The tiny Pacific island of Niue has filed a lawsuit in Stockholm, claiming that the Internet Foundation in Sweden (IIS) acted illegally when it essentially took control of .nu in 2013. Niue is claiming damages of some SEK 200 million, according to Pär Brumark, who is representing the island.
The US-based IUSN Foundation acquired the rights to .nu via an agreement with Niue’s government at the beginning of the 1990s, in partnership with Boston-based WorldNames Inc. The agreement was later cancelled via new Niue legislation and since then the island has claimed the right to the domain. In 2013, the same day IIS took over .nu, Niue’s government lodged a protest with the Swedish government, but a meeting between the parties was held first this summer.
The Swedish government has claimed that the Stockholm County Administrative Board had given its approval, while Danny Aerts, CEO of IIS, does not see any grounds for the lawsuit.
The .nu domain has always been popular in those countries in Northern Europe where the string means “now”.
Håkan Samuelsson, the CEO of Volvo Cars, has told USA Today that the car maker has reduced its recruitment plans at its new assembly plant in Charleston, South Carolina, due to increased tariffs from US President Donald Trump’s trade dispute with China.
Originally, Volvo planned to hire 1,500 workers by the end of 2018 and 4,000 within a few years. Samuelsson did not specify precisely how these figures would change.
The car maker opened the Charleston plant in June this year – its first in the US. “We thought the plant could assemble cars for China. It’s not going to work,” said the CEO.
In its latest stability report, Sweden’s financial supervisory authority, Finansinspektionen, has said that unexpectedly large interest rate fluctuations and uncertain global developments could test the financial sector’s resilience.
The Swedish economy is strong but is showing signs of a slowdown. Interest rates are expected to rise in the coming years, which should lead to a reduction in risk-taking and debt growth rates. At the same time, it will be important to monitor the commercial property market, where there is an elevated risk, said the watchdog.
Svenska Dagbladet has gained access to documents revealing that Germany is pushing against EU countries that want more ambitious emission limits for trucks, saying carbon dioxide cuts should not go beyond 30 per cent, while the Netherlands wants a higher reduction in greenhouse gases.
Sweden, the third-largest maker of trucks in the EU, has not commented as yet but lawmakers will debate the proposed limits outlined by the European Commission and the European Parliament today. AB Volvo does not wish to comment other than to indicate that a 30 per cent cut or more by 2030 is “feasible”.
Sweden would rather pay back state debt than use the money to invest in a high-speed railway. With the traditional model of funding, it would take 80 years before we have trains travelling at 250 or 320 km/h between Stockholm and Gothenburg or Malmö, comments Gustaf Engstrand, who is policy officer at the Association of Swedish Train Operating Companies (Tågoperatörerna).
Sweden invested in the X2000 at the end of the 80s but since then rail has not been prioritised and Sweden’s rail, compared to high-speed rail in China and other countries, is antiquated.
He adds, “For a long time there has been no political interest in the railways… We need to raise the speed of investment in infrastructure, which has fallen to below one per cent of GDP from two per cent up until the 70s.”
Companies run by women with foreign backgrounds are employing growing numbers, according to a report from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) and Statistics Sweden.
In 2006, women with a foreign background employed 40,127 people in Sweden. In 2016, this figure was 106,402 – an increase of 165 per cent in ten years.
Olof Dunsö, analyst from Tillväxtverket, comments, “This is evidence that integration is working at least fairly well.” He says the increase is probably due to a combination of existing companies growing, companies getting new management or new companies starting.
Ikea is to cut some 7,500 jobs worldwide, of which 650 are in Sweden. According to Board Chairman Lars-Johan Jarnheimer, there was no alternative. “It is necessary to constantly adapt as customer needs change.”
In Malmö, Helsingborg and Älmhult, 570 jobs are to go and the remaining 80 will come from around the country. “Structural change” and “improvement” are other words for the digital reset that is going on in the company to deal with a market that is increasingly digital.
Anna Jonsson is a corporate economist at Lund University. She says Ikea has prepared for this over a couple of years and is now implementing the change. “Critics say that Ikea and other big retailers such as H&M are late out with this. I think rather there is an intention behind it happening now. They have done their homework, studied it and worked carefully with this.”
After the NATO Trident Juncture exercise in Norway, secretary general Jens Stoltenberg pointed out that NATO countries’ vehicles breakdown significantly more often in the chilly Norwegian climate than usual. The problem was resolved by 3D printing spare parts. “This type of technology can change how we protect our troops and implement our operations,” says Jens Stoltenberg.
At the same time a report, commissioned by the US Congress, showed that the US is losing its advantage as, primarily, China benefits from its fast-growing technology industry which is used to develop new forms of warfare. In the US, the private sector is now investing significantly more in advanced new technology than the state and the state has less access to the latest technology while in China, the opposite is true.
In Sweden, head of press for the Armed Forces, Philip Simon, says, “We are also going to need to benefit from the civil technological development to increase operational capacity. Not least within areas such as cyber and AI.”
Saab’s CEO Håkan Buske also believes big changes are needed in Sweden. “The defence industry is facing a paradigm shift. More cooperation on the civil side and new forms of cooperation are needed, otherwise we cannot keep up.” He points out that some work is already underway. Via Combient, Saab is cooperating with other companies in the Wallenberg sphere with digitalisation.
Five years of constant growth could be over, according to several of the big banks, after a series of negative signals around household consumption.
After negative construction statistics, SEB lowered its forecast for the Swedish economy and now believes the economy shrank by 0.2 per cent during the third.
Robert Bergqvist, chief economist at SEB, says there are several contributing factors. Household consumption has fallen which could be due to the political chaos in Sweden’s Riksdag; another factor is that the Riksbank is planning to raise the interest rate in December or February.
Michael Grahn, head economist at Danske Bank, also believes the economy has shrunk during the quarter. He cites falling consumption but also that companies have started selling products from their inventories instead of producing more in factories.
Manufacturing companies have cut production and exports and imports have fallen.
The Swedish corporate climate is often described as negative, with critics emphasising taxes and regulations.
A new and positive image of the climate is now being portrayed by Johan Kreicbergs, corporate economist at Swedbank. He bases this on public statistics, such as a survey carried out by Sifo.
Sweden is placed third in Europe after Norway and Luxembourg when it comes to business-owners’ average income after tax. Working hours are around the average for Europe while their health is perceived as relatively good.
Despite this, in Sweden less than 10 per cent run companies, which is less than in most European countries. A survey from Sifo shows that a quarter of Swedes would like to have their own company but many perceive it to be economically uncertain.
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