Norway rules out taking Syria’s weapons
Norway

Norway rules out taking Syria’s weapons

Norway said Friday it would not be able to accommodate a request from the United States to help destroy Syria's chemical arsenal on its soil, saying the schedule was too tight.

French village locks down ahead of bullfight
France

French village locks down ahead of bullfight

Scores of riot police will be out in force in a village in the south of France this weekend amid fears that a planned protest against a bullfight could descend into violence as happened two years ago (see video). This year protestors will be joined by an American contingent.

French cops told ‘ticket drivers or lose holidays’
France

French cops told ‘ticket drivers or lose holidays’

A French police commander has ordered his traffic officers to issue three tickets for driving offences every day, or they would miss out on days off over the Christmas period, it was alleged this week.

Starbucks set to open in central Stockholm
Sweden

Starbucks set to open in central Stockholm

Starbucks is coming to the Swedish capital, with plans to deliver its first caffeine injection in central Stockholm before the end of 2013.

Fake Kings and neo-Nazis exploit legal quirk
Germany

Fake Kings and neo-Nazis exploit legal quirk

A loophole in German law allowed a man claiming to be the ‘King of Germany’ to establish a mini-state with 3,500 subjects. But other attempts at exploiting the legal quirk have been rather more sinister.

Merkel: relations with US not ‘one-way street’
Germany

Merkel: relations with US not ‘one-way street’

UPDATE: Chancellor Angela Merkel said the relationship between the United States and Germany was not a "one-way street" and that actions, not words, mattered in the future.

Gaga to armed siege – seven days in pics
Germany

Gaga to armed siege – seven days in pics

In this week's news review, our round-up of the best pictures ranges from an armed siege to Lady Gaga and phone tapping to autumnal sunshine.

VIDEO: Italians unveil ‘strawberry picking’ hand
Italy

VIDEO: Italians unveil ‘strawberry picking’ hand

Scientists in Pisa will unveil a versatile robotic hand on Saturday, unique in its ability to distinguish between heavy and delicate objects by interpreting muscle signals from the agent. See below for a video of the hand in action.

Swedish nurses save four patients mid-flight
Sweden

Swedish nurses save four patients mid-flight

Three Swedish nurses found themselves in the line of duty when not one but four passengers fell ill on a flight from Dubai. Marie-Louise Piatti tells The Local about oxygen, hysteria, bananas and a near emergency landing in Iran.

Sweden fails to advance in gender equality index
Sweden

Sweden fails to advance in gender equality index

Sweden has failed to gain ground relative to most of its Nordic neighbours when it comes to closing the gender gap, a new report shows.

Goal-hungry Zlatan spurs PSG to new heights
Sweden

Goal-hungry Zlatan spurs PSG to new heights

Zlatan Ibrahimovic remains the talk of Ligue 1 as the Sweden captain continues to carry leaders Paris Saint-Germain to heights they have rarely tasted before.

Letta admits he doesn’t know if Italy was spied on
Italy

Letta admits he doesn’t know if Italy was spied on

Prime Minister Enrico Letta confessed on Friday that he did not know if Italy had been spied on by US Intelligence agency NSA.

Competition watchdog cuts Swatch’s obligations
Switzerland

Competition watchdog cuts Swatch’s obligations

The Swiss Swatch watch group, a vital supplier of parts to rivals, is to be freed from part of this obligation, Switzerland's competition watchdog said on Friday

Is this man Spain’s shadiest character?
Spain

Is this man Spain’s shadiest character?

Imagine a politician who always wears sunglasses, who has won the lottery nine times, and who has even had a statue erected in his own honour. All sound a bit shady? That’s Carlos Fabra, The Local’s Spanish Face of the Week.

Spain to call in US ambassador in spy row
Spain

Spain to call in US ambassador in spy row

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Friday he would call in the US ambassador to Madrid to explain reports of US spying on the country, a close ally of Washington.

Police pull plug on listening device cheats
Spain

Police pull plug on listening device cheats

A band of Spanish criminals who helped people cheat in their exams by giving them the answers via high-tech listening devices has been busted by police.

Swiss firm keeps Scottish petrol plant alive
Switzerland

Swiss firm keeps Scottish petrol plant alive

Scotland's biggest industrial site, the Grangemouth petrochemical plant, has been saved from closure after its Swiss-based operator Ineos struck a deal with workers on Friday to resolve a bitter labour dispute.

