Sweden scored very well in the third annual report of the European Council on Foreign Relations. In an opinion piece from the Local, the author lists three reasons why Sweden, a mid-level power, can punch above its weight. If we summarise: Sweden was swifter than most in getting involved in important foreign policies, such as human rights. Swedes like to think of themselves as good people part of a solid democracy. Lastly, Carl Bildt, the foreign minister, has a big bark.
As a Canadian I can sympathise; light weight countries like to feel important, but they should also be aware of their weaknesses. We want to be the good guys & be recognised as such. But they can’t be complacent & turn a blind eye to their governments less palatable acts. These actions include participating in the CIA’s secret black sites programme & arms exports.
An article in the Copenhagen Post reports that skilled foreign workers – it didn’t say which jobs were in demand – have been coming to Denmark in an increasing fashion & non-EU foreigners would make up to 20 000 workers by 2015. They are well liked because an educated worker & his/her family will stay on average 8 years, while most are in their 30s & 40s. Most will leave before they become a burden on the health care system & contributing princely towards it. Dansk Industri notes that foreigners bring in skill & show that Denmark is competitive.
Two notes. First, I’ve just finished reading a booklet form 1967, “Five Northern Countries Pull Together“, the author notes that skilled workers are the backbone of production in the North. So much for change. Next, the comments at the end of the Post’s article are all pretty negative & I gather from foreigners. It’d be interesting if the Copenhagen Post did a follow up on that.
A recent news post from the Faroe Fish Farmers Association, notes that 2012 was a record year for salmon production in the islands. Salmon production for last year reached 63 000 tons of fish. Fish farmers are producing more & bigger fish with the average salmon weighing 5,07 kg.
Salmon is the biggest export of the Faroe Islands at a 40% value.
See the Faroe Fish Farmers Association for more information.
Iceland has been in the news recently & mostly about fish & finance, but one piece of news got my attention in particular. A teenager was granted the right to use her birth name, Blær or light breeze. The BBC article goes on to explain that Iceland has strict laws regarding names must follow Icelandic grammar. Mind you, people still have over 1800 names to choose from!
This article got me thinking about Icelandic names & how translators struggle with the patronymic system. One typical example – from a French translation – goes on talking about first & last name; I understand it’s convenient & easier. However, I find it annoying & it takes away some of the Icelandic mystique. My other beef regards the use of full name or titles in the media: in Iceland people are addressed by their name alone & not their patronym nor titles like Mister & Mrs. Not really a big deal I guess.