Sweden essentials: the best winter driving tips to stay safe on the road

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Sweden essentials: the best winter driving tips to stay safe on the road
Driving on Swedish roads in winter can be a real challenge. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Winter is coming, and navigating the icy, slippery, and snow-covered Swedish roads is nothing less than a challenge. But it’s not just a different sort of driving you need to get used to: you also need to winter-prep your car, and learn how to manually manipulate systems that might have been knocked out by the cold.
Source : The Local Sweden

How Sweden hopes to get more foreign-born residents voting

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How Sweden hopes to get more foreign-born residents voting
Choosing from ballot papers during the early voting period. Photo: Hanna Franzén/TT
When Sweden holds its general election in less than two weeks, between 80 and 90 percent of the eligible population are expected to go to the polls. The country has one of Europe’s highest voter turnouts, but foreign-born residents are less likely than native Swedes to have their say. As part of The Local’s Sweden in Focus series, we took a look at why that’s the case and what’s being done to break the trend.

“If you want to see change, you have to be a part of the process,” says Ahmed Abdirahman, a policy expert at Stockholm’s Chamber of Commerce and founder of NGO The Global Village. With his NGO, he also set up Järvaveckan, an annual political festival held in Stockholm’s northern suburbs.

“I don’t want people to be sitting in [Stockholm neighbourhood] Tensta saying everything is terrible and politicians don’t care about us,” he explains. “There’s no use cursing the darkness; we need to light a candle. Nothing can be done alone, so we all have responsibility: journalists, politicians, NGOs, citizens.”

His neighbourhood, Tensta in the north of Stockholm, is listed as one of Sweden’s 61 ‘vulnerable’ areas – districts characterized by low socioeconomic status and which also typically have a high proportion of foreign residents. These areas have a very low voter turnout; in the municipal election in 2014, only 57.5 percent of Tensta’s eligible voters went to the polls. Neighbouring Rinkeby had the lowest voting rate in Stockholm at around 50 percent, which fell to just 33 percent when considering only foreign-born voters.

In 2018, Sweden is marking 100 years of a democracy often ranked as one of the world’s strongest. This is also an election year, with early voting stations already open for Sweden’s eligible voters, many of whom have roots abroad. Just under a quarter of Swedish residents are either born abroad or born in Sweden to immigrant parents, according to the most recent figures from Statistics Sweden.

Those with citizenship, available to foreigners who have usually lived in Sweden for at least five years (or as few as two, if they moved to the country with a Swedish partner) have the right to vote in parliamentary elections, and Sweden is one of around 60 countries where many non-citizen foreigners can vote in municipal and county elections. In 1976, the right to vote in these elections was extended all EU citizens resident in Sweden and those from other countries who have been registered for at least three years. When introduced, it was the biggest change to Sweden’s electoral lists since the country allowed female suffrage in the 1920s.

But as is the case in most countries, foreign residents and citizens are less likely than those born in Sweden to exercise their right to vote.

“If democracy loses its legitimacy among large groups in society, there’s a risk it will shake to its core,” authors of a government-commissioned report on voting behaviour warned last year.

The report, by The Migration Studies Delegation (Delmi) whose findings are used as a basis for Sweden’s migration policies, showed that among native Swedes, the voting rate was close to 90 percent, while among foreign-born residents it was only 72 percent.

This is still a high figure in a country where voting is not compulsory (in the UK, for comparison, overall turnout has stayed below 70 percent since the turn of the century, and in the USA, the rate has barely crept above 60 percent over the past 100 years), but the difference is striking. While the overall turnout saw an increase, continuing an upward trend that has been steady since 2002, the proportion of foreign-born residents who voted remained stable.


Prime Minister Stefan Löfven speaking in Rinkeby in June. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Within the category of foreign-born residents, the voting rate varies widely, unsurprisingly given that immigrants in Sweden are a diverse group who come from very different countries and for very different reasons.

“Among Swedish citizens with origins in the Nordics, North America, Oceania and Latin America, voting participation was at around 80 percent, while the share of Swedes who voted and were born in Africa and Asia was below 70 percent,” Delmi’s report noted.

An even larger difference was between foreigners with Swedish citizenship and those without. In the first category, members of which can vote in all three of Sweden’s elections, around 70 percent voted in 2014’s municipal elections (held on the same day as national elections), while only 30 percent of the non-citizen foreigners who were eligible to vote exercised their right to do so.

