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Switzerland

Southeast Asia leads patent growth: WIPO

International patent filings increased by 6.6 percent in 2012 from the previous year, with China, Japan and South Korea posting double-digit growth, the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) says.

Geneva civil servants ordered to dust desks
Switzerland

Geneva civil servants ordered to dust desks

Government administrative workers in the canton of Geneva have been ordered to clean their offices and sort their rubbish themselves as a cost-saving measure, officials say.

French minister resigns over Swiss bank account
Switzerland

French minister resigns over Swiss bank account

Jérôme Cahuzac, French budget minister, resigned on Tuesday night following the opening of a judicial inquiry into a secret Swiss bank account allegedly held in his name but which he has repeatedly denied having.

UBS to leave scandal-plagued Euribor panel
Switzerland

UBS to leave scandal-plagued Euribor panel

Swiss financial giant UBS says it is poised to quit the panel that sets the Euribor benchmark rate for lending in euros between banks, becoming the latest player to leave.

Thieves saw open ATM to steal 100,000 francs
Switzerland

Thieves saw open ATM to steal 100,000 francs

Thieves ripped into an automated teller machine (ATM) with a circular power saw and made off with more than 100,000 francs ($106,000) from a petrol station in the canton of Aargau early on Tuesday.

French budget minister resigns amid tax probe
France

French budget minister resigns amid tax probe

French Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac has resigned after prosecutors announced a probe into a Swiss bank account he allegedly used to hide assets from the tax authorities.

Sarkozy greeted as a hero on return to Libya
France

Sarkozy greeted as a hero on return to Libya

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was given a hero's welcome when he returned to Libya on Tuesday. Sarkozy was reportedly "moved" by the reception he was given on making his first return to Tripoli since his victorious 2011 visit.

‘Torture-like’ conditions for kids in Swedish jails
Sweden

‘Torture-like’ conditions for kids in Swedish jails

Children in Sweden detained on criminal suspicions are rarely afforded any human contact and subject to isolation akin to torture, according to a new report.

Hindu groups save gods from Las Fallas bonfire
Spain

Hindu groups save gods from Las Fallas bonfire

Hindu groups have convinced organizers of the Las Fallas festival in Valencia not to allow images of their gods to be burned in the traditional bonfire which marks the end of the event.

Sweden to probe Belarus teddy-drop stunt
Sweden

Sweden to probe Belarus teddy-drop stunt

Prosecutors in Sweden announced on Tuesday that they had taken over the official investigation from Lithuania into a Swedish PR firm's stunt of dropping "pro free speech" teddy bears near the Belarusian capital.

Tiny Canary soars to world Wi-Fi first
Spain

Tiny Canary soars to world Wi-Fi first

The smallest of the Canary Islands, famed in recent years for its underwater volcanic eruptions, became on Tuesday the first island on the planet with full, free Wi-Fi coverage.

PM slams Billström for ‘blonde, blue-eyed’ line
Sweden

PM slams Billström for ‘blonde, blue-eyed’ line

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Tuesday called on his migration minister, Tobias Billström, to shape up following controversial statements Billström made about the appearance of illegal immigrants.

Spain’s most respected and least loved jobs
Spain

Spain’s most respected and least loved jobs

A recent survey into people's opinions of different professions in Spain found that doctors and teachers come out trumps while journalists and lawyers earned a big thumbs down. For this week's JobTalk, The Local spoke to people practising these professions and got their reactions to the news.

Catholic churches up for sale on eBay
Germany

Catholic churches up for sale on eBay

A dramatic slump in the number of regular churchgoers is forcing the German Catholic Church to go to desperate lengths to save money. Now dioceses are resorting to flogging barely-used churches on eBay.

La Liga tax offenders kick off late payments
Spain

La Liga tax offenders kick off late payments

Football may have been a ray of hope for crisis-ridden Spain over the past five years, but Spanish teams are only now starting to pay back the €752.3 million they owe the taxpayer.

