Where is he going?
Spanish soccer wonderkid, Francesc "Cesc" Fabregas, once raised in FC Barcelonas talent youth factory La Masia - then recruited at 16 by Arsene Wenger to Arsenal, is thinking about his future. Stay or go? He is the captain of the Gunners team and has been so for the last three seasons. He has also widely been considered to be one of the best players of the game. The last seasons his old club Barcelona has been targetting him for a return to Camp Nou as a future replacement of the best midfielder in the world, Xavi Hernandes. Cesc Fabregas is only 23. So Barcelona is the most likely new address. They are for the moment offering approximately 25 million euros for the player, while Arsenal is not willing to sell for less than 40 million euros. In fact, Arsenal does not want to sell at all. However, there is no club in the world that would not buy Fabregas if they could. His talent is great. My guess? Well, Barcelona is my club in Spain and Arsenal is my favorite in England. These are the two likely options. Either way is OK for me as r. a fan. I think that Fabregas will end up in Barcelona this season or next. Likely this year. Cesc loves Arsenal, but he wants titles. I would not be suprised if Barcelona pay 30 million euros plus one of their players to get Fabregas back home. Silly season will tell.
Evaluation of the Paris declaration
In less than six months the fourth Global High-Level Meeting on Aid Effectiveness will be held in Busan (Korea). Prior to the meeting has an international evaluation of the Paris Declaration been made. The evaluation report of the Paris declaration displays a number of proposals showing where countries need to become better to implement the content of the Paris declaration. These suggestions will be diccussed in Busan. One of the high-lighted areas is underlined by the swedish responsible Minister for the area, Ms. Gunilla Carlsson, who is stressing the importance of also joing up with provate sector and business - in both donor and receiving countries - to make aid and development support more sustainable and efficient.
My dream team
If i was ranked on Forbes Top500 fórtunes list, I would definietly (after saving the world...) buy a soccer club in England, Italy or Spain. That what the people on that list do. And if I had all of the money in the world this is the team that I would buy.
Maicon, Gerard Piquet, Nemanja Vidic, Tiago Silva
Lionel Messi, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Xavi Hernandes, Wesley Sneijder
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sergio Kun Aguero
Subs: Neymar, Mehmet Özil, Andres Iniesta, Javier Hernández Balcázar (Chicharito), Hulk
The best team in the world. For me. A Champions League title would be granted. BTW, we would play at Nou Camp as well.
Council session over
Today the 117/118th session of the WCO Council ended. During the morning session a number of technical issues were discussed and decisions were made. The new capacity building Director, Mr. Erich Kieck, did a great presentation of the impressive capacity building progress of the capacity building agenda and portfolio with numerous new initiaves and results on the way. The delegations from both Customs and other stakeholders present expressed great appriciation and support for the work done and for the action plan.
Congratulations Ireland and Italy
On the last day of the Council we had two important elections of the WCO. Ms. Josephine Feehily, Revenue Commissioner of Ireland, was elected as new Chairperson of the WCO Council. Mr.Guiseppe Favale from Italy was elected as new Director for the Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate of the WCO Secretariat.
Cantona, the star
I am not a big fan of Manchester United, in fact those who know me is aware hat I don't like Man U at all (sorry, Alan). But there is one player that has played for the club that I would pick for any of my favorite teams if I could and that is the magnificant Frenchman Erik Cantona.
Cantona was brilliant. A true French player and person in all senses came to England and became a favourite. He was a great player and captain. He also scored some great goals...and performed one of the best goal celebrations of all times, see below. He also practically took "care of a hooligan" that had tried to destroy the game at one time. For that incident he got a 7 month ban, which of cause was correct even though one sometimes wonder why it is allowed for people at the stands to call players, mangers and referees names and things or to through things on the pitch or attack players. Then when somebody react, that in fact is punished more. When he got back his manager, Sir Alex Fergusen, made him capain of the team.
The Global Financial crisis a boost for organized crime networks and syndicates
The global finacial crises 2008-2009 favored the organized crime networks and organizations around the Baltic Sea and probably also in other places around the world. That is the conclusion of a new very interesting research report published by the Institute for S ecurity and Development Policy (ISDP). According to the Institute have increased indirect and direct taxes on alcohol and tobacco led to increased illegal trade. ISDP also fear that during the crises a large increasing number of pe ople have become victims of human trafficking.
From Lithuania it was reported that a huge volume of cigarettes purchased legally in Russia have been exported illegally to the EU has given the smugglers a profit of nearly 1000 percent. Organised crime has developed and refined its methods in recent years and are now infiltrating parts of the legal economy in the Baltic countries. The report, "Organized Crime and the Financial Crisis. Recent Trends in the Baltic Sea Region" includes extensive research material from researchers from Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden. The report presents the development in this area in their respective countries. The Institute for Security and Development Policy is a Stockholm-based independent and non-profit research and policy institute. The Institute is dedicated to expanding understanding of international affairs, particularly the interrelationship between the issue areas of conflict, security and development. The Institute’s primary areas of geographic focus are Asia and Europe’s neighborhood. ISDP has two constituent parts: The Silk Road Studies Program and the Asia Program. The Silk Road Studies Program focuses mainly on the western part of Eurasia, including Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and the Baltic Sea regions. Through this program, the institute runs a joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center with the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. It is the first Center of its kind in Europe and North America, and is today firmly established as a leading center for research and policy worldwide, serving a large and diverse community of analysts, scholars, policy-watchers, business leaders and journalists. The Asia Program is more oriented towards the Eastern part of the Eurasian continent including the East Asian, Central Asian, and South Asian regions. The aim of the Program is to function as a focal point for academic, policy, and public discussion of the region through its applied research, its publications, research cooperation, public lectures and seminars. The Asia Program publishes the Asia Paper series and the Policy Paper series. The Institute for Security and Development Policy also has a blog in Chinese, 安全与发展政策研究所. Institute for Security and Development Policy
The Anna Lindh prize to fight for women in Liberia
The Anna Lindh Memorial Fund primarily supports women and young individuals who works with issues that were important to Anna Lindh.
This year 2011 the prize was awarded to Hawa Bropleh from Centre for Liberian Assistance in Liberia. They are people, who in their daily lives have the courage to fight indifference, prejudice, oppression and injustices in order to promote a good life for all people in an environment marked by respect for human rights. Efforts to help vulnerable girls in the Liberian capital of Monrovia. The Anna Lindh Prize is awarded to an individual, organisation or project active in Sweden and/or abroad. The prize is instituted in memory of a Swedish foreign minister that was assassinated 2003
Margot Wallstrom, who is UN special representative for matters relating to sexual violence in conflict, also former Swedish Minister, EU Commissioner and long-term personal frined of Anna Lindh, handed out the award and SEK 150,000 to the organization at a ceremony in Stockholm on 13 June.
Celebrating Midsummer in a Brussels
Today is the day of the most popular public holiday in Sweden. The Midsummer festival. This is the day when all Swedish people celebrates midsummer with family and friends having herring, potatoes, smorgasboard, and strawberries (everybody have that menu) plus maybe some vodka (most people). This year, like many before, I will celebrate the Midsummer away from my dear ones in Sweden since it is the WCO Council session in Brussels. So I am with my Customs family instead. I do send a midsummer greeting to my beloved family and all friends. I miss you. Happy Midsummer.
