Outlook brightens for Swiss economy in 2014
Switzerland

Outlook brightens for Swiss economy in 2014

Switzerland’s economy is expected to show robust growth in 2014 with immigration responsible at least in part, say forecasters who only disagree on how great the expansion will be.

IOC wins Sochi pledge to allow protests at Games
Switzerland

IOC wins Sochi pledge to allow protests at Games

Russian authorities have agreed to go back on President Vladimir Putin's decree that no protests will be permitted at the Olympics in Sochi next February after pressure applied from the International Olympic Committee, IOC president Thomas Bach announced on Tuesday.

Spirit of Mandela lives on at glittering Nobel gala
Sweden

Spirit of Mandela lives on at glittering Nobel gala

The 2013 Nobel laureates picked up their prizes on Tuesday in Stockholm, where the late Nelson Mandela's legacy was remembered at a ceremony followed by a stately banquet in the Swedish capital's City Hall.

Italians nab senior with 200,000 francs at border
Switzerland

Italians nab senior with 200,000 francs at border

An 88-year-old Swiss man was caught near the Italian border trying to smuggle 200,000 francs ($225,000) in cash into Italy, customs from Italy said.

Tsars’ correspondence commands princely sum
Switzerland

Tsars’ correspondence commands princely sum

More than 230 letters from Russian tsars and their families, packed with the secrets of the imperial court, have sold in Geneva for ten times their asking price, auctioneers said on Tuesday.

Are French finding foie gras hard to swallow?
France

Are French finding foie gras hard to swallow?

Is France’s love affair with foie gras finally starting to turn sour? The contentious delicacy has long been a mainstay of French culinary culture, but a recent poll suggests many French are actually turned off the gourmet product because of the way it is made.

French café charges extra for rudeness
France

French café charges extra for rudeness

The owners of a café in the south of France have struck a blow for good old-fashioned French politeness, with a sign charging extra for customers who forget their manners while ordering their coffee.

Sweden Democrats: More heads may roll
Sweden

Sweden Democrats: More heads may roll

Several more politicians risk being kicked out of the Sweden Democrat party following revelations that they posted xenophobic and insulting messages on various far-right websites.

Italy’s recovery remains elusive: economists
Italy

Italy’s recovery remains elusive: economists

The Italian economy has emerged from two years of contraction, data showed on Tuesday, but economists warned that recovery will remain elusive as resistance grows to further tax hikes and reforms.

Top Ten: Spaniards who shaped the news in 2013
Spain

Top Ten: Spaniards who shaped the news in 2013

With 2014 just around the corner, The Local takes a look at ten key figures who have shaped the news in Spain over a dramatic 12 months.

Naked protesters mar Nobel awards ceremony
Sweden

Naked protesters mar Nobel awards ceremony

As VIP guests and Nobel laureates gathered in Stockholm for Tuesday's Nobel Prize award ceremony, four naked protesters caused a scene in an effort to raise awareness about dissidents in China who are suffering under the Chinese regime.

The truth about leaves of absence in Sweden
Sweden

The truth about leaves of absence in Sweden

Sweden is famous for its generous maternity leave, but how about getting leave if you're not a parent - and what are you eligible for? The Local takes a closer look at the ins and outs of leaves of absence and what Swedish law actually says.

Merkel under fire for missing Mandela tribute
Germany

Merkel under fire for missing Mandela tribute

Chancellor Angela Merkel has come under fire for missing Nelson Mandela's memorial in Johannesburg on Tuesday. Although dozens of world leaders made the trip, she stayed in Berlin.

Smog alert issued for ‘toxic’ Barcelona
Spain

Smog alert issued for ‘toxic’ Barcelona

Authorities have raised an air pollution alert for the Spanish city of Barcelona, a major tourist draw which has lain for days under a toxic grey mist, an official said on Tuesday.

Dozens of seal pups missing after hurricane
Germany

Dozens of seal pups missing after hurricane

UPDATE: While hurricane Xaver did not tear up Germany as much as expected, it did destroy large stretches of dunes and on one island 47 seal pups are missing.

French minister snubs Google event in Paris
France

French minister snubs Google event in Paris

France's culture minister controversially snubbed Google on Tuesday, cancelling, at the last minute, her attendance at the launch of the US internet giant's cultural hub in Paris, citing concerns over data protection and other issues.

