Moody’s downgrades 10 German public banks
Germany

Moody’s downgrades 10 German public banks

Moody's downgraded on Wednesday its ratings of 10 German public-sector banks including BayernLB and Deutsche Hypo saying they were now less likely to receive state support if needed.

Swiss Raelian sect in EU rights court over alien posters
Switzerland

Swiss Raelian sect in EU rights court over alien posters

The Swiss branch of the Raelian religious sect on Wednesday asked the European Court of Human Rights to overturn a ban on the group's posters depicting aliens.

Irish actor Rhys Meyers sentenced for drunken French fracas
France

Irish actor Rhys Meyers sentenced for drunken French fracas

A French court on Wednesday handed Irish film star Jonathan Rhys Meyers a one-month suspended sentence and ordered him to pay a €1,000 fine for a drunken altercation with police at a Paris airport.

Divers in ‘gigantic’ 17th-century warship find
Sweden

Divers in ‘gigantic’ 17th-century warship find

Divers have discovered what is believed to be the 17th century royal warship Svärdet off the coast of the Baltic island of Öland, researchers revealed on Wednesday.

17 charged in footballer’s ‘gang-war’ slaying
Sweden

17 charged in footballer’s ‘gang-war’ slaying

Charges were filed against 17 men on Wednesday in relation to the July 2010 killing of young Assyriska FF footballer Eddie Moussa and his brother in Södertälje in eastern Sweden, in what prosecutors believe was a settling of scores between rival gangs.

Robber beats retreat after children offer savings
Germany

Robber beats retreat after children offer savings

An armed robber who held up a babysitter at gunpoint in Lower Saxony was shamed into leaving empty-handed by the two young children of the house who offered him their pocket money.

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Sweden

Swedish teen shocked by ‘wonky boob’ insult

A 14-year-old girl was told she had “wonky boobs” in an unexpected text message sent by Swedish directory assistance service 118 800.

Novartis staff on strike over job cuts
Switzerland

Novartis staff on strike over job cuts

Employees working at the Nyon-Prangins site of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis went on strike on Wednesday over the firm's decision to close the factory and slash over 300 jobs.

Swedish prison guard shot and beaten
Sweden

Swedish prison guard shot and beaten

A prison guard at a prison in Norrtälje north of Stockholm was shot, then beaten and kicked by an unknown man during a walk on Tuesday evening.

Merkel admits eurozone still searching for debt crisis solution
Germany

Merkel admits eurozone still searching for debt crisis solution

German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted Wednesday that the eurozone had still not identified the road to recovery from its crippling debt crisis, after talks with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

Zoo sponsor: ‘the tiger ate my piglets’
Sweden

Zoo sponsor: ‘the tiger ate my piglets’

A man has reported a Swedish zoo to the Consumer Agency (Konsumentverket) for misleading information, after the piglets that he had adopted were fed to the tigers in the park without him being informed.

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Switzerland

Swiss to ensure US bank clients know of probes

Switzerland said on Wednesday it has amended a decree to ensure that US clients of Swiss banks are informed of any probes against them, against a backdrop of increased action by Washington.

Music service Spotify launches in Switzerland
Switzerland

Music service Spotify launches in Switzerland

Popular music streaming service Spotify launched in Switzerland on Wednesday, offering users access to a catalogue of some 15 million songs.

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Switzerland

Swiss nudist hiker awaits appeal ruling

A 47-year-old man is awaiting the outcome of his appeal after being convicted of “indecent behaviour” and ordered to pay a fine for walking naked in the mountains in eastern Switzerland.

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France

Huge cannabis stash found in Paris car park

French narcotics police on Tuesday discovered drugs, weapons and several high-speed vehicles believed to belong to a drug trafficking network at an underground car park in Paris.

Swedish toddlers surf the internet in droves: report
Sweden

Swedish toddlers surf the internet in droves: report

Every other Swedish 3-year-old uses the internet, more than 50 percent of Swedes use Facebook, and there are more computers than people in Sweden, according to a new study.

City of Berlin gets ‘grand coalition’ government
Germany

City of Berlin gets ‘grand coalition’ government

A left-right coalition is taking shape in the city state of Berlin, after the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats agreed to form a government in Germany's capital on Wednesday.

HQ scandal splits Swedish business duo
Sweden

HQ scandal splits Swedish business duo

Sven Hagströmer and his long-term business partner Mats Qviberg have announced that their holding firm Öresund is to be divided in the wake of a scandal involving the now defunct HQ bank.

Pet death services cater to grieving owners
Germany

Pet death services cater to grieving owners

A growing industry is catering to Germans devastated by their pets’ deaths. Businesses can arrange everything from burial services to cremation – and even turn the ashes of Fluffy and Fido into diamond jewellery.