One in six Germans at risk of poverty
Germany

One in six Germans at risk of poverty

Despite the strong economy, the number of impoverished Germans has been steadily increasing. Figures from a European-wide study released on Friday show one in six people are at risk of poverty.

VIDEO: Kiss stunt lands French DJ in hot water
France

VIDEO: Kiss stunt lands French DJ in hot water

It was supposed to be a "challenge". But a video posted online by French radio DJ Guillaume Pley, our French Face of the Week, featuring his attempts to kiss various girls in just 10 seconds did not go down at all well with many of its three million viewers. See for yourself why...

‘No boyfriend for me’, Malala tells Skavlan
Norway

‘No boyfriend for me’, Malala tells Skavlan

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenaged education campaigner, has told Fredrik Skavlan, the Norwegian chat show host, that she could never have a boyfriend like other young people in Britain.

Stockholm cop probed anew over Husby death
Sweden

Stockholm cop probed anew over Husby death

A new investigation will be launched into the death of a 69-year-old man shot by a police officer in Husby, an incident many considered the catalyst for May's week-long unrest in Stockholm.

Why animals in France need a new legal status
France

Why animals in France need a new legal status

In France animals have practically the same legal status as a chair. The woman leading the campaign for them to be re-classed as "living, sensitive beings" tells The Local that France must stop considering cats and dogs as "pieces of furniture" if it wants to tackle animal cruelty.

Spaniards pay third highest tax in Europe
Spain

Spaniards pay third highest tax in Europe

People in Spain have the third highest top marginal tax rate in Europe with only the wealthy Danes and the Swedes coughing up more, a new report shows.

Boost for economy as Italians hit the shops
Italy

Boost for economy as Italians hit the shops

Retail sales in Italy were stable in August compared to the July level and rose 0.2 percent on a 12-month comparison, an index by the official Istat agency showed on Friday.

Merkel has two phones, just one encrypted
Germany

Merkel has two phones, just one encrypted

On the back of revelations that the US has been listening into Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone, the leader said on Friday that she has two phones. The one that the NSA were listening to is not used for really important chats.

Swiss court jails ‘Pink Panther’ for seven years
Switzerland

Swiss court jails ‘Pink Panther’ for seven years

A man believed to be a member of the celebrated Pink Panthers criminal gang was sentenced to seven years in jail by a Lausanne court on Friday for his role in the robberies of two jewellery shops.

Racism-hit hockey star gets standing ovation
Norway

Racism-hit hockey star gets standing ovation

The Norwegian hockey player who was driven from the ice last week by racist heckling was given a standing ovation by his home side after a match on Thursday.

‘Italian bureaucracy works very well’
Italy

‘Italian bureaucracy works very well’

After years of planning, Orna O'Reilly, an interior designer, at long last moved from Ireland to Italy. The widow, in her sixties, speaks to The Local about writing books, buying a house and driving around the Veneto in a Fiat 500.

Barcelona backs out of Winter Olympics plans
Spain

Barcelona backs out of Winter Olympics plans

Barcelona mayor Xavier Tiras confirmed on Friday that the Catalan capital has put its Winter Olympics plans on the back burner, saying the city won't try for 2022 but might instead step up to plate with a 2026 candidacy.

French accused US of cyber attack on Sarkozy
France

French accused US of cyber attack on Sarkozy

More spying revelations hit the headlines on Friday after Le Monde published a leaked US document showing how French intelligence services believed their American counterparts were responsible for a cyber attack against its president's communications network.

Lady Gaga celebrates new album in Berlin club
Germany

Lady Gaga celebrates new album in Berlin club

Popstar Lady Gaga launched her third album Artpop with a party at Berlin's famous Berghain nightclub on Thursday night and displayed some of her trademark bizarre outfits to the German crowd.

Europe ‘catching up’ to Sweden’s tax levels
Sweden

Europe ‘catching up’ to Sweden’s tax levels

Sweden has once again topped the European tax league, but other countries in Europe are not far behind and catching up fast, according to a new report.

Nearly 700 immigrants rescued off Sicily
Italy

Nearly 700 immigrants rescued off Sicily

UPDATED: Nearly 700 refugees including dozens of Eritreans have been rescued off Sicily in five operations, as leaders grapple with the issue of illegal immigration at a European Union summit.

