Pregnancy is contagious...
One pregnant woman infects nearby females to do the same. A study spanning 1997-2004 analyzed pregnancies among 150,000 females at small Swedish companies. The findings, released by researchers Lena Hensvik and Peter Nilsson at Uppsala University, showed that one pregnant woman in a corporation caused other females to also attempt to become pregnant within 13 months to two years. At an increased frequency rate of 10% to reproduce, women tended to be influenced by peers in their own social and economic brackets, but not pregnancies of other girls who were either above or below them in status. Men whose wives outside the company were expecting children registered no effect whatsoever toward encouraging impregnation within the female population at their workplace.

Elin Rombo – Sweden’s latest opera star.
She has been a success as Susanna in Ole Anders Tandberg’s new production of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” at Stockholm’s Royal Opera. Her name is Elin Rombo and one would like to call this part her breakthrough if it weren’t for the fact that she’s already a good deal ahead on her path to international fame: In 2007 she was Pamina in “The Magic Flute” at the Frankfurt Opera, and in 2009 she played Tania/Louise Michel in Luigi Nono’s “Al Gran Sole Carico d’amore” at the Salzburg Festspiele. Rombo, who was born in Katrineholm and studied both at Brandon Queen Elisabeth II in Canada and Stockholm’s University College of Opera, says it took her 6 months to learn the role of Susanna: “The words and the melodies are easy to memorize, but you have to express them too, that takes time.” Rombo has sung at both Folkoperan and the Opera and says that she likes both. “There’s more experimenting going on at Folkoperan, and the fact that the orchestra is seated behind you rather than in front of you is another difference. But I feel more at home here at the Opera, since I’ve worked more here.” Rombo hopes the role of Susanna will carry her off to the big international opera houses: London, Paris, New York, and Chicago. And if not via Susanna, another dream role will do: That of Cleopatra in Handel’s “Julius Ceasar”. For more information:

Businessman in Sweden suspected of breaking UN sanctions.
An Iranian businessman in Umeå is suspected of breaking UN sanctions against Iran by having transferred large amounts of money from Iran and then further to a number of companies around the globe. All according to Sveriges Television (Swedish TV). And that’s not all, the man is also suspected of having exported illegal products to Iran, which may include parts for Iran’s alleged nuclear weapon program. Björn Rosenlöf, at the police unit for economic crimes (Ekobrottsmyndigheten) said: “For two years, five billion SEK ($) have flowed from Iran into the man’s bank accounts. Thereafter the same amount has been transferred to different bank accounts around the world and nothing has been declared.” The man denies any wrongdoing, claiming he was only helping smaller businesses in Iran by letting them use his bank accounts and for this he got commission. Swedish security police (SÄPO), however, suspects that he has broken the rules of sanctions against Iran. Says Ronnie Jakobsson from the Swedish Prosecution Authority’s chamber for security issues: “SÄPO wants to hear him regarding crimes against the UN sanctions rules when it comes to trade with Iran.”

A chip in his hand.
Meet Kristoffer Sjöberg, systems developer at Episerver, he has a tiny RFID-chip operated into his hand, right there between thumb and pointer. An RFID-chip (Radio-frequency identification) is an implantable chip originally designed for animal tagging but now also used in humans. An early experiment with RFID implants was conducted by British professor of cybernetics Kevin Warwick, who implanted a chip in his arm as early as 1998. In 2004, Conrad Chase offered implanted chips in his nightclubs to identify VIP customers. But why is Sjöberg walking around with a chip in his hand? “My life is full of RFID readers, at home and at work. That meant I had four different cards, which I carried around on a keychain in my jacket all day long. I wanted to simplify and just have one card, and that’s when I decided to have it implanted.” And pros and cons? “The pros are that I never have to worry about forgetting the ID cards at home, I get in at work anyway. The cons… The risk there will be problems is minimal. It’s such as small glass capsule that I have injected. After a few days it cannot be detected and I don’t feel it either. Still people think I am joking when I tell them. They are flabbergasted I did something like this.”

Europe’s most beautiful park.
High honors to Helsingborg, where Europe’s most beautiful park 2010 can be found. Sofiero Palace and Gardens has been chosen as the most beautiful park in Europe in a competition sponsored by the gardening tools manufacturer Briggs & Stratton. Sofiero won because of “all of it is like a huge work of art with an extensive history to it”, according to the jury. Sofiero Palace was built in 1864, when then Crown Prince Oscar and his wife Sophia bought Skabelycke Farm, just north of Helsingborg, in order to build their summer residence there. The palace was completed the following year but had a different appearance then, only being one storey high. Between 1874 and 1876, when Crown Prince Oscar had ascended the throne, the palace was renovated and took on its present exterior. In 1905, when the Swedish-Norwegian union was dissolved, Oscar II gave the palace as a wedding gift to his eldest grandchild, Prince Gustaf Adolf and his wife Margareta. The palace was in need of renovation and this was duly carried out. Walls were knocked down and the dark colours were changed to give the palace a brighter, lighter atmosphere. Crown Princess Margareta died an early death in 1920 and Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf remarried, with Lady Louise Mountbatten, becoming King in 1950. 
With the same enthusiasm that Margareta had put into the gardens, Louise took an interest in the people of Sofiero as well as its neighbors. She was a very popular figure with everyone. The Crown Prince and Princess, Margareta and Gustaf Adolf, started to plan, sketch and start the work on the grounds around the palace. Gustaf VI Adolf loved his summer residence and spent considerable time and effort on cultivating his interest for rhododendrons. It is his collection of rhododendrons in particular that have given the palace gardens such a name. For more information: