World Economic Forum hires ex-Norway minister
Switzerland

World Economic Forum hires ex-Norway minister

The Geneva-based World Economic Forum has snapped up Norway's former foreign minister Espen Barth Eide, appointing him as a managing director just two months after he stepped down from government.

Cannot guarantee no NSA snooping: minister
Norway

Cannot guarantee no NSA snooping: minister

Norway's justice minister has admitted in parliament that the country's government cannot guarantee that Norwegian citizens have not been illegally surveilled by the US's National Security Agency.

Oslo joins list of top 50 student cities
Norway

Oslo joins list of top 50 student cities

Oslo has for the first time won a place in the list of the world's top fifty "Best Student Cities" published by London-based education consultants Quacquarelli Symonds.

FIFA’s Blatter: ‘Qatar conditions unacceptable’
Switzerland

FIFA’s Blatter: ‘Qatar conditions unacceptable’

The conditions of workers in 2022 World Cup host state Qatar are unacceptable, FIFA boss Sepp Blatter said Wednesday, as football's Swiss-based governing body called for concrete steps by March to resolve the issue.

Delon’s son found guilty in Geneva shooting
Switzerland

Delon’s son found guilty in Geneva shooting

French veteran actor Alain Delon's son was on Wednesday slapped with a five-month suspended sentence after the accidental shooting of a teenage girl during a party at the actor's Geneva apartment in 2011, Swiss media reported.

Ten wackiest licence plates banned in Sweden
Sweden

Ten wackiest licence plates banned in Sweden

See what sort of silly and sordid licence plate slogans Swedish authorities have deemed inappropriate for the country's roadways.

‘Hot priests’ grace Rome’s calendar
Italy

‘Hot priests’ grace Rome’s calendar

The Italian photographer behind a calendar of brooding priests told The Local his portraits are more about "informing people about the Vatican" and less about showcasing the most beautiful men within the Catholic Church.

The justice minister under fire
Italy

The justice minister under fire

Anna Maria Cancellieri, Italy's justice minister, has come under fire in recent weeks for getting involved in a family friend's criminal case. The Local delves into the scandal and finds out more about one of the country's most talked-about politicians.

Sweden ‘violates the rights’ of guest workers
Sweden

Sweden ‘violates the rights’ of guest workers

A European human rights body slammed Sweden on Wednesday for failing to guarantee equal rights for foreign guest workers, in a rebuke of reforms stemming from a case involving Latvian construction workers.

Pia Sundhage should coach Sweden’s men’s football team
Sweden

Pia Sundhage should coach Sweden’s men’s football team

As Swedes try to recover from their World Cup play-off loss to Portugal, management expert Tor Krusell argues Sweden's best football coach ought to take over the men's team -- if she'd leave the women's national side behind.

Zurich ranks among world’s top student cities
Switzerland

Zurich ranks among world’s top student cities

Zurich is one of the top six cities in the world for university students, according to a ranking issued on Wednesday by QS, the consulting firm.

Heavy snow causes chaos in central France
France

Heavy snow causes chaos in central France

UPDATED: As many as 25 departments in southwestern and central France were on alert on Wednesday as the first wave of winter weather hit the country. Tens of thousands were hit with power cuts and roads and rail transport were hit by delays.

The Dummies Guide to Spanish celebrities
Spain

The Dummies Guide to Spanish celebrities

Ever wondered who the Spanish Kim Kardashian is? And did you know Spain has its very own Justin Bieber? Read on to get the lowdown on the Spanish celebrities everyone should know.

Ikea dumps lesbians due to Russia anti-gay law
Sweden

Ikea dumps lesbians due to Russia anti-gay law

Swedish furniture giant Ikea has been slammed for removing an interview with a lesbian couple from the Russian edition of a customer magazine, citing Russia's law prohibiting "gay propaganda".

Top scorer Messi bags record third Golden Shoe
Spain

Top scorer Messi bags record third Golden Shoe

Barcelona's Argentine star striker Lionel Messi received his third Golden Shoe award on Wednesday as the top league scorer in Europe for his 46 goals in the 2012-2013 season.

Island library seeks to unite locals and migrants
Italy

Island library seeks to unite locals and migrants

A library aimed at helping the children of Lampedusa, the landing point for thousands of migrants each year, better integrate with their foreign counterparts, is set to open.

