Swedish drinking water not up to par
Every sixth Swede gets his or her drinking water from a water purification plant that doesn’t have enough guards against parasites and other impurities, according to daily DN. Now Livsmedelsverket (The Swedish National Food Agency) wants better controls. “This is not good enough,” says state inspector Christer Johansson at Livsmedelsverket. Outbreaks carried through water are difficult to handle and costly. The outbreaks of the protozoan Cryptosporidium in Östersund two years ago, cost close to a quarter of a billion SEK ($37,283,637.71). Tens of thousands of people got sick drinking the water and those living in Östersund and Skellefteå had to boil their drinking water for months after the fact. In spite of this warning, many water purification plants are still not up to par – some are even illegal when it comes to safeguarding against parasites. Close to 1.5 million Swedes receive their drinking water from almost 123 water purification plants that are not close to the safety recommendations from Livsmedelsverket. This according to a study made by Svenskt vatten (Swedish water – a trade organization). “We see that the quality of the outgoing drinking water very often doesn’t fulfill the qualifications,” Johansson says. “The control authorities in the municipalities, in most cases Miljökontoret (the Environmental Office), must put more effort into the water quality and better controls at the purification plants.” There are today 1750 local water purification plants in Sweden, many of them are very small. Half of the local water comes from lakes and streams, the rest from subsoil water.

Poor sleep leads to abdominal obesity
A new Swedish study gives additional support to the theory that lack of sleep is connected to harmful abdominal obesity. The result of the study, which is now being published in Sleep Medicine, shows that people who sleep poorly are much often heavier than those who get seven to eight hours of sleep per night, reports Upsala Nya Tidning. Those who sleep five hours a night at most, had an abdominal girth that often passed the limit for when cardiovascular diseases seriously increase. 6500 women participated in the study.

'Värmlanders' in Sweden generous with blood
People in the province of Värmland are the most generous of all Swedes when it comes to donating blood. The least generous are the folks in Gävleborg, according to new statistics. Close to 95 000 blood donations were done last year in Värmland, which means close to 4000 of every 100 000 inhabitants there are giving blood. In Gävleborg there are only 2 090 donators per 100 000 inhabitants. Gävleborg also tops statistics when it comes to the number of failed blood donations. Close to 2.5% of all donation attempts failed in Gävleborg - compare that to the provinces of Blekinge and Halland, where only five in 1000 attempts to donate blood failed. The province where blood donations are increasing the most is Dalarna, which in 2011 had more than 400 new donors per 100 000 inhabitants. Which is more than double that of Kronoberg and Södermanland. The statistics comes form Nysam, a network that gathers statistics from nine regions and county councils in Sweden. This statistics doesn’t show numbers from the big city regions Malmö, Stockholm and Västra Götaland.

Surprise visit in Jämtland, Sweden
Jesper Englund in Vaplan in Jämtland got the surprise of his life, when a musk ox came to call in his garden. The musk ox escaped from his herd in the Dovre mountains in Norway in April, and has since wandered off to Sweden where it has been seen on several places in the mountains in Jämtland. It passed by Sylarna, Storlien, and moved north to Åreskutan and down to Huså. And then, last Friday, it visited Vaplan. Ruben Johansson at Naturvårdsenheten (The Environmental Protection Unit) at the County Administrative Board spoke to daily Expressen earlier, explaining that the musk ox may be dangerous if you get too close. “They usually stamp the ground and shake their heads before they attack, which they do by running against each other pointing their horns.” Whoever encounters a musk ox, should keep at least a 100 meter (328 feet) distance. Says Jesper: “My first impression when I came out in the garden with my coffee cup; was that it was a huge wild boar. Once out there, I was so focused on filming it, that I didn’t even think twice. The closest I got to it was about five meters (16 feet). There was only a black currant bush in between us.” Before the musk ox decided to take off, it made as if to attack Jesper, and began chasing him. “I tiptoed after it when it went off into the woods, but it turned around and started running after me. Never in my life have I run that fast in my Crocs, that much I can say. But when I turned around, I saw that it had stopped after five or ten meters or so. I can see now that it was my own fault, since I blocked the exit for it. I wouldn’t say it was aggressive.”

