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Switzerland

Kurdish brothers charged with ‘terror’ ties

Two Kurdish brothers from Iraq, living as refugees in Switzerland, have been charged with taking part in a "terrorist" organization linked to Al-Qaeda, the Swiss attorney general's office said on Monday.

Smokers pay the price as France hikes taxes
France

Smokers pay the price as France hikes taxes

Cigarettes are nearing seven euros or more for a packet of 20 in France as a tax hike on tobacco products took effect on Monday.

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France

New French law covers abortion costs

France on Monday unveiled a package of reforms designed to increase access to abortion, including 100% reimbursement of medical costs by the state social security system.

Supermarket floats Seine idea
France

Supermarket floats Seine idea

For the first time since the Middle Ages the River Seine in Paris is being revived as a means of commercial transport.

Refugees in Bavaria have to sleep in tents
Germany

Refugees in Bavaria have to sleep in tents

A refugee camp in Germany’s wealthiest region has been reduced to setting up tents, because it cannot find anywhere for asylum-seekers to sleep. The chapel is already filled with refugees sleeping on mattresses at night.

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Sweden

Swedish union in new name proposal: ‘Fack Ett’

Swedish trade union Kommunal is pondering a name-change to better reflect its members’ identity, however name proposals such as Fack Ett have prompted fears of ridicule from both branding experts and regular members.

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France

French banking giant moves to sell Greek arm

French Credit Agricole bank said on Monday it was in exclusive talks to offload its Greek subsidiary Emporiki to Greece's Alpha Bank, under terms requiring the French bank pumping huge extra amounts of funding into its ailing offshoot.

Thousands of French march against EU austerity
France

Thousands of French march against EU austerity

Tens of thousands of left-wing protesters took to the streets of Paris on Sunday to denounce EU-driven austerity measures being pushed on member states, a day after similar protests in Spain and Portugal.

Ikea ‘sorry’ for erasing women in Saudi book
Sweden

Ikea ‘sorry’ for erasing women in Saudi book

Swedish furniture giant Ikea has apologized for removing all the women from their Saudi Arabian catalogue, following public outrage in Sweden including the EU minister slamming the action as “medieval”.

Greece u-turns over ‘stolen’ Swiss tax data
Switzerland

Greece u-turns over ‘stolen’ Swiss tax data

Greece will use a CD allegedly containing details of citizens who have bank accounts in Switzerland to track down tax evaders, the finance minister said on Monday, after Athens previously dismissed the information as unusable.

French government seeks furnace buyer
France

French government seeks furnace buyer

Steel giant ArcelorMittal brought down the axe on two idled blast furnaces in France on Monday after a long showdown with workers, but gave the government two months to find a buyer for the site which has become a symbol of French industrial decline.

Brittany Ferries set sail again after union deal
France

Brittany Ferries set sail again after union deal

Brittany Ferries will resume services Tuesday, company management said, following a pact to end wildcat strikes by French employees that halted services between Britain, France, Ireland and Spain.

Amnesty mocks SVP over asylum laws
Switzerland

Amnesty mocks SVP over asylum laws

The Swiss chapter of Amnesty International is using humour and satire in a new hard-hitting campaign to combat policies that toughen conditions for asylum seekers in Switzerland.

Big shareholder grounds EADS and BAE merger
France

Big shareholder grounds EADS and BAE merger

A key player in European defence group EADS objected on Monday to its tie up with BAE Systems, saying that the terms of the effort to create the world's biggest aerospace group should be re-drawn.

Fleeing teacher in French jail as Megan goes home
France

Fleeing teacher in French jail as Megan goes home

A 15-year-old British schoolgirl who ran away to France with a married teacher twice her age flew back home Saturday, while he stayed in prison awaiting extradition.

Officials propose booze ban for football games
Switzerland

Officials propose booze ban for football games

In a bid to combat hooliganism, Swiss law enforcement officials want to ban the consumption of alcohol by spectators in the stands for “high-risk” football and ice hockey games.

Canadian Oktoberfest man dies in tram smash
Germany

Canadian Oktoberfest man dies in tram smash

A Canadian man visiting the Munich Oktoberfest died at the weekend after he was knocked down by a tram while drunk, police said on Monday. Officials also said that beer consumption was up – as well as booze-related injuries.

Car sales plummet as French slam the brakes
France

Car sales plummet as French slam the brakes

French car sales dropped 18.3% year-on-year in September, signalling more gloom for domestic firms struggling with plummeting demand in their key European market and high production costs.

Munich organ donor check reveals suspicions
Germany

Munich organ donor check reveals suspicions

An investigation into people waiting for donated livers being pushed up the waiting list has been launched at a Munich clinic following scandals in two other German hospitals.

Estate agent finds house hash plantation
Germany

Estate agent finds house hash plantation

A German estate agent taking potential buyers to view a house opened the door to find the three-storey building filled to the rafters with cannabis plants.

