Former bishops resign after gay marriage call
Norway

Former bishops resign after gay marriage call

Two former bishops have resigned from the body that represents priests in Norway in protest at its decision to call for gay church marriages.

F1 driver Sutil to race for Swiss Sauber team
Switzerland

F1 driver Sutil to race for Swiss Sauber team

Germany's Adrian Sutil will race for Sauber next season, the Swiss Formula One team announced on Friday.

‘Legalize polygamy’: Progress youth wing
Norway

‘Legalize polygamy’: Progress youth wing

Youth activists from Norway's governing Progress Party have voted to push for men and women to be allowed to marry as many partners as they desire, in a move described as "a pretty bad idea" by the party's national leadership.

Top envoy in Congo to help jailed Norwegian
Norway

Top envoy in Congo to help jailed Norwegian

One of Norway's most experienced international diplomats arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday tasked with helping a Norwegian charged with murdering his cellmate.

‘Spaniards are more critical of Europe now’
Spain

‘Spaniards are more critical of Europe now’

As protesters take to the streets in the Ukraine, The Local talks to Spanish foreign policy analyst Alicia Sorroza about the implications for Europe as a whole and Spain in particular.

WEEKLY REVIEW: Five stories worth telling
France

WEEKLY REVIEW: Five stories worth telling

The weekend is upon us, which means dinner parties with your French neighbours and trips to the pub with expat friends. Here are five of the best conversation-starting stories from France, that you may have missed this week.

Ronaldo deserves Ballon d’Or: Real boss
Spain

Ronaldo deserves Ballon d’Or: Real boss

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said on Friday it would be unfair if star striker Cristiano Ronaldo failed to win the Ballon d'Or for World Footballer of the Year in 2013.

Sweden ‘open’ to slave trade reparations
Sweden

Sweden ‘open’ to slave trade reparations

Sweden's top diplomat in the Caribbean said an effort by a group of countries in the region to seek reparations from former colonial powers for the effects of the Atlantic slave trade should be "taken seriously".

Hobbits, Helgoland and a tutu – the week in pics
Germany

Hobbits, Helgoland and a tutu – the week in pics

The Local's selection of the week's best news pictures includes a polar bear birth, school children protesting, a man in a tutu and topless women crashing a TV show.

Expats and French unite against wind farms
France

Expats and French unite against wind farms

A plan to place towering wind turbines throughout a picturesque part of the French countryside has united both expats and French in opposition, who claim the beauty of the area will be lost and tourists will stay away.

‘The benefits of Italian life can’t be matched’
Italy

‘The benefits of Italian life can’t be matched’

American Greg Culver moved to Lake Como with his wife and baby daughter, putting their careers on hold to soak up the Italian culture and learn the language. He tells The Local how they fell in love with the food and scenery of northern Italy, and why the wine might persuade them to stay longer than planned.

Italy is a ‘slave of Jewish bankers’
Italy

Italy is a ‘slave of Jewish bankers’

Andrea Zunino, a spokesman for Pitchfork, the movement behind a wave of anti-austerity protests across Italy this week, said the country is a "now a slave of the bankers, like Rothschild" and that "five of the world’s six richest people are Jews".

Nazi art trove: Police break into Gurlitt’s flat
Germany

Nazi art trove: Police break into Gurlitt’s flat

Police broke into the flat of Cornelius Gurlitt on Thursday, the son of a Nazi art dealer who hoarded hundreds of works believed to have been looted by the Third Reich. Officers became concerned that no-one had heard from him.

€17.5m boost for Berlin’s public transport
Germany

€17.5m boost for Berlin’s public transport

An extra €17.5 million will be invested in Berlin’s public transport each year from 2014. Much of the money will be used to increase capacity on the stretched network.

Spanish bank debt to ECB hits new low
Spain

Spanish bank debt to ECB hits new low

Debt owed by Spanish banks to the European Central Bank fell again in November to its lowest level since February 2012, Bank of Spain data showed on Friday.

Swedish princesses in ‘sweet’ Christmas video
Sweden

Swedish princesses in ‘sweet’ Christmas video

Prince Daniel, his wife Crown Princess Victoria, and their daughter Estelle released a Christmas message on Friday that featured the young family making gingerbread cookies together.

Profit warning sours candy giant’s IPO plans
Sweden

Profit warning sours candy giant’s IPO plans

Swedish candy maker Candyking has scrapped a much-hyped initial public offering after issuing a profit warning the day before its shares were due to start trading on the Stockholm stock exchange.

‘Pisa tumble no surprise in chaotic schools’
Sweden

‘Pisa tumble no surprise in chaotic schools’

Tardy students, chaos, crumbling knowledge, mobile phones in the classroom. It's no wonder Swedish pupils are performing badly in global education rankings, argues liberal commentator Nima Sanandaji. The issue could come to dominate next year's elections.

Countdown: Spain set for low-cost space trips
Spain

Countdown: Spain set for low-cost space trips

'Budget' flights into space are set to take off from Spain's Canary Islands within a matter of years.

