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Renault opens its first electric-vehicle-only showroom, in Sweden
17 February 2018 - Today (16 February) , Renault will open its first electric-car-only showroom ... The 'Renault Electric Vehicle Experience Center' will open in Stockholm, in one of the Swedish capital's largest shopping centers, known as Taby Centrum. Different zones within the space display the cars themselves and educate visitors on charging stations and how public charging works. They also provide information both on local subsidies and financial incentives and the various ways drivers can purchase, lease, or pay for EVs and related services. Outside, visitors can test-drive Renault's range of battery-electric vehicles ... (more)

Sweden: Scientists jam with musicians, artists to stir public passion for nature
5 September 2017 - Swedish soprano saxophonist and composer Anders Paulsson believes that music can build bridges between people -- from children to a former U.N. secretary-general -- and inspire them to care for the planet and its natural resources. After working as a volunteer diver counting invertebrates on Danjugan, a once-endangered coral reef in the Philippines, he co-founded an organisation called Coral Guardians. It organises events combining science and music, where individuals meet to discuss the threats to coral reefs and ways to protect them. (more)

Study: Ravens can see ahead
13 July 2017 - ...Scientists are reporting that real-life ravens think about the future. In a series of tests, ravens showed signs of a general planning ability that previously had been documented only in people and great apes. Even monkeys have failed to show it. Ravens showed they could plan by setting aside a tool that they suspected would get them a tasty treat later. And they prepared for future bartering, too. Swedish researchers Can Kabadayi and Mathias Osvath of Lund University ... reported the results in a paper released Thursday by the journal Science. (more)

Volvo goes electric, ditches cars powered solely by gas
5 July 2017 - Volvo plans to build only electric and hybrid vehicles starting in 2019, making it the first major automaker to abandon cars and SUVs powered solely by the internal combustion engine. CEO Hakan Samuelsson said the move was dictated by customer demand. It means that in two years, all new Volvo vehicles will have some form of electric propulsion. Volvo, which is based in Sweden but owned by Chinese firm Geely, will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021. Samuelsson, who acknowledged that the company had been skeptical about electrification only two years ago, said circumstances have changed. (more)

Beauty sleep is a real thing, research shows
17 May 2017 - Beauty sleep is a real thing, according to researchers who have shown that people who miss out on sleep do appear less attractive to others. . . . The strangers also said they would be less willing to socialise with the tired students, who they also perceived to be less healthy, Royal Society Open Science journal reports. (more)

The Swedish recycling revolution
29 March 2017 - Wouldn't it be great if no household waste was wasted? If each and every item of refuse was turned into something else -- new products, raw materials, gas or at least heat? Sweden is almost there. More than 99 per cent of all household waste is recycled in one way or another. This means that the country has gone through something of a recycling revolution in the last decades, considering that only 38 per cent of household waste was recycled in 1975. (more)

Eating fruits and vegetables may help curb lung disease
16 March 2017 - For current and former smokers, eating more fruits and vegetables may lower the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a Swedish study suggests. Among more than 40,000 men, the current smokers who averaged five or more servings of fruit and vegetables daily were 40 percent less likely to develop COPD than smokers who ate two servings or less. Each additional serving of fruits and greens was tied to an 8 percent risk reduction. (more)

Why Ikea's flatpack refugee shelter won design of the year
27 January 2017 - Ikea's solar-powered Better Shelter lasts six times longer than a typical emergency tent and has already changed the lives of thousands of refugees around the world. When Hind and Saffa Hameed arrived at the Al Jamea'a refugee camp in Baghdad in 2015, having been hounded from their home in Ramadi by Islamic State militants, they had never been so glad to see an Ikea product. It was . . . an entire flat-pack refugee shelter. The Swedish furniture giant's innovation has just been crowned Beazley design of the year 2016 by London's Design Museum. (more)

Sweden: Art raises awareness about humanity's impact on nature
18 October 2016 - A growing body of artwork addressing climate change includes exhibits at the Artipelag in Stockholm, Sweden where sustainable design is used. At the Artipelag in Stockholm, exhibits such as one showcasing sustainable design are hosted in a building that regulates its temperature with a heat exchange system using seawater. Glass expanses bathe galleries in natural light, cutting down on electricity use. 'You have to start in your everyday life and make small changes,' says Bo Nilsson, director of Artipelag's exhibition hall. (more)

