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Switzerland

Meeting on Syrian conflict set for Geneva

A preparatory meeting for a proposed international conference on the conflict in Syria will take place in Geneva next week, the United Nations said on Thursday.

Police launch manhunt after Zurich shooting
Switzerland

Police launch manhunt after Zurich shooting

Zurich city and cantonal police are looking for a gunman who shot and injured two men on a street in the centre of Switzerland’s largest city on Thursday afternoon.

US baseball players look to create a field of dreams in Gothenburg
Sweden

US baseball players look to create a field of dreams in Gothenburg

While baseball is known as America's favorite pastime, it can be hard to find in Sweden. But two US baseball players and their teammates in Gothenburg are hoping to change that, one home run at a time, contributor Lisa Mikulski discovers.

Paris venue chosen for first drug ‘safe house’
France

Paris venue chosen for first drug ‘safe house’

French authorities finally revealed the location of the country's first 'safe house' for drug addicts on Thursday. The centre where users will be able to inject with clean needles and without fear of being arrested is close to Gare du Nord.

Wallet-stealing immigrant tortured by Guardia Civil
Spain

Wallet-stealing immigrant tortured by Guardia Civil

Two officers of Spain's Guardia Civil police force were sentenced on Thursday to a year in prison for torturing an immigrant who stole a purse in Valencia.

Merkel and Hollande show unity for eurozone
Germany

Merkel and Hollande show unity for eurozone

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed a united front to push for jobs, growth and reforms, including a full-time eurozone chief, as they met Thursday evening for talks in Paris.

Spanish artist fights for fashion’s real victims
Spain

Spanish artist fights for fashion’s real victims

Spanish artist Yolanda Dominguez shocked shoppers on Madrid's emblematic Gran Via on Tuesday by staging a re-enactment of last month's Bangladesh factory disaster to raise awareness about the working conditions in the Asian country's textile industry.

Minister warns Husby unrest may fuel prejudice
Sweden

Minister warns Husby unrest may fuel prejudice

Sweden's Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag warned on Thursday that the unrest in Stockholm's outer suburbs last week may lead to prejudices about the people who live there.

Sweden’s defender of fish reels in historic deal
Sweden

Sweden’s defender of fish reels in historic deal

Isabella Lövin, an environmental reporter turned Green Party MEP, has been at the forefront of the battle to bind EU member states to a sustainable fishing policy, a goal she finally secured early on Thursday morning.

An essential guide to Italian coffee culture
Italy

An essential guide to Italian coffee culture

Ever drunk your espresso sitting down - or ordered a cappuccino in the afternoon? If you’ve done either of these in Italy, then you’re almost certainly not a native. For the lowdown on Italy’s coffee culture, check out our essential guide.

France officially embraces French kissing
France

France officially embraces French kissing

It might sound French and the French may be renowned for doing it but not until now has there actually been a French word for it. On Thursday, however, that omission was rectified as "French kissing" finally entering the French dictionary.

The gangster’s wife who lived to tell her tale
France

The gangster’s wife who lived to tell her tale

Elina Feriel was the glamorous wife of a Marseille gangster. Then one by one, her husband, her brother and her new boyfriend were gunned down in the space of a few years. Now her story, told with wit and passion, is making waves in France.

Rafa Nadal tops tennis eye candy rankings
Spain

Rafa Nadal tops tennis eye candy rankings

Spanish tennis ace Rafael Nadal has been named the sport's most desirable man in a survey run by a Spanish online dating agency.

Swedish raid in ‘record’ Liberty Reserve probe
Sweden

Swedish raid in ‘record’ Liberty Reserve probe

Swedish police have confiscated servers in Sweden at the request of US authorities as part of a massive money laundering investigation of Costa Rica-based digital currency service Liberty Reserve.

JC Penney ‘Hitler kettle’ advert raises eyebrows
Germany

JC Penney ‘Hitler kettle’ advert raises eyebrows

US retailer JC Penney has been raising eyebrows in America and online, after it released an advertising campaign for a €40 kettle that, whether on purpose or accidentally, looks like German dictator Adolf Hitler.

France cracks down on speeding foreign drivers
France

France cracks down on speeding foreign drivers

Have you been flashed by a speed camera in France but never received the fine? You should count yourselves lucky because after a vote in the French Senate this week, next time you break the speed limit you might not be so fortunate.

