Olof Palme: Mystery of Swedish prime minister's murder still unsolved as investigation closes
Suspects have ranged from Kurdish militias and Indian arms dealers to South Africans angry about Palme's stance against apartheid.
June 10, 2020, 11:13 AM CEST
By Alexander Smith
A decades-long criminal investigation compared in scale to the probe into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Lockerbie bombing has ended with the case unsolved as investigators said they were calling off the hunt for answers to the 1986 killing of then prime minister, Olof Palme.
Swedish prosecutors attracted worldwide attention when they announced Wednesday they would reveal the results of their investigation into the killing, which has fascinated Sweden for 34 years and become the subject of florid conspiracy theories.
But those looking for answers were disappointed: the prosecutor's office said it was discontinuing the investigation because their main suspect, Stig Engström, killed himself in 2000.
Palme was aged 59 when he was shot in the back on a busy Stockholm street while returning from a movie theater. Supporters credit him with forging the image of modern-day Sweden, still vaunted globally today.
Some 90,000 people have worked on the murder case. It has generating countless conspiracy theories, with alleged suspects ranging from Kurdish militias and Indian arms dealers to South Africans angry about Palme's stance against apartheid.
"Because that person is dead, I cannot bring charges against him but decided to close the preliminary investigation," prosecutor Krister Petersson said in a briefing.
Engström had become well known as a suspect in the case and was nicknamed the "Skandiamannen" because he worked at the nearby Skandia insurance company. He was one of the first people at the scene and claimed that he had attempted to resuscitate Palme, whose policies he was known to strongly oppose.
"Stig Engström wasn't a focal point on the investigation but we've looked at his background, and what we can see there is that he was used to using weapons, he had been employed by the army and was a member of a shooting club," the prosecutor said. His movements on the night of the murder were "consistent with how we believe the perpetrator has acted that evening" and he was known to have financial and alcohol problems, he said.
Palme's wife, Lisbet, was injured in the attack and later identified the shooter as Christer Pettersson, an alcoholic and drug addict, who was convicted of her husband's murder and later died in 2004.
The sentence was later overturned after police failed to produce any technical evidence against him, leaving the murder an unsolved mystery.
In the second round of French municipal elections, held yesterday after delays caused by COVID, the Green party (Europe Ecologie - Les Verts or EELV) came out victorious in many large cities: Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Besançon, Poitiers, Annecy, Tours... In Lille, the Socialist party’s Martine Aubrey, mayor since 2001 and daughter of Jacques Delors, won after a neck-and-neck battle with the Green candidate by just 227 votes.
Macron's party, La République En Marche (LREM), did quite poorly. Even Gérard Colomb, who left Macron's government in disgust two (?) years ago, was defeated in Lyon.
In Paris, the current mayor Anne Hidalgo emerged with a large majority. Hidalgo, a Socialist supported by EELV and the Communists, made tackling climate change and pollution the key element of her election programme. “You have chosen hope, teamwork, a Paris that can breathe, that is better to live in, shows more solidarity and that leaves nobody behind,” she said in a brief speech yesterday evening.
In Toulouse, the Republican mayor kept his seat. In Marseille, another Republican lost his majority in the municipal council to a union of leftist parties (socialists, communists, greens etc.) but it's not yet sure that the left can size the mayorship as they won't have a clear majority in the municipal council (French mayors are elected by a munipal council, itself elected by voters).
Macron sees in the results of the Greens in the second round a "barometer of the state of mind of the French" (« baromètre de l’état d’esprit des Français »).
I suppose he means: "these things go up and down all the time". But it's clearly a sanction: Macron pretended to care for the environment but did very little.
(c'était pas facile non plus: les jaunes ne l'ont pas aidé)
Three caveats: 1) only 40% of voters cast a ballot, because COVID, so let's not get too excited yet; 2) while French cities increasingly vote green, this is not the case in rural areas; 3) Le Pen's party did poorly but they took Perpignan...
while French cities increasingly vote green, this is not the case in rural areas
A good example: Strasbourg turns green in an ever-blueer Alsace. (The municipal poll confirms the territorial anchoring of the right and the centre in Alsace, but their alliance with La République en marche
failed in Strasbourg.)
and this divide between urban and rural areas is precisely what ignited the gillets jaunes, who saw a carbon tax pushed by the government as unduely taxing rural areas and folks, who rely on cars much more than urban folks. Public transportation being decent in France, in general, you don't need a car as a city dweller, or just for the weekend, whereas you can't do anything without a car in the countryside.
After almost 125 years a Cologne bridal couple are reunited!
Okay, the full headline should read:
After almost 125 years, the painted portraits of a Cologne bridal couple from the 16th century are reunited in a Dutch museum.
After almost 125 years, the painted portraits of a Cologne bridal couple from the 16th century are reunited. They have been hanging together in The Hague since Tuesday (30.06.2020).
The Dutch Museum Mauritshuis had tracked down and acquired the portrait of the Cologne scholar Jakob Omphalius after decades of searching.
They were separated at an auction almost 125 years ago.
Jakob and Elisabeth - Together again at last