Gauck ‘cannot afford to be vague on Russia’
Germany

Gauck ‘cannot afford to be vague on Russia’

President Joachim Gauck is not being clear enough in his decision to boycott the Sochi Winter Olympics. As a citizen he can afford a lack of clarity, but as head of state he cannot, the Tagesspiegel's Stephan-Andreas Casdorff argues.

Italy’s ‘ecomafia’ boss arrested in Naples
Italy

Italy’s ‘ecomafia’ boss arrested in Naples

Police on Tuesday arrested a mafia boss accused of being the mastermind behind two decades of illegal toxic waste dumping, which has been blamed for increasing cancer rates in the area around Naples in southern Italy.

German cities pile up mountain of debt
Germany

German cities pile up mountain of debt

The number of German cities threatened with bankruptcy has increased over recent years, with the gap between rich and poor areas growing, a study revealed on Tuesday.

Sweden’s ‘coolest’ concert: an igloo full of instruments made of ice
Sweden

Sweden’s ‘coolest’ concert: an igloo full of instruments made of ice

A team in Luleå is in the process of putting together a long-running musical event to be performed on instruments made out of ice in what has been touted as the biggest ice concert in an igloo that Sweden has ever seen.

Swedish man sent home with broken neck
Sweden

Swedish man sent home with broken neck

A Swedish man complaining of pain in his neck after a fall in his bathroom was sent home from hospital without an x-ray only to find that he was nursing a broken neck.

Code Red: Wild storms to batter Canaries
Spain

Code Red: Wild storms to batter Canaries

Up to 30 litres per square metre could fall in a single hour on the islands of Tenerife, EL Hierro and La Palma. Winds of up to 100km/hour are also expected.

Progress called to apologize for apartheid
Norway

Progress called to apologize for apartheid

Norway's governing Progress Party has been challenged in parliament to apologize for supporting South Africa's apartheid regime throughout the 1980s, as the country's politicians heap praise on Nelson Mandela, the country's first black president, who died last Thursday.

Police bust ‘low-cost’ dope dealers
Spain

Police bust ‘low-cost’ dope dealers

Two men have been arrested for selling cheap 'anti-crisis' drug packages to school students in the Spanish city of Alicante.

UN announces airlifted aid to Syria from Iraq
Switzerland

UN announces airlifted aid to Syria from Iraq

The UN said in Geneva on Tuesday that it would for the first time begin airlifting food and other aid items across the border from Iraq to Syria after receiving the go-ahead from both governments.

Syria weapon destruction starts end Jan: watchdog
Norway

Syria weapon destruction starts end Jan: watchdog

The head of the world's chemical weapons watchdog said on Tuesday that the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons could begin in late January.

Free coffee helps beat crisis woes in Naples
Italy

Free coffee helps beat crisis woes in Naples

Cafes across Naples marked "Suspended Coffee Day" on Tuesday, spotlighting a remarkable tradition of social solidarity in the crisis-hit Italian city that is now more needed than ever.

Rome ‘grocer’ parodies Van Damme Volvo ad
Italy

Rome ‘grocer’ parodies Van Damme Volvo ad

VIDEO: A group of Italians from Rome used two three-wheeled cars to carry out a parody of Jean-Claude Van Damme's famous 'epic split' ad, in which the actor performs the splits between two moving Volvo lorries.

EU backs Spain’s ‘destructive’ trawlers
Spain

EU backs Spain’s ‘destructive’ trawlers

The European Parliament has narrowly rejected a ban on bottom trawling, blamed by environmentalists for massive deep-sea destruction but defended by Spain and France.

German tourist ‘raped by yoga teacher’
Germany

German tourist ‘raped by yoga teacher’

Police in the Indian holiday state of Goa arrested a yoga teacher on Tuesday accused of raping one of his students, a 33-year-old German tourist.

Policeman catches child after two-storey plunge
Italy

Policeman catches child after two-storey plunge

A policeman in Cantù, in the lakeside province of Como, caught a three-year old boy after he fell from the window of an apartment building.

