Tag Archives: sweden

Swedish University Students Design Modern Solar-Powered Home (PHOTOS)

Team Sweden, consisting of 25 students from Chalmers University, recently developed this environmentally-friendly group house that is powered entirely by the sun. Halo is a sustainable living concept that began as a rough sketch and eventually emerged into a full-scale, functioning building.

The 645-square-foot circular design was intended to foster group living by providing smaller private rooms and larger amounts of shared communal space throughout the home. The team’s motto for the project was, “Shared space is double space.”

The contemporary concept was constructed with renewable materials, including Swedish spruce used to form the main structure, and wood fiber used for interior insulation. Solar cells compose the large exterior roof and absorb solar power to create an energy-efficient living space.

As a result of the team’s innovative ideas and dedication to the project, the building concept won third place in the international student competition, Solar Decathlon, earlier this year.




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Four killed in car explosion in Sweden

Cause of blast on roundabout in Gothenburg is unclear, but police open criminal investigation

Four people, including a young girl, have been killed after a car exploded on a roundabout in Sweden’s second city of Gothenburg, police say.

The cause of Friday’s explosion was unclear, but police said they had started a criminal investigation.

Few details were initially released, but police confirmed on Saturday that three people had been pronounced dead at the scene. The girl was taken to hospital where she later died.

The victims’ ages and identities were not given.

Rescuers said the car had exploded on a roundabout near a fire station and was destroyed by the time they arrived.

Gothenburg has been experiencing a surge in violent conflict between rival criminal gangs, including a restaurant shooting in March that left two people dead.

IKEA to make home deliveries in all countries with stores

IKEA announced Wednesday that it would expand its online sales service to include home deliveries in all countries where it has stores
AFP/Pascal Guyot – IKEA announced Wednesday that it would expand its online sales service to include home deliveries in all countries where it has stores

Swedish furniture giant IKEA announced Wednesday that it would expand its online sales service to include home deliveries in all countries where it has stores.

Most of the company’s national Internet sites currently only allow shoppers to check availability of items online, without offering deliveries, with the exception of some long-standing markets including Sweden, France and Canada.

“We are increasing speed in transforming IKEA into a true multichannel retailer and are rolling out e-commerce in all markets in the next few years,” the IKEA Group’s chief executive Peter Agnefjall said in a statement.

It also announced that the IKEA Group would transfer several companies — including IKEA Supply (logistics) and IKEA Industry (wooden furniture) — to its holding company Inter IKEA Systems.

According to IKEA, the change will not involve redundancies and will allow it to focus more on in-store and online sales, while Inter IKEA Systems takes care of the rest of the business.

The group did not reveal further details of the transaction between its Dutch-based holding companies.

The exact business structure of the Swedish furniture empire — notably the distribution of profits within the family of the founder Ingvar Kamprad, 89 — have never been fully divulged.

There were 361 IKEA outlets worldwide at the end of 2014 and the group reported sales of 29.3 billion euros ($33 billion) for 2013 to 2014 and a net profit of 3.3 billion euros.

Sweden and Israel tensions deepen

Sweden and Israel tensions deepen

Ambassador Carl Magnus Nesser was called in by the ministry’s deputy director general for Europe, Aviv Shir-On.

According to the AFP news agency, he “protested and expressed Israel’s disappointment” at Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s announcement about his country’s shift in approach, which he made during his first speech in parliament on Friday.

Shir-On warned that such a move would “not contribute to the relations between Israel and the Palestinians, but in fact worsen them.”

His comments follow similar strong remarks from Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman over the weekend. They denounced Löfven’s hopes that recognition would be a step towards resolving the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Lieberman said he regreted that Sweden’s new Prime Minister was “in a hurry to make statements on Sweden’s position regarding recognition of a Palestinian state, apparently before he had time even to study the issue in depth.”

Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza, with a capital in East Jerusalem.

Gaza’s boundaries are already clearly defined. But there have been intense debates over what areas should be included in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israel has long insisted that the Palestinians can only receive their promised state through direct negotiations and not through other diplomatic channels.
Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are currently suspended.
Speaking from the Israeli foreign ministry on Monday, Aviv Shir-On said the newly-elected Swedish premier’s decision to focus on the Palestinian issue was “strange” given the turmoil, wars and “daily acts of horror” taking place in the region.

The Swedish embassy in Israel did not comment on the meeting.

Sweden voted in favour of the Palestinians obtaining the rank of observer state at the United Nations in 2012, which was granted despite opposition from the United States, Israel and other countries.

Sleeping Under The Stars: Tree House Hotels Around The World

As a child, you wanted a tree house. You’d spend hot summer nights at your lucky friend’s house, climbing makeshift ladders to play in a wonderland under the stars. That dream doesn’t have to die. As an adult, you can release your inner child at tree house hotels around the world. Some are located on luxurious animal preserves. Others are nestled in lush forests with nary a city light in sight. Here are five of the best on five continents.

Bonbibi treehouse

Treehouse Point, Washington

On the banks of the Raging River, 30 miles from Seattle, lies Treehouse Point. The brainchild of Peter and Judy Nelson, Treehouse Point offers six unique tree houses for guests looking for romance and tranquility (no children under 13 allowed). Each house boasts hardwood floors, hand-hewn beds and views of the forest and stars. Guests share bathrooms at the ground level. The Nelsons will help facilitate hiking trips and other tours.

Bangkok Treehouse

Bangkok Treehouse, Bangkok, Thailand

Inspired by Walden Pond, Bangkok Treehouse is an eco-friendly oasis in this teeming metropolis. Guests have a choice of three tree-top accommodations, all unique and some rustic. “The View with the Room” boasts bamboo floors, mangrove trees and is situated 23 feet in the air. The night sky is your canopy. Guests have access to private outdoor showers as well as a freshwater pool. Don’t be surprised to spy a lizard in your room. Mosquito netting keeps the pesky pests away at night.