Second Day of Council starts
The opening session was concentrated on taking the theme from the first day of more international cooperation even further. Mr. Raymond Benjamin, Secretary General and CEO of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) gave a speech announcing the very promising cooperation between ICAO and the WCO on aligning and harmonizing the guidelines and routines for security and especially the two organizations standards for authorized economic operators with the ambition of creating a framwork for mutual recognition. The Head of Delegation from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) announced that the organization is involved in work with the WCO of finding the mutual recognition concepts also for security measures and AEO similar systems also for the maritime transport mode. He stated that very valuable progress has been made. In the afternoon, Mr. Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) gave a speech stating his optimism that WTO will find a solution for the very important WTO trade facilitation package of the Doha round before the end of this year. He also stressed the need for increased cooperation between the WTO and the WCO and underlined his personal support for an increased such necessary cooperation.
I have had the fortune of seeing Bruce Sprongsteen & the E Street Band live in concert 19 times over the last 30 years. I am one of those many fans that have slept nights outside the box office to get tickets. First time I saw the band perform was in Gothenburg 1981. It was magnificiant. Better than anything I had seen to that date and it changed my life. The Boss played for more than 3 hours and he gave it all to the people in the crowd. That has always been the strenght of Bruce Springsteen. His live concerts. Don´t get me wrong, his albums are great (my favourite is Darkness on teh Edge of Town from 1978). He is a fantastic storyteller, writer and musician - but it is live on stage that he becomes the best. I have seen some really great concerts, the best probably during the 1985 Born in the USA tour. My favourite live songs with the band are: Because the night, Badlands, Trapped, Atlantic City, Murder Inc, Glory Days and Darkness on the Edge of Town. If you ever get a chance, go and se him live.
First day of Council ended
The day started with opening key note statements by US Secretary Janet Napolitano, US Department of Homeland Security and EU Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, Algirdas Semeta. They announced a increased cooperation on supply chain security and set the theme of increased international coordination, cooperation and partnerships as the necessary way forward. Secretary Napolitano stated that US will fully and actively work for and support alignment of international standards for risk management and Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) regimes between the WCO, ICAO and IMO. The theme of increased international cooperation went as a clear trend through the entire first day and it was embraced by the delegations of the council.
New Customs Director General in Sweden
The Swedish Government today appointed Ms. Therese Mattsson, as new Director General for Swedish Customs. Ms. Mattson has previosly worked on several different higher management positions within the Swedish Police Force. She take up her new position for a 6 year term in mid-August 2011.
A (Seven) Nation Army couldn´t hold me down
Every football (Soccer) fan has sometime particpated in singing this song. It is everywhere, from the faming derbys in Istanbul, over Nou Camp in Barcelona and San Siro in Milan to Wembley in London and La Bombonera in Boca, Buenos Aires. I am talking about White Stripes, Seven Nation Army. A marvelous song about fighting for your beliefs. Now, the Dynamics have done a great version of the song. I really like it. You can listen here
Swedish billion for child vaccines
The government has decided to provide 250 million to the global vaccine alliance, Gavi, in 2011. Minister of International Development Aid and Coooperation, Gunilla Carlsson - is planning a grant of one billion over the next four years, she says to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter. Carlsson has set a target to save the lives of a quarter of a million children by 2015. Gavi, founded by, among others, multi-billionaire Bill Gates, is focused on vaccination of children against a range of diseases and considers himself so far have saved five million lives.
The WCO Council session starts
More than 400 customs leaders from the WCO 177 members countries, today gathered in Brussels for the annual council session of the organization.
The Council is the general decision making assembly of the WCO. To the meeting also executive leaders from international institutions and the private sector are invited to and participating in the meeting. The Council is also a platform for regional and bi-lateral discussion and dialogue between countries so the week is a very busy agenda of numerous meeting and high-level sidemeetings shaping the next year's actions in the area of international standards and cooperation in the field of customs and trade.
704 brain-damaged by Asterix
Scientists can do research on everything. Obviously. An international team of researchers have studied the French cartoon Asterix and his adventures in search of the number, how many of Asterix opponents, that are seriously injured (!) in the cartoon battles with the cartoon character from Gaul.
They have simply studied and analyzed the damage to the cartoon characters who fights with Asterix and his friends. He may be small, but after some magic potion mowing Asterix and Obelix buddy down almost anyone. The team of researchers found a total of 704 cases of brain damage among the victims in the 34 series of books on the French cartoon character, reported Swedish Radio's "New Culture".
Scientists have called the books carefully in search of symptoms that characterize brain trauma, such as black eye or diagonally outstretched tongue. The results were published in European Journal of Neurosurgery and shows 390 cases of severe trauma, 89 cases of moderate trauma and 225 cases of mild trauma. It is mainly the Romans who get on the coat - they represent 63.9 percent of those injured, compared to 17 percent damaged grille. But other groups are exposed to dangerous violence to the head: 59 Pirates, 8 Vikings, and 4 aliens are also hurt by Asterix in the books.
Maybe it's time to do research on something else next time?
Hope has numbers
Progress report through some statistics from :"Getting Better: Why Global Development is Succeeding – and How We Can Improve the World Even More." by economist Charles Kenny.
Increase in life expectancy in the Middle East and North Africa between 1962 and 2002.
Survival rate of children under five years old in sub-Saharan Africa, up from 73% in 1960.
Immunization rate for the world's newborns against six diseases in 2000, up from 5% in 1974.
Children enrolled in primary school world-wide in 2002, up from 47% in 1950.
Literacy rates in sub-Saharan Africa in 2000, up from 28% in 1970.
Global average ratio of female-to-male literacy in 2000, up from 59% in 1970.
Seats held by women in national parliaments world-wide in 2006, up from 10% in 1990.
Bill Gates celebrates Swedish support
A project to immunize the world's vulnerable children receive large financial aid at an international conference in London starting on Monday. The global vaccine alliance Gavi, which is hosting the meeting, has been formed to include Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Both Gates and the British government promises to support the effort with about 2.6 billion euros - roughly 23.6 billion dollars. The goal is that millions of children to be vaccinated by 2015. The Swedish Government has previously decided to give a huge financial contribution to support the vaccine alliance, and Gunilla Carlsson, Swedish Minister of International Development and Cooperation was very pleased after the conference. “It was a great conference with a very good preparatory work by the British government and Bill Gates but also with the support from our traditional donor countries. The results exceeded expectations”, says Carlsson in a comment from London. The goal was to put together $ 3.7 billion and now they stopped instead of 4.3 billion dollars. The Swedish government has doubled its aid to Gavi to 250 million this year and we hope to be at that level until 2015. This is a very cost effective and good way to reach out with assistance to those most in need, children, says Gunilla Carlsson. “We are very happy about the strong support from Sweden” said Bill Gates in a statement from the conference. “I would also welcome Swedish private investors and humanists like Mr. Kamprad (IKEA) or Mr. Persson (H&M) to join me in this task and I am happy to talk to them about it any day or time”. At the opening of the conference today, said the British Prime Minister David Cameron that Britain will inject 814 million pounds - 8.4 billion - to the effort. He said that international aid will be used to include vaccinate about 80 million children against diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhea. Vaccination is believed to save 1.4 million children's lives. "Frankly, so should the idea that children are dying of pneumonia and diarrhea are not able to exist in 2011," said Cameron.
The Real Successes of Foreign Aid
Aid programs really do help improve life for people in poor countries. That’s the myth-busting conclusion of the new book:"Getting Better: Why Global Development is Succeeding – and How We Can Improve the World Even More." by economist Charles Kenny.
