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Switzerland

Deadly dengue fever spreading fast, WHO warns

The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that it had charted progress in the fight against tropical diseases but warned that dengue fever was spreading at an alarming rate.

Former Zurich MP convicted for embezzling
Switzerland

Former Zurich MP convicted for embezzling

Disgraced former Swiss People’s Party (SVP) MP Bruno Zuppiger was fined 1,500 francs and handed a suspended 13-month jail term after being convicted on Wednesday for embezzlement by a Zurich district court.

Bayern score big with ex-Barca boss Guardiola
Germany

Bayern score big with ex-Barca boss Guardiola

Bundesliga giants FC Bayern Munich have won the battle to secure the most wanted coach in football after convincing former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola to lead the Bavarian side next season.

Top European leaders headline Davos summit
Switzerland

Top European leaders headline Davos summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will join the prime ministers of both Britain and Russia, David Cameron and Dmitry Medvedev, as top participants at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, the founder of the annual winter meeting said on Wednesday.

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Switzerland

Hungary targets Swiss accounts for tax

Swiss accounts are among those targeted by the Hungarian government in a move to slap a hefty tax on foreign deposits by its citizens, according to a report.

Strasbourg, not Paris, has France’s ‘top hotel’
France

Strasbourg, not Paris, has France’s ‘top hotel’

Forget the Ritz Paris, or the Champs Elysee Plaza. In fact, forget the City of Light altogether. According to Tripadvisor's 2013 Travellers' Choice Awards, the top hotel in France is in fact the Cour du Corbeau in the eastern city of Strasbourg.

Mali fighting rages as hostages taken in Algeria
France

Mali fighting rages as hostages taken in Algeria

French troops engaged in close combat with Islamist fighters in Mali on Wednesday as Al Qaeda-linked fighters claimed to have seized 41 foreign hostages at a gas plant over the border in Algeria.

Passive smoking gave teacher cancer: court
France

Passive smoking gave teacher cancer: court

A French court has ordered a college to pay damages to a former teacher who developed lung cancer after being exposed to passive smoking at work.

Party leaders jostle over job loss threat
Sweden

Party leaders jostle over job loss threat

The opposition Social Democrats have accused the government of being ill-prepared to deal with unemployment in the new year's first party leader debate in the Riksdag.

Fatal pile-up blamed on lax new winter-tyre law
Sweden

Fatal pile-up blamed on lax new winter-tyre law

Swedish traffic officials have slammed a new law allowing trucks to drive without winter tyres, and speculated that it could have caused Tuesday’s chaotic 100-car pile-up that killed one and injured 46.

Train ‘thief’ not well enough for questions
Sweden

Train ‘thief’ not well enough for questions

Swedish police have not been able to question the cleaning lady suspected of stealing a train and ramming it into an apartment block on Tuesday, as she is still being treated for her injuries.

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France

French toddlers shown hardcore porn at school

An investigation is underway after a class in a French nursery school was left to watch a hardcore porn film for several minutes in what authorities on Wednesday termed an "extremely regrettable accident."

Paris airport opens art museum for the jet set
France

Paris airport opens art museum for the jet set

Fancy a slice of art in between flights? Culture vultures now have a chance to satisfy their on-the-go urges with a new museum in the heart of France's largest airport, showcasing collections from top art institutions.

Japanese-Dutch partners tie windparks to Germany
Germany

Japanese-Dutch partners tie windparks to Germany

Japanese giant Mitsubishi Corporation and Dutch power grid operator TenneT said on Wednesday they were teaming up to connect four off-shore windparks to the German national grid.

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Sweden

Swede in court for violating Iran sanctions

A man from southern Sweden appeared in court on Wednesday to face charges for trying to smuggle dual-use equipment to Iran that could be used to enrich uranium in violation of international sanctions.

GPS leads Lourdes pilgrims astray
France

GPS leads Lourdes pilgrims astray

Pilgrimages are never meant to be easy but five tourists bound for the famous French town of Lourdes appeared to have suffered a more arduous journey than most when their GPS led them to a village 800km away from the site of the holy shrine.

Lazy guys and hairy girls spur Swedish love-rats
Sweden

Lazy guys and hairy girls spur Swedish love-rats

Swedish men thinking about having an affair say they hate ill-tempered women, while women detest their partners being lazy, according to a dating site's review of what Swedes hate the most in their romantic relationships.

Icy roads cause widespread traffic chaos
Germany

Icy roads cause widespread traffic chaos

Widespread black ice and snow resulted in chaotic scenes on the Germany's roads on Wednesday, claiming at least one life. Several main motorways were closed due to accidents, causing long traffic jams and delays for motorists.

Do Sweden’s free schools make the grade?
Sweden

Do Sweden’s free schools make the grade?

The UK has taken a page out of Sweden's textbook and is surging ahead with the free school movement. The Local’s Christine Demsteader looks at the lessons that can be learned from Sweden's system of publicly-financed, privately-managed schools.

