Chelsea scrape by Basel in Europa League semis
Switzerland

Chelsea scrape by Basel in Europa League semis

David Luiz scored with the very last kick of the game to earn Chelsea a dramatic 2-1 win at FC Basel in the first leg of their Europa League football semi-final on Thursday.

Swatch unveils 51-piece mechanical watch
Switzerland

Swatch unveils 51-piece mechanical watch

The head of Swatch, the world’s biggest watchmaker, unveiled a new mechanical watch at Baselworld on Thursday that the Swiss company hopes will breathe new life into its line of low-cost timepieces.

Froome retains lead in Swiss cycling race
Switzerland

Froome retains lead in Swiss cycling race

Britain's race favourite Chris Froome held on to his overall lead in the Tour de Romandie cycling race in Switzerland as Lithuania's Ramunas Navardauskas won Thursday's second stage.

Next WTO head mooted from Brazil or Mexico
Switzerland

Next WTO head mooted from Brazil or Mexico

The World Trade Organisation looks set to have its first full-term leader from an emerging country, after the candidates of Brazil and Mexico made it into the final round to succeed Frenchman Pascal Lamy, a source told AFP.

Gunman kills three in ‘random’ shooting
France

Gunman kills three in ‘random’ shooting

Three people were killed in the south of France on Thursday when a gunman opened fire apparently at random in the southern town of Istres. French President François Hollande has sent his Interior Minister to the scene of the shooting.

Unemployment rate in France hits record high
France

Unemployment rate in France hits record high

The number of unemployed people in France has reached a record high of 3.22 million, the worst figures since 1997, according to figures released on Thursday.

‘Picasso wanted me as his muse but I refused’
Spain

‘Picasso wanted me as his muse but I refused’

This 87-year-old Spanish duchess is the most titled noble in the world. At the age of 87, she's just released her second volume of autobiography and shows no signs of slowing down just yet. Meet the Duchess of Alba.

Restored monarchy gains young Germans’ support
Germany

Restored monarchy gains young Germans’ support

One in five Germans would like to see the monarchy restored, according to a survey released on Thursday. Young Germans were even keener on replacing the president with a new Kaiser.

Electrolux profits drop after slow Europe sales
Sweden

Electrolux profits drop after slow Europe sales

Swedish homeware appliance giant Electrolux posted on Thursday a 28-percent drop in net profit for the first quarter, following a sluggish demand in Europe and a strong krona.

Irish Facebook flirt uses Catalan mayor pics
Spain

Irish Facebook flirt uses Catalan mayor pics

An 'Irish' man has tried to make himself more attractive to women on Facebook by using photos of the mayor of Tarragona as his profile pictures.

Court orders France to pay €10,000 to murderer
France

Court orders France to pay €10,000 to murderer

The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday ordered France to pay €10,000 in damages to an inmate in prison for murder, whom it said suffered "degrading and inhumane treatment" in a jail which has since closed.

Novartis ‘ready for new bird flu vaccine’
Switzerland

Novartis ‘ready for new bird flu vaccine’

Basel-based pharmaceuticals giant Novartis is researching a vaccine for the H7N9 strain of bird flu, its chief executive says amid fears that the disease could mutate into a form that spreads among people.

Germany apologizes for neo-Nazi murder debacle
Germany

Germany apologizes for neo-Nazi murder debacle

Germany apologized to the UN on Thursday for its disastrous handling of the probe into a series of racially motivated murders by the neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground (NSU) terrorist gang.

Mayor gunned down in Europe’s ‘murder capital’
France

Mayor gunned down in Europe’s ‘murder capital’

A mayor who was the president of Corsica's regional national park was assassinated on Thursday in the latest high-profile murder on the island, dubbed Europe's "murder capital". Corsica's top politician told The Local it appeared to have been a 'professional hit'.

Norwegian air mulls Irish registries to cut costs
Norway

Norwegian air mulls Irish registries to cut costs

Budget airline Norwegian Air Shuttle said on Thursday that it is considering registering future long-haul aircraft in Ireland to circumvent Norwegian laws which bar the carrier from hiring cheaper Asian cabin crews.

Fecal matter found in hospital spaghetti
Spain

Fecal matter found in hospital spaghetti

Health authorities in the northern Spanish region on Navarre have detected fecal matter in hospital spaghetti meals.

Pedicures a bit fishy says French health agency
France

Pedicures a bit fishy says French health agency

Is there any harm in letting a few dozen hungry fish nibble the dead skin off your feet? Well a French government health agency believes there may well be and has called for the beauty treatment of "fish pedicures" to be better supervised.

