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Foreign-born people remain under-represented in Swedish parliament

Just over one in ten (11.5 percent) of Swedish members of parliament have a foreign background, acco..

Just over one in ten (11.5 percent) of Swedish members of parliament have a foreign background, according to the survey carried out by Sveriges Radio Ekot, compared to 24 percent of the Swedish population as a whole.

The survey defined 'foreign background as either someone who themselves was born abroad, or who was born in Sweden to two foreign-born parents.

"You put your own experience into politics, so from that perspective it's important to have good representation," Social Democrat MP Serkan Köse told The Local. Köse was born in Turkey and moved to Sweden as a ten-year-old with his mother and siblings.

"I think we have good representation in my party. We have different kinds of knowledge and backgrounds: age, gender, people from different areas of Sweden," he said. "It's about having good experience and also different kinds of cultures and backgrounds completing each other."

As for how Köse's own background has influenced his work and focus as a politician, he said: "It differs from day to day. I always put my experiences and perspective into debates about what we call 'multicultural' questions in Swedish society. In the labour market commission we talk about the situation for people with non-Swedish background and we want to do more for this group, so I put in my own perspective. I try my best to show how I see this from my multicultural perspective."

There were large differences between the eight parties that are represented in Swedish parliament, with the highest proportion of Swedes with a foreign background (32 percent) in the Left Party compared to just three percent of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats.

Among the Liberals, 20 percent of MPs had a foreign background, compared to 14.3 percent of the Moderate Party, 12.5 percent of the Green Party, 10 percent of the Social Democrats, 6.5 percent of the Centre Party, and 4.6 percent of the Christian Democrats.

Previous research into representation of foreign-born Swedes in municipal politics has suggested that people in this group are particularly poorly represented at higher levels of politics. There did not seem to be a correlation with candidates' age, gender, or level of education, but those who had lived in Sweden for more than 20 years were more likely to reach higher-level positions.

Foreign-born residents are also less likely to vote in elections than native-born Swedes, with the turnout rate at 72 percent among this group compared to 90 percent among native Swedes in the 2014 elections (the corresponding statistics for the 2018 election have not yet been released).

As The Local reported earlier this year, Swedish organizations led several initiatives to encourage democratic participation among the countrys foreign-born Swedes ahead of the September election.

LONG READ: How Sweden hopes to get its foreign residents voting

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Italexit looming? Majority of Italians would vote to leave EU as immigration tops agenda

Italy has turned out to be more Euroskeptic than previously imagined after a new survey revealed tha..

Italy has turned out to be more Euroskeptic than previously imagined after a new survey revealed that a majority of Italians want to see their country crashing out of the 28-member bloc.

According to an opinion poll commissioned by Brussels Eurobarometer, only 44 percent of Italians would vote to remain in the EU, compared to the member states average of 66 percent.

The figure is lower even than Britain, where a majority (53 percent) would today vote Remain if they had another EU referendum, while 35 percent would vote Leave. Britain announced that it was withdrawing from the bloc in 2016 after 51 percent of Britons voted for Brexit.

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Italy was also the only country in the bloc where a majority (45 percent to 43 percent) thought the nation hadnt benefited from its membership of the EU, Euronews reports.

The findings contrast with those published in June following an Ipsos poll commissioned by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, which found that 55 percent would still vote to remain in the bloc, despite declining faith in the EU.

Commenting on the findings, EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani called on the bloc to strengthen efforts to convince member states of the importance of remaining an EU member.

“We must double the efforts to prove that the union knows how to give really effective answers to the main problems of Europeans, such as immigration, security and unemployment,” Italian newspaper La Repubblica quotes him as saying.

READ MORE: Italys deputy PM predicts political earthquake for European Union (more…)

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Ancient graffiti shows weve been wrong about Pompeii doomsday date all along

The idle scrawlings of an over-indulgent Roman builder may have just rewritten the history books reg..

The idle scrawlings of an over-indulgent Roman builder may have just rewritten the history books regarding the date that Mount Vesuvius obliterated the city of Pompeii in 79AD.

Recently discovered graffiti at the site has shifted the timeline of when disaster struck the Roman city, killing all of its roughly 1,000 residents and preserving many of them in volcanic ash.

Graffiti of the phrase “XVI K Nov in [d]ulsit pro masumis esurit [ions],” which roughly translates as “He over-indulged in immodest food,” was found written on the wall of a house that was apparently undergoing renovation at the time of the eruption.

“XVI K Nov” indicates the 16th day before the first of November, or October 17, contradicting the widely held belief that Vesuvius erupted earlier in the year, sometime in August, based on correspondence between Pliny the Younger and historian Tacitus 25 years after the disaster.

“Being charcoal, fragile and evanescent, which could not last long over time, it is more than likely that it is October 79 AD, a week before the great catastrophe that, according to this hypothesis, occurred on 24 October,” archaeologists at the site wrote in a statement.

“Today, with much humility, perhaps we will rewrite the history books because we date the eruption to the second half of October,” said Italys Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli, as quoted by The Independent.

The graffiti isnt actually the first discovery to cast doubt on Plinys claims. Archaeologists previously found out-of-season produce like calcified fruits on tree branches, preserved in the ash, such as pomegranates, walnuts and wine which suggest that Pompeii wasnt obliterated until the Autumn.

READ MORE: Pompeii unveiled: Jaw-dropping drone footage shows extent of citys excavation

The well-preserved remains of Pompeians also provided another clue as their tunics were far too heavy for August, indicating that temperatures had cooled by the time disaster struck. Many braziers, used for heating, were discovered strewn around the city, indicating there may have been a chill in the air at the time of the catastrophic eruption.

This latest discovery indicates that yesterday, 1,939 years ago, a bored builder left a mundane scrawl about overindulging on junk food a week before their entire city was destroyed. This might put modern tweets and instagram posts in perspective, but probably not. (more…)

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China plans to launch artificial moon bright enough to replace streetlights by 2020

Related Story: China's mission to go where no spacecraft has gone before Related Story: 'A..

Related Story: China's mission to go where no spacecraft has gone before Related Story: 'A warfighting domain': Is the global race for space supremacy reigniting?

China is reportedly in the process of creating an "artificial moon" that would be bright enough to replace the streetlights in the south-western city of Chengdu by 2020.

Key points:

  • Chinese scientists plan to install three artificial moons by 2022
  • The illuminated satellite is designed to complement the moon at night
  • The artificial moon could save hundreds of million of dollars a year in electricity costs

The illuminated satellite is said to be eight times brighter than the real moon, according to state media People's Daily, and forms part of the country's growing ambitions in space.

Chinese scientists plan to send three artificial moons into space in the next four years, and the moons — made from reflective material like a mirror — are expected to orbit at 500 kilometres above the Earth and light up an area with a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometres.

Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Corporation which developed the project, said the illuminating satellite would provide a "dusk-like glow".

"The satellites' brightness and service time are both adjustable, and the accuracy of the lighting can be controlled within tens of metres," Mr Wu told the state media agency earlier today.

Mr Wu added the three artificial moons would operate alternately in order to significantly reduce infrastructural electricity consumption, especially during winter.

The illuminated satellite is designed to complement the moon at night.

'Who paid for it and what is the purpose?'

A cityscape in China at night.

Mr Wu said lighting from the artificial moon covering 50 square kilometres in Chengdu could save about 1.2 billion yuan ($240 million) in electricity costs every year. (more…)

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