Zurich court convicts US-born exhibitionist
Switzerland

Zurich court convicts US-born exhibitionist

A Zurich court on Thursday convicted an American-born Swiss man of exhibitionism and other offences for masturbating in front of young girls on a streetcar (tram) and in other public places.

Gallery: The top ten hottest Norwegian men
Norway

Gallery: The top ten hottest Norwegian men

Norwegians are an outdoorsy bunch, more likely to hit global fame on the ski slope than the silver screen. But all that hiking and hewing of pines means there's certainly no shortage of tall, well-honed, physiques.

Electrolux to slash 2,000 jobs as profits sink
Sweden

Electrolux to slash 2,000 jobs as profits sink

Swedish home appliance maker Electrolux plans to slash 2,000 jobs on the heels of disappointing third quarter results, the company announced on Friday.

Fake ‘priest’ caught with six kilos of cocaine
Italy

Fake ‘priest’ caught with six kilos of cocaine

A man dressed as a priest, and carrying a suitcase emblazoned with holy symbols, was arrested while trying to cross the Italian border from France with six kilograms of cocaine.

Where your TV licence fee goes
Germany

Where your TV licence fee goes

Since January, German households have had to pay a monthly broadcasting license fee of €17.98, regardless of whether they own a television or radio. Now public broadcasters ARD and ZDF have revealed where that money goes.

Angry Vespa driver bites off cop’s finger
Italy

Angry Vespa driver bites off cop’s finger

Rome drivers have a reputation for treating their streets like a racing track. But one man on a Vespa appeared to do away with the rules of the road entirely, by jumping a roadblock and then digging his teeth into a traffic warden.

France mulls scented candles and incense ban
France

France mulls scented candles and incense ban

After recent health-driven moves to tax or restrict the use of energy drinks, artificial sweeteners and electronic cigarettes, French health authorities have now set their sights on cracking down on scented candles and incense, because their aroma could be masking toxic fumes.

Norway’s oil fund gains $38bn on rebound
Norway

Norway’s oil fund gains $38bn on rebound

Norway's oil fund has swelled by nearly 225 billion kroner ($38bn) over the last three months, as it saw a five percent gain in its holdings.

Serial rapist freed after EU human rights ruling
Spain

Serial rapist freed after EU human rights ruling

The "unrepentant" 76-year-old rapist was among the first Spanish prisoners released under an EU ruling overturning Spain's so-called Parot doctrine.

Serbs held for Geneva watch and jewel heists
Switzerland

Serbs held for Geneva watch and jewel heists

Swiss authorities have arrested two men in connection with sensational robberies of watch and jewellery shops in downtown Geneva over the summer, a newspaper says.

Norway bans puppies from The Netherlands
Norway

Norway bans puppies from The Netherlands

Norway has banned pet puppies and kittens from The Netherlands from entering the country after it reported two rare rabies cases.

US spied on Spanish leaders: Reports
Spain

US spied on Spanish leaders: Reports

The US spied on members of Spain's government, Spain's largest national newspaper said on Friday, citing sources claiming to be familiar with the documents leaked by National Security Agency (NSA) whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

Karstadt stores hit by mass strike
Germany

Karstadt stores hit by mass strike

Thousands of employees at one of Germany's largest retail chains went on strike on Friday. Shoppers should expect disruptions and even closures, the workers' union behind the action said.

Berlusconi’s fiancée sues over lesbian claims
Italy

Berlusconi’s fiancée sues over lesbian claims

Francesca Pascale, the fiancée of Silvio Berlusconi, is suing a Bulgarian actress for €10m after she claimed in a TV interview that the pair had a lesbian love affair.

King saved Norway from joining Nazis: biography
Norway

King saved Norway from joining Nazis: biography

Norway's King Haakon VII went against almost the whole of Norway's business and political class when he rejected a Nazi demand that he appoint Vidkun Quisling, the country's wartime fascist leader as Prime Minister and then abdicate, a new biography has revealed.

Bishops abandon their plush cars
Italy

Bishops abandon their plush cars

About a dozen bishops have shed their luxury cars for more “modest” vehicles after Pope Francis said in July “it bothers me when I see a priest or a sister with a brand new car”.

