Prostitutes defrauded in Geneva real estate scam
Switzerland

Prostitutes defrauded in Geneva real estate scam

An Italian immigrant is being detained by justice authorities for allegedly defrauding 20 or more Geneva prostitutes of around three million francs ($3.39 million), French-language public TV broadcaster RTS reported on Tuesday.

Zurich poaches Swiss Re for CFO replacement
Switzerland

Zurich poaches Swiss Re for CFO replacement

Zurich Insurance Group, still shaken by the suicide of its financial chief last August, said on Monday that it had hired competitor Swiss Re's CFO to take his place.

UCI charges British cyclist with doping
Switzerland

UCI charges British cyclist with doping

The Swiss-based International Cycling Union (UCI) has started disciplinary proceedings against Team Sky rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke for a doping violation, the world governing body for the sport said on Tuesday.

Second Bern train accident claims two lives
Switzerland

Second Bern train accident claims two lives

A man and a woman were killed on Monday night while crossing the tracks when an Intercity train passed through the train station at Bümpliz, a district of the city of Bern, cantonal police said on Tuesday.

Zlatan author to pen new Millennium book
Sweden

Zlatan author to pen new Millennium book

Swedish crime-thriller fans will be able to snap up a new installment of Stieg Larsson's Millennium series after David Lagercrantz agreed to write a fourth book, in a move branded "tasteless" by Larsson's surviving partner.

French drivers spend two days a year in traffic jams
France

French drivers spend two days a year in traffic jams

Do you feel like you spend too much time behind the wheel in France? You’re not imagining it. The average French motorist spends an estimated 47 hours stuck in traffic every year, and the jams cost France a whopping €6 billion per year, according to a new study.

It’ll be windy (not white) this Christmas
Germany

It’ll be windy (not white) this Christmas

Germany can expect high winds, mild temperatures and stormy weather over the Christmas break. Anyone hoping for a white Christmas will be disappointed, national weather service DWD said on Tuesday.

High court hands lesbian mums dual maternity
Spain

High court hands lesbian mums dual maternity

Spain's Supreme Court has given a divorced lesbian couple joint custody of the twin girls they had whi le married to each other.

Man beats ex-in-laws to death with hammer
Germany

Man beats ex-in-laws to death with hammer

A failed businessman was jailed for life on Tuesday for beating his former in-laws to death with a hammer when they refused to give him money.

Cop blows off suspect’s testicles with grenade
Spain

Cop blows off suspect’s testicles with grenade

A Catalan policeman who blew off the testicles of a suspect with a stun grenade will spend a year behind bars and have to pay the victim €168,000 ($231,000) in damages.

Europe to send troops to CAR, France says
France

Europe to send troops to CAR, France says

France will "soon" have military support from other European countries on the ground in strife-torn Central African Republic, the country's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday. But he did not specify which countries would send troops.

Statoil in $1.45bn Shah Deniz sale
Norway

Statoil in $1.45bn Shah Deniz sale

Norwegian oil major Statoil said on Tuesday that it would sell a 10 percent stake in Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz gas field for $1.45 billion (1.05 billion euros), taking its holding to 15.5 percent.

“I was Miss Nothing”: Liv Ullmann on her shy teens
Norway

“I was Miss Nothing”: Liv Ullmann on her shy teens

Norwegian film legend Liv Ullmann has confessed that she was "shy", "no fun" and "Miss Nothing" as a teenager, as she attended a celebration of her life in Trondheim on Monday night.

Truck carrying 15 tonnes of explosive blows up
Norway

Truck carrying 15 tonnes of explosive blows up

A truck carrying 15 tonnes of liquid explosives blew up at a quarry in northern Norway on Tuesday afternoon, setting fire to nearby houses, scattering debris and spreading toxic smoke over a wide area.

Motorists braced for Christmas traffic chaos
Germany

Motorists braced for Christmas traffic chaos

German motorists are being warned to expect heavy traffic over the festive period as people set off on their winter breaks and go on last-minute shopping sprees.

Why Swedes are rallying in their thousands against neo-Nazis
Sweden

Why Swedes are rallying in their thousands against neo-Nazis

PICTURE GALLERY: Several thousand Stockholmers say they will take to the streets of Kärrtorp on Sunday to protest racism anew, after a plethora of scrawled swastikas sprouted up again after last weekend's violent counter-demo by neo-Nazis.

