Relations with Germany are like my marriage: PM
France

Relations with Germany are like my marriage: PM

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Thursday compared Franco-German relations to the "balanced" relationship he has with his wife, saying that discussion would prevent any misunderstandings.

Trierweiler: I like being first lady
France

Trierweiler: I like being first lady

The glamorous girlfriend of France's president said Thursday she is ready to embrace the role of first lady, drawing a line under months of controversy that have focused attention on the bed-hopping antics of the country's political elite.

France scraps citizenship tests
France

France scraps citizenship tests

France is to scrap plans to make would-be citizens pass a test on the country's history and culture before´being naturalised, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Thursday.

Hollande and Merkel set for clash over bank union
France

Hollande and Merkel set for clash over bank union

French President François Hollande looked headed for differences with Germany after demanding that an EU summit Thursday produce a deal to establish a banking union by year's end, a position opposed by Berlin.

The woman at the heart of an erotic revolution
France

The woman at the heart of an erotic revolution

Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel, who has died aged 60, will be remembered as the heroine of the erotic cult film "Emmanuelle", an incarnation of 1970s sexual freedom that propelled her to the ranks of international stardom at the age of 22.

Women footballers defend ‘Baywatch’ video
Sweden

Women footballers defend ‘Baywatch’ video

Players from a Swedish women's football team who starred in a Baywatch homage video have defended the YouTube clip explaining that "sex sells". However, the popular clip has nevertheless been taken down.

EU braces for German-French clash on banks
Germany

EU braces for German-French clash on banks

Divisions between Germany and France were set to dominate the European Union summit which opened on Thursday afternoon, with the aim of shoring economic and monetary union in the face of the eurozone crisis.

Man sent sex threats in Moderate politico’s name
Sweden

Man sent sex threats in Moderate politico’s name

An active member of the Social Democrats has been arrested after sending threatening and sexually themed letters to several women, including celebrity bloggers, and signing them in the name a Moderate politician from Gothenburg.

Swedish Christmas market resurrects Jesus
Sweden

Swedish Christmas market resurrects Jesus

The decision to ban a nativity scene from a Christmas market in southern Sweden was reversed on Thursday by the market organizer, who confessed to being “a little too hasty” in his original decision.

More German men getting plastic surgery
Germany

More German men getting plastic surgery

The number of German men getting cosmetic surgery has more than doubled over the past five years, making one in every five patients male, the German association for aesthetic surgery (GÄCD) said on Thursday.

Steinbrück attacks Merkel over euro crisis
Germany

Steinbrück attacks Merkel over euro crisis

Social Democrat Peer Steinbrück attacked Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday, saying she played a “double game” in the euro crisis, in the first clash between the two since his party elected him to challenge for the chancellorship.

What Swedes do online: seven surprising facts
Sweden

What Swedes do online: seven surprising facts

On the heels of the publication of a comprehensive study about Swedes and the internet, The Local offers up a slew of surprising facts revealing what Swedes do online.

Pressuring Russia on Wallenberg’s fate ‘a matter of principle’
Sweden

Pressuring Russia on Wallenberg’s fate ‘a matter of principle’

On the eve of a conference examining historical research on Raoul Wallenberg, historian Susanne Berger argues that more must be done to force Russia to open up records that could shed light on the still-disputed fate of the Swedish diplomat.

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Sweden

Swedish cops hold man over Ghana jewels theft

Swedish police have arrested a suspect in the theft of Ghanaian crown jewels in Oslo last week, police in Norway said Thursday.

‘There’s more to Australia than spiders and sharks’
Sweden

‘There’s more to Australia than spiders and sharks’

The Australian ambassador to Sweden Paul Stephens speaks to The Local's Oliver Gee about the “outdated” image of Australia, the ongoing trial of Julian Assange, and life as the coach of an Australian rules football team in Stockholm.

Business Brief: My Swiss Insurance – expert advice for English speakers
Switzerland

Business Brief: My Swiss Insurance – expert advice for English speakers

A gap in the market for insurance guidance in English led two experts in the field to join forces and create a new company.

Swedes pay 70 percent of salary in taxes: study
Sweden

Swedes pay 70 percent of salary in taxes: study

Swedes who earn a salary on par with the average municipal worker contribute the equivalent of 70 percent of their monthly salaries in taxes, a new study has found.

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Switzerland

Businesses battle Swiss building restrictions

The fight over where developers can build in Switzerland is becoming complicated.

Court: Woman can wear headscarf at work
Germany

Court: Woman can wear headscarf at work

A German dental practice which refused to hire a young Muslim woman because she insisted on wearing a headscarf at work broke the law, it was reported on Thursday. The court ruling is the first of its kind for the country.

Rotten meat at butcher shops simply the wurst
Germany

Rotten meat at butcher shops simply the wurst

Grisly details of rotten, bacteria-ridden meat and other serious hygiene deficiencies at a leading Munich chain of butchers were revealed on Thursday - nearly 18 months after inspectors fined but did not close the company.