Centuries-old shipwrecks emerge from sandbank
Germany

Centuries-old shipwrecks emerge from sandbank

Three shipwrecks dating back centuries have emerged off northern Germany's shallow coast, offering marine archaeologists the unique chance to examine them before storms cover them up again.

Germany slashes 2013 growth forecast to 0.4 pct
Germany

Germany slashes 2013 growth forecast to 0.4 pct

Germany slashed Wednesday its estimate for growth this year by more than half, as Europe's debt crisis takes its toll on its top economy, but forecast a solid rebound in 2014.

Swiss franc could fall further, analysts say
Switzerland

Swiss franc could fall further, analysts say

Speculation is mounting that the Switzerland’s central bank may move to further weaken the franc as foreign exchange markets sold off the Swiss currency this week.

Anger as Paris mayor bills gay-marriage rally
France

Anger as Paris mayor bills gay-marriage rally

The mayor of Paris, who is himself gay and a vocal supporter of same-sex unions, has infuriated anti-gay marriage activists by demanding an eye-watering €100,000 clean-up bill after Sunday’s mass demonstration in the capital.

French troops close in on Mali Islamists
France

French troops close in on Mali Islamists

France's ground troops in Mali advanced on Wednesday towards the Islamist-held north in a bid to flush out jihadist fighters after days of air strikes, as the first Nigerian contingent of a regional force was expected to deploy.

Support for Social Democrats slides further
Germany

Support for Social Democrats slides further

Germany's main opposition party is sliding in opinion polls and seems set to offer Chancellor Angela Merkel an easy victory in September's general election.

Swedish football ladies beaten by teen boys
Sweden

Swedish football ladies beaten by teen boys

Sweden's women's national football team suffered a crushing defeat during a friendly in Stockholm on Tuesday, with the country's top female players finding themselves shutout by an undermanned local boys team.

Lidl pays €1.5m for deadly cheese delay
Germany

Lidl pays €1.5m for deadly cheese delay

Discount supermarket chain Lidl has been fined €1.5 million for leaving dangerous, Listeria-contaminated cheese on sale for too long. One person died after eating the cheese and three more became ill.

Man guilty of posting bullets to Sarkozy
France

Man guilty of posting bullets to Sarkozy

A man judged "a danger to himself and others" has been sentenced to jail for posting bullets to several prominent French politicians, including Nicolas Sarkozy.

Compulsory civil service proposed for foreigners
Switzerland

Compulsory civil service proposed for foreigners

Foreigners well established in Switzerland should be called up for community service, the economic think tank Avenir Suisse says.

Pyrenees on ‘red alert’ after avalanche warning
France

Pyrenees on ‘red alert’ after avalanche warning

Parts of the French Pyrenees were put on ‘red alert’ for the first time on Wednesday due to the severe risk of avalanches burying roads and villages in the area.

Sweden rules out taking Syria’s Assad to the ICC
Sweden

Sweden rules out taking Syria’s Assad to the ICC

Sweden was the lone EU member state to opt out of a petition the UN Security Council to take Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the International Criminal Court (ICC), disappointing human rights observers who claim the move is "un-Swedish".

Swedish home prices rise despite slow growth
Sweden

Swedish home prices rise despite slow growth

Home prices in Sweden continued to rise in 2012, despite concerns about growing unemployment and sluggish economic growth.

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France

Somali militants ‘to execute’ French agent

Somali Islamists said on Wednesday they have decided to execute the French intelligence officer they have held for more than three years and who was the object Saturday of a botched rescue bid.

Sweden launches new trade promotion agency
Sweden

Sweden launches new trade promotion agency

Sweden has launched a new investment and trade promotion agency, Business Sweden, to replace two previous organizations that helped Swedish companies expand abroad and attract foreign investment to Sweden.

France warns embassy staff to be ‘vigilant’
France

France warns embassy staff to be ‘vigilant’

France has urged its embassy staff around the world to be "vigilant" and on guard for potential reprisals linked its recent military intervention in Mali, the foreign ministry said.

Surfers want to make waves in Berlin
Germany

Surfers want to make waves in Berlin

Surfing in Berlin? Two entrepreneurs are hoping to build a huge wave pool in the heart of the German capital, allowing surfers to get tubed at the city's former Tempelhof Airport.

Warning for ‘black ice’ on Swedish roads
Sweden

Warning for ‘black ice’ on Swedish roads

While the snowfall that blanketed much of Sweden on Tuesday has dissipated, road conditions remain treacherous across much of the country as crews work to reopen motorways closed by a slew of accidents.

Gauck: Refugees offer hope for German future
Germany

Gauck: Refugees offer hope for German future

President Joachim Gauck has called on Germans to see refugees and immigrants as a chance for the country's future, saying they should be welcomed with open arms as they could help maintain living standards for coming generations.

Merkel rules out German combat troops in Mali
Germany

Merkel rules out German combat troops in Mali

Chancellor Angela Merkel has ruled out sending combat troops to fight Islamist rebels in Mali alongside France, but warned the northern African nation should not be allowed to become a failed state.