Lower house rejects 100-franc highway fee
Switzerland

Lower house rejects 100-franc highway fee

The lower house of parliament rejected on Monday a proposal to hike the annual fee for driving on Swiss motorways to 100 francs from 40 francs, suggesting it be raised to 70 francs instead.

Court to judge Chinese artist’s Swiss move
Switzerland

Court to judge Chinese artist’s Swiss move

The French judiciary will make a ruling in a family feud over elderly Chinese-French abstract painter Zao Wou-ki after an appeals court decided a power-of-attorney case could be heard in France.

Swiss get Gripen jets for bargain: report
Switzerland

Swiss get Gripen jets for bargain: report

Switzerland will pay far less for the 22 fighter jets it is planning to buy from the Swedish company Saab than Sweden itself would pay for the aircraft, the Swiss public broadcaster SF reported.

Miss France slammed for being ‘white as snow’
France

Miss France slammed for being ‘white as snow’

A black rights group on Monday slammed the latest Miss France competition for producing a "white as snow" winner from a field it claimed was unrepresentative of the country's ethnic make-up.

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France

Teacher asked students to pretend to be suicidal

A French teacher who asked her students to write an essay in which they imagined themselves as a suicidal teenager has been suspended pending an investigation, education officials said Monday.

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France

Euro crisis ‘behind us’ – Hollande

French President Francois Hollande said Monday in Oslo that the eurozone crisis was "behind us," noting the efforts the European Union has made made to "resolve the problems."

‘Citizens shouldn’t pay for costs of long healthcare waiting times’
Sweden

‘Citizens shouldn’t pay for costs of long healthcare waiting times’

Forcing public healthcare providers to pay fines for long waiting times, rather than leaving citizens to suffer, would help improve Sweden's public system, argues liberal commentator Nima Sanandaji.

Nobel Prize ceremony concludes in Stockholm
Sweden

Nobel Prize ceremony concludes in Stockholm

Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf has handed over this year's prizes to the Nobel laureates at Stockholm's Concert Hall, watched over by more than 1,500 honoured guests.

Volunteers shore up a glitch-free Nobel evening
Sweden

Volunteers shore up a glitch-free Nobel evening

Student union representatives form part of the small army of volunteers who will make sure this evening's Nobel Prize ceremony and the ensuing lavish banquet are carried off without a glitch.

Boy brings 700 banned bangers over border
Germany

Boy brings 700 banned bangers over border

Police caught a 16-year-old Berlin boy trying to bypass Germany's strict fireworks laws by smuggling 4.3 kilograms of illegal bangers over the Polish border. The teen could face a fine, or even prison, police said on Monday.

Bomb scare shuts down Bonn train station
Germany

Bomb scare shuts down Bonn train station

German authorities shut down Bonn's main train station on Monday after a device believed to be a pipe bomb was found in a bag. Many trains were cancelled or delayed while specialists blew up the abandoned hold-all.

Swiss to pay less than Swedes for Gripen jets
Sweden

Swiss to pay less than Swedes for Gripen jets

Switzerland will pay far less for the 22 fighter jets it is planning to buy from the Swedish company Saab than Sweden itself would pay for the aircraft, the Swiss public broadcaster SF reported.

Twilight fans’ blood boils as Swedish age limit upheld
Sweden

Twilight fans’ blood boils as Swedish age limit upheld

Swedish Twilights fans will be forever 15 as the Swedish distributors of the last film failed in their bid to lower the age limit on screenings across the country, despite claiming the limit was sexist.

Football legend Müller hails ‘giant’ Messi
Germany

Football legend Müller hails ‘giant’ Messi

German football legend Gerd Müller on Monday described Lionel Messi as a "giant" after the Argentine broke his calendar year goal-scoring record that had stood for 40 years.

‘I’m a wealthy man in the eyes of many citizens’
Germany

‘I’m a wealthy man in the eyes of many citizens’

The Local's new series profiling German newsmakers takes a closer look at Peer Steinbrück, the man who will vie for Chancellor Angela Merkel's job in next year's election.

Germany expels four Syrian embassy staff
Germany

Germany expels four Syrian embassy staff

Germany on Monday expelled four employees of the Syrian embassy in Berlin, the foreign minister said, as part of moves to sharply curb ties to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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Norway

Nobel Peace Prize handed to crisis-hit EU

The European Union, facing its worst crisis in six decades, was officially awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize on Monday for turning Europe "from a continent of war to a continent of peace."

Court overturns Mullah Krekar terror conviction
Norway

Court overturns Mullah Krekar terror conviction

A Norway appeals court on Thursday overturned a terrorism conviction against Mullah Krekar, the Iraqi founder of a radical Iraqi Kurdish Islamist group, but jailed him on other charges.

Sweden threatens ‘all out war’ if EU attacks snus
Sweden

Sweden threatens ‘all out war’ if EU attacks snus

Sweden's Trade Minister Ewa Björling said the EU faces "all out war" with Sweden if a new health directive on tobacco being hammered out at the European Commission threatens Swedish moist snuff "snus".