Ten points in defence of Berlin’s start-up scene
Germany

Ten points in defence of Berlin’s start-up scene

Berlin's start-up scene has gained a lot of media attention recently, both positive and negative. This week's Local List leaps to the defence of the capital's tech industry.

Paris ranked ‘best student city’ in the world
France

Paris ranked ‘best student city’ in the world

Despite its reputation as a cripplingly expensive place to live, Paris once again tops the class in this year’s “Best Student Cities” rankings, published on Wednesday. The French capital narrowly edged out cross-Channel rival London to the title.

Is Erasmus really worth its budget boost?
Germany

Is Erasmus really worth its budget boost?

Erasmus, the world's biggest student exchange, is to expand after 25 years of funding European students to go abroad. But with the EU budget being slashed, does the grant scheme deserve a 50 percent boost to its budget?

IKEA France bosses ‘hit with spying charges’
France

IKEA France bosses ‘hit with spying charges’

Three executives at IKEA France, including the CEO, were charged this week in connection with allegations the company illegally used police files to spy on staff and customers, a judicial source told AFP.

Zurich Insurance sells stake in Hong Kong firm
Switzerland

Zurich Insurance sells stake in Hong Kong firm

Swiss-based giant Zurich Insurance Group announced on Wednesday that it had begun to sell its 9.4-percent holding in Hong Kong-listed company New China Life Insurance.

Spain finds thalidomide maker guilty 50 years on
Spain

Spain finds thalidomide maker guilty 50 years on

A court has ordered the German maker of the banned pregnancy drug thalidomide to compensate Spanish victims who suffered birth defects from it in the 1960s, in a ruling released on Wednesday.

DNA tests fail to identify Paris gunman
France

DNA tests fail to identify Paris gunman

UPDATED: A major manhunt involving hundreds of French police continued in Paris on Wednesday to track down a lone gunman, responsible for two shootings in the French capital. The man has yet to be identified. Stay with us for regular updates throughout the day.

Bullfighter fined for cruelty to horse
Spain

Bullfighter fined for cruelty to horse

A bullfighter in Spain has been slapped with a fine for animal cruelty — for mistreating his horse.

Pensioner hits six cars and wife in parking fiasco
Germany

Pensioner hits six cars and wife in parking fiasco

A Berlin pensioner got into a bit of a pickle as he left his parking space on Tuesday. Not only did he ram into six other cars, he also crashed into his wife.

Population flight from east Germany ends
Germany

Population flight from east Germany ends

Emigration from the former Communist states of East Germany has finally ended, 23 years after reunification. The slowly improving economy is behind the fall in people moving to the west, a report released on Wednesday found.

Ex-wife loses alimony over ‘shopping addiction’
Italy

Ex-wife loses alimony over ‘shopping addiction’

A ruling by Italy's highest court has denied a woman from Pisa the right to financial support from her ex-husband. The reason? Her "compulsive shopping" was a breach of the marital contract and considered to be on a par with adultery.

Eni sells €2.17 bn Russian stake
Italy

Eni sells €2.17 bn Russian stake

Italian energy giant Eni said on Wednesday it is selling its stake in Arctic Russia to Yamal Development, a joint venture owned by Novatek and Gazprom Neft, for €2.17 billion.

VIDEO: Spain’s spoof Xmas lottery ads go viral
Spain

VIDEO: Spain’s spoof Xmas lottery ads go viral

This year’s traditional Christmas lottery TV commercial is proving so unpopular among Spaniards it is fast becoming the most parodied ad in the country’s Internet history.

Brit’s ‘quiet pint’ ends 800km away in Paris
France

Brit’s ‘quiet pint’ ends 800km away in Paris

When Luke Harding from Manchester went for a quiet pint with his mate, he only intended to go for "one drink", but he somehow woke up 800 km away in a toilet in Paris, after an epic night out that has taken the web by storm.

‘Racist’ Christmas catalogue sparks outrage
Sweden

‘Racist’ Christmas catalogue sparks outrage

Swedish department store Åhléns recalled its Christmas catalogue after complaints that two Perler bead figures looked like defamatory blackface figures.

Gibraltar backs UK navy deterrent in ship row
Spain

Gibraltar backs UK navy deterrent in ship row

Gibraltar's chief minister said on Wednesday he had urged Britain to deploy heavyweight navy assets to deter Spanish ships from incursions into its territorial waters.