Bill Gates writes the following review of the book on his blog. "Stepping into the public square to announce that foreign aid is important and effective can be lonely work. As someone who has attempted to make that case over the past decade, I can assure you that the world is often eager to hear just the opposite. Aid money can and does work. It improves people’s lives and makes the world a better and safer place. Fortunately, an elegant and deeply researched new book has come along to reframe the debate and tip it, I hope, in a new direction. The book’s author is Charles Kenny, a senior economist on leave from the World Bank and a fellow at the Center for Global Development and the New America Foundation. He writes a weekly column for ForeignPolicy.com as “The Optimist,” but he is a realist, too, and he brings an economist’s eye to this complicated topic. In making his case, Mr. Kenny is going up against some notable critics. Recent books by writers like Dambisa Moyo and Matt Ridley have depicted aid as wasteful and even damaging to societies. But even some outspoken aid critics have been impressed by “Getting Better.” One of the best known, economist William Easterly, even provided a blurb, praising the book. “You will never look at global economic development the same way again,” he says. To me, that’s exactly right. Mr. Kenny acknowledges that the billions of dollars that the West has poured into poor countries has had a limited impact on income, which is what most economists use to measure progress in living standards. As he notes, many countries in Africa today have real per-capita incomes lower than that of Britain at the time of the Roman Empire. Over the past several decades, through good times and bad, the income gap between rich and poor countries has grown. And no one really knows why. But income is only one measure of success and maybe not the most meaningful one. Mr. Kenny shows that quality of life—even in the world’s poorest countries—has improved dramatically over the past several decades, far more than most people realize. Moreover, with reams of solid data to support his case, he argues that governments and aid agencies have played an important role in this progress. We care about income mostly as a proxy for what money can buy: food, shelter, health, education, security and other factors that contribute to human well-being. Mr. Kenny’s great insight is to point out the flaw in focusing solely on income. Other trends, related to direct measures of quality of life, are much more encouraging. Fifty years ago, more than half the world’s population struggled with getting enough daily calories. By the 1990s, this figure was below 10%. Famine affected less than three-tenths of 1% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa from 1990 to 2005. As Mr. Kenny suggests, the record has thoroughly disproved Malthusian prophecies of food shortages caused by spiraling population growth. Family sizes have fallen for many decades now in every region, including Africa. And there’s more good news. Virtually everywhere, infant mortality is down and life expectancy is up. In Africa, life expectancy has increased by 10 years since 1960, despite the continent’s HIV pandemic. Nearly 90% of the world’s children are now enrolled in primary schools, compared with less than half in 1950. Literacy rates in the sub-Saharan region have more than doubled since 1970. Political and civil rights also have gained ground. The case made by Mr. Kenny in “Getting Better” is a powerful antidote to overly gloomy assessments of development aid. Wasteful and corrupt aid projects are probably inevitable, and they should never be tolerated. But overall, when you look at the big picture, quite a lot of good things are happening. What’s more, the book suggests ways to make aid more efficient and effective. Mr. Kenny notes that dramatic improvements in quality of life have been achieved even in poor countries where incomes have fallen. How can this be? He credits the spread of new technologies and ideas. Because of them, as he writes, many of “the best things in life are cheap.” Eradicating smallpox from the face of the Earth, for example, cost about 32 cents per person in infected countries. In just six years, a drive to vaccinate African children against measles reduced the number who died of the disease by three-quarters, from more than 500,000 a year. Even larger gains in public health can still be achieved at a stunningly low cost relative to the benefits. Of the 10 million children who die each year in poor countries, one-third could be saved through the wider use of breast feeding, insecticide-treated bed nets and oral rehydration therapy (a simple sugar and salt solution) to combat the effects of diarrhea. Mr. Kenny recommends focusing development aid on helping to spread such ideas and the cheap technologies that can measurably improve quality of life. He suggests, among other things, that we create a global technology bank to fund research or award prizes for advances that particularly benefit the world’s poor. After years of doom and gloom on the subject of foreign aid, it is refreshing to find so thoughtful and contrarian an approach to the topic. Charles Kenny shines a light on the real successes of aid, and he shows us the benefits that additional smart investment can bring". This book is a very interesting publication and I recommend it to all capacity builders around the world. I fully agree with Mr. gates, who himslef is a world leading capaity builder, that Charles Kenny captures many of the things that are absolutely vital for development aid and support to be successful, regardless of what field or area. Even for complicated topics like the building of institutional capacity in developing countries these thesis hold, to keep it simple and basic and results oriented. To do, what works. I have only one more comment, read the book.
A great song
Listen to this fantastic song, one of my favoruites from the last decade, which is called "Glorious", written and performed by Andreas Johnson. Glorious
Swedish transport sector and China’s counterpart in close cooperation´
Sweden’s minister of infrastructure and China’s minister of transport met during four days 24-28 May for the closing of an agreement that was made during their last meeting in February. This agreement means that the Swedish transport sector and China’s counterpart will cooperate closely during the coming years, there was also an action plan set to ensure that the cooperation would amount to something. During the visit the Chinese minister also had the opportunity to visit two of Sweden’s strongest companies; Ericsson and Volvo.
The Swedish Minister of International Development and Coooperation visits Palestine
The Swedish Minister of International Development and Coooperation, Ms. Gunilla Carlsson, is visiting Palestine on 19-21 June for the development of a new cooperation strategy for Palestine. The trip also aims to evaluate the Palestinian state-building efforts and how Swedish development support will be best used by the Palestine Authority. Gunilla Carlsson will hold talks with representatives of the Palestinian Authority, among others, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister as well as meet with representatives of civil society in East Jerusalem, Ramallah and Gaza. In Gaza, will the Minister to visit the Swedish-financed development projects. Meetings with the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), and young Palestinians in Gaza are also on the program. Ms Carlsson will also deliver a speech on Palestinian state-building, human rights and democratic development in the Middle East and meet with students. In connection with this planned a press conference. Sweden is one of the largest donors to the Palestinians and aid amounts to approximately SEK 700 million in 2011. The scheme aims to promote the Palestinian state-building and alleviate the humanitarian consequences of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova visited Sweden
On 15-16 June, UNESCO's Director-General Irina Bokova was invited to Sweden by the Minister for Education Jan Björklund. On the agenda was 60th anniversary celebrations of the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO, where Irina Bokova delivered an opening speech. She also met with Democracy Minister Bridget Ohlsson, Culture Minister, Lena Adelsohn-Liljeroth, State Secretary Frank Belfrage and Director General of Sida Charlotte Petri Gornitzka during his visit to Sweden.
