Swedes fume at leaders’ lockdown lapses – POLITICO

STOCKHOLM — As Sweden prepares to face what are likely to be some of the toughest weeks of the coronavirus pandemic yet, inconsistencies in its light-touch strategy are catching even its leaders out. 

Sweden’s top brass spent much of December trying to drill into the population the idea that personal responsibility would get Sweden through the COVID crisis. 

People were told to avoid traditional Yuletide venues like malls — even if they weren’t closed — and skip holidays overseas.

But it turns out that even if you helped devise the strategy, it isn’t that easy to follow. 

First to be caught out was Justice Minister Morgan Johansson, spotted doing some late Christmas shopping at a mall in southern Sweden. 

Johansson apologized via social media, saying that while he had followed the rules he had been “careless” and “should have planned the purchase better.” 

Next up was Prime Minister Stefan Löfven himself, with photos emerging on December 29 of him buying a present from a central Stockholm mall for his wife earlier the same month. 

“With hindsight, of course I now wonder if the present for Ulla could have been ordered online instead, in good time,” he said later. 

Finally, and arguably more egregiously, Dan Eliasson, the head of MSB, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, was reported to have holidayed with family on Gran Canaria, contravening a guideline — but not a law — propagated by his own agency against unnecessary travel. 

“I have refrained from many trips during this pandemic, but this one I thought was necessary,” he told Swedish media on his return.

‘Slap in the face’

The lack of an apology struck many Swedes as particularly riling. 

“I missed my grandmother’s 90th birthday, my cousin’s 50th birthday and now my dad’s 70th birthday; I haven’t been home since February and have postponed work,” Swedish writer Ann-Helen Laestadius wrote on social media. “To then hear Dan Eliasson’s definition of a necessary trip is like a slap in the face.”

It remains to be seen if Eliasson — a political appointee — can ride out the storm. Interior Minister Mikael Damberg has called him in for a meeting later this week to “discuss the situation that had occurred,” public service television reported. 

Sweden’s death rate began spiking for a second time in late autumn and the country has now registered almost 9,000 deaths. Its average seven-day death rate per million citizens of 6.3 currently falls between France at 5.1 and Germany at 7.9. The current U.K. rate is among Europe’s highest at 9.1.   

On Tuesday, state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told a news conference that a lapse in data reporting across the holiday period made it hard to judge exactly how the situation in Sweden and across Europe is developing right now, but he said it was clear that in some countries the infection rate was rising again, and in Sweden health care services were near capacity.

“We also have a potentially serious situation next week with people returning to workplaces and a risk of a further increase in the spread of disease,” he said.

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Sebi fines six individuals for disclosure lapses

Capital markets regulator Sebi has imposed fines totalling Rs 6 lakh on six individuals for disclosure lapses while dealing in the shares of Alora Trading Company Ltd (ATCL).

Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) had conducted an examination in the dealings of ATCL shares for January-September 2017 period.

It was found that the individuals continuously sold the shares during March 17-28, 2017. Subsequently, their cumulative shareholding reduced by more than 2 per cent.

However, they failed to comply with the disclosure obligations triggered during that period.

For the lapses, the watchdog has imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh each on the six individuals, according to an order passed on Tuesday.

In a separate order, Sebi imposed a fine of Rs 3 lakh on Modern Trading Business Pvt Ltd for disclosure lapses with respect to dealing in the shares of The Byke Hospitality Ltd.

According to the regulator, Modern Trading Business had exceeded the limit of acquisition of 5 per cent shareholding in the company, which triggered disclosure requirement. However, the entity failed to do so.

Sebi also noted that Modern Trading Business did not respond to its comunications during the investigation nor did it respond to any of the communications made during the adjudication proceedings.

Separately, the regulator on Wednesday imposed Rs 2 lakh penalty on Shreeji Industries Ltd for its failure to obtain SCORES authentication till date and for not addressing pending grievance of one investor within the timeline specified by it.

Through another order on Wednesday, the regulator levied a fine of Rs 2 lakh on Kapstone Constructions Pvt Ltd for not making timely disclosures regarding financial results of the company for the half-year ended March 31, 2019.

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Russian boxer lapses into a coma during drinking brawl

Members of the Russian national boxing team had a fight while traveling by train from competitions in Ulyanovsk. According to Baza Telegram channel, one of the participants in the drunken brawl lapsed in a coma and was connected to a mechanical ventilation apparatus.

According to the source, the 34-year-old light heavyweight boxer Nikita Ivanov “drank a little” while on the way home. A while later, he had a fight on the train with a colleague of his, Bassir Mirsiyabov, also a boxer.

During the fight, Ivanov inflicted several blows on his opponent, which caused Mirsiyabov to lapse  into a coma. The victim was connected to the ventilator, doctors are fighting for his life. The attacker was detained.

The Russian Boxing Federation promised to conduct investigation into the incident, president of the organization Umar Kremlev said.

“We will look into this situation, but, as far as I know, he is not an active member of the Russian national team. We do not have detailed information yet, we will look into this. The Council of Champions of the Russian Boxing Federation will look into this situation separately,” said Kremlev.

Light heavyweight boxer Nikita Ivanov is the 2013 European champion. He is a prominent Russian boxer. He is also the silver medalist of the 2011 European Championship and the 2009 Russian champion.

A year ago, the Russian Boxing Federation sentenced the participants of a brawl in Hayat Hotel in Yekaterinburg to a month of voluntary labor works. The brawl sparked during men’s world championship. On the night of September 19-20, drunken Russian athletes started a fight in the hotel bar. Singing karaoke turned into a scuffle and a showdown.

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Mikel Arteta laments Arsenal’s attention lapses in ‘unacceptable’ Brighton defeat

Mikel Arteta has bemoaned Arsenal’s lapses in concentration after they fell to an “unacceptable” second successive Premier League defeat at Brighton.

Following an abject 3-0 loss at Manchester City in the first game of the top-flight restart in midweek, the Gunners travelled to Amex Stadium on Saturday looking to bounce back and appeared on course for a much-needed victory when record signing Nicolas Pepe curled home a wonderful strike with just over 20 minutes to play.

Arsenal – whose injury crisis deepened when they lost goalkeeper Bernd Leno to a serious-looking knee injury following a collision with Neal Maupay before the interval – capitulated thereafter, however, with Lewis Dunk’s goal and a last-gasp effort from Maupay sealing relegation-battling Brighton’s first league win of 2020.

Speaking after the game, head coach Arteta refused to use the Leno incident as an excuse for his players’ under-par display and instead rued a lack of attention and competitiveness in crucial moments.

“I think we did a lot of things today to win the game comfortably, but we haven’t competed like you have to compete in the Premier League,” he said.

“We gave first goal away and we lost a few important duels afterwards, so I think it’s all our fault.”

Arteta added: “[It’s] not about the characters, it’s about how you compete in a Premier League match and it’s for 100 minutes in this case. It’s for every ball, it’s for every action and the moment you lose attention, the opponent is going to push you.

“It’s not the first time it has happened and if you want to win football games consistently at this level, it’s a must and it’s a non-negotiable.

“I think they competed for large parts of the game, but in crucial moments when you don’t, you pay the price and that’s it. It’s all my fault obviously because I’m the one that has to make sure they do.”

Mikel Arteta described Arsenal’s second successive loss at Brighton on Saturday as “unacceptable” (REUTERS)

Back-to-back defeats leave Arsenal eight points adrift of the top four ahead of their third successive away fixture at Southampton on Thursday night, though that gap will reach double figures if Chelsea beat struggling Aston Villa on Sunday.

With their hopes of a Champions League return fading fast, Arteta admitted he faces a huge challenge in lifting spirits among his playing squad for the challenges ahead.

“Absolutely [it will be hard to do],” he said. “I think when you lose two games in a row that hardest thing to do is to lift the players up and believe again in what we are doing.

“The context of the last game against Man City and this one is completely different.

“I am much more upset today because I know the accident that happened against City but the accident today was provoked by us and it’s unacceptable.”

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