Swedish DC embassy bomb hunt finds nil
Sweden

Swedish DC embassy bomb hunt finds nil

UPDATED: The Swedish embassy in Washington, DC, was evacuated on Thursday following a disgruntled caller citing Julian Assange and the presence of a bomb. Staff will now be allowed to return to Sweden House after a sweep-through by the Secret Service.

Swiss ban Egyptian preacher: Islamic group
Switzerland

Swiss ban Egyptian preacher: Islamic group

Swiss federal police have banned an Egyptian preacher from entering Switzerland, says a muslim group that invited him to speak at an event in Geneva.

Teacher jailed for ‘sado-masochism’ with pupils
Switzerland

Teacher jailed for ‘sado-masochism’ with pupils

A former theatre teacher convicted of having sex and sado-masochistic relations with adolescent girls who were his pupils, over a 10-year period, was sentenced by a Lausanne magistrates’ court on Thursday to five years in jail.

‘You’re Spain’s PM? Let’s see some ID’
Spain

‘You’re Spain’s PM? Let’s see some ID’

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was left feeling a tad embarrassed on Thursday after security personnel at the EU Council summit in Brussels failed to recognize who he was.

French stars turn out for funeral of Kate Barry
France

French stars turn out for funeral of Kate Barry

The British photographer Kate Barry, the daughter of singer Jane Birkin, who died in an apparent suicide, was laid to rest in Paris on Thursday. Numerous stars from the world of music and film turned out to pay their respects.

Norwegian sacks staff a week before Christmas
Norway

Norwegian sacks staff a week before Christmas

Norwegian Airlines has sacked all of its directly employed Swedish cabin crew less than a week before Christmas. "What a way to say Happy Christmas!" one of the laid-off employees told Aftonbladet.

Femen leader arrested for Vatican stunt
Italy

Femen leader arrested for Vatican stunt

The leader of the Ukrainian feminist protest group Femen was arrested on Thursday for a topless stunt at the Vatican as she protested against the Catholic Church's anti-abortion stance.

Swedish plane to spot Mediterranean migrants
Sweden

Swedish plane to spot Mediterranean migrants

Sweden's defence minister has said saving lives is more important than her EU colleagues' fear of "sending migrants the wrong signals", and will send a surveillance plane to the Mediterranean.

Workers’ wages drop for first time in four years
Germany

Workers’ wages drop for first time in four years

Workers' wages in real terms have dropped in Germany for the first time in four years, falling by an average of 0.3 percent from the third quarter of 2012 to the same period this year.

Spain fines Google €900,000 in privacy row
Spain

Spain fines Google €900,000 in privacy row

Spain's data protection agency has slapped tech giant Google with a €900,000 ($1.23 million) fine for mishandling personal data.

France’s belt-tightening budget gets green light
France

France’s belt-tightening budget gets green light

The French parliament on Thursday approved a belt-tightening budget for 2014 with huge spending cuts and tax hikes in a bid to rein in the country's high public deficit.

Cops nab paedophile after tip-off from thief
Spain

Cops nab paedophile after tip-off from thief

Spanish police said on Thursday they had arrested a suspected paedophile football coach after a thief tipped them off to incriminating videotapes stolen from the man's home.

Rise in break-ins leave French feeling unsafe
France

Rise in break-ins leave French feeling unsafe

Almost a quarter of residents in France feel unsafe in their own neighbourhoods, a new survey revealed on Thursday. The growing level of insecurity has been put down to a rise in burglaries across the country.

UK-bound refugees found trapped in freezer truck
France

UK-bound refugees found trapped in freezer truck

The deadly risks migrants and refugees take trying to get to the UK by any means possible were made clear once again this week when 10 Eritreans were trapped in a refrigerated truck in northern France, with temperatures at -4°C.

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Sweden

SAS posts first full-year profit in six years

Scandinavian airline SAS announced its first full-year profit since 2007 on Thursday, after a drastic cost-cutting programme launched earlier this year.

