Germans watched more TV than ever in 2011
Germany

Germans watched more TV than ever in 2011

A survey published Thursday found that Germans have been growing more and more addicted to the box. In 2011, Teutonic couch potatoes buckled down to break the previous year’s record once again.

Swedish doc accuses police of misconduct
Sweden

Swedish doc accuses police of misconduct

Police officers who investigated a doctor accused of the manslaughter of a baby at a Stockholm hospital last year are now themselves facing a misconduct probe over the way they handled the doctor after she was arrested.

President in crisis as poll numbers tank
Germany

President in crisis as poll numbers tank

With his poll numbers sinking, German President Christian Wulff came under renewed pressure Thursday following a televised mea culpa in response to his exploding financial scandal.

Swedish couple fined for neglecting their 53 cats
Sweden

Swedish couple fined for neglecting their 53 cats

A Swedish couple from southern Stockholm was recently convicted of animal cruelty and forced to pay a fine after keeping a large number of neglected cats in their Stockholm house.

Three tram conductors stabbed in Oslo
Norway

Three tram conductors stabbed in Oslo

Two men have been arrested in connection with the stabbings of three conductors on board an Oslo tram on Thursday morning.

Petroplus credit lines frozen by banks
Switzerland

Petroplus credit lines frozen by banks

Embattled oil refiner Petroplus said on Thursday that lenders had frozen access to its remaining credit lines in a further blow to the firm in the process of shutting down three of its refineries.

Ruhr ruins invite tourists for highwire hijinks
Germany

Ruhr ruins invite tourists for highwire hijinks

The Ruhr Valley's Landschaftspark, once Germany's decrepit industrial armpit, has become a spectacular adventure park. David Sharp makes a hair-raising climb onto a disused furnace.

Retiree ‘set fire to homeless man’
Germany

Retiree ‘set fire to homeless man’

The trial of a pensioner who allegedly set a homeless man on fire in July began Thursday in the western German town of Essen. The homeless man died from severe burns.

Tepid response to French bond auction
France

Tepid response to French bond auction

France successfully raised €7.96 billion ($10.23 billion) in new long-term bonds on Thursday despite lower demand, but was forced to pay higher interest amid fears over the country's credit rating.

Hospital splashes cash on ‘electro-allergy’ room
Sweden

Hospital splashes cash on ‘electro-allergy’ room

Falköping hospital in southern Sweden recently spent just under a million kronor ($146,130) to have a room adapted to suit the needs of the "electro-oversensitive", despite the fact that the allergy hasn't been scientifically proven to exist.

DSK wife to write family memoir
France

DSK wife to write family memoir

Former television journalist Anne Sinclair, also known as the wife of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has been giving more details of a memoir she is preparing.

Louvre readies to open new Islamic wing
France

Louvre readies to open new Islamic wing

With a roof designed to look like a floating sheet of silk, a reference to the Islamic headscarf, a new wing of the Louvre housing Islamic art is nearing completion.

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Switzerland

Banker to break silence on wife’s dollar deal

Swiss central bank chief Philipp Hildebrand is due to break his silence later on Thursday over his wife's controversial dollar purchase that has sparked a growing scandal and speculation over insider trading.

Swiss media call for SNB chief’s resignation
Switzerland

Swiss media call for SNB chief’s resignation

Swiss newspapers believe the reputation of the Swiss National Bank (SNB) has been seriously damaged by reports that the wife of bank chief Philipp Hildebrand made tens of thousands of francs in profit by speculating on an overvalued franc.

Disasters made 2011 most expensive year ever
Germany

Disasters made 2011 most expensive year ever

Giant earthquakes, tsunamis and flooding made 2011 the most expensive year on record in terms of damage caused by natural disasters, according to German insurance experts.

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Sweden

Man jailed for slaying teen on football pitch

A 29-year-old man has been sentenced to twelve years in prison and will be deported from Sweden for murdering a teenager on a Stockholm football pitch last July.

Customs ‘not focused’ on weapons smuggling
Sweden

Customs ‘not focused’ on weapons smuggling

The Öresund bridge, connecting Sweden and Denmark, has long been known to be an important route for weapons smugglers to get their wares into Sweden. Despite this only seven illegal weapons were seized there over the course of 2011.

Plaintiffs want new Breivik sanity check
Norway

Plaintiffs want new Breivik sanity check

Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the July 22nd twin attacks in Norway that left 77 people dead called on Thursday for a new psychiatric evaluation of the gunman, whom experts have found criminally insane.

Anti-Islam lyrics no barrier to Norway music prize
Norway

Anti-Islam lyrics no barrier to Norway music prize

A black metal band nominated for Norway’s top music prize has rejected claims that lyrics on its latest album go too far in their criticism of Islam.

