No Swedish troops to Syria
Sweden has said no to participating in the UN unit that supervises the Golan Heights. “We have informed the UN Secretariat that we refrain from participating in the monitoring mission Undof,” the Foreign Ministry’s press service says. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had appealed to Sweden to send troops to the Golan Heights in Syria, but in spite of his appeal he was turned down. “The reason Sweden doesn’t want to participate in Undof (the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force), is that the mission is much more complicated and risky than when the mandate was first established. “The situation is fleeting, unpredictable and dangerous; there is, most importantly, a great risk that the combatants will use the area for their operations,” says Sara Brandt-Hansen at the Foreign Ministry’s press service. Another reason is that Undof’s mandates contain clear restrictions on armament. “Sweden would not be able to provide the effort with the equipment that we feel is needed in order for the personnel to be safe,” Brandt-Hansen explains. Several countries have previously declined or pulled out of the peacekeeping force, including Finland. Undof has been in place at the Golan Heights since 1974, when the armistice was signed between Israel and Syria.

More young people suffer stroke
While fewer Swedes die of stroke, and the number of older people suffering a stroke, the number of stroke cases in younger Swedes (ages 18-44) is increasing, according to new research from Göteborg. 400,000 cases have been investigated during the 1987-2010 period, and for Swedes in the younger age range, stroke cases increased by 1.5% per year. The reasons are not fully understood, but researchers believe changes in lifestyle and increased obesity in younger Swedes may play a part. Better technology, which means that minor strokes also can be detected now, may also contribute to the increase.

Valuable books returned
Two books that were stolen from Kungliga biblioteket (KB or the National Library in English), and which were resold at an auction, will be returned to Sweden during a ceremony in New York, on Wednesday. The books were stolen over 15 years ago by an employee at the library, the so-called KB-man. “We have a list of 62 stolen books,” says Urban Rybrink, Head of Communication at KB. “With the two now about to be returned, we have gotten three back in total.” One of the books is written by the French priest and explorer Louis Hennepin in 1683, the other is a German collection with illustrations of Mississippi by Henry Lewis, printed in Germany 150 years ago. “It was when a guest asked for the Mississippi book that the thefts were discovered,” Rybrink says. According to the news agency AFP, the books are valued at close to 700 000 SEK ($108,000). The KB-man committed suicide in December 2004.

Over 300 bears to be shot
305 bears may be shot during this year’s license hunt. That means that nearly every tenth bear will be killed. “There were around 3,300 bears during the last count in 2008, and there are probably a few hundred more now,” says Per Risberg at Naturvårdsverkets jakt- och viltförvaltning (the Environmental Protection Agency's hunting and wildlife management). Another 50 bears are killed every year as well due to protective hunting. The license hunt takes place between August 21 and October 15.