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Switzerland

Smoking pensioner dies after wheelchair fire

A 64-year-old woman died after her wheelchair and clothes caught fire while she was smoking a cigarette on a balcony in a Winterthur retirement home, Zurich cantonal police said on Tuesday.

Football boss ‘arrested’ over Swiss account
Switzerland

Football boss ‘arrested’ over Swiss account

Bayern Munich's president Uli Hoeness, at the centre of a German tax evasion scandal, was temporarily arrested last month during a search of his home and released on bail worth five million euros ($6.5 million), said a media report on Tuesday.

French probe HSBC over secret Swiss accounts
Switzerland

French probe HSBC over secret Swiss accounts

French magistrates have opened a probe targeting global bank HSBC into alleged illegal solicitation of clients and money laundering based on data from its Geneva subsidiary uncovered in a 2009 seizure that has led to prosecutions worldwide.

UK’s Froome wins Tour de Romandie prologue
Switzerland

UK’s Froome wins Tour de Romandie prologue

Britain's Chris Froome, the pre-race favourite, on Tuesday won the Tour de Romandie prologue, a 7.4.kilometre bike race in French-speaking Switzerland between Chable and Bruson, in a time of 13 minutes 15 seconds.

Bern puts conditions on easing banking secrecy
Switzerland

Bern puts conditions on easing banking secrecy

Switzerland is prepared to discuss the automatic exchange of banking information in the fight against tax evasion, but only once a global standard for doing so is created, the Swiss finance ministry said on Tuesday.

Top Ten: Great books about Spain
Spain

Top Ten: Great books about Spain

For World Book Day, The Local has put together a list of some of the very best books ever written about Spain.

Berlin: Europe must ‘stay the course’ with austerity
Germany

Berlin: Europe must ‘stay the course’ with austerity

Germany argued Tuesday that the eurozone must stay the course with "already successful" reforms and fiscal discipline, a day after European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso suggested the tide may be turning against tough austerity.

French parliament votes to legalize gay marriage
France

French parliament votes to legalize gay marriage

France made history on Tuesday when it became the 14th country to vote gay marriage into law. As supporters of the bill celebrated opponents vowed to continue their protests. French riot police were out in force on Tuesday night.

Restaurant draws diners with free taxi offer
Spain

Restaurant draws diners with free taxi offer

A restaurant in the Galician town of Sarria is paying for the taxi fares of customers who order a drink after lunch or dinner.

How the crisis is helping Spain
Spain

How the crisis is helping Spain

Whether its home evictions, soaring deficit or the jobless rate, the negative side of the crisis gets a lot of coverage. This week in The Local, however, we decided to take a look at some of the silver linings to come out of this difficult period.

Party crumbled under pressure: Mustafa
Sweden

Party crumbled under pressure: Mustafa

Omar Mustafa has spoken out about the "Pandora's box of Islamophobic conspiracy theories" and the party's subsequent actions that made him quit his high-profile position in the Social Democrat party.

Top ten common Italian stereotypes
Italy

Top ten common Italian stereotypes

Everyone has heard of The Godfather and Super Mario but do they represent the real Italy? With the help of the author of Xenophobe’s Guide to the Italians, The Local has compiled a list of the ten most common Italian stereotypes.

Live: French parliament adopts gay marriage law
France

Live: French parliament adopts gay marriage law

France made history on Tuesday when deputies in the National Assembly voted to legalize gay marriage. With opponents vowing to continue their protests thousands of police have been called in amid fears of trouble. Stay with us for LIVE updates.

Sweden’s unemployment figures on the rise
Sweden

Sweden’s unemployment figures on the rise

Swedish unemployment rose to an unadjusted 8.8 percent in March, an increase of 0.8 percentage points from the same month a year earlier, the national statistics office said Tuesday.

Grillo calls for ‘German invasion’ of Italy
Italy

Grillo calls for ‘German invasion’ of Italy

Italian protest party leader Beppe Grillo said he wanted a "German invasion" of Italy to ensure "honest, competent" politicians, in an interview with Germany's top-selling newspaper on Tuesday.

Swiss firm Richemont expects profit surge
Switzerland

Swiss firm Richemont expects profit surge

Geneva-based luxury goods giant Richemont said Tuesday that it expects its 2012-13 net profit to surge by around 30 percent, largely owing to favourable exchange rates.

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Italy

Italian president slams politicians at swearing-in

President Giorgio Napolitano on Monday urged political parties to strike a deal on a new government "without delay" and accused them of being "deaf" to the urgent need for reforms as he was sworn in for an unprecedented second term.

Customs workers grow cannabis at work
Sweden

Customs workers grow cannabis at work

Two Swedish Customs workers in southern Sweden have been reported to the police after growing cannabis plants at work, an act the pair claims was purely for research purposes.

