Wallstrom addresses UN to begin presidency
(World) Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom addressed the UN Security Council Jan. 11 as Sweden takes its seat as president of the council. Wallström’s address focused on conflict prevention and improving the UN’s ability to take early action to resolve violent conflicts around the world. Believing the council’s past attempts at resolving such conflicts were "meager," Wallström called for renewed investments and commitments.

Parliamentary debates
(National) Parliament held its first debate of 2017 on Jan. 11 with party leaders focused on defense, terrorism and crime. Swedish Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson and Centre Party Leader Annie Lööf attacked Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for not funding armed forces. Löfven said the government was prepared to discuss increased defense. Taking a tougher stand on crime, as well as tougher legislation for asylum seekers committing crime, were also discussed.

Record numbers leave Church of Sweden
(Culture) Statistics provided by the Church of Sweden show that a record number of members left the church last year: 85,848 people left in 2016 compared to 46,895 in 2015. Church officials say this is not unexpected and compares its exodus to other organizations such as environmental and political parties where members are also departing. Other sources show that Swedes may have been angered when they discovered certain parishes had taken lavish trips abroad with member fees.

Schwarzenegger visits Sweden
(Lifestyle) Hollywood star and former California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, stopped in Gothenburg's tavern SK Mat & Manniskor (Food & People) Tuesday evening where star Swedish chef, Stefan Karlsson, snapped a photo of the pair to post on Instagram. Describing the event, Karlsson wrote, “Fun drop-in quest on a Tuesday in Gothenburg.” Schwarzenegger also stopped in Kungsbacka at the Training Company when he surprised the gym with a visit to workout.

Needle exchange program
(Lifestyle) Parliament is deciding whether to abolish the municipal veto on introducing a needle exchange program for drug users. Gothenburg had refused to introduce such a program despite the overwhelming evidence that needle exchange programs not only reduce the spread of HIV, hepatitis B and C but also open up communication for addicts seeking rehab help. Now that it has become clear that parliament will veto any municipality resistance, Sweden’s second city has agreed to the program.