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Switzerland

Landslide closes Saint Gotthard rail line

Switzerland's main north-south rail link will stay closed for days after a landslide on Wednesday near the site of a similar incident in June, the national train operator says.

Nicotine addicts face higher cost for fix
Switzerland

Nicotine addicts face higher cost for fix

The federal government is raising the price of a pack of cigarettes by 10 cents through a tax hike set to take effect on April 1st.

Jury considers verdict in UBS trader fraud trial
Switzerland

Jury considers verdict in UBS trader fraud trial

Jury members in the trial of a UBS trader accused of gambling away $2.3 billion at the bank's London offices retired on Wednesday to consider their verdict.

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Norway

Several EU leaders opt out of Nobel peace bash

Fewer than a dozen European leaders have so far accepted an invitation to attend next month's Oslo ceremony to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union, this year's controversial winner, the Nobel Institute said on Wednesday.

New citizens should all speak Swedish: expert
Sweden

New citizens should all speak Swedish: expert

Sweden needs to introduce language and cultural knowledge requirements for would-be Swedish citizens, according to one political scientist at an expert panel in Stockholm on Wednesday.

‘Catch Me If You Can’ con man stands trial
Germany

‘Catch Me If You Can’ con man stands trial

A self-confessed fan of the Leonardo DiCaprio film "Catch Me If You Can" appeared in court on Wednesday, accused of cooking up bizarre lies to steal a total of €375,000 from eight women.

Freak truck crash kills excavator operator
Switzerland

Freak truck crash kills excavator operator

A road construction worker is dead and another man is injured after an articulated truck from Poland crashed on the side of A13 highway in the canton of Saint Gallen on Wednesday.

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Sweden

Brother charged in Skåne teen girl stabbing

A 17-year-old boy in southern Sweden was charged on Wednesday with the murder of his 19-year-old sister, who died in April after being stabbed more than 100 times with two knives and a pair of scissors.

Fifth head rolls in NSU investigation affair
Germany

Fifth head rolls in NSU investigation affair

The head of Berlin's intelligence agency stepped down on Wednesday, the fifth German intelligence chief to do so this year, after revelations that files on right wing extremists were illegally destroyed rather than archived.

Bank accounts emptied by phone Trojan
Germany

Bank accounts emptied by phone Trojan

Several Android users in Berlin have had their bank accounts emptied after text messages from their bank containing TAN numbers were "caught or diverted" by a computer virus.

Top Sweden Democrat quits after racist film
Sweden

Top Sweden Democrat quits after racist film

Sweden Democrat MP Erik Almqvist will step down as the party's economic policy spokesman over racist statements he made on a film clip and his subsequent denials, party leader Jimmie Åkesson announced on Wednesday.

Young Swedish football fans meet England team
Sweden

Young Swedish football fans meet England team

In the run-up to Wednesday’s friendly football match between Sweden and England in Stockholm, a group of Swedish teenagers got the chance to meet the English national football team and watch them practice.

Layoffs double in Sweden as pessimism rises
Sweden

Layoffs double in Sweden as pessimism rises

Redundancies in Sweden are on the rise, with a fresh report showing that twice as many workers were laid off in October compared to the same month last year, making for a labour market climate similar to that of 2009.

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France

Divers join search for missing French teen

Divers are to be deployed on Wednesday in the search for Chloe Rodriguez, a French teenager who went missing on Friday afternoon in Barjac in south-western France.

Deal struck on political donation transparency
Sweden

Deal struck on political donation transparency

Donations greater than 20,000 kronor ($2,950) to political parties in Sweden will now be reported openly, according to an agreement among all parties represented in the Riksdag except the Sweden Democrats.

Far fewer caesareans in former East Germany
Germany

Far fewer caesareans in former East Germany

German babies are up to three times more likely to be born by caesarean section in western parts of the country than in the east, a study released on Wednesday revealed.

German unions voice solidarity with strikes
Germany

German unions voice solidarity with strikes

The head of Germany's Federation of Trade Unions warned against the effects of austerity cuts in crisis-wracked southern European countries Wednesday and voiced solidarity ahead of Europe-wide rallies and strikes.

