Anniversary observed for horrific Sierre bus crash
Switzerland

Anniversary observed for horrific Sierre bus crash

A memorial service was held on Wednesday night at a church in Sierre, in the canton of Valais, where a year earlier 28 people — including 22 children — were killed when a Belgian coach crashed in a tunnel.

Spain’s royals welcome new pope
Spain

Spain’s royals welcome new pope

Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia sent a message of congratulations to the Catholic church's new Argentinian pope: Francis I on Wednesday night.

‘Perfect’ white diamond set for Geneva auction
Switzerland

‘Perfect’ white diamond set for Geneva auction

Auction house Christie's auction house in Geneva is putting up for auction "one of the world's most perfect diamonds" — a new colourless, pear-shaped gem weighing 101.73 carats.

Bomb threat disrupts Swiss-Italian rail traffic
Switzerland

Bomb threat disrupts Swiss-Italian rail traffic

A bomb threat halted rail traffic for six hours through the Simplon tunnel on Wednesday, police and Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) said.

‘The Catholic Church is too powerful in France’
France

‘The Catholic Church is too powerful in France’

France may be a secular country officially but the Catholic Church has always had a presence in French society. As the papal conclave meets this week to choose a new pope, The Local asks: How influential is the church in France?

Islamists ‘plotted to kill far-right politician’
Germany

Islamists ‘plotted to kill far-right politician’

German police said on Wednesday evening that they had foiled an Islamist assassination plot against a leading xenophobic politician in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW).

Two dead in Marseille after ‘gangland’ shooting
France

Two dead in Marseille after ‘gangland’ shooting

Concern over rampant gang violence in Marseille resurfaced on Wednesday after a daytime shooting witnessed by children left two 21-year-olds dead and another fighting for his life.

Politicians turn up noses at legal cannabis plan
Spain

Politicians turn up noses at legal cannabis plan

The Spanish parliament on Tuesday voted against a proposal which looked at depenalizing the consumption, distribution and production of cannabis as a way of filling states coffers with some much-needed cash.

School knew of girl’s cyberbullying struggles
Sweden

School knew of girl’s cyberbullying struggles

Teachers of the 13-year-old girl who is believed to have killed herself in central Sweden last week knew she was being bullied, according to her friends and family.

France limits Apple’s working day, unlike US
France

France limits Apple’s working day, unlike US

In the US Apple might be free to cater to customers' needs 24-hours a day, but a French court has banned the computer giant from forcing French staff to work at night, after falling foul of a long-standing French restriction on working hours.

Germany agrees to ‘historic’ balanced budget
Germany

Germany agrees to ‘historic’ balanced budget

The German government on Wednesday approved a draft budget for 2014 with the lowest deficit in 40 years, hailed by the economy minister as a "historic" step in the battle against debt.

Fine for ‘vigilante’ who tore veil off Muslim
France

Fine for ‘vigilante’ who tore veil off Muslim

A Frenchman who ripped a Muslim woman's veil off her face as she strolled in a fairground was on Wednesday given a five-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to compensate his victim.

US pinpoints Spain as money laundering hub
Spain

US pinpoints Spain as money laundering hub

The US State Department has targeted Spain as a money-laundering haven for organized crime groups and corrupt politicians alike.

Doctors slam attacks on immigrants
Spain

Doctors slam attacks on immigrants

The medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Wednesday raised the alarm over increased violence against illegal migrants in Morocco, pointing a finger of blame at both Rabat and Madrid.

‘No Elsa, there is no arms plant in Saudi Arabia’
Sweden

‘No Elsa, there is no arms plant in Saudi Arabia’

An 8-year-old Swedish school girl who penned a letter to the prime minister seeking answers about why Sweden was building a weapons factory in Saudi Arabia has finally received an answer.

Church gave Swedish teens ‘sex diplomas’
Sweden

Church gave Swedish teens ‘sex diplomas’

A "shagging diploma" given to youths at a Church of Sweden confirmation camp proved too much for parents who complained Wednesday that their 14-year-olds were too young for sex.

