Zurich film festival kicks off with a ‘Rush’
Switzerland

Zurich film festival kicks off with a ‘Rush’

The ninth annual Zurich film festival kicked off on Thursday with the screening of Rush, American director Ron Howard’s new film about Formula One motor racing.

Six-year-old boy killed by Montreux school bus
Switzerland

Six-year-old boy killed by Montreux school bus

An investigation is under way into the death on Thursday of a six-year-old boy who was run over by a school bus in the Lake Geneva town of Montreux after he disembarked from the vehicle.

Norway’s Rafto Prize goes to Bahraini group
Norway

Norway’s Rafto Prize goes to Bahraini group

Norway's Rafto Foundation has awarded its annual prize to one of Bahrain's most prominent human rights groups, in recognition of its non-violent protests and documentation of human rights violations.

Statoil makes big discovery off Canada
Norway

Statoil makes big discovery off Canada

Norwegian oil group Statoil said on Thursday that it had made a big oil find off the coast of Newfoundland in Canada with 300 million to 600 million barrels of recoverable crude.

The French depression about speaking English
France

The French depression about speaking English

When it comes to assessing their levels of English, French people are all doom and gloom, two new reports reveal. A European league table of insecurity over English levels, released on Thursday, ranked the French second only to Italy.

‘It’s women who wear the trousers in Spain’
Spain

‘It’s women who wear the trousers in Spain’

A household name in Spain, this no-nonsense actress has played roles ranging from a transsexual to a witch, and she has finally received the recognition she deserves. Meet our latest Spanish Face of the Week: Carmen Maura.

Auschwitz ‘cook’ faces murder complicity charge
Germany

Auschwitz ‘cook’ faces murder complicity charge

German prosecutors said on Thursday they had charged a 93-year-old alleged former guard at the Nazi death camp Auschwitz with complicity to murder.

The mother whose tears fooled France for months
France

The mother whose tears fooled France for months

Since reporting her five-year-old daughter Fiona missing in May, Cécile Bourgeon has had the sympathy and support of the entire French nation. This week, though, she made an unthinkable confession and quickly became a figure of hatred in France.

‘No gay families in our ads’: Barilla boss
Italy

‘No gay families in our ads’: Barilla boss

The world's biggest pasta company, Barilla, is facing a backlash after its president said he would never allow an advert featuring a gay family.

Only a few Germans say their English is good
Germany

Only a few Germans say their English is good

English-speakers may feel that everyone they try their German on replies in perfect English - but in fact just 16 percent of German adults who speak English said they were proficient. This is one of the lowest rates in Europe latest figures show.

Spain flunks EU second language test
Spain

Spain flunks EU second language test

Bulgaria and Hungary are the only two European Union members who have fewer adults who speak a foreign language than Spain.

Elderly woman leaps to death after care ‘refusal’
Sweden

Elderly woman leaps to death after care ‘refusal’

An 84-year-old woman in western Sweden committed suicide on Thursday by throwing herself off her own balcony during a meeting with case officers there to determine whether she could live in an elderly home.

‘My mum was a cop, she’s not angry with me’
Sweden

‘My mum was a cop, she’s not angry with me’

Swedish journalist Niklas Orrenius has hogged the headlines this week since the publication of an article series revealing the existence of a police registry of Roma people living in Sweden, making him an obvious pick for Swede of the Week.

VIDEO: See Barcelona’s ‘finished’ Sagrada Familia
Spain

VIDEO: See Barcelona’s ‘finished’ Sagrada Familia

A stunning new 90-second video uses digital imaging to show how Barcelona's iconic Sagrada Familia cathedral will look when it is finally finished in 15 or so years from now.

Hingis and her mum ‘attacked’ French partner
Switzerland

Hingis and her mum ‘attacked’ French partner

The French husband of former Swiss tennis champ Martina Hingis has accused his wife and mother-in-law of assaulting him and has fled to Paris fearing for his life, Switzerland's Blick daily reported on Thursday.

Italians are insecure about their English skills
Italy

Italians are insecure about their English skills

Italians, Germans and the French are the most insecure in Europe about their levels of English, with Swedes among the most confident, data showed on Thursday.

Becker: Ex-wife hit me during marriage crisis
Germany

Becker: Ex-wife hit me during marriage crisis

Former Wimbledon hero Boris Becker says his then wife Barbara hit him as their relationship was collapsing - after he had got another woman pregnant during a sordid fling in a London restaurant.

