Acrimony plagues Geneva Syria talks
Switzerland

Acrimony plagues Geneva Syria talks

Syria's warring sides traded accusations Friday over the failure to achieve concrete results at peace talks in Geneva, amid doubts over the regime's participation in a planned new round in February.

Elon Musk in Norway to thank Tesla buyers
Norway

Elon Musk in Norway to thank Tesla buyers

US tech billionaire