Geneva police raid sex parlours over ‘tax fraud’
Switzerland

Geneva police raid sex parlours over ‘tax fraud’

Geneva cantonal police raided eight erotic massage parlours on Tuesday for an investigation into tax fraud allegedly amounting to several million francs.

Swiss diamond necklace ‘stolen’ at Cannes
Switzerland

Swiss diamond necklace ‘stolen’ at Cannes

A diamond necklace from Geneva jeweller De Grisogono worth 2.5 million francs was reported stolen from Cannes on Thursday, just days after thieves made off with 1.4 million francs' worth of bling from Chopard, another jeweller from the Swiss city.

A French Psy who made Cannes stars see double
France

A French Psy who made Cannes stars see double

Not everyone gets the chance to party with the stars at the Cannes festival for two days, unless that is, you are the French double of 'Gangnam style' entertainer Psy and you have the nerves of steel to pretend to be him. Meet Denis Carre our undisputed French Face of the Week.

Catalan clubbers swap food for fiestas
Spain

Catalan clubbers swap food for fiestas

A popular nightlife complex in Catalonia will allow punters to pay the €10 admission price with groceries instead of cash to collect food for a local charity and raise awareness of poverty.

Minister: Stockholm riots ‘not youth versus society’
Sweden

Minister: Stockholm riots ‘not youth versus society’

With one 18-year-old remanded in custody after four nights of rioting in Stockholm, Sweden's Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag said the rioters are a small minority, and did not represent a clash between young people in the suburbs and society.

‘Spain’s rote learning system needs scrapping’
Spain

‘Spain’s rote learning system needs scrapping’

This week The Local speaks to renowned Spain expert and former Times and Financial Times correspondent William Chislett about the real story behind youth unemployment figures, why labour reforms aren't having an impact and why Spain's recession could last another ten years.

Diamond necklace ‘worth €2m stolen’ at Cannes
France

Diamond necklace ‘worth €2m stolen’ at Cannes

Jewellery thieves have had some rich pickings at Cannes this year with jewellers announcing on Thursday that a €2million diamond De Grisogono necklace had been stolen, just days after €1.4 million worth of Chopard bling was pilfered.

Top snapper bags €50K Spanish humanities prize
Spain

Top snapper bags €50K Spanish humanities prize

Spain honoured the US photographer Annie Leibovitz, best known for her iconic portraits of a naked John Lennon and a pregnant Demi Moore, with its top humanities prize on Thursday.

Firefighter to Stockholm rioters: I’ll still help you
Sweden

Firefighter to Stockholm rioters: I’ll still help you

A viral Facebook post about the terror of being targeted by stone-throwing youths during to the ongoing Stockholm riots has made firefighter Mattias Lassén into something of a Swedish folk hero, and The Local's pick for Swede of the Week.

Hollande praises tough German reforms
Germany

Hollande praises tough German reforms

French President Francois Hollande, attending the 150th anniversary celebrations of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Leipzig on Thursday, praised the unpopular welfare and labour reforms implemented by former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

‘Some French academics are resistant to change’
France

‘Some French academics are resistant to change’

Higher education has dominated the news in France recently thanks to plans for more courses to be taught in English so there's no better time to speak to an international academic to find out more about being a lecturer at a French university.

Keep your socks on because autumn is in the air
Germany

Keep your socks on because autumn is in the air

Much of Germany is heading for an autumnal weekend, with chilly temperatures an at times significant rainfall – just as May draws to an end and socks should be heading for the back of the drawer. Some areas will even see snow and frost.

The best books about Italy in English
Italy

The best books about Italy in English

Looking for a good summer read? With the help of an English-language bookshop in Rome, we’ve come up with a list of the best books about Italy.

Brewers: ‘No fracking with our German beer’
Germany

Brewers: ‘No fracking with our German beer’

A group of brewers has raised alarm that so-called 'fracking' for natural gas could jeopardize the legendary purity of German beer by contaminating the country's water supplies.

Driving in Sweden: Elk, reindeer, and road rage
Sweden

Driving in Sweden: Elk, reindeer, and road rage

Fresh from another near miss with a hulking behemoth of an elk, ex-Londoner Paul Connolly offers up a theory on how the prospect of imminent collisions with wayward wildlife affects the driving habits of Swedes up north.

