Berlin seals €50-billion stimulus package
Germany

Berlin seals €50-billion stimulus package

Germany's ruling coalition has reached agreement on a €50-billion ($70-billion) economic stimulus plan over the next two years, representatives said after talks on Monday evening.

Deutsche Bahn awards Bombardier €1.5-billion deal
Germany

Deutsche Bahn awards Bombardier €1.5-billion deal

The German railway Deutsche Bahn (DB) said on Monday it would buy up to €1.5 billion ($2.0 billion) worth of train cars from the Canadian group Bombardier.

Opel cuts prices to deal with car market slump
Germany

Opel cuts prices to deal with car market slump

The German carmaker Opel, a unit of US giant General Motors, has lowered the price of several models to stimulate demand, an executive said on Monday in an interview.

Sweden to send emergency aid to Gaza
Sweden

Sweden to send emergency aid to Gaza

Sweden said on Monday it would send 10 million kronor ($1.3 million) in extra emergency aid to Palestinians in Gaza to help deal with the humanitarian impact of Israel's massive offensive there.

Swedish city mulls total car ban
Sweden

Swedish city mulls total car ban

The southern Swedish city of Lund is considering a total ban on cars and buses in its historic city centre, local newspaper Sydsvenska Dagbladet reports.

‘Christmas in Sweden is like Groundhog Day’
Sweden

‘Christmas in Sweden is like Groundhog Day’

How many years does it take before Sweden's quirky Christmas traditions start to get irksome? Eight, says Mark Majzner.

Telecommunication prices down 3.3 percent
Germany

Telecommunication prices down 3.3 percent

Telecommunications prices in households dropped by 3.3 percent in 2008, according to the Federal Statistics Office (Destatis) on Monday.

Honour killing victim’s parents refuse to testify
Germany

Honour killing victim’s parents refuse to testify

The parents of the German-Afghan victim of an “honour killing” by her brother last year refused to testify in a Hamburg court on Monday. Meanwhile state prosecutors have also accused her father of abuse.

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Sweden

Gambler ‘couldn’t help’ staking bank’s money

A 29-year-old Swedish gambler has been charged with aggravated fraud after a security failure allowed him to play, and lose, 700,000 kronor ($90,000) of his bank's money.

Sweethearts aged six and seven elope for Africa
Germany

Sweethearts aged six and seven elope for Africa

Two childhood sweethearts, aged six and seven, eloped from Hannover in northern Germany on New Year's Eve, determined to tie the knot under the African sun, police said on Monday.

Ukraine gas dispute heads for Stockholm arbitration
Sweden

Ukraine gas dispute heads for Stockholm arbitration

The gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine could be considered by an arbitration body in Stockholm, according to reports in German and Russian media.

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Sweden

Post office thief bags underwear and toy phone

A man has been charged with the theft of thousands of letters and packages while employed at the post office sorting terminal in Alvesta in southern Sweden.

Witness emerges in deadly Althaus accident
Germany

Witness emerges in deadly Althaus accident

Police are questioning a single witness in the ski collision that seriously injured Thuringia’s state premier Dieter Althaus and killed a Slovakian woman on New Year’s Day. Meanwhile doctors have said that the politician can’t remember how the accident occurred.

18,000 layoffs in December
Sweden

18,000 layoffs in December

Sweden's labour market woes continued in December as 17,960 people were made redundant, according to new figures from the Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen). In December 2007, by contrast, 2,397 people were let go from their jobs.

Ifo’s Sinn sees two-year recession in Germany
Germany

Ifo’s Sinn sees two-year recession in Germany

Everyone expects 2009 to be a rough year, but according to Hans-Werner Sinn, the head of Munich's Ifo economic institute, Germany is facing two dire years of recession and rising unemployment.

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Sweden

Debt agency calls for greater compassion

Several civil servants have called for Sweden to take a more compassionate approach to people in debt.

Snow and ice cause traffic mayhem
Germany

Snow and ice cause traffic mayhem

Snow and black ice caused numerous accidents across Germany overnight and early Monday morning, but sunshine is expected to break through the clouds by afternoon.

Berlin’s first sextuplets in 20 years heading home
Germany

Berlin’s first sextuplets in 20 years heading home

Almost three months after their birth, the first German sextuplets to be born in the last 20 years went home with their parents on Monday.

Birdwatchers flock to Stockholm for rare sparrow sighting
Sweden

Birdwatchers flock to Stockholm for rare sparrow sighting

A yellow-browed bunting (Emberiza chrysophrys) was spotted near Stockholm on Saturday. The species of sparrow has never before been spotted in Sweden and caused excitement among ornithologists who came from far and wide, Expressen reports.

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Sweden

Swedes stranded in Gaza

Around twenty Swedes stranded in Gaza have been in contact with the Swedish consulate in Jerusalem to seek help leaving the war-torn area.

World War II bombs detonated in Osnabrück neighbourhood
Germany

World War II bombs detonated in Osnabrück neighbourhood

Authorities detonated two World War II bombs and defused two others in an Osnabrück residential area on Sunday night.

Sweden emerges from weekend chill
Sweden

Sweden emerges from weekend chill

Temperatures dropped to below -30 degrees Celsius in parts of northern Sweden at the weekend, as the country experienced its coldest weather of the winter so far.

Merkel seeks unity in CDU on economic stimulus plans
Germany

Merkel seeks unity in CDU on economic stimulus plans

Germany's fractious coalition will squabble this week over a second boost for the ailing economy, but on Sunday Chancellor Angela Merkel first had to restore harmony among her own conservative allies.