China officially Audi’s biggest market
Germany

China officially Audi’s biggest market

Luxury German carmaker Audi said Thursday that 2011 sales in fast-growing China had outstripped its home market for the first time, adding it expected further acceleration in the coming years.

What’s on in Germany: January 5 – 11
Germany

What’s on in Germany: January 5 – 11

This Week's Highlights: Buster Keaton films in Munich, Alexander McQueen fashions in Hamburg, and contemporary dance in Berlin.

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Switzerland

First storm of the year keeps skiers away

A low pressure system bringing heavy snowfall and wind speeds of up to 180 km/h is expected to continue into Friday.

Germany forced to buy Austrian electricity
Germany

Germany forced to buy Austrian electricity

One of Germany’s energy providers was forced to use reserves from Austrian power stations on two days in December as a "precautionary measure," according to a newspaper report.

File-sharing recognized as a religion in Sweden
Sweden

File-sharing recognized as a religion in Sweden

Zealous file-sharing enthusiasts in Sweden can now take their beliefs to the next level and join the Church of Kopimism, as the widespread practice has now officially been recognized as a religion.

Missing man was held in abandoned school
Sweden

Missing man was held in abandoned school

When police found the abducted 25-year old man on Wednesday afternoon, he was being held in a former school building, in the small village of Robertsfors, near Umeå, in the north of Sweden.

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France

French still gloomy about future

French consumer confidence remained stuck at a three-year low in December, with the French more fearful for their financial outlook, according to official data released Thursday.

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Norway

Woman filmed drowning of one-year-old daughter

A 26-year-old woman in Oslo has been charged with the second-degree murder of her one-year-old daughter after she and her partner allegedly discussed how best to discipline the child in an online video chat session.

‘Turkish Saab’ would stay in Trollhättan: report
Sweden

‘Turkish Saab’ would stay in Trollhättan: report

If Saab gets Turkish owners, the company will continue to build cars in Trollhättan, according to Turkish company Brightwell Holdings, which recently entered in the competition over the cash-strapped carmaker.

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France

Teenagers go on three-day crime spree

Three teenagers, aged from 14 to 16, carried out a series of violent attacks on women and a string of house burglaries over three days close to the southern city of Montpellier.

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Switzerland

Bank chief ‘unaware of wife’s investment’

Swiss central bank chief Philipp Hildebrand did not know about his wife's purchase of $504,000 dollars until the day after the transaction, a report by the bank's auditor said on Wednesday.

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Switzerland

Tears as Neuchatel Xamax sack four players

Beleaguered Swiss football club Neuchatel Xamax announced on Wednesday that they have sacked four players, including captain Stephane Besle, with immediate effect.

Road deaths close to 4,000 a year
France

Road deaths close to 4,000 a year

3,970 people lost their lives on French roads in 2011, a slight improvement on the 2010 total but still far away from President Nicolas Sarkozy's ambition to get the annual level below 3,000.

Mail order catalogue’s naked man goes viral
France

Mail order catalogue’s naked man goes viral

One of France's best-known mail order catalogues apologised on Wednesday after web users noticed a naked man in the background of an advertising photo published on the children's section of its website.

Iran embargo decision by ‘end of January’
France

Iran embargo decision by ‘end of January’

A decision on a European embargo on Iranian oil could be taken at an EU foreign ministers' meeting on January 30th in Brussels, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said on Wednesday.

Hollywood arsonist ‘hated America’
Germany

Hollywood arsonist ‘hated America’

A German man launched a "binge" of over 50 arson attacks in southern California over the New Year holiday weekend, fired up by anti-American "hatred" fueled by his mother's fight against deportation to Germany, prosecutors have said.

For rent: One WWII U-boat bunker
Germany

For rent: One WWII U-boat bunker

Two government authorities are in conflict over a huge World War II submarine bunker near the northern German city-state of Bremen, which is to be rented out for commercial use.

Berlin attack may be work of Kurdish terrorists
Germany

Berlin attack may be work of Kurdish terrorists

Police believe a Molotov cocktail attack on a Turkish cultural association Tuesday evening may have been the work of a terrorist group banned from the European Union.

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Sweden

Seven charged after burning victim with iron

Seven men in Örebro, central Sweden, have been charged with kidnapping and aggravated assault after having tortured a man in Örebro last October, according to a report in local paper Nerikes Allehanda (NA).

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Sweden

Swedish broadcaster MTG quits Slovenia

Swedish broadcaster Modern Times Group, MTG, said Wednesday it will cancel its Slovenian television channel TV3 and quit the EU country citing the unfavourable media environment there.