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Switzerland

Swiss economic growth outpaces expectations

The Swiss economy grew 0.6 percent in the first three months of the year, official data showed on Thursday, beating expectations and confirming Switzerland's spot among the soundest economies in struggling Europe.

Brussels warns Spain over tourist healthcare
Spain

Brussels warns Spain over tourist healthcare

The European Commission is taking action against Spain for not accepting the European healthcare (EHIC)cards of people seeking medical treatment at public hospitals in the country's tourist zones.

King’s daughter fined over tractor mix-up
Spain

King’s daughter fined over tractor mix-up

A case of mistaken identity has seen the King Juan Carlos's eldest daughter Elena wrongly fined for a traffic infraction involving a tractor in the north-central Spanish city of Valladolid.

Jobs crisis tops agenda as Merkel heads to Paris
France

Jobs crisis tops agenda as Merkel heads to Paris

French president François Hollande welcomes German leader Angela Merkel in Paris on Thursday to to thrash out a plan to create youth jobs. Hollande also plans to take Merkel to the Louvre gallery to see an exhibition that has caused uproar back in Germany.

Podolski scores fastest Germany goal ever
Germany

Podolski scores fastest Germany goal ever

Germany striker Lukas Podolski answered criticism he was underperforming on the pitch by scoring the fastest goal ever for the national football team in a friendly against Ecuador.

Germans not fussed by TV on smartphones
Germany

Germans not fussed by TV on smartphones

For many, watching television is all about the size of the screen and the sharpest image rather than mobile access. Only one in four Germans told a poll released on Thursday they want TV channels on their smartphone.

Berlusconi lawmaker proposes gay ‘union’ law
Italy

Berlusconi lawmaker proposes gay ‘union’ law

A lawmaker from Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party said he was submitting a draft bill on Thursday to recognise same-sex unions, a day after France celebrated its first gay wedding.

The first Italian to walk in space
Italy

The first Italian to walk in space

Luca Parmitano landed in space this morning, just over five-and-a-half hours after taking off from Kazakhstan. He's the youngest astronaut to be given a long-duration International Space Station mission and the first Italian to walk in space.

Spain set to raise sex age from 13 to 16
Spain

Spain set to raise sex age from 13 to 16

Spain's Health Department is looking to raise the age of consensual sex from 13 — the lowest in Europe after the Vatican's 12 — to 16.

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France

VIDEO: Rare tiger cubs born in French circus

Four white Bengal tigers were born in a circus in western France this week, to their 12-year-old mother Citta. The adorable cubs (seen feeding in a video below) are four of only a few hundred left in existence.

Sweden eyes Mali peacekeeping mission
Sweden

Sweden eyes Mali peacekeeping mission

The Swedish government wants to send troops and police officers to participate in UN peace keeping efforts in Mali, arguing it's "in Sweden's interests" to support peace and security in the west African nation.

Heavy rainfall likely to worsen flooding
Germany

Heavy rainfall likely to worsen flooding

Heavy rain over the course of Thursday could aggravate flooding in parts of northern Germany, according to the DWD national weather service. The country should expect a very wet, thundery weekend.

French ‘restaurants’ set for ready meals ban
France

French ‘restaurants’ set for ready meals ban

Restaurant-owners, hoteliers and politicians in France want to force eateries to use only raw ingredients to make their dishes in-house, it emerged this week. The proposal is part of a movement to restore the stellar global reputation of of French cuisine.

Sweden climbs in global competitiveness ranking
Sweden

Sweden climbs in global competitiveness ranking

Sweden maintained its place as the most competitive country in the European Union (EU), according to a new ranking from the Swiss business school IMD, which saw Sweden creep up a spot to the fourth most competitive country in the world.

Bon Jovi plays Madrid at crisis-friendly prices
Spain

Bon Jovi plays Madrid at crisis-friendly prices

Rock legend Jon Bon Jovi is playing in Madrid in June, but his wallet won't be any fatter as a result.

‘Chicks’ fight for France’s auto-entrepreneurs
France

‘Chicks’ fight for France’s auto-entrepreneurs

Yet another movement was launched in France this week to protest against proposed reforms by the country’s Socialist government. This time it’s the self-employed who are up in arms about planned changes to the auto-entrepreneur system.

