No Norway jokes, please
Skolinspektionen (the Swedish Schools Inspectorate) is criticizing a school in Charlottenberg in Värmland where it’s OK to tell jokes about Norwegians. According to the school’s headmaster, it has always been OK to do so. The school, which is only 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from the Norwegian border, has 72 Norwegian students (out of 400). Two inspectors write in their report that joking about Norwegians seems legitimate and may have even become part of the culture. Now the Inspectorate demands a change.

Sweden criticized by Belarus
Belarus says Sweden goes against the UN's convention regarding human rights in many sections. In a report from Belarus’ Foreign Ministry, Sweden is being criticized for how they are treating WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, as well as the increasing number of male sex offender victims. “The thought is to put into focus those crimes against human rights in countries that traditionally present themselves as developed democracies,” the report reads. Belarus has since 1994 been led by the authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko, and the country receives criticism on a regular basis from the West for keeping unfree elections, for censoring media and for carrying out executions. The diplomatic relations between Belarus and Sweden were cut off after a Swedish PR agency released teddy bears with political messages from an airplane flying over Belarus last year.

William and Alice still most popular
For the second year in a row, William and Alice are the most popular names for newborns. New names on the top ten lists since last year are Alva, Charlie and Filip. The names Lykke and Henry climbed up the most among the newcomers on the top 100 list, according to Statistics Sweden. The people on the island of Gotland go their own way when it comes to naming their babies; no Alices and Williams there. On Gotland the girl name Freja rules, as does Nils for boys. In the rest of Sweden, in 13 of 21 counties, Alice was the most popular name, even though Alice had to share the first spot with two other names in two of the counties. In seven counties, William was the most popular name for boys. Interestingly, there was no “Estelle effect,” meaning the name Estelle didn’t increase in popularity (rather, it decreased somewhat) after the new princess was named Estelle last year. 1. Alice 2. Elsa 3. Julia 4. Ella 5. Maja 6. Ebba 7. Emma 8. Linnea 9. Molly 10. Alva 1. William 2. Oscar 3. Lucas 4. Hugo 5. Elias 6. Alexander 7. Liam 8. Charlie 9. Oliver 10. Filip

Magnus Betnér, funniest in Sweden
Sharp and daring he is. Sweden's funniest man, Magnus Betnér, dares to make fun of things considered sensitive and taboo, and that’s what has earned him the title of funniest stand-up comedian in all of Sweden. It was Comedy Central that let the Swedish people cast their vote for their funniest favorites and Betnér got the majority of the votes. For more than ten years, Betnér has built up a following and a national audience through touring with his own shows, and by participating in television shows such as “Parlamentet” and “Stockholm live.” Last year he had his own talk show on Channel 5 called “Betnér Direkt.” It is not the first time Sweden chose Betnér as the funniest man; he’s received the honor twice before. Funniest after Betnér? Mia Skäringer, Henrik Dorsin, Soran Ismail, Kristoffer Appelquist, Petra Mede, Marika Carlsson and Karin Adelsköld.

Prisoner wants out
Sweden's oldest prisoner for life wants to be set free. Helmer Ljus is 84 and is imprisoned for life but has applied for a fixed term sentence. The last time he did so, a year ago, his appeal was rejected. Ljus committed a series of crimes—quite serious ones. His first jail time was served in 1947, and he has had problems with alcohol ever since. Ljus has never been established on the Swedish job market, nor has he ever had a steady type of living arrangement. All his adult life, he’s been living alone and is regarded as a loner. In 1988, when he was 60 years old, Ljus was sentenced for having murdered an acquaintance with an axe. He was drunk, and later said he couldn’t remember what had happened. The punishment then was 11 years in prison, but Ljus was let out after six. Soon he was sentenced again—for assault and violation of the Arms Act. In 1999, at the age of 71, he murdered a neighbor with a knife, and it was then that Ljus was sentenced for life. Now, however, at age 84, he wants out. In spite of his old age, though, Ljus is still considered a threat. A fixed term for this older prisoner is unlikely.

'Hole' of Fame for Anders
Anders Jonsson from Klippan wants to be the world's most pierced man. "It's a lifestyle and I’m proud of my art work," says Anders about his 355 piercings. The goal is to beat German Rolf Buchholz, who holds the world record in piercings with 453. Some of Anders’ jewelry can be removed, but some are half implanted with anchors under the skin. “I keep creating a piece of art that’s forever changing,” he explains. “When all is done, it will be a symmetrical pattern all over the body with quite a few big tattoos as well.” Anders’ piercings are in his face, on his chest and stomach, along his spine, on both arms, in his armpits, on his knees and around his genitalia. Two of his piercings are in the corners of his eyes. They make shaving a tricky business, which takes over an hour. To sleep on his back is not a problem, but his head has to be kept in one specific position or it will hurt. “When I had my last birthday, I gave myself 50 new piercings in one day,” Anders says. “It took three hours and cost me 30 000 SEK ($4,600).” Anders is a nurse, but he has given up hope for finding a job; instead he works in a warehouse outside of Oslo and makes 42 000 NOK ($7,512) monthly. “That’s good pay, and it means I can spend this kind of money on my interest.” Anders believes that when he’s done with all his planned piercings, he will have spent millions of Swedish crowns. That people turn to look at him in the street is something he thinks is only nice. “I have nothing against attention. Many people ask if it hurts to put in the piercings.” Anders answers that it only hurts in his private areas, but you get used to it with time. His mother, however, is not impressed: “She’s afraid I will suffer. I tried to get her on my side by giving her a piercing as a birthday present. But she declined.”

Stores sell drugs illegally
Every other store sells drugs illegally – amidst candy and other items, according to a chart by Dagens Apotek (a paper and a website). The drugs are over the counter type drugs like Alvedon and Treo (a fever suppressant and a pain reliever), which, according to the Swedish law, means the seller has to report to Läkemedelsverket (the Medical Products Agency). But when members of Dagens Apotek checked, the reality showed that 9 out of 18 stores in central Stockholm never made such reports. And that’s not good, according to Annika Svedberg, chief pharmacist at the pharmacy Hjärtat. “What happens is that you get a second hand market with no control,” she tells the paper. According to the pharmaceutical business, the waste of these drugs has increased since the re-regularization, which makes the people in the business suspicious that it is stolen drugs that are being sold. Several of the sellers though, say that they buy the drugs from Swedish Match, which has a permission to sell them. But it also means Swedish Match has a responsibility to verify that the vendors have been approved by Läkemedelsverket. Jens Karlsson, CEO of Swedish Match Distribution, admits that the company has failed to comply with procedures.

Stolen painting found 30 years later
A stolen Carl Larsson painting called “Studiefigur i rokoko” has been found, thirty years after it was stolen from Utrikespolitiska institutet (the Swedish Institute of International Affairs) in Stockholm. The painting was turned over to the auction firm Bukowskis to sell, according to dailies Sydsvenskan and Dalarnas Tidningar. Since the painting is stolen, Bukowskis has no plans on selling it. Nationalmuseum, the owner of the painting, was informed by Bukowskis and has filed a lawsuit to the District Court of Lund. The museum also wants the painting back. The woman who brought in the painting is from Lund and claims she inherited it from her father. There is no information about how much the painting is worth.