$6.7 million for 45 hot ideas.
"Research & Grow" program grants from Vinnova promote small business innovation. Sweden's most brilliant commercial concepts such as an integrated heat pump in solar panels, orally administered travel vaccinations, a warning system for bacteria in drinking water, the next generation of remote meetings and also drugs for the treatment of cancer are among 45 projects funded with SEK 48 million ($6.7 million) announced at the end of March by the Vinnova "Research & Grow" program. Each year, Vinnova helps to finance companies in all sorts of industries that have shown growth potential with a total of SEK 120 million ($16.7 million) in matching funds covering implementation, feasibility studies and need identification for R & D projects. "That so many smaller companies dare to innovate can make Sweden and Swedish companies more competitive," said Charlotte Brogren, Director General at VINNOVA. From October 2009 to February 2010, Vinnova has also funded 36 companies with SEK 3.5 million ($486,000) for costs projections analyses. The next opportunity to apply for funding for R & D projects is Sept. 14, 2010.

Cranes, Turkey return to Sweden.
Both birds and ambassadors have flown back north with the coming of springtime in Sweden. In unrelated arrivals, the Cranes (Grus grus) returned from their winter migration at the same time last month when the Ambassador from Turkey (Zergün Korutürk) came back to Stockholm from Ankara following being recalled after the Swedish parliament's recognition of the Armenian genocide. Some 10,000 of the four foot tall, 15 pound birds landed at Lake Hornborga and began trumpeting, dancing and mating while 150,000 bird watchers watched. Meanwhile in Stockholm, albeit without dancing and mating before large crowds, Turkey's diplomat was welcomed by Sweden's Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. "Our foreign minister also met his Turkish counterpart, and he met some Turkish groups living here," the prime minister's spokesperson Roberta Alenius told AFP.

4G gobbles up Sweden.
TeliaSonera continues expanding the world's first commercial 4G network - first launched in Stockholm at the end of 2009 and 10 times faster than 3G - Swedish cities being covered during 2010's fourth quarter are Helsingborg, Örebro, Jönköping, Norrköping, Umeå, Eskilstuna, Gävle, Södertälje, Borås, Karlstad, Växjö, Sundsvall and Luleå. During the third quarter, Lund, Västerås, Malmö, Gothenburg, Uppsala and Linköping will have 4G, and perhaps early enough for the summer political bombardment of heated speeches, Gotland is also slated for 4G in July. The souped up mobile broadband service enables television, movies, web conferencing or work with large files and heavyweight programs.

"Svennis" now coaches Ivory Coast.
Sweden's coaching celebrity, Sven-Göran "Svennis" Eriksson from Torsby in upper Värmland, will now be pacing on the sidelines with the national soccer team from the Ivory Coast at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. The hard-hitting, dreadlocked Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is the African team's best chance to advance in the cup race. Eriksson replaces Vahid Halilhodzic, who was sacked after the Ivory Coast were blasted by Algeria in the quarter-finals of the African Cup. At 62, Eriksson's much photographed and publicized career and private life have taken him through heated personal affairs while he coached teams including England, as national team and Manchester City coach, and most recently at Notts County. Initially, he lead Gothenburg's 1982 team to a UEFA victory, and more recently, he coached nationally for Mexico. Over three decades with lackluster reviews, Eriksson has handled the pro soccer teams Lazio, Sampdoria, Fiorentina, Roma and Benfica.

Children on the upcoming royal wedding.
It’s difficult if not impossible to book a hotel room in or around Stockholm during the month of June and some say getting a plane ticket to Sweden during the same time poses problems. All because of the royal wedding of course. Everybody has opinions about it. In the book “Bara han diskar ska nog allt gå bra” (If only he washes the dishes all will be fine) some 400 children give their views on Victoria and Daniel’s wedding and marriage in general. Here’s what some of them said: “The princess was born in a castle. She found Daniel in the woods,” Freja, 8 years. “Victoria is a princess, Daniel is nothing, but after the wedding he’ll be like a baron,” Maja, 8 years. “Victoria and Daniel might want one of those we gave Mormor, but with a bit less green on top and something that’s not too fluffy,” Karin, 6 years. “Married people ought to chill out more,” Filip 6 years. “Daddy gets up for work at five o’clock. He does that because he loves my mother and all of us,” Olle 7 years. “Everybody is in love in the movies. But we don’t do things like that here in Sweden,” Bill 5 years. “The king is a scout, but he had children anyway,” Leo 8 years. “In other countries one can have many wives, but that would simply be too expensive in Sweden,” Vilgot 7 years. “The priests asks how one’s doing and if one’s bought a ring and if one answers yes one can kiss before the food gets cold,” Håkan 7 years. “Only kings and famous people live in castles, it’s not like the rest of us who live in apartments, I suppose you could say they are more like the muppets,” Ludde, 8 years. Children do say the darndest things, don’t they? “Bara han diskar ska nog allt gå bra” by Kjell Dahlin. Publisher: Lilleman & Smultron. ISBN: 9789197718356.

Four bakers – one batch of batter.
Four winners of the Pastry chef of the Year competition have been given the honorary task of baking Victoria and Daniel’s wedding cake. Conrad Tyrsén, Jennie Elmerfors, Mattias Ljungberg, and Maria Grave will now have to keep their ladles in order and the cake batter smooth. They will receive additional help from the CEO of Sveriges Bagare & konditorer, Günter Koerffer, who created Silvia and Carl XVI Gustaf’s wedding cake back in 1976. All pastry chefs involved have participated in the shaping and taste of the cake, and Victoria and Daniel have had a crucial say in the cake making as well. What it looks and tastes like will, like so many other things surrounding this wedding, remain a secret until the wedding day, June 19.

“Girls also play with Lego!”
A 13-year old boy wrote a letter to jämställdhetministern (Minister for Integration and Gender Equality) Nyamko Sabuni, because he was upset that there are no girls in the pictures of Lego’s own magazine. “Girls also play with Lego! Why are they not shown?” the boy wants to know. “I think it is wrong of Lego to not care about the fact that girls like Lego too.” The 13-year old Uppsala boy subscribes to the member magazine Lego Club Magazine. “Most Lego series have no female characters at all, and in the ads there are only boys or maybe a family where there’s a shy or shocked girl in the background and a brave boy in front,” he writes. On the page Cool Creations, where members get their own creations published, there were, according to the boy, pictures from nine boys and only one girl in the latest issue. “I think this is wrong. Since the magazine is Swedish, they ought to be given a warning or have to pay or simply fold,” he continues. Susanne Hoejgaard is responsible for the Swedish and Norwegian issue of Lego Club Magazine. She says that it is aimed to both boys and girls but they have more boy subscribers and therefore more boys send in photos to Cool Creations. As for more female Lego characters, she says that has to do with what products Lego develops.

Greek sues Jönköping dairy.
A Greek man is suing Lindahls Mejeri, a dairy factory in Jönköping for 50 million SEK ($6,898,068.89). The man claims he never gave Lindahls the right to utilize the photograph of him, featured on the yoghurt. He is also worried that people will now think he is Turkish – as the yoghurt is labeled Turkish yoghurt – when in fact he is Greek. “He doesn’t like this at all, he is very unhappy and wonders how it all happened,” says his friend Athanasios Varzakanos who lives in Stockholm and who is the person who discovered the photograph. The people at Lindahls Mejeri say they are surprised, and that they bought the photograph through a company.