Berlin set to put all dogs on leads under new law
Germany

Berlin set to put all dogs on leads under new law

Pet owners will no longer be able to let their dogs roam free on the streets of Berlin, if city authorities have their way. A new law will force walkers to use a lead in public places.

‘King spent €2m in public funds on hunting lodge’
Spain

‘King spent €2m in public funds on hunting lodge’

King Juan Carlos allegedly spent €2 million ($2.75m) of National Heritage money in 2007 on a hunting pavilion in which to exhibit his 'trophies' and weapons, a TV report claims.

Stolen German cars linked to Tajik elite
Germany

Stolen German cars linked to Tajik elite

Around 200 cars stolen in Germany have been tracked down in Tajikistan, where most are now driven by family and friends of President Emomali Rakhmon, media and officials in Berlin said on Thursday.

Basques gift Pope beret for Christmas
Spain

Basques gift Pope beret for Christmas

A group of fans of the famous black berets of Spain's Basque country have managed to give Pope Francis an example as a Christmas present.

Iranian deported to Iraq to sue Swedish police
Sweden

Iranian deported to Iraq to sue Swedish police

The man deported to the wrong country will sue the Swedish state after three torturous years in a Baghdad jail cell. A lie on his asylum papers appears to have confused the Swedish police, who sent him to Iraq rather than Iran.

Secretary ‘forced’ to sign politician’s sex contract
Italy

Secretary ‘forced’ to sign politician’s sex contract

A regional councillor in Italy's central Abruzzo region allegedly forced his secretary to sign a contract agreeing to have sex with him "at least four times a month", Italian media reported on Thursday.

Italian post service chips in for troubled Alitalia
Italy

Italian post service chips in for troubled Alitalia

Italy's postal service will take part in a much-needed capital increase for Alitalia, Italian media said on Thursday, amid reports that UAE carrier Etihad is preparing a big investment in the troubled airline.

Right numbers wrong lotto: Woman ‘loses’ €8m
France

Right numbers wrong lotto: Woman ‘loses’ €8m

Friday the 13th proved to be truly unlucky for a retired woman in the Alsace region of eastern France, who normally plays the national lottery each week without fail. Until, that is, she decided to do something different.

Bayer’s $2.9bn bid wins Norway cancer firm
Norway

Bayer’s $2.9bn bid wins Norway cancer firm

Norwegian cancer treatment specialist Algeta has agreed to a 1.9 billion euro ($2.9bn) takeover from Germany's Bayer, after the pharmaceuticals giant sweetened its bid, offering 363 kroner per share in cash.

Passport row keeps Berlusconi in Italy
Italy

Passport row keeps Berlusconi in Italy

Silvio Berlusconi has failed in an attempt to get his passport back, after it was confiscated following his tax fraud conviction, the latest move in a "chain of attacks" according to his political party.

Venezuela’s Banesco buys failed Spanish bank
Spain

Venezuela’s Banesco buys failed Spanish bank

One of Spain's failed banks, Galicia's NCG Banco has been purchased for €1 billion ($1.34 billion) — by Venezuelan bank Banesco.

French to work longer as pension reforms adopted
France

French to work longer as pension reforms adopted

France has long been under pressure from European finance chiefs to reform its massively indebted pension system and after a quick show of hands in the National Assembly on Wednesday, the controversial changes were passed, meaning a longer working life for French employees.

Klaus-Heidi bids auf wiedersehen to Sweden
Sweden

Klaus-Heidi bids auf wiedersehen to Sweden

Swedish country bumpkin Michael Andersson decided to leave Volvo and sill behind, changing his name to Klaus-Heidi and diving headfirst into city life in Berlin – making him our pick for (soon-to-be-ex) Swede of the Week.

Third of neo-Nazi officials on police radar
Germany

Third of neo-Nazi officials on police radar

Almost one third of officials within the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) have been convicted of crimes or are being investigated in connection with criminal activities. The figures were released as the party's leader stepped down.

Two-tonne lady lifted from river bed
Germany

Two-tonne lady lifted from river bed

She weighs two tonnes, is 2.6 metres tall and has neither a head nor arms. On Wednesday morning a colossal figure was hauled out of the Spree river in the centre of Berlin. She had been there for at least sixty years.