Telekom sparks ire with plans to throttle internet
Germany

Telekom sparks ire with plans to throttle internet

German telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom has triggered outcry from politicians and customers after announcing it would put a data limit on flat rate internet plans.

Merkel rejects European bank deposit guarantee
Germany

Merkel rejects European bank deposit guarantee

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that her government backs a proposed European banking union but rejects for now a plan for common deposit guarantees.

School sets up ‘gender-neutral’ dressing room
Sweden

School sets up ‘gender-neutral’ dressing room

A Stockholm high school is set to open a third changing room for transsexual pupils and those who don't want to define themselves as being male or female, a move believed to be the first of its kind in the country.

Swedish cops find drugs on Justin Bieber tour bus
Sweden

Swedish cops find drugs on Justin Bieber tour bus

Swedish police raided Justin Bieber's tour bus after officers reported a "suspicious" odour when the pop star boarded the vehicle ahead of his concert in Stockholm on Wednesday night.

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France

The ‘Wall of Idiots’ causing uproar in France

A left-leaning judges' union has caused outrage among political circles in France after it was revealed they kept a "Wall of Idiots", containing pictures of right-wing politicians as well as journalists, but also the fathers of murdered girls.

Hot ice-cream shop hikes prices to deter custom
Germany

Hot ice-cream shop hikes prices to deter custom

For Berlin ice-cream magnate Niko Robert, business is going a little too well. An unending queue outside his shop is cause for complaint from neighbours and driven him to raise his prices to deter customers.

Germany ‘optimistic’ on growth despite crisis
Germany

Germany ‘optimistic’ on growth despite crisis

The German government insisted Thursday that Europe's biggest economy could "look to the future with optimism", despite recent disappointing economic data and falling confidence.

Cops bust anarchist ‘bank burners’ in Madrid
Spain

Cops bust anarchist ‘bank burners’ in Madrid

Police have arrested four members of anarchist groups suspected of plotting to set fire to a bank ahead of a demonstration planned on Thursday in Madrid against the economic crisis, the government said.

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Sweden

Sweden frets over online youth ‘self-radicalization’

In the wake of the Boston marathon bombings, the Swedish government is set to boost funding to help prevent young people from being "self-radicalized" through online exposure to political and religious extremist views.

Fighting Spanish kids top school violence table
Spain

Fighting Spanish kids top school violence table

More than half of all children in Spain say they have taken part in a fight in the last year but bullying remains a taboo topic for the country's school pupils.

Adidas loan haunts Bayern boss Hoeneß
Germany

Adidas loan haunts Bayern boss Hoeneß

FC Bayern president Uli Hoeneß, who has admitted tax evasion, may have taken millions in a 'loan' from the CEO of Adidas as a sweetener for picking an outfitting deal over rival Nike, a newspaper suggested on Thursday.

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Switzerland

Cycling policeman dies in crash with motorbike

An off-duty policeman died on Wednesday night while cycling with a colleague after the two cyclists collided with a motorcycle on a road near Interlaken in the canton of Bern.

‘Messi? I want to be Germany’s Ronaldo’
Germany

‘Messi? I want to be Germany’s Ronaldo’

Dubbed "The German Messi," Mario Götze is one of Germany's most promising football talents. He has shocked Borussia Dortmund fans by announcing he would play for rivals Bayern Munich next season, making him The Local's German of the Week.

Sweden’s ‘racist sniper’ felled for further crimes
Sweden

Sweden’s ‘racist sniper’ felled for further crimes

Convicted murderer Peter Mangs had his attempt to overturn his life sentence quashed on Thursday by a local appeals court, which also found him guilty of an additional three attempted murders.

‘It’s less about money, more about lifestyle’
Italy

‘It’s less about money, more about lifestyle’

Teaching English in Italy is an attractive option for both backpackers and those looking for full-time employment, but it can be difficult to find work. We spoke with the managing director of a corporate language school for some advice.

First French firms fined over unequal pay
France

First French firms fined over unequal pay

France has reached a landmark moment in employment equality, with the minister for women’s rights announcing on Thursday that for the first time the government had fined two companies for paying female staff less than their male counterparts.

Egypt holds Bern teacher over ‘terrorist name’
Switzerland

Egypt holds Bern teacher over ‘terrorist name’

A Swiss primary school teacher from the canton of Bern who went to Egypt for a holiday is being held there on suspicion of being a terrorist because of his name.

