Building fire injures two in Zurich city centre
Switzerland

Building fire injures two in Zurich city centre

A fire in Zurich’s Old Town on Wednesday night damaged the top floors of a three-storey building and sent two people to hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.

Schalke knock Basel out of Champions League
Switzerland

Schalke knock Basel out of Champions League

German football side Schalke confirmed their place in the Champions League's knock-out phase with a 2-0 home win against ten-man FC Basel on Wednesday to finish second in Group E behind Chelsea.

‘The Fox’ tops YouTube 2013 chart
Norway

‘The Fox’ tops YouTube 2013 chart

A zany Norwegian music video originally intended as a joke was the most popular video of the year on YouTube, the video streaming website revealed on Wednesday.

Swiss photographer wins Wiki monuments award
Switzerland

Swiss photographer wins Wiki monuments award

A photograph of a Swiss train travelling over a bridge against a snowy backdrop won this year’s annual Wiki Loves Monuments global photo competition.

Crisis leaving the French ‘bitter and divided’
France

Crisis leaving the French ‘bitter and divided’

The French are predominantly pessimistic about the future of their country, as well as divided and bitter towards their fellow citizens, particularly "scroungers", according to two sweeping polls published recently.

Are you an entrepreneur looking for the ultimate opportunity?
Switzerland

Are you an entrepreneur looking for the ultimate opportunity?

Currently branching out into the Swiss and Dutch markets, The Interface Financial Group (IFG) is looking for entrepreneurial minds to lead their brand into the next phase of international business expansion.

Record number of letters headed to Santa: UN
Switzerland

Record number of letters headed to Santa: UN

Many of us cannot recall the last time we got a letter in the mail, but Santa Claus will this year receive a record eight million of them, a Bern-based UN agency said on Wednesday.

VIDEO: Paris set to get its first ‘cat hotel’
France

VIDEO: Paris set to get its first ‘cat hotel’

Three months after France’s first ever cat café opened its doors in Paris, the capital is set to become home to its first ever hotel devoted exclusively to the feline species. "Only in Paris!" we hear you say?

Spain’s hippy pensioners moon to protest cuts
Spain

Spain’s hippy pensioners moon to protest cuts

Spain's pensioner activist group, the "iaioflautas", or "hippy pensioners" caused a stir on Wednesday with their bare bottom protest outside Barcelona's stock exchange building.

Twitter DJ turns politics into poetry
Spain

Twitter DJ turns politics into poetry

A Spaniard has taken 500 tweets by the country's politicians and 'remixed' them to create a novel book of poetry.

‘We will not allow Italy to sink again’: Letta
Italy

‘We will not allow Italy to sink again’: Letta

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta won a confidence vote on Wednesday in the lower house of parliament after promising to push a pro-European agenda, boost economic growth and fight against populism.

Meet France’s fastest moving English teacher
France

Meet France’s fastest moving English teacher

Scottish expat Calum MacDougall had a successful career in finance in France for more than 20 years, before deciding he wanted to do something else. He is now France's fastest moving English teacher after winning a contract to teach French commuters on trains.

In Pictures: Wild storm hits Canary Islands
Spain

In Pictures: Wild storm hits Canary Islands

Thousands of islanders have been left without power, dozens of roads have been cut off due to flooding, winds have reached up to 120km/hour and a total of 3,922 lightning bolts have hit the archipelago in a single morning.

State told to pay collector €8k for binning Nazi flag
France

State told to pay collector €8k for binning Nazi flag

A collector of war memorabilia from Normandy, northern France, has been awarded €8,000 in compensation after a French court ruled that authorities had "illegally" ordered the destruction of a Nazi flag from his prized collection of World World II memorabilia.

Top ten expats types in Sweden: Which are you?
Sweden

Top ten expats types in Sweden: Which are you?

Ask an expat in Sweden why they're here and you'll often hear "for love". But that's not always the case. In fact, there are many different types of expat in Sweden, from the geneaology digger to the faux-Swede. But which type are you?

