Meeting Mandela and the fight against apartheid
France

Meeting Mandela and the fight against apartheid

France joined the rest of the world in mourning the passing of Nelson Mandela on Thursday. Here Jacqueline Derens, one of the leaders of the French anti-apartheid campaign, tells us about the day she met Madiba and her battle against France's powerful pro-apartheid lobby.

Syria needs fuel biggest ever Red Cross budget
Switzerland

Syria needs fuel biggest ever Red Cross budget

The Red Cross says it will need a record $1.3 billion (one billion euros) to cover its humanitarian activities next year, amid the soaring need for aid in places such as Syria.

Swiss scientist maintains Arafat ‘likely poisoned’
Switzerland

Swiss scientist maintains Arafat ‘likely poisoned’

A French report ruling out poisoning in Yasser Arafat's 2004 death has a glaring inconsistency, the co-author of a Swiss probe said on Thursday, sticking by his team's conclusion that the Palestinian leader was likely killed.

Magazine spies on Switzerland’s top spy
Switzerland

Magazine spies on Switzerland’s top spy

A Swiss magazine says it spent 24 hours snooping on the Alpine country's intelligence boss to give spies a taste of their own medicine.

Roche drug linked to fatal skin reactions in Canada
Switzerland

Roche drug linked to fatal skin reactions in Canada

A drug used to treat advanced breast and colorectal cancers has been linked to sometimes fatal skin reactions in patients, its Swiss manufacturer Roche and Canadian health officials said on Wednesday.

Wawrinka teams up with Swiss hospitality schools
Switzerland

Wawrinka teams up with Swiss hospitality schools

The Swiss Education Group (SEG), operator of five English-language schools in hotel management and culinary arts, announced on Thursday the appointment of tennis star Stanislas Wawrinka as its new ambassador.

Norwegian teen jihadi reported injured in Syria
Norway

Norwegian teen jihadi reported injured in Syria

Two teenaged Norwegian sisters who ran away from home in October, saying they wanted to help rebels in Syria, are indeed in the war-wracked country, a lawyer for their family confirmed Thursday.

Robbers hit chic Paris jewellers for $1 million
France

Robbers hit chic Paris jewellers for $1 million

The spate of armed robberies targeting luxury boutiques in Paris continued on Thursday when thieves targeted a jewellery store in the chic Place Vendôme making off with loot of around $1 million, sources told French media.

Corrupt Sevilla FC boss gets seven years in jail
Spain

Corrupt Sevilla FC boss gets seven years in jail

Jose María del Nido, president of Sevilla football club, has been sentenced to seven years in prison for embezzlement and perverting the course of justice, the club said on Thursday.

Speaker cuts vote on government tax cut
Sweden

Speaker cuts vote on government tax cut

The speaker of Sweden’s parliament has stopped a vote called by Sweden’s opposition parties that would have led to a key government tax cut being blocked.

VIDEO: Storm batters Norway’s south coast
Norway

VIDEO: Storm batters Norway’s south coast

Bridges, roads, airports and schools were shut in Norway on Thursday, as powerful winds, at times hitting hurricane strength, battered the country's south-west coast.

Ten things you love or loathe about France
France

Ten things you love or loathe about France

No nation, it seems, divides opinion quite like France and the French. And when it comes to certain customs and cultures, no one is left on the fence. Where do you stand? Click here to find out if you're a lover or a loather.

Road deaths sink to record low
Germany

Road deaths sink to record low

Deaths on Germany's roads are expected to be lower than ever in 2013, initial figures on Thursday suggested. A total of 3,300 people died in traffic accidents - 10 percent fewer than in 2012.

Franco’s ‘torture’ cops dodge Argentina trial
Spain

Franco’s ‘torture’ cops dodge Argentina trial

Two Spanish ex-policemen have refused to be extradited to Argentina to stand trial for allegedly torturing prisoners decades ago during the Franco dictatorship in Spain, a Madrid court said on Thursday.

Sven’s strong winds sweep southern Sweden
Sweden

Sven’s strong winds sweep southern Sweden

Public transport was cancelled and people were warned to stay indoors as storm Sven swept across the western coast of Sweden on Thursday afternoon, forcing a search for two sailors lost at sea to be scaled back.

Ice Hotel voted ‘best Swedish experience’
Sweden

Ice Hotel voted ‘best Swedish experience’

The unique Ice Hotel in northern Sweden beat off competition from the new Abba museum to scoop the best travel experience in the country award.