Madonna’s ex toy boy has stage to himself
France

Madonna’s ex toy boy has stage to himself

Despite being a primetime TV star and sex symbol in France, and despite his three-year romance with Madonna, 30 years his senior, breakdancer Brahim Zaibat is virtually unknown around the world. The couple broke up this week, citing heavy workloads. But is that really all there was to it?

Brits and Americans opt for Spanish jails
Spain

Brits and Americans opt for Spanish jails

British and American prisoners doing time in Spain's jails often have the right to serve out their sentences in their home countries. So why are they choosing to stay in Spain?

Police keep 24-hr watch over empty Xmas gifts
Spain

Police keep 24-hr watch over empty Xmas gifts

Police in the Spanish city of Vigo have been ordered to maintain an around-the-clock watch over a collection of empty Christmas presents, a task officers say is "humiliating".

Italy’s foreign minister announces Iran visit
Italy

Italy’s foreign minister announces Iran visit

Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino will visit Iran, her ministry said on Friday, less than a month after meeting her Iranian counterpart in Rome.

€30-billion Eurovegas casino project scrapped
Spain

€30-billion Eurovegas casino project scrapped

Spain's plans for a gambling-fuelled exit from its economic crisis have been thwarted after the US group behind the Eurovegas mega-casino project in Madrid decided to pull out on Friday.

Sex party couple accused of €1m tax fraud
Germany

Sex party couple accused of €1m tax fraud

A married couple in Frankfurt, who organized around 450 paid for sex parties while claiming unemployment benefit, have been accused of fraud after allegedly cheating the tax man out of €1 million ($1.3 million).

Pirate Bay Swede suffers Danish prison ‘torture’
Sweden

Pirate Bay Swede suffers Danish prison ‘torture’

The mother of Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, who has been detained in Denmark on hacking charges since November, has slammed Danish prison conditions, claiming the isolation her son faces is "torture".

France urged to ditch ban on Muslim veil in schools
France

France urged to ditch ban on Muslim veil in schools

A controversial new report that was handed to France’s PM on Friday that, caused a stir with its "shock" recommendation that France should ditch its ban on the wearing Muslim veils in schools for the sake of improving integration in the country.

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France

VIDEO: Paris chokes under record pollution

Air quality in Paris reached its worst level in six years, this week. Rare “very high level” fine particle pollution triggered an alert on Wednesday and Thursday, and the French capital was blanketed in smog, as shown in the time-lapse video below.

‘Radioactive’ boars roaming northern Italy
Italy

‘Radioactive’ boars roaming northern Italy

Following the discovery of wild boars contaminated with nuclear radiation in the northern Italian Piedmont region earlier in the year, the Ministry of Health has found two more cases, this time near Trieste, over 500km away.

Winemaker’s tax troubles shake canton of Valais
Switzerland

Winemaker’s tax troubles shake canton of Valais

Revelations of an investigation into a prominent and politically well-connected wine producer who allegedly evaded taxes on profits of 13 million francs are shaking the canton of Valais.

Spain’s gyspy adults head back to school
Spain

Spain’s gyspy adults head back to school

Sitting at small green desks, Spanish Roma adults, or gitanos, listen attentively to a teacher as they attend class at their children's school in Spain, in a project that aims to cut the minority's high dropout rate.

Dog tortured and burnt to death in Rome
Italy

Dog tortured and burnt to death in Rome

The charred remains of a chained-up dog have been found in Rome, thought to be the victim of a violent attack, Italian media has reported.

Germany to build own World Cup camp
Germany

Germany to build own World Cup camp

Not impressed by what Brazil already had to offer, Germany’s head coach Joachim Löw has decided to build his own training camp for the football World Cup in 2014.

Google honours eccentric Catalan artist
Spain

Google honours eccentric Catalan artist

The world's biggest search engine has paid tribute to contemporary art genius Antoni Tàpies by using one of his paintings on its homepage on the 90th anniversary of his birth.

Italy’s government to scrap party funding
Italy

Italy’s government to scrap party funding

Italian prime minister Enrico Letta said on Friday that the coalition government had agreed to scrap public funding for political parties.

Oslo paints its manhole covers in hot pink
Norway

Oslo paints its manhole covers in hot pink

Oslo Council has become so desperate to stop people blocking up the drains, that it has turned manhole covers across the capital bright pink.

‘GroKo’ named German word of the year
Germany

‘GroKo’ named German word of the year

“GroKo” was named as German word of the year on Friday morning - an abbreviation for the planned “grand coalition” government between Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the Social Democrats.

US spies asked Sweden for translation help
Sweden

US spies asked Sweden for translation help

Leaked documents from the US have shown that the NSA asked Sweden for translation help on their "high-priority" material that involved the Swedish language.

‘UK must understand the burden on France’
France

‘UK must understand the burden on France’

Outspoken French Interior Minister Manuel Valls has lamented an “impasse” in the way the UK works with France on immigration, particularly at the port of Calais, asking the British to “understand the burden on France.”