Syria talks move from Geneva to Montreux
Switzerland

Syria talks move from Geneva to Montreux

The long-delayed "Geneva II" peace conference for Syria will open in the Swiss lakeside town of Montreux because of a lack of hotel space in Geneva, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

‘Average Sven’ battles Jesus in kindness stakes
Sweden

‘Average Sven’ battles Jesus in kindness stakes

No need to be dead or iconic to be as kind as Jesus, Gandhi, or Mother Teresa? Not if Unicef Sweden's Christmas donation campaign is on to something in its new series of adverts.

‘I am not a monster’: Amanda Knox
Italy

‘I am not a monster’: Amanda Knox

US student Amanda Knox emailed the Italian court hearing her murder retrial saying she was afraid to attend and was not a "monster", in what the judge Tuesday branded an unusual move.

Foreigners in France behind a quarter of thefts
France

Foreigners in France behind a quarter of thefts

The number of foreigners accused of robbery in French towns and cities has surged in recent years according to new data published on Tuesday. The figures show that thieves from abroad are now implicated in over a quarter of all thefts and robberies in the country.

Barcelona’s golden year sparks baby boom
Spain

Barcelona’s golden year sparks baby boom

The birth rate in Spain's Catalonia region spiked after Barcelona football club lifted six trophies in 2009, medical researchers have proven.

VIDEO: Spanish cop’s handbrake fail
Spain

VIDEO: Spanish cop’s handbrake fail

It could be a scene from a comedy sketch, but this policeman's lapse of concentration is as funny as it is real.

Baguettes rule burgers in French fast food wars
France

Baguettes rule burgers in French fast food wars

Despite the buzz around the return of Burger King and the continued popularity of McDonalds, France is not actually addicted to US burger joints. When it comes to fast-food French boulangeries still rule the roost, a new survey has revealed.

White Xmas to elude most Swedes: SMHI
Sweden

White Xmas to elude most Swedes: SMHI

Southern and central Sweden will miss out on a white Christmas this year, as the Met Office predicts most revellers will wake up to a mottled sky. Northerners, however, can pull out their sleighs and skis for Crimbo.

Italian jailed for fleecing church’s charity box
Italy

Italian jailed for fleecing church’s charity box

An Italian man has received a jail sentence for "fishing" hundreds of euros from a village church's charity box, local media reported.

Typical worker in Norway earns most in world
Norway

Typical worker in Norway earns most in world

The typical worker earns a higher salary in Norway than in any other country in the world, with Norwegian wage earners taking home more than double the median per-capita global income, a Gallup survey of household incomes published on Tuesday has revealed.

Taiwan asks Swiss for millions in graft case
Switzerland

Taiwan asks Swiss for millions in graft case

Taiwan has formally asked Switzerland to return $340 million in alleged ill-gotten funds linked to a controversial deal to buy French frigates two decades ago, a report said on Tuesday.

South Africa lukewarm over ‘Mandela square’
Germany

South Africa lukewarm over ‘Mandela square’

The South African Embassy and rights groups have raised concerns about a plan to name a square in central Berlin after Nelson Mandela. Some feel the square is associated with Prussian militarism and racism.

Paul Walker tops most Googled Swiss list
Switzerland

Paul Walker tops most Googled Swiss list

In Switzerland, as elsewhere in the world, Paul Walker may be more famous dead than alive, according to a report showing the late American movie actor to be the name most Googled by Swiss in 2013.

Sarkozy return hopes hit as cops grill two allies
France

Sarkozy return hopes hit as cops grill two allies

The chances of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy returning to politics continue to be undermined by legal hurdles. This time it is two of his former allies who are in hot water over a corruption probe. Sarkozy is expected to make his comeback next year.

Pope is US gay mag’s ‘Person of the Year’
Italy

Pope is US gay mag’s ‘Person of the Year’

Pope Francis has been named 'Person of the Year' by leading US gay rights magazine, The Advocate. The accolade comes on the pontiff's 77th birthday and less than a week after he was named Time magazine's 'Person of the Year'.

Swedes nab drunk captain of toxic tanker
Sweden

Swedes nab drunk captain of toxic tanker

A captain piloting a tank ship loaded with 15,000 tonnes of flammable liquid to western Sweden has been too drunk to respond to questioning since the Swedish coast guard apprehended him on Monday.