Rare frogs seized in taxi at Swiss border
Switzerland

Rare frogs seized in taxi at Swiss border

During a routine check at a border crossing, Swiss customs officers made an unexpected discovery: 35 brightly coloured rare frogs and a gecko hidden in the boot of a taxi.

Human remains found near Costa Concordia
Italy

Human remains found near Costa Concordia

Italian divers looking for two bodies missing from last year's Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster which claimed 32 lives found human remains on Thursday, the government agency overseeing the vessel's salvage said.

Leading opera singer turns to comedy
Germany

Leading opera singer turns to comedy

Thomas Quasthoff left behind a sparkling career as a concert bass-baritone last year to pursue new projects. Now he stars in a comedy show in Berlin's West End. One of the country's most acclaimed performers, he is our German of the Week.

Hingis and her mother ‘attacked’ French partner
France

Hingis and her mother ‘attacked’ French partner

The French husband of former Swiss tennis champ Martina Hingis has accused his wife and mother-in-law of assaulting him and has fled to Paris fearing for his life, Switzerland's Blick daily reported on Thursday.

French row over plan to swap Christian holidays
France

French row over plan to swap Christian holidays

A French official has stoked controversy this week by suggesting some of France’s Christian holidays should be removed and replaced with a national day off for the Jewish and Muslim festivals of Yom Kippur and Eid.

Swede, 94, celebrates new driving licence
Sweden

Swede, 94, celebrates new driving licence

A Swedish pensioner has had his driving licence renewed as he approaches his 95th birthday and says he plans to keep driving until he is 100 at least.

Painting removed for inflaming Breivik trauma
Norway

Painting removed for inflaming Breivik trauma

Norway's Ministry of Health has refused to take a new painting for the minister's lobby because staff complained that other paintings in the series reminded them too closely of the 2011 terror attacks.

Swedish politician jailed for fraud
Sweden

Swedish politician jailed for fraud

Former Moderate Party politician Annétthe Zettergren, 58, was jailed for 3.5 years on Thursday and ordered to pay damages totalling 3.9 million ($605,000) to the county of Värmland and a further 350,000 kronor to her former partner.

Swedes love it when you hold up the mirror
Sweden

Swedes love it when you hold up the mirror

As he gets set to head out on another tour, stand-up comic Al Pitcher, a UK-born Kiwi who was voted Sweden's funniest man in 2011, explains why he turned to stand-up comedy in Sweden and what it's like to perform for Swedes.

Climber finds treasure chest on Mont Blanc
France

Climber finds treasure chest on Mont Blanc

A French mountain climber scaling a Mont Blanc glacier was left astonished when he discovered a chest in the ice containing tens of thousands of euros worth of precious gems. The buried jewels are believed to be linked to two mysterious Indian plane crashes.

Italians spend less on fur coats amid retail slump
Italy

Italians spend less on fur coats amid retail slump

Retail sales in Italy dipped by 0.9 percent in July compared to a year earlier, official data showed on Thursday in worse-than-expected results, with Italians spending less on clothes and fur coats.

Swiss agricultural expert wins ‘alternative Nobel’
Switzerland

Swiss agricultural expert wins ‘alternative Nobel’

Swiss sustainable agriculture expert Hans Herren and Biovision, an organization he heads, were named joint winners of the Swedish Right Livelihood Award in Stockholm on Thursday.

Bank evicts Spanish family from wrong house
Spain

Bank evicts Spanish family from wrong house

A family in the northern Spanish village of Azuara have lost half of their belongings after eviction agents pillaged their home by mistake.

Labour politician jailed for abusing 14-year-old
Norway

Labour politician jailed for abusing 14-year-old

A senior politician for Norway's Labour Party has been jailed for two years and three months for having a sexual relationship with a girl when she was just 14 years old.

Spain sailing into calmer waters: Central bank
Spain

Spain sailing into calmer waters: Central bank

Spain's job-crushing, two-year recession appears to be drawing to a close, the country's central bank said on Thursday, predicting an end to the downturn in the third quarter of 2013.

Swedish rights prize to US weapons activist
Sweden

Swedish rights prize to US weapons activist

US anti-chemical weapons campaigner Paul Walker, 67, was jointly awarded the Swedish Right Livelihood Award Thursday honouring those who work to improve the lives of others.

Merkel’s German-Scot ‘to reach out to UK’
Germany

Merkel’s German-Scot ‘to reach out to UK’

A Scottish-German politician has refused to comment on reports that he could be given the tricky task of pulling the British conservatives back towards Europe - as he is tipped to lead Angela Merkel's party in Brussels.