Former Ku Klux Klan chief banned from Italy
Italy

Former Ku Klux Klan chief banned from Italy

David Duke, the former leader of the US xenophobic movement, the Ku Klux Klan, was told to leave Italy in early 2012 over fears he was planning "the extermination of black and Jewish races". The news only came to light after his appeal to stay was rejected by a court in Veneto on Tuesday.

Greens want to ditch limos for bicycles
Germany

Greens want to ditch limos for bicycles

Germany's Green Party has called on politicians to ditch their expensive cars for bicycles and smaller vehicles, after the government’s transport contractor reportedly hit financial problems.

North Sea divers win damages at Strasbourg
Norway

North Sea divers win damages at Strasbourg

The North Sea divers who risked their lives to build Norway's offshore oil industry have won a landmark compensation ruling at the European Court of Human rights in Strasbourg.

The teen that dared to speak out against young Swedes’ sex crimes
Sweden

The teen that dared to speak out against young Swedes’ sex crimes

Fed up with the spiral of sex crimes among young Swedes, high school student Mårten Gasslander, 18, wrote an op-ed about the responsibility of assailants - and society. Our Swede of the Week warned of a generation of "gloomy girls and desensitized boys".

Kiss spoils footballer’s ‘best player of 2013’ win
Switzerland

Kiss spoils footballer’s ‘best player of 2013’ win

Switzerland’s best football player of the year is facing criticism from his homeland in Egypt after he kissed a presenter at an awards ceremony in Basel this week.

Emergency landing in Madrid for NYC flight
Spain

Emergency landing in Madrid for NYC flight

Passengers on board a Delta Airlines plane at Madrid's Barajas airport were given a fright on Thursday morning after technical problems forced the aircraft's pilots to carry out an emergency landing minutes after take-off.

Eddie ‘The Eagle’ to jump again on New Year’s Day
Germany

Eddie ‘The Eagle’ to jump again on New Year’s Day

Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards, who turned 50 on Thursday, is planning to jump again on New Year's Day in Germany – 25 years after finishing last at the 1988 Olympics and becoming a global symbol of the plucky underdog.

World’s oldest human DNA found in Spain
Spain

World’s oldest human DNA found in Spain

The world's oldest DNA has been discovered by scientists in northern Spain, part of a finding which could help rewrite the early history of the human species.

France warns of risks of virtual money Bitcoin
France

France warns of risks of virtual money Bitcoin

France's central bank on Thursday warned against the use of the virtual currency bitcoin, noting that it is not only highly volatile but also unregulated by authorities.

Italy’s Catholic festivals get UNESCO status
Italy

Italy’s Catholic festivals get UNESCO status

Four Catholic processions in Italy, which see obelisks marched through cities, have been added to UNESCO's world intangible cultural heritage list.

Breivik lawyer to head left-wing think tank
Norway

Breivik lawyer to head left-wing think tank

The lawyer who represented the Norwegian far-right terrorist Anders Breivik in his trial in 2011 has been appointed to head a new left-leaning think tank in Norway.

Woman charged with biting husband’s testicles
Spain

Woman charged with biting husband’s testicles

A woman in the southern Spanish city of Córdoba has been remanded in custody after she gave her soon-to-be ex-husband a beating and a biting to remember.

Norway arrests web paedophile suspects
Norway

Norway arrests web paedophile suspects

As many as 73 people could be charged with sharing and distributing pornographic images of children in Norway, after the country's biggest yet crack-down on web paedophiles.

NASA orders French food to be launched into space
France

NASA orders French food to be launched into space

US space agency NASA has asked none other than Breton food company Hénaff to team up with renowned French chef Alain Ducasse to design and package a “special occasion” menu of treats for astronauts heading to the International Space Station next summer.

Court backs ban on Paris sex shop near school
France

Court backs ban on Paris sex shop near school

Is a dildo pornographic? Judges at an appeal court in France clearly believe that it is as they confirmed on Thursday a ban on a Paris sex shop because it was located close to a primary school.

‘Good scientists aren’t always that clever’
Sweden

‘Good scientists aren’t always that clever’

You don’t need to be a genius to aspire towards a Nobel Prize, British scientist professor Lord Robert Winston tells The Local. On Friday, the IVF pioneer will be in Stockholm, where he hopes to inspire the next generation of Nobel Laureates.

