Spanish PM Rajoy: ‘I can’t talk to Obama yet’
Spain

Spanish PM Rajoy: ‘I can’t talk to Obama yet’

English-speaking politicians are few and far between in Spain, but should Spanish MPs' lack of language skills be a reason for national concern? The Local looks at why Spain's political class has struggled to pick up the world's lingua franca.

Jet stream brings warmer Swiss conditions
Switzerland

Jet stream brings warmer Swiss conditions

Winter is still holding a tenacious grip on many parts of Switzerland, well past the official start of spring last month, but weather forecasters are finally promising relief this weekend.

YouTube launches dedicated Swiss site
Switzerland

YouTube launches dedicated Swiss site

YouTube has launched a Swiss version of its video site on the internet, promising to promote content from Switzerland with financing from online advertising.

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Switzerland

Switzerland’s trusts on ‘offshore’ defensive

With its members in the spotlight amid the Offshore Leaks release of a millions of documents about cash stashed in tax havens, Switzerland's trust-company lobby maintains that its sector's business is legitimate.

Swedish fighter jet order hits new political snag
Switzerland

Swedish fighter jet order hits new political snag

Switzerland's purchase of 22 Swedish fighter jets hit yet another snag on Tuesday as the Swiss parliament suspended funding discussions amid reports that EADS was trying to undercut the deal by offering used fighters at half-price.

France asks media to hand over tax haven files
France

France asks media to hand over tax haven files

France's new budget minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Tuesday asked media organisations involved in a global "Offshore Leaks" probe on tax havens to hand over any evidence they have to the judiciary.

Geneva company scraps North Korea hotel plans
Switzerland

Geneva company scraps North Korea hotel plans

The Swiss luxury hotel chain Kempinski said on Tuesday that it was dropping plans to open a huge pyramid-shaped hotel that has stood half-built for decades in North Korea amid escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Spain’s ‘indignant’ hero Sampedro dies
Spain

Spain’s ‘indignant’ hero Sampedro dies

Spanish economist and author Jose Luis Sampedro, one of the key figures behind Spain's 'indignant' protest movement against economic inequality and corruption, has died, his family said on Tuesday.

Spaniards check in to cheaper hotel rooms
Spain

Spaniards check in to cheaper hotel rooms

Spaniards are at the bottom of the league table when it comes to splashing out on hotels during overseas holidays, a new study shows.

Wulff rejects deal and fights for reputation
Germany

Wulff rejects deal and fights for reputation

Germany's former president Christian Wulff took a step closer to a public trial - or exoneration - on Tuesday by refusing to pay a fine to prevent a prosecution. He could now face charges of corruption.

Francophile US judge joins elite Paris academy
France

Francophile US judge joins elite Paris academy

US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, known for his love of the French language, has been inducted into France's Academy of Moral and Political Sciences as one of only a few foreign members.

‘France is in need of a dose of Thatcherism’
France

‘France is in need of a dose of Thatcherism’

After the death of Margaret Thatcher, there has been much talk in France about the impact of her economic policies on the UK. Paris based Professor of Economics, Tomasz Michalski tells The Local why France could do with its own dose of Thatcherism.

Rogue police help drivers by disabling speed radars
France

Rogue police help drivers by disabling speed radars

A band of rogue French police appeared before a hearing on Tuesday, accused of taking the law into their own hands by disabling motorway speed cameras in an apparent show of solidarity with motorists facing fines.

Bundesliga may switch to summer and avoid mud
Germany

Bundesliga may switch to summer and avoid mud

The sight of muddy German footballers running around in the rain could be over, as organizers are seriously considering swapping the season so they play in the summer and break in the winter when it's cold and wet.

Swiss watchmakers fight online against fakes
Switzerland

Swiss watchmakers fight online against fakes

The Swiss watch industry remains robust despite a recent dip in exports but it continues to wage a battle against unfriendly competition from counterfeiters who are marketing their copycat timepieces through the internet.

Spring is officially around the corner in Sweden
Sweden

Spring is officially around the corner in Sweden

Believe it or not, spring is on the way to Sweden according to meteorologists, who have pointed to sunny skies and temperatures up towards 15C this week.

Sect doctor could face jail for Chile abuse
Germany

Sect doctor could face jail for Chile abuse

A German doctor whose citizenship has kept him out of jail could face prison after all for his role in a sect responsible for rampant child abuse in Chile.