Teacher uses swastika in French geometry class
France

Teacher uses swastika in French geometry class

Of all the inappropriate shapes a teacher could use to teach geometry a swastika has to be near the top of the list, but not for one prof in France, whose use of the Nazi symbol to demonstrate angles has landed her in a spot of bother.

Swedish parties agree to major free school reform
Sweden

Swedish parties agree to major free school reform

The government and its main opposition have agreed to new rules governing performance requirements and profits at publicly funded, privately managed free schools.

Chinese premier touts trade deal with Swiss
Switzerland

Chinese premier touts trade deal with Swiss

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang sees a looming free-trade deal with Switzerland as a touchstone for Beijing's growing ties with foreign nations, he told a Swiss newspaper on Thursday ahead of a landmark visit to Europe.

French MPs back English courses plan for unis
France

French MPs back English courses plan for unis

A contentious proposal that would see more courses at French universities taught in English was given the green light by deputies in the French parliament on Thursday. Critics say the move will lead to France losing its identity.

Ten German body parts
Germany

Ten German body parts

The German language has some rather colourful terms for describing parts of the human body. Turn to The Local List this week for a few anatomical alternatives.

‘I am the miracle worker’
Spain

‘I am the miracle worker’

The Local's Spanish Face of the Week is none other than formerly-moustachioed ex-Prime Minister José María Aznar, who has managed to bypass insinuations of links to corruption to publicly criticize his successor and hint at a return to the political fray.

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France

France confirms fatalities in attack on Areva plant

France said on Thursday that there were dead among the victims of twin bombings at a uranium processing plant owned by French nuclear giant Areva and a military base in northern Niger.

British fraud suspect found dead in French jail
France

British fraud suspect found dead in French jail

A British national, suspected of being the mastermind of €1.6 million bank fraud scam in France was found hanged in his cell in a French prison this week.

Swedish scientists chart entire fir tree genome
Sweden

Swedish scientists chart entire fir tree genome

Scientists at three Swedish universities have managed to muddle through the genetic code for fir trees, seven times larger than the human genome, with potential benefits for the Swedish forestry industry.

EU summit calls time on banking secrecy
Spain

EU summit calls time on banking secrecy

European leaders on Wednesday targeted a year-end deadline to undo banking secrecy, ultimately hoping to recoup a trillion euros in lost tax each year to help beat recession and unemployment.

Swedish zoo celebrates rare elephant birth
Sweden

Swedish zoo celebrates rare elephant birth

The Borås Zoo in western Sweden has welcomed a rare new elephant calf as African elephant Dudu gave birth after two years of pregnancy.

Hollande to fete Merkel’s political opponents
France

Hollande to fete Merkel’s political opponents

Germany's opposition Social Democrats mark their 150th birthday Thursday, with French President Francois Hollande as the only foreign speaker and conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel in the audience.

Hipster Berlin dogs get meaty frozen yoghurt
Germany

Hipster Berlin dogs get meaty frozen yoghurt

Healthy dogs have wet noses, but cold and creamy canine noses may be a sign that they've been treated to a doggy frozen yoghurt made in Berlin. Rather than chocolate or pistachio, flavours include salmon and beef.

French schools must display Republican motto
France

French schools must display Republican motto

Liberté, egalité, fraternité, the famous motto of the French Republic must be displayed on the facade of all French schools and the Tricolour flag must also be on show outside all establishments, the French Senate ruled on Wednesday.

Riot cop force tops Spanish list of shame
Spain

Riot cop force tops Spanish list of shame

Amnesty International has warned that police behaviour at demonstrations is one of a number of areas in which Spain 'must improve' its human rights record.

Germany tops world popularity poll
Germany

Germany tops world popularity poll

Germany is the most popular country in the world, according to a poll released on Tuesday asking people to rate the positive and negative influence of 16 major nations.

Dortmund’s Götze ruled out of Wembley final
Germany

Dortmund’s Götze ruled out of Wembley final

A hamstring injury has ruled Borussia Dortmund's Germany midfield star Mario Götze out of Saturday's Champions League final at Wembley against Bayern Munich – the club he will join next month after activating a release clause in his contract.

Switzerland braces for wet and wintry weather
Switzerland

Switzerland braces for wet and wintry weather

After a wetter than usual start to spring, Switzerland is bracing for a return to wintry conditions and snow in some locations over the next few days.