Italian farmers hold pigs protest against imports
Italy

Italian farmers hold pigs protest against imports

Italian farmers brought pigs to parliament on Thursday in an unusual Christmas season protest against foreign food imports used to make classic Italian products such as pasta, mozzarella cheese and prosciutto ham.

Top court overturns murderer’s life sentence
Switzerland

Top court overturns murderer’s life sentence

The parents of murder victim Lucie Trezzini were dealt a fresh blow on Thursday when Switzerland’s top court issued a judgment overturning a life sentence against the 30-year-old killer of their daughter.

Police bust Chinese illegal immigration ring
Italy

Police bust Chinese illegal immigration ring

Italian police on Thursday arrested eleven people in connection with an alleged Chinese immigration racket in and around the Tuscan town of Prato, where seven people died in a Chinese-run clothes factory on Sunday.

Tourists frightened off by southern Swedish accent
Sweden

Tourists frightened off by southern Swedish accent

The distinctive southern Swedish dialect has been accused of scaring off potential visitors from the rest of the country according to a new report.

Video of fatal gondola crash released
Italy

Video of fatal gondola crash released

A video of the collision on Venice's Grand Canal which killed a German tourist in August was made public on Thursday, as prosecutors continue to determine how the accident happened and who is responsible.

Monkey Jesus priest remanded in custody
Spain

Monkey Jesus priest remanded in custody

The priest of the small Spanish village home to an infamous 'restored' fresco of Jesus Christ was on Thursday remanded in custody on sex and fraud charges.

‘No surprise’ Sweden spies on Russia: minister
Sweden

‘No surprise’ Sweden spies on Russia: minister

Swedish Defence Minister Karin Enström said on Thursday that it was not surprising that Sweden cooperated with the United States' National Security Agency (NSA) in spying on Russia.

Burglars favour weekday winter evenings
Germany

Burglars favour weekday winter evenings

People living in Germany are most at risk of having their houses broken into on a weekday evening during the winter, figures released on Thursday revealed. Built-up areas in western states are particular hotspots.

Spain’s expat tribes: What kind are you?
Spain

Spain’s expat tribes: What kind are you?

Spain's expats are a varied crowd. From jet-setters in Marbella to hipsters in Barcelona, it really does take all sorts. But what kind of Spain expat are you? Read on to find out.

Male asylum worker had sex with patient
Norway

Male asylum worker had sex with patient

A man working at a mental health hospital south of Oslo is being investigated for having sex with a mentally-ill patient, helping her to escape the hospital, and even aiding her in a suicide attempt.

Russia dumps on Sweden in TV toilet rant
Sweden

Russia dumps on Sweden in TV toilet rant

A Swedish TV show which teaches children bodily functions has been used as the latest tactic by Russia to ward off pro-EU Ukrainians branding the programme as "singing genitalia" and an example of western decadence.

H&M recalls kids clothes after copycat outcry
Sweden

H&M recalls kids clothes after copycat outcry

Swedish clothing giant H&M has pulled a line of children's garments after a small Swedish fashion house complained the outfits had almost exactly the same design as their own.

Chickens mob gates of French parliament
France

Chickens mob gates of French parliament

We’ve all heard it said that politicians lack courage, but on Wednesday it was the turn of several dozen actual chickens to mob the gates of the French parliament in Paris. Find out what it was all about.

Aussie exec quits in UBS management shuffle
Switzerland

Aussie exec quits in UBS management shuffle

Aussie expat John Fraser is retiring as CEO of global asset management at UBS after 12 years in the role, the bank said on Thursday.

Meet the Germans who want to move to Mars
Germany

Meet the Germans who want to move to Mars

A €7-billion expedition wants to put humans on Mars within the decade. Thousands have applied to go to the red planet and the would-be-spacemen who want to swap Germany for life on Mars are The Local's Germans of the Week.

Rome project offers hope to dementia sufferers
Italy

Rome project offers hope to dementia sufferers

Italy's ageing population has led to an increase in the number of dementia sufferers, in turn prompting new ideas to help people cope. The Local visited a gallery in Rome to find out how art can help people hold onto their memories.

French schools close as teachers stage walkout
France

French schools close as teachers stage walkout

Almost half of France’s primary teachers were on strike on Thursday, union leaders said, leading to the closure of schools across the country. The industrial action is the latest protest against divisive school reforms.