National background is not the only factor linked to turnout; there are also differences between genders and age groups; and some of the starkest differences are recorded between different geographical areas and socioeconomic status. One explanation for the lower turnout among foreign-born residents is that Sweden’s foreign residents, particularly those from outside the EU, are more likely to live on lower incomes and to have a lower level of education.

“Time is here of the essence,” Pieter Bevelander, one of the study’s authors, tells The Local. “Increased years in the country does mean that people obtain skills and knowledge of society. This will increase their income and affect their housing choice and so on, and increase their [sense of] belonging to the new country. What exactly the chicken or the egg is, we do not know, but all these things are inter-related.”

Another trend the report picked up on was that children of foreign parents, although more likely to vote than first-generation immigrants, were still less likely to do it compared to their peers with Swedish-born parents. The authors described this result as “concerning, and prompt[ing] questions about democratic education on a more general level”.

The more connected people are, the more likely they are to vote. Married people have been more likely to vote than unmarried people in Sweden since 1944, when this kind of data was first collected, and employed people are also more likely to vote.

Foreigners who live centrally in Sweden’s cities, or have white-collar jobs, are likely to have more access to this kind of network, allowing them to learn about Swedish democracy more easily and participate in the social aspect of politics and voting. But in Rinkeby-Tensta, half the population is aged under 26 and the majority are immigrants, many from countries outside the EU, including those with a weak democracy. Segregation in schools, housing and the labour market all mean that this division can continue even through generations.

This year, the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society (MUCF) has invested in a range of initiatives to raise turnout, with a particular focus on vulnerable areas, and schools. The idea is that introducing high school students to the democratic system early on will encourage participation once they reach 18.

“It’s both to teach students how to vote, and to raise awareness about the democratic process and get people talking about politics at a younger age. They might also go home and talk about politics with their parents,” explains the MUCF’s general director, Lena Nyberg.

“As a young person you might come to Sweden and you’ve never gone with your parents to an election in your home country because your parents have never voted or it’s not possible in your home country, so the school elections help people familiarize themselves with how you vote,” she tells The Local.

Nyberg argues that not only is it important for a healthy democracy that people from all different parts of society use their right to vote, but it can also strengthen trust in society. “We can see in our countries and many others that there’s a trend of growing distrust in democracy and society. Raising awareness about the democratic system and vote is a way of showing you can participate and have an impact,” she says.

As well as efforts in schools, there have been projects across the country targeting non-voting adults and aiming to engage them in the democratic process. In a similar project to the MUCF’s school elections, the adult education centre in Rinkeby hosted a panel debate with local politicians and will hold a ‘test election’ two days before the actual vote, so that people can familiarize themselves with the process.

The Local contacted Sweden’s nine major parties to ask how they were tackling low voter turnout, and all those which responded stressed the importance of a high turnout to a healthy democracy. Many said they were engaged in campaigning and door-knocking in vulnerable areas, and have made their policy materials available in multiple languages as well as in simplified Swedish for newer arrivals.

Local councils have organized campaigns too, using social media as well as hiring “democracy ambassadors” to spread information about how to vote (for example, the fact that anyone not in the country on polling day can take advantage of ‘early voting’) and how to find out information about the different parties. These people, often young adults on a summer job contract, have received training in political neutrality and most speak multiple languages. Some have been stationed in squares or visiting events such as language cafes, where foreign-born residents meet to learn and practise Swedish, and even going door to door.

Other organizations have started projects aimed at specific groups, including the Swedish Women’s Lobby, which for the first time this year launched a ‘Rösträtt’ (Voting right) project targeting foreign-born women in Sweden’s vulnerable areas. The programme includes debates, events with politicians, and other activities aimed at increasing the group’s understanding of the Swedish political system.

Democracy ambassadors have been raising awareness of how the voting process works across Sweden. Photo: Swedish Women’s Lobby

“These women should have the same opportunities to be part of the society as all other women in Sweden,” Clara Berglund, the lobby’s general secretary, tells The Local. In total, she estimates that around 14,000 women will be reached by the project, either through events or through information materials available in nine different languages which explain Sweden’s voting system and where its parties stand on different issues.

The lobby carried out a survey to find out how these women feel about Sweden’s political process, and why non-voters haven’t gone to the polls. “It’s partly that they don’t know how the electoral system works and their rights, or they might feel like the political proposals don’t reflect their reality – the political parties don’t reach these people,” explains Berglund.

This is why it was important to organizers to recruit women of different ages, backgrounds, and parts of society to become ‘ambassadors’ and run these events. The response to the initial call for ambassadors was so great that the lobby had to close applications, and that’s not the only positive sign Berglund has seen.

“We’ve met a lot of women who have become engaged, some say they will vote and others say they want to be involved in the next election, either with a party or in some other way.” And she hopes that this will have a ripple effect, with each engaged woman encouraging others in her social circles to take part in the election. “Right now, we have a campaign where we’re encouraging women to bring a friend to vote early, or to bring a friend to the valstugor [election huts] and learn more about the election. People are more likely to vote if other people they know are engaged.”

However, Nyberg from the MUCF warns that special efforts ahead of votes will not be enough to increase trust in institutions long-term. “We have recommended to the government several times that it’s something we should be working on long-term. I hope that after this election, there will begin long-term work with building up trust in democracy,” she says.

Abdirahman, the NGO founder in Tensta, is also convinced of this, and stresses that politicians can do more to engage foreign-born residents in vulnerable areas by talking ‘to’ them instead of only ‘about’ them.

“Usually when politicians come to the suburbs, it’s after a shooting or a car burning, to talk about that issue and complain about how bad it is,” he tells The Local.

The gap could be bridged by better understanding of the experiences and priorities of people in these areas, he says. This includes challenging assumptions people make about voting patterns in these behaviours. This year, only the Green Party and Social Democrats had valstugor in Rinkeby Square, just one example of how the parties on the right side of the political spectrum have a lesser presence in these areas.

“But that’s not good for democracy, and it’s not smart for political parties. In Rinkeby, around 50 percent go and vote. They might mostly vote left, but there are still a lot of people who haven’t voted and haven’t made up their minds, so you can reach out to them,” Abdirahman explains.

“In the 61 areas, there are half a million people, that’s five percent of the Swedish population. You can turn around a whole election with that, especially now when all the political parties are so close!” he adds. “We have to make these people interesting for politicians, and the way to do that is to use tools they recognize: reports, numbers, surveys.”

Research by The Global Village gives an insight into the views and leanings of people in the area. Nationally, healthcare, immigration and education are voters’ key concerns, whereas for those living in Sweden’s vulnerable areas, law and order is the top priority. Abdirahman also points out an overwhelmingly negative view of housing segregation, which he says goes against common assumptions that Sweden’s foreign-born residents choose to live in specific areas.

Campaign stands for the Green Party and Social Democrats in Rinkeby Square. Photo: The Local

The work needs to go both ways in order to be effective, so the task of raising voter turnout can be seen as a dual challenge: encouraging politicians to engage people in these areas more, and encouraging the residents themselves to take an active role in the democratic and political processes.

“Sweden spends tons of money on these areas, but that hasn’t produced the long term results we want to see. It’s top down and it’s usually not the locals who are running the projects,” Abdirahman says.

When he set up a politics event in his local neighbourhood, it became one of the biggest events in the political calendar in just three years. Järvaveckan, a nine-day festival, has featured talks from all of Sweden’s major party leaders for the past two years, as well as other talks, seminars and events.

In its first year, back in 2016, it was on a much smaller scale. Two weeks before his NGO’s annual film festival in the summer of 2016, Abdirahman had the idea of inviting politicians to the event to introduce themselves to the attendees. Five parties agreed to send representatives, including the Green Party’s spokesperson Gustav Fridolin.
“I saw people sitting there on the ground and it was beautiful to see a party leader arrive on their bicycle and then sit and talk with the locals. I thought how much that must mean for the people he was talking to – and it meant he could understand more about life here,” the NGO founder recalls. “The next year, all the party leaders said yes. It became huge, much faster than I could have expected, which I think is because it came from us; it was the local people asking them to come here and talk to us.”