Three win Nobel for unusual states of matter
4 October 2016 - British-born scientists David Thouless, Duncan Haldane, and Michael Kosterlitz were awarded this year's Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for studies on exotic matter. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited the three for 'theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.' Their analysis relied on topology, which is the mathematical study of properties that don't change when objects are distorted. The academy said the laureates' work in the 1970s and '80s opened the door to a previously unknown world where matter takes unusual states or phases. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Researchers link greater creativity and success to higher brain integration
26 June 2014 - Creativity may depend on greater brain integration, according to a new study published in Creativity Research Journal by Maharishi University (USA) brain researcher Fred Travis and University West (Sweden) quality management researcher Yvonne Lagrosen. The current study on Swedish product-development engineers builds on earlier research showing higher brain integration among world-class performers in different professions. (more)

Does practice make perfect? Or are some people more creative than others - and why?
5 June 2014 - Creativity may depend on greater brain integration, according to a new study published in Creativity Research Journal by Dr Fred Travis, brain researcher at Maharishi University of Management, USA, and Dr Yvonne Lagrosen, quality management researcher at University West in Sweden. Conducted on 21 product-development engineers in Sweden, the study found high levels of both creativity and brain integration, in line with previous research on world-class athletes, managers, and musicians. 'Some people put in long hours and do not excel,' Dr Travis said, leading to consideration of whether brain integration 'may be the inner factor that leads to outer success'. But is it possible to optimize brain functioning? Regular practice of Transcendental Meditation has been found to increase brain integration. 'People who want to excel in any field should consider learning Transcendental Meditation,' Dr Travis commented. (more)

Sweden: Helping women learn about Transcendental Meditation, natural health care
30 November 2012 - In Sweden, directors of the Transcendental Meditation programme for women have been involved in the past year in conducting research and developing materials in education and music, as well as further outreach to health professionals and indigenous women's groups. (more)

Sweden expands meditation, health, knowledge opportunities for women and girls
29 November 2012 - The Transcendental Meditation programme for women in Sweden has been expanding opportunities for knowledge and personal development around the country this year, with new teachers and specialists giving courses and consultations in meditation and natural health care, and making outreach to civic leaders and the public. (more)

Sweden: Dr Nancy Lonsdorf brings knowledge of Maharishi Ayurveda natural health care to women
3 July 2012 - Hundreds of women in Sweden learned about Maharishi Ayurveda natural health care during the recent tour of Nancy Lonsdorf, MD, a renowned American expert in this field and women's health. Visiting three regions of the country, Dr Lonsdorf lectured to audiences including many women in Stockholm, Uddevalla, Gothenburg, and Malmo, and also gave consultations in Stockholm. (more)

Musicians' brains highly developed, Science Daily reports
5 May 2011 - A study conducted by researchers at universities in the US, Norway, and Sweden, shows that the brains of musicians are 'highly developed in a way that makes the musicians alert, interested in learning, disposed to see the whole picture, calm, and playful. The same traits have previously been found among world-class athletes, top-level managers, and individuals who practice Transcendental Meditation.' (more)

Sweden: Visit of Dr David Lynch sparks nationwide enthusiasm for Transcendental Meditation
15 January 2011 - A report this week highlighted the recent two-day visit of Dr David Lynch to Sweden, during which he presented the Transcendental Meditation Programme to prominent individuals, met with the press, and attended a celebration for TM practitioners. (more)

Sweden: Dr David Lynch holds press conference on Transcendental Meditation in Stockholm
1 November 2010 - Recently Dr David Lynch, the revered film director, gave a presentation about Transcendental Meditation, creativity, and world peace to 120 leaders in business, the arts, and education in Sweden. Dr Lynch is also a philanthropist whose foundation generously supports the use of Transcendental Meditation to help at-risk groups around the world. Each guest at the special event received a copy of Dr Lynch's book, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness and Creativity. (more)

Sweden: Flag of the Global Country of World Peace raised on Day of Lasting Achievements
3 June 2010 - In Sweden, during the recent global celebration of the Day of Lasting Achievements, participants in courses being held near Malmo raised the Flag of the Global Country of World Peace and expressed their collective intentions for the invincibility of the nation. (more)