Sweden mulls sweeping reforms at elite schools
Sweden

Sweden mulls sweeping reforms at elite schools

Sweden's education minister on Tuesday proposed stripping the country's three elite boarding schools of state subsidies and banning them from charging tuition fees in the latest twist in a long-running hazing scandal.

Ten German celebrities we hate to love
Germany

Ten German celebrities we hate to love

Germany's celebrities may not be particularly well-known outside the country, but many provide plenty of entertainment - often without meaning to - for those who are here. This week’s Local List is a guide to our favourites.

Swedes aim to ‘correct’ paper’s ‘xenophobic’ ad
Sweden

Swedes aim to ‘correct’ paper’s ‘xenophobic’ ad

After a leading Swedish newspaper published an ad for a book critical of multiculturalism and immigration, Swedes are raising money for a counter-ad in an attempt to correct what they see as errors and to set the record straight.

More cops to carry ID numbers – and cameras
Germany

More cops to carry ID numbers – and cameras

The central state of Hesse is set to be the third in Germany to require police officers to wear identification numbers, while others have been wearing cameras in a pilot project to try to reduce the thousands of attacks against them.

Spain to trial promising HIV treatment
Spain

Spain to trial promising HIV treatment

Researchers at a Spanish hospital announced have announced they will start trials next year of a therapeutic vaccine for patients who already have HIV, the virus that causes Aids.

Pope Francis named Time’s Person of the Year
Italy

Pope Francis named Time’s Person of the Year

Pope Francis has been named Time magazine's Person of the Year 2013. The pontiff was praised for turning the Catholic Church around within months of arriving at the Vatican.

Lesbian parents ‘happier’ than straight couples
Sweden

Lesbian parents ‘happier’ than straight couples

Lesbian couples who start families with donated sperm show fewer signs of stress upon becoming parents compared to heterosexual couples using IVF. They are also happier in their romantic life, a new study has shown.

60-year-old cleaner runs brothel from Treviso
Italy

60-year-old cleaner runs brothel from Treviso

A 60-year-old woman from Treviso set up brothels from a number of apartments across the northern Italian city after the cleaning firm she had worked for went bust.

Nobel winner pushes for chemical arms ban
Norway

Nobel winner pushes for chemical arms ban

The body tasked with ridding the world of chemical weapons picked up its Nobel Peace Prize in a ceremony in Oslo on Tuesday and said it hoped the prestige would speed a global ban on the dreaded arms.

Norway’s priests call for gay marriage service
Norway

Norway’s priests call for gay marriage service

Norway's priests have called on the country's church authorities to draw up a marriage service suitable for gay and lesbian couples.

Remodelled Olympic Museum sports new look
Switzerland

Remodelled Olympic Museum sports new look

With a transformed interior and dozens of interactive digital displays, the Olympic Museum in Lausanne is reopening after a major renovation project that took nearly two years to complete.

French bureaucrats send letter to Napoleon
France

French bureaucrats send letter to Napoleon

The agency behind France's census was left red-faced this week after sending out a letter to a French citizen who died almost 200 years ago. As if that wasn't bad enough, the recipient was none other than Napoleon Bonaparte himself. Click here to see for yourself.

Italy says ‘traffic light’ system ‘unfair’ on its diet
Italy

Italy says ‘traffic light’ system ‘unfair’ on its diet

Italians are up in arms after their famed food products such as olive oil and cheeses were given a negative "red" in the UK's "traffic light" food labelling system. Debate over the obesity-fighting campaign has now reached the EU's doors in Brussels.

Celebs lead gay rights fight with kisses
Germany

Celebs lead gay rights fight with kisses

The German version of men's magazine GQ launched an eye catching campaign against homophobia this month. An upcoming edition features a photo essay of straight, male, German celebs kissing.

French TV plots new fight against English invasion
France

French TV plots new fight against English invasion

Leaders of France’s TV and radio industry met this week to come up with a strategy to boost the French resistance against the invasion of English. The Local went along to find out how the battle lines are being drawn.