In 2017, everyone in Sweden heard about Järvaveckan, partly because the prime minister chose not to go to Sweden’s biggest political festival Almedalen, but attended the festival in the suburbs, bringing media attention along with him. Around 13,000 people attended, a figure which was more than doubled in 2018. This year, party leaders’ speeches were translated live into Arabic, Somali and English through a mobile app, allowing residents to participate even if their Swedish wasn’t fluent.

Abdirahman says he feels like a change is under way, and that Järvaveckan has been a part of that.

“It’s become an important platform nationally – all the speeches and promises are recorded. If there’s no change, we can say ‘this is what you said, we’ve got the video, what happened to your goals for these areas?'” he explains.

“It’s not enough to put responsibility on the politicians alone, we citizens are the ones choosing them. We also have to think about what happens between elections, who are the politicians closest to us who affect our lives – need to know their names and have dialogues with them. We want to help the community get those facts so that conversation can be productive rather than ‘no one is doing anything’.”

Ahmed Abdirahman in Stockholm’s Chamber of Commerce. Photo: The Local

As for the future, plans are in place to teach other communities how to set up similar events and strategies: a so-called Järva Model. This way, The Global Village will teach other local NGOs how they coped with everything from financial planning to communictaion.

There are already signs of similar movements; a month before the election, a Malmö-based social entrepreneur launched a similar event in one of the southern city’s most notorious suburbs, Rosengård. “I think this will bring people knowledge about democracy and the election, about what every participating party talks about,” founder Christian Glasnovic said when he launched the event. In the previous election, turnout in the Herrgården district of Rosengård was 52 percent.

“It’s quite positive, because there’s not a lot of people around here who would have the courage to go somewhere else to find out about the political parties,” one attendee at the event told The Local at the time.

But if the local populations are to remain engaged in politics, it’s crucial that politicians and the media do enough to show that politics does reflect and affect this groups.

“The media has to make the election night important and inclusive for people in these areas. For example, talking about the turnout in these areas; discussing results in Rinkeby as well as [central Stockholm suburb] Södermalm, and not taking for granted what’s happening there,” Abdirahman suggests.

On the political side, policy-makers should follow up on any promises they make at community-held festivals, and continuing to pay attention to foreign-born residents and the areas they live in even when not canvassing for votes. Meanwhile, the media can have an impact by covering issues that affect these groups, such as housing segregation, problems for work-permit holders, and delays in family reunion residential permits.

It’s only by tackling both challenges simultaneously; encouraging residents to take more interest in the democratic process, and encouraging politicians to take more notice of the residents, that the voter turnout among Sweden’s foreign-born population will increase long-term.

Thank you for reading. If you liked this article, please consider supporting The Local’s independent journalism by becoming a Member. If you are already a Member, please feel free to log in and share your thoughts in the comments section below. Kind regards, Emma Löfgren (Editor, The Local Sweden)


Source : The Local Sweden

Mother publishes book on murdered Swedish journalist Kim Wall

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Mother publishes book on murdered Swedish journalist Kim Wall
Ingrid and Joachim Wall on the beach near their home outside Trelleborg. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT
The mother of Kim Wall, the Swedish journalist who was brutally murdered last year on board a submarine, has written a book commemorating the life of her talented and strong-willed daughter.