Hurricane Xaver hits northern Germany
Germany

Hurricane Xaver hits northern Germany

UPDATE: Hurricane Xaver hit northern German late Thursday morning and its strength surpassed expectations. Water levels are expected to rise far high than initially thought, putting cities like Hamburg in danger of flooding.

Man arrested over huge child porn stash
Spain

Man arrested over huge child porn stash

Police in Spain arrested a man with one of the biggest collections of child pornography ever seized there, with more than 800,000 images of violent abuse including bestiality, authorities said Wednesday.

SPD angry over coalition phone call threats
Germany

SPD angry over coalition phone call threats

Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) is investigating a string of threatening phone calls to members warning them of negative consequences if they voted against the “grand coalition” deal with Angela Merkel's Union.

Moody’s boosts Spain’s credit rating to ‘stable’
Spain

Moody’s boosts Spain’s credit rating to ‘stable’

Ratings agency Moody's raised its rating outlook for Spain to "stable" from "negative" Wednesday, citing signs of real improvement in the economy and government finances.

Renault seals $1.3 billion deal with China
France

Renault seals $1.3 billion deal with China

A $1.3 billion joint venture between iconic French carmaker Renault and Chinese firm Dongfeng has finally been approved by Beijing, Dongfeng announced on Thursday, as France's Prime Minister arrived in the country for a five-day visit.

Italy’s electoral law ruled part unconstitutional
Italy

Italy’s electoral law ruled part unconstitutional

Italy's top court on Wednesday ruled that the country's electoral law, which has long been widely criticized across the political spectrum, is partially unconstitutional.

Westerwelle: ‘Gates still open for Ukraine’
Germany

Westerwelle: ‘Gates still open for Ukraine’

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has attacked the "simply unacceptable" economic and political pressure put on the Ukraine, in a thinly veiled jab at Kiev's Soviet-era master Russia.

Kyenge warns against spreading populism
Italy

Kyenge warns against spreading populism

Italy's first black minister Cecile Kyenge, who has been deluged with racist slurs since her appointment in April, urged Europe's leaders on Wednesday not to spread populism or use it to win votes.

Elk hunting in Sweden: one Englishman’s tale
Sweden

Elk hunting in Sweden: one Englishman’s tale

In his latest bid to embrace life in Sweden's far north, former Londoner Paul Connolly joins his first-ever elk hunt, only to find that the search for the king of the forest has left him with a splitting headache.

‘Tourism is our industrial future’: Italian tycoon
Italy

‘Tourism is our industrial future’: Italian tycoon

Italian tycoon Diego Della Valle on Wednesday called for a vast plan to restore monuments and support tourism to boost the economy, as he announced the long-delayed start of an overhaul of the Colosseum.

Mette-Marit fights rumours with smiling pic
Norway

Mette-Marit fights rumours with smiling pic

Norway's Crown Prince and Princess have moved to dispel rumours of an impending split, posting up the first photo of themselves together since Princess Mette-Marit took sick leave in October.

Thousands of Normandy war graves to be replaced
France

Thousands of Normandy war graves to be replaced

Thousands of damaged gravestones for British and Canadian soldiers who died in the Normandy landings during World War II are being replaced for the 70th anniversary of D-Day, officials said on Wednesday.

Swedish hockey star inks record deal in New York
Sweden

Swedish hockey star inks record deal in New York

Swedish national team goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has signed a seven-year contract extension to remain with the National Hockey League's New York Rangers, the club announced on Wednesday.

PSG’s unbeaten run ends with 2-0 loss at Evian
France

PSG’s unbeaten run ends with 2-0 loss at Evian

PSG's nine month unbeaten run came to an abrupt end on Wednesday when they were beaten 2-0 away to minnows Evian. Paris Saint-Germain's lead at the top of Ligue 1 is now only one point. Catch up on all the action here.

Murder probe focuses on cannibal site and garden
Germany

Murder probe focuses on cannibal site and garden

Police are continuing to scour the grounds of a guesthouse where a police detective allegedly killed a man he met on a cannibal website and buried his body parts.

Sweden spied on Russia for NSA: report
Sweden

Sweden spied on Russia for NSA: report

Sweden helps the United States National Security Agency (NSA) spy on Russia, leaked documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal.