Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Two murder convicts held two prison guards hostage at a Swedish maximum-security jail. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT
Find out what's going on in Sweden today with The Local's short roundup of the news in less than five minutes.

Hour-long queues to western Swedish healthcare number 1177

Anyone calling the 1177 healthcare helpline in the Västra Götaland region, western Sweden, could face queues of up to two hours, reports public radio P4 Skaraborg.

An 1177 spokesperson told P4 Skaraborg that they get the most phone calls at night, and the questions range from the pandemic to blisters and mosquito bites. She said that a lot of people spend their summer in the region, and the helpline is understaffed.

Swedish vocabulary: mosquito bite – myggbett

Hostage-takers release guards after pizza negotiations at Swedish prison

Two Swedish prison guards were released after two inmates held them hostage for nine hours, demanding pizza as ransom. Neither guard “was hurt and were able to return safely to their family,” prison spokeswoman Stina Lyles told AFP.

The inmates, both doing time for murder at the Hällby high security prison near the town of Eskilstuna, managed to force themselves into an area reserved only for guards at about 12.30pm on Wednesday, said another prison official, Torkel Omnell.

Swedish media reported that one guard was exchanged for the pizzas at around 7pm, and the other was released two and a half hours later. The two inmates were taken to the police station for questioning for “kidnapping”, police said.

Swedish vocabulary: prison – fängelse

E-scooter drivers fined in Stockholm police control

Stockholm police fined 14 people on electric scooters during a half-hour check outside the Royal Palace. The most common offence was riding the scooter in pairs, and in several cases adults were caught driving children without a helmet around.

“It is a strange phenomenon. Not only do you ignore the ban on giving someone a ride, but you completely ignore the safety aspects. On bicycles, both a child seat and a helmet are a matter of course, but on electric scooters all safety-thinking goes out the window,” Fredrik Ehrström, a police officer in Stockholm, said in a statement.

Anyone caught giving another person a ride on an electric scooter may be handed a 500 kronor fine and end up in the police authority’s criminal records for five years.

Swedish vocabulary: helmet – hjälm

Sweden to crack down on gang crime with tougher sentences for young people

The Swedish Justice Minister announced that he is pushing for tougher sentences for young offenders in a bid to combat a rising wave of gang violence.

The government will seek parliamentary approval to abolish the automatic reduction of sentences for defendants aged 18-20 convicted of serious crimes, such as murder, manslaughter, rape, armed robbery and gun crime, said Justice Minister Morgan Johansson.

“It’s better to try to target the crimes committed by those who do these crimes in a systematic way and live a criminal lifestyle,” AFP quoted Johansson as telling a press conference on Wednesday.

Swedish vocabulary: serious crimes – allvarliga brott

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