Wasps taking over
Southern Swedes has an unexpected problem with wasps this summer. Especially Blekinge is being inundated with more wasps than expected. Says Anna Engwall, vermin expert at Anticimex, a Swedish pest control company: “It is very local right now.” Few believed there would be such a swarm of wasps this summer, and in most parts of Sweden it has been few wasps, but not in the southern parts: Blekinge, Uddevalla, Kristianstad, and Halmstad are especially infested. “Last week we had one thousand calls, and 80-90% of them were regarding wasps. Only today, I’ve had 25 assignments, so I try to do as many as I can,” says Anders Söderlund at Anticimex in Blekinge. “I never expected there to be so many wasps, as June was so cold.” Wasps don’t like cool, rainy summers. Now that the weather has gotten a bit warmer, the wasps may move north to the rest of the country. “It could work that way, but it’s nature so we never know for sure,” says Anna Engwall. “If it gets even warmer, there will be even more of them.” Not all wasps are aggressive. Bålgetingen (the European hornet) is more peaceful than most, in spite of its larger frame, but don’t disturb it if it’s close to its nest. They build their nests close to the ground we walk. “When we walk, their nests vibrate, and that’s when they get aggressive and attack,” Engwall says.

Pickpockets in Göteborg, Sweden's second city
Tuck your wallet in somewhere safe. Pickpockets are on the prowl in Göteborg. During June and July there’s been a record increase in thefts in Sweden’s second city. Police believe the weather in combination with more and more expensive electronic device may be the reason. The weather hasn’t been favorable when it comes to going to the beach, but for commerce it certainly has; many Gothenburgers have hit the stores and spent a lot of money. During the two summer months 1 240 cases of pocket-picking were reported, an increase with 25% compared to the same months last year, and a 36% increase compared to five years ago. “It’s a marked increase. If there are more people, then it makes it easier for the thief to get away,” says Thomas Petersson, analyst and operations planner at Länspolismästaren’s staff. It is thought that the increase in smartphones and reading tablets has whetted the appetite of the pickpockets. “Computers today sell for 5000-8000 SEK ($745-1192). Tablet computers and all kinds of things are easy to take. Same thing with digital cameras,” Petersson adds. One trick is for the pickpocket to lure his victim, especially older women wearing necklaces. The thief approaches an older lady and hangs a necklace around her neck. When she says she’s not interested in buying it, he removes it but also removes what jewelry the woman is already wearing at the same time. “We’ve also noticed how people talk about soccer to strangers. And suddenly a mobile phone is missing. They are very quick with their hands, these pickpockets.”

Mowed lawn – found hand grenade
The roped-off areas in Bingesmarken outside of Trelleborg have been removed after the discovery of a hand grenade on Sunday. This means that people living or camping in the area can return. The grenade has been moved to the Kabusa military training ground outside of Ystad. “They are preparing for explosion, but it will take a few more hours,” confirms Ewa-Gun Westford, information officer at the police in southern Skåne. The grenade was found by a man on Sunday as he was mowing his lawn. It was being carefully lifted and transported, at low-speed, to the training ground in Kabusa. It has not yet been decided whether or not the grenade will be detonated. “They (experts at the Swedish national defense) will want to look into it a bit more, so they don’t want to detonate it completely,” Westford adds. The hand grenade, which the man saw sticking up from under his lawn, seems to be of an older model. Explains Mia Sandgren, information officer at Skånepolisen: “It may come from WW1. It is unusual to find large grenades like that, and it is unusual to find them in backyards. Usually these older grenades are found on beaches.” Since the article was written, the grenade has been detonated.