Top German CEOs earn below European average
Germany

Top German CEOs earn below European average

The chief executives of Germany's 30 biggest companies took home €5.3 million ($6.9 million) on average last year, a 3.0-percent rise from 2011, but still below the European average, a study showed Tuesday.

Experts: Drink driving ‘safer’ than car phone use
Spain

Experts: Drink driving ‘safer’ than car phone use

An international team of Spanish and Australian scientists has discovered that drink driving can actually be safer than using your phone while at the wheel.

How I learned to stop laughing and love The Hoff
Germany

How I learned to stop laughing and love The Hoff

Germany's purported love affair with David Hasselhoff has been the butt of countless jokes. But the entertainer's laudable effort to help preserve part of the Berlin Wall isn't a laughing matter, comments The Local's Marc Young.

Disgruntled patient kills dentist in Marseille
France

Disgruntled patient kills dentist in Marseille

A female dentist in the centre of Marseille was shot dead Tuesday by a 71-year-old patient who was himself killed during the subsequent police intervention.

Swedish military admits role in mink massacre
Sweden

Swedish military admits role in mink massacre

The Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) have apologized for contributing to the death of over 500 minks after low-flying planes caused the animals to turn on their young in a panic-induced killing spree.

Billström’s apology ‘not enough’: Löfven
Sweden

Billström’s apology ‘not enough’: Löfven

Fredrik Reinfeldt must take action in the wake of Migration Minister Tobias Billström's controversial "blonde and blue-eyed" statement, Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven demanded on Tuesday.

Banned mutton found at scandal-hit French firm
France

Banned mutton found at scandal-hit French firm

French authorities on Tuesday said they had found 57 tonnes of minced lamb that did not conform to European standards at the factory of Spanghero, the firm at the heart of the horsemeat scandal.

Nursery assistant wins reprieve over veil sacking
France

Nursery assistant wins reprieve over veil sacking

A French creche assistant who was famously fired for refusing to remove her Islamic head-scarf had her dismissal annulled by France's highest appeals court on Tuesday. The court judged the sacking was "religious discrimination".

Facebook ‘censors’ radio host’s pope criticism
Germany

Facebook ‘censors’ radio host’s pope criticism

An outspoken German TV presenter said he was "speechless" with fury after he claimed Facebook censored his status updates criticising the social values of the Catholic church and Pope Francis himself.

‘Germany’s worst neighbour’ faces court
Germany

‘Germany’s worst neighbour’ faces court

An elderly German man with a penchant for urinating in plant pots, verbal harassment and nudity has been outed by a popular tabloid as the “country's worst neighbour”. He faces multiple court charges for his anti-social antics.

Banks’ bad debts edge up once more
Spain

Banks’ bad debts edge up once more

The burden of bad loans held by Spanish banks shot up again in January, after a brief blip in December which saw the ratio ease for the first time in 17 months.

Merkel to Cyprus: ‘Talk to Troika not Russia’
Germany

Merkel to Cyprus: ‘Talk to Troika not Russia’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed in a phone call with the president of Cyprus that his country hold talks only with international creditors on its bailout deal and not third parties like Russia, a government spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Investor sentiment hits three-year high
Germany

Investor sentiment hits three-year high

Investor sentiment in Germany inched higher in March to the highest level for more than three years, with analysts convinced that the outlook for Europe's top economy remains bright, a new survey found on Tuesday.

Gothenburg toll cameras hit in ‘paintball’ attack
Sweden

Gothenburg toll cameras hit in ‘paintball’ attack

In an apparent protest against Gothenburg's new congestion charges, local residents have sabotaged eleven of the city's toll-booth cameras in what is suspected to be a paintball attack.

Police bust voodoo sex slave ring
Spain

Police bust voodoo sex slave ring

Spanish police on Tuesday cracked down on a Málaga prostitution ring which used voodoo to intimidate Nigerian women into becoming sex slaves.

Job centre goes to court over 15 cents
Germany

Job centre goes to court over 15 cents

A central German job centre has gone to court for a second time over the paltry sum of 15 cents, after refusing to round up to a full euro payments to a man on unemployment benefits.