Treehouse hotel

Lion Sands Game Reserve, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa

If you’re headed on safari but want a unique lodging experience, Lion Sands Game Reserve at Sabi Sand Game Reserve offers the Chalkley Treehouse. Named after the founder of the Reserve, the Chalkley is situated in a Leadwood tree and is outfitted with a double-bed, mosquito netting, lanterns and a water basin. It’s a rustic as you can get without truly being on your own. Hyenas and other wild animals may keep you company but the velvet African sky will bring you peace of mind.

Ariau Towers

Ariau Towers, Manaus, Brazil

Brazil was one of the first countries to get in on the tree house hotel act and Ariau Towers in Manaus remains one of the top hotels in the country. Inspired by Jacques Cousteau, the expansive property was built in 1987 on the banks of the Rio Negro. The eco-friendly hotel has a large number of tree houses to choose from. Elevated nearly 40 above the ground, the houses feature private balconies, hardwood floors, queen beds and full bathrooms. Myriad activities are nearby, from the Adolpho Ducke Botanical Gardens to the Lago Januari Ecological Park.

Tree Hotel

Treehotel, Harads, Sweden

The funkiest of all tree house hotels is the Treehotel in Harads, Sweden. The Swedes know design and Britta and Kent Lindvall had a clean aesthetic in mind when they built their hotel on the Lule River in Northern Sweden. Each of the six houses are unique and modern in design, with bespoke furniture, lighting and linens. The Cabin feels as if you’re in a high-tech train cabin. The Mirrorcube reflects the landscape at all angles. The UFO is just that, a mecca for sci-fi nerds everywhere. Guests have access to a tree house sauna as well. Head here in the depths of winter, when the spectacular northern lights are on display.

NATO says Russian jets, bombers circle Europe in unusual incidents

NATO said Wednesday that it had intercepted a large number of Russian aircraft flying close to European airspace in the past two days, in an “unusual” series of incidents that brought Russian bombers as far afield as Portugal.

The aircraft — at least 19 in all — offered reminders of Russian air power at a time of the worst relations between the West and Russia since the Cold War.

 

Russian military aircraft have significantly increased their activity in Europe since the conflict in Ukraine began earlier this year, with NATO scrambling to intercept aircraft more than 100 times in 2014. But a NATO official said the scale of the latest incidents was the most provocative this year.

Over the Atlantic Ocean and the North, Black and Baltic seas, Russian bombers, fighter jets and tanker aircraft were detected flying in international airspace, NATO said.

There were no incursions into national airspace, a violation of sovereignty that would have significantly amplified the seriousness of the four incidents, three of which took place on Wednesday.

“We’re raising it as an unusual level of activity,” said Lt. Col. Jay Janzen, a spokesman for NATO’s military command in Mons, Belgium. “The flights we’ve seen in the last 24 hours, the size of those flights and some of the flight plans are definitely unusual.”

U.S. officials regard the flights as a show of force by the Putin government. “It’s concerning because it’s moving in the wrong direction,” said one U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the air activity publicly. “It’s not helping to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine. It’s not helping to improve relations between NATO and Russia. It’s not helping anybody.”

Smaller-scale incidents have also increased this year, approximately tripling from the same period in 2013, Janzen said.

In at least one of the four incidents, the aircraft had switched off their transponders and had not filed flight plans with civilian air traffic controllers. That means that civilian air traffic control cannot track them, potentially creating a risk for civilian planes.

That incident took place around 3:00 a.m. in Western Europe on Wednesday, when four Tu-95 long-range strategic nuclear bombers and four Il-78 tanker aircraft flew over the Norwegian Sea. Norwegian F-16 fighter jets scrambled to intercept them.

Six of the planes returned to Russia, but two of the bombers skirted the Norwegian coast, flew past Britain — sending Typhoon fighter jets to scramble in response — and then finally looped west of Spain and Portugal, attracting Portuguese F-16s. Then the two bombers appeared to return to Russia, Janzen said.

The Tu-95 bombers are not commonly seen close to Europe, Janzen said. Nor are the MiG-31 fighter jets that were intercepted along with other aircraft above the Baltic Sea in two separate incidents Tuesday and Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear whether the two incidents above the Baltic represented the same group of seven planes entering and departing a Russian military base at Kaliningrad.

There was no immediate reaction from the Russian government.

Fighter jets from Norway, Britain, Portugal, Turkey, Germany, Denmark, Finland and Sweden were involved in responding to the Russian aircraft, Janzen said. Finland and Sweden are not members of NATO, and they have long refrained from joining the defensive alliance, which was formed after World War II as a bulwark against the Soviet Union.

But military incidents with Russia this year have caused both countries to start to reevaluate their positions.

Most recently, the Swedish military last week spent several days searching a vast territory for an unidentified underwater craft suspected to be Russian. Last month, Sweden said two Russian military planes had violated its airspace.

A Novus opinion poll released Tuesday found for the first time that more Swedes favored joining NATO than opposed it.

The most recent violation of NATO airspace was last week, when a Russian spy plane flew almost 2,000 feet into Estonian airspace.

This year, NATO increased its air patrols based in the Baltics from four to 16 jets, a measure of the newly hot confrontation between the two military juggernauts.

The incidents appear to have set European militaries on edge this week. British fighter jets were scrambled Wednesday to bring a civilian Antonov cargo jet into a London airport; it stopped responding to radio calls from air traffic controllers while flying over the British capital.

That caused a supersonic boom that was audible across a large stretch of southeastern England.

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