How to get free birth control in Sweden
Sweden

How to get free birth control in Sweden

While it's a true story that Emilia Millicent once threatened an aging French rocker with violence on a flight for kicking her seat, a recent trip home has her pondering underage cabin horrors such as children... could a kid-laden plane be the best contraception of them all?

Anti-Nazi demo too big for Stockholm suburb
Sweden

Anti-Nazi demo too big for Stockholm suburb

Sunday's planned anti-Nazi demonstration may be moved from the suburb of Kärrtorp in south-eastern Stockholm as support has swelled to over 13,000 people, including Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven.

Spain chills in world’s hottest November ever
Spain

Spain chills in world’s hottest November ever

Last month was the hottest month on record globally but for Spain it was a very much a tale of two halves.

Friends star advises Italy on drug addiction fight
Italy

Friends star advises Italy on drug addiction fight

American actor Matthew Perry, best known for playing Chandler Bing in the hit US comedy series Friends, gave a speech about his own experiences with drug addiction and advised government delegates on rehab systems during a visit to Rome.

Nature ranks Geneva scientist among ‘top ten’
Switzerland

Nature ranks Geneva scientist among ‘top ten’

Swiss astrophysicist Michel Mayor is listed among Nature magazine’s ten top scientists in the world who “mattered” for 2013.

‘She’s worse than a man’: Sexism in French offices
France

‘She’s worse than a man’: Sexism in French offices

Sexism is rife in the French workplace, according to a survey published this week. To see how bad the problem is The Local speaks to both a high-profile equal rights group and a business etiquette expert, who also offer advice on how to deal with sexism at work.

Lampedusa staff fired over shock migrant video
Italy

Lampedusa staff fired over shock migrant video

The management of the immigration centre in the Italian island of Lampedusa have been sacked, after a video was broadcast showing migrants stripping before being hosed down with disinfectant.

Man sets himself alight on St Peter’s Square
Italy

Man sets himself alight on St Peter’s Square

A 50-year-old Italian man set himself on fire on St Peter's Square Thursday in a rare event on the famous esplanade and is being treated in hospital with burns over half his body, the Vatican and police sources said.

House speaker removes painted breasts
Sweden

House speaker removes painted breasts

The deputy speaker of Sweden's Riksdag has tired of the bare breasts adorning the walls in parliament and has ensured the removal of the offending painting from the parliament's dining room.

Norway’s PM rules out Sochi boycott
Norway

Norway’s PM rules out Sochi boycott

Norway's Prime Minister has announced she will not follows the leaders of the US, Germany and France and boycott the Winter Olympics in Sochi in protest at Russia's new anti-gay legislation.

AstraZeneca takes helm on diabetes venture
Sweden

AstraZeneca takes helm on diabetes venture

Anglo-Swedish pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca announced on Thursday it would buy Bristol-Myers Squibb's stake in their diabetes venture at a price tag of over $4 billion.

Tax eats into Spain’s ‘Fat One’ Xmas jackpot
Spain

Tax eats into Spain’s ‘Fat One’ Xmas jackpot

Spaniards are digging into their pockets to gamble on their beloved "Fat One" Christmas lottery with the world's richest total payout, but winners will get slimmed-down prizes this year as a new austerity tax takes a bite.

Norwegian fur farmers hold sales as prices drop
Norway

Norwegian fur farmers hold sales as prices drop

Fur prices tumbled by a quarter at an auction held in Copenhagen this week, leading Norwegian mink farmers to hold onto this year's pelts in the hope of a rebound.

‘Young people aren’t good at getting help’
Germany

‘Young people aren’t good at getting help’

Suicide is the second most common cause of death among people under 25 in Germany. But why is youth suicide such a problem and what is being done to help? The Local spoke to charities and healthcare professionals to find out.

Spain bans e-cigarettes in public spaces
Spain

Spain bans e-cigarettes in public spaces

Spain will ban electronic cigarettes from public places like hospitals and schools because of their possible health risks, the government said on Wednesday.