‘Green Sweden and giant India need each other’
Sweden

‘Green Sweden and giant India need each other’

India's ambassador to Sweden, Banashri Bose Harrison, sees a green future ahead for the two countries' business relationships, spurred on by Swedish companies' need for emerging markets and India's thirst for environmentally friendly solutions.

Sweden enlists llamas to fight sheep-killing wolves
Sweden

Sweden enlists llamas to fight sheep-killing wolves

Animal predator experts in southern Sweden are hoping llamas' natural fighting instincts will help scare off the wolves thought to be responsible for a recent sheep-killing spree in the area.

‘Let’s solve integration, not fight about racism’
Sweden

‘Let’s solve integration, not fight about racism’

The Swedish integration debate should focus on the difficult trade-offs needed in a country that is not structurally optimal for immigration, rather than getting bogged down in the semantics of racism, argues political scientist Andreas Johansson Heinö.

OffshoreLeaks unmasks dozens of Swedes
Sweden

OffshoreLeaks unmasks dozens of Swedes

More than 70 Swedes are among offshore account holders unearthed by a global reporting collaboration looking into how the world's wealthy manage their assets.

Notorious rapist jailed for sex with 14-year-old girl
Sweden

Notorious rapist jailed for sex with 14-year-old girl

A man previously convicted for several rapes in Sweden in the 1970s and 1980s has been jailed anew, receiving a four-year sentence for child rape and buying sexual services from a child.

‘No one moaned about the Germans better’
Germany

‘No one moaned about the Germans better’

Margaret Thatcher had no love for Germany, but as Konrad Werner from Exberliner magazine comments, the late British prime minister would have fit right in with Berlin's expatriate community.

Doctor: ‘Abidal transplant recovery is one-of-a-kind’
Spain

Doctor: ‘Abidal transplant recovery is one-of-a-kind’

One of the surgeons who performed Barcelona defender Eric Abidal's liver transplant on Tuesday hailed his miraculous recovery, assessing that it broke new ground for the surgery.

‘First quarter of 2013 will be less bad’: Minister
Spain

‘First quarter of 2013 will be less bad’: Minister

Spain's recession-battered economy is faring a little better in early 2013 after slumping at the end of last year, Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said on Tuesday as doubts grew over the prospects for debt-laden southern European economies.

Bordeaux vineyards to dry up by 2050: study
France

Bordeaux vineyards to dry up by 2050: study

A new report published this week spells bad news for lovers of French wine. The study predicts global warming will nearly wipe out production in the traditional regions of Bordeaux and the Rhône Valley by the year 2050.

Blow for Hollande as Mali family ‘eats his camel’
France

Blow for Hollande as Mali family ‘eats his camel’

He is struggling to deal with the fallout of one of the biggest ever political scandals to rock France, his efforts to revive the economy have come to nothing and now his camel has been eaten. Could things get any worse for François Hollande?

Vet burns wife’s body after ‘failed liposuction’
Spain

Vet burns wife’s body after ‘failed liposuction’

A vet who allegedly tried to dispose of his wife's dead body at an incineration plant after what investigators believe may have been a failed attempt to perform liposuction has been taken into custody without bail.

US urges Germany to spur growth
Germany

US urges Germany to spur growth

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew urged countries with the "capacity" to help spur global growth, after talks with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble in Berlin on Tuesday.

France begins troop withdrawal from Mali
France

France begins troop withdrawal from Mali

France has withdrawn its first batch of soldiers from Mali, the army said on Tuesday, as it begins to pull out troops sent to battle Islamist fighters in the west African nation.

Metal thieves delay 17,000 German trains
Germany

Metal thieves delay 17,000 German trains

Metal thieves targeting Germany's railway Deutsche Bahn delayed 17,000 trains last year by stealing among other things copper cable worth around €17 million.

Spaniards ‘worry most about jobless rate’
Spain

Spaniards ‘worry most about jobless rate’

Unemployment continues to be the main issue of concern for most people in Spain but corruption and fraud are also gaining ground, the latest poll from the social research institute CIS has found.

French community uses Facebook to fight dealers
France

French community uses Facebook to fight dealers

What do you do when your neighbourhood is overrun by drug problems, and police are one step behind the dealers? One community in Bordeaux has taken to sharing photos of dealers and buyers on Facebook in a bid to drive them out.

Germans learn to love euro and let go of D-Mark
Germany

Germans learn to love euro and let go of D-Mark

Almost 70 percent of Germans now favour the euro, and only 27 percent would prefer to ditch the common currency and return to the once-beloved deutschmark, a survey published on Tuesday found.

