Alistair's Feed
Aug 9, 2015

In a port city, grenade attacks shatter Swedish sense of safety

MALMO, Sweden (Reuters) – After years in the military and police dealing with bombs and mines in ex-Yugoslavia, Lebanon and Iraq, Goran Mansson is now back home advising Swedes what to do if they find an unexploded grenade on their street or in a playground.

As bomb squad chief in the western port city of Malmo, Mansson has been busy with a dozen grenade attacks in the last few months. They have shocked a Nordic country that prides itself on safety, led to worries criminality is out of control and given political fodder to a resurgent far-right that blames immigrant gangs for the violence.

Jul 3, 2015

Roll over Volvo, classic Americana rolls into Sweden

VASTERAS, Sweden, July 3 (Reuters) – Thousands of classic
American cars from Mustangs to Corvettes and Cadillacs have
rolled into a lakeside town in Sweden for three days of
bumper-to-bumper cruising, rockabilly nostalgia and some serious
beer drinking.

Touted as the world’s biggest American vintage car show -
some 20,000 cars are expected over three days – it highlights
Sweden’s unusual love affair with post-War American cars, rock
and roll and cultural rebellion – known here as “Raggare”.

Jul 1, 2015

As populists surge, Nordic consensus politics fray

COPENHAGEN/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – A policy impasse in Sweden and a newly installed but fragile minority government in Denmark are the latest signs that the Nordic political consensus model is fraying at the hands of eurosceptic and anti-immigration parties.

Danish Liberals leader Lars Lokke Rasmussen was forced to form a minority government with just 34 seats of 179 in parliament after failing to strike a coalition deal with the eurosceptic Danish People’s Party (DF) over the weekend.

May 6, 2015

Lithuania stages ‘little green man’ war games, with eye on Moscow

VILNIUS (Reuters) – Lithuania launched a military exercise on Wednesday to simulate an attack on its new gas terminal, a move its strongly anti-Moscow president said was intended to show the Kremlin that the tiny country would defend itself.

The scenario is modeled on last year’s capture of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula by Russian soldiers in unmarked uniforms and civilian clothes, who came to be known as the “little green men” when Moscow initially denied their identity.

Apr 28, 2015

AstraZeneca’s slide drags FTSE away from all-time high

LONDON (Reuters) – The FTSE pulled away from all-time highs on Tuesday, weighed down by a drop in drugs firm AstraZeneca and Asia-focused bank Standard Charted.

Weaker-than-expected UK economic output data helped the FTSE 100 edge off its early lows, however, as it knocked down the pound, making British blue chips’ exports more attractive.

Apr 28, 2015

AstraZeneca’s slide drags Britain’s FTSE away from all-time high

LONDON, April 28 (Reuters) – Britain’s top share index
pulled away from all-time highs on Tuesday, weighed down by a
drop in drugs firm AstraZeneca and Asia-focused bank
Standard Charted.

Weaker-than-expected UK economic output data helped the FTSE
100 edge off its early lows, however, as it knocked down
the pound, making British blue chips’ exports more attractive.

Apr 16, 2015

Election strains Finland’s diplomatic balancing act with Russia

HELSINKI (Reuters) – From closer NATO ties to rumors of Kremlin-backed land deals on its border, Finland’s diplomatic balancing act with Russia has come under the spotlight before Sunday’s parliamentary election as politicians debate how far to challenge the Kremlin.

The vote sees centrist opposition front-runner Juha Sipila, who favors military non-alignment along with two other major parties, battling center-right incumbent Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, who advocates joining NATO.

Apr 12, 2015

Taste of its own medicine? Austerity overshadows Finland vote

KOTKA, Finland, April 12 (Reuters) – When Finland’s
opposition leader and likely new prime minister Juha Sipila
warned Finland could be the next Greece, it was an election
campaign quip with a serious side – signalling the risks for a
country facing a perfect storm of economic woes.

Two hours drive Sipila’s office in bustling Helsinki, the
town of Kotka shows signs of what he means. Around one in five
people is unemployed, a rate not far off Greece. Hit by the
closure of paper mills left behind by the digital age, it is
light years from Finland’s tech-savvy image.

Apr 7, 2015

Finland poll leader open to deal with eurosceptic populists

HELSINKI (Reuters) – The poll favorite to be Finland’s next premier says he is open to taking eurosceptic populists into any new governing coalition but expects they could cause difficulty with demands like an end to bailouts and kicking Greece out of the euro zone.

Opposition Centre Party leader Juha Sipila, a centrist with support from both the urban middle class and rural conservatives with eurosceptic tendencies, is commanding around 25 percent in polls ahead of the April 19 election.

Mar 27, 2015

‘Unholy alliance’ of Islamists threatens Sweden: spy chief

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden, once cited by Osama bin Laden as the kind of country al Qaeda did not attack, is facing a rising threat from Islamist militants because of the crises in Iraq and Syria, its spy chief said in an interview on Friday.

Anders Thornberg told Reuters the number of Swedes traveling to fight in those countries had tripled in the past year, and record immigration to the Nordic country was making it vulnerable to infiltrators from militant groups.