Weekly Briefing

Sweden: suicide bomb

For 30 years there was no sign of terrorism in Sweden. But the two explosions in Stockholm on 11 December appeared to be the country's first suicide bombing. Police are linking the attacks to emails threatening violence in response to Sweden's involvement in Afghanistan.

The bomber was soon named (in Britain, a search warrant was issued for a house in Luton, Bedfordshire, on 12 December), the police presence in Stockholm was stepped up and a peace rally was organised by Swedish Muslims for Peace and Justice. "We felt a responsibility to sharply condemn the attack but it would be naive to think that yesterday's events aren't going to have a negative effect," said one of the organisers.

Racial tension has been rising in Sweden. Resentment over immigration helped the far-right Sweden Democrats take 20 seats in the general election back in September.

Afghanistan: violence

There is no denying that the security climate is improving,” said the US defence secretary, Robert Gates, shortly before the administration released its strategic review. But recent reports from the International Crisis Group and from the Pentagon have been considerably less upbeat. Recently, violence has flared in the country's east and south, where Nato troops have taken over from British ones.

US forces are due to start returning home from July 2011 onwards, and even Gates freely admits that there is "clearly more work to be done" if there is to be any positive legacy from the past nine years' combat. As well as many civilian deaths, almost 700 soldiers were killed during 2010, well above 2009's total of 520.

Kosovo: snap elections

At 48 per cent, voter turnout for Kosovo's first election since gaining independence in 2008 might not have been spectacular, but it still marked
an improvement of almost 10 per cent on 2007's figure. A snap election had been called after the government lost a vote of no confidence in October. However, early results suggested that the sitting prime minister, Hashim Thaçi, and his left-leaning Democratic Party of Kosovo were ahead - though not with an outright majority.

While independence has for years been the key election issue, this time candidates turned their attention to Kosovo's dizzying unemployment rate - now at 45 per cent - its weak economy and prospective integration into the EU and UN.

Zimbabwe: succession

Even within his own party, it seems, Robert Mugabe is seen as autocratic. In May 2009, a committee was formed to pick the successor to the 86-year-old president and Zanu-PF leader, but the issue didn't even make it to the annual mid-December conference. Mugabe intends to run in the mooted 2011 elections, and party officials are reported to consider succession a taboo subject, for fear of retribution.

Publicly, Zanu-PF remains on Mugabe's side. As the party chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo, recently explained: "If the president speaks sense, which
he does all the time, surely I don't know why one should go against sense and logic."

US: Wiki game

You've read the coverage, debated the issues, perhaps even trawled the cables yourself. But still you're hungry for more WikiLeakery. Never fear: indie computer game developers are here to help.

In WikiLeaks: the Game, you are Julian Assange. Sneakily download files from the sleeping Barack Obama's laptop to win! Wake him up, and get stuck with a sexual assault charge! Not to your particular political tastes? Don't worry. There's always Uncle Sam v WikiLeaks, in
which you beat up a filing cabinet in order to defend the motherland against those peskily indisputable documents. l