Basel border guards nab meat smugglers
Switzerland

Basel border guards nab meat smugglers

Border guards in Basel arrested two men attempting to smuggle more than 300 kilograms of non-refrigerated meat into Switzerland in a van from Germany, Swiss customs administration officials said on Tuesday.

Geneva art show casts critical eye on food
Switzerland

Geneva art show casts critical eye on food

A contemporary art show opening this week in Geneva aims to spark a dialogue on man's intricate relationship with food in a world where nearly a billion people are undernourished, the curator says.

Luxembourg urges fight to guard banking centres
Switzerland

Luxembourg urges fight to guard banking centres

Financial centres such as London, Singapore and Switzerland should hit back after being on the receiving end of attacks over banking secrecy, Luxembourg's Finance Minister Luc Frieden says.

Gummy bear mauls Swiss chocolate rival
Switzerland

Gummy bear mauls Swiss chocolate rival

A German sweet maker is the victor in a battle of bears against Swiss chocolate manufacturer Lindt and Sprüngli.

Haribo mauls Lindt in gummy bear battle
Germany

Haribo mauls Lindt in gummy bear battle

A German gummy bear maker won a court battle Tuesday against a Swiss manufacturer of chocolate teddy bears over the marketing of their sweets.

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France

Runaway teacher: court to rule on sex charge

A French court will rule on January 15 on whether Jeremy Forrest, the British schoolteacher who ran away to France with a 15-year-old pupil, can be charged with having sex with a minor.

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Switzerland

Freeze continues on African dictators’ assets

Switzerland is still working to return nearly one billion francs ($1.1 billion) in frozen assets to needy North African countries who deposed autocratic leaders in the Arab Spring, the foreign affairs ministry says.

French Apocalypse village begs: stay away
France

French Apocalypse village begs: stay away

French authorities have pleaded with New Age fanatics, sightseers and media crews not to converge on the tiny village some believe will be one of the few places spared when the world supposedly ends on Friday.

Online news snubbed by net-phobic French
France

Online news snubbed by net-phobic French

Only about one in three internet users in France went online to catch the news or read their favourite newspapers in the last three months, the lowest in any EU nation, European Union data showed Tuesday.

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France

Doctors should be able to ‘speed up death’: report

France should allow doctors to "accelerate the coming of death" for terminally ill patients, a report to President François Hollande recommended Tuesday.

Ranks of violent neo-Nazis go over 10,000
Germany

Ranks of violent neo-Nazis go over 10,000

The number of violence-prone far-right extremists in Germany rose in 2012 to over 10,000, according to a Tuesday newspaper report.

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France

Renault plans Algeria plant in symbolic move

Renault will sign a pact Wednesday to build its first plant in Algeria during a highly symbolic visit by President François Hollande to the former French colony, a company spokeswoman said.

‘Bad apples soured Instagram sex protest’
Sweden

‘Bad apples soured Instagram sex protest’

A small number of teenagers caused most of the damage as hundreds of girls and boys assembled in a Gothenburg protest after an Instagram user set a "slut shaming" operation in motion on the image site.

Gourmet Berlin coffee scene brews up a storm
Germany

Gourmet Berlin coffee scene brews up a storm

Expats on both sides of the counter are fueling a gourmet coffee revolution in Berlin. Pippa Wentzel visits a brewing competition to taste the city's flourishing java scene.

Family minister cuts racism from fairytales
Germany

Family minister cuts racism from fairytales

German Family Minister Kristina Schröder has announced she cuts discriminatory terms from children's stories — like "Negro-King" in Pippi Longstocking — when she reads them to her young daughter. She also called the Grimm fairytales "often sexist."

Swedes and donkeys: a language peculiarity 
Sweden

Swedes and donkeys: a language peculiarity 

Northern Swedes have an unusual habit of saying the word "yes" with just a single gasp of air, a speech trait that experts compare to the language of donkeys and cheetahs. The Local finds out more about this regional peculiarity.

‘Noble’ Swede: Hobbit dwarf stole my name
Sweden

‘Noble’ Swede: Hobbit dwarf stole my name

A woman in eastern Sweden wants to take legal action after film officials translated the name of a dwarf in The Hobbit into her own “noble” Swedish name.

Swedish teens riot over Instagram sex rumours
Sweden

Swedish teens riot over Instagram sex rumours

Swedish high school students outraged over sexual rumours circulating on Instagram about girls and boys in the Gothenburg area barricaded a school in protest and turned violent when police intervened.