Sweden: Maharishi Ayur-Veda health care theme of large courses offered near Malmo
2 June 2010 - Maharishi Ayur-Veda natural health care was the theme of a weekend course near Malmo, Sweden, attended by 90 members of the Global Country of World Peace in May. The course enjoyed the presence of leaders of the Global Country, including Dr Bevan Morris, Prime Minister, who visited during his recent tour of Scandinavia and gave several lectures. Dr Charlotte Beck, a medical doctor from Denmark and expert in Maharishi Ayur-Veda, helped organize the course and gave a number of inspiring lectures about Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Vedic Approach to Health. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Soda and other sweet drinks tied to risk for some rare cancers
13 July 2016 - People who drink lots of soda or other sugary beverages may have a higher risk of developing rare cancers in the gallbladder and bile ducts around the liver, a Swedish study suggests. Compared with people who avoided sugar-sweetened drinks altogether, individuals who consumed two or more juice drinks or sodas, including artificially sweetened sodas, a day had more than twice the risk of developing gallbladder tumors and 79 percent higher odds of getting biliary tract cancer, the study found. 'Obviously, this finding signals again and again that healthy lifestyle is the key to cancer-free life,' said Dr. Igor Astsaturo, a medical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia who wasn't involved in the study. 'Regardless of the cause, it is easy enough to quench the thirst with water to stay fit and healthy.' (more)

Early exposure to traffic pollution may affect lungs later
24 May 2016 - Infants exposed to higher levels of vehicular air pollution more often have problems later on in the small airways near the edges of their lungs, according to a new study. The finding that early life exposure to air pollutants affects the so-called peripheral airways, 'has not been reported before,' said lead author Dr. Erica S. Schultz of the Karolinska Institutet Institute of Environmental Medicine in Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm has relatively low air pollution levels, she said. For more polluted cities, the effects may be greater and cause conditions like asthma, heart attacks, strokes, and early death. (more)

Sabotage of telecoms masts reignite Swedish security fears
18 May 2016 - The mysterious suspected sabotage of three telecommunications masts, key parts of Sweden's infrastructure, has reignited fears of foreign spies and the readiness of depleted security services in a country on the frontline of growing tensions with Russia. In early May, a cable to another mast in the same region, dedicated to rescue services communications was cut off. On Tuesday, the bomb squad was called into the look into a suspicious package near another mast in central Sweden, police told local media. (more)

Heavy marijuana use in teen years may predict later-life disability, Swedish study
20 August 2014 - A long-term study of Swedish men finds that those who smoked marijuana at age 18, especially the heaviest users, were more likely to end up on the nation's disability rolls by age 59. It's unclear whether the pot use in adolescence may have led to more severe substance abuse or was an early sign of psychiatric or social factors that contributed to later disability, the researchers caution. 'There is reason to believe that the associations found in our study develop over a long period of time and are intertwined with problems in the labour market, in the social security system, and with the individual,' said study leader Anna‐Karin Danielsson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Marijuana is one of the most commonly used illicit drugs in the world, with 77 million Europeans reporting having tried it in a recent study. Pot use in the US has been on the rise since 2007, possibly due in part to a perception of diminishing risks. Nonetheless, studies continue to link cannabis with a variety of psychiatric and health problems as well as adverse social consequences. (more)

Swedes tire of tax cuts as welfare state shows strains
17 March 2014 - Voters are returning to faith in cradle to grave welfare after eight years of centre-right Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who cut income, wealth, and corporate taxes. In the eyes of many Swedes, the welfare state withered. Sickness and unemployment benefits were cut. Private firms started to run tax-funded schools and hospitals. Sweden has one of the world's most generous welfare states, but at the same time as demands grow for more spending on schools and hospitals, Sweden's public finances have worsened. The country may now be heading for years of rising tax burdens if it wants to keep its public finances in order. Week-long riots last year in Stockholm from largely poor immigrants put inequality under the spotlight. But if there was one event that swayed opinion it was the OECD's PISA survey last year where Swedish 15-year-olds racked up the biggest decline in results of any participating nation. Swedish children ranked below OECD averages in many areas. One of the biggest private education firms in Sweden went bankrupt in 2012, leaving 11,000 students in the lurch. Other state run schools have seen class numbers rise and teachers' salaries fall behind. There is only one Swedish university classified in the world's top 100 rankings, according to the Times Higher Education. The angst also extends to health -- where private firms run a fifth of hospital services. Scandals surfaced at elderly care homes with reports about residents being locked up in closets and some people not being fed for nearly a day. Staff switched off alarm systems at night so as not to be disturbed. (more)