Historic Berlin store ‘to make way for Primark’
Germany

Historic Berlin store ‘to make way for Primark’

What was once Europe's biggest department store could become Berlin's newest branch of Primark, after Dutch investors bought the building. Architects are thought to be drawing up plans already.

Italian footballer probed for match-fixing
Italy

Italian footballer probed for match-fixing

Former AC Milan player Gennaro Gattuso is under investigation for match-fixing in Italy's Serie A, Italian media reported on Tuesday.

Named: The most influential Spaniard ever
Spain

Named: The most influential Spaniard ever

Just one Spaniard rates among the 100 most important people in history, according to a new software programme which ranks millions of online pages.

Swedes ask Google: What does Yolo mean?
Sweden

Swedes ask Google: What does Yolo mean?

Swedes became more ethnocentric this year - googling snus, fly fishing, recycling, and domestic celebs. The annual search-term data released by Google on Tuesday also found the English terms "Yolo" and "swag" up high.

First World War bomb found in inherited house
Italy

First World War bomb found in inherited house

A man in the northern Italian city of Vicenza was alarmed to discover a First World War bomb, which experts said could still explode, hidden in the home he recently inherited from his aunt.

Severely sick Italians fear job loss
Italy

Severely sick Italians fear job loss

Almost half the number of Italians suffering from severe illnesses prefer not to take time off work over fears they will lose their job, according to figures from the Associazioni dei malati cronici (association of the chronically sick).

Spain’s ‘become a foreigner’ ad goes viral
Spain

Spain’s ‘become a foreigner’ ad goes viral

A well-known Spanish food company has launched an advertising campaign which features a flurry of Spanish celebrities changing their nationality. The viral video has been met with mixed reactions.

INTERVIEW: Putting every book online for free
Norway

INTERVIEW: Putting every book online for free

US publishers might see the benefits of putting their catalogues online for free if they travelled to Norway, where every book ever published will soon be available at the click of a mouse, the man leading the country's digitisation process has told The Local.

Inmate ‘admits’ to killing Geneva prison therapist
Switzerland

Inmate ‘admits’ to killing Geneva prison therapist

The Franco-Swiss prisoner suspected of murdering his female therapist during an outing approved by a Geneva prison last September admits to killing the woman, a Geneva newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Spaniards earn half as much as people in US
Spain

Spaniards earn half as much as people in US

Spaniards earn more than three times the global median income of $2,920 (€2,120), new research shows, but still pocket a median of only $7,284 a year.

Animal cruelty charges blight blockbuster bid
Sweden

Animal cruelty charges blight blockbuster bid

VIDEO: What was supposed to be a cheery Christmas film based on a Swedish best-selling novel has become decidedly controversial following accusations that the film's elephants, including one named Gandhi, were abused.

Olympians urge Merkel to attend Sochi 2014
Germany

Olympians urge Merkel to attend Sochi 2014

German sports stars have called on Chancellor Angela Merkel to attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi after President Joachim Gauck said he would avoid the event.

Italian politics costs taxpayers €757 a year
Italy

Italian politics costs taxpayers €757 a year

The Italian political system costs each taxpayer €757 a year, although the prime minister's office costs just €15, the latest report by the Italian Labour Union (UIL) has found.

The top ten Gallic gifts to offer this Christmas
France

The top ten Gallic gifts to offer this Christmas

Are you feeling the pressure to buy French gifts for your families and friends this Christmas? To help you out we have come up with a top ten list of original Gallic gifts that are guaranteed to please, surprise and perhaps shock your loved ones.

MPs elect Merkel to third term as chancellor
Germany

MPs elect Merkel to third term as chancellor

The German parliament elected Angela Merkel to her third term as chancellor on Tuesday morning. Merkel won 462 of the 631 votes from the members of parliament.

Half of arrested neo-Nazi rioters are teens
Sweden

Half of arrested neo-Nazi rioters are teens

VIDEO: More than half of the 26 people arrested in Sunday's neo-Nazi riot in Stockholm are younger than 20. Experts warn attempts to denazify Sweden are failing, as a new generation of "social outcasts" emerges.

Riksbank slashes repo rate to 0.75 percent
Sweden

Riksbank slashes repo rate to 0.75 percent

UPDATED: Citing lower than expected inflation, Sweden's central bank on Tuesday announced it would lower the country's repo rate by 0.25 percentage points - hitting a low 0.75 percent. Riksbank members have tussled over the rate and its effect on employment for months.

