Verbier opens for summer skiing weekend
Switzerland

Verbier opens for summer skiing weekend

Swiss mountain resort Verbier is promising to open its upper slopes to skiers this weekend following an exceptional snowfall, although operators are warning that the steep glacier runs are best-suited to experts.

Swiss footballer joins Russian champions
Switzerland

Swiss footballer joins Russian champions

Swiss midfielder Steven Zuber has targeted domestic and international success after joining Russian football champions CSKA Moscow, the club reported on Wednesday.

‘Made in France’ sex toys set to stimulate economy
France

‘Made in France’ sex toys set to stimulate economy

As French businesses struggle to perform on the world stage, and the government promotes ‘Made in France’ as a winning brand, one pair of entrepreneurs are convinced they have come up with the next big thing: sex toys, à la française.

PSG striker accused of Pompeii relic theft
Italy

PSG striker accused of Pompeii relic theft

Ezequiel Lavezzi, a striker for Paris Saint-Germain, is being investigated for attempting to smuggle a "marble bust" from Pompeii out of Italy.

Most Italians say politics is corrupt: study
Italy

Most Italians say politics is corrupt: study

Eighty-nine percent of Italians believe their politicians are corrupt, according to Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer released on Wednesday.

Tour de France stage 11: Froome extends lead
France

Tour de France stage 11: Froome extends lead

Germany's Tony Martin won the time trial on stage 11 of the Tour de France on Wedneday but the big winner may have been Britain's Chris Froome, whose second place finish enabled him to tighten his grip on the yellow jersey.

Swedish sisters skip ‘sinful’ dance class
Sweden

Swedish sisters skip ‘sinful’ dance class

Citing European human rights law, a family of strict Lutheran faith in northern Sweden have managed to overturn a decision by their daughters' school, which had refused to allow the three girls to skip out on "sinful" dance class during PE.

Merkel: first I heard of ‘Prism’ was in media
Germany

Merkel: first I heard of ‘Prism’ was in media

Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected comparisons between US government spying and the secret police of the former East Germany. In an interview she defends the German secret service, as well as the practice of intercepting data.

Electronic cigarette tax ‘a scam’
Italy

Electronic cigarette tax ‘a scam’

Italians took to the streets on Tuesday to protest against a proposed tax on electronic cigarettes, a move that some believe could result in the loss of thousands of jobs. The Local gets the views of smokers and non-smokers.

‘Some days I think my funeral idea is crazy’
Spain

‘Some days I think my funeral idea is crazy’

In this week's My Spanish Career, we talk to a marketing professional who provides funerals with a difference in Spain. Meet Daniel Izquierdo Hänni.

Ten perks of a German summer
Germany

Ten perks of a German summer

Whether an ice cream expert, a fan of open-air techno or simply partial to bathing in the nip, the chances are a German summer will provide you with the chance to shine. This week's Local List runs through 10 Teutonic perks of the season.

France bans far-right groups after fatal brawl
France

France bans far-right groups after fatal brawl

Three French far-right groups implicated in the death of an anti-fascist activist during a brawl in Paris last month were officially banned by the government on Wednesday. The ban has been slammed as "an abuse of power" by the leader of one of the groups.

Two million in Italy at risk of ‘techno-stress’
Italy

Two million in Italy at risk of ‘techno-stress’

The constant use of computers, smartphones, the internet, and touch-screen devices are making people sick, according to research carried out by website Netdipendenza.

‘Spain doesn’t need bailout money now’: EU
Spain

‘Spain doesn’t need bailout money now’: EU

European Union officials hailed the strengthening of Spain's banking sector on Wednesday after they swooped to rescue it last year saying Spanish lenders need no more bailout funds for the time being.

Utoya survivors set sights on MP slots
Norway

Utoya survivors set sights on MP slots

Some 35 survivors of the Utoya terror attacks are included among the Labour Party's candidates for upcoming elections, with youth wing leader Eskil Pedersen long advocating a youthful renewal of the ruling party in order "not to lose young voters".

Graffiti daycare tribute for Ajax hero Zlatan
Sweden

Graffiti daycare tribute for Ajax hero Zlatan

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's three-year exploits with Dutch side Ajax in his youth have been honoured with an unusual tribute - a graffiti mural depicting the Swedish football star on a childcare centre in Amsterdam.

