Crowbar attacker avoids jail with cook’s course
Switzerland

Crowbar attacker avoids jail with cook’s course

A man charged with 39 offences, including more than 20 burglaries and aggravated assault with a crowbar, was sentenced by a court in the canton of Bern not to a jail sentence but to a cooking course.

Wine tippling continues to trend downward
Switzerland

Wine tippling continues to trend downward

Swiss residents are drinking less wine — particularly vintages from Switzerland but also those from abroad, show new government figures that confirm a trend established for the past few years.

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Switzerland

Swiss close probe of Sikh’s phone card ‘scam’

The Swiss chief prosecutor's office has closed a probe of an Indian-born telecoms baron who was accused of fraud in a scheme that sold pre-paid phone cards but allegedly cheated users out of call time.

Swiss chateau’s treasure trove to be auctioned
Switzerland

Swiss chateau’s treasure trove to be auctioned

A decade after thieves stole a haul of Art Nouveau glassworks in a lightning raid on an exhibition, legitimate collectors will have a chance to bid for the remaining trove of the Swiss-based Neumann family.

‘Sitting in an office eight hours a day is crazy’
Spain

‘Sitting in an office eight hours a day is crazy’

In 2011, a Spanish photojournalist was kidnapped in Libya by forces loyal to the dictator Colonel Gaddafi and spent six weeks in captivity. On Monday, he became just the second Spaniard to receive a prestigious Pulitzer Prize for journalism. Meet Manu Brabo, our latest Spanish Face of the Week.

Family flabbergasted by phone fire fiasco
Sweden

Family flabbergasted by phone fire fiasco

A family from western Sweden whose house burned down to the ground is steaming mad after learning the sky high price of having their telephone service reconnected.

Basque party defends Boston tribute snub
Spain

Basque party defends Boston tribute snub

Pro-Basque independence party Bildu has defended its controversial decision not to support a local town hall motion that condemned the Boston marathon attack.

Are the French really bad drivers?
France

Are the French really bad drivers?

Many tourists or expats who have had experience of driving in France would probably admit to having cursed the actions of French drivers at some point or another. A new survey suggests they may have good reason to do so.

Håkan Hellström: Indie darling to stadium rocker
Sweden

Håkan Hellström: Indie darling to stadium rocker

Swedish singer Håkan Hellström, one of Gothenburg's favourite sons, released his seventh studio album to critical acclaim on Wednesday, making him The Local's Swede of the Week.

Merkel quashes revolt over female exec quota
Germany

Merkel quashes revolt over female exec quota

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition defeated an election-year opposition bid Thursday to set a quota for female board members in a vote that exposed a party rift and forced her to give ground.

Parliament evacuated after short-circuit blast
Norway

Parliament evacuated after short-circuit blast

Norway's parliament was briefly evacuated on Thursday after a minor explosion in an electrical room, but no one was hurt, the parliament said.

SAS now cheapest on several European routes
Sweden

SAS now cheapest on several European routes

Scandinavian airline SAS has the cheapest airfares to several destinations in Europe and is on par with budget airlines such as Norwegian and Ryanair, new figures show.

Spain’s empty home count hits new high
Spain

Spain’s empty home count hits new high

There are nearly three and a half million empty homes in Spain, or 10.8 percent more than a decade ago.

José Mourinho hints at Real Madrid exit
Spain

José Mourinho hints at Real Madrid exit

Speculation over José Mourinho's future intensified on Thursday after he reportedly told youth team coaches he would not be manager of Real Madrid next season.

‘Inhumane’ authorities separate refugee family
Germany

‘Inhumane’ authorities separate refugee family

Authorities in the southern German town of Ansbach came under fire on Thursday for tearing a family apart while the traumatised and heavily-pregnant mother lay in hospital - a move politicians described as "inhumane" and "unconstitutional."

Calls to cut family allowances for foreigners
France

Calls to cut family allowances for foreigners

With the French government busy fleshing out plans to cut family allowances, an opposition UMP deputy has put forward a controversial proposal that would see foreign families lose their right to benefits if they are new to the country.

Leonard Cohen to open Montreux Jazzfest
Switzerland

Leonard Cohen to open Montreux Jazzfest

Canadian troubador Leonard Cohen is booked to lead off the 47th annual Montreux Jazz Festival this summer.