The Americans who won over Parisian palates
France

The Americans who won over Parisian palates

Making a mark on the Parisian dining scene is no mean feat – especially for foreign entrepreneurs. The Local talks to American Braden Perkins, who owns a wine bar and restaurant in the capital, about work permits, begrudging estate agents, and trying to win over Parisian palates.

Zurich police department sex scandal mushrooms
Switzerland

Zurich police department sex scandal mushrooms

A corruption scandal involving members of Zurich police department’s vice squad has mushroomed to implicate 11 officers, justice officials say.

Prenatal tests boost Swedish abortion figures
Sweden

Prenatal tests boost Swedish abortion figures

More frequent prenatal testing for fetal abnormalities has lead to more early-term abortions in Sweden, a new report shows, with more than one in five foetuses now aborted following the discovery of chromosomal anomalies.

Half of German hospitals in the red
Germany

Half of German hospitals in the red

The financial security of Germany’s hospitals has fallen sharply in the last year with one in every two hospitals making a loss. A study released on Wednesday blamed rising insurance premiums for the precarious situation.

Smugglers go bananas for €60m cocaine haul
Italy

Smugglers go bananas for €60m cocaine haul

Police have seized €60 million worth of cocaine stashed among Caribbean bananas bound for the Italian market.

Statoil in Sweden sued for Roma discrimination
Sweden

Statoil in Sweden sued for Roma discrimination

Sweden's Equality Ombudsman is suing Statoil after petrol station workers turned down members of the Roma community who were looking to hire a car during a test carried out by a Swedish broadcaster.

Sardinia mourns flood dead as storms hit Italy
Italy

Sardinia mourns flood dead as storms hit Italy

The port city of Olbia in Sardinia held a day of mourning Wednesday and prepared to bury its dead after flash floods left 16 people on the island dead.

Top 10 corniest Italian chat-up lines
Italy

Top 10 corniest Italian chat-up lines

The Italians are famed for their sex appeal, but some of their lines are more cringe than Casanova. To help you navigate the Italian dating scene, The Local has created a handy guide to the country's top ten chat-up lines.

China grills Spain over Tibet genocide probe
Spain

China grills Spain over Tibet genocide probe

China is demanding a "clarification" from Madrid after a Spanish court issued an international arrest warrant for former Chinese president Jiang Zemin over alleged genocide in Tibet, Beijing said on Wednesday.

Man ‘kills girl, 14, he met online in forest’
Germany

Man ‘kills girl, 14, he met online in forest’

Police have launched a murder investigation after a 14-year-old girl was found stabbed to death in woods outside Berlin. The prime suspect is her older boyfriend who she met in an online chatroom.

‘Chávez ideas will solve crisis’: Antonio Banderas
Spain

‘Chávez ideas will solve crisis’: Antonio Banderas

Spanish actor Antonio Banderas surprised CNN viewers when he criticized US President Barack Obama and suggested Europe and the US should apply the same economic policies as Venezuela’s late president Hugo Chávez.

Mystery man takes naked stroll on Paris Metro
France

Mystery man takes naked stroll on Paris Metro

Most Parisians had only one thing on their minds on Tuesday evening – getting home from work in time to watch the football. But a mysterious naked man has left some commuters in the capital baffled and bemused as took a walk along the tracks "au naturel".

Women’s Facebook slurs spark baseball bat fight
Switzerland

Women’s Facebook slurs spark baseball bat fight

Police arrested four young women after a friendship that fell apart following insults traded on Facebook and Whatsapp degenerated into a violent confrontation involving a baseball bat and pepper spray at a Saint Gallen train station this week.

Spain’s public holidays in 2014: Official list
Spain

Spain’s public holidays in 2014: Official list

Spain will have a total of nine fully national public holidays in 2014 with two of those falling on a Saturday. For the full list and more information on regional holidays read on.

VIDEO: Les Bleus put a smile on French faces
France

VIDEO: Les Bleus put a smile on French faces

France was in celebratory mood on Wednesday as it basked in the glory of seeing its football team book their tickets to the World Cup in Brazil next summer. Both the press and politicians heralded their often much maligned team, who overcame the odds to beat Ukraine.

