French skier wins Wengen combined race
Switzerland

French skier wins Wengen combined race

Frenchman Alexis Pinturault won the World Cup combined race at the Swiss ski resort of Wengen on Friday after a blistering slalom run propelled the 21-year-old to his second victory of the season.

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France

Police ‘arrest two’ over Paris Kurdish murders

French police have detained two people for questioning in connection with the killings of three female Kurdish activists in Paris last week, a judicial source said on Friday.

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France

Psychiatric unit told to lift sex ban on patients

A court in France has ruled that a psychiatric hospital was wrong to impose a strict ban on sexual relations between patients.

French and Malian troops score double victory
France

French and Malian troops score double victory

French-backed Malian troops wrested two key central towns from Islamist rebels as hostage-takers in neighbouring Algeria said they wanted to negotiate an end to France's military intervention.

Hostage crisis is a global wake up call: France
France

Hostage crisis is a global wake up call: France

France on Friday framed the deadly hostage crisis in Algeria as a wake-up call to the world as it pushed for greater support for a military campaign against Islamists in neighbouring Mali.

Commerzbank ‘ready to cut 6,500 jobs’
Germany

Commerzbank ‘ready to cut 6,500 jobs’

Commerzbank, Germany's second-biggest bank, will likely propose next month cutting as many as 6,500 jobs, some 18 percent of the workforce, a number of newspapers reported on Friday.

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Norway

Norway air ambulances await Algiers green light

Norway, which has eight nationals unaccounted for in the hostage crisis at a remote Algerian gas plant, said on Friday it was ready to send two air ambulances to the site but was awaiting the green light from Algiers.

New lead in Instagram ‘teen sluts’ probe
Sweden

New lead in Instagram ‘teen sluts’ probe

A Gothenburg minor is suspected of aggravated defamation after new evidence emerged in the Instagram slut-shaming incident from December, which saw hundreds of students take to the streets in protest.

Report prompts child poverty debate in Sweden
Sweden

Report prompts child poverty debate in Sweden

The Swedish children’s rights organization Bris has abandoned its use of the term “child poverty” after an investigative news report sparked scathing and celebratory feedback in the ensuing debate.

Catholic hospitals refused rape victim help
Germany

Catholic hospitals refused rape victim help

Two Catholic hospitals in Cologne refused to examine a woman who said she had been raped to avoid having to offer her advice on abortion or the morning-after pill.

Murders in France fall to ‘lowest ever level’
France

Murders in France fall to ‘lowest ever level’

Murder rates in France have dropped to their lowest level in history, Interior Minister Manuel Valls declared on Friday.

Dutch invade German borderlands for beer
Germany

Dutch invade German borderlands for beer

The flood of Germans coming back from Holland with secret stashes of cannabis has been replaced by Dutch people going in the other direction, their cars loaded with beer, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung reported.

Student falsely ejected for wearing Muslim veil
France

Student falsely ejected for wearing Muslim veil

A university student in France has reportedly lodged a complaint with police after being mistakenly told to leave a lecture for wearing a Muslim veil.

Sweden’s ten priciest places to live revealed
Sweden

Sweden’s ten priciest places to live revealed

The costs of maintaining a house in Sweden can vary by as much as 15,000 kronor ($2,300) depending on where the house is located, according to a report published on Friday by the Swedish Homeowners Association (Villaägarnas Riksförbund).

Cleaner in train crash cleared of suspicion
Sweden

Cleaner in train crash cleared of suspicion

The cleaner onboard a train that crashed into a house in the upscale Stockholm suburb of Saltsjöbaden is no longer suspected of committing a crime, prosecutors announced on Friday.

Depardieu ‘to build’ country cabin in Russia
France

Depardieu ‘to build’ country cabin in Russia

Gerard Depardieu, the French actor who received a Russian passport this month, has bought a plot of land outside Moscow and is building a wooden house, a top Russian film official said in an interview.

Parents beat 9-year-old girl for ‘being a witch’
Sweden

Parents beat 9-year-old girl for ‘being a witch’

Two parents from western Sweden are facing charges that they savagely beat a 9-year-old girl and forced her to drink her own urine because they thought she was a witch.

ThyssenKrupp halves pay after losses
Germany

ThyssenKrupp halves pay after losses

ThyssenKrupp's supervisory board has agreed to take a 50-percent pay cut in view of the German heavy industry and steel giant's disastrous losses last year, its chief said on Friday.

Driver ‘caught speeding 94 times’ walks free
France

Driver ‘caught speeding 94 times’ walks free

A French motorist accused of 94 speeding offenses was acquitted by a judge this week because he couldn't be sure who was behind the wheel.

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France

Free mobile network sued for fraud

A French consumer group is suing mobile phone operator Free, accusing it of “fraudulent commercial practices” over the quality of its network.