Spain’s security guards to get powers of arrest
Spain

Spain’s security guards to get powers of arrest

Spain could soon see private security guards carrying out police-style duties such as stopping and searching people, demanding identification and carrying out arrests.

Robbers in Naples tunnel into MPS bank
Italy

Robbers in Naples tunnel into MPS bank

A plan by robbers to dig a tunnel leading to the vault of a Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank in Naples would have been meticuolous had it not been for one thing: they dug right next to a police station.

Germany tells Afghan leader to sign NATO pact
Germany

Germany tells Afghan leader to sign NATO pact

Germany's defence minister on a visit to Afghanistan on Wednesday urged President Hamid Karzai to quickly sign a deal to pave the way for a continued NATO presence after 2014.

Swedes ‘less certain’ about EU membership
Sweden

Swedes ‘less certain’ about EU membership

Swedish eurozone entry is off the cards and its EU membership would be in danger if Swedes went to the polls today, according to a new survey that also reveals increasingly hesitant opinions about European institutions.

Silvio Berlusconi’s pet dog is a Facebook hit
Italy

Silvio Berlusconi’s pet dog is a Facebook hit

Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi may have fallen from grace after his recent expulsion from parliament, but his pet dog is becoming ever more popular, with a new Facebook page that has attracted over 1,500 fans.

Delight as Munich zoo polar bear has twins
Germany

Delight as Munich zoo polar bear has twins

Giovanna the polar bear has given birth to twins at Munich zoo. Their birth on Monday morning was thought to be the first time a polar bear giving birth has been captured in colour on video.

‘Sexist’ Ryanair calendar ads too racy for Spain
Spain

‘Sexist’ Ryanair calendar ads too racy for Spain

A judge in the southern Spanish city of Malaga has ordered low-cost airline Ryanair to stop advertising its hugely popular annual charity calender by using "discriminatory" images of flight attendants in bikinis.

Sweden warms to ‘gender equal’ snow ploughing
Sweden

Sweden warms to ‘gender equal’ snow ploughing

Stockholm's snow ploughing system may soon be overhauled to ensure a fairer balance between how easy it is for both men and women to get around during the winter months, the latest development in an emerging trend in Sweden to implement "gender-equal" snow removal.

More than 1m Italian children are in poverty
Italy

More than 1m Italian children are in poverty

More than a million children in Italy, or one in ten, live in absolute poverty, according to figures from the children’s charity, Save the Children.

Record number of tourists head to Berlin
Germany

Record number of tourists head to Berlin

Berlin saw a new record for the number of tourists visiting in October, figures released on Wednesday revealed. Culture was the city's number one draw.

Sweden’s highest-paid CEOs keep getting richer
Sweden

Sweden’s highest-paid CEOs keep getting richer

The best-paid CEOs in Sweden saw their collective paychecks balloon by nearly 100 million kronor ($15.1 million) in 2012, found a new review that also discovered that Sweden's highest earner last year was a woman.

PostBus sends ‘past due’ chocolate Christmas gifts
Switzerland

PostBus sends ‘past due’ chocolate Christmas gifts

PostBus Switzerland has admitted to mailing around 3,000 chocolate bars past their due date as Christmas gifts to regular customers.

IN PICTURES: Nobel gala’s flashiest fashion
Sweden

IN PICTURES: Nobel gala’s flashiest fashion

It's not all atoms and equations, but one helluva party at Stockholm City Hall as Nobel Prize Laureates and their spouses took to the dance floor of the Gilded Hall for the dance-off of the season following Tuesday's awards ceremony and banquet.

Italians nab senior with 200,000 francs at border
Italy

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.

French train strike set to cause major disruption
France

French train strike set to cause major disruption

Travellers and commuters in France have been warned to expect disruption to their travel plans over the next two days when rail workers will stage a strike in protest against proposed reforms. Find out if you will be affected.

‘We believe kidnapped journalists are alive’
Spain

‘We believe kidnapped journalists are alive’

Colleagues and relatives of two Spanish reporters kidnapped by Al-Qaeda-linked radicals in Syria said on Tuesday they believed the pair were alive and well and urged their captors to free them.