Spain’s jobless rate hits record six million
Spain

Spain’s jobless rate hits record six million

Spain's unemployment rate soared to a new record of 27.16 percent of the workforce in the first quarter of 2013 as the number of those without jobs surpassed six million, official data showed on Thursday.

AstraZeneca hit by steep drop in profits
Sweden

AstraZeneca hit by steep drop in profits

Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca on Thursday said that its net profit tumbled 38 percent in the first quarter of the year to $1.0 billion after losing market exclusivity for some of its key drugs.

Volvo posts biggest loss since financial crisis
Sweden

Volvo posts biggest loss since financial crisis

Swedish heavy vehicle maker Volvo on Thursday posted a quarterly loss of 101 million kronor ($15.3 million), which came as a shock to market analysts who had predicted profits of over 1 billion kronor.

Los Angeles sues ‘slumlord’ Deutsche Bank
Germany

Los Angeles sues ‘slumlord’ Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest, will face legal action in Los Angeles after a US court denied the bank's bid to dismiss a case claiming it let hundreds of properties fall into disrepair and illegally evicted tenants.

‘Unity government can end Syrian deaths’: Spain
Spain

‘Unity government can end Syrian deaths’: Spain

Spain backs the formation of a national unity government in Syria as a way out of the country's two-year conflict, its foreign minister said in neighbouring Lebanon on Wednesday.

Borussia’s Lewandowski sinks Real Madrid
Spain

Borussia’s Lewandowski sinks Real Madrid

First Bayern Munich thrashed Barcelona 4-0, and now another German team, Borussia Dortmund, have dented hopes of an all-Spanish Champions League final by hammering Real Madrid 4-1.

Madrid sells its Sol in big money ad deal
Spain

Madrid sells its Sol in big money ad deal

Cash-strapped Madrid is set to rename its emblematic Sol metro station 'Sol Vodafone' after a multi-million euro deal between the mobile operator giant and the city’s town hall was signed on Wednesday.

First wedding boutique for gay men set to open
France

First wedding boutique for gay men set to open

Gay marriage might only have been legalized in France on Tuesday and it hasn’t actually been signed into law yet, but by this weekend gay men hoping to tie the knot can visit a new upscale wedding boutique entirely dedicated to them.

Fat cats arrested for ‘peddling secret data’
Spain

Fat cats arrested for ‘peddling secret data’

Spanish police on Wednesday arrested 26 people, including the local head of food and cosmetics giant Unilever, in a sprawling probe of a network suspected of dealing in secret data, an official said.

French politics needs ‘paparazzi democracy’
France

French politics needs ‘paparazzi democracy’

As the French president put forward his plan to clean up politics to the government this week, Jacques Terray, Vice President of Transparency International France, tells The Local why the proposals must become law to restore public faith in politicians.

Hollande visits China on sales mission
France

Hollande visits China on sales mission

French President François Hollande arrived in Beijing early on Thursday morning, kicking off a two-day visit aimed at boosting exports to China, and in the hope that the two countries can reach deals on aircraft sales and nuclear power.

Russian spy plane spotted in Swedish strait
Sweden

Russian spy plane spotted in Swedish strait

A Russian spy plane reportedly flew through the international strip of airspace in between Sweden's main Baltic islands of Öland and Gotland on Saturday.

‘I felt like a traitor when I left Tensta’
Sweden

‘I felt like a traitor when I left Tensta’

Swedish writer Johanna Langhorst is this week's Swede of the Week, after she wrote a book in defence of the Stockholm suburb Tensta, even though her family left after almost two decades when her teenage son was robbed twice.

Top auditors ‘at risk’ of conflict of interest
Sweden

Top auditors ‘at risk’ of conflict of interest

Auditing houses dependent on top Swedish companies for consultancy fees are also employed to make sure their books are in order, setting the groundwork for potential conflicts of interest, a Swedish accountancy group has warned.

Berlin ghost airport costs €162k a month to clean
Germany

Berlin ghost airport costs €162k a month to clean

With Berlin’s much-delayed new airport not likely to open for several years, cleaning the ghost terminal is costing a whopping €162,000 each month.

Queen Asparagus reigns supreme over Germany
Germany

Queen Asparagus reigns supreme over Germany

Germans don't just love asparagus – they worship it. Mithila Borker offers her thoughts on Germany's vegetable cult just as springtime Spargel madness sweeps over the nation.

Borussia Dortmund hit four to stun Real Madrid
Germany

Borussia Dortmund hit four to stun Real Madrid

Poland striker Robert Lewandowski netted four goals in Borussia Dortmund's crushing win over Real Madrid in Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first-leg, hinting at the possibility of an all-German final at Wembley.