Wife killer denied jail release for sex change
Switzerland

Wife killer denied jail release for sex change

Switzerland’s top court has refused a bid by a transsexual convicted of murdering his wife who sought to leave jail temporarily for a sex change operation and then continue his sentence in a prison for women.

Zurich surgeons pioneer multi-organ transplant
Switzerland

Zurich surgeons pioneer multi-organ transplant

Surgeons in Zurich have carried out a complex, multi-organ transplant, hospital officials said on Thursday, claiming the lessons learned would benefit patients with tumours that attack multiple organs.

EU calls for new deal with Switzerland
Switzerland

EU calls for new deal with Switzerland

The European Union is unhappy with Switzerland's practice of negotiating sector-by-sector accords, a policy which the EU says has reached its limits and should be reviewed.

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France

American firms turned off France by Hollande

France's attractiveness as a place to do business has plummeted in the eyes of US businesses active in the country after the change to a Socialist government, according to a survey released Thursday.

Queen Silvia gives ‘final word’ on dad’s Nazi past
Sweden

Queen Silvia gives ‘final word’ on dad’s Nazi past

Sweden’s Queen Silvia appeared in a new video released on Thursday in which she offers her final comments on the investigation into her father’s alleged Nazi connections.

Louvre still world’s most popular museum
France

Louvre still world’s most popular museum

The Louvre said Thursday its new Islamic art wing helped cement its position as the world's most-visited museum with nearly 10 million visitors in 2012, over a million more than last year.

German doc gets jail for stepdaughter death
France

German doc gets jail for stepdaughter death

A French court Thursday upheld a 15-year jail sentence for a German doctor convicted of killing his step-daughter and forcibly brought back to France by the girl's biological father.

‘Red Riding Hood and the wolf is an erotic story’
Germany

‘Red Riding Hood and the wolf is an erotic story’

The first edition of Brothers Grimm fairytales was published 200 years ago on Thursday. The Local profiles the German brothers who changed children's bedtime forever - and gave Walt Disney a start in movies.

Swedes unfazed by looming ‘apocalypse’
Sweden

Swedes unfazed by looming ‘apocalypse’

The Local's Eric Johansson spent what may be his last day on earth looking into why so few Swedes see any reason to worry about Friday, December 21st, which according to some interpretations of the Mayan calendar will be the end of the world.

Deutsche Telekom CEO to step down next year
Germany

Deutsche Telekom CEO to step down next year

German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom said on Thursday that its chief executive Rene Obermann would step down early, at the end of 2013, and was being replaced by its finance chief.

Nude demo in Stockholm against Egyptian leader
Sweden

Nude demo in Stockholm against Egyptian leader

Egyptian activist Aliaa al-Mahdy chose Sweden for her latest feminist protest as she bared all outside her country's embassy in Stockholm despite sub-zero temperatures.

Swede reports elk to police after attack
Sweden

Swede reports elk to police after attack

A man in southern Sweden has reported a rampaging elk to the police after it charged and then chased him and his two dogs during a forest walk on the weekend.

The man with the best memory in Sweden
Sweden

The man with the best memory in Sweden

In The Local's series spotlighting Swedes who have made headlines during the week, we talk to Jonas von Essen, the memory whizz who raked in three awards in London for his total recall.

Germany to borrow less from the bond markets
Germany

Germany to borrow less from the bond markets

Germany plans to borrow €250 billion ($331 billion) on the markets next year, or slightly less than in 2012, officials said on Thursday.

Government set to ban ‘secret photography’
Sweden

Government set to ban ‘secret photography’

The government has finished its second revision of a much-scrutinized law that will ban taking "violating" photographs and video, after critics said the first draft could accidentally violate press freedom.

Ericsson faces massive hit over joint venture
Sweden

Ericsson faces massive hit over joint venture

Swedish telecom group Ericsson said on Thursday it would book a charge of eight billion kronor ($1.22 billion) in the fourth quarter over its misfiring mobile chip venture ST-Ericsson.

Avalanche kills Swedish skier in Switzerland
Sweden

Avalanche kills Swedish skier in Switzerland

A Swedish woman skiing out of bounds near Nandaz in the Swiss canton of Valais was killed by an avalanche on Wednesday.

Data official attacks real name Facebook policy
Germany

Data official attacks real name Facebook policy

German data protection advocate Thilo Weichert has launched an offensive on Facebook's core "real name" policy, demanding that users should be allowed anonymous profiles.

Germans get ready for Mayan apocalypse
Germany

Germans get ready for Mayan apocalypse

So how are the Germans preparing for Friday's Mayan-calendar inspired end of the world? While the hysteria is debunked by scientists and ethnologists, Ben Knight finds that many people really are unprepared for global catastrophe.

