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Sweden officially recognises state of Palestine

Sweden is to recognise the state of Palestine in a move that will make it the first major member of the European Union to do so.

r Stefan Lofven (front 2nd L) said Sweden will recognise the state of Palestine. Credit: Reuters

The prime minister of the new centre-left government Stefan Lofven said the conflict between Israel and Palestine can only be solved with a "two-state solution".

"Sweden will therefore recognise the state of Palestine," Lofven said during his inaugural address in parliament.

Hungary, Poland and Slovakia recognised Palestine before they joined the EU, making Sweden the first country to acknowledge Palestine while being a member of the bloc.

More than 2,000 people were killed after a seven-week conflict between Israel and Hamas earlier this year.


Rise in babies born with penis deformities in Sweden

Swedish scientists are struggling to explain a rise in cases of hypospadias, a condition that causes baby boys to be born with deformed penises.

A 40-year study conducted by researchers at Stockholm's Karolinksa Institute found that incidences of hypospadias in babies born after 1990 jumped significantly from 4.5 boys out of every 1,000 to eight per 1,000.

Scientists cannot explain why more baby boys are being born with penis deformities in Sweden. Credit: PA

The scientists said that they had taken into account factors such as low-birth weight that could be linked to the condition, but still could not explain the rise, The Local reported.

Hypospadias means the urethral opening is abnormally placed and can affect urination and sexual function later in life.

Lead researcher Dr Anna Skarin Nordenvall told Dagens Medicin newspaper that an unknown factor could be behind the deformities.

She said that scientists could not rule out the theory that chemicals - specifically environmental agents known as endocrine disruptors - could be responsible for the trend.

Endocrine disruptors, which are mostly man-made, can be found in pesticides, plastics and various household products.

One dead as huge Swedish wildfire burns for fifth day

Firefighters continue a battle a wildfire that has burned for five days in central Sweden.

The fire has burned 150 square kilometres (60 square miles) of forested land and killed at least one person.

A thousand people have been evacuated from villages and towns in the area threatened by the fire.

Amateur video uploaded online on Monday showed plumes of thick white and black smoke rising over a forest in Virsbo locality, in Vastmanland province.

Italy and France have sent firefighting planes to help contain the blaze, one of the biggest forest fires in Sweden in recent decades.

Police say the badly charred body of man in his 30s was found in the area earlier today.

Another man was taken to a hospital with serious burns.

It is unclear what sparked the fire but authorities say unusually hot weather and dry conditions are fuelling the flames.


Plane passenger detained 'after trying to enter cockpit'

Swedish police have detained a man who tried to enter the cockpit on a flight from Dubai to Stockholm.

File photo of an Emirates flight. Credit: PA

Onboard staff handcuffed the man during the Emirates flight today and handed him over to police when the plane landed at Arlanda airport in Stockholm, police spokesman Albin Naverberg said.

Officers held the man on suspicion of preparing aircraft sabotage after interviewing the plane's crew, Naverberg added.

Henrik Kelfve, spokesman for airport operator Swedavia, confirmed that a male passenger had tried to enter the cockpit on the Emirates' flight.

Swedish tabloid Expressen reported that a man had shouted that he had a bomb, about an hour after the departure from Dubai.

Nine women get womb transplants in pregnancy bid

Nine women in Sweden have successfully received transplanted wombs donated from relatives and will soon try to become pregnant, the Associated Press has revealed.

The women were born without a uterus or had it removed because of cervical cancer. Most are in their 30s and are part of the first major experiment to test whether it's possible to transplant wombs into women so they can give birth to their own children.

Two previous efforts to produce babies from transplanted wombs failed. Credit: Katie Collins/PA Wire

The transplants began in September 2012 and the donors include mothers and other female relatives of the recipients. They are intended to be temporary, just to allow childbearing.

There have been two previous attempts to transplant a womb — in Turkey and Saudi Arabia — but both failed to produce babies.

Fertility experts have hailed the project as significant, but they stressed that it's unknown whether the transplants will result in healthy babies.

Swedish minister believes Syrian forces behind attack

Sweden's foreign minister Carl Bildt has said he believes Syrian forces are to blame for the alleged chemical attack, based on the evidence he has seen.

Writing in Swedish on his official blog, Mr Bildt said:

I have a hard time coming to any conclusion other than that a deadly chemical substance has been used in the attack carried out by the regime's forces between Tuesday and Wednesday on this opposition-controlled area.

– carl bildt, swedish foreign minister

He also said that if such an attack was confirmed by UN inspectors, he believes it would force Russia to reconsider its position and perhaps result in stronger action by the UN Security Council.

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