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Switzerland

Holocaust victims paid back by Swiss banks

All of the $1.3 billion Holocaust restitution fund created by Swiss banks in 1998 has been returned to victims, a judge involved in the case said in an interview published on Thursday.

Who wants to be a Euro millionaire?
Sweden

Who wants to be a Euro millionaire?

The EuroJackpot lottery stands at a record-setting 29 million euros ($38.9 million) and the rules dictate that the jackpot must be paid out on January 25.

Charlie Chaplin museum gains French backer
Switzerland

Charlie Chaplin museum gains French backer

La Compagnie des Alpes, a French ski resort and leisure park operator, is set to invest 9.5 million francs in a proposed Charlie Chaplin museum near Vevey in the canton of Vaud, according to media reports.

Hollywood star to swap New York for Paris
France

Hollywood star to swap New York for Paris

Hollywood star Natalie Portman is swapping New York for Paris along with her French husband Benjamin Millepied after he secured the post of dance director at the French capital's Opera.

France’s richest man ‘sends wealth’ to Belgium
France

France’s richest man ‘sends wealth’ to Belgium

France's richest man, the billionaire Bernard Arnault, whose quest for Belgian nationality has caused uproar in his native country, has already transferred ‘almost all his wealth’ to Belgium, it was revealed on Thursday.

Cameron’s EU plans ‘hijack’ Davos forum
Switzerland

Cameron’s EU plans ‘hijack’ Davos forum

Several European leaders in Davos on Thursday urged Britain to stay in the European Union following UK Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge to hold a referendum on EU membership.

Dog suspected of mauling owner to death
France

Dog suspected of mauling owner to death

The mutilated body of a man was found on the bed of his apartment in the department of Doubs in eastern France, it was reported Thursday. Local police believe the victim was mauled to death by his pet dog.

Ikea founder ‘in the dark’ over expansion plans
Sweden

Ikea founder ‘in the dark’ over expansion plans

The founder of Swedish furniture giant Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad, on Thursday told a newspaper that he was surprised by the group's expansion plans, which he said were too ambitious.

Swedish paper group SCA in record profit leap
Sweden

Swedish paper group SCA in record profit leap

The Swedish paper group Svenska Cellulosa (SCA) posted on Thursday a nine-fold jump in net profit for 2012 owing to a one-off asset sale made as the company turns its focus to Asia in general and hygiene products in particular.

FDP demands flat-rate cut to all ministries
Germany

FDP demands flat-rate cut to all ministries

Germany's pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) said on Thursday that they planned to propose a blanket two-percent cut across all ministries in an upcoming meeting on the 2014 budget.

France suspends law on breathalyser kits
France

France suspends law on breathalyser kits

A French law forcing motorists to keep a breathalyser kit in their car at all times, has been suspended by the government, it was announced on Thursday.

Online refugee greeting takes Sweden by storm
Sweden

Online refugee greeting takes Sweden by storm

A small-town shopkeeper's folksy Facebook greeting to newly-arrived Syrian refugees kicked off a big-time media frenzy that continues to reverberate, making Bo Oskarsson of Kaxås our pick for Swede of the Week.

France orders Twitter to help ID racist users
France

France orders Twitter to help ID racist users

A French court ruled on Thursday that Twitter must hand over data to help identify the authors of racist or anti-Semitic messages posted on its micro-blogging site.

French PM denies plan to ditch 75 percent tax
France

French PM denies plan to ditch 75 percent tax

The French Prime Minister denied media reports on Thursday that the government was about to scrap its controversial 75 percent top tax rate.

Frenchwoman freed from Mexican jail arrives home
France

Frenchwoman freed from Mexican jail arrives home

A Frenchwoman freed from Mexican jail after a court said police violated her rights by staging her arrest for kidnapping on national television arrived in Paris Thursday to a hero's welcome.

Top 10: Twitter reacts as France drops ‘hashtag’
France

Top 10: Twitter reacts as France drops ‘hashtag’

Twitter has exploded after France's 'Journal Officiel' replaced "hashtag" with "mot-dièse," as reported by The Local on Wednesday. We've assembled the ten best reactions from users so far.

Russian day care on graveyard sparks outrage
Germany

Russian day care on graveyard sparks outrage

The decision to build a new kindergarten atop an old German cemetery in what was once East Prussia has sparked outrage, forcing Russian authorities to exhume and rebury 150 bodies before work can continue.

Swede collects benefits for candy and hairspray
Sweden

Swede collects benefits for candy and hairspray

A Swedish woman receiving benefits to help fund her addiction to hairspray, make-up, and candy is upset that authorities have gone to court in an attempt to slash her entitlement.

DSK to be questioned over pimping charges
France

DSK to be questioned over pimping charges

French investigators were due on Thursday to question Dominique Strauss-Kahn as part of their probe into allegations that the disgraced former IMF chief procured prostitutes for sex parties.

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Switzerland

Goldman Sachs, Shell win Davos ‘shame’ prize

Campaigners at Davos on Thursday awarded their annual Public Eye shame awards to Goldman Sachs and Shell "for particularly glaring cases of companies' greed for profit and environmental sins".

