Berlin urges swift action on EU transaction tax
Germany

Berlin urges swift action on EU transaction tax

Germany pushed for quick decisions to be made on a mooted tax on financial transactions on Friday, amid British fears that such a levy could drive away business from Europe.

Håkan Juholt survives to lead another day
Sweden

Håkan Juholt survives to lead another day

The Social Democrats' executive committee (Verkställande Utskottet, VU) expressed its continued confidence in embattled party head Håkan Juholt on Friday following two days of intense meetings about his leadership.

Queen Silvia slammed for ‘flawed’ Nazi probe
Sweden

Queen Silvia slammed for ‘flawed’ Nazi probe

Sweden's Queen Silvia was reportedly "shattered" following an investigative journalism report criticizing the findings of a probe meant to clear the air regarding her father's Nazi connections.

Schlecker goes bankrupt, tries to save stores
Germany

Schlecker goes bankrupt, tries to save stores

German drugstore giant Schlecker is declaring insolvency in a desperate attempt to save stores and keep the company afloat, the company confirmed on Friday afternoon.

Cops finger fox in ‘copy-cat’ rabbit robberies
Sweden

Cops finger fox in ‘copy-cat’ rabbit robberies

Police hunting for a bunny burglar believed to have pinched 11 pet rabbits since the New Year in Säffle in northern Sweden have found their first suspect – a fox, but residents remain unconvinced the culprit has four legs.

Would you pay more for green grub?
Germany

Would you pay more for green grub?

The food industry gathering in Berlin for the annual Green Week convention says conditions for farm animals can be improved – but the products would be more expensive. Would you pay more for humanely produced food? Have your say.

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France

France mulls Afghan exit after troops ‘murdered’

President Nicolas Sarkozy warned on Friday he may accelerate the French withdrawal from Afghanistan after an Afghan soldier shot dead four unarmed French troops during a sports session inside a base.

Vilks murder plot suspects acquitted
Sweden

Vilks murder plot suspects acquitted

Three men accused of plotting to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks were acquitted of the charges in Gothenburg on Friday, but were nevertheless convicted for weapons violations.

Celebrate the ‘Year of the Dragon’ in Stockholm
Sweden

Celebrate the ‘Year of the Dragon’ in Stockholm

As Chinese people around the world prepare for the start of the 'Year of the Dragon', a Stockholm museum is doing its part to celebrate the Chinese new year in the Swedish capital.

Ikea boss bemoans German bureaucracy
Germany

Ikea boss bemoans German bureaucracy

Ikea is becoming increasingly frustrated at complicated German bureaucracy and public protest, which has slowed expansion plans, company head Mikael Ohlsson said on Friday.

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Switzerland

Dad tried to sell children to their own mum

A 34-year-old father of two has been sentenced to eight years in prison after he kidnapped his six and seven-year-old sons, took them to Tunisia, and told their mother to pay him 170,000 francs ($182,000) if she wanted to get her children back.

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Sweden

Cops quiz 11-year-old over gang attacks

An 11-year-old boy has been brought in by police in connection with a series of knife point robberies in Malmö. Victims were unaccompanied women, and police believe that a gang of boys aged between 11 and 13 are responsible for the attacks.

Ikea assembles record profits for 2011
Sweden

Ikea assembles record profits for 2011

Swedish furniture giant Ikea on Friday reported a ballooning net profit in 2011 amid booming sales and increased market share in most markets and said it planned hefty investments in the year to come.

How to lose Swedish friends in just 10 days
Sweden

How to lose Swedish friends in just 10 days

Tired of navigating the minefield of unspoken rules and social codes required to be accepted in Sweden? Then check out The Local's guide on how to rub Swedes the wrong way.

Women to sue France over faulty implants
France

Women to sue France over faulty implants

A dozen French women who have received faulty PIP breast implants say they want to sue the state for its failure to reimburse them for breast replacement surgery.

France issues ‘wedding kits’ to fight divorce
France

France issues ‘wedding kits’ to fight divorce

With the divorce rate rising, the French government is working on "wedding kits" to enhance the marriage experience for aspiring spouses.

Swiss canton relaxes holiday boogie ban
Switzerland

Swiss canton relaxes holiday boogie ban

Swiss canton Neuchâtel has reduced to two the number of days on which it is forbidden to dance in public.

Three Germans held in global piracy raid
Germany

Three Germans held in global piracy raid

Three Germans, including a millionaire notorious for his hacking and embezzlement schemes have been arrested in New Zealand on American charges of running a massive global piracy website.