The Right to Health: Immunizations in Nicaragua
National Immunization Campaigns in Nicaragua are dedicated on a certain day, usually a Sunday because Sundays are a true celebration of family and community in Nicaragua. During that day it is gratifying to see the number of parents who bring their babies to thousands of vaccination posts with the support of organized groups. The reinstatement of the right to health and free access to health services is a governmental priority, in faithful compliance with the constitutional mandate that establishes the right to health as a fundamental right of our citizens. In order to enforce the right to health in Nicaragua a set of transformations in the health system have been implemented, especially in the regards to coverage and organization of health services. Health services are currently provided with a family and community approach that focuses on the care of our children. The right to health, education and other social rights are key elements in the fight against poverty. Their purposes are to raise healthy, happy and productive Nicaraguans to build a better future for the country. We are making investments in national immunization services that ensure universal access to vaccines against diseases that endanger the lives of Nicaraguans. The result of this effort is overall vaccination coverage for 98 percent of Nicaraguan children, using the pentavalent vaccine as an indicator. Today, Nicaraguan children are receiving the pneumococcal vaccine routinely as part of the national immunization schedule for children, provided by the Ministry of Health. Nicaragua was also one of the first countries in the Americas to introduce the rotavirus vaccine. Three years after its introduction, the number of cases and the severity of diarrhea have decreased significantly, which has not only saved the lives of children and babies but contributed to the economic health of both family and the community. In the years ahead, we will continue to work hard with the community, network of volunteers and health workers, to strengthen the immunization program on a daily basis in health centers and at health posts. The National Vaccination Campaigns open thousands of vaccination posts and visit the homes of those unable to come to health centers. The goal of our volunteer brigade is for every child to be vaccinated. Ongoing support is crucial to our success. We urge GAVI donors to strengthen its presence in the GAVI Pledging Conference for immunization, held on June 13th, and fund GAVI so that we can continue the work done so far to ensure our children can get the best possible start in life, writes Dr. Guillermo González, Health Advisor for the Presidency of Nicaragua, in a very interesting article on the website of the Bill & Melinda Gates Fundation.
Freedom on the Internet - 40 countries supports an initiative from Sweden
Lats Friday, June 10, Sweden's UN Ambassador Jan Knutson, held a speech about a Swedish initiative for Human Rights on the Internet to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). The speech was concentrated on the importance of human rights being respected "online" just as "offline". The group of countries that supports Sweden's initiative in this area included representatives from all the different parts of the world. It was the first time such a big initiative on human rights and the Internet are in HRC. Sweden has led efforts to identify, negotiate and gather support for the initiative to create a code for Human Rights in cyberspace. Influential countries such as Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa and the United States openly supported the speech and initiative, which sends an important signal to freedom of expression and human rights on the web is an issue that affects people worldwide. Particular attention is drawn to both Palestine and Israel are parties which is an important signal in itself. The report by UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of speech, Frank La Rue, presented to the Human Rights Council June 3 has been a key step forward for the initiative. The report is based on the global expert consultations, including two international expert meetings in Stockholm (June 2010 and March 2011). It's happening now is that a large number of states, in writing, 40 in all, comment on the report and expresses support for many of its principles. For Sweden is a very basic principle: the same rights as humans have been otherwise - of expression, including freedom to seek information, freedom of assembly and association, among others - must also be protected on the web. Other important parts are the general rule that individuals can express themselves anonymously online and that decisions taken regarding Internet governance must be taken in forums that include representatives of all stakeholders, that is, not only states but also civil society, academics, business community and so on.
The draw has been made for EHF EURO 2012
The Preliminary Round groups of the EHF European Championship in handball in Serbia January 2012 are drawn and the match fixtures are now known. Sweden got a decent group. The European Championship is always the most difficult tournament to win, all tams being top teams. Sweden is a four time winner of the European Championship but will with a new and young team be a dark horse this time. Favorites are: France, Denmark and Croatia. My early prediction ? Denmark wins after beating France in the final. Sweden third.
Group A - Belgrade
Group B - Nis
Group C - Novi Sad
Group D - Vrsac
Carl Bildt discusses visit Azerbaijan and Armenia
Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt has spent the last two days in Azerbaijan and Armenia to get an up-to-date view of the political situation and recent developments in both countries. During his stay in Baku in Azerbaijan and Yerevan in Armenia, Mr Bildt met Prime Minister Artur Rasizade, President Serzh Sargsyan and Foreign Ministers Elmar Mammadyarov and Edward Nalbandian. He also held talks with representatives of various opposition parties and civil society. The meetings focused mainly on economic and political developments in the region, the countries' closer ties to the EU, the Eastern Partnership and the conflict concerning Nagorno-Karabakh. Mr Bildt, who was visiting both countries just days after their leaders met in Moscow for political talks about the conflict, was clear in stating that the parties to the conflict must continue to hold constructive talks to move the process forward. "The conflict concerning Nagorno-Karabakh has been going on for far too long, as has the human suffering. If the Nagorno-Karabakh issue is to move closer to a solution, it is very important that every opportunity to find a solution is seized. We now hope that the upcoming meeting in Kazan will lead to progress towards a peaceful solution to the conflict," says Mr Bildt. Mr Bildt also honoured the memory of those who have fallen in various conflicts in the region by visiting and laying wreaths at the memorials in Baku and Yerevan.
Big man is down
Rock legend Clarence “Big man” Clemons, best known for his work as the saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, suffered a stroke two nights ago.
He is said to be in serious condition. The longtime member of the E Street Band has weathered a series of ailments over the last decade and, after undergoing knee and back surgery last year, was confined to a wheelchair on and off. He hasn't performed with the E Street Band since their last shows in December 2010. Let us hope that he will have the strengt to survive and come back from this awful and tragic incident. There is no E Street Band without the Big man.
I love the soccer “silly season” when all clubs are trying to secure new star players for the next season. It is always great to follow the rumors about favorite clubs and players. It will now go on until the transfer window closes in august, every day there are new rumors. So what will happen? Will Barcelona secure their favorite Arsenal-captain Cesc Fabregas for next season? Will they also be able to buy the Chilean star success player Alexis Sanchis from Italian Udinese? And will they offer La Masia-favorite Bojan Krkic as part of the payment? Will the extraordinary Atletico Madrdi striker Kun Aguero finally go to a bigger club? Will it be Real Madrid? Will AC Milan be able to secure their signing of Didier Drogba? And will they find a new young midfielder to add speed to the team? Maybe Argentinian super-talent Javier Pastore, who had a fantastic season with Palermo in Italian Serie A this year? Where will the Brazilian wonderkids Neymar and Ganso and from Santos end up after the silly season? AC Milan is expected to be the next address for Ganso. But where will Neymar go? Will Sir Alex buy any new players? And for rivals Manchester City? Where will the billions be spent this year? Fun, Fun, Fun – for football lovers.
Robyn, Made in Sweden
My home country Sweden has over the years produced a lot of international popstars and groups that are world famous for their hits.
I am talking about artists like e.g. Abba, Roxette and Ace of Base. We have also numerous pop producers, like e.g. Max Martin and RedOne, that are the makers (and song writers) behind of artists like Britney Spears, Pink, Rihanna, Take That and many others. these guys have also prodecued hits fro Madonna and Celine Dionne. Our best swedish pop artist for the moment is woman called Robyn who has been breaking big in US and in many other places around the world. Robyn writes her own songs, she is cool, tough and a magnificiant pop artist. Her shows are brilliant. Listen to some of her songs and you will get another pop favourite from the land of vikings, Sweden. Here are some of her songs that are available on YouTube:
Dancing on my own
Hang with me
WCO Council session coming up
From Thursday 23 June to Saturday 25 June 2011, the World Customs Organization (WCO) holds the 117th/118th session of the Customs Cooperation Council which is the annual general assembly of the organization. This is a very important meeting since Customs has never been more importnat than right now. At the council session executive leaders from the 177 member countries of the organization meet in Brussels to set the strategy, agenda, priorities and the annual work plan for the multilateral organization. Right now and for the following years to come it is vital that the WCO is pro-active and ambitious in facing the challenges ahead. We, the Customs family, needs to be bold and strong in our decision making to set clear priorities for the years to come. I am convinced that this is also what will happen. There are major challenges ahead and the WCO needs to show leadership.