Channel Tunnel marks 300 millionth passenger
France

Channel Tunnel marks 300 millionth passenger

The rail tunnel between Britain and France has now carried 300 million passengers under the English Channel, its operator Eurotunnel said on Thursday.

New Man City contract for Sweden’s Guidetti
Sweden

New Man City contract for Sweden’s Guidetti

Swedish striker John Guidetti has pledged his future to Premier League champions Manchester City after signing a new three-year contract.

Woman fined for clearing bottles near playground
Germany

Woman fined for clearing bottles near playground

A woman who cleared up a load of empty bottles from near the entrance to a children’s playground has been fined nearly €250 by German authorities for illegal rubbish disposal.

World first as Twitter blocks neo-Nazi account
Germany

World first as Twitter blocks neo-Nazi account

Micro-blogging site Twitter has for the first time blocked an account in a country, after German police asked administrators to restrict access by a neo-Nazi group.

Lausanne uni slips up on Rolex centre paving
Switzerland

Lausanne uni slips up on Rolex centre paving

Less than three years after the Rolex Learning Center opened at Lausanne's Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), officials have been forced to replace all the building's exterior paving at a cost of 1.5 million francs ($1.6 million).

Philippe Starck: why I feel the draw of Paris flea market
France

Philippe Starck: why I feel the draw of Paris flea market

For Philippe Starck, Paris's famed flea market is a Utopia of sorts, a colourful micro-society he yearned to be part of – and now is, after designing a restaurant and buying a trader's booth in its heart.

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France

Huge haul of contraband booze seized in Calais

Customs officers in Calais have seized 14,000 litres of contraband alcohol, thought to be worth nearly €300,000, headed for the UK.

King refuses to give teen activist WWF award
Sweden

King refuses to give teen activist WWF award

Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf on Wednesday said he would not present the "Environmental Hero of the Year" (Årets miljöhjälte) award, given this year to a Swedish teen activist who took a leading role in protesting the construction of a controversial limestone mine on the Baltic island of Gotland.

What’s on in Germany:  October 18 – 24
Germany

What’s on in Germany: October 18 – 24

This Week's Highlights: Chinese art in Cologne, Jewish culture in Dresden, and a month of photography in Berlin.

Nestlé reports 11-percent jump in sales
Switzerland

Nestlé reports 11-percent jump in sales

The world's biggest food company Nestlé reported on Thursday an 11-percent rise in sales during the first nine months of the year to 67.6 billion francs ($73.1 billion), and confirmed its full-year guidance.

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France

‘Sleeping’ man had been dead for two weeks

A man in his eighties who had been laying dead in his bed for up to two weeks was presumed to be sleeping by his wife and son.

Woman falls from first floor in search of WiFi signal
France

Woman falls from first floor in search of WiFi signal

A woman has fallen from a first floor window in a bid to find a better WiFi signal while using her laptop in Menton, in the French Riviera.

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Switzerland

Swiss banks want more foreign tax deals

Switzerland should try to reach more deals like those it has signed with Austria, Britain and Germany to stem tax evasion, Geneva's 80-member banking association said on Wednesday.

German ‘sect leader’ held in Caribbean shoot-out
Germany

German ‘sect leader’ held in Caribbean shoot-out

A German man said to be the leader of a UFO-conspiracy theory sect was arrested after a gun battle on a Caribbean island in which another German man was killed, a German woman arrested and at least three police officers wounded.

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Switzerland

Swiss best at tracing illegal assets: banks

Other countries should follow Switzerland's lead when it comes to tracing illegal assets hidden in their national banks, Geneva's 80-strong banking association said Wednesday.

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Sweden

Baby Jesus ‘barred’ from Christmas market

A nativity scene planned for a popular Christmas market in southern Sweden has been cut after the organizers felt it compromised their “political and religious independence”.

Agency to probe Swedish mothers’ sick leave
Sweden

Agency to probe Swedish mothers’ sick leave

Swedish mothers stay home with sick children more often than fathers, leading to a huge gap in leave days and prompting a government inquiry to be carried out by the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan).

Booze ban for Nuremberg station
Germany

Booze ban for Nuremberg station

Nuremberg main train station will become on Friday the first in Germany to ban alcohol at the weekends and bank holidays to stop drunken party goers using it as a meeting point, it was reported on Thursday.

Politician: protesters old, stinky, with messy hair
Germany

Politician: protesters old, stinky, with messy hair

A government party official who described protesters as “old” and “stinky” with “messy hair” has sparked online outrage and even threats to his dog after posting the derogatory comments on his Facebook page.

Israel urges UN to halt Swedish Gaza ship
Sweden

Israel urges UN to halt Swedish Gaza ship

Israel's UN envoy on Tuesday asked the world body to try to persuade a Swedish ship carrying rights activists not to try to break the Jewish state's blockade of the Gaza Strip.