Why do sweaty Swedes sing along to pop stars?
Sweden

Why do sweaty Swedes sing along to pop stars?

As The Local's Elodie Pradet joins blanket-toting families and salivating Håkan Hellström fans at the summer stage Allsång på Skansen, she discovers the heart of Swedish music appreciation, and the inclusive singing at the weekly event dubbed mass hysteria by its critics.

Norway police to get bullet-proof vehicles
Norway

Norway police to get bullet-proof vehicles

The Norwegian military is set to lend armoured cars to police forces across the country, with at least one bullet-proof vehicle per police district to be made available to law enforcers.

Spain’s Chinese protest shop owner’s death
Spain

Spain’s Chinese protest shop owner’s death

Chinese traders and residents gathered in the Andalusian town of Fuengirola on Wednesday to demand justice and safer conditions after a violent robbery at a local Chinese-run store ended in the death of the shop's owner.

‘Catalonia finances Spain’: Catalan President
Spain

‘Catalonia finances Spain’: Catalan President

The President of Catalonia, Artur Mas, has responded angrily to the Spanish Finance Minister's recent assertion that the region can only finance its public services thanks to Spain's central government by asking "Who the hell is financing whom?"

Top ten: Sweden’s all-time hottest women
Sweden

Top ten: Sweden’s all-time hottest women

Last week, it was the turn of the ladies to rank the top ten hottest Swedish men. Now the shoe, or should that be the high heel, is on the other foot as The Local's Patrick Reilly ranks the ten best beauties to hail from Sweden.

Asylum seekers found in tanker on France-UK ferry
France

Asylum seekers found in tanker on France-UK ferry

Police in the UK rescued 15 asylum seekers who were hidden inside a tanker on board a ferry from the French port port of Calais on Wednesday. Some of the stowaways were found suffering from breathing difficulties and chest pains.

Norway mulls Arctic satellite broadband
Norway

Norway mulls Arctic satellite broadband

The increasing presence of oil companies in the Arctic region has Norwegian telecom companies pondering whether it is time to introduce a satellite-based solution to internet connection problems up north.

Stag night ‘kidnap’ prank hits Spanish headlines
Spain

Stag night ‘kidnap’ prank hits Spanish headlines

The truth about a "masked and armed kidnapping" in Madrid on Friday was only revealed when the "victim" read police reports in a national newspaper and realized they were referring to a harmless incident at his stag party.

Older volunteers fill community service gaps
Germany

Older volunteers fill community service gaps

When Germany scrapped compulsory military service, along with the alternative civilian service in 2011, many feared shortages in the social care sector. But the opposite has been the case, it emerged on Wednesday.

Norwegian trade minister kicks out entire staff
Norway

Norwegian trade minister kicks out entire staff

Norwegian Trade and Enterprise Minister Trond Giske is set to bar entry to the ministry for his entire staff of 200 employees, but his intent is educational as he sends them off on one-day field trips into the Norwegian business wilds.

Strike closes Mont Saint Michel as Tour rides in
France

Strike closes Mont Saint Michel as Tour rides in

Striking workers at the island abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel in Brittany refused to bow down for the Tour de France on Wednesday, meaning the famous world heritage site remained closed on possibly the biggest and busiest day in its recent history.

New in German cinemas: ‘Now You See Me’
Germany

New in German cinemas: ‘Now You See Me’

Find movies playing in English in Germany with The Local’s cinema guide.

Farmer unearths potato thief after 15 years
Germany

Farmer unearths potato thief after 15 years

A German farmer who was fed up with a thief abusing his potato honesty box has caught the culprit after 15 years of watching, and waiting.

PSG’s sporting director Leonardo quits the club
France

PSG’s sporting director Leonardo quits the club

PSG's sporting director Leonardo is stepping down, the club announced on Wednesday. The Brazilian, who was recently banned for a year for barging a referee, will quit at the end of the summer transfer window.

‘Bankrupt’ protestors hit with flood of fines
Spain

‘Bankrupt’ protestors hit with flood of fines

Authorities in Galicia have responded to protests by people who lost their life savings in Spain's "preference shares" banking scandal by issuing an "avalanche" of fines for minor infractions including "not wearing seatbelts" and honking horns.

Voters to decide on road tax hike in November
Switzerland

Voters to decide on road tax hike in November

Swiss citizens will decide in a referendum on November 24th whether to approve an increase in the annual motorway tax or “vignette” to 100 francs ($103) from 40 francs.

Pizza makes people happier: study
Italy

Pizza makes people happier: study

A new study on the effects of drawing different types of food has found that sketching pizza, the classic Italian dish, can significantly improve a person's mental state.

Italian MEP snipes at Italy’s first black minister
Italy

Italian MEP snipes at Italy’s first black minister

An Italian MEP for the anti-immigration Northern League party has clashed with Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge, just weeks after he was expelled from a parliamentary group over racist comments against the minister.

Football star ignores injury for Euro 2013
Norway

Football star ignores injury for Euro 2013

With eyes beyond Norwegian shores wide open after she tweeted a picture of an ice pack shoved into her lace underwear, Norwegian footballer Elise Thorsnes says that, despite the abdominal injury, she is ready for the Euro 2013 championship in neighbouring Sweden.

Swiss locomotives to get energy-efficiency boost
Switzerland

Swiss locomotives to get energy-efficiency boost

The familiar red locomotives that have hauled Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) passenger trains for almost 20 years will be modernized so they can operate for another two decades while using less electricity, the state-owned rail operator says.

Pope Francis is Vanity Fair’s ‘Man of the Year’
Italy

Pope Francis is Vanity Fair’s ‘Man of the Year’

Pope Francis has been elected 'Man of the Year' by the Italian edition of Vanity Fair. He appears on the society magazine’s latest front cover.

Surprise rise in Italy’s industrial output
Italy

Surprise rise in Italy’s industrial output

Italy's industrial production ended three months of decline in May, official data showed on Wednesday, but the news will offer little cheer after a sovereign rating downgrade and a growth forecast cut.

France bans latest Mercedes cars
Germany

France bans latest Mercedes cars

The latest models of Mercedes cars cannot be sold in France as they still use an air conditioning refrigerant the EU says emits excessive greenhouse gases and should be replaced, the German auto company said on Tuesday.

‘Name Stockholm airport after Raoul Wallenberg’
Sweden

‘Name Stockholm airport after Raoul Wallenberg’

Citing JFK and John Lennon International, a troupe of Sweden's leading politicians and social elite have launched a campaign to rename Stockholm Arlanda airport in honour of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish humanitarian who saved thousands of people from the Holocaust.

Swedish judge hires own daughter as clerk
Sweden

Swedish judge hires own daughter as clerk

A judge at the district court in Mora in central Sweden has hired her own daughter as a deputy court clerk, prompting accusations of potential breach of conduct and corruption.

Cashpoint criminals target hundreds of ATMs
Germany

Cashpoint criminals target hundreds of ATMs

Data thieves targeting customers at cash point machines caused €8 million worth of damage in the first six months of this year, according to figures out on Wednesday.

Norway doubles journos’ foreign travel fund
Norway

Norway doubles journos’ foreign travel fund

Citing concerns that Norway's foreign correspondents are becoming a rare breed, a government minister plans to double grant money available for journalists who want to report abroad.

Pirate Bay founder to launch spy-proof app
Sweden

Pirate Bay founder to launch spy-proof app

Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde has announced the launch of a new surveillance proof messenger service in response to the recent spate of revelations regarding the spying activities of the US.

French court seizes Tapie assets in fraud probe
France

French court seizes Tapie assets in fraud probe

French investigators have seized the significant assets of French businessman Bernard Tapie, implicated in a long-running corruption and fraud scandal, it was reported on Wednesday.

‘Nudists are criminalized just for getting naked’
France

‘Nudists are criminalized just for getting naked’

As thousands of naturist tourists descend on France this summer to get naked on some of the country’s beaches, a French nudist-rights organization tells The Local why an urgent change in the law is needed to protect them from being seen as sex offenders.

Call to raise Norway’s beauty-op age limit
Norway

Call to raise Norway’s beauty-op age limit

With requests for plastic surgery surging over the summer, a Norwegian psychologist wants to raise the minimum age for beauty operations from 18 to at least 20, saying many would-be patients need therapy, not surgery.

‘We need to own up to any funding irregularities’
Spain

‘We need to own up to any funding irregularities’

The Madrid President of Spain's scandal-hit ruling Popular Party (PP), Esperanza Aguirre, on Tuesday said the party "should recognize" any "irregular activities" in funding. Her words came in the wake of claims by the PP's ex-treasurer Luis Bárcenas that he operated a slush fund for the party.

Shark attack fears close Catalan beaches
Spain

Shark attack fears close Catalan beaches

Holidaymakers on five beaches beach near L'Escala, Catalonia, were told on Tuesday it was unsafe to go back in the water for several hours after a swimmer reported being attacked by a shark.

VIDEO: DSK slams ‘terrible’ treatment in US
France

VIDEO: DSK slams ‘terrible’ treatment in US

Disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has taken to the airwaves in the US to vent his "anger" (see video) at being treated like a criminal by the media after rape charges from a New York hotel chambermaid, which were later dropped.

Aargau police probe bloody biker brawl
Switzerland

Aargau police probe bloody biker brawl

Aargau cantonal police have issued a call for help from witnesses after breaking up a brawl between two bike gangs at a petrol station in Oftringen earlier this week.

Spanish league fixes date for ‘Clasico’ showdown
Spain

Spanish league fixes date for ‘Clasico’ showdown

Spanish football fixtures unveiled on Tuesday show that archrivals Barcelona and Real Madrid will face off in late October in next season's first "El Clasico", a highly charged football clash that grips the nation.

Sweden rejects baby’s ‘noble’ name change
Sweden

Sweden rejects baby’s ‘noble’ name change

Sweden's Tax Agency (Skatteverket) has turned down a name change from Mats to Von as it deemed the name was inappropriate due to its usual use as an aristocratic prefix.

Italy hit with new S&P credit rating cut
Italy

Italy hit with new S&P credit rating cut

Ratings agency Standard and Poor's on Tuesday downgraded the sovereign rating of crisis-hit Italy by one notch to 'BBB' on worries over the country's ability to resist effects of a dilapidating recession.

Qatar ‘vows to’ restore fire-hit Paris landmark
France

Qatar ‘vows to’ restore fire-hit Paris landmark

A blaze engulfed the 17th century Hôtel Lambert on Île Saint-Louis in the 4th arrondissement of Paris overnight on Wednesday. France's culture minister said the historic mansion has been damaged "irreversibly" but its owners - the Qatari royal family told the minister they will restore it.

Opera star Domingo in hospital with blood clot
Spain

Opera star Domingo in hospital with blood clot

Spanish tenor Placido Domingo is being treated in a Madrid hospital for a pulmonary embolism, a blockage of an artery of the lungs, his publicist said on Tuesday.

Systembolaget reports supermarket wine sales
Sweden

Systembolaget reports supermarket wine sales

Swedish liquor monopoly retailer Systembolaget has reported supermarket chain City Gross to the police for giving customers the chance to purchase wine along with their weekly grocery shopping.

Tour de France stage 11: A race against the clock
France

Tour de France stage 11: A race against the clock

Tour de France riders will race against the clock rather than each other on Wednesday as stage 11 sees the first big time trial of this year's competition. German Tony Martin is the standout favourite to win the 33 kilometre race to Mont Saint Michel.

Berlin wall hosts exhibit of world’s barriers
Germany

Berlin wall hosts exhibit of world’s barriers

Giant portraits of the world's tensest borders went on display Tuesday on the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall, in what organizers are calling a protest underlining the futility of barriers to resolve conflict.

placeholder image
Sweden

Police suspect arson as a thousand pigs burn

Some 1,200 pigs, the majority piglets, have died in a fire at a farm in Sjuntorp near Trollhättan in western Sweden in a suspected arson attack.

Hot days draw harmful larvae to Germany
Germany

Hot days draw harmful larvae to Germany

Researchers in Hamburg have discovered parasitic roundworm larvae in three species of mosquito in Brandenburg. It’s the first time the pest, which is common throughout parts of southern Europe, Africa and Asia, has been found in Germany.

Behold the beauty of Bavarian Bamberg
Germany

Behold the beauty of Bavarian Bamberg

As part of our tour of Germany's UNESCO World Heritage sites, we wander around the beautiful Bavarian town of Bamberg.

Sweden registers Nato force interest
Sweden

Sweden registers Nato force interest

Sweden has registered its interest in contributing units to the Nato Response Force (NRF), a move supported by the opposition Social Democrats.

Swedish women intent on Euro 2013 glory
Sweden

Swedish women intent on Euro 2013 glory

The host nation are among the favourites to claim the Uefa Women's European Championship, with kick-off on Wednesday when Sweden takes on Nordic neighbour Denmark.