Berlin bank hostage drama ends peacefully
Germany

Berlin bank hostage drama ends peacefully

A hostage drama in a Berlin bank branch ended peacefully early Saturday with the release of an employee and the arrest of his assailant, police said.

Arrests as believers head to Mayan Apocalypse village
France

Arrests as believers head to Mayan Apocalypse village

French police arrested two men who had gas masks and machetes in their car as they approached a mountain rumoured to be one of the few places where people will survive when the world supposedly ends on Friday.

Depardieu critic ‘a petty-minded pygmy’ – Deneuve
France

Depardieu critic ‘a petty-minded pygmy’ – Deneuve

Veteran French actress Catherine Deneuve launched a strong defence of Gérard Depardieu on Friday, calling a virulent critic of her fellow thespian's bid for tax exile a petty-minded pygmy.

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France

French football fan fined for Bin Laden jersey

A Paris court Friday fined a man €200 ($260) for sporting a Paris Saint-Germain football jersey bearing the name Bin Laden despite his claim that it was not a tribute to the Al-Qaeda leader.

Sweden’s biggest news stories in 2012
Sweden

Sweden’s biggest news stories in 2012

With the end of 2012 in sight, The Local looks back at some of the stories that dominated headlines in Sweden over the past year.

Swedish ISP forced to give out customer info
Sweden

Swedish ISP forced to give out customer info

In a landmark anti-piracy ruling, Sweden’s Supreme Court said on Friday that broadband provider ePhone must share information about a customer who put audio books online and made them available for illegal downloading.

‘Don’t buy violent video games for Christmas’
Sweden

‘Don’t buy violent video games for Christmas’

Gaming addiction expert Sven Rollenhagen advises parents in Sweden to stay clear of increasingly violent video games as they set off in search of last-minute Christmas presents for their children.

‘Our baguettes are from Finland’: French envoy
Sweden

‘Our baguettes are from Finland’: French envoy

The Local catches up with Jean-Pierre Lacroix, France's ambassador to Sweden, to talk Gerard Depardieu, Vikings, the EU, and where to get the best baguettes.

‘What about Sweden makes it feel so safe?’
Sweden

‘What about Sweden makes it feel so safe?’

In the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the United States, US-native and parent Rebecca Ahlfeldt reflects why Sweden feels like such a safe place to raise children.

Apocalypse prank rattles residents
Germany

Apocalypse prank rattles residents

Residents in the eastern German city of Jena were in for a rude awakening on Friday, after pranksters planted alarm clocks around town to quite literally ring in December 21, a date doomsdayers associate with the apocalypse.

Young Swedes ‘enriched’ by porn and sex posing
Sweden

Young Swedes ‘enriched’ by porn and sex posing

Watching pornography and exposing oneself sexually online can enrich young people's lives, a Swedish researcher has found, but doing so also carries risks.

Warm, slushy Christmas in store for Germany
Germany

Warm, slushy Christmas in store for Germany

Most Germans will likely have to do without a white Christmas this year, with the German weather service (DWD) predicting unseasonably mild temperatures. Some predictions even foresee 19 degrees Celsius in the south west.

Schäuble: Dutch minister good for eurogroup job
Germany

Schäuble: Dutch minister good for eurogroup job

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Friday he considered his Dutch counterpart Jeroen Dijsselbloem as a good possible candidate to take over as head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers.

Family Minister in trouble for neutering God
Germany

Family Minister in trouble for neutering God

Germany's conservative Family Minister Kristina Schröder has angered colleagues in her Catholic-influenced Bavarian sister party for saying that the masculine definite article "doesn't mean anything" when it comes to God.

Bomb scare sparks calls for video surveillance
Germany

Bomb scare sparks calls for video surveillance

Following last week's discovery of a faulty bomb at Bonn's central railway station, a new opinion poll on Friday showed that four out of five Germans want more surveillance cameras in train stations and other public places.

Sweden slashes 2013 growth forecast
Sweden

Sweden slashes 2013 growth forecast

The Swedish government is cutting its GDP growth forecast for 2013 from 2.7 percent to 1.1 percent, Finance Minister Anders Borg said on Friday.

Top businessman urges immigrant quotas
Switzerland

Top businessman urges immigrant quotas

Rolf Dörig, the chairman of Swiss Life and staffing company Adecco, is calling for quotas on Europeans working in Switzerland to ensure only those needed by the country are allowed in.

Swedish queen ends probe in dad’s Nazi past
Germany

Swedish queen ends probe in dad’s Nazi past

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

Neo-Nazi ban compared to persecution of Jews
Germany

Neo-Nazi ban compared to persecution of Jews

A conservative city councillor in the northern German town of Anklam has caused outrage for comparing the marginalization of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) with the persecution of Jews under the Nazis.

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Sweden

Sex offender behind anti-paedophile site

The man behind a paedophile name-and-shame website that publishes details of mostly foreign-born sex offenders has himself been jailed for sexually exploiting a minor, according to Swedish media reports.

Westerwelle: Cyprus must reform for bailout
Germany

Westerwelle: Cyprus must reform for bailout

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on Friday that Europe is "ready to help" Cyprus tackle its debt troubles - but only if the country commits to key structural reforms and an austerity budget.

London mayor calls for new ‘Britzerland’ area
Switzerland

London mayor calls for new ‘Britzerland’ area

London Mayor Boris Johnson has captured attention in Switzerland with an idea to team up the Swiss and the British in a new political union outside the European Union.

Swedish tourist survives ‘flying’ croc attack
Sweden

Swedish tourist survives ‘flying’ croc attack

After a video appeared of a croc-teasing Swedish tourist being hit in the face by a “flying” crocodile, Australian experts claim the Swede was never in danger.

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France

French economy to contract in final quarter

The French national statistics agency INSEE said Thursday it expects the country's economy to contract by 0.2 percent in the final quarter of this year and the unemployment rate to jump above 10 percent.

EU reprimands Sweden over wolf hunt plan
Sweden

EU reprimands Sweden over wolf hunt plan

The European Commission wants Sweden to put the brakes on an upcoming wolf hunt, arguing the Swedish government has not adequately proved how it plans to keep the wolf population healthy.

Two Germans rescued at sea after boat capsizes
Germany

Two Germans rescued at sea after boat capsizes

Two German tourists and an Australian have been rescued following two days in the sea in the central Philippines after their boat capsized while they were island hopping, the coast guard said Friday.

Sea water shutters Swedish nuclear reactor
Sweden

Sea water shutters Swedish nuclear reactor

Sweden shut down another reactor on Thursday, this time at the country's biggest nuclear plant near Gothenburg after an infiltration of sea water, the operator Vattenfall and the national nuclear industry watchdog said.

Orangutan baby born a star at Frankfurt Zoo
Germany

Orangutan baby born a star at Frankfurt Zoo

A three-week-old orangutan baby has become the newest star at the Frankfurt Zoo.

‘Accused Instagram girl is innocent, it was me’
Sweden

‘Accused Instagram girl is innocent, it was me’

The 17-year-old girl questioned by police in connection to the Gothenburg Instagram 'slut shaming' riot is innocent, says another Instagram user who claims to be behind the account that sparked such uproar on Tuesday.