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Swedish report Swedish report
by Euro Reporter
2011-02-18 09:11:33
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Sweden target of online threats

An English-language online publication with links to al-Qaida has praised the suicide bomber attack in Stockholm in December, Swedish security officials said. Swedish terrorism Magnus Ranstort said the article in the online Inspire magazine is a sign Sweden has become more attractive to terrorists, Swedish news agency TT reported Thursday. The suicide bomber was hailed in the latest online edition of Inspire. "That he lived a comfortable life and had a wife and children did not stop Taimour Abdulwahab from responding to the call to jihad (holy war)," the online Inspire publication wrote, adding, "He carried out a martyr operation in Stockholm, Sweden, which damaged the entire EU."

"It is time that the Swedish government rethinks its position against Islam and Muslims before the Mujahideen strike again," Inspire wrote. Abdulwahab, a 29-year-old sports therapist, blew up his car and then himself near a busy Stockholm shopping street on Dec. 11, 2010, injuring two people. Swedish security officials say the article calls for new acts of terrorism.

"We are following this closely. It is a threat on an inspiration level," Malena Rembe of Sapo, the Swedish security service, said. It could be "an impetus for individuals who have already crossed the line between word and deed," Sapo said. To be singled out by the online publication is serious, Ranstort said. "It is an important magazine with direct links to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Whatever pops up in the newspaper is serious," he said.


Soviet-era files reveal Swedes' civil war fears

Sweden's ambassador in Moscow expressed concerns of a "civil war" in the former Soviet Union in a telex to the Swedish foreign ministry in August 1991, according to secret diplomatic reports released by the agency on Thursday. "The risk of civil war is palpable" and "The perpatrators of the coup are uncertain and vacillating" were two of the observations made by then-Swedish ambassador in Moscow Örjan Berner in August 1991 in a telex to Sweden's foreign ministry, according to newspaper Expressen on Thursday. At the time, a coup had been launched in Moscow and then-President Mikhail Gorbachev had been placed under house arrest.

Sweden's foreign ministry has decided to publish the reports ahead of the 10th anniversary of the disestablishment of the Soviet Union on December 26th, 1991. The decision was made by Foreign Minister Carl Bildt to help illustrate a dramatic historical event. "Later today we will release virtually all of our previously secret reporting on fall of Soviet Union and freedom for Baltics 1990 and 1991," Bildt wrote on Twitter on Thursday morning. About 400 pages of 30 different diplomatic reports from 1990 and 1991 on the Soviet empire's collapse and the restoration of independence in the Baltic states, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, were released online on Thursday.

Bildt will present parts of the papers at a seminar at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (Utrikespolitiska Institute, UI) on Thursday afternoon, along with three Swedish ambassadors who were active during the years around the Soviet Union's fall, the agency said in a statement on Wednesday. Around 1990, Sweden had an embassy in Moscow and a general consulate in St. Petersburg, then known as Leningrad. There were also two branch offices in Tallinn, Estonia and Riga, Latvia. Bildt called the material its own "UDleaks," UD being the acronym for utrikesdepartement, or foreign ministry. A small part of the material will remain secret, including documents containing information that representatives of countries outside the Baltics and Soviet Union had entrusted to Swedish diplomats, to "avoid the risk that unnecessary diplomatic complications arise," the ministry said on Wednesday.


Sweden raises rates amid fears of overheating

Sweden’s central bank has raised interest rates again and signalled further rises ahead in a bid to prevent overheating in western Europe’s fastest-growing economy. The Riksbank lifted its main repo rate by 0.25 percentage points to 1.5 per cent and said the pace of monetary tightening was set to increase in coming months. Tuesday’s move marked the fifth rate rise since last July, when the Riksbank became the first central bank in the European Union to tighten monetary policy since the start of the global financial crisis.

Surging economic growth and higher interest rates have made Sweden a haven from financial turmoil in the eurozone, driving the Swedish krona to its highest level against the euro for 10 years. Some business leaders have warned that the soaring krona risks undermining the export-led recovery but the Riksbank said higher rates were needed to keep inflation close to its 2 per cent target and slow the pace of household borrowing.

Rising property prices and increasing levels of household debt have led some experts to warn that Sweden could be facing a housing bubble. The concern over possible over-heating highlights the divergence between Sweden and slower-growing parts of Europe, with Scandinavia’s biggest economy estimated to have expanded by about 6 per cent last year. In common with neighbouring Norway, Sweden has been helped by strong public finances that have spared it from the fiscal austerity curbing growth in some European countries. The Riksbank said that, on the whole, “the prospects for continued high growth in Sweden are good”, amid strengthening recovery in the labour market and household consumption. The global outlook was “good”, with brightening prospects in the US offsetting uncertainty in Europe. Inflationary pressure remained low but it was expected to gradually increase as a result of high energy and commodity prices together with rising wages and capacity utilisation.

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