Sweden ‘fails to help well-educated foreigners’
Sweden

Sweden ‘fails to help well-educated foreigners’

The white-collar union Saco has lambasted Sweden's Employment Agency for its failure to help well-educated, foreign-born job seekers, whose unemployment rate is more than three times the average for people born in Sweden.

Elderly British twins in mystery Malaga suicide
Spain

Elderly British twins in mystery Malaga suicide

Spanish police have found the bodies of 83-year-old twins George and James Chalkley in their home in the Andalusian town of Fuengirola, near Malaga.

Italy approves law on stem cell therapy
Italy

Italy approves law on stem cell therapy

Italian lawmakers on Wednesday gave their final approval to a law that allows limited use of a controversial type of stem cell therapy which has been condemned by many scientists but has given hope to families of terminally-ill children.

Man City eye Pellegrini after Malaga exit
Spain

Man City eye Pellegrini after Malaga exit

Manager Manuel Pellegrini, strongly linked to the vacant Manchester City post, is leaving Malaga at the end of the season, the Chilean announced on Wednesday.

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Switzerland

Bern seeks new frozen dictator funds law

Switzerland, currently in the process of restituting assets to several former autocratic countries, is working on a new law aimed at simplifying the process of freezing and unblocking such funds, the government said on Wednesday.

Spanish flamenco’s coming home… to India
Spain

Spanish flamenco’s coming home… to India

Spain's oldest flamenco festival will visit India in 2014, retracing the origins of the classic Spanish musical form, organisers said on Wednesday.

IMF’s Lagarde in Paris for high stakes court grilling
France

IMF’s Lagarde in Paris for high stakes court grilling

French prosecutors investigating corruption are set to decide on Thursday whether to charge IMF chief Christine Lagarde over her handling of a row that resulted in a €400 million payout being paid to disgraced businessman Bernard Tapie.

Clinton tells the French to be more positive
France

Clinton tells the French to be more positive

The former US President Bill Clinton had a message for the French public on a visit to Paris this week - “don’t be too pessimistic”.

Stockholm riots spread south on fourth night
Sweden

Stockholm riots spread south on fourth night

Wednesday night saw more burning cars, smashed windows, and stone throwing at police in at least 15 suburbs around Stockholm, as the fourth night of riots swept the Swedish capital.

Social Democrats launch left-wing global network
Germany

Social Democrats launch left-wing global network

Germany's Social Democrats marked their 150 anniversary by opening a new chapter in global centre-left politics, founding an alliance of parties in an attempt to replace the ignored and discredited Socialist International.

Karolinska joins free online-course community
Sweden

Karolinska joins free online-course community

Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet has signed up to offer free online courses, joining a network of 27 universities worldwide that reach nearly a million students.

France wants Hezbollah added to terror blacklist
France

France wants Hezbollah added to terror blacklist

France is to call for the military arm of Hezbollah to be added to an EU terror blacklist due to its backing of the Syrian regime, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced on Wednesday.

Billionaires’ biotech centre set for Geneva
Switzerland

Billionaires’ biotech centre set for Geneva

A project backed by two of Switzerland’s wealthiest men to create a Geneva biotech centre is back on track after German pharma company Merck agreed to sell its sprawling complex in the Swiss city.

Tax evasion ‘OK for Joe Normal’ say Germans
Germany

Tax evasion ‘OK for Joe Normal’ say Germans

Although Germans express outrage when wealthy or famous people evade taxes, many of them do the same themselves, albeit on a smaller scale, a new survey shows.

Grey seals return to German Baltic shores
Germany

Grey seals return to German Baltic shores

The small population of grey seals on the Baltic Sea has increased significantly, with hopes rising that they may start breeding soon, conservationists reported on Wednesday.

Mixed results for Sweden refugee job push
Sweden

Mixed results for Sweden refugee job push

Fifteen percent of refugees in Sweden who enrolled in the new establishment system the past two years have gone on to find job, new figures show, leading some observers to worry that the low success rate will place a burden on the benefits system.

Swedish pressure needed on Assange: accuser
Sweden

Swedish pressure needed on Assange: accuser

One of the two Swedish women who have accused WikiLeaks-founder Julian Assange of sex crimes urged Sweden's government on Wednesday to put pressure on Ecuador to hand him over to the Swedish justice system.