‘Scouts seek models at Swedish anorexia clinic’
Sweden

‘Scouts seek models at Swedish anorexia clinic’

Talent scouts have been looking for Sweden's next top model outside the country's largest eating disorders clinic in Stockholm, outraged doctors have revealed.

Germany approves Cyprus bailout package
Germany

Germany approves Cyprus bailout package

The German parliament approved an international bailout package for stricken eurozone member Cyprus by a large majority on Thursday.

No one can represent all of ‘Sweden’s Muslims’
Sweden

No one can represent all of ‘Sweden’s Muslims’

Omar Mustafa's noisy departure from the Social Democrats shows a persistent but flawed view that one person can represent all of Sweden's Muslims, says contributor Nima Gholam Ali Pour, who argues that religion is no excuse to avoid criticism for unsavoury views.

Volvo Cars expected to post major losses
Sweden

Volvo Cars expected to post major losses

Volvo Cars, owned by the Chinese auto maker Geely, is expected to post heavy losses in 2012 in China where sales were weaker than expected while investments were substantial, daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) reported on Thursday.

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Spain

Spain reaps rich rewards in bond auction

Spain raised €4.714 billion ($6.189 billion) via the sale of medium- and long-term bonds on Thursday at lower interest rates, a sign of improved investor sentiment regarding the country's ability to manage its finances.

Higher Nestlé sales fall short of expectations
Switzerland

Higher Nestlé sales fall short of expectations

Higher first quarter sales for Swiss-based Nestlé, the world's leading food industry group, were lower than expected as growth slowed in emerging markets.

Credit Suisse targeted in German tax evasion raids
Switzerland

Credit Suisse targeted in German tax evasion raids

German prosecutors have conducted hundreds of raids against suspected tax dodgers and Credit Suisse employees believed to have helped them, a news report said.

Johns ‘need clean bill of health’ for hooker visits
Germany

Johns ‘need clean bill of health’ for hooker visits

Prostitution is legal in Germany, but the Green party says it wants tighter regulation of the sex industry by proposing a law forcing clients to get certificate of clean health from a doctor before heading to the brothel.

Danish beer bottles ‘too sexy’ for Sweden
Sweden

Danish beer bottles ‘too sexy’ for Sweden

A cartoon depiction of a topless woman has been deemed too sexy for Sweden's state run liquor store monopoly Systembolaget, forcing a brewery in Denmark to change the beer bottle's label for the Swedish stores.

Runners revealed for 2013 Cannes Festival
France

Runners revealed for 2013 Cannes Festival

The runners vying for the prestigious Palme d'Or award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival were announced after much speculation and anticipation on Thursday. Film French films have been included in the line up for the prize.

Think tanks scale back growth forecast
Germany

Think tanks scale back growth forecast

Germany's leading economic think tanks on Thursday pared back their growth forecast for Europe's top economy this year, but said growth would pick up again in 2014.

France to cut red tape to entice foreign students
France

France to cut red tape to entice foreign students

The French government is to introduce a raft of measures aimed at making life easier for foreign students who want to study in France. The move is aimed at keeping pace with countries like the US in efforts to attract the world’s best scholars.

Andalusia to give school kids three meals a day
Spain

Andalusia to give school kids three meals a day

A top Andalusian politician has announced that all school children in the region will receive three square meals a day — at least from Monday to Friday.

Cops catch drunk thief sleeping at crime scene
Spain

Cops catch drunk thief sleeping at crime scene

Majorca police have arrested a drunken thief who broke into a bar and then fell asleep on the job.

Police bag biggest-ever crystal meth haul
Germany

Police bag biggest-ever crystal meth haul

Customs officials on Wednesday said they had confiscated seven kilos of crystal meth - the largest haul of the drug ever found in Germany. The dangerous stimulant was stashed in a delivery of wooden carvings from Nigeria.

Flashlights needed to see flesh in photo exhibit
Switzerland

Flashlights needed to see flesh in photo exhibit

An exhibition of photos taken by Neuchâtel photographer Pierre-William Henry shows women baring all — but visitors need torches to see the flesh.

Paris unveils ‘shopping passport’ for tourists
France

Paris unveils ‘shopping passport’ for tourists

Shopaholics take note. The city of Paris has launched a new 'Shopping Passport' to try to get tourists off the city's streets and into its shops. The scheme promises savings in hundreds of boutiques across the French capital.

Stuttgart to face Bayern in German Cup final
Germany

Stuttgart to face Bayern in German Cup final

VfB Stuttgart will face favourites Bayern Munich in June's German Cup final after they beat Freiburg 2-1 at home in their semi-final on Wednesday.

