Childcare allowance increasing among immigrants
The childcare allowance (vårdnadsbidraget) is getting increasingly popular in Swedish immigrant-heavy neighborhoods. So much so, that some preschools have been forced to close because of lack of children. The childcare allowance program was launched in 2008, and is available for parents who don’t want to send their 1-3 year olds to publicly financed preschools. The purpose is to give families a little more extra time with their young ones once their parental leave benefits had been used up. According to Dagens Nyheter, the allowance has been popular mainly among immigrants. In the Spånga-Tensta neighborhoods the number of families asking for the allowance has more than doubled, from 61 in 2008 to 135 in 2009, prompting preschools to shut down. “People say ‘it doesn’t matter, they’re so small,” says Karin Danielsson, head of the Stormhatten preschool in Tensta. “But even a 1.5-year-old benefits from preschool, both from the social interaction and the language development that it fosters.” Marie Granlund, Social Democratic educational spokesperson agrees this is a problem: “”The danger is that children who from the very beginning have odds against them, aren’t learning any Swedish prior to starting school.”

Reinforcement of the Swedish wolves
According to a parliamentary resolution, the Swedish wolf tribe will be further strengthened. During a 5-year period (until 2014), the wolf tribe will be boosted with a maximum of 20 wolves. The purpose is to break inbreeding. “It doesn’t matter if they’re male or female, as long as they have origins that are not Scandinavian,” says Per Risberg, administrator at Naturvårdsverket (the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency).

Tamarin in search for big breasts
A little emperor tamarin, a squirrel-sized New World monkey which is under threat of extinction, was born at Skansen (the famous open air museum and zoo in Stockholm) eight weeks ago. He weighed in at 1.5 oz. Unfortunately his mother died of ileus the very next day. Since then the baby tamarin, named Wilhelm, is practically living between two human breasts. “It’s the best way for prematurely born animals to survive, to place them in the cleavage of a human being,” says Jonas Wahlström, head of the Skansenakvariet. This time a female cashier had to help as an extra mommy for Wilhelm. “It doesn’t sound good, but it has become important to hire large-chested personnel,” Wahlström says with a laugh. By the way, Wilhelm was named after the German emperor Wilhelm II. Baby tamarin Wilhelm will likely get the same kind of moustache as his namesake had once he gets older – tamarins are known for their moustaches. More info on Skansen, see

Basic closet instinct.
If you’re a woman you might want to add a few things to your closet. But what? Swedish daily Aftonbladet recently listed a few basic items every woman should have in her closet. 1. Tights. Yes, they seem to be here to stay. Wear your tights with big T-shirts, soft oversized sweaters or even with your favorite dress. When you get tired of them they substitute well as sweatpants. 2. You’re going to need a nice suit jacket. It will take you from work to the party and back. 3. A great top. You know, like the long-sleeved, striped French sailor shirt? If you have a few great tops in your closet – you’re home free. 4. A dress. The little black dress is a great buy, like always, but you can buy any model you like and preferably something colorful. 5. A man’s shirt. To wear with shorts, slacks, skirts, or on top a dress – a man’s shirt can be used in a number of ways. 6. A cardigan. Boring, you say? We beg to differ. The right cardigan can work wonders with your wardrobe. And later on, in spring and summer, you can use it as a light jacket. Other basic items that need to find space among your shelves and in your drawers, are jeans, a good skirt, a good T-shirt, and shoes of course. What woman has too many shoes?