Spies, Sponsors, Sport, and Spätzle
Germany

Spies, Sponsors, Sport, and Spätzle

The Local's Ben Knight brings you the week's news compressed into one easy-to-swallow podcast. We look at spy intrigues, TV scandals, Bayern Munich's mega-signing, and the use of Spätzle as a weapon.

Cops spied on each other to nab loo roll thief
Germany

Cops spied on each other to nab loo roll thief

German criminal police who used hidden cameras for 18 months to try to find a toilet paper thief in their own office were probably breaking the law, it has emerged.

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France

French hostage ‘hid under bed for 40 hours’

A French national said on Friday he hid under his bed for 40 hours during the hostage-taking in Algeria before being rescued by soldiers during an assault that involved heavy exchanges of gunfire.

Building company freed from compensation claim
Sweden

Building company freed from compensation claim

The Gothenburg Court of Appeal (Göta hovrätt) ruled on Friday that a construction company does not have to compensate 23 families seeking redress for moisture damage linked to a specific insulation technique.

Woman attacks man with Swedish sausage
Sweden

Woman attacks man with Swedish sausage

A woman in southern Sweden has been charged for attempted assault after attacking a man with a frying pan full of Swedish sausages.

Amstrong’s confession welcomed by Swiss-based cycling body
Switzerland

Amstrong’s confession welcomed by Swiss-based cycling body

Cycling's world governing body on Friday welcomed Lance Armstrong's belated admission of doping during his career, assessing that it will help the sport recover from the scourge of its drug-fuelled past.

English becomes dirty word in Neuchâtel
Switzerland

English becomes dirty word in Neuchâtel

The government of the French-speaking canton of Neuchâtel wants merchants to stop using the English word “sale” for their annual price reduction campaigns.

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Switzerland

Basel airport resumes flights after heavy snow

Switzerland's Basel-Mulhouse airport reopened early Friday after heavy snow forced the cancellation of some 60 flights the day before.

One in four Swedish firms planning layoffs
Sweden

One in four Swedish firms planning layoffs

Every fourth Swedish company has listed staff cutbacks as a top priority as they struggle to remain profitable in 2013, according to report released on Friday.

Security strike causes Hamburg Airport delays
Germany

Security strike causes Hamburg Airport delays

A strike on Friday has nearly halted security operations at the Hamburg Airport, causing plenty of flight delays, but no cancellations, as passengers struggle to get to their gates.

French woman misses her own funeral
France

French woman misses her own funeral

"You'll be late for your own funeral" is an oft used phrase and sadly for one French family it rang true when undertakers failed to deliver their mother in time for her own service. Her distraught family were forced to hold the ceremony without her.

‘Scandalous’ case of man living in 1.56m² Paris flat
France

‘Scandalous’ case of man living in 1.56m² Paris flat

Cramped apartments are often a reality of living in Paris, but some have it worse than others. A housing charity revealed this week the "scandalous" case of a tenant who lived for 15 years in a 1.56-square-metre flat, for €330 a month.

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France

Algeria hostage crisis: Two French ‘back safe’

Two French workers have returned safe from the hostage crisis in Algeria, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Friday, adding that only a small number of French citizens were working at the gas plant.

Back to school for sex-pest driving instructors
Sweden

Back to school for sex-pest driving instructors

Swedish driving instructors will have to study etiquette rules after revelations that one in seven young female students felt their teacher had sexually harassed them.

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Norway

Norway fears for workers missing in Algeria

One Norwegian worker was brought to safety overnight, after Norway said on Thursday it had no news on nine of its nationals working at a remote gas plant in Algeria where dozens of captives were killed in a military assault on Islamist hostage takers.

US increases backing for France in Mali
France

US increases backing for France in Mali

The United States will provide transport planes to French forces fighting Islamist militants in Mali but has yet to decide if it will offer refueling tankers for French warplanes, officials said Thursday.

McAllister: ‘I’m happy to be Merkel’s Mac’
Germany

McAllister: ‘I’m happy to be Merkel’s Mac’

Not many German state premiers receive visits from UK royalty, but David McAllister is special because he's half Scottish and a British subject. This Sunday our German of the Week faces the voters in Lower Saxony's election.

Tiny Saarland has the most guns per capita
Germany

Tiny Saarland has the most guns per capita

The tiny western state of Saarland has emerged as Germany's most armed region, according to newly collated figures. The country launched a national weapon's register this month in a bid to keep guns under control.

Spotify rakes in half of Swedish music sales
Sweden

Spotify rakes in half of Swedish music sales

Streaming services such as Spotify continue to bump up revenues for Swedish record companies, new industry figures reveal, offering hope for an industry struggling to recover from rampant file sharing.

Rare vintage posters up for sale in US auction
Germany

Rare vintage posters up for sale in US auction

A trove of about 4,300 rare vintage advertising posters that were seized and feared to have been destroyed by the Nazis in 1938 will go to auction in New York on Friday.