Marini, a trade unionist who ‘kills with a silencer’
Italy

Marini, a trade unionist who ‘kills with a silencer’

Franco Marini, 80, who has the support of Italy's main political blocs in the country's presidential election, is a pipe-smoking veteran trade unionist and former parliamentarian with formidable political skills and working-class roots.

‘I love it when Swedish stereotypes fall apart’
Sweden

‘I love it when Swedish stereotypes fall apart’

With the sun finally showing its face in the far north of Sweden, ex-Londoner Paul Connolly debunks some of the common stereotypes about his corner of the country, and explains how some recent good news may help break the social barrier.

Man dies after nine-month heart op wait
Spain

Man dies after nine-month heart op wait

A man from León in north-west Spain has died from a ruptured aorta after spending nine months on a hospital waiting list for an operation to treat the condition. His family are now planning to take local health authorities to court.

IMF warns Spain against ‘too much austerity’
Spain

IMF warns Spain against ‘too much austerity’

The head of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde says economic growth in Spain in 2014 is only possible if the government's savings measures are not excessive.

US aids Spain to win back stolen tapestry
Spain

US aids Spain to win back stolen tapestry

A 16th century religious tapestry stolen from a Spanish cathedral in 1979 and sold at auction three years ago for $369,000 was returned to Spain on Wednesday by the US customs service.

Swedes lose coverage with smartphone switch
Sweden

Swedes lose coverage with smartphone switch

The smartphone revolution in Sweden has come at the price of mobile phone coverage, reveals a new report that argues that the operators' coverage maps are out of date.

Spain’s abortion law plans spark outcry
Spain

Spain’s abortion law plans spark outcry

Spain's centre-right Popular Party government, under pressure from the Catholic Church and its ultraconservative wing, has vowed to "promptly" tighten the nation's abortion laws, angering the opposition Socialist Party which had eased access to the procedure.

French court summons IMF’s Lagarde
France

French court summons IMF’s Lagarde

IMF chief Christine Lagarde has been summoned to testify in a French court, her lawyer confirmed on Thursday. Lagarde will give evidence as part of a probe into a €285 million arbitration payment made to businessman Bernard Tapie when she was a government minister.

Baby formula rationed as parents panic
Germany

Baby formula rationed as parents panic

Baby formula products are being rationed in Germany as milk scandals in China cause demand for foreign-made powder to spike all over the world - leading to panic-buying and hoarding.

Lowly Evian wash out PSG’s hopes for a double
France

Lowly Evian wash out PSG’s hopes for a double

For the second time in a week on Wednesday French giants Paris St-Germain were dumped out of a cup competition. After a Champions League exit at the hands of Barcelona, PSG were dumped out of the French cup by lowly Evian, ending their double hopes.

Doc on trial for reading private patient data
Sweden

Doc on trial for reading private patient data

A doctor in southern Sweden has been prosecuted for data violation after reading medical details of patients whose parents he knew socially, with fears cited he could have been spying on their children's sex lives.

Hollande denounces ‘homophobic’ violence
France

Hollande denounces ‘homophobic’ violence

President François Hollande has denounced "homophobic" acts as protests against the bill once again boiled over on Wednesday night. The French parliament just days away from the crucial and final vote on whether to legalise gay marriage.

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Switzerland

Tenant gets 12 years in prison for killing landlord

A 48-year-old Swiss man was sentenced on Wednesday to 12 years in jail for murdering his landlord with a hunting rifle in the canton of Fribourg.

Euro debt crisis ‘could last a decade’
Germany

Euro debt crisis ‘could last a decade’

The European debt crisis could take a decade to overcome, according to Bundesbank president and ECB council member Jens Weidmann, who added that the ECB could cut interest rates if new information warranted such a move.

‘Mustafa failed to heed warning last year’
Sweden

‘Mustafa failed to heed warning last year’

Social Democrats in Stockholm say they did not follow up after telling Omar Mustafa a year ago to purge intolerant speakers from Islamic Association (Islamiska föreningen) meetings, before nominating him to the opposition party's governing board.

‘Today I am happy to live with a beard’
Germany

‘Today I am happy to live with a beard’

Women with facial hair used to be relegated to carnival sideshows, but one bearded lady is fighting for her right to remain unshaven. Mariam is The Local's German of the Week.