“I’ve tried to write it all out of me, and this is in many ways functioned as a kind of therapy,” Ingrid Wall told TT newswire about the book: “The book of Kim Wall: when words end”, which was published in Sweden on Friday.
In a long interview at her beachfront home outside the southern city of Trelleborg, she said she had decided to write a book about her daughter shortly after her torso was found.
“I wake in the middle of the night. Two thoughts have been bashing around in my head through my uneasy slumber,” she writes in the book. “One is that Kim should live on through a stipendium. She should not be forgotten.
“The second is that book, the true story, must be written. Kim should be presented as the engaged and strong-willed women she was, as the person and journalist Kim Wall — not as the victim.”
Soon she was spending evenings sitting in a shed in her garden, with its view over the Öresund Straits, noting down her memories of her daughter’s childhood, and of her promising career as a journalist.
But she also recorded the terrible events of last year as they happened: the discovery of her daughter’s remains in the Öresund, the details of the murder investigation, and the experience of meeting her murderer in court.
“It’s extremely pleasant that the justice process is now completely over,” Ingrid Wall told TT.
“The sensation when we met each other’s eyes in the courtroom, I want to keep to myself,” added Joachim Wall, Kim Wall’s photographer father, who has cowritten the book.
“But it was important that Kim had someone there, to show him that he had done something terrible to us.”
Ingrid Wall this summer also described the painful day she learned of her daughter’s life in a long radio essay broadcast this summer in English and also in Swedish.
The book includes anecdotes from her daughter’s childhood and from the family’s holidays together, her time at the London School of Economics, and Columbia University, and her exciting reporting journeys across the world.
“She was not at all interested in mighty potentates, but instead looked for little people with strange stories,” Ingrid Wall said of her daughter’s journalism, which was published in Time Magazine, The New York Times, and the Guardian, among others.
The couple have left their daughter’s bedroom as it was when she died, and a full 175kg of possessions sent from her far-flung homes in New York, Beijing and London, still lie in the boxes in which they arrived here last January.
“It’s tough to open the boxes and start to root around in all her private things. One day we have to do it, but it can wait,” said Joachim Wall.
One of her possessions, a neon sign of the word Atom, is hung in pride of place in their living room.
“Kim was really into neon signs, don’t ask me why,” Ingrid Wall told TT of the lamp, which her daughter bought in 2015, shortly after a trip to the Marshall Islands, where she interviewed the German rocket scientist Lutz Kayser about his time making rockets for the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Only now, Ingrid Wall said, is life starting to return to normal.
“The days are easier to live through, they are filled with routine and everyday chores, like work and walking the dog,” Ingrid Wall said. “The nights are worse.”
 Source : The Local Sweden

Man jailed for sending death threats to Swedish ministers

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Man jailed for sending death threats to Swedish ministers
File photo of a letter box in Sweden. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT
The 43-year-old man was also convicted of sending a letter bomb to a UK cryptocurrency firm and targeting other high-profile Swedes via written death threats and white powder letters.

The Stockholm District Court on Friday sentenced Michael Salonen from western Sweden to a total of seven years in prison for attempted murder, unlawful threats and a minor drug offence.

Salonen, who has denied all charges, was convicted of sending a letter bomb to bitcoin company Cryptopay, with the court saying that although it never exploded there had been a high probability of a fatal outcome.

He was also convicted of having sent written death threats and/or white powder to a total of 20 Swedish politicians and high-profile figures, including Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist, Justice Minister Morgan Johansson and artist and comedian Jonas Gardell. The threats said: “you will soon be dead”.

The court decision, viewed by The Local, said that “such a systematic attack on such people must, in extension, be viewed as a threat towards the democratic system that the plaintiffs’ represent.”

The case has received a lot of attention in Sweden where politicians can often be seen going about their daily lives in public, sometimes without security, although this is becoming less common for senior figures.

As one of the world’s most transparent countries, tax information and home addresses can also be easily accessed in Sweden, regardless of a person’s public standing.

Sweden’s former Foreign Minister Anna Lindh died in 2003 after she was stabbed in broad daylight at a Stockholm department store without a bodyguard present. And former Prime Minister Olof Palme was shot dead while walking home from a Stockholm cinema in 1986. His murder remains unsolved.


Source :  The Local Sweden

Prosecutor drops Sweden Democrat MP rape investigation

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Prosecutor drops Sweden Democrat MP rape investigation
Hanna Wigh. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT
The investigation of a Sweden Democrat politician accused of sex crimes has been dropped by the prosecutor, who cited a lack of evidence.

The Sweden Democrat politician, who has not been named in Swedish media, was investigated for rape of a ‘less serious degree’, and two counts of sexual molestation (‘sexuellt ofredande’) of fellow MP Hanna Wigh.

“He had a hand on my throat and pressed me against the wall. Then he put his free hand inside my trousers and pushed up a finger. Then he told me we should see each other outside of parliament at some point,” Wigh described the alleged incident earlier this year.

But on Thursday the prosecutor announced the investigation had been dropped.

“Interrogations with both parties and others who have had information relating to the case, and certain written evidence have been obtained. It is word against word and there is no objective external evidence that could clarify what happened between the parties,” said chief prosecutor Maria Sterup in a statement.

The politician, who denies the allegations, went on a leave of absence pending the probe. He said that he was pleased with the way the party had handled it and expected to return to parliament shortly.

“If I had my wish I would have wanted the prosecutor to say that they dropped it because they did not believe the plaintiff’s story,” he told Swedish news agency TT.