Top ten expat complaints to their Swedish partners
Sweden

Top ten expat complaints to their Swedish partners

Sweden is a great place and Swedes are lovely people. But some little things - tiny little things - like dietary habits and passive aggressive notes are just enough to make expats in Sweden complain. Here are the top ten complaints.

No pay-out for late-onset Pandemrix narcolepsy
Sweden

No pay-out for late-onset Pandemrix narcolepsy

A grief-stricken father has gone public with the Swedish state's failure to compensate his teenage daughter who fell ill with narcolepsy after taking the swine flu jab during the pandemic scare in 2009. Her diagnosis came "too late".

Police arrest man after fast-food stand-off
Germany

Police arrest man after fast-food stand-off

UPDATE: A man threatened to set fire to a fast-food outlet in southern Germany on Thursday night with 12 people inside. The 14-hour stand-off ended on Friday morning when armed police stormed the restaurant.

PSG look to extend lead as strike action looms
France

PSG look to extend lead as strike action looms

The action in France's Ligue 1 this weekend looks set to be overshadowed by the announcement that French football clubs will soon hold a strike in protest against a 75 percent tax rate. On the pitch however PSG head to Saint-Etienne looking to stretch their lead at the top of Ligue 1.

France and Germany seek new rules for spying
France

France and Germany seek new rules for spying

No spying on the mobile phones of any heads of state, could perhaps be rule number one. After a week of revelations about the extent of US snooping on its European allies, France and Germany want talks to agree new rules for intelligence relations with the United States.

Swiss seek Austria coach as new football manager
Switzerland

Swiss seek Austria coach as new football manager

Switzerland will aim to recruit former international Marcel Koller as their manager when German Ottmar Hitzfeld bows out after the World Cup.

Volvo cuts thousands of white-collar jobs
Sweden

Volvo cuts thousands of white-collar jobs

Volvo on Friday announced it was cutting some 2,000 jobs as it unveiled third-quarter results showing a five-percent drop in group net sales.

Gibraltar dodges ‘illegal’ Spanish building ban
Spain

Gibraltar dodges ‘illegal’ Spanish building ban

The tiny British outpost of Gibraltar imported a shipment of 2,700 tonnes of rock from Portugal by sea on Thursday, sidestepping a block on construction materials imposed by Spain at the land border.

New faces add fresh twist to El Clásico showdown
Spain

New faces add fresh twist to El Clásico showdown

With the world's biggest stars and two richest clubs on show, it is no surprise that when Barcelona and Real Madrid meet the world stops to take notice.

Hollande running out of time with jobless pledge
France

Hollande running out of time with jobless pledge

The French president François Hollande promised once again on Thursday to stem the rise in unemployment numbers before the end of the year. But with the latest figures released this week revealing yet another rise, Hollande is running out of time to keep his promise.

‘Y Viva España’ singer Manolo Escobar dies
Spain

‘Y Viva España’ singer Manolo Escobar dies

Spanish singer Manolo Escobar, whose Y Viva España became one of the best sellers in Spanish musical history, died Thursday at the age of 82 after a long fight against cancer. He was often considered Spain's first pop star.

Trollhunter director to make English horror film
Norway

Trollhunter director to make English horror film

The Norwegian director of Troll Hunter, the cult horror mockumentary, is set to make his first English language horror film, after received backing from Britain's Goldcrest films, Screen International has reported.

Neo-Nazi defendant does crosswords during trial
Germany

Neo-Nazi defendant does crosswords during trial

Journalists at the trial of Beate Zschäpe, the woman accused of being part of a neo-Nazi murder cell, say she is showing little interest in the evidence being presented against her, choosing instead to do crossword puzzles and eat sweets.

‘Immodest Indians’ to heal Swedish malady
Sweden

‘Immodest Indians’ to heal Swedish malady

A famous violinist and an errant lunch box are part of India's big public diplomacy push to cure the Swedes of their ignorance of India, something which has surprised the ambassador since she set foot in Stockholm.

Stagnant photos from a stagnant world
Sweden

Stagnant photos from a stagnant world

Beautiful but boring, a less kind critic might say, but there are mysterious gems tucked into the aloof exhibition at Fotografiska of work by Inta Ruka, Latvia's most famous photographer, writes Ann Törnkvist.