Real Madrid and Atlético into last 16 of King’s Cup
Spain

Real Madrid and Atlético into last 16 of King’s Cup

Real Madrid reached the last 16 of the Copa del Rey — the equivalent of the English FA Cup — with a 2-0 win over Olimpic Xativa on Wednesday. City rivals Atlético de Madrid followed suit with a 2-1 victory over Sant Andreu.

Step into the void in new stunning Alps skywalk
France

Step into the void in new stunning Alps skywalk

Anyone who suffers from vertigo might want to look away now. A new attraction is set to open high up in the French Alps on Saturday that will give those with a head for heights a chance to 'step into the void'. These images and video give a glimpse of what to expect.

Parked car rolls 200 metres onto motorway
Germany

Parked car rolls 200 metres onto motorway

A car rolled into the middle of a motorway in central Germany on Tuesday when its new owner forgot to put the handbrake on.

Crime-thriller queen finds foe in taxman
Sweden

Crime-thriller queen finds foe in taxman

Sweden's taxman has told Nordic Noir novelist Camilla Läckberg she cannot use her company to employ a personal trainer, nor to buy jewellery and Karen Millen outfits. It also rapped her knuckles for tax-deduction attempts for holidays in Italy and Thailand.

Family cat and dog killed in truck blast
Norway

Family cat and dog killed in truck blast

A cat and a dog were killed in the gigantic explosion on Tuesday at a quarry in northern Norway, while 1,500 pigs face emergency slaughter.

Spurned lover jailed for sending erotic pics of ex
France

Spurned lover jailed for sending erotic pics of ex

A spurned French lover who sent out erotic images of his wife to her loved ones and colleagues, in revenge for being dumped was sentenced to a spell behind bars as punishment on Wednesday. His malicious act had pushed his wife to attempt suicide.

Serial killer flees jail after leaving to visit his mum
Italy

Serial killer flees jail after leaving to visit his mum

Police are hunting for serial killer Bartolomeo Gagliano after he escaped from a jail in the northern Italian city of Genoa on Wednesday. Prison staff claim they had no clue he was a killer when they granted him temporary leave to visit his mother.

Town reverses Hitler citizenship vote
Germany

Town reverses Hitler citizenship vote

A Bavarian town council has decided to strip Adolf Hitler of his honorary citizenship, a week after attracting international attention when a vote to distance itself from the Nazi leader failed.

Oslo likely to demolish tower Breivik bombed
Norway

Oslo likely to demolish tower Breivik bombed

Oslo City Council is leaning towards demolishing the 1958 government high rise damaged in far-Right terrorist Anders Breivik's 2011 bomb attack.

KTH Sweden’s ‘worst’ architecture school
Sweden

KTH Sweden’s ‘worst’ architecture school

The lauded Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm has failed its architecture students, of whom 70 percent say parts of the course are either badly taught or non-existent. The school has now admitted failings.

Minister with Turkish roots starts key role
Germany

Minister with Turkish roots starts key role

Germany's first national minister with Turkish roots, Aydan Ozoguz, will have to implement a hard-won dual citizenship deal that however fails to satisfy all of the Turkish community's demands. She is The Local's German of the Week.

Sweden beats France to $4.5b fighter jet deal
France

Sweden beats France to $4.5b fighter jet deal

French hopes of landing a $4.5 billion contract to supply 36 fighter jets to Brazil were shot down on Wednesday when the South American giant chose Swedish company Saab instead. The rejection came after 10 years of fraught negotiations.

Flu-jab narcolepsy due to brain damage: study
Sweden

Flu-jab narcolepsy due to brain damage: study

Scientists believe they have found the cause of the narcolepsy cases uncovered after Sweden's inoculation drive against swine flu. The jab may have set off an auto-immune response that caused brain damage.

Social unease builds in Italy as crisis takes toll
Italy

Social unease builds in Italy as crisis takes toll

Thousands of protesters including the Forconi (Pitchforks) movement rallied against austerity in Rome on Wednesday in protests seen as a sign of sweeping social unease in a country ravaged by economic crisis.