“My plan is to return as soon as possible, but I’m not exactly sure what do to. I don’t even know how I feel,” he said, adding that he felt supported by his party colleagues.

Wigh made the accusations in a documentary interviewing her and other women about what they alleged was a “culture of silencing” in the party. She later quit the Sweden Democrats to become an independent MP, criticizing the party for not acting on the allegations before she made them public

“That they reported it to the police was only strategic. That way, you say you’re taking it seriously, but with the knowledge that the investigation will be dropped,” she told the Expressen tabloid at the time.

Wigh told TT on Thursday that she was still disappointed the prosecutor had not pressed charges, but added:

“The whole process has been terribly difficult, but I have also found the strength and self respect that I felt was taken from me when it happened and I chose to be silent about it.”


Source  :  The Local Sweden

Calls for opposition Moderate leader to be replaced before 2018 Swedish election: reports

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Strong voices within Sweden’s centre-right opposition Moderate party are calling for leader Anna Kinberg Batra to be replaced before the 2018 election, according to reports in two Swedish newspapers.

Dagens Industri reports that the internal Moderate criticism of Kinberg Batra is strongest in the Stockholm region, where many in leading positions want the opposition head to resign, and may even make a request for her to do so in the coming days.

Expressen also cites sources making similar claims.

“Kinberg Batra is going to go up in smoke. The frustration is too great, leadership weakened and the local councils are irritated. She’ll go before the election,” a source told the tabloid.


Much of the criticism is to do with the party leader and leadership’s communication, according to an anonymous Moderate MP Expressen spoke to:

“The party leadership’s message is confused and conflicting.”

The Moderates have been polling poorly in recent months, and Kinberg Batra has clashed with other party heads within the centre-right Alliance coalition, in particular over their stance on the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats.

A poll carried out by Ipsos for Dagens Nyheter published last week had the Moderates at 15 percent. According to Expressen, the calls for Kinberg Batra to leave come in the wake of the party’s analysis head Per Nilsson informing their Riksdag leaders of horror results in a new SCB poll due to be published on Thursday, where they could have dropped to as low at 14.5 percent.

The November edition of the same poll had the Moderates at 22.8 percent, while in the 2014 Riksdag election they took 23.33 percent of the vote.


Source : The Local Sweden

‘A 3-year education in 3 months’: coding bootcamp

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'A 3-year education in 3 months': coding bootcamp
Photo: Pixabay
There are four times as many men as women working in tech in Sweden.
While companies are looking to diversify and bring new voices to the table, they are sometimes faced with the same gender imbalances in applicants that they find in their own development teams.

Craft Academy wants to get as many women working in software development as possible. The 12 week intensive programming course preps students of all levels to join the workforce or to launch their own projects.

“I worked as a teacher for 15 years before enrolling in the camp,” says current student Jennifer. “But I wanted to have a new job that would give me more flexibility. I could never have gone back to school for four years because I have a family.”

For women looking to change careers to a rapidly-growing industry with great potential for personal growth, Craft Academy can jump-start a role in tech.

Stockholm native Ebba enrolled in the bootcamp upon arriving home from an extended period of world travelling. Having studied mostly business and entrepreneurship courses at university, she had never thought about IT and coding – until she tried to start her own business.

“I wanted to make my own living, and of course needed a website,” recalls the recent Craft Academy graduate. “I realised hiring someone else to do this costs a lot, so I tried to learn it all myself. But it was too difficult, so I googled around and came across Craft Academy.”

The bootcamp is the only one of its kind in Sweden, enrolling students who are starting from scratch and bringing them to the level of junior developer in three months. Since the bootcamp assumes no prior knowledge, it’s perfect for anyone – from recent school graduates to those working for a major career change.


“When I started, I didn’t even know what a variable was,” recalls Ebba. “My group’s final project was a mobile app that you could swipe like Tinder. It’s kind of amazing thinking about how far we came in three months.”

“The 12-week course involves a lot of studying and development,” explains alumna Lucia, who had trained as a molecular biologist before delving into the world of code.

“The same practical knowledge achieved in three months in the bootcamp would be otherwise achieved in probably three years.”

To further encourage women to enrol, Craft Academy offers a partial scholarship to female participants.