France loses 100,000 jobs in one year
France

France loses 100,000 jobs in one year

France lost nearly 100,000 private sector jobs in 2012 as the country struggled with a stagnant economy and chronic unemployment, the official INSEE statistics agency said on Wednesday.

New in German cinemas: ‘Take This Waltz’
Germany

New in German cinemas: ‘Take This Waltz’

Find movies playing in English in Germany with The Local's cinema guide.

Foreigners snap up cheap Spanish housing
Spain

Foreigners snap up cheap Spanish housing

Spanish people are being priced out of their own property market while non-resident foreigners are making the most of the bargain housing prices on offer in the country.

The ten oddest names in Sweden revealed
Sweden

The ten oddest names in Sweden revealed

Exactly 1,288 men in Sweden are Odd by name, and that's just the beginning. The Local has collected ten of the strangest names from across the country.

Sweden’s tax hunt abroad yields ‘record haul’
Sweden

Sweden’s tax hunt abroad yields ‘record haul’

Swedish tax authorities recovered a record high 800 million kronor ($125 million) owned on money moved abroad to avoid paying tax in Sweden, with funds sheltered in the UK yielding the biggest chunk of cash.

Police mount nationwide raid against Islamists
Germany

Police mount nationwide raid against Islamists

Hundreds of German police officers raided suspected Islamist extremists in several states on Wednesday, aiming to confiscate possessions and funds belonging to three now banned groups.

¡Hola! prints Penelope Cruz pregnancy picture
Spain

¡Hola! prints Penelope Cruz pregnancy picture

The first public photo of a happily pregnant Penelope Cruz has been printed on Hola's front page.

‘Total smoking ban in Sweden by 2025’
Sweden

‘Total smoking ban in Sweden by 2025’

Sweden should follow New Zealand's example and phase out smoking completely by 2025, representatives from several lung cancer groups in Sweden have argued.

German pair face jail over €132,000 hotel bill
Spain

German pair face jail over €132,000 hotel bill

A German couple face up to three years in jail and a massive bill after camping out in a Catalonian hotel for 14 months without paying.

Commerzbank makes €2.5 billion capital hike
Germany

Commerzbank makes €2.5 billion capital hike

Commerzbank, Germany's second-biggest bank, said Wednesday that it will undertake a €2.5 billion capital hike to repay further chunks of a state bailout it received during the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Soiled toilet roll snares ‘teen burglar’
France

Soiled toilet roll snares ‘teen burglar’

It is not often thieves leave any clues behind at the scene of a crime, so French police appear to have got lucky after a suspected teenage burglar left a rather unusual deposit at the home of one her burglary victims.

Adecco profit dips amid French job market woes
Switzerland

Adecco profit dips amid French job market woes

The world's biggest temporary staffing group, Swiss-based Adecco, on Wednesday posted a 27-percent drop in its 2012 net profit to 377 million euros ($492 million) from the previous year owing to plummeting activities in its main market, France.

Ten horror stories from France’s winter whiteout
France

Ten horror stories from France’s winter whiteout

After heavy snow and freezing temperatures caused chaos across northern France over the last three days, some horror stories are beginning to emerge about what people have been through. Here are ten of the worst.

Inditex stitches up huge earnings win
Spain

Inditex stitches up huge earnings win

Spain's Inditex fashion group have announced its net earnings were up a 22 percent in the 12 months to the end of January but the stockmarket was not impressed with shares in the textile behemoth falling 4 percent.

Dead Ticino politician still on election ballot
Switzerland

Dead Ticino politician still on election ballot

Lugano voters could elect a dead candidate to municipal council if a major political party in the canton of Ticino gets its way.

Merkel: fat cat packages must slim down
Germany

Merkel: fat cat packages must slim down

Chancellor Angela Merkel seemed to take a cue from Germany's left-wing opposition on Wednesday, criticizing excessive manager pay packages and welcoming European moves to limit them.