Berlin fashion designers ‘need more help’
Germany

Berlin fashion designers ‘need more help’

While the fashion world's elite strut their stuff in Berlin Fashion Week, some who give the German capital its reputation for edgy design are struggling. One designer told Jessica Ware the fashion scene was “massively underfunded”.

Swede admits to FARC guns-for-drugs deal
Sweden

Swede admits to FARC guns-for-drugs deal

A former Swedish night club owner held in the United States on suspicion of supplying weapons to Colombian guerrillas in exchange for cocaine, pleaded guilty on Tuesday in a US court.

Guttenberg rules out return for 2013 election
Germany

Guttenberg rules out return for 2013 election

Disgraced former Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has stepped back from an imminent return to active German politics, saying the 2013 general election would not be the right time.

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France

Hackers bring down French anti-piracy site

Anonymous hackers attacked the website of the French anti-piracy organization Hadopi in retaliation to the closure of the file-sharing site Megaupload.com

Volvo wagon Sweden’s ‘biggest film star’
Sweden

Volvo wagon Sweden’s ‘biggest film star’

When naming the Swedish model most often seen on the silver screen, many would take a chance on Greta Garbo. However, the correct answer is actually the modest Volvo 240 station wagon, with the sporty Saab 900 in hot pursuit.

Swiss firm Petroplus to sell French refinery
Switzerland

Swiss firm Petroplus to sell French refinery

Swiss-based oil refiner Petroplus, nearly driven to bankruptcy after banks froze its credit lines, said on Friday it would sell its Petit Couronne refinery in north-western France.

Swiss firm Petroplus to sell French refinery
France

Swiss firm Petroplus to sell French refinery

Swiss-based oil refiner Petroplus, nearly driven to bankruptcy after banks froze its credit lines, said on Friday it would sell its Petit Couronne refinery in north-western France.

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Norway

Suspect arrested over Islamist threat video

A 21-year-old man will face a remand hearing on Friday following his arrest on suspicion of having posted a hateful video to the internet calling on Allah to destroy members of the Norwegian government and royal family.

Clockwatchers need more time to decide on leap second
Switzerland

Clockwatchers need more time to decide on leap second

Timekeepers meeting in Geneva failed to agree on Thursday on a proposal to abolish a 40-year-old practice of adding the occasional second to world time.

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France

Four French troops killed by Afghan soldier: official

Four French soldiers were shot dead and 16 were wounded by a member of the Afghan army in eastern Afghanistan on Friday, a NATO spokesman and Afghan officials said.

Norway-Pakistan ties ‘unharmed’ by intel gaffe
Norway

Norway-Pakistan ties ‘unharmed’ by intel gaffe

Oslo and Islamabad insisted on Thursday that their relationship remains strong despite the resignation of the Norwegian domestic intelligence chief after she appeared to reveal that Norway has secret agents in Pakistan.

Federer’s wonder lob downs Karlovic
Switzerland

Federer’s wonder lob downs Karlovic

Swiss great Roger Federer conjured a wonder lob over Croatian giant Ivo Karlovic Friday to reach the Australian Open fourth round and stay on course for his first major title in two years.

New gun law proposal frustrates Swedish police
Sweden

New gun law proposal frustrates Swedish police

In a proposal to the Swedish Council on Legislation's (Lagrådet) the government has suggested implementing stricter penalties for carrying a weapon in a public place.

North Korean envoy wriggles off hook
Germany

North Korean envoy wriggles off hook

The North Korean ambassador to Germany was caught poaching fish in a Berlin river this week – but waved away police who found him, and carried on with a grin, citing diplomatic immunity.

Tennis great Wilander recovers after injury
Sweden

Tennis great Wilander recovers after injury

Former world number one Mats Wilander has been released from hospital following treatment after he fell and lacerated a kidney, his company said on Friday.

Swedish nuclear safety needs improving: report
Sweden

Swedish nuclear safety needs improving: report

Sweden should take steps to increase security against attacks at its nuclear plants, including introducing armed guards, according to a new government-sponsored report, published on Thursday.

Garlicky smell sparks university evacuation
Germany

Garlicky smell sparks university evacuation

Nearly 100 students and staff who were taken to hospital after a chemistry experiment was thought to have gone wrong at Dresden’s Technical University seem to have been the victims of a false alarm – and a garlicky smell.

Munich baby elephant first to get heart surgery
Germany

Munich baby elephant first to get heart surgery

A baby elephant in Munich will be the first in the world to undergo heart surgery, after vets at the zoo realised she had a congenital defect which will kill her within weeks if nothing is done.