France ends ‘costly’ jury trial experiment
France

France ends ‘costly’ jury trial experiment

France announced this week it is to abandon jury trials in certain criminal courts, calling time on former President Nicolas Sarkozy's flagship attempt to ‘democratize’ the French justice system.

Ratings agency warns of Spanish time bomb
Spain

Ratings agency warns of Spanish time bomb

The chief of credit ratings agency Standards & Poor's in Germany said on Sunday that Spain's social situation was potentially explosive.

‘Why taking a lover won’t give you love’
Sweden

‘Why taking a lover won’t give you love’

In the second of a five-part column series on love, single girl Emilia Millicent tells us how a trip to the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm reminded her that boys are not toys.

Swiss bank exec ‘tricked’ by Singapore prostitute
Switzerland

Swiss bank exec ‘tricked’ by Singapore prostitute

A former UBS executive facing a possible jail term for having sex with an underage Singaporean prostitute said at the start of his trial Tuesday that he was tricked into thinking she was an adult.

Women drugged and robbed their online dates
Sweden

Women drugged and robbed their online dates

Two women from southern Sweden who came into contact with men via an online dating site have been charged for drugging and robbing the victims as part of an organized criminal operation.

Police chief sentenced for Turkish ‘rock’ theft
Switzerland

Police chief sentenced for Turkish ‘rock’ theft

A Turkish court on Tuesday sentenced Christian Varone, chief of the Valais cantonal police force, to a suspended jail term of one year and 15 days for stealing a cultural artefact from Turkey while on holiday.

Spanish PM: ‘We’re ready for Madrid 2020’
Spain

Spanish PM: ‘We’re ready for Madrid 2020’

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Monday opened the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) evaluation team's visit to Madrid by claiming the city deserves the right to host the 2020 Olympic Games.

Prostitutes may soon return to Paris streets
France

Prostitutes may soon return to Paris streets

France’s women’s rights minister has promised a change in the law that could see prostitutes return en masse to the streets of Paris and other city centres.

Swedish police crack stolen egg case
Sweden

Swedish police crack stolen egg case

Three men face up to a year in prison after police found over 2,000 rare bird eggs under a trapdoor in a home in northern Sweden.

Police suspect eight drivers for fatal pile-up
Sweden

Police suspect eight drivers for fatal pile-up

Police suspect eight drivers of reckless driving and one of manslaughter, as the investigation into January's fatal truck pile-up in southern Sweden comes to a close.

Peugeot steps closer to cutting 11,000 jobs
France

Peugeot steps closer to cutting 11,000 jobs

Plans by troubled French carmaker Peugeot Citroen to shed over 11,000 jobs cleared a major hurdle on Monday.

Heavy snow snarls traffic in the east
Germany

Heavy snow snarls traffic in the east

Heavy snow overnight snarled early morning traffic across much of eastern Germany on Tuesday, as a renewed winter onslaught made for treacherous driving conditions.

‘Brazilians’ increase risk of viral infection: study
France

‘Brazilians’ increase risk of viral infection: study

A trend for shaving, clipping or waxing pubic hair may encourage the spread of a skin virus, French doctors suggested this week.

Ikea not guilty in ball-pit discrimination suit
Sweden

Ikea not guilty in ball-pit discrimination suit

Swedish furniture giant Ikea is not guilty of discrimination for refusing to allow a disabled 5-year-old girl play in a ball pit at one of their stores, a Swedish court ruled on Monday.

Fewer medics than ever chose GP route
Germany

Fewer medics than ever chose GP route

Dwindling numbers of young German doctors qualifying as general practitioners (GPs) are causing concern in the medical community, which said this week the country would face disaster if the shortage was not addressed.

Germany and France talk growth, avoid Cyprus
Germany

Germany and France talk growth, avoid Cyprus

The leaders of Germany, France and the European Commission late on Monday vowed to do more to bolster competitiveness in the eurozone, but avoided the crunch topic of the fresh crisis in Cyprus.