David Hasselhoff to rock Berlin Wall protests
Germany

David Hasselhoff to rock Berlin Wall protests

He once sang about freedom as the Berlin Wall was torn down - now he's returning to the German capital to save what is left of it. US entertainer David Hasselhoff plans to join protests to save the East Side Gallery on Sunday.

Snow strands thousands at Frankfurt airport
Germany

Snow strands thousands at Frankfurt airport

Around 3,000 stranded passengers slept at Frankfurt airport on Tuesday night after extreme winter weather caused huge delays and cancellations. There was little relief on Wednesday with 82 cancellations announced in the morning.

French court rejects sick man’s cannabis plea
France

French court rejects sick man’s cannabis plea

A French man suffering from a muscular disease since childhood had his request to be given the right to use cannabis for medicinal reasons rejected by a French court on Wednesday. To make matters worse he was fined €300 for possession.

Homelessness in Malmö: ‘A vicious circle’
Sweden

Homelessness in Malmö: ‘A vicious circle’

As homelessness figures increase across Sweden, contributor Patrick Reilly heads to a soup kitchen in Malmö to find out more about the city's estimated 1,000 homeless people and what's being done to help them.

Floods force evacuations in Andalusia
Spain

Floods force evacuations in Andalusia

More than 200 people in Andalusia have been evacuated from their homes because of floods.

Barça banish doubts with epic comeback
Spain

Barça banish doubts with epic comeback

The Catalan giants silenced doubters by progressing through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Tuesday, after an inspired performance saw them thrash AC Milan 4-0 to overturn a 2-0 first-leg defeat.

‘Those who don’t have a right to stay must leave’
Sweden

‘Those who don’t have a right to stay must leave’

While admitting there were questions about methods used by police in Stockholm that some labelled as "racial profiling", Justice Minister Beatrice Ask nevertheless defended the need to carry out deportations.

France: UN ‘to vote’ on Mali force next month
France

France: UN ‘to vote’ on Mali force next month

The United Nations is likely to vote next month on a peacekeeping force for Mali, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced this week.

Snow and ice keep northern France on alert
France

Snow and ice keep northern France on alert

In total 19 departments remained on orange alert for snow and ice on Wednesday morning, with temperatures as low as -13°C in the north. Cross-Channel Eurostar services have resumed. We will provide regular updates all day.

Riksdag ‘misled’ about Afghanistan mission
Sweden

Riksdag ‘misled’ about Afghanistan mission

The government never explained that Swedish troops in Afghanistan had shifted to counter-insurgency warfare in 2010, a Swedish intelligence expert has claimed, arguing the Riksdag was misled when voting to extend the mission.

Couple face jail over 14-month hotel bill
Germany

Couple face jail over 14-month hotel bill

A German couple face jail and a large bill after residing in a Spanish hotel for 14 months without paying, saying they thought they could stay for free while talking about buying the property.

Latest ever recorded triplets born in Rostock
Germany

Latest ever recorded triplets born in Rostock

Having triplets is always something special, but a woman in the Baltic city of Rostock has managed the latest birth to three babies ever recorded.

Police probed over high-speed chase drownings
Sweden

Police probed over high-speed chase drownings

Prosecutors have launched a preliminary criminal investigation into the actions of police during a high-speed chase that resulted in the drowning of two suspected petrol thieves after they drove off a bridge.

Galatasaray torpedo Schalke’s CL dreams
Germany

Galatasaray torpedo Schalke’s CL dreams

Schalke 04's Champions League ambitions ended in spectacular fashion on Tuesday as a last-minute goal from Turkey forward Umut Bulut sealed a 3-2 defeat to Galatasaray that put the Turkish side into the quarter-finals.

Bear or bunny? Top German lover’s names
Germany

Bear or bunny? Top German lover’s names

Are you a mouse, bear, or sparrow? - Germans have a penchant for the zoological when it comes to terms of endearment. For this week's Local List, we've put together the country's most common pet names, honeybunny.