NBC renews Welcome to Sweden
Welcome to Sweden was renewed for a second season. The network announced the decision already in early August. Welcome to Sweden averaged 2.9 million viewers throughout its first season, which debuted on July 10.

Sweden is continuing to run its official @Sweden Twitter account through a different average citizen every week. The idea, which started in December 2011, is to use the social media account to tweet about what it truly means to be a Swede. "In an age of mass communication and increasing globalization, a country depends largely on how it is perceived abroad," was and is the official motivation for the decision. The slew of one-week curators has indeed shared their everyday thoughts on life in Sweden with more than 70,000 followers on @sweden. Food and drink, traditions and quirks, often on a personal level are common.

Royal boycott
Chuck Berry, 87, was unable to travel to Stockholm for the Polar Music Prize on August 26 because of health reasons. In spite of the musician’s absence, several of the royal family chose not to be present for the awards ceremony. Queen Silvia told daily Expressen that she and her daughter Madeleine had refused to attend the event due to Berry’s 1960s prison sentence for human trafficking. The Queen felt an appearance would not be compatible with her work with the World Childhood Foundation. Berry was sentenced to prison in America in 1961 for the transportation of a 14-year-old girl across several U.S. states while having sex with her. He was convicted for human trafficking according to the Mann Act of 1910, intended to protect against organized prostitution. Berry argued he believed the girl when she claimed she was not underage but was given a three-year sentence. The other winner this year, the U.S. theatre director Peter Sellars, received his award from King Carl XVI of Sweden. More info on the Polar Music Prize at www.polarmusicprize.org

Assange leaving for Ecuador?
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in August said he would “soon” be leaving the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, where he took refuge two years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden. A spokesperson for Wikileaks later clarified that Assange would leave when British authorities “grant him safe passage to the airport and to Ecuador,” something the British government has repeatedly been unwilling to do. A Swedish warrant for Assange’s arrest was issued after sexual assault charges were raised and recently upheld in Swedish District Court. Earlier news on Assange: Assange arrest warrant upheld

Sweden increases ties to NATO
Officials from both Sweden and Finland have confirmed they plan to work more closely with NATO by signing a pact that allows assistance from alliance troops in the Nordic countries in emergency situations. "We are an active partner with NATO, although not a member, and we want to deepen our partnership with NATO," Swedish Defense Minister Karin Enström told Swedish media.