Ikea execs charged in French spying scandal
Sweden

Ikea execs charged in French spying scandal

The CEO of Ikea in France and two other top executives were charged on Tuesday in connection with suspicions the French branch of the Swedish home furnishings giant illegally used police files to spy on staff and customers.

Italian man fired over cancer treatment
Italy

Italian man fired over cancer treatment

A man from Marcon, in the northern region of Veneto, was fired from his job as an electrician after taking too much time off for cancer treatment.

Nobel head calls for international spy law
Norway

Nobel head calls for international spy law

The head of the Nobel Peace Prize committee has called for a new set of international laws to protect people's privacy, after leaks from Edward Snowden, a contractor with the US's National Security Agency, highlighted the scope of surveillance.

Frenchman ‘too big to fly’ set to go home by ferry
France

Frenchman ‘too big to fly’ set to go home by ferry

A clinically obese Frenchman told by British Airways, the Queen Mary II cruise ship, and Eurostar that he was "too big" to be transported, is scheduled to finally return to France on Wednesday via P&O ferry from Dover to Calais.

Nazi hunter to probe Norway for war crimes
Norway

Nazi hunter to probe Norway for war crimes

The world's leading Nazi hunter is planning to come to Norway for up to three months to investigate Norwegians who may have committed war crimes as part of the Waffen SS's Wiking division

South Africa shock world champions Spain
Spain

South Africa shock world champions Spain

World champions Spain suffered a 1-0 defeat against South Africa in a friendly which was also marked by Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes' injury.

Germans: ‘Wembley is our front room now’
Germany

Germans: ‘Wembley is our front room now’

The Germans are celebrating 38 years since they last lost a game at the home of English football after their second-string side beat England 1-0 on Tuesday night.

placeholder image
Switzerland

High-stakes Iran nuclear talks resume in Geneva

Intense negotiations were set to resume on Wednesday between Iran and world powers, seeking a landmark breakthrough over Tehran's nuclear programme that also satisfies hardliners in Washington, Israel and the Islamic republic.

‘New security law is kick in mouth to democracy’
Spain

‘New security law is kick in mouth to democracy’

Spain's left-wing opposition Tuesday fiercely criticized a planned government reform which would reportedly toughen penalties for unauthorized demonstrations and make it an offence to "insult" a police officer.

Vatican opens catacombs with virtual tour
Italy

Vatican opens catacombs with virtual tour

The Vatican on Tuesday unveiled a series of catacombs used by early Christians in Rome after a major restoration, including an online virtual tour by Google Maps offering a glimpse into the underground wonders.

Woman locked dog in bathroom until it died
Norway

Woman locked dog in bathroom until it died

A woman in Norway has been sentenced to a 21-day suspended sentence for locking her dog in a bathroom and leaving it there until it died.

Bavarian is Germany’s sexiest dialect – poll
Germany

Bavarian is Germany’s sexiest dialect – poll

Bavarian has been voted the sexiest of all German accents, but largely because they like the sound of their own voice, a poll has revealed. The survey showed two-thirds of Germans find regional dialects sexy.

Court jails NATO man for data spying
Germany

Court jails NATO man for data spying

A German court sentenced a former NATO employee to seven years in jail on Tuesday for spying after the IT expert copied secret data described as the "crown jewels" of the system in order to sell it to a foreign intelligence service.

Gurlitt to get paintings from Nazi art trove back
Germany

Gurlitt to get paintings from Nazi art trove back

Authorities said on Tuesday that they would order the return of several paintings to recluse Cornelius Gurlitt who is accused of hoarding hundreds of priceless artworks stolen by the Nazis.

Mafia trial ‘abuses’ solitary confinement
Sweden

Mafia trial ‘abuses’ solitary confinement

Södertälje mafia suspects appeared in court this week after years of being held in isolation, highlighting Sweden's penchant for long and incommunicado pre-trial detention periods that has some legal experts crying foul.

Older Swedes left behind in web surge
Sweden

Older Swedes left behind in web surge

Almost half of Swedes feel left out of the information society, with older citizens most likely to report a sense of being left behind.

‘White working-class men drive European fascism’
Sweden

‘White working-class men drive European fascism’

Are the Sweden Democrats a one-trick pony? And if not, are they left or right or something else? A new report from liberal think tank Timbro looking into their actual policies tried to find out.