Snowden receives Right Livelihood Award
American whistleblower Edward Snowden is preparing to receive a Swedish alternative Nobel human rights award. Snowden, who is holed up in Russia, leaked top-secret NSA documents to journalists and faces up to three decades in prison in the U.S. But Green Party politicians in Sweden said the American should be granted asylum in Sweden, which has sparked a global debate and controversy. "Edward Snowden has provided a huge service to the citizens of this planet," said Jakob von Uexküll, who announced the Right Livelihood Award, commonly known as the Alternative Nobel Prize, which honors those who work to improve the lives of others and is traditionally handed out at Stockholm's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Swedish foreign ministry banned the civil rights group from making the award announcement at its offices, which has been the case in earlier years. The actual award ceremony was held on Dec. 1 at the Swedish Parliament.

Clear ice may break a record
A crystal clear lake in central Sweden has captivated ice skaters around the world. The ice on Lake Blanktjärn near Östersund in Jämtland is so clear, that the lake’s bottom — and all the under-ice life — can be seen through four inches of ice. Jonas Landmark and Karin Bäckborns, accompanied by their two excited dogs, filmed their ice-skating tour, a most beautiful account of the clear, perfect ice, under which fish can be seen swimming several feet below. Landmark said the lake is unique because of its turquoise color formed by a chemical reaction, with completely transparent ice. “Most often, there’s a little snow or frost on the ice so it's not transparent. But now the conditions are perfect. It was like a present at an aquarium,” he said. See the video here:

A goat leads the way
The 2014 Gavle Julbock (Christmas goat) is now standing for another year of attracting customers to the southern part of the town center. This year’s straw goat stands 13 meters (42 feet) high, and like every year since 1966, it stands in Gävle’s city center, waiting for Christmas ... and perhaps another fate. Organizers are hoping the latest goat survives any arson attacks and makes it through until December 25. Visitors from around the world follow the Gävle Goat via webcam at