Vinyl flooring linked to asthma in children
30 October 2013 - Children who lived in homes with vinyl floors were more likely to develop asthma than children who lived in homes with other types of flooring, according to a new study conducted in Sweden. The association was strongest for children whose parents had vinyl flooring in their bedrooms during pregnancy. The scientists who conducted the research say that the association could be the result of phthalates, which are chemicals used to soften vinyl. Previous studies have reported links between phthalate exposure and breathing problems, including asthma and wheezing. (more)

Mid-life stress could be linked to Alzheimer's: study
2 October 2013 - Middle-aged women with lots of stress are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease down the road, a new study suggests. Why that might be the case is still a mystery, lead author Lena Johansson from the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology at Gothenburg University in Mölndal, Sweden, said. It's also difficult to say how important stress may be in predicting dementia compared to many other influences like poverty, diet, smoking, and blood pressure, she told Reuters Health. But the link remained after the researchers took those factors into account. 'I have no reason to think that this relation is not the same among men,' Johansson added. Robert S. Wilson, who studies Alzheimer's disease at Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago, said, 'This is the best evidence by far to date linking psychosocial stressors with dementia. It's really astounding.' By age 85, nearly half of people may have Alzheimer's disease, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. 'These problems are very common, and they are of definite public health importance,' Wilson said. 'I think we should be thinking about stress reduction as a more routine kind of healthcare option.' (more)

Riots put Sweden's open-door immigration policy in spotlight
27 May 2013 - Sweden's worst riots in years might benefit a far-right party in elections next year if scenes of immigrants burning cars and smashing up buildings cause voters to rethink their traditional welcome to foreigners. Even before the week of riots in the poorer neighbourhoods of Stockholm, immigration had become a hot political issue, as the number of asylum seekers reached record levels. The riots, where many youths torched cars,and threw stones at police and rescue services, happened as violent attacks on soldiers in Britain and France, blamed on Islamist militants, raised urgent questions about intolerance and integration. 'It is tragic. This is not good for us as immigrants. It becomes harder for us to live here,' said Rahimzadagan Abdolsaheb, an Iranian-born taxi driver. 'There will surely be more racism because of this.' Some 43,900 asylum seekers arrived in 2012, a nearly 50 per cent jump from 2011 and the second highest on record. Nearly half were from Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia and will get at least temporary residency. There was a total of 103,000 new immigrants. (more)

Sweden riots expose ugly side of 'Nordic model'
23 May 2013 - The scene of Sweden's worst riots in years, Husby is on the surface at least a typically neat suburb of colourful playgrounds, manicured parks, and low rise apartment buildings. Conversations with residents of this immigrant neighbourhood soon bring tales of fruitless job hunts, police harassment, racial taunts, and a feeling of living at the margins that are at odds with Sweden's reputation for openness and tolerance. Riots that began in Husby have spread across Stockholm over the last four nights in scenes reminiscent of London in 2011 and Paris in 2005 -- outbursts with their roots in segregation, neglect, and poverty. The Swedish model of welfare -- such as its 480 days of parental leave for each child -- hides another side. Metros and trains out of Stockholm centre late at night are full of exhausted-looking Arabic or Spanish speaking immigrants returning home from menial jobs. Even second generation immigrants struggle to find white collar employment. (more)

Sweden: Perch exposed to human anti-anxiety drugs become isolated, aggressive - study
14 February 2013 - Wild perch living in water tainted with a commonly prescribed human anti-anxiety drug aggressively feed, shun other fish and become careless, according to the results of a study presented at a meeting of scientists on Thursday. 'We knew there was a pharmaceutical that was present in the environment that had behavioral-changing capabilities in humans, but what could this do to fish?' said chemist Jerker Fick of Umea University in Sweden. The findings highlighted the potential ecological implications of even trace amounts of psychiatric pharmaceuticals that survive wastewater treatment plant processes, scientists told a meeting in Boston of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 'I have no doubt that the behavioural effects we see are true and that they are potentially going on as we speak,' lead researcher Tomas Brodin said. 'This is a global issue,' he added. 'We find these concentrations (of psychiatric drugs) or close to them, all over the world.' (more)


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