On a personal level, I am really looking forward to meeting all friends from the global Customs family and to network with colleagues from all around the world.
The UN LDC conference - a success?
In summery of UN LDC Conference (LDC - least developed countries) in Istanbul in mid-May - the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, presented a contract with an action plan describing how the international community over the nex t ten years will support the development of 48 of the world's most vulnerable nations. More than 7000 participants particpated in the conference which secured the political backing to provide these countries with better conditions, including increased market access and elimination of certain trade barriers. Another important decision taken at the conference was the question of the level of funds. Developed countries promised that aside between 0.15 and 0.20% of their GNP to least developed countries. In the current situation is the level of aid to LDCs to below 0.1% as the conference's promise is a sub stantial increase in aid to the world's poorest countries. The agreement further emphasizes the importance of the least developed countries themselves will increase its production capacity, including by improving infrastructure, and investing in human capital and better governance. Thanks to the reforms already made, many of the poorest countries emerged strongly in recent years - in some cases the growth rate has even been faster than the global average. According to the Nepalese Prime Minister, Jhala Nath Khanal, Chairman of the Association of LDC countries, growth has not reached all countries to share . It has not necessarily led to the population in the poorest countries have the better. The new agreement says that, especially in a time of high food prices, the need to prioritize investment in agriculture and food security.
A world where a billion people live in chronic hunger is unacceptable
A hungry person is weak. Tired. Unable to concentrate, study or work. Hunger leads to illness. The body starts to feed on itself, eventually leading to starvation and death. There's a growing movement of people who are outraged by the situation. What about you? Look at FAO.
A Stairway Concept for the sky, Airlines going AEO
Forget metal detectors, body searches and the eternal development of the computer. Future security will become more sophisticated - for flights Association IATA get their way, passengers are divided into three different classes from the outset with constantly updated information to decide which control to go through this. Today's safeguards were developed four decades ago to prevent terrorists from getting weapons with them on board. Much has changed since then and it is time to think about to face new threats, "said Giovanni Bisignani, CEO of IATA said in a statement. The international aviation organization that organizes 230 airlines at 93 percent of the world's airports, today unveiled its vision for the future at a trade show in Singapore. And it is quite far from today's long lines at major airports, around the world - mobile phone and computer, are hauled up and put in different baskets while you take off your shoes and stretches his arms in the sky to be searched. "It is a great hassle that we want to avoid in the future", says Giovanni Bisignani, Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the International Air Transport Association. "We have invested 7.4 billion U.S. dollars in a safe flight. But passengers can only see trouble. Passengers should be able to get from the curb to the gate with dignity. This means to avoid stopping, taking off her clothes and having to pack up and above all to avoid fumbling. It is our goal with the future security, "he continues. The idea is that passengers no longer have to undress but instead should be scanned in a kind of corridor. Passengers are divided into three different levels of security - known traveler, normal or heightened security. Which group you belong to will be the biometric information in your passport and be constantly updated. Persons identified as a known traveler may include those who work for the authorities and has undergone complete background checks in their home countries. Normal is the most fit previously according to IATA, while passengers with stamp heightened security is people where there is no history, or is deemed to be an increased risk. According to aviation organization can change to become real within 2-3 years. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Already Has a system of the Saami type for air freight. This is naturally a direct sistet system to the global Authroised Economic Operator system for traders developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO) under the SAFE Framework of Standards for international trade. THe WCO AEO programme, that are now implemnted in 166 of the organizations 177 member countries was developed based on early quality assurande systems like the Swedish Stairway Concept and the US Customs and Trade Partnership against terrorism (C T-PAT). It is very interesting that the ideas developed in Customs a few years ago are now becomming the standards also in other sectors. This creates a huge potential for interlinked and efficient systems and processes for both passanger trafic and the global supply chain for the future.
Come to Sweden for vacation
It is summer in my country and this is the place to come to visit my beloved and wonderful country.
I can really recommend a trip to Stockholm, that is a beautiful place - especially in the summer - and also the land of the midnight sun far up North is fantastic. Here are some fun and amusing facts about Sweden, Swedish Culture, and Swedish Governance, compiled by an American student (I take no responsibilty for the accuracy of the facts, LoL):
As of 2004 you can pay your Swedish taxes by sending an SMS message from your cell phone.
The government sends you a completely filled out tax form and if it looks good you just go online and click okay to pay your taxes.
Parents get a total of 13 months of paid maternity leave and the father is required to take at least 1 month of it.
Parental leave can be used to take off time for parenting classes before your child is born.
Parents can save up their maternity leave for more than 5 years (i.e., use it for doctor's appointments, school visit days, etc.).
Daycare cost is based on your family income with a government imposed maximum.
If you have a new child, your other children get a month of free daycare so you can concentrate on the new one.
All employees (including graduate students) get 5 weeks of paid vacation a year.
Yearly car inspections include comprehensive safety checks as well as pollution controls.
Car insurance is flat-rate depending on the deductibles (i.e., no "comprehensive" vs. "collision" vs. "uninsured" vs. "medical"), and liability insurance is not required.
The government installs elk fences along the sides of large roads to prevent elk from wandering into traffic.
Any product you purchase is guaranteed for 1 year, and the retailer must exchange it if it fails in that time.
All non-military property that is not fenced in, or is not a farm or someone's personal garden is open to anyone for hiking through or camping for one night.
Ice cream comes (also) in blueberry and rhubarb flavors, and is never florescent.
The sun rises at 3.30am in the summer.
The sun sets at 3.30pm in the winter.
Christmas is celebrated on the evening of the 24th. The father always goes out to buy a newspaper and while he is gone Santa arrives (in person) to deliver presents.
Swedish universities are for free for all citizens.
American textbooks are cheaper in Sweden than in the U.S.
In Sweden IKEA is a cheap store, not a trendy store. (And they are only open until 8pm on special days.)
Learning to speak Swedish is frustrating becaues everyone in Sweden already speaks better English than you will ever speak Swedish.
St. Lucia is a nationally celebrated saint (complete with baked goods and TV shows), and despite the fact that she is a saint because she tore out her own eyes to avoid being seduced by a man, little children dress up like her every winter.
The largest ice cream restaurant in the country is located in the quaint littlevillage Söderköping, and sells creations that use dry ice to create bubbling smoking concoctions. No one is concerned about being sued if some foolish kid eats the dry ice.
Skåne is the southern part of Sweden and the most beautiful part of the country.
UNDP and Google provides Capacity Building statistics
International capacity building, development statistics and data, based on UNDP's Human Development Reports, is now available on the Google Public Data Explorer. The idea is to make information more accessible and the database contains both the UNDP's measure of human development (Human Development Index, HDI), which provides direc t links to all previous Human Development Reports (HDR). We can also self-experiment with graphs and statistics, and easily share their charts by e-mail. By making international development statistics readily available via Google, worldwide the ability to monitor trends and patterns of human development - as it looks today and ove r time. In addition to the HDI contains google tool, also the three new indices presented in the 2010 Human Development Report: Inequality-Adjusted Human Development Index, which takes account of inequalities, The Gender Inequality Index, the index of inequality between the sexes, and Multidimensional Poverty Index - a multi-dimensional poverty indices have shown the existence of poor people's living standards. Cooperation between UNDP and Google seeks to broaden international support for a more human-centered approach to development - where education and life expectancy is counted as equally important measure of a country's development such as income and economic growth.