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Norway

Norway builds new courtroom for terror trial

Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik will be tried in a new 25 million kroner ($4.3 million) courtroom, as Norway starts spending some of the 600 million kroner ($110 million) set aside for the terrorism trial in the 2012 budget.

France to cut back on sick leave benefits
France

France to cut back on sick leave benefits

The French parliament has passed new cost-cutting measures increasing the number of days of unpaid sick leave for workers in both the public and private sectors.

Neo-Nazi terrorists compiled target list
Germany

Neo-Nazi terrorists compiled target list

A German neo-Nazi terror group responsible for 10 murders was apparently planning political assassinations. President Wulff announced he will meet with the victims’ relatives amid growing concerns about the damage done to Germany’s reputation abroad.

Bringing Gaelic football to the Swedes
Sweden

Bringing Gaelic football to the Swedes

A book on Gaelic football in Sweden by Stockholm resident and Irishman Philip O'Connor has received award nominations in his home country. Speaking to The Local, he tells of his expat experience and his passion for this little-known sport.

Zurich residents to vote on drive-in sex stalls
Switzerland

Zurich residents to vote on drive-in sex stalls

The Swiss People’s Party (SVP) has gathered enough signatures to call a cantonal referendum in Zurich on the planned development of a new red-light district in Alstetten, on the outskirts of the city.

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Norway

Police uncover industrial espionage on huge scale

National security officers in Norway have uncovered what they say is the most wide-ranging theft of industrial data in the country’s history.

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France

Somalis on trial in France for yacht hijacking

Six Somali men accused of taking a French couple hostage on their yacht went on trial in Paris on Tuesday in France's first prosecution of alleged Somali pirates.

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Sweden

Sweden deports man to wrong country

Swedish police were given orders to deport a man to Iran, but instead sent him to Iraq, where he now risks 15 years in prison for claiming to be a citizen in the country, according to a report in the Expressen daily.

Germans defend Greek honour amid debt crisis
Germany

Germans defend Greek honour amid debt crisis

Popular opinion in Germany holds that the Greeks have only themselves to blame for their country's crushing debt crisis. But Germans who have made Greece their home are now fighting ugly stereotypes on both sides.

French press hounding broken man: DSK lawyer
France

French press hounding broken man: DSK lawyer

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn's lawyer accused the French press on Wednesday of "putting to death a man who is already down" after reports linking him to a prostitution investigation.

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France

French police dismantle Occupy camp

French police late on Tuesday dismantled a two-week-old makeshift camp of anti-capitalist 'Indignant' protesters in Paris' La Defense business district, an AFP reporter witnessed.

‘Sun Drop’ diamond fetches record $10.9m
Switzerland

‘Sun Drop’ diamond fetches record $10.9m

A 110-carat yellow jewel called the Sun Drop Diamond, thought the biggest of its kind in the world, sold for a record 10 million Swiss francs ($10.9 million) at auction in Geneva, Sotheby's announced on Tuesday.

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France

France asking China to invest in Paris project

French Urban Affairs Minister Maurice Leroy courted Chinese investors in Hong Kong on Wednesday as he promoted the huge Greater Paris urban renewal project at a property industry conference.

One in five German children have alcoholic or drug-addict parents
Germany

One in five German children have alcoholic or drug-addict parents

One in five German children have alcoholic or drug-addict parents, according to the latest annual figures on drugs and addiction.

Saab takeover talks go on as deadline passes
Sweden

Saab takeover talks go on as deadline passes

Two Chinese companies are continuing discussions on purchasing Saab even though the deadline for the deal expired Tuesday, the beleaguered Swedish carmaker said.

Assange files Sweden extradition appeal
Sweden

Assange files Sweden extradition appeal

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange applied Tuesday for Britain's Supreme Court to hear his appeal against extradition to Sweden, dragging out a legal saga that has already lasted more than a year.

Scientists develop nose exam to detect Alzheimer’s disease early
Germany

Scientists develop nose exam to detect Alzheimer’s disease early

Scientists in central Germany are working on a method with which they reckon they could diagnose Alzheimer’s disease years before any symptoms are noticed – by looking up patients’ noses.

England break 1968 Sweden jinx
Sweden

England break 1968 Sweden jinx

England's footballers finally ended their 43-year hoodoo against Sweden at Wembley on Tuesday, with a 1-0 friendly win.

Germany hammer the Netherlands 3-0
Germany

Germany hammer the Netherlands 3-0

Veteran striker Miroslav Klose rolled back the years with a goal and two assists on Tuesday evening as Germany hammered Euro 2012 rivals the Netherlands 3-0 in a friendly in Hamburg.