Scanscope

Article excerpt

NEWS * ANECDOTES * TRIVIA

SWEDEN'S DAG HAMMARSKJÖLD, second secretary general of the United Nations, left behind a typewritten manuscript of notes, observations and poetry when he was killed in a plane crash in Congo in 1961. The texts were later directly translated by Leif Sjöberg (for whom the ASF's Leif and Inger Sjöberg Translation Prize is named). Wanting to include an internationally known name as "refining" translator, the publishers enlisted the services of poet W. H. Auden. The resulting book, published under the name Markings, ftom the original Vägmärken, (literally Way Markings), was an instant best seller, earning rave reviews from The New York Times and others.

Now, with the centennial year of Hammarskjöld's birth and the 60th anniversary of the U.N., a number of Swedes are calling attention to the alleged liberties Auden took with the original translation. They claim that Auden misunderstood and/or misconstrued Hammarskjöld's allusions, altered some citations and even projected many of his own subjective and homosexual views into the text. In short, they lament the fact that non-Swedes have not had the opportunity to appreciate the purity, beauty and very Swedish nature of Hammarskjöld's original text.

SINCE THE THEFT LAST SUMMER of Edvard Munch's famous paintings The Scream and Mad onna from the Munch Museum in Oslo,the facility has been closed for a comprehensive security overhaul at a cost exceeding $5 million. The museum has now reopened and no longer will thieves be able to simply walk in, remove a painting from a wall and walk out to a waiting escape vehicle. security precautions are now so great, in fact, that some observers feel they have been carried too far. The museum is being referred to as Fortress Munch.

There are both visible and hidden cameras everywhere. The entrance doors open and close automatically, you can't go in and out through the same doors, and once you've entered the building you have to complete an entire tour with no opportunity to backtrack. Naturally, there are metal detectors to go through before you even get an entry ticket, which then has to be inserted into a slot to remove additional barriers. Most controversial of the new security measures, perhaps, are the bulletproof glass panels placed in front of each painting. While most visitors feel this adds a disturbing distance to one's artistic scrutiny, some remark that the presence of the glass makes them feel they are really viewing something very valuable.

NEW ZEALAND WAS THE RRST COUNTRY to institute universal suffrage in 1893, but is was soon followed by Finland (1906), Norway (1913) and Denmark (1915). Sweden gave women the vote in 1921, following six other nonScandinavian nations.

ALTHOUGH THE LARGEST DONOR IN volume terms, the United States ranked 21st in the money it gave to developing countries in 2004 in relation to its gross national income. Topping the list was Norway with 0.87 percent. second was Luxembourg. Denmark and Sweden were third and fourth, respectively, and Finland 12th.

DECODE GENETICS, A GENE RNDING company in Reykjavik, has recently discovered among Icelanders a variant gene that doubles the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Because a drug that inhibits the gene had already been developed for a different purpose, the company is well underway with a clinical trial. This could lead to one of the first major drugs to emerge from the Human Genome Project.

THE HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN bicentenary is being marked by the Danish National Bank with a series of commemorative coins. An "Ugly Duckling" 10-krone piece, available since March 31, is issued in gold, silver and conventional metal. It depicts an adult swan studying its reflection in the lake at Bregentved Manor, where Andersen found his inspiration for the world-famous tale. The Danish Broadcasting Corporation has also launched a Hans Christian Andersen website in English and Mandarin.

IF YOU THINK GASOLINE PRICES ARE HIGH in the U. …