Couple die putting up balcony Christmas lights
Italy

Couple die putting up balcony Christmas lights

A couple fell to their deaths from the balcony of their home in the northern Italian province of Novara as they put up Christmas lights on Monday afternoon.

EU targets Barça and Real over illegal aid
Spain

EU targets Barça and Real over illegal aid

The European Commission will on Wednesday launch a formal investigation into seven Spanish football clubs, including Barcelona and Real Madrid, after complaints they accepted illegal state aid, Spain's foreign minister said.

‘It’s time the world laughed with Sweden’
Sweden

‘It’s time the world laughed with Sweden’

US-native Greg Poehler tells The Local why he turned his Swedish life into a TV show, that comparisons to his comedian sister Amy are inevitable, and why Swedes should be known for their sense of humour.

Unions slam €12 a month rise in minimum wage
France

Unions slam €12 a month rise in minimum wage

The French government has been forced to defend the meagre rise in the minimum wage, which will see workers' pay packets boosted by just €12 a month in 2014.

Bailout chiefs urge Spain to push reform
Spain

Bailout chiefs urge Spain to push reform

International creditors who rescued Spain's tottering banks said on Monday the sector was on the way to recovery but warned Madrid to be vigilant as the bailout winds up.

Police probe Bern train station deaths of sisters
Switzerland

Police probe Bern train station deaths of sisters

An extensive investigation is under way into the deaths of two sisters struck by an Intercity train at the Wankdorf train station in Bern, cantonal police said on Monday.

US tourist in court for biting off man’s lip
Germany

US tourist in court for biting off man’s lip

An American tourist who bit off a man's bottom lip during a fight at Munich’s Oktoberfest was given a suspended sentence by a German court on Monday.

Sicily’s Mount Etna eruption dies down
Italy

Sicily’s Mount Etna eruption dies down

A spectacular eruption of the Mount Etna volcano in Sicily in southern Italy died down on Tuesday, allowing the nearby airport of Catania to re-open after a two-day stoppage that disrupted dozens of flights.

African intervention gives Hollande needed boost
France

African intervention gives Hollande needed boost

François Hollande clearly needs to keep finding new ways for his army to intervene abroad, as once again France's decision to send troops in to a country has seen the beleaguered president's approval ratings rise.

France’s TV police target YouTube and iTunes
France

France’s TV police target YouTube and iTunes

The body that regulates French TV has asked the government to grant it power to keep tabs on popular video-sharing websites such as YouTube, Dailymotion and online download stores such as Apple's iTunes, and make them contribute financially to the French culture industry.

‘There is nothing grand about this coalition’
Germany

‘There is nothing grand about this coalition’

Professor Michael Wohlgemuth, director of think tank Open Europe Berlin, looks back on the last four months since Germany’s election campaign began and argues there are no great expectations of the “grand coalition”.

Amazon plays down ‘record’ German strikes
Germany

Amazon plays down ‘record’ German strikes

Online retailer Amazon has played down strikes by hundreds of workers in Germany in the run up to Christmas, claiming there had been no impact on deliveries. It put the number of employees involved far below union estimates.

‘Send sex buyers to jail’: Swedish PM
Sweden

‘Send sex buyers to jail’: Swedish PM

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said on Monday that people buying sex in Sweden should be sent to jail as the law suggests, rather than being slapped with fines.

Rome returns to the 70s to celebrate art heyday
Italy

Rome returns to the 70s to celebrate art heyday

The heady years of artistic experimentation and cosmopolitan life in Rome in the 1970s are the subject of a new exhibition that opens in the Italian capital on Tuesday.

Norway spied on Russia for the NSA: Dagbladet
Norway

Norway spied on Russia for the NSA: Dagbladet

Norway's intelligence services work with the United States to monitor Russia, targeting its oil and gas industry and military operations in the Arctic Kola peninsular, Norway's Dagbladet newspaper has reported.

Swedes prove Rudolph’s nose is really red
Sweden

Swedes prove Rudolph’s nose is really red

Swedish researchers at Lund University have confirmed once and for all the Rudolph the red nose reindeer lives up to his name after studying the behaviour of reindeer using high-tech equipment.