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Shock Poll Has Sweden Nationalists More Emboldened Than Ever -

Shock Poll Has Sweden Nationalists More Emboldened Than Ever(Bloomberg) -- The leader of a party once shunned for its ties to far-right extremism is now riding a wave of popularity that he says may pave the way to a century of political dominance in Sweden.Jimmie Akesson, the 40-year-old head of the Sweden Democrats, woke up on Friday to news that his party was now polling as the country’s biggest. At 24%, it’s a few percentage points ahead of the ruling Social Democrats that have towered over Sweden’s political landscape for most of the postwar era.“We want to be part of shaping this country over the next 100 years, just as the Social Democrats have been doing for 100 years,” Akesson said in an interview at the Swedish parliament in Stockholm. “We want political influence, and we want a significant influence.”The kind of influence Akesson is talking about would mark an historic break with the balance of power in Sweden, where the political establishment once vowed to keep the Sweden Democrats out of any coalition. The more established groups on the right and left have pointed to the party’s past ties to neo-Nazis and white supremacists in defense of their efforts to isolate the group.But that stance seems increasingly out of step with what voters in Sweden want. A separate poll from Sifo also out on Friday put support for the Sweden Democrats at 23%, the highest level ever registered by that pollster. While still trailing the Social Democrats, Sifo said the difference between the two parties was not statistically significant.As a result of the surge in popularity, some corners of parliament have shown signs of softening to the Sweden Democrats. The conservative-leaning Christian Democrats and the Moderates -- Sweden’s biggest opposition party -- recently signaled an increased willingness to work with Akesson. In charge of the party since 2005, Akesson has been weeding out extremists in a process of self-gentrification.“Voters are seeing us, perhaps not formally, but still, as part of a conservative bloc,” Akesson said. “I think that makes them more willing to give us their votes. That’s the main reason why this is happening now.”The shift in Sweden’s political landscape follows a punishing election cycle last September. The Social Democrats ultimately emerged as the victors, but only after four months of grueling coalition talks that resulted in a fragile alliance.In the meantime, the government has been accused of inaction in handling a growing wave of violence in the country. In late August, an 18-year-old woman was shot dead in Stockholm’s Vallingby suburb, and in the southern city of Malmo another young woman was shot dead while carrying her baby. In the same city, a 15-year-old boy was shot dead outside a pizza restaurant.There has also been an increase in the number of bombings, prompting defense experts to compare Sweden with Northern Ireland in the 1980s and even contemporary Afghanistan.The surge in violence on the streets of some of Sweden’s biggest cities has left voters angry. And the Sweden Democrats have been quick to respond; the party called for a vote of no confidence against the justice minister, which was backed by the Moderate Party.Though the motion was dismissed, the fact that the Sweden Democrats were able to team up with the largest opposition party for a key vote marked a “milestone,” according to Akesson.Understanding Sweden’s history with populism also requires taking a look at developments over the past decades, and more recently during the Syrian refugee crisis. The country’s policy of giving permanent residency to Syrians landing on its shores backfired in 2015, when a spike in immigration became too much for the authorities to handle. The Social Democrat-led government of Stefan Lofven introduced border checks and has since toughened its rhetoric on immigration.Akesson is enough of a realist to know he’s unlikely to achieve a formal collaboration with the parties that make up the conservative wing of parliament before elections due in 2022. But he says it’s “clear” that the Sweden Democrats will be a more regular partner in legislative talks. Akesson said he has been concerned that his party could also suffer when rival parties emulate Sweden Democrat policies.“That is something we have seen with the Moderates and more recently with the Christian Democrats,” he said. “Social Democrats are sending mixed signals but they have a desire to appear tougher to stop bleeding voters to us. But I think we have been able to fend that off rather well.”(Adds results of Sifo poll in fifth paragraph)To contact the reporters on this story: Rafaela Lindeberg in Stockholm at rlindeberg@bloomberg.net;Niclas Rolander in Stockholm at nrolander@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Niklas Magnusson at nmagnusson1@bloomberg.net, Tasneem Hanfi Brögger, Nick RigilloFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Sun, 17 Nov 2019 19:00:00 -0500

Massachusetts man arrested after son, 5, allegedly takes heroin to school and brags it makes him feel like Spider-Man -

Massachusetts man arrested after son, 5, allegedly takes heroin to school and brags it makes him feel like Spider-ManA father is facing drug possession charges after his son, 5, allegedly took heroin to school and said tasting it made him feel like Spider-Man.


Sun, 17 Nov 2019 18:31:57 -0500

Democrats invite Trump to testify in impeachment inquiry -

Democrats invite Trump to testify in impeachment inquiryDemocratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited President Donald Trump to testify in front of investigators in the House impeachment inquiry ahead of a week that will see several key witnesses appear publicly. Pushing back against accusations from the president that the process has been stacked against him, Pelosi said Trump is welcome to appear or answer questions in writing, if he chooses. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer echoed that suggestion.


Sun, 17 Nov 2019 17:08:29 -0500

Child abuse victims should have right to sue paedophiles caught with images of them, children charities say -

Child abuse victims should have right to sue paedophiles caught with images of them, children charities sayChild abuse victims should be given new rights to sue paedophiles caught viewing or sharing indecent images of them, children charities have said. The Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety (CCCIS) called for the initiative arguing it would act as a deterrent for offenders, who now know they are unlikely to go do jail, as it could mean potentially losing their homes and pensions if caught with abuse material. The CCCIS, which represents charities such as the NSPCC and Barnardo’s, said those convicted of indecent images should also face a new automatic surcharge to fund the treatment and therapy costs of victims of abuse. The call comes as police have previously said they are struggling to cope with the now more than 5,000 arrests being made for indecent images every year. Police chiefs have argued that some paedophiles caught with indecent images could be dealt with by conditional cautions to lighten the caseload.  John Carr OBE, Secretary of the CCCIS, said : "If you assume these offenders are rational, they must know that the chances of them being caught, convicted and sent to jail are very close to zero. "But if they knew that if they were caught their house, their car, their pension, their assets could be at risk as they are obliged to pay compensation to the victims, that would act as a major deterrent. "Why should the taxpayer pick up the entire bill (for victim treatment) if the guys who are responsible can fund it? We’ve got the phrase ‘the polluter pays’ - here we want the abuser to pay." Victims of child abuse can currently sue their abusers through the civil courts, however their rights regarding people caught with images or recordings of their abuse are far less clear. The CCCIS, said that explosion in abuse images being shared on the internet was causing long-lasting trauma to victims whose abuse had been recorded. Last year the US-based watchdog, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said it received reports of 18 million images worldwide being shared across major tech platforms, including 16 million just from Facebook. The CCCIS also argued an automatic surcharge should be levied on the growing numbers of people caught with images, on top of the current victim surcharge, which would fund care for victims. Currently all people convicted in UK courts pay a victim surcharge of up to £181, the proceeds of which are dispersed among various victims' charities. Mr Carr added: "The victims of sexual abuse are completely clear and know that those images are circulating on the internet and being downloaded. Some of these young people will have that pain and burden the rest of their lives. "That is a huge source of stress and anxiety for them, and so the who business of downloading needs to be discouraged and stopped."


Sun, 17 Nov 2019 16:30:00 -0500

Racist, anti-Semitic incidents prompt Syracuse to halt fraternity activities; Alpha Chi Rho suspended -

Racist, anti-Semitic incidents prompt Syracuse to halt fraternity activities; Alpha Chi Rho suspendedSyracuse suspended a fraternity and halted social activities at all of them for the semester after a series of racist and anti-Semitic incidents.


Sun, 17 Nov 2019 15:50:39 -0500


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