State police gain power to cut mobile network
Germany

State police gain power to cut mobile network

The eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt said on Tuesday that it had re-drafted a law in order to let police shut down mobile phone networks in times of imminent danger without the go-ahead from a court. Critics voiced have concern about misuse.

Merkel advisors: we’re missing energy targets
Germany

Merkel advisors: we’re missing energy targets

The four specialists supervising Germany's planned transition to renewable energy have said the government will fail to meet crucial targets for energy efficiency if the pace of improvements is not accelerated.

Swedish video app could help regime critics
Sweden

Swedish video app could help regime critics

Sweden-based researchers have helped develop a peer-to-peer video transfer app, which can help regime critics when governments switch off the internet to quell dissent.

Why Rudolph’s nose is so bright: Norway study
Norway

Why Rudolph’s nose is so bright: Norway study

No-one has offered a scientific explanation for the glow that allows the world's most famous antlered herbivore to guide Santa's sleigh through the night before Christmas. Until now.

Swiss central bank to open Singapore branch
Switzerland

Swiss central bank to open Singapore branch

The Swiss National Bank plans to open its first branch abroad, in Singapore, to better manage its growing foreign exchange reserves and assets in the Asia-Pacific region.

Is Germany a horrible place to raise a family?
Germany

Is Germany a horrible place to raise a family?

Despite generous child subsidies, tax breaks and parental leave, fewer Germans want to start a family. Is Germany really such an inhospitable place to have kids? Have your say.

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Switzerland

Air freight firms fined for Swiss price fixing

The Swiss Competition Commission has fined four transit companies, including Deutsche Bahn and Kuehne and Nagel International, for fixing prices on air freight passing through Switzerland.

UBS faces record fine for Libor fraud: report
Switzerland

UBS faces record fine for Libor fraud: report

Swiss banking giant UBS may be slapped with a combined fine of $1.5 billion to settle allegations that it manipulated Libor interest rates, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

Priest suspended for stealing from parishes
Switzerland

Priest suspended for stealing from parishes

Worshippers at two Catholic parishes in Lausanne are in shock after discovering their priest has admitted to stealing money from church coffers.

Swedes set for slew of new laws in 2013
Sweden

Swedes set for slew of new laws in 2013

Free vaccines, higher parental leave benefits, and more job security for temporary workers, are among the many changes set to take effect in Sweden after the New Year as part of a potpourri of new laws, also covering a few controversial topics.

Riksbank lowers interest rate to 1 percent
Sweden

Riksbank lowers interest rate to 1 percent

Citing a euro crisis-tainted economy and domestic thriftiness, Sweden's central bank on Tuesday cut the repo rate by 0.25 percentage points, lowering the country's benchmark interest rate to 1.0 percent in order to stimulate inflation.

Reinfeldt talks schools in annual Christmas speech
Sweden

Reinfeldt talks schools in annual Christmas speech

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt announced on Monday that his party was ready to put more money into schools next year, adding that he was open to the idea of giving written grades to younger students.

Family fights to keep aging mum in Sweden
Sweden

Family fights to keep aging mum in Sweden

A Colombian-Swedish family about to celebrate Christmas with their 78-year-old grandmother fear the senile woman will be deported before the New Year despite appeals on health grounds against the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) decision.

Teacher held for attack at Stockholm school
Sweden

Teacher held for attack at Stockholm school

A substitute teacher at an exclusive Stockholm school was arrested on Monday night on suspicion he assaulted a colleague as well as a female student.

Finance Ministry: 36 banks ‘too big to fail’
Germany

Finance Ministry: 36 banks ‘too big to fail’

The German Finance Ministry on Tuesday revealed exactly how many banks are on its official list of financial institutions considered "relevant to the national system" - though their names remain a closely guarded secret.

Swedish banks reported for WikiLeaks blockade
Sweden

Swedish banks reported for WikiLeaks blockade

Sweden's Pirate Party has filed a complaint with the country's financial system watchdog alleging Swedish banks have been complicit in a long-running blockade of donations to WikiLeaks.

Foreign buyers clamour for Berlin property
Germany

Foreign buyers clamour for Berlin property

Berlin real estate has become hot property for buyers from crisis-hit countries like Greece and Italy, it emerged on Monday. Often paying in cash, overseas clients have become particularly popular among estate agents.

Allianz pays $12.3 million corruption fine
Germany

Allianz pays $12.3 million corruption fine

US securities regulators charged German insurer Allianz SE on Monday with bribing Indonesian government officials, and fined the company $12.3 million for violating overseas corruption laws.