‘The world needs to know what France is up to’
France

‘The world needs to know what France is up to’

After blasting the US in the wake of the NSA spying revelations, the last thing you would expect France to do is rush through a reform that opens the way for widespread surveillance of its citizens. A French digital rights group tells The Local why we should all be alarmed.

‘Court error’ lands porn streamers in hot water
Germany

‘Court error’ lands porn streamers in hot water

A lawyer says thousands of people who received legal letters and demands for money after streaming free online porn were victims of German officials who misunderstood what kind of website they were dealing with.

Letter delivered 17 years late in Bolzano
Italy

Letter delivered 17 years late in Bolzano

A letter posted just 500 metres away from its intended destination in the northern Italian city of Bolzano has been delivered - 17 years late.

‘I hope they starve’ post fells Sweden Democrat
Sweden

‘I hope they starve’ post fells Sweden Democrat

A leading Sweden Democrat has been forced to resign following revelations that she had posted xenophobic and insulting messages on various far-right websites.

Diner attacks McDonald’s with axe over ‘cold fries’
France

Diner attacks McDonald’s with axe over ‘cold fries’

A diner at a McDonald's drive-thru near Paris skipped the usual customer complaints procedure recently, after being served fries he deemed too cold. Instead, the man grabbed an axe and launched into a violent and terrifying attack, according to Le Parisien.

Banned: Boys’ guide on ‘how to mistreat women’
Spain

Banned: Boys’ guide on ‘how to mistreat women’

A joke book for young boys has been taken off the market after Spain's Women's Institute threatened to take the publishing company to court over its chauvinistic content.

Costa Concordia captain ‘denied ship was sinking’
Italy

Costa Concordia captain ‘denied ship was sinking’

The coast guard commander famed for his stern rebuke to the captain of the Costa Concordia, when the cruise ship ran aground in January 2012, has accused him of denying the ship was in trouble until an hour after it began to sink.

Child ‘brainwashed’ into protesting: Government
Spain

Child ‘brainwashed’ into protesting: Government

The government of Spain's Valencia region is investigating a local primary school where it says children as young as six could have been 'brainwashed' into carrying out a political protest.

Customer bah humbugs Nikolaus delivery man
Germany

Customer bah humbugs Nikolaus delivery man

A German delivery man who dressed up as Saint Nikolaus to make his rounds last week ended up having to take off his costume in front of police officers after a customer complained it was an affront to his religious freedom.

Raise petrol prices threefold: researchers
Sweden

Raise petrol prices threefold: researchers

Swedish researchers have suggested that fuel prices should be raised to 42 kronor ($6.40) per litre, more three times higher than current prices, if the country is to achieve a vehicle fleet independent of fossil fuels by 2030.

Economists dub France the ‘sick man of Europe’
France

Economists dub France the ‘sick man of Europe’

After a leading economic think-tank dubbed France "the sick man of Europe", claiming nothing has changed in two years, a French economist hits back telling The Local things are changing but it's unrealistic to expect a revolution.

Fennel thieves face six years in Sicilian jail
Italy

Fennel thieves face six years in Sicilian jail

Three Moroccan men are facing up to six years between them in a Sicilian jail for stealing seven fennel - a loot worth just €5.

Solar Impulse co-founder in helicopter crash
Switzerland

Solar Impulse co-founder in helicopter crash

The pilot of a helicopter that crashed on a glacier in the canton of Valais on Sunday is one of the co-founders of the Solar Impulse project to fly a fuel-free plane around the world, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Swedish woman’s ‘murder’ exposed as fake
Sweden

Swedish woman’s ‘murder’ exposed as fake

The story of a Swedish woman allegedly murdered by her asylum-seeker ex-boyfriend and which then spread across the internet via Facebook and other social media sites has been revealed as a fake.

Made in France ‘Criminal Case’ conquers Facebook
France

Made in France ‘Criminal Case’ conquers Facebook

There was a welcome piece of news for French business this week, after the French detective game “Criminal Case” won Facebook Game of the Year. With a staggering 100 million players this year, it held off stiff competition from the likes of Candy Crush Saga.

VIDEO: Daredevil cycles backwards at 80kmh
Norway

VIDEO: Daredevil cycles backwards at 80kmh

Norwegian daredevil Eskil Ronningsbakken has released a terrifying video of himself racing down one of Norway's steepest mountain roads backwards on a bicycle.