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Switzerland

Top earners face ‘solidarity tax’ for UI

Wage earners with annual salaries of more than 315,000 francs face paying a one percent solidarity tax to help fund Switzerland’s unemployment insurance system starting in 2014.

Police clear forest camp for coal excavation
Germany

Police clear forest camp for coal excavation

Police worked through the night into Wednesday to evict a camp of environmental activists occupying a forest in western Germany due to be cut down to make way for brown coal excavation.

Seven injured in fight at Libyan embassy
Germany

Seven injured in fight at Libyan embassy

A row at the Libyan embassy in Berlin on Tuesday escalated into a fight in which seven men were injured, one seriously. The cause may have been army veterans' demands for unpaid salary.

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France

Teacher grabs control of bus after driver faints

A teacher in Lunel in southern France took the wheel of a school bus on Monday as it careered onto the pavement after the driver fell unconscious.

Winner scoops €169m French lottery record
France

Winner scoops €169m French lottery record

A new French record was set in the Euromillions lottery on Tuesday, with some lucky punter claiming a cool €169.8 million in prize money.

Swiss households big savers, survey says
Switzerland

Swiss households big savers, survey says

The average disposable income of households in Switzerland was 6,825 francs a month in 2010, according to new government figures.

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France

Kiwi teacher to stay in France after uproar

An English teacher from New Zealand has won his battle against deportation after his case became a cause celebre in eastern France when his students and locals rose in support.

Hollande denies Merkel rift over reforms
France

Hollande denies Merkel rift over reforms

French president Francois Hollande on Tuesday underlined that the government was committed to reforms to plug a multi-billion euro deficit, denying strains with Germany over how best to combat the debt crisis.

Sweden Democrats in crisis over racist film
Sweden

Sweden Democrats in crisis over racist film

The Sweden Democrats called a crisis meeting on Wednesday morning after daily Expressen published a film showing finance spokesman Erik Almqvist and two others push a drunken man and use words like “whore” and “darkie” in a clip from 2010.

Neo-Nazi party seeks legitimacy in court
Germany

Neo-Nazi party seeks legitimacy in court

Germany's neo-Nazi NPD party said on Tuesday it had turned to the constitutional court for confirmation of its legitimacy, as regional interior ministers were said to be seeking a ban on the group from the same authority.

Mayor convicted of faking arson attack
Germany

Mayor convicted of faking arson attack

Amid a long-standing feud between the town hall and residents of Rickenbach, in the southern reaches of Germany's Black Forest, the town's mayor has been fined €18,000 for faking an arson attack on his office.

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Sweden

Children sold for sex and crime in Sweden: report

More than 150 children, most of them foreign-born and some as young as three years old, have been victims of human trafficking in Sweden, according to a report released on Tuesday.

Toxic breast implant case reaches German court
Germany

Toxic breast implant case reaches German court

A German court on Tuesday began hearing the country's first lawsuit over a health scandal surrounding French-made breast implants found to leak silicone into women's bodies.

Sweden slams latest EU budget proposal
Sweden

Sweden slams latest EU budget proposal

Sweden's EU Minister has criticized the latest European Union long-term budget proposal, arguing that Sweden "cannot accept" that its rebate will be cut.

Zlatan full of praise for England’s Gerrard
Sweden

Zlatan full of praise for England’s Gerrard

Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic says Steven Gerrard is not "a normal English player", as the Liverpool midfielder prepares to win his 100th England cap in Wednesday's friendly between the two countries.

Geneva diamond sale shatters world records
Switzerland

Geneva diamond sale shatters world records

The flawless 'Archduke Joseph" diamond, from India's famous Golconda mines, broke several world records when it was sold at auction in Geneva late Tuesday for 20.3 million francs ($21.47 million).

Swedish dairy farmers in tractor blockade threat
Sweden

Swedish dairy farmers in tractor blockade threat

Dairy farmers in Sweden are threatening to use their tractors to block all dairies in the country if the price of milk does not increase.