The 12 fastest growing economies 2011
When talking about growing economies some countries always appears. However when looking at EconomyWatch predictions for the fastest growing economies in 2011 based on the Economoc Statistics Database, some suprises pops-up. These are the 12 fastest growing economies in the world this year: 1. Ghana 20.1 %, 2. Quatar 14.3 %, 3. Turkmenistan 12.1 %, 4. China 9.9 %, 5. Liberia 9.0%, 6. India 8.4%. 7. Angola 8.2%, 8. Iraq 7.9%, 9. Etiophia 7.7%, 10. Mozambique 7.5%, 11. Timor Leste (East Timor) 7.3%, 12. Laos 7.3%.
Capacity building on the agenda of Presidents
Africa should put more efforts in building capacity that goes beyond achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target of 2015. This was the conclusion reached by several African leaders and heads of institutions during the Af rican Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) summit that was concluded earlier this spring in Kigali. A high level panel that included President Paul Kagame, Kenya's Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, Togo's Premier, Gilbert Houngbo, World Bank's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, African Development Bank President, Dr. Donald Kaberuka and Dr. Frannie Leautier from ACBF discussed the theme "Building Capacity beyond MDGs". Speaking during the summit to mark the 20th anniversary of ACBF, President Kagame, who co-chairs, the United Nations MDG Advocacy Group, observed that while MDGs could be achieved in a few years, capacity building on the continent will continue for much longer. President Kagame noted that the need for capacity today, is even greater because of the new challenges that keeping coming up as the continent moves into the future.
"The capacity we are talking about is organizational, institutional and human, to be able to deliver our people's development. Therefore, that really give s weight to the need for capacity. Capacity building is very central for us to be where we want to be and that entails many challenges, the ones we are here to discuss and see how we can confront them and find solutions," President Kagame added. In a very interactive discussion that drew some of the continents' top leaders and academics, including former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, President Kagame observed that what Africa needs is the transformation of mindsets. "We are thinking beyond certain limits, as we were thinking beyond 2015, when it came to MDGs. We are also thinking beyond capacity being that investment in an individual, beyond qualifications and skills,". "Beyond having economists, engineers, but having people with a certain mindset, a certain attitude, a certain culture so that these useful qualities take us beyond the individual," President Kagame said, adding that the qualities should help in the transformation of communities. The President cit ed Rwanda as an example of a country which started from rock bottom after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, by investing in the capacity of its people and in turn expecting them to use the capacity to the benefit of the country as a whole, something that has paid off. President Kagame emphasized that Africans know what they want and no other party should seek to prescribe what is supposedly ideal for them because they (Africans) know what is good for them.
Kenyan Prime Minister Odinga, challenged Africa to believe in itself to make things possible by looking back at what has been achieved in the last 15-20 years and using it as a springboard to further progress. "Africa has now witnessed very appreciable rates of economic growth in the last 15 to 20 years. This of course is attributable to improved governance," Odinga said. "One issue that has not been paid attention to is the kind of growth rates, because we tend to measure the growth in terms of the GDP. When the fig ure increases we are all very grateful". The Kenyan Premier said that people don't attach more value on how this growth spreads into the society, hence failing to recognise the impact, such as infrastructure development and improved standards of living. The Togolese Prime Minister, Gilbert Houngbo, concurred with President Kagame, noting that Africa needs to look beyond 2015 and MDGs by identifying the role capacity building will play in the future. Dr. Kaberuka and World Banks's Ngozi Okonjo supported African countries seeking solutions to their own challenges rather than taking "blueprints" from donors and other partners, emphasising that Africans know the solutions to their own challenges. During the debate, the issue of Africans attaching value and dignity to themselves was emphasised as a vital element to the continent's development. Burundi's Vice President, Gervaise Rufyikiri and the Prime Minister of Gabon, Paul Biyoghé Mba, were among the participating African leade rs.
In memory of Angus
The Angus Thomson Scholarship Fund was established by Angus’ friends, family, colleagues and the Intuit Foundation. The ultimate goal of the fund is to create a sustainable scholarship program, such that we can honor Angus’ memory each year by sponsoring a new student. Angus Thomson was one of the earliest believers in the African Leadership Academy (ALA). He recognized that a deep investment in entrepreneurial and ethical leaders is critical to creating a brighter future for Africa and our world. In 2010, the inaugural year, the goal was is to raise at least $100,000, enabling two students to complete the full two years of study at ALA. This was acheived. Now new targets are set. Angus Thomson was a trusted advisor, supporter and friend of ALA and a truly great person. His passing in October 2010 is felt by us all. He helped the founding team develop many of the ideas that sh ape our institution today. We feel blessed to have benefited from his passion, insights, and friendship during ALA’s formative years. Please join us the task in memory of Angus and for the benefit of Africa by joining us in participating in this high-impact giving campaign and give your contribution on: Memory of Angus
Clinton for World Bank?
Hillary Clinton has been in discussions with the White House about stepping down from her job as Secretary of State to become head of the World Bank, according to reports.
Mrs Clinton, the former First Lady, Senator for New York and rival to President Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary race, is said to be eager to become the first female president of the World Bank should the post become vacant next year. "Hillary Clinton wants the job," a source close to Mrs Clinton told news agency Reuters yesterday. Robert Zoellick, a former Bush administration official, is believed to be ready to step down as president at the end of his term in the middle of next year. Mrs Clinton has made clear she does not want to remain US Secretary of State, a gruelling job demanding months of world travel each year, beyond Mr Obama's first term.
Another source told Reuters that Mr Obama supported her taking the helm at the World Bank, which is traditionally led by an American.
We love coffee!
Swedish people are coffee drinkers. Yes, we do love beer, vodka and wine - like most people, but most of all we love coffee.
If you walk the steets of Stockholm or any other city you will find coffee places everywhere. All the major international coffee chains like Starbucks, Expresso House, Wayne´s coffee, Coffee House etc are present, but there are also many local places to have excellent coffee of all types. According to national statistcs 53 % of the coffee comes from South America with Brazil as the major supplyer with more than 40 %. We get another 21% from Guatemala and the rest from all over the world. There is no other way to say it than, we love coffee! In fact, I love coffee. My favourite is Latte Macchiato but I also enjoy a well made espresso.
Is there a new paradigm for social engagement and capacity building among the private sector on the way?