Ethnic Norwegians in population decline
Norway

Ethnic Norwegians in population decline

The number of ethnic Norwegians has dropped over the past decade, with Norway's population growth attributable solely to immigration and children born to Norwegians with an immigrant background, according to figures from Statistics Norway.

German teen ‘dies fighting in Syria’
Germany

German teen ‘dies fighting in Syria’

A German teenager has died in Syria just days after arriving to fight on side of rebels opposing the forces of President Bashar al-Assad, it has been reported.

Alitalia CEO promises ‘no layoffs’
Italy

Alitalia CEO promises ‘no layoffs’

There will be no layoffs as part of the revised industrial plan for Italy's heavily indebted flagship carrier, Alitalia, the company's CEO said on Tuesday.

Ronaldo bags goal record in Copenhagen win
Spain

Ronaldo bags goal record in Copenhagen win

Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score nine goals in the group stages of the Champions League as Real Madrid won 2-0 away at FC Copenhagen on Tuesday.

Santander set to move into China market
Spain

Santander set to move into China market

Spanish banking giant Santander said on Tuesday it was expanding its presence in China by buying a stake in the major Chinese lender Bank of Shanghai.

Norway’s richest man ‘gives away’ fortune
Norway

Norway’s richest man ‘gives away’ fortune

Norway's richest man has given his 26 billion kroner ($4.3bn) fortune to a new foundation, which will oversee his businesses and distribute part of the profits to charitable causes.

Germans fall out of love with Lebkuchen
Germany

Germans fall out of love with Lebkuchen

Sales of Germany’s famous Christmas treat, Lebkuchen, have collapsed due to falling domestic demand with a 22 percent decline in production in three years, the national statistics office said on Tuesday.

VIDEO: Friendship between dog and fox
Norway

VIDEO: Friendship between dog and fox

A video showing the friendship between Tinni and Sniffer, a dog and a fox in Ski south of Oslo, has been released on video by Tinni's owner Torgeir Berge. Berge's photos of the pair have been seen by more than a million people worldwide.

French action in CAR is ‘dangerous’: Hollande
France

French action in CAR is ‘dangerous’: Hollande

French President François Hollande admitted on Tuesday that France's intervention in the Central African Republic was "dangerous" but vital to avoid a bloodbath. The head of state paid a visit to French troops in CAR on Tuesday night, a day after two were killed by rebels.

Letta faces confidence vote post-Berlusconi
Italy

Letta faces confidence vote post-Berlusconi

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta was set to win a confidence vote on Wednesday amid a political sea change after the sidelining of Silvio Berlusconi and the rise of centre-left leader Matteo Renzi.

French ban on Islamic veil goes on trial
France

French ban on Islamic veil goes on trial

A key trial begins in France on Wednesday when a lawyer for a young woman, whose arrest for wearing a full-face veil sparked riots in a Paris suburb, will challenge the legality of the country's ban on wearing the Islamic face-covering in public.

Man beats fraud charges: It was ‘self-defence’
Sweden

Man beats fraud charges: It was ‘self-defence’

A 21-year-old man has been acquitted of fraud charges after a court in western Sweden ruled he only committed the fraud in self-defence.

Pope Francis statuettes ‘selling like hot cakes’
Italy

Pope Francis statuettes ‘selling like hot cakes’

Nativity scene artisans in Italy have taken Pope Francis's social message to heart this Christmas, giving a bigger role to ordinary people in their work and reviving the tradition's simple origins.

Bayern stumble to 3-2 Manchester City defeat
Germany

Bayern stumble to 3-2 Manchester City defeat

Bayern Munich were beaten by Manchester City 3-2 on Tuesday, their first defeat in a major competition since coach Pep Guardiola took charge in June.

Sweden aids NSA-led hacking ops: report
Sweden

Sweden aids NSA-led hacking ops: report

Sweden cooperated with the United States in operations to hack into computers and carry out internet surveillance on Swedes, according to documents leaked by NSA-whistleblower Edward Snowden.