Airborne car smashes through barn
Germany

Airborne car smashes through barn

A 24-year-old man in southern Germany lost control of his car on Monday night, flying through the air and eventually crashing through the side of a barn. He survived the spectacular crash with serious injuries.

Swiss banks keen to avoid tax cheats: experts
Switzerland

Swiss banks keen to avoid tax cheats: experts

Amid a massive scandal involving France's former budget minister and an undeclared Swiss bank account, Swiss banks are more eager than ever to kick out tax cheats and clear their names, bankers and industry experts say.

Sweden aims to ditch church parishes
Sweden

Sweden aims to ditch church parishes

More than a decade after the Church of Sweden split from the state, the government wants to stop using church parish boundaries in population statistics, angering researchers who wish to retain the 500-year-old subdivisions.

Jobless rate dip defies economic doldrums
Switzerland

Jobless rate dip defies economic doldrums

The unemployment rate in Switzerland fell to 3.2 percent in March from 3.4 percent in the previous month, according to government statistics released on Tuesday that suggest the Swiss economy is continuing to defy the economic doldrums in Europe.

Nicaragua accused of blocking Norwegian aid
Norway

Nicaragua accused of blocking Norwegian aid

A non-governmental studies center headed by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's estranged stepdaughter accused his Sandinista government on Monday of blocking Norwegian aid to the group.

Swedish oil firm Lundin makes new Norway find
Norway

Swedish oil firm Lundin makes new Norway find

Swedish oil firm Lundin Petroleum said on Monday it had made a potentially significant oil find off Norway, near another discovery that renewed explorers' interest in the North Sea.

Canary volcano pic nabs top NASA photo gong
Spain

Canary volcano pic nabs top NASA photo gong

A satellite image of the submarine volcanic eruption off the Canary island of El Hierro in early 2012 has won a NASA photo poll.

‘It’s one rule for French and one for foreigners’
France

‘It’s one rule for French and one for foreigners’

The ski season in the French Alps is drawing to a bitter end for a British ski firm boss, who has accused the French authorities of "outrageous protectionism" as the so-called piste wars over instructors' right to work rumbles on.

Swedish zoo wins fight to keep stray seal pups
Sweden

Swedish zoo wins fight to keep stray seal pups

Anders and Benjamin, two wild seal pups threatened with being put down according to Swedish law, will likely be able to remain at the Swedish zoo that has cared for them since they were found in the woods over Easter.

Spanish PM backs King after poll setback
Spain

Spanish PM backs King after poll setback

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rushed to the defence of King Juan Carlos on Monday, a day after a poll showed the monarch's approval ratings have plunged because of a corruption probe involving members of his family.

Swedish beef fillet turns out to be horsemeat
Sweden

Swedish beef fillet turns out to be horsemeat

Sweden's food safety regulator said on Monday it had asked prosecutors to investigate a company believed to have labelled Polish horsemeat as Swedish beef tenderloin.

‘Teenager’ dies in landing gear of Paris plane
France

‘Teenager’ dies in landing gear of Paris plane

The body of a stowaway who looked like a teenager was discovered in the landing gear of a plane that had flown into a Paris airport from Cameroon, AFP sources said.

Congo ruler resists probe into luxury French homes
France

Congo ruler resists probe into luxury French homes

Congolese leader Denis Sassou Nguesso said this week that France's justice system had no right to probe his alleged ill-gotten gains, following a meeting with French counterpart Francois Hollande.

Search for Nazi death camp guards widens
Germany

Search for Nazi death camp guards widens

Germany plans to broaden its investigation into former Nazi death camp guards from Auschwitz to those who served in other concentration camps, according to a top official.

Post-Wall children more likely to be criminals
Germany

Post-Wall children more likely to be criminals

Children conceived in the chaos of collapsing East Germany just after the Berlin Wall fell are way more likely to be criminals than almost anyone else in the country, a new study shows.

Ericsson to buy internet TV unit from Microsoft
Sweden

Ericsson to buy internet TV unit from Microsoft

Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson said Monday it had agreed to buy Microsoft's internet protocol television (IPTV) business Media Room for an undisclosed sum.

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Sweden

Sweden’s Lundin in new oil find near Norway

Swedish oil firm Lundin Petroleum said Monday it had made a potentially significant oil find off Norway, near another discovery that renewed explorers' interest in the North Sea.

‘There is a huge demand for nannies in Munich’
Germany

‘There is a huge demand for nannies in Munich’

Being a nanny or au pair can be a great way to experience German culture, but there can be pitfalls. Nicolette Kalbfell explores the ins and outs of working in Munich.