Hurricane Ivar rips roof off supermarket
Norway

Hurricane Ivar rips roof off supermarket

The roof was ripped off a shopping centre in northern Norway on Thursday night as the country was battered by Hurricane Ivar, the second severe storm to hit the country in as many weeks.

Swedish politicians block Ask.fm to protect kids
Sweden

Swedish politicians block Ask.fm to protect kids

In a bid to cut down on anonymous bullying online, Luleå municipality in northern Sweden has blocked access to the social media website Ask.fm.

Police crack down on fugitive mafia godfather
Italy

Police crack down on fugitive mafia godfather

Italian police on Friday said they had arrested 30 people linked to Matteo Messina Denaro, the head of Cosa Nostra, including his sister and several cousins.

VIDEO: The sounds of Swedish Lucia
Sweden

VIDEO: The sounds of Swedish Lucia

December 13th is Lucia Day in Sweden, and if you didn't have a chance to see a Lucia Day concert of your own, The Local has a quick video that can offers up a taste of what Sankta Lucia is all about.

‘Darth Vader’ goes for a stroll in Rome
Italy

‘Darth Vader’ goes for a stroll in Rome

Shoppers in Rome got a surprise this week when the figure of Darth Vader, the notorious baddie in the Star Wars films, went on a stroll through the Italian capital.

France persuades Brazil to lift ban on Roquefort
France

France persuades Brazil to lift ban on Roquefort

French President François Hollande returned from key trade talks in Brazil this week heralding an important breakthrough. As well as a promise to double trade between the two countries, France and Brazil negotiated an end to Brasil's three-year ban on Roquefort cheese.

First Spain–Ireland ferry to boost tourism
Spain

First Spain–Ireland ferry to boost tourism

Irish tourists will soon be able to travel to Spain by ferry thanks to a new route between the two countries, the first of its kind, due to be launched in January 2014.

Tripp Trapp chairs sold to Korean web mogul
Norway

Tripp Trapp chairs sold to Korean web mogul

The Norwegian maker of the Tripp Trapp, one of Europe's most popular children's high chairs, has been sold to a South Korean web entrepreneur for about three billion kroner ($484m).

Smuggler swallowed 124 bags of drugs
Germany

Smuggler swallowed 124 bags of drugs

A drug smuggler was caught at an airport in southern Germany with 124 packets of cannabis hidden in his stomach at the weekend.

Competition for new Swiss anthem set to start
Switzerland

Competition for new Swiss anthem set to start

Likened to a weather forecast crossed with a church hymn, Switzerland's national anthem could be binned in favour of a new version if campaigners get their way.

‘Catalonia won’t hold independence poll’: PM
Spain

‘Catalonia won’t hold independence poll’: PM

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy vowed on Thursday to block an attempt by Catalan leaders to hold an independence referendum on November 9th, 2014.

Obama invites Spanish PM to White House
Spain

Obama invites Spanish PM to White House

President Barack Obama will welcome Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to the White House on January 13, in the wake of US spying allegations that have rattled Washington's relations with Madrid.

Germans prove Friday 13th is not unlucky
Germany

Germans prove Friday 13th is not unlucky

Friday 13th may be deemed unlucky for some, but German statisticians have calculated it is safer than other Fridays if you are travelling on the country's roads.

Canadian ‘Immortal’ joins French language police
France

Canadian ‘Immortal’ joins French language police

The famous guardians of the French language, the Académie Française, elected its first ever Canadian to join its "immortals" on Thursday. It follows the nomination of a British academic earlier this year. A French teen was also in the running, but missed out.

The new face of Italian politics
Italy

The new face of Italian politics

Matteo Renzi has been widely tipped as Italy's next prime minister, but the youthful politician is little known beyond the country's borders. The Local takes a look at the rise of the Democratic Party's new leader.

Rumour mill in a spin over Monaco star Falcao
France

Rumour mill in a spin over Monaco star Falcao

The build-up to the action in Ligue 1 this weekend has been dominated by speculation over the well-being of Monaco's star striker Radamel Falcao, who continues to be absent because of a "mystery" injury. The rumour mill in France has spun into overdrive.

Volkswagen ‘to build new plant in Poland’
Germany

Volkswagen ‘to build new plant in Poland’

German carmaker Volkswagen plans to build a factory in Poland that could churn out 100,000 vehicles a year, Poland's leading automotive market analysts said on Thursday.

Foreign-born Swedes join anti-immigration party
Sweden

Foreign-born Swedes join anti-immigration party

Men with roots outside of Sweden are increasingly attracted to the tough migration stance of the minority Sweden Democrat party, with one new Persian-Swedish member telling The Local why he decided to join.

Snowmobile nudist confuses Swedish town
Sweden

Snowmobile nudist confuses Swedish town

Despite a tempest battering parts of Sweden, a sprite-like creature appeared in the dead of Thursday night in the guise of a naked man driving a snowmobile. It was the second performance by the unidentified nudist in less than a week

Storm Ivar leaves thousands without power
Sweden

Storm Ivar leaves thousands without power

Tens of thousands were left without electricity on Friday morning after a storm nicknamed Ivar swept in over the north. Pre-schools and schools will remain shut until Monday.