Breast implant scandal: Founder of firm jailed
France

Breast implant scandal: Founder of firm jailed

The founder of the firm that sparked a global health scare by using industrial-grade silicone in breast implants given to women across the world was jailed by a French court on Tuesday. Jean-Claude Masa had been dubbed "the sorcerer's apprentice of implants".

Frankfurt buses stay parked in strike
Germany

Frankfurt buses stay parked in strike

Commuters in Frankfurt and nearby towns faced a difficult trip to work on Tuesday as almost every bus in the city stood stationary after drivers went on strike to push for €12 an hour pay and a 39-hour week.

Pope Francis is ‘the most popular’ on Facebook
Italy

Pope Francis is ‘the most popular’ on Facebook

Pope Francis fended off competition from the British royal baby Prince George and US singer Miley Cyrus to become 2013's most popular topic globally on Facebook.

Ikea stuffed wolf sells out amid Hong Kong fury
Sweden

Ikea stuffed wolf sells out amid Hong Kong fury

Ikea stores in Hong Kong have unexpectedly sold out of a stuffed toy wolf, the Swedish furniture giant announced on Tuesday, after it became the unlikely symbol of opposition to the city's unpopular government.

Underground data vault business booms
Switzerland

Underground data vault business booms

It looks like the ideal location for a James Bond thriller: a massive underground bunker in a secret location in the Swiss Alps used for keeping data safe from prying eyes.

Congo charges Norway man for killing cellmate
Norway

Congo charges Norway man for killing cellmate

Joshua French, the Norwegian man jailed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been accused once again of murdering his cell-mate and countryman Tjostolv Moland in a serious blow to efforts to secure his release.

Rebels capture Spanish journalists in Syria
Spain

Rebels capture Spanish journalists in Syria

A radical group linked to Al-Qaeda kidnapped two Spanish journalists reporting in Syria in September and is holding them captive, El Mundo newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Ronaldo eyes Champions League goal record
Spain

Ronaldo eyes Champions League goal record

Cristiano Ronaldo can set a new record for goals scored in a Champions League group stage when already-qualified Real Madrid visit FC Copenhagen on Tuesday.

Fake guard robs €60k from Rome’s H&M store
Italy

Fake guard robs €60k from Rome’s H&M store

A man posing as a security guard robbed €60,000 from the flagship store of the Swedish fashion giant, H&M, in Rome after holding a shop assistant at gunpoint.

Norway to Sweden: Can we rent your prisons?
Sweden

Norway to Sweden: Can we rent your prisons?

Sweden's surplus of prison spaces has prompted Norway's justice minister to ask about possibility of renting places in Swedish prisons for Norwegian prisoners.

Norway to Sweden: Can we rent out your prisons?
Norway

Norway to Sweden: Can we rent out your prisons?

Norway has asked to lease out prison spaces from its neighbour Sweden in a bid to end a shortage of cells which police complain forces them to release criminals.

French soldiers killed in Central African Republic
France

French soldiers killed in Central African Republic

Two French soldiers have been killed in Central African Republic, where Paris has sent troops to quell sectarian violence, the president's office said on Tuesday. President François Hollande is due to fly to the conflict-ridden country later on Tuesday.

‘No apology needed for apartheid stance’: Bildt
Sweden

‘No apology needed for apartheid stance’: Bildt

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt on Monday rejected calls for his Moderate Party to apologize for its previous stance on sanctions for apartheid South Africa ahead of Nelson Mandela's funeral on Tuesday.

H&M ready to hike prices to boost worker pay
Sweden

H&M ready to hike prices to boost worker pay

Swedish fashion giant H&M said on Monday that it would consider raising retail prices in order to pay better wages to some of the world's poorest textile workers.

Father of Berlin Wall reconciliation dies
Germany

Father of Berlin Wall reconciliation dies

The man behind one of Germany's central memorials to the inhumanity of the Berlin Wall has died, less than a year after he retired.

Airbus maker to cut 2,600 jobs in Germany
Germany

Airbus maker to cut 2,600 jobs in Germany

European aerospace giant EADS, the maker of Airbus aircraft, announced plans on Monday to cut 2,600 jobs in Germany as part of widespread cuts to its defence sector.