“It’s important to encourage equality. We support women in every way possible – putting them front and centre encourages more to apply and get involved,” Craft Academy coach Amber tells The Local.

“We recognise that the industry is not as woman friendly; awareness alone is a good first step. We try and address the difficulties in any way we can. We prioritise equality.”

“The coaches at the camp don’t differentiate between men and women,” agrees Ebba. “They’re there to help everyone.”

Instead of focusing on the differences between men and women, Craft Academy focuses on recruiting those with a passion for programming.

“Programming is not something for men or women; it’s something for passionate, curious people,” states Lucia. “The programme is difficult and demanding, and requires energy and focus. Only those who are willing to give it their best shot will survive the steep learning curve.”

Amber does her best to encourage and support female participants.

“Sometime it is harder for women to speak up and take command of their education,” she added. “It’s important for the coaches to recognise that and make a space for women in the group.”

Even after the students gain employment they receive continued support from the bootcamp.

“I got help building my CV and preparing for interviews. But even now I am still in touch with most of my cohort and coaches. If I ever need help or advice, they never turn their backs on me,” notes Lucia.

Ebba agrees.

“You don’t just pay for the 12 weeks, you get help for as long as you need. They’re always there for you.”

In some ways, as Ebba tells The Local, being a female in a large group of males can have its advantages.

“I might not be the best coder, I’m still learning and developing…but because the tech industry is desperate for women, the company I work for was eager to give me a chance.”

Ebba currently interns at a startup, building the second version of a popular mobile application for young women. She works remotely with a programmer from Kenya, among others.

Lucia now works as a front end developer for a consulting company in Gothenburg, focusing largely on customer experience. She credits her success to the skills she learned during her time at the programming bootcamp.

“Craft Academy is rewarding, and the job market is exploding with possibilities,” says Lucia, “I strongly advise following this path. It changed my life!”


Source : The Local Sweden

Sweden shuts down Julian Assange rape investigation

The WikiLeaks founder’s lawyer filed a request at Stockholm District Court earlier in May asking for an end to the arrest warrant against his client, arguing it should be dropped now that the US has expressed a desire to charge the 45-year-old.

Assange had been remanded in custody by Sweden ‘in absentia’ over a 2010 rape allegation, and has been taking refuge inside Ecuador’s embassy in London since 2012 in order to escape the warrant, citing fears he may be extradited to the US to be tried over WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of classified documents.

One of Assange’s lawyers, Melinda Taylor, indicated earlier on Friday that the preliminary investigation into him being closed or the lifting of the European arrest warrant would not necessarily mean the Australian would make a hasty exit for Ecuador.

“The first thing one likely needs to do is seek guarantees from the British authorities that he won’t be seized in some other way,” she told news agency TT.

Both British and American authorities have “consistently refused to confirm or deny” if there is a request for extradition to the US, she said. Assange is also accused of breaching his bail conditions in the UK for fleeing to Ecuador’s embassy, she noted.

And in a statement released on Friday afternoon, the Metropolitan Police confirmed it is obliged to arrest Assange should he leave the embassy.

“Westminster Magistrates’ Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on the 29 June 2012. The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the Embassy,” the statement reads.

“Whilst Mr Assange was wanted on a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for an extremely serious offence, the MPS response reflected the serious nature of that crime. Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter, Mr Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence. The MPS will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence,” it continues.

When the Swedish announcement was made on Friday, WikiLeaks commented through its Twitter account that the “focus now moves to the UK”.

And Assange’s Swedish lawyer hailed the news as a “victory” for his client.

“It is a complete victory for Assange. He is free to leave the embassy when he wants. We have won the Assange case. He is of course happy and relieved. But he is critical over this going on for so long,” Per E Samuelson told Sveriges Radio.

After refusing to travel to Sweden for questioning, Assange was grilled last December by an Ecuadorian prosecutor on questions provided by Swedish officials, with Swedish prosecutor Ingrid Isgren present.

He has always maintained that he is innocent of the rape accusation from 2010, when he was accused of having sex with a woman as she slept without using a condom, despite her repeatedly denying him unprotected sex.

The statute of limitations on the rape allegation was due to expire in August 2020. In August 2015, the five-year statute of limitations expired on a further sexual assault probe into Assange concerning another Swedish woman.


Source : The Local Sweden