IMD ranks US and Swiss tops for competitiveness
Switzerland

IMD ranks US and Swiss tops for competitiveness

The United States has regained the top spot in a global economic competitiveness ranking compiled by Swiss business school IMD while Switzerland moved into second place, bucking the trend in the rest of Europe.

Police warn train ticket machines may explode
Germany

Police warn train ticket machines may explode

Police in the German state of Hesse on Thursday warned ticket vending machines for railway operator Deutsche Bahn might explode, after they found someone had been filling them with gas and trying to set them alight, possibly to get the money from inside.

Support for tougher asylum laws rises: poll
Switzerland

Support for tougher asylum laws rises: poll

A clear majority of Swiss support a toughening of laws on asylum seekers in the country, the results of a survey released on Wednesday show.

Firefighters scuffle with cops in Barcelona protest
Spain

Firefighters scuffle with cops in Barcelona protest

Spanish firefighters set fires in the street and scuffled with police in Barcelona on Wednesday during protests against budget cuts that they say are threatening public safety.

‘Give us back the King’s luxury yacht’
Spain

‘Give us back the King’s luxury yacht’

A Spanish business group has demanded that the country's King Juan Carlos return a 21-million-euro ($27-million) yacht they gave him after he asked the government to take it off his hands as his subjects weather a biting recession.

Elysée puts fine wine up for sale as crisis bites
France

Elysée puts fine wine up for sale as crisis bites

The Elysée Palace, the official residence of the French president, is to begin selling off over 1,000 bottles of wine on Thursday. The move is not because Hollande has suddenly declared himself teetotal, but to fund a makeover of the palace.

Swedish-speaking host hit with death threats
Sweden

Swedish-speaking host hit with death threats

Prominent members of Finland's Swedish-speaking minority revealed they have received death threats, sparking a protest on Wednesday and shaking the image of harmony between the country's two major linguistic groups.

Man lives 15 years with pencil in head
Germany

Man lives 15 years with pencil in head

German surgeons identified and removed a pencil from a man's head that had been lodged there for around 15 years, it emerged this week. It seems he has no idea how it got there.

Germany sticks plan to buy armed drones
Germany

Germany sticks plan to buy armed drones

Germany is sticking with a plan to buy 16 combat drones, despite a controversy embroiling its defence minister over a scrapped surveillance drone project.

French judge in Tapie case probed for fraud
France

French judge in Tapie case probed for fraud

The French legal system was rocked this week after revelations emerged surrounding two judges in high profile corruption cases. As one judge was placed under investigation for fraud, questions were also raised about a colleague probing the Bettencourt affair.

Swedish consortium saves Northland mine
Sweden

Swedish consortium saves Northland mine

The ailing Northland Resources mining entrepreneurs have secured financing from a consortium of Swedish investors that have stepped in to save the mine in Pajala, northern Sweden.

Speeding YouTube biker jailed for reckless driving
Switzerland

Speeding YouTube biker jailed for reckless driving

A 31-year-old motorcyclist was sentenced to 18 months in jail on Wednesday for reckless driving and endangering other people’s lives while roaring through the canton of Geneva at speeds of more than 200 kilometres an hour.

PM open to fiscal target easing in EU countries
Sweden

PM open to fiscal target easing in EU countries

Sweden's prime minister has said it may be time to ease fiscal targets for certain crisis countries in the EU, but nonetheless signalled that for some there were still tough reforms that needed to be done.

FC Basel win fourth straight football title
Switzerland

FC Basel win fourth straight football title

FC Basel won their fourth successive Swiss league football title on Wednesday after beating Young Boys of Berne 1-0 in the penultimate game of the campaign.

Top tasty Teutonic treats
Germany

Top tasty Teutonic treats

German cuisine is far more inventive than most people realize. Ever had "Fake Rabbit" or "Lost Eggs" for dinner? The Local List this week serves up some of the country's more colourfully named dishes.

Sweden ‘must raise its net freedom profile’
Sweden

Sweden ‘must raise its net freedom profile’

While promoting internet freedom is a policy priority for Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, Sweden's efforts remain largely unknown, according a new report that concludes Sweden needs to do more to raise its global profile as a leader on the issue.

Businessman builds a used Lego empire
Germany

Businessman builds a used Lego empire

A young businessman from Dresden recycles used Lego bricks and sells them across the world. He's now of the biggest internet dealers in the growing trade in the timeless bricks.