World Radio Switzerland sale down to two bids
Switzerland

World Radio Switzerland sale down to two bids

The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG SSR) says it is considering two bids for the privatization of World Radio Switzerland, the publicly owned English-language radio station.

Man United star Rooney serves Swiss penalty
Switzerland

Man United star Rooney serves Swiss penalty

Teenage football players in Payerne, a small town in the canton of Vaud, were surprised on Monday to receive coaching advice in person from England and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney.

Daughter gets payout over 70s nude ‘art’ pics
France

Daughter gets payout over 70s nude ‘art’ pics

A Paris court Monday ordered French-Romanian photographer Irina Ionesco to pay €10,000 in damages to her daughter for taking explicit pictures of her in the 1970s, when she was between four and 12.

Pioneering Louvre boss to quit
France

Pioneering Louvre boss to quit

Henri Loyrette, the pioneering boss of the Louvre for over a decade, will quit the world's biggest museum at the end of his current term of office in April, he told AFP on Monday.

Ericsson to help Volvo cars connect to the net
Sweden

Ericsson to help Volvo cars connect to the net

Volvo cars are about to get "smarter" thanks to a partnership with Ericsson that will let drivers and passengers access a range of web-based services directly from the dashboard.

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France

Doomed elephants win Yuletide reprieve

Two ailing middle-aged elephants that French officials wanted to put down have been given a Christmas reprieve after an appeal to President François Hollande and an internet campaign to save them.

Belgium: blame France for Depardieu move
France

Belgium: blame France for Depardieu move

Belgium's foreign minister said Monday that France was solely to blame after its top actor Gérard Depardieu threatened to give up his passport following a move to seek tax exile in the neighbouring country.

Merkel tells Europe: work harder to stay rich
Germany

Merkel tells Europe: work harder to stay rich

Europe will have to work "very hard" to maintain its generous welfare system and remain competitive, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a newspaper interview on Monday.

Skeleton lover guilty: Swedish court
Sweden

Skeleton lover guilty: Swedish court

A 37-year-old Swedish woman with an admitted obsession with skeletons has been convicted of disturbing the peace of the dead for allegedly using human bones for sexual purposes.

Berlin’s YouTube pony had grand day out
Germany

Berlin’s YouTube pony had grand day out

The pony that enjoyed its 15 minutes (or 56 seconds on YouTube) of fame on a Berlin train last Friday also visited H&M and McDonald's on its big day out in the city, the 16-year-old owner revealed at the weekend.

Sweden’s minimum wages ‘too high’: OECD
Sweden

Sweden’s minimum wages ‘too high’: OECD

The OECD on Monday urged Sweden to do more for those excluded from the job market, saying high minimum wages and poorly targeted integration policies were leaving some groups mired in poverty.

God and Vikings: Ricky Gervais hits Stockholm
Sweden

God and Vikings: Ricky Gervais hits Stockholm

After British comedian Ricky Gervais performed in Stockholm on Sunday night, The Local’s Oliver Gee reflects on why a liberal Swedish crowd took such delight in the mostly dark humour.

Bundesbank sees economy shrinking
Germany

Bundesbank sees economy shrinking

The German economy, Europe's biggest, is set to contract "noticeably" in the fourth quarter of this year and will probably tread water early next year, the Bundesbank forecast on Monday.

Fewer Germans find children worthwhile
Germany

Fewer Germans find children worthwhile

Germany's birth rate has been low for years, but a new study released on Monday revealed the country is becoming a less attractive place to have children due to difficulties balancing family with work.

Surgeons lose scalpel in Swede’s nose
Sweden

Surgeons lose scalpel in Swede’s nose

Swedish doctors are struggling to locate the tip of a scalpel they managed to lose in a patient's nose.

Soviet submarine wreck found off Sweden
Sweden

Soviet submarine wreck found off Sweden

The Swedish military announced on Monday it had discovered the remains of a Russian submarine on the Baltic Sea bed near the island of Öland.

Swedish town stops plans to strip its ladies
Sweden

Swedish town stops plans to strip its ladies

A gleeful attempt to redesign the town shield to mark Landskrona's 600th anniversary has run into trouble over scantily clad renditions of Justice and Prudence, showing them boogeying in a state of undress.

‘Immigrants cause problems’ say Germans
Germany

‘Immigrants cause problems’ say Germans

A new opinion poll has revealed Germans' mixed attitude to immigration - while the majority believe immigrants make life in the country more interesting, two-thirds say foreigners cause major social problems.

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Switzerland

Sandy costs Zurich Insurance $700 million

Superstorm Sandy hit the Zurich Insurance Group with claims worth about $700 million, the Swiss insurer said on Monday.

Federer and Spirig win top sports awards
Switzerland

Federer and Spirig win top sports awards

Tennis star Roger Federer was named Swiss male athlete of the year at the 2012 Credit Suisse Sports Awards on Sunday in Zurich.

EU plans threaten to break up Deutsche Bahn
Germany

EU plans threaten to break up Deutsche Bahn

Germany's railway operator Deutsche Bahn could soon sees its rail and train businesses broken apart if the European Union implements plans to turn Europe's railway network into a single market where any firm can offer services.

Newtown tragedy sparks calls for tighter gun laws
Germany

Newtown tragedy sparks calls for tighter gun laws

In the wake of the Newtown school shooting tragedy in the United States, German politicians are calling for tighter weapons laws in Germany, including banning all guns from private homes.

Skeleton lover denies ‘sexual interest’ in bones
Sweden

Skeleton lover denies ‘sexual interest’ in bones

A 37-year-old Swedish woman who allegedly used human bones as sex toys has admitted in an interview that she is an "odd bird" but, but denied having committed any crimes.

Copé and Fillon edge towards new election
France

Copé and Fillon edge towards new election

France's right-wing opposition UMP on Sunday took a step towards healing the damaging rift that has divided the party when the two rival leaders appeared to agree on a fresh leadership vote next September.

Sally Ann band triumphs as Eurovision pick
Switzerland

Sally Ann band triumphs as Eurovision pick

The Salvation Army is known for its Yuletide carolling but you wouldn’t normally associate it with the Eurovision Song Contest.

Pricier parking tickets planned for cities
Germany

Pricier parking tickets planned for cities

Fees for parking violations in German cities are set to rise, according to a newspaper report on Monday.

Berlin warns Egypt is sliding to dictatorship
Germany

Berlin warns Egypt is sliding to dictatorship

German Development Minister Dirk Niebel expressed concern on Monday that Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi was leading the country toward dictatorship.

Swede jailed in US for ‘scareware’ scheme
Sweden

Swede jailed in US for ‘scareware’ scheme

A Swedish man was sentenced to four years in prison in the US for his role in a multi-million dollar international scam where he infected victims' computers with "scareware" and then sold them useless anti-virus software.

Kiruna braces for take-off in race into space
Sweden

Kiruna braces for take-off in race into space

With flights into space scheduled to take off from far northern Sweden within a few years, AFP's Camille Bas-Wohlert finds out exactly what's on the cards for eager space tourists.

India probes Swedish arms in Burma
Sweden

India probes Swedish arms in Burma

India is investigating how Swedish-made weapons bought by its army turned up in Burma, a minister visiting Yangon said Saturday, denying New Delhi had supplied arms in contravention of EU sanctions.

‘Dresden’s Christmas traditions are special’
Germany

‘Dresden’s Christmas traditions are special’

Get The Local flavour of Germany with our new series offering an insider's take on their hometown. Friederike Kruner kicks things off talking about Dresden at Christmas time.