‘Forest Boy’ faces work after court fraud hearing
Germany

‘Forest Boy’ faces work after court fraud hearing

The young man who became world famous as the "Forest Boy" when he claimed he had lived feral in German woods for five years - agreed to carry out 150 hours of community service on Thursday after admitting making it all up.

Swiss auto parts supplier faces German probe
Switzerland

Swiss auto parts supplier faces German probe

Swiss industrial group Autoneum says it is one of six car parts makers under investigation in Germany for suspected price fixing.

Oil tanker tycoon Fredriksen tops rich list
Norway

Oil tanker tycoon Fredriksen tops rich list

Oil tanker tycoon John Fredriksen has once again bagged the top spot of Norway's billionaires list, after increasing his fortune by nearly a third on the back of a recovering shipping market.

Italian poker cheat used infra-red contact lenses
Italy

Italian poker cheat used infra-red contact lenses

A court near the glamorous French Riviera city of Cannes this week handed a jail term to a daring and sophisticated Italian poker cheat, who used infra-red contact lenses to count cards marked with invisible ink in a scam described as "the first of its kind in Europe".

Gay kiss photo show blocked by Vatican threat
Italy

Gay kiss photo show blocked by Vatican threat

A gallery in Rome has removed photographs of same sex couples kissing in churches after the Catholic Church threatened legal action.

Ikea recalls rhubarb pie after label mix-up
Sweden

Ikea recalls rhubarb pie after label mix-up

A labelling error on Ikea's rhubarb pies meant the Finnish word for "egg powder" was missing from the ingredients list - reason enough for the Swedish furniture giant to strip the shelves and issue a full recall in several countries.

Toilet giant Grohe gets €3bn Japan investment
Germany

Toilet giant Grohe gets €3bn Japan investment

German toilet-maker Grohe received the largest ever investment from a Japanese company in the country on Thursday. The firm is now almost entirely owned by the Japanese after the €3 billion deal.

More Italians are taking anti-depressants: study
Italy

More Italians are taking anti-depressants: study

Increasing numbers of Italians haved turned to anti-depressants in recent years, a new study has revealed, with figures suggesting that women use the medication more than men.

US tourist loses $2m cheque on Madrid Metro
Spain

US tourist loses $2m cheque on Madrid Metro

If you lost a $2 million (€1.48 million) cheque in Madrid recently, you could be in luck: a repair worker on the city's underground railway network has handed it in to local police.

Riviera poker cheat used infra-red contact lenses
France

Riviera poker cheat used infra-red contact lenses

A court near the glamorous French Riviera city of Cannes this week handed a jail term to a daring and sophisticated poker cheat, who used infra-red contact lenses to count cards marked with invisible ink in a scam described as "the first of its kind in Europe."

Italian schoolboys taught not to kill women
Italy

Italian schoolboys taught not to kill women

Teaching boys not to hurt or kill their girlfriends is now part of the curriculum in schools in the northern city of Turin.

VOX POP: Should Spain’s King step aside?
Spain

VOX POP: Should Spain’s King step aside?

In the wake of King Juan Carlos' latest hip operation and news he will need more surgery in two months, we asked people in Madrid whether it was now time for the Spanish Head of State to hand over the reins to his son Felipe.

Motorist killed after Eurocity train hits car
Switzerland

Motorist killed after Eurocity train hits car

An unidentified motorist died late Wednesday when a train coming from Italy slammed into the driver’s car after it strayed onto railway tracks in the canton of Valais.

Revamped ruin and a former royal seat
Germany

Revamped ruin and a former royal seat

This fortified church located in a river valley in the Baden-Württemberg countryside is on the market for just under €950,000. The home is the first to be featured in The Local’s Property of the Week series.

Björn Borg serves time on Dutch market
Sweden

Björn Borg serves time on Dutch market

Swedish clothing giant Björn Borg is cutting back its activities in the Netherlands after failing to net anticipated profits.

French jobless rate falls for first time since 2011
France

French jobless rate falls for first time since 2011

Finally some positive news on the unemployment front for France. Figures released this week showed the number of jobseekers had fallen for the first time in over two years. However it was still too early to celebrate, said the minister for labour.

Norway’s hottest women who aren’t models
Norway

Norway’s hottest women who aren’t models

Long over-shadowed by their Swedish sisters in the world's ideas of national hotness, it's time for Norway's women to rise up and take their rightful place in The Local's Top 12 ranking.

