Swedish technology on mummy
Swedish technology has had an international breakthrough as it helped solve a 5,500 year old murder mystery. A mummy, officially known as the Gebelein man (from the town in Egypt where he was found) but nicknamed Ginger (because in life he was a redhead) has finally had his fate revealed thanks to a 3D post-mortem medical scan and Swedish professor Anders Persson from the Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV). Professor Persson, a forensic radiology expert, also used a virtual autopsy system to figure out Ginger’s fate. Ginger has been on display at the British Museum in London for over 100 years, but only recently has it been revealed that he was a young man when he died, and that he was actually murdered, by a killer who stabbed him in the back. The medical scans show a puncture just beneath Ginger’s left shoulder blade, and the forensic experts conclude there’s almost no doubt he was the victim of a deliberate, violent killing in peacetime. “The skin’s still there, as are the muscles and the tendons,” says Professor Persson. “The skeleton is intact and you can even see the brain, though it’s become a bit dried.” Persson, who is also a pioneer behind the technique for virtual autopsy, says he’s been working since 2003 and looked at over 400 murder cases. The collaboration with the British Museum is a great occasion to expose Persson’s technique internationally, since the museum is one of the world’s most visited, and also one of London’s greatest tourist attractions. “This mummy is very precious,” Persson explains. “They are very protective of it. They absolutely did not want to cut into the body.”

Swedish make up takes over
First music and clothes, and now Swedish make up takes on the world. The brand Make Up Store is quickly expanding, opening now in the Middle East. “The Middle East is an interesting market as the cosmetics industry is growing there,” says Mika Liias, founder and managing director for Make Up Store. Liias often receives compliments; people tell him Swedes are honest and that Swedish products are of high quality. Perhaps therein lies the secret? “Swedish cosmetics have always worked very well, for as long as I can remember. Oriflame did a great job around the world. Also Face Stockholm has made way for Swedish make-up. Swedes are great at creating concepts and building brands, and that’s something I myself am passionate about,” Liias says. The fashion editor at Swedish Metro, Petra Tungården, believes the Swedish export of celebrities may add to the success of Swedish cosmetics internationally. “(Actress) Malin Åkerman was the face of Oriflame’s campaign, and (actor) Alexander Skarsgård can be seen on Calvin Klein’s posters,” she says. “Perhaps people want to be as beautiful as they are. Sweden also has good quality cheap brands in general, which also is a plus.” We hear only good things from consumers of Make Up Store's products but before you take off to become a new Make Up Store franchisee, however, a word of advice: Read the fine print and listen to both business and legal advisors. Recent reports in Sweden* have alleged that the franchise concept behind Make Up Store is unjustly in favor of the franchiser and leaves little room for the individual store owner to succeed let alone make money and be profitable. * April, 2012 on Sweden's 60 Minutes called "Kalla Fakta" on TV4: Kalla Fakta granskar Kosmetikakedjan Make Up STore - in Swedish only.

Swedish salaries on the rise
Swedish salaries are increasing more than the average salaries in the European Union. Meanwhile, there’s a risk that Swedes get under the EU limit of financial vulnerability, according to Statistiska Centralbyrån (Statistics Sweden). In 2005, Swedish households belonged to those with the lowest disposable incomes in the northern and western part of Europe. In 2010, the country had advanced to 8th place, with a growing rate faster than most other countries. Only in the eastern part of Europe has the increase in salaries, in percentage terms, been greater than in Sweden. British household has had no increase in salaries, and in both Denmark and Germany the increase is only half as great as the one in Sweden. At the same time, a growing number of Swedes lives in risk of poverty. The proportion at risk of poverty is still lower in Sweden compared to the rest of the European Union, but it’s rising faster in Sweden than in most other EU countries. The groups that are falling behind in salaries are the unemployed and those with no more than a two-year high school education. In a five-year period, from 2005 to 2010, the risk for poverty in these groups has doubled.

But, women's salaries still lower
Among the ten biggest occupational groups, there's only one in which Swedish women make more than men, and the difference is only 200 SEK ($30) a month. In all other occupations, men make more—up to 9000 SEK ($1,345) more a month. Women get higher salaries than men in the health and welfare sectors only, according to statistics from Statistiska Centralbyrån (Statistics Sweden). “The employment market is very gender biased,” says Ulrika Hagström, an investigator in equality politics at Tjänstemännens Centralorganisation (The Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees). “Even though women to a higher degree have college or university education, their education is oftentimes within sectors dominated by women. The great dilemma is how to get to the real problem: the differences in salaries between sectors dominated by women and sectors dominated by men.” According to Hagström, another problem is the difference in salaries set by individual employers. “These differences often originate when the employer has a way of setting salaries that he or she is not aware of. The criteria for salaries are not clear, and the salaries are set more according to instinct than anything else. What men do is then often valued higher.” Annika Strandhäll, president of the trade union Vision, says the difference in salaries is cause for concern for the welfare of all Swedes. “What’s troubling is that it’s so slow (to change). Year after year we see how the structural differences in salaries cause problems and yet not enough happens,” she says.

Gender gaps in grades
This time it's in school, and the reverse applies as girls do better than boys. The difference between girls' and boys' final grades when they leave basic school is increasing. Girls' grades are getting better, while the boys’ remain pretty much at the same level. This according to Skolverket (The Swedish National Agency for Education). However, one group of students is actually getting worse grades, and that’s boys with foreign backgrounds or with parents with little education. This worries Anna Ekström, general director at Skolverket. “We need to follow the development carefully and we need to find out why this is, and what ought to be done about it,” she says in a press release. About 87.5 percent of students were eligible for the national secondary school programs this year, which is a decrease from 87.7 percent last year. That means 12.5 percent were not eligible among this year’s students. Fewer boys are eligible for gymnasieskolan (upper secondary school) while the opposite holds true for girls. Last spring the girls' average merit rating was 223.8. For boys it was 199.5.

Swedish Sandwich master of 2012
Sarah Wennstrpm is the best sandwich maker in Sweden 2012. With her sandwich "Reindeer dream," Wennstrom wants to give us a taste of Norrland. The final in Mack-SM (the Swedish Mastership in Sandwich-making) took place at the “Mitt kök” at the Stockholm Fair. A total of eight got to the final, and all participants had to make 20 sandwiches in 45 minutes. “It’s so much fun,” says Wennström, who is 22 years old and comes from Gällivare. “Just to be among the top eight in Sweden felt like winning.” Wennström’s winning sandwich? It’s made of sourdough bread, wasabi mixed with cream cheese, smoked and “gravat” reindeer meat, pea sprouts, pickled carrots and a marmalade made of apple, ginger and vanilla. Said Günther Koerffer, chairman of the jury: “It was divine! All the ingredients fit together so well.” More than taste was judged, however—the sandwiches had to look great as well as be cost effective. Wennström won a trophy and a scholarship of 10 000 SEK ($1,482), which will go toward education within the sandwich and pastry making business. “There’s talk about a trip to Dubai, which would be a lot of fun,” says Wennström.

Increase in obesity
Weight gain and obesity is increasing in all socioeconomic classes, according to an upcoming dissertation from Lund School of Economics and Management. However, obesity is still most prevalent among those with less education. “We must look at factors other than socioeconomic status in order to solve this public health problem,” says researcher Åsa Ljungvall. The study is built on statistics from Statistiska Centralbyrån (Statistics Sweden) concerning Swedes’ living conditions. The reasons are unclear for why obesity is spread out across all groups in society.