Eradicating racism from German children’s books
Germany

Eradicating racism from German children’s books

Should Germany expunge racist terms from classic children's books? The Local's Marc Young comments on the country's often exasperating attitudes on race.

Greek politician probed over Swiss account
Switzerland

Greek politician probed over Swiss account

A former Greek socialist minister can be prosecuted for failing to declare a Swiss bank account, a case related to a broader tax scandal plaguing the government, lawmakers have decided.

French government ‘to ditch’ 75 percent top tax
France

French government ‘to ditch’ 75 percent top tax

The proposed 75 percent tax rate, President François Hollande’s flagship election pledge, will never see the light of day, a French media site reported on Thursday.

BMW expands greentech cooperation with Toyota
Germany

BMW expands greentech cooperation with Toyota

Japan's Toyota and Germany's BMW on Thursday said they were deepening ties on developing fuel-cell technology and vehicle batteries as the auto giants push into the green market.

Terrorist fears undo planned Berlin flight path
Germany

Terrorist fears undo planned Berlin flight path

A German administrative court has dealt a new blow to Berlin's already troubled airport project, ruling that one of the planned flight paths runs too close to a nearby atomic research reactor.

Stockholm sublets set for ‘dramatic’ rent hike
Sweden

Stockholm sublets set for ‘dramatic’ rent hike

Tenants' advocates warn that rents charged to sublet flats in Stockholm could double next month due to changes in Sweden's subletting laws, amid reports that rents are already higher than current laws allow.

Poll highlights kids’ access to online porn
Switzerland

Poll highlights kids’ access to online porn

One in seven 14-year-olds in the canton of Vaud admit to visiting pornographic sites on the internet, according to a new survey.

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Switzerland

Mystery death stumps Solothurn police

Solothurn cantonal police are continuing to investigate the mysterious death of an 83-year-old woman reportedly strangled in her home with a piece of string.

Cleaner in train crash ‘remembers nothing’
Sweden

Cleaner in train crash ‘remembers nothing’

The cleaner who was onboard a commuter train that crashed into a house in suburban Stockholm last week claims not to remember anything about the incident.

Missing French exchange student found dead
France

Missing French exchange student found dead

The 23-year-old French student who had been missing for two weeks in southern Sweden was found dead on Wednesday night, with police stating that they no longer suspected any foul play.

Commerzbank to axe 4,000-6,000 jobs by 2016
Germany

Commerzbank to axe 4,000-6,000 jobs by 2016

Commerzbank, Germany's second-biggest bank, said on Thursday it is looking to axe 4,000-6,000 jobs – or about 10 percent of its workforce – by 2016.

Britain and the EU: The view from France
France

Britain and the EU: The view from France

How has France reacted to British Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge to hold a referendum on whether Britain should leave the EU? The Local speaks to business leaders, academics and expats with widely varying viewpoints.

Missing French exchange student found dead
Sweden

Missing French exchange student found dead

The 23-year-old French student who had been missing for two weeks in southern Sweden was found dead on Wednesday night, with police stating that they no longer suspected any foul play.

What’s on in Germany: January 24 – 30
Germany

What’s on in Germany: January 24 – 30

This Week's Highlights: English theatre in Wiesbaden, German punk-rap in Dresden, and African literature in Frankfurt

Brittany man tortured and dumped in shopping cart
France

Brittany man tortured and dumped in shopping cart

A 21-year-old man was reportedly stabbed, tortured and raped before being dumped naked in a shopping trolley in the centre of a town in western France. The victim was rushed to hospital where he remains in a serious condition.

Russian star to lead Munich Philharmonic
Germany

Russian star to lead Munich Philharmonic

Charismatic Russian maestro Valery Gergiev will take over as chief conductor of the prestigious Munich Philharmonic from 2015, officials in the Bavarian capital have announced.

Gothenburg sets up ‘Instagram riot’ team
Sweden

Gothenburg sets up ‘Instagram riot’ team

The two Gothenburg high schools affected by December's Instagram riot, when teenagers assembled a flash mob in response to a "slut shaming" account on the popular image website, are to educate the parents about social media.

Airport security strike hits Cologne, Düsseldorf
Germany

Airport security strike hits Cologne, Düsseldorf

Passengers at the Cologne/Bonn and Düsseldorf airports on Thursday faced long waits and cancelled flights, after security personnel went on strike as part of an ongoing labour dispute. More disruption is expected, an airport spokesman said.

Sweden to scale down political pensions
Sweden

Sweden to scale down political pensions

Swedish MPs and politicians at top county and municipal levels will see their pension benefits cut in the future, after concerns that too many were cashing in on an early-retirement clause.

‘Nordics need 13,000 wind turbines’
Sweden

‘Nordics need 13,000 wind turbines’

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has proposed that the Nordic countries add more than 13,000 new wind turbines in order to achieve ambitious emissions-reduction schemes in the next three decades.

‘I am not a bad person’
Germany

‘I am not a bad person’

He's a hacker, a gamer, a party animal, a legal resident of New Zealand, and a self-proclaimed defender of internet freedom. Kim Schmitz, aka Kim Dotcom, is The Local's German of the week.