"Sweden is traditionally one of the leading countries in capacity building and international aid work. Yet we must find new solutions when it comes to commercial firms participation in capacity building and aid projects and activities. Swedish companies can and want to take responsibility and show a social conscious in their business. Commercialism and knowledge from the business community can accomplish much" says four heavy industry representatives to Swedish media, representatives who all personally participated actively in various aid projects. Percy Barnevik (former ABB CEO), Jan Carlzon (former SAS CEO), Dan Olofsson (IT CEO and entrepreneur) and Olof Stenhammar (former head of the Swedish Olympic Committee and Chairman of Many international companies) are all convinced that there is no contradiction between "classic" aid models and assistance which is provided by commercial operators. “We want to help” the business top managers say in an article in Swedish newspapers last week. "The Starving child in sub-Saharan Africa does not care who supplied food for your stomach or vaccines for the body, it is immaterial whether the money that helped him or her have been collected through a parliamentary decision, through fund raising events or as a result of a series of individual decisions, where recreational needs and profits interests are in the picture .”During our time in business, the pendulum has swung from staying away from social engagement to being main leaders in contributing to good projects outside its own operations. Today there is hardly any company today that retains its goodwill if it does not have some form of community involvement. In a world where climate, financial and job crises have become the living we must seek new solutions. Various sectors of society - business, public and voluntary sectors - need to get experience and skills from each other. Leaders who are working from a set of values is often better leaders wherever they are. They generate pride, enthusiasm and can see that social engagement is good both for business and also for society. Commercial initiatives can create situations where everyone involved in some sense a winner. In Hand in Hand's activities, for example, pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson donated to the health and job creation for poor women so they can afford to buy medicine. With socially responsible investments can Swedish companies discourage such as child labour and environmental degradation - both Ikea and H & M are excellent examples to show how this can work in practice with their programmes to develop also the countries and communities they active in, all around the world. In Sweden - where child labour and pure hunger may seem far away - there are other problems. Here, corporate social engagement focus on preventing drug abuse and criminality among young people. The world need more, not fewer, private initiatives to become a better place to live in. The differences between running an efficient business and an effective aid projects is not large. Most notably, this will be when companies in addition to resources also contributes with expertise in entrepreneurship and market economics. Unfortunately, the latter two concepts are still too unknown among those who believe they have sole rights to the "right" kind of aid work in which permissiveness and passivity in mercy's name is often considered okay. The worn question of whether the poor in the long run is best helped by getting a fish or a fishing rod can be filed. Today we know that it literally a combination of fishing rods, fishing grounds, skills and market for the landed fish that lead to lasting improvements. There are still endless challenges to address. The business community and the private sector has a lot to offer. There may be direct investment in well drilling, school projects or roads. It can be an expert assistance or training courses for local contractors. Or new ways to raise money for existing projects.
All this raises the welfare level of entire communities and creating new markets. In a modern charity work is no conflict between private initiatives and traditional publicly-funded assistance. Therefore, let the diversity bloom and a thousand ideas to be born of working for a better world". We need more entrepreneurs from the business sector saying things like this, and also showing it in practice. These men have done so. They deserve our respect and all of us need to listen to them. Their voices makes me think, is there a new paradigm for social engagement among the private sector on the way?
Zlatan hat-trick when Sweden beats Finland 5-0
Swedish international Zlatan Ibrahimovic played an amazing game and scored a hat trick to help power Sweden to a 5-0 soccer win over Finland last evening in a one-sided UEFA European Championship qualifier. Having missing Friday's 4-1 demolition of Moldova with a foot injury, Ibrahimovic came on as a substitute in the 25th minute when Ola Toivinen went off with a toe injury. By then, Sweden had already taken the lead after Kim Kallstrom whipped in a 41-meter (45-yard) free kick that landed in the bottom-right corner. It was Kallstrom who turned provider for the second goal, sliding a defense-splitting pass to the centrally positioned Ibrahimovic, who calmly slotted a low right-footed shot into the bottom corner just six minutes after his arrival on to the pitch. A miserable evening for new Finland coach Mixu Paatelainen got even worse in the 35th, when Ibrahimovic side-footed the ball into an empty net after midfielder Sebastian Larsson had picked out the unmarked striker with a clever pass. Finland was being completely outplayed, and the majority of the 32,000-strong crowd started to really enjoy the occasion on a balmy evening in Stockholm. Ibrahimovic completed his hat trick in the 53rd after the Finnish defense allowed him too much space to latch on to a free kick from Kallstrom and guide a cushioned header to Jaakkola's left. Emir Bajrami rounded off the scoring with a deft chip over Jaakkola in the 82nd minute. Ibrahimovic had found the midfielder with a fantastic perfect through-ball pass. Sweden is second in Group E, three points behind the Netherlands. Finland is fourth, nine points behind Sweden.
Bono and icehockey
The U2 frontman and his assistant were walking Tuesday in West Vancouver, British Columbia, when they got caught in the rain. Fortunately for them, NHL Icehockey player Gil Brule and his girlfriend, Kelsey Nichols, were on their way to take their German shepherd Bella to a park. Brule had to convince Nichols, who was driving, to pull over. "I didn't want to stop, but they waved and Gil yelled, 'That's Bono,' " Nichols told the Edmonton Journal Wednesday night. "I didn't believe him so I kept driving." Bono and his assistant hopped in the back with Bella. To thank them, he offered Brule and his girlfriend backstage passes for the U2 concert Wednesday night at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium. “ He was cool, an ice hockey player, his name was Gilbert Brule as it happens, I'm so grateful I've decided I want to be Gilbert Brule". The couple sold their tickets to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals between Boston and Vancouver, took a flight back to Edmonton and went to the show with Brule's mom. "I like people who play ice hockey -- they stop for hitchhikers. I know this from experience," Bono told the concert crowd. "I was hitchhiking in Vancouver yesterday, actually I was! And this guy and his girlfriend picked me up. He was cool, an ice hockey player, his name was Gilbert Brule as it happens, I'm so grateful I've decided I want to be Gilbert Brule." With hockey on his mind, Bono compared his bandmates to former Oiler greats, calling The Edge, "The Wayne Gretzky of U2." "We go to walk our dog and Bono ends up in our car," Brule told the Journal.
Swedish Prime Minister visits Estonia
Tuesday, June 7, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt visits Estonia for talks with Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and President Toomas Ilves in Tallinn. The visit is the third and final in a series of visits to the Baltic neighbors to celebrate it this year is 20 years since they regained independence. Discussion will focus mainly on current EU affairs, bilateral relations, cooperation and representation in international organizations. The discussions will concetrated on the economic situation in Europe, migration, the EU's next budget, the EU Baltic Sea Strategy and EU enlargement.
Today it is the national day of Sweden.
We are all proud citizens of a country known for its efficiency, transparency, gender equality, social support network and international engagement. Today we celebrate the day of our country.
My favourite TV shows
Over the years I have had a number of favourite TV shows that I have treid to follow. even though work, family activities - and yes, travelling - often have made it difficult to watch TV, there are still some shows that I have tried to follow over the years. The three best ones, that I also hold as favourites and strongly recommend, are:
1. The Sopranos
The Sopranos is an American television drama series created by David Chase that revolves around the New Jersey based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano, played by James Gandolfini, and the difficulties he faces as he tries to balance the often conflicting requirements of his home life and the criminal organization he heads. The series also features Tony's family members and mafia associates in prominent roles and storylines. This is the masterpiece of company HBO and it has received more awards than any other TV show to date. The series premiered I the United States on January 10, 1999 and ended its original run of six seasons on June 10, 2007. Very recommended.
2. The Shield
The Shield is an American television drama series starring Michael Chiklis in the role of a lifetime as police officer Vic Mackay. Known for its controversial portrayal of corrupt police officers, it was originally advertised as Rampart in reference to the true life linked to the rampart Division police scandal, which the set-up was loosely based upon. The first season gained the most Emmy nominations for a basic drama ever. The series was created by Shawn Ryan. The final seventh season won a 2008 AFI award for best television series. This is a fantastic drama Tv show, showing the life on the streets, with excellent actors. Best ever police show. Recommended
3. The Killing (Brottet)
"Brottet" is a Danish crime series from 2007. Directed by Birger Larsen, Kristoffer Nyholm, Henrik Ruben Genz, Charlotte Sieling and Hans Fabian. The series has also been launched in English speaking countries, including Australia, entitled The Killing. A new american version has just been recorded and broadcatsed as on of the most popular show in US for the moment. This is an absolutely thrilling serie about one single crime and the people that all get absored into the consequences of the event. This is one of the best films ever made. Recommended.