Spanish PM takes Gibraltar dispute to UN
Spain

Spanish PM takes Gibraltar dispute to UN

It's time for UK-held Gibraltar to finally be decolonized, Spain's prime minister said at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York on Thursday.

Cat massacre continues to blight Capri
Italy

Cat massacre continues to blight Capri

More cats have been reported poisoned on the luxury island of Capri, south of Naples, Italian media reported.

Last gasp penalty hands Real disputed win
Spain

Last gasp penalty hands Real disputed win

A dubious injury time Cristiano Ronaldo penalty was enough to move Real Madrid back to within two points of league leaders Barcelona with a 2-1 win away to Elche on Wednesday night.

Court upholds seizure of Duvalier’s Swiss assets
Switzerland

Court upholds seizure of Duvalier’s Swiss assets

A Swiss court confirmed on Wednesday the confiscation of millions of dollars in frozen bank accounts belonging to former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, clearing the way for the money to be returned to Haiti.

More austerity: Welcome to Spain’s ‘boring’ budget
Spain

More austerity: Welcome to Spain’s ‘boring’ budget

Spain will stick to its path of austerity in 2014 with the government due to approve its draft budget for the year on Friday, with pensioners and public workers losing out despite a slowly improving economy.

Falcao double keeps Monaco top of the league
France

Falcao double keeps Monaco top of the league

Colombian striker Radamel Falcao scored twice for Monaco against Bastia on Wednesday to propel his team back to the top of Ligue 1. PSG had briefly held top spot after a scrappy 1-0 over Valenciennes.

‘We have the power to take your kids away’
Germany

‘We have the power to take your kids away’

Parents in Germany who educate their children at home can face heavy fines and even the removal of their kids - prompting some to hide while others flee - often as far as the United States. The Local visited a group in the southern countryside to investigate.

How Australian Rules Football tackled Sweden
Sweden

How Australian Rules Football tackled Sweden

Australian Rules Football - often described as a mix between rugby and soccer - enjoys a keen following in Sweden, and after Stockhom's Solna Axemen claimed this year's premiership on the weekend, The Local's Josh Liew finds out more.

Court: circumcision too risky for six-year-old
Germany

Court: circumcision too risky for six-year-old

A German court has forbidden a woman from having her six-year old son circumcised because of a risk of psychological damage. The decision comes a year after a similar ruling sparked an international outcry.

Mother of ‘missing’ Fiona helps in hunt for body
France

Mother of ‘missing’ Fiona helps in hunt for body

UPDATED: French mother Cecile Bourgeon, who had made a tearful public appeal for help in finding her daughter Fiona, aged five, admitted to police on Wednesday that the girl had died at home. She and her boyfriend are expected to be charged on Thursday evening.

Norway’s new leaders restart coalition talks
Norway

Norway’s new leaders restart coalition talks

The two junior partners in Norway's four-way coalition talks have been given the go-ahead to go back to the negotiating table, after holding meetings on Wednesday with their party leaderships.

French mum jailed for son’s prison rape
France

French mum jailed for son’s prison rape

A French mother who held down her four-year-old son while his stepfather raped him in a prison visiting room was jailed for 20 years this week. Her partner, described as a "sadist in the purest form" was handed the same sentence. Prison authorities could now face prosecution.

Berlusconi MPs threaten mass exit if he is ousted
Italy

Berlusconi MPs threaten mass exit if he is ousted

Lawmakers from Silvio Berlusconi's party threatened late on Wednesday to resign en bloc if a senate committee votes to oust the former prime minister from parliament over a tax fraud conviction.

Kazakh tycoon’s family sues diplomats in Italy
Italy

Kazakh tycoon’s family sues diplomats in Italy

The family of an exiled Kazakh tycoon accused of fraud filed a lawsuit in Italy on Wednesday against three diplomats for the alleged illegal extradition of his wife and daughter to Kazakhstan.

‘I apologize,’ Kjos tells stranded flyers
Norway

‘I apologize,’ Kjos tells stranded flyers

Bjørn Kjos, the founder of Norwegian Airlines, has apologised to customers delayed or stranded by problems with its two Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft.

Tick bites can lead to meat allergies: study
Sweden

Tick bites can lead to meat allergies: study

The bite of a tick can directly lead to an allergic reaction to animal meat, Swedish researchers have discovered, a diagnosis that is becoming all the more common in Sweden.

Hundreds contact police over Roma registry
Sweden

Hundreds contact police over Roma registry

After news that police in southern Sweden were keeping illegal registries about members of the Roma community, the police station has been inundated with calls from people wanting to know if they too are on the list.