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Switzerland

SVP piles on pressure over foreign criminals

Swiss ministers came under renewed pressure on Friday to pass a law to expel foreign criminals, after far-right party the SVP brought a new referendum on the issue a step closer.

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Sweden

Divers find tractor teen’s body under the ice

The 17-year-old boy who went missing on Christmas Day when his tractor plunged through the ice was found dead on Friday afternoon.

Record rains dampened Swedish electricity cost
Sweden

Record rains dampened Swedish electricity cost

Statistics show that 2012 was one of the wettest year since records began, which spoiled many a Swede's summer but also contributed to keeping down electricity prices.

Aussie stand-in Santa saves Christmas
Sweden

Aussie stand-in Santa saves Christmas

With the call for a last minute Santa unanswered, The Local's Oliver Gee filled some big boots and learned the thrills and perils of being a Swedish Santa - while experiencing a very different Christmas to those back in Australia.

Ilse Aigner: Bavaria’s dirndl-wearing ‘dinosaur’
Germany

Ilse Aigner: Bavaria’s dirndl-wearing ‘dinosaur’

Ilse Aigner, just named "Dinosaur of the Year" by a nature group, is our latest "German of the Week." The dirndl-wearing agriculture minister is thought to be planning a strategic retreat from Merkel's cabinet to mount a challenge for the Bavarian state premiership.

Sweden extends Finnish-language rights
Sweden

Sweden extends Finnish-language rights

Finnish will be an optional language in preschools and old people's homes in eight more Swedish cities, as the government extends the rights of minority language speakers across the country.

‘Mia’ and ‘Ben’ top baby names in 2012
Germany

‘Mia’ and ‘Ben’ top baby names in 2012

The Günthers and Gudruns of Germany seem to be falling further out of favour with new parents: A survey released Friday of the most popular baby names in 2012 put both "Mia" and "Ben" at the top of the list for the second year running.

Afghan bombing victims sue German government
Germany

Afghan bombing victims sue German government

Families of victims of a deadly air strike in Afghanistan that killed more than 90 people in 2009 have filed a multimillion-dollar class-action lawsuit against Germany, a lawyer said Friday.

Dental drill fell into patient’s lung
Sweden

Dental drill fell into patient’s lung

A dental implant surgery turned into a nightmare as the dentist’s drill came unstuck, fell down the patient’s throat and landed in her right lung, an accident which has now been reported to the authorities.

ThyssenKrupp completes stainless steel unit sale
Germany

ThyssenKrupp completes stainless steel unit sale

German industrial giant ThyssenKrupp said Friday it has completed the sale of its stainless steel unit Inoxum to the Finnish group Outokumpu.

Police warn of illegal New Year’s fireworks threat
Germany

Police warn of illegal New Year’s fireworks threat

Germans can start stocking up on New Year's fireworks as of Friday, but they're being advised to revel with care: The case of a man who bled to death, apparently due to an illegal firecracker, has police warning of the dangers of contraband pyrotechnics.

Big liner order saves ailing French shipyard
France

Big liner order saves ailing French shipyard

An ailing French shipyard landed a billion-euro contract on Thursday as a US cruise company announced it was ordering a massive luxury liner from STX France at Saint Nazaire.

Nerd calendar puts joy back in joy-sticks
Germany

Nerd calendar puts joy back in joy-sticks

A new German calendar for 2013 caters exclusively to the retro-nerd market, combining geeky pinup girls with digital devices from the computer stone age. Check out our picture gallery.

SFI teachers need better education: expert
Sweden

SFI teachers need better education: expert

The requirements for teaching a Swedish language course for immigrants (SFI) are far too low, according to experts who recommend doubling the teachers’ education.

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Sweden

Four held for robbery after paedophile trap

Police have arrested two men and two women for robbery after setting up honey traps online and luring or forcing their way into at least two victims' homes where they forced them to record "paedophile confessions".

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France

French unemployment climbs again

French unemployment climbed by 0.9 percent in November on the previous month, the 19th consecutive monthly increase, the labour ministry said on Thursday.

SPD proposes 30-hour workweek for parents
Germany

SPD proposes 30-hour workweek for parents

Germany's biggest opposition party, the SPD, wants the state to subsidize a 30-hour workweek for young parents to promote a better job-family balance. But the proposal has been met with resistance from within the governing coalition.

Zlatan and Obama fight for online primetime
Sweden

Zlatan and Obama fight for online primetime

Brawling politicians caught on tape, Zlatan’s goal spree against England, and the dying seconds of the US presidential race all caught Swedes attention online during 2012, telecom statistics about surfing behaviour reveal.

The Local’s top animal stories of 2012
Germany

The Local’s top animal stories of 2012

This year has not been short on animal stories, be they serious science, tragic accidents or simply heart warming. Here are some of The Local's favourites.

SMHI warns of slippery roads as mercury rises
Sweden

SMHI warns of slippery roads as mercury rises

As the temperature creeps above freezing point over the coming days, meteorologists have warned Swedes of the dangers of slippery roads as the snow begins to thaw.

Volvo ponders luxury factory in India
Sweden

Volvo ponders luxury factory in India

Swedish luxury car maker Volvo said on Thursday it was studying the possibility of setting up a car manufacturing plant in India as part of a drive to nearly double global sales.

Police baffled after 69 cows disappear
Sweden

Police baffled after 69 cows disappear

Local police remain stumped after 69 cows disappeared without a trace from a farm in eastern Sweden - on the exact day they were due to be slaughtered.

Schäuble: Worst of the euro crisis ‘behind us’
Germany

Schäuble: Worst of the euro crisis ‘behind us’

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said he believes the embattled eurozone is already past the peak of its three-year-long debt crisis, citing positive developments in Greece and France.