Vandals deface Iker Casillas tribute
Spain

Vandals deface Iker Casillas tribute

A monument dedicated to Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas has been vandalized with slogans supporting Diego López, his rival for a place in the Madrid side, reports said on Tuesday.

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France

Ex-Sarkozy protegé quits Paris mayoral race

Former French Justice Minister Rachida Dati withdrew on Tuesday from the race to become the right's candidate for Paris mayor next year. The MEP has been plagued by scandals and rumours surrounding her personal life in recent years.

Can the law go easy on pickpocket pensioners?
Germany

Can the law go easy on pickpocket pensioners?

Should criminal pensioners be given lighter sentences just because they are old? A German police association wants to introduce a senior version of juvenile law for the elderly, but critics say it would be ageist.

Exam gaffe allows pupils to find answers online
France

Exam gaffe allows pupils to find answers online

Students sitting an entrance exam for some of France’s top business schools must have thought their dreams had come true when an essay posted online three months earlier appeared on their test, or at least for those with smartphones.

‘Freeing Princess Estelle is a hollow argument’
Sweden

‘Freeing Princess Estelle is a hollow argument’

Swedes who want to abolish the monarchy often say they want to liberate the royal children from their duties, but Princess Estelle is far too young to respond to such a claim, argues Moderate MP Andreas Norlén in response to the Republican Association.

Chemical giant BASF to axe 500 jobs
Germany

Chemical giant BASF to axe 500 jobs

German chemicals giant BASF said Tuesday it planned to axe around 500 jobs worldwide, including 350 in Switzerland, in its so-called performance products division over the next two years.

Expat runners plan Boston tribute in Madrid
Spain

Expat runners plan Boston tribute in Madrid

A group of expat runners from Madrid will be running together during the city's marathon to honour the victims of the Boston marathon bombings.

HSH Nordbank cuts loose bad shipping loans
Germany

HSH Nordbank cuts loose bad shipping loans

Troubled German regional bank HSH Nordbank has reached a deal with Greek shipping company Navios enabling the bank to cut its exposure to bad shipping loans in a deal it says could become a blueprint for the industry.

Upstart Grillo demands ‘German invasion’ of Italy
Germany

Upstart Grillo demands ‘German invasion’ of Italy

Italian protest party leader Beppe Grillo on Tuesday said he wanted a "German invasion" of Italy to ensure "honest, competent" politicians.

Study pinpoints breast cancer relapse risk
Sweden

Study pinpoints breast cancer relapse risk

Swedish researchers may have found a way to determine if women who have survived breast cancer risk relapsing, according to a study published on Tuesday.

‘Escaped mental patient’ attacks rabbi with knife
France

‘Escaped mental patient’ attacks rabbi with knife

A rabbi and his son were attacked entering a synagogue in Paris on Monday by a man wielding a utility knife, reported to be an Iranian national. The assailant is said to have escaped from a psychiatric hospital near Lyon two weeks ago.

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Spain

Spanish police detain Al-Qaeda terror suspects

Spanish police on Tuesday arrested two "suspected terrorists" believed to be linked to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Spain's interior ministry said.

Deadline looms for key assets declaration
Spain

Deadline looms for key assets declaration

If you're a tax resident in Spain but have property or financial assets outside the country worth €50,000 or more, you are legally obliged to inform Spain's finance ministry. But you'll need to hurry: the deadline is Monday April 30th.

Man arrested in Swedish hotel murder probe
Sweden

Man arrested in Swedish hotel murder probe

Swedish police have arrested a 34-year-old man in connection with the woman found murdered at a Stockholm hotel over the weekend.

Omar Mustafa and the Social Democrats
Sweden

Omar Mustafa and the Social Democrats

In this instalment of The Lowdown, The Local's Peter Vinthagen Simpson has a look at Omar Mustafa, who has been in the news since his election to the governing board of the Social Democrats.

Police up security amid ‘homophobic’ attacks
France

Police up security amid ‘homophobic’ attacks

Amid claims of a sharp rise in homophobic incidents, and after recent high-profile attacks on gay people in Paris and Nice, police in the French capital have stepped up their presence in neighbourhoods popular among the gay community.

Rising star Götze ditches Dortmund for Bayern
Germany

Rising star Götze ditches Dortmund for Bayern

Champions League semi-finalists Borussia Dortmund confirmed on Tuesday that Germany star Mario Götze will join Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich next season, in a deal reported to be worth €37 million ($48.2 million).

Magdeburg waterworks keeps crocodile mascot
Germany

Magdeburg waterworks keeps crocodile mascot

Nearly 40 years ago, the African nation of Mali gave former East Germany a baby crocodile as a gift. Now, Theophila is over three metres long and lives in Magdeburg's water treatment plant where she has become a local legend.

