittuniversitetet, will teach a set of courses based on Dan Brown’s successful books (which also includes “Angels and Demons” and “The Lost Symbol”). When asked why he wanted to lead this course Wiig said: “I wanted to discuss religious symbols and signs, and I believe these books are a great starting point for such a discussion. That they’ve become bestsellers is a sign that people are very interested in questions regarding symbols and religion. I understand it’s a bit provocative to use them in the world of academia, but I still believe they have a place here.” Would this course interest you? polled its readers and 34% said “Sure”, 57% said “No it doesn’t seem serious” and 9% said “Perhaps”.

Yasmine became a Muslim.
Yasmine Kirian, a financial assistant in Stockholm, converted to Islam and lost her family in the process. “Three years ago I became a Muslim,” she says. “I’ve always believed in God, and when I was 15 years old I was baptized. I considered myself a Christian even though there were lots of things about Christianity that I didn’t understand. Since I come from a Jewish family, my choice of religion was always a bit controversial.” Yasmine explains that she was always afraid of Islam, thinking that Muslim men beat up their women, and that Muslim women in general had no rights and lived secluded in harems. “I wanted to understand why Muslim men treated their women like that, that’s why I began studying Islam,” she says. As she studied her preconceptions disappeared one by one. She learnt, she says, to differentiate between religion and cultural traditions. At the same time, she began thinking about converting. “I was worried about what my family would say. I was very aware that they wouldn’t accept my choice.” Finally she made the leap and converted. “When I converted I was filled with a wonderful feeling. I’ve never felt like that before. So much excitement and happiness! I felt joy over the fact that I did something for my own sake, without thinking about what others would say. It was my choice, I followed my heart.” The major difference in Yasmine’s life is that she now prays 5 times a day, fasts during Ramadan and tries to visit a mosque as often as possible. Her family had a hard time accepting the fact that she wears a hijab (the headdress of Muslim women), and today she only has contact with her sister. Nut Yasmine says she is happy: “I live with a Muslim man and we have a son together. I laugh at the prejudiced thoughts I used to have about Islam.” Islam is Sweden’s second largest religion, and there are approximately 400,000 Muslims in Sweden, most of them come from Turkey. There aren’t many Muslims among ethnic Swedes – but the majority of ethnic Swedish Muslims are women. To convert to Islam, you need to pronounce the Shahada, the Muslim declaration of belief in the oneness of Allah and acceptance of Muhammad in the presence of two witnesses. The conversion doesn’t have to take place in a mosque, one can do it at home or anywhere as long as there are at least two Muslim witnesses around.