Chris Froome has done it again! For the 3rd time in the last 4 years, Froome today won the Tour de France again.

Today the 103rd Tour de France – of cycling’s grand tours – ended in Paris. The 3,529 km (2,193 mi)-long race started at Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, on 2nd July 2016, and concluded on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, earlier today. A total of 198 riders from 22 teams entered the 21 stage race. 

I love music and I have been to many concerts over the years. Yesterday evening pn July 23rd 2016 I saw what probably is the best concert I have ever seen, when Bruce Springsteen, a.k.a The Boss visited Sweden and Gothenburg for the third time this summer on The River-tour.

I was there with my friends and it was my 22nd Springsteen-concert. As many of you know Bruce Springsteen is one of my favourite artists and idols. 

The Boss also has a special relationship with Sweden. His first ever tour outside United States was to Stockholm in 1975, just after releasing his breakthrough album Born to Run. This period 75-80 is for me his best and most creative time when he released his best songs and albums with the trilogy, Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town and The River. 

This time Springsteen tours with The River album. In U.S. he played the entire album while he in Europe has performed with lore of an ordinary setlist of songs during his concerts. However yesterday, Bruce made an exception for Sweden. He played the entire River-album for the Swedish audience folled by a second setlist that have already been named a classic by Springsteen fans on the Internet. 

We got a fantastic The Ties That Bind, a marvellous Out in the Street, an outstanding version of the title song The River, and mezmerizing versions of songs normally not played live, like Drive All Nigh, Stolen Car and The Price You Pay. But best of all was a amazing Point Blank. 

Point Blank is my favourite Springsteen song of all times, a song I only have heard live once before in 1981. 

This is the 34 songs long setlist from the concert yesterday: 

Meet me in the city, The Ties That Bind, Sherry Darling, Jackson Cage, Two Hearts, Independence Day, Hungry Hearts, Out in the Street, Crush on you, You can look (but better not touch), The River, Point Blank, Cadillac Ranch, I am a Rocker, Fade Away, Stolen Car, Ramrod, The Price You Pay, Drive all night, Wreck on the highway, Badlands, The Promised Land, Candys Room, She’s the One, Because the Night, The Rising, Land of Hope and Dreams, Born in the USA, Born to Run, Seven Nights to Rock, Dancing in the Dark, Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Shout, Twist and Shout. 

It was a fantastic and magic evening. Bruce was inspired and performing at his very best. He played for 3 hours and 42 minutes ending the show with what is called ‘the Stadium wrecker’, Twist and Shout. 

In June 1995 on the Born in the USA-tour Bruce Sprongsteen played two shows at the same stadium, Ullevi in Gothenburg. I was there both nights and on the second night the stadium virtually broke. The concrete was damaged from the audience dancing and jumping up and down. It took ten years of repairs before the stadium was used again. 

Yesterday he tried to do it again, shouting Are you ready to test the stadium? numerous times during a furious 20 minute long Twist and Shout – the song that once broke the same stadium down. 

It was a crazy night and one of the best Springsteen concerts ever. 

Terroism, development of more advanced international crime syndicates and an increased military tension has created a higher demand for new technology and technical anti-terror solutions. 

Swedish international industrustrial defence company SAAB has developed a new system for customs, police, military and other government agencies, specifically targetted in the increasing unauthorized use of drones. There ahve a number of serious incidents where terrorists and criminals have been using drones recently.

We have invested a lot in order to meet this type of threat. We have developed a new radar that can find very small units“, says the SAAB CEO Håkan Buskhe.
He is referring to the new radar family, SAAB recently begun to deliver. This radar model can detect very small objects from a large distance. 

The new drone protection system will be able to cover an entire city and both find and follow the drone, but above all to figure out where those that control the drones are somewhere. The latter is difficult today, and the culprits usually get away.
We test the system in a number of markets right now and are in the final phase of testing. We will be ready to deliver the system in 2017“, says Buskhe.

Today Jens Stoltenberg made another great speech, on the five year day lf the Utöya teerorist attack. Stoltenberg, the PM of Norway, is famous for his speech about fighting terrorism with more openess and more democracy after the terrorist attack that caused the death of 77 people, 69 on the island of Utöya –  most of them young people. 

In his speech today Stoltenberg talked about sorrow. He said:

Sorrow is a long road.Wounds inflicted by terror never heal. Scars never fade.We never get over the pain of our loss.

But like our writer Lars Saabye Christensen wrote:

I see: the sorrow is of a solid materialWe are the blacksmiths of sorrow, we hammer it, We twist it, we bend it and we shape it. Until we realise: the sorrow cannot diminish the past.

Great true words. Today we think about the victims of the Utöya massacre and other terrorist attacks. 

Here is a link to the entire speech: Jens Stoltenberg Speech 2016

Developing countries lose an estimated 23 billion U.S. dollars annually through failure to comply with Group of 20 non-tariff measures, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

According to new data published by UNCTAD, the loss is equal to about 10 per cent of the exports of the developing countries to the Group of 20 (G20). 

The G20 is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies comprising 19 countries plus the European Union. 

Non-tariff measures cover a broad range of legitimate and important policy instruments, including measures to protect the health of a country’s citizens and its environments. 

Non-tariff measures may limit the use of pesticides in food but as tariffs have fallen to historic lows, non-tariff measures have replaced them as a key brake on faster global trade growth. 

UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Joakim Reiter said the expansion of the middle classes in many countries was expected to increase demand for safer and cleaner products. Reiter said this, in turn, might require countries to introduce more non-tariff measures adding, these kinds of measures are becoming increasingly widespread. 

Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary General of UNCTAD and Swedish Top Diplomat

For example, measures on the cleanliness and pathogen-free status of food – known as sanitary and phytosanitary measures – cover more than 60 per cent of agricultural trade. Such regulatory measures disproportionately increase trade costs for small and medium-sized enterprises and developing countries, particularly the least developed. We estimate, for example, that the impact of the European Union’s sanitary and phytosanitary measures come to a loss of about three billion U.S. dollars for low-income country exports.”

You can read the entire article hereArticle about developing countries

Sweden is best in the world on sustainable development and capacity building”  according to Jeffrey Sachs Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and professor at Columbia University and advisor to the UN Sectetary General. 

Professor Jeffrey Sachs

Together with Isabella Lövin (MP), Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation, Professor Sachs has written an article about the Swedish aid and development support. 

Here is an unofficial translation of the article. 

“Global cooperation. Ranked number one. In many countries, there is the perception that economic, social and environmental sustainability are different goals that conflict with each other. The world needs good examples showing that the objectives can be achieved. Here Sweden has unique conditions, writes the minister Isabella Lövin (MP) and Professor Jeffrey Sachs.

Last year, world leaders adopted three historic agreements to solve global challenges: climate agreement in Paris, the UN’s 2030 agenda with 17 new sustainable development goals and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on the global development agenda should be financed.

It was a crucial step that world leaders could adopt these three agreements. But the goals and visions are not enough. There is still the perception of many countries to economic, social and environmental sustainability are different goals that conflict with each other, and that environmental and social concerns are something that costs too much and hamper development. The world now needs a good example: countries that take the lead and show that economic development, social and environmental sustainability can be achieved and even reinforce each other. We believe that Sweden can and should be such a country.

On Wednesday evening a new index of the Agenda 2030 objectives of sustainable development was announced, which contains very encouraging news for Sweden. Namely Sweden ranks first in the world in terms of national progress towards the 17 objectives of sustainable development. The report from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the German Bertelsmann Foundation used three different methods to analyze and rank the world’s countries. Regardless of the method used, Sweden took first place among the 147 countries analyzed (34 countries are not included because of lack of access to information).

Sweden can be very proud of this top ranking. Nevertheless, much work remains even for Sweden, particularly in terms of achieving environmental sustainability. Still needed such great efforts to preserve biodiversity and protect and restore the Baltic Sea, to mention two important examples.

The indicators in today’s report reminds us of the urgent need for global cooperation – a message that Sweden welcomed, not least against the background of Sweden takes place in the UN Security Council during 2017-2018.

Sustainable development in accordance with the 2030 agenda gives us namely also a safer world. Target 16 on justice, peaceful and inclusive societies with effective and accountable institutions shows that the world has matured. Instead of constructing a one-dimensional focus on economic development is now a holistic approach. War is today perhaps the greatest obstacle to sustainable development. Instead of increasing life expectancy, ensuring health care, increase the level of education and protect the environment thrown Countries that conflict decades backwards.

The ongoing wars in the Middle East not only undermine dramatically the sustainable development of the countries involved in the conflicts, but also threatening global efforts for the sustainable development goals. The conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere have given rise to large refugee flows, and many countries – including Sweden – has used a portion of their aid budgets to cover the costs of the refugees. All are losers – those who are embroiled in war, those who are forced to leave their homes and those who find that aid budgets are cut down because resources have been redirected. Political instability, climate change, war and violence faced by the global community as a whole, and it is in all our interests to address these challenges.

Social injustice on a global level must also be fought on a global level to address the involuntary economic migration and social unrest. This is why Sweden has launched the Global Initiative deal for decent work and inclusive growth and now urges other countries to join. Climate change, which leads to desertification in some areas and rising sea levels on the second, is also something that will lead to forced migration and possibly wars and conflicts. This is one of the reasons why Sweden has adopted the goal of becoming one of the world’s first fossil fuel free welfare of nations.

During MDG Years (2000-2015) the made world, significant progress in terms of economic development. But when it comes to the other two pillars of sustainable development – social and environmental sustainability – the development has been less impressive. While countries have become wealthier, many have become less fair in terms of income and wealth distribution. Sweden has among the smallest income disparities in the world, but you know after a century of social structure that it is a demanding task to preserve income equality. It requires not only good tax morale, but also value for money: good general public health, good education and child care, and effective social security system.

An acute global challenge pipes understood environmental sustainability. Sweden should take responsibility when it comes to fighting climate change, among other things by phasing out fossil fuels to 2045. Many Swedish companies are investing huge resources in R & D in renewable energy, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and other means to remove carbon dioxide emissions. In this way Sweden stakes out the path. And Swedish export-dependent companies also know from experience that it benefits them to be the first climate-smart technology. So there is no contradiction between environmental and economic sustainability.

The main message in terms of sustainable development goals is that they are within reach – whether governments, private sector, civil society and the international community control over sufficient resources to prioritize them. We can afford sustainable development – in fact, it is an unsustainable development that would ruin us. In particular, we can not afford the violent conflict that cost lives, while millions of civilians and control the public’s attention and budgets away from long-term investments in environmental sustainability and welfare.

Sweden intends to promote the objectives of sustainable development through its national efforts, its long-standing tradition of generous development, their interaction with like-minded leaders of the goals of sustainable development, and their voice and influence in the UN Security Council in favor of peace and reconciliation. 2030 agenda shows that peace, social justice, welfare and environmental protection is not a utopia. But it will not become a reality without the vision and strong leadership.

While countries have become wealthier, many have become less fair in terms of income and wealth distribution. Sweden has among the smallest income disparities in the world, but you know after a century of social structure that it is a demanding task to preserve income equality.

Isabella Lövin (MP), Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate

Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and professor at Columbia University

This article was published today in major Swedish newspapers.