Tourist boom as Americans flock to Spain
Spain

Tourist boom as Americans flock to Spain

Tourism continues to be a bright spot for Spain's economy with Easter bringing plenty of visitors to the country. The number of American tourists was up by more than a third.

‘Military mouthpiece’ sets off WikiLeaks backlash
Sweden

‘Military mouthpiece’ sets off WikiLeaks backlash

Twitter users in Sweden have leapt to an entertaining defence of their country after @WikiLeaks accused the @Sweden curator of being a military mouthpiece - after he labelled them "mad tinfoil hatters" .

Smoker survives car cleaning product blast
Germany

Smoker survives car cleaning product blast

A man in western Germany had a lucky escape after he cleaned the inside of his car with a highly flammable product and then lit a cigarette, causing an explosion.

Swedish dentists ‘too eager’ with antibiotics
Sweden

Swedish dentists ‘too eager’ with antibiotics

Dentists in Stockholm and the south are more than twice as likely to dole out antibiotics than their colleagues up north, prompting fears they are contributing to the rise in antibiotics-resistant bacteria.

Chinese worries hang over Basel watch show
Switzerland

Chinese worries hang over Basel watch show

The world's biggest watch fair is set to open this week in Basel amid growing uncertainty over whether the industry can keep up its momentum and rake in another year of record sales in China.

‘We’ll see gay marriage through to the end’
France

‘We’ll see gay marriage through to the end’

With France’s parliament finally set to approve a divisive gay marriage bill on Tuesday, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, women's rights minister with the Socialist government tells The Local why France will be a better place with same-sex marriage.

Stable watch exports remain at record levels
Switzerland

Stable watch exports remain at record levels

Swiss watch exports barely budged in March compared to the same month a year earlier but remained at “very high” levels, according to figures released on Tuesday.

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Spain

‘Economy will shrink by up to 1.5 percent in 2013’

Spain's economy will shrink by between 1.0 percent and 1.5 percent this year, Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said in an interview published Monday in the Wall Street Journal.

‘Messi will be Barca’s key in Munich’: Xavi
Spain

‘Messi will be Barca’s key in Munich’: Xavi

Barcelona's Xavi Hernandez has said he expects superstar Lionel Messi will be fit for Tuesday's Champions League semi-final, first leg at Bayern Munich, despite the Argentine labouring with a hamstring injury.

Spain steps up war on international drug rings
Spain

Spain steps up war on international drug rings

Spain, the main gateway into Europe for cocaine and hashish, has intensified its fight against drug trafficking by groups which continually shift their tactics to keep their access to the lucrative European market.

Passenger presses brake to stop driverless bus
Switzerland

Passenger presses brake to stop driverless bus

The quick-thinking actions of a passenger are being credited for halting a runaway trolley bus from crashing and causing serious injuries in the city of Basel on Monday.

‘It’s risky starting out in France as a freelancer’
France

‘It’s risky starting out in France as a freelancer’

Working as a freelancer in France can be people's idea of a dream job, but it has its pitfalls too as Briton Christopher Chantrey explains in the The Local's latest installment of My French Career.

Abba museum set to open doors in Stockholm
Sweden

Abba museum set to open doors in Stockholm

Fans of the legendary Swedish disco group ABBA can hardly wait: in just a few weeks, Stockholm will open the doors to the world's first museum dedicated to the iconic foursome.

French embassy in Libya hit by car bomb
France

French embassy in Libya hit by car bomb

Two guards at the French embassy in the Libyan capital of Tripoli have reportedly been wounded after a car bomb exploded outside the building on Tuesday.

Germany faces spotty measles coverage
Germany

Germany faces spotty measles coverage

Health officials are warning that Germany’s failure to have blanket vaccinations for measles is putting people unnecessarily at risk of catching the potentially dangerous disease.

‘Stockholm to outpace London growth by 2030’
Sweden

‘Stockholm to outpace London growth by 2030’

Stockholm's population is among the fastest growing among European cities, with a new report by the city's chamber of commerce suggesting that by 2030, the Swedish capital will overtake London as the fastest growing city in western Europe.

Swede ‘dazed but calm’ after record lottery win
Sweden

Swede ‘dazed but calm’ after record lottery win

The eastern Sweden resident who on Saturday won over 237 million kronor ($36.2 million) in the country's biggest ever lottery windfall has come forward to collect the winnings.

‘Hoeneß can’t preach water and drink wine’
Germany

‘Hoeneß can’t preach water and drink wine’

Uli Hoeneß is thought to have hidden millions of euros in Switzerland, safely out of sight of the German tax man. If he is proven guilty, the football legend will no longer be able to lead FC Bayern Munich as he has, comments ZEIT ONLINE's Oliver Fritsch.

Top German clubs worry about lopsided league
Germany

Top German clubs worry about lopsided league

With Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund facing Barcelona and Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals, there are concerns the German league will suffer with the pair set to dominate the Bundesliga for years to come.