Mother tongue tutoring ‘insufficient’: teachers
Sweden

Mother tongue tutoring ‘insufficient’: teachers

Children who have a first language other than Swedish don't get enough support in Swedish schools, according to a survey of teachers, many of whom are concerned that children of immigrants will fall behind in school.

What’s on in Germany: December 20 – January 2
Germany

What’s on in Germany: December 20 – January 2

This Fortnight's Highlights: Nefertiti in Berlin, “Winter Lights” in Frankfurt, a Christmas Carol in Munich, and a New Years Eve celebrations everywhere.

Slowdown in house prices seen in New Year
Switzerland

Slowdown in house prices seen in New Year

The buoyant Swiss residential property market is set to see a slowdown in prices if not a correction in the coming year, a study from Credit Suisse says.

Deutsche Bahn sues steel giants over cartel
Germany

Deutsche Bahn sues steel giants over cartel

Germany's national rail company Deutsche Bahn said on Thursday it had filed a court case against heavy industry giant ThyssenKrupp and other companies over alleged track pricing agreements.

Christmas buffet gives 75 Swedes food poisoning
Sweden

Christmas buffet gives 75 Swedes food poisoning

Christmas dinner was spoiled at a restaurant in Sweden's far north after suspected food poisoning left over 70 diners doubled over with illness.

Salafist video threatens to take German hostages
Germany

Salafist video threatens to take German hostages

A militant Salafist group has released a video calling on followers to take German hostages to free Murat K., the Islamist currently serving a six-year prison sentence for stabbing two policemen in Bonn in May.

Hong Kong probes UBS over further rate fraud
Switzerland

Hong Kong probes UBS over further rate fraud

Hong Kong's de facto central bank on Thursday said it would probe UBS over possible rigging of the financial hub's interbank rate, a day after the Swiss giant agreed to pay a huge fine over the Libor scandal.

‘Too sick to work’ teacher rakes in Swiss cash
Switzerland

‘Too sick to work’ teacher rakes in Swiss cash

A German teacher who went into early retirement on a state pension after he was classified as too sick to work was found to be earning €9,900 a month in Switzerland. A court this week handed him a €20,000 fine for pension fraud.

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France

Abducted French baby found safe

A three-day-old French baby who was abducted from a maternity ward has been found safe and well and his alleged kidnapper detained for questioning, authorities said on Wednesday.

Gotthard road tunnel closed after fatal crash
Switzerland

Gotthard road tunnel closed after fatal crash

The Gotthard road tunnel was closed for seven hours following the collision of a car and a transport truck early Thursday that left one person dead and another injured.

Hollande: I’m not here to say sorry
France

Hollande: I’m not here to say sorry

French President François Hollande said on a landmark visit to Algeria on Wednesday he had not come to say sorry for crimes committed during colonial rule, but he sought to begin a new era in relations.

Sweden’s EQT buys ailing German waste firm
Sweden

Sweden’s EQT buys ailing German waste firm

Swedish private equity firm EQT has agreed to purchase a majority stake in a troubled waste incineration business owned by E.ON, Germany's biggest power supplier.

Bus driver saves lives in spectacular train crash
Germany

Bus driver saves lives in spectacular train crash

A Düsseldorf bus driver saved the lives of his three passengers on Wednesday evening, after his bus broke down as it was crossing railroad tracks - with freight trains approaching from both directions.

Iraqi president heads to Germany after stroke
Germany

Iraqi president heads to Germany after stroke

Ailing Iraqi President Jalal Talabani left for Germany on Thursday for further treatment after suffering a reported stroke, his office said.

‘Instagram slut shaming riot was healthy’
Sweden

‘Instagram slut shaming riot was healthy’

Swedish journalist and lecturer Sofia Mirjamsdotter thinks the Instagram riot says little about the modern age, and everything about ancient structures of bullying and sexual hypocrisy. But it could also herald change.

Swedish village of four set to get megamall
Sweden

Swedish village of four set to get megamall

The four residents of Långflon near Sweden's border to Norway are about to see a 6,500-square metre mall built in their tiny village.

Archeologists uncover 7,000-year-old wells
Germany

Archeologists uncover 7,000-year-old wells

Archeologists have found what they believe to be the oldest water wells in Europe in eastern Germany. At 7,000 years old, they make their creators some of the earliest known carpenters.

Sweden Democrat lived off benefits
Sweden

Sweden Democrat lived off benefits

Sweden Democrat MP Johnny Skalin, whose party describes unemployed immigrants as being "a burden on society", has lived on state benefits most of his adult life.