‘Big Mac’ helps nurses lift overweight patients
Sweden

‘Big Mac’ helps nurses lift overweight patients

Named after a hamburger and clocking in at 140 kilogrammes, a new doll is set to teach Uppsala University Hospital (Akademiska) staff to work with the increasing number of overweight and obese patients.

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France

Socialists pummelled in French byelections

Right-wing candidates have come out ahead of the ruling Socialists in three by-elections as President François Hollande struggles with France's stalling economy.

Laos expels Swiss charity director
Switzerland

Laos expels Swiss charity director

Laos has expelled the outspoken head of a major Swiss charity for criticizing the government, an official from the secretive communist country said on Monday.

Minister tells banks: ‘Improve online security’
Germany

Minister tells banks: ‘Improve online security’

Computer makers and banks should be doing more to protect themselves and their customers online, German Consumer Protection Minister Ilse Aigner said at a Munich conference on cyber crime on Monday.

Hollande ‘tried to swing court’ in libel case
France

Hollande ‘tried to swing court’ in libel case

Critics accused French President François Hollande of seeking to influence the judiciary on Monday as his girlfriend went to court seeking damages over a salacious biography.

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France

Half-naked driver jumps van to stop thieves

A Polish van driver caught two thieves trying to steal his stock by jumping on top of their moving van in only his underwear.

Fresh snow to worsen road chaos
Germany

Fresh snow to worsen road chaos

More snow is on the way, said the German weather service (DWD) on Monday, adding to the thick blanket covering most of the country and exacerbating travel woes amid countless accidents on the roads.

James Blunt in Verbier: I want to become Swiss
Switzerland

James Blunt in Verbier: I want to become Swiss

British pop star James Blunt has taken to life in Switzerland so much that he wants to become a Swiss citizen.

Malmö station evacuated after bomb threat
Sweden

Malmö station evacuated after bomb threat

Police in Malmö evacuated the Hyllie train station on Monday morning after a man said there was a bomb onboard a train at the station.

Depardieu moves to Belgium over tax hikes
France

Depardieu moves to Belgium over tax hikes

French actor Gérard Depardieu has taken up residency in a Belgian town just one kilometre from the French border, according to the town’s mayor.

Fashion and food in focus at Nobel banquet
Sweden

Fashion and food in focus at Nobel banquet

The annual Nobel banquet in Stockholm is an exercise in culinary creativity, fashion, and logistics, as staff try to get more than 1,300 starters to tables in a stately hall filled with some of Sweden's best dressed and most influential people.

Opel cuts car production at Bochum plant
Germany

Opel cuts car production at Bochum plant

Opel, the loss-making German arm of US auto giant General Motors, said on Monday it would halt auto production at its Bochum plant in 2016 but pledged to keep it running as a parts distribution centre.

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Switzerland

Illness strikes Swiss Rhine boat passengers

Fifteen people on a Swiss boat cruising the Rhine River were rushed to hospitals in France and Germany after suffering nausea and vomiting, French and German rescue services said Sunday.

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Switzerland

One dead, two injured in Basel shooting

A 60-year-old man was shot to death in the city of Basel on Sunday while his wife and daughter were injured after a man opened fire on the family in a domestic dispute.

Nobel etiquette breached for monolingual Mo Yan
Sweden

Nobel etiquette breached for monolingual Mo Yan

Nobel organizers have made a special exception to stringent seating rules for Monday's gala banquet in Stockholm, allowing 2012 literature laureate Mo Yan and his wife sit together because they both only speak Chinese.

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Sweden

Swede shot in Pakistan still in ‘critical’ condition

A Swedish charity worker who was critically wounded in a gun attack in Pakistan last week was flown home on Monday for specialist medical treatment, officials said.

Top architect attacked in Bangladesh riots
Germany

Top architect attacked in Bangladesh riots

An award-winning German architect was attacked by opposition activists in Bangladesh during protests over the weekend that left two people dead and dozens injured, the German embassy in Dhaka said Monday.

Swedish hospitals fail to meet hygiene guidelines
Sweden

Swedish hospitals fail to meet hygiene guidelines

The majority of hospitals in Sweden are not following the country’s guidelines for toilet hygiene, with many only cleaning the toilets once a day or less.

Surprise strikes cause airport delays
Germany

Surprise strikes cause airport delays

Travellers at several German airports could experience delays and flights cancellations on Monday, after security personnel walked off the job in a labour dispute.

Swede hailed as hero after rescue in China
Sweden

Swede hailed as hero after rescue in China

A 53-year-old Swedish man made headlines as a hero in China after he jumped into a river to save a drowning woman’s life.

The Local’s guide to German Christmas markets
Germany

The Local’s guide to German Christmas markets

Put on your mittens, don your cap, and join The Local for a tour of Germany’s best-loved Christmas markets.

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Sweden

Man stabs wife to death and injures three

A man was arrested in western Sweden on suspicion of murdering a woman and seriously injuring three people after he went on a rampage in his apartment on Sunday.