Other favourite shows include: Mad Men, Curb your Entusiasm, Seinfeld, Prime Suspect, Downton Abbey, Hill Street Blues, Trial & Retribution and NYPD Blue.
Another 3 points for Sweden
Yesterday our national football team beat Moldova away in Chisnau with 4-1. Good to win away with 3 goals and another 3 points in the race towards the European Championship 2012.
A remarkable man
He has been CEO of Ikea, Volvo and Scandic Hotels. He has served on H & M's Board of Directors for nearly 20 years. And won the Whitbread for EF. Now he sells makeup in Africa. t Fred Anderson, one of the Swedish business sector heavy guns is a remarkable man and he has been everywhere. The laboratory at Mulagosjukhuset in Kampala is hermetically sealed. In this test of the worst varieties of TB, those who do not even the strongest antibiotics bite. All visitors must take on the white rubber boots to avoid spreading the infection outside the lab. At a bench test the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Professor Vinod Diwan is testing a prototype of a mobile microscope, at his side is his colleague Professor Stephen Peterson. the microscope is going to become a revolution in Africa. Fred Anderson, 64, is in Uganda to develop cosmetics company Oriflame's African operations, but also to participate in the Karolinska institutes exchange with the local Makarere Universitety. Fred Andersson has started a clinic in Kenya and want to see if the CI project is something that could give results too. Professors Diwan and Peterson to get support for their projects, and perhaps to have full access to Fred Anderson's network. They know that he knows practically all Swedish top managers. How did Fred end up in Africa? "We had vacation in Kenya a decade ago, fell in love with the country and decided to buy a place in Kenya. It has now grown to the hotel Kinondo Kwetu. Kinondo is the village and Kwetu means 'my home' in Swahili, and it has by the magazine Tatler has been appointed to one of the world's 101 best hotels". "Now my son Philip and his wife Ida is running hotel", says Fred to Swedish media, "but I have designed interior and is the principal owner". The Swedish Royal family has lived there, Oriflame founder Robert af Jochnick and H & M's owner and founder Stefan Persson as well. Stefan Persson and Fredrik Andersson met already in the 1970s in London. When Stefan Persson 1990 took over leadership of H & M after his father Erling Persson the first thing he did was to ask Fred Anderson if he wanted to be on the board of the compoany. "Stefan wanted to someone with experience from international retail, so my background fit." You've seen a phenomenal rise and the international launch of H & M. H & M Persson family has been through a Swedish Children's Fund donated money to the clinic, directed to the local residents, as Fred Anderson and his family have built up on site. While Oriflame's founders, the brothers of Jochnick, has through his foundation made contributions to the clinic. And of course working Fred Anderson today in building Oriflame's African operations. "I took the idea to start Oriflame in Africa for Robert af Jochnick, but for a few years, he said that I was too old. But I argued that if we can create jobs, it's the best assistance we can provide. So it was, today we are located in 15 countries and employs over 10 000 local staff consultants, some earning thousands of dollars a month. Many of them lived past a few hundred pieces. " We have an Oriflame shop in Kampala, and it's Sarah Lindo who owns it. She is a sales number 696 in Uganda and, in turn, recruited 50 new vendors, or consultants as they are called. In the shop there is another Sarah, extension number three, Sarah Ainomugisha.Hon tells her Cinderella story. About how she was without food or money, with her husband and three children, moved around to friends and lived on alms. But she managed to borrow a few hundred pieces, made the twelve-hour bus trip to Fred Anderson in Nairobi and was there Oriflame Consultants. When she got back to Kampala, he called and asked how she had it. Then, her newborn baby acutely ill with pneumonia. '' Call an ambulance and take him to an international hospital, I'll pay, 'he said. A friend of mine said that there's muzungun '(white man) is not wise, but I called the ambulance and Fred paid for everything, it saved the life of my son. Fred then became godfather to the boy. " Fred Andersson, a remarkable man.
Moldova vs Sweden
Tonight Sweden, second in our qualifying group to the UEFA European Championship in Poland and Ukraine next summer, plays Modova away in Chisnau. It is a very difficult game and Moldova has a young and rising national football team on the way. we still hope for three new points tonight, leadning up to the group final against Netherlands in Stockholm later this year.
Sweden particpates in the Shangri-La Dialogue, Singapore
Close to 30 high-ranking delegations will be taking part in this year's regional security summit known as the Shangri-la Dialogue.
The three-day meeting in Singapore will take place from Friday to Sunday. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak will deliver the keynote address this evening. United States' Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will address the summit on Saturday morning. It's Dr Gates' fourth participation at the dialogue. And for the first time, China's Defence Minister will participate in the Dialogue. General Liang Guanglie will address the first plenary session on Sunday morning. The Singapore delegation is led by the new Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen. Sweden is represented by Foreign Minister Mr. Carl Bildt. The agenda will include six plenary sessions covering issues ranging from emerging security challenges for the Asia-Pacific to China's international security co-operation.
There will also be five closed-door special sessions.The event, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Another record breaking month for my blog
During last month a record breaking 2774 people visited my website blog to read about customs capaity building. This increadible interest from all around the world shows that there is a huge interest for refrom and modernization. Thank you for following the blog!
FC Barcelona, my club
I am a proud Member of double (football & handball) Champions League winner FC Barcelona. I am Member 167945. FC Barcelona is a great club. The best in the world. This generation of our football team is not only the best in Europe this season, it is not only the best in the world this season - it is the best football team that ever played on this planet. Every player on the first team is extremely good and the stars of this generation are amazing. First of all, El Capitano, Carles Puyol. The captain of captains. Gerard Piquet, one of the best defenders in the world. Andres Iniesta, a magician. Xavi Hernandes - a top ten player of the world ever and probably the best cantral midfielder in history...and of cause Lionel Messi. 23 years old, he is now the best player ever. I have no doubt. The Champions League final against Manchester United was the final confirmation. Lionel Messi have 14 titles already. Fourteen. If you look at the record of Leo Messi over the last seasons - you will find the following statistics. Season 2008/2009; 38 goals in 51 games. Season 2009/2010; 47 goals in 53 games. Season 2010/2011; 53 goals in 55 games. And in Champions League;
37 goals in 57 games. Nobody has a better record. All these reamarkable Barcelona players have one thing in common (together with a number of other players in the first 11, namely Valdes, Busquets and Pedro) they all come from the best football academy of the world, La Masia. I am a very happy Member of the mighty FC Barcelona. The best club and team of the world.
The Swedish Tiger economy
The last quarter of 2010 the Swedish economy grew by 7.3%. Such a high growth has not been seen in Sweden since the early 70's. It is a figure that even the tiger economies of Asia would be happy with. First quarter 2011 GDP figures were 6.4%. The background is of course that the Swedish economy is well managed. Our success is based on the course that we have a competitive industry with high quality and that many of our major trading partners now have come through the crisis. Especially important is that the German economy once again is the economic engine that Europe needs. Across the Baltic Sea, we can be pleased that Estonia and Lithuania show good numbers and that Latvia is headed in the right direction. The Polish ekononomin has also been strong throughout the crisis, something that received little attention.
Record figures for growth is obviously something we should rejoice, but there is no single record figures who build our future prosperity. The important thing is that we quarter after quarter success to be the odd one tenth of our competitors in GDP growth. That's how we retain and gain ground in the prosperity league.