Norwegian blogger posts Muhammad cartoon
Norway

Norwegian blogger posts Muhammad cartoon

A Norwegian writer and commentator of Syrian origin has published a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad on her blog in what she said was a show of support for freedom of speech.

Aldi ‘set to double UK stores’
Germany

Aldi ‘set to double UK stores’

German discount supermarket giant Aldi said on Monday they would open 40 new stores in the UK by 2013 and double its outlets over the next decade, as it targets increasingly price-conscious middle class customers.

Swedish sites targeted in new internet attack
Sweden

Swedish sites targeted in new internet attack

The websites of several Swedish companies and organizations were crippled on Monday by a cyber attack which left internet servers overloaded in what experts say is an increasingly common phenomenon for websites in Sweden.

VW: Golf special offer not bad for prices
Germany

VW: Golf special offer not bad for prices

Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest auto maker, has rejected claims that special offers it is making to accelerate sales of the new Golf cars could depress prices across the industry.

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Sweden

Police find airport ‘bomb’ to be board game

Police called out to a Swedish regional airport after a suspicious-looking parcel had been found in a garbage bin were surprised to find the suspected explosive device was a board game.

One in ten girls sexually abused as teens: report
Norway

One in ten girls sexually abused as teens: report

Ten percent of Norwegian women claim to have been sexually abused before the age of 16, according to an “alarming” new report from the University of Bergen.

Steinbrück promises ‘fun election with jokes’
Germany

Steinbrück promises ‘fun election with jokes’

Former finance minister Peer Steinbrück Monday slammed Chancellor Angela Merkel's government as one of the worst in modern German history as he won unanimous party backing to challenge her at next year's elections.

Elderly woman dies after ambulance no-show
Sweden

Elderly woman dies after ambulance no-show

A 77-year-old woman who fell in her home in southern Sweden had her call for an ambulance refused when she told the duty nurse she had felt better after drinking some whiskey. The woman was found dead the next day.

Fury over doc who let 15-year-old cut into patient
Sweden

Fury over doc who let 15-year-old cut into patient

A Malmö woman remains angry she was never told that a 15-year-old student was allowed to participate in her Cesarean section operation, learning of the incident only after reading of it in the local paper.

Germany drops probe into SS Italian massacre
Germany

Germany drops probe into SS Italian massacre

A German court said Monday it was scrapping a probe into 17 former Nazi SS soldiers, eight of whom are still alive, for their alleged part in the wartime massacre of 560 citizens in an Italian village.

Olympian amongst arrests in Handball probe
France

Olympian amongst arrests in Handball probe

A French prosecutor is expected to give details of suspected match-fixing and illegal betting in handball Monday, a day after police detained several players including one of the biggest stars of the game.

Mystery iguana found on Swedish highway
Sweden

Mystery iguana found on Swedish highway

A passerby was shocked to find a wayward iguana on a highway off-ramp in southern Sweden, with police unsure as to whether the lizard was dumped or had escaped.

Lacoste family wrestles over control of company
France

Lacoste family wrestles over control of company

A family feud at the top of the Lacoste clothing company is pitting father against daughter in a battle for management of the green crocodile brand.

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Switzerland

Xstrata and Glencore agree massive tie-up

Swiss mining group Xstrata and commodities giant Glencore said on Monday they had agreed on new terms for their tie-up to create a massive company worth $86.6 billion and capable of out-muscling all the other giants in the field.

Campaign aims to teach Swedes how to say ‘hi’
Sweden

Campaign aims to teach Swedes how to say ‘hi’

A housing company in southern Sweden is spending 1.3 million kronor ($197,000) to help tenants learn how to say hello to their neighbours.

Secret Story winner hid call girl past: report
France

Secret Story winner hid call girl past: report

The popular Swiss winner of this year’s Secret Story, the French reality TV competition on TF1, previously worked in Geneva’s sex trade, according to a new report.

Five German doctors die in China bus fireball
Germany

Five German doctors die in China bus fireball

Five German doctors died and 14 were injured in China when their bus slammed into a container truck and caught fire near Beijing, state media reported on Monday. Three came from Bavaria, two from Baden-Württemberg.

Grass calls Israel nuke whistle-blower a hero
Germany

Grass calls Israel nuke whistle-blower a hero

Nobel prize-winning German author Günter Grass, declared persona non-grata by Israel over a poem saying the country threatened world peace, has published another work, this time praising a man jailed for leaking Israeli nuclear secrets.

Ikea ‘erases’ women from Saudi catalogue
Sweden

Ikea ‘erases’ women from Saudi catalogue

Swedish furniture retailer Ikea has removed out all the women from the version of the company's famed catalogue to be distributed in Saudi Arabia, prompting a stern reaction from Sweden's trade minister.

Ferry passenger forced to jump overboard
Sweden

Ferry passenger forced to jump overboard

A 28-year-old man thought to have forced a younger man to jump off the deck of a Viking Line ferry – a fall of some 27 metres – is under arrest in Stockholm on suspicions of attempted murder.