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Swedish report Swedish report
by Euro Reporter
2011-11-14 08:11:05
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Best in the world at supporting poor countries

According to the American think tank Centre for Global Development Sweden is best in the world at helping poor countries. Sweden's development cooperation is world-class both in terms of quantity and quality.

In its annual Commitment to Development Index (CDI) the Centre for Global Development ranks the world's 22 wealthiest countries on the basis of their support for policy that helps poor countries. The CDI measures efforts in seven policy areas of importance to developing countries: aid, trade, investment, migration, environment, security and technology. Sweden ranks first overall this year and places in the top half of CDI countries in six out of seven areas. Sweden's score for aid is the highest since the CDI was launched in 2003.

"In a globalised world more than traditional aid is needed to lift people out of poverty. The CDI builds on this and I see Sweden's score as confirmation that our work to make Swedish development cooperation relevant, effective and realistic has brought results," says Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson.

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Lutheran church hosts 'techno Mass'


Simon Klemenjak does some street dance moves and throws his hands up in the air to cheer on the crowd before he starts singing to the techno beat in front of the altar in the Church of All Saints in Stockholm. Instead of praying silently and singing gentle hymns, the congregation inside raves to techno sounds in ultraviolet lighting at Friday's "techno Mass" — more like a disco at a youth centre than a service conducted by the Lutheran church. "It was an awesome feeling," an ecstatic Klemenjak, 21, said after his performance of the song "Never Leave Me", which has been independently composed by youth at the church in Swedish capital's hip Sodermalm district.

It is the church's latest attempt at attracting young congregations in a country where attendance at services has been dwindling for decades. Olle Idestrom organized the Mass for the second time, and says the feedback has mainly been positive. "There is already a hip hop Mass, there is a rock Mass and a jazz Mass," the 28-year-old priest said. "But it is mainly club music that we listen to and that we like dancing to, so it felt like a natural choice." And it seems to work. Unlike at traditional Sunday services in Sweden where several pews regularly remain empty, Idestrom had to turn away worshippers at the first techno Mass in April. There was extra seating Friday night at the church, which has a normal capacity of 400.

The service started with organ music and choir singing but soon broke into powerful techno beats to loud approving claps, shouts and cheers. People jumped up and danced at their seats while disco lights swirled over the ornamented wooden ceilings. "It was superfun, it was really kicking, I didn't think it would be this good before I came," said Ella Schwarz, 15. "The church isn't really my kind of thing, but after this it seems like it is great," she said. Lawyer Caterine Hogman, 46, says she was impressed with the arrangement and thinks it is good the church does something positive for young people. Over the past 10 years, membership in Sweden's Lutheran church has fallen 13 percent and attendance at regular Sunday services plunged 50 percent to 4.6 million visits last year, worrying the clergy. The church in Sweden has become increasingly progressive.

In 1958, it allowed its first female priests, and two years ago ordained its first openly gay bishop, Eva Brunne, and gave priests the right to wed same-sex couples. Idestrom says his modern Mass is a further development on the road of progress. "People say this is exactly what the Church of Sweden needs," he said. "We need to develop the services so that we have a service also for people, mainly from the younger generation, who like this kind of music." But not everyone is happy about the development.

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Radioactive dust over Sweden


Low concentrations of the isotope Iodine-131 has been detected in the atmosphere in several European countries, the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK reports. The countries affected are Denmark, Sweden, Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, and Hungary.

The concentrations are low and do not pose a public health risk, but the problem is that no one knows where the radioactive dust comes from. In any case, it is not from Fukushima, experts at the the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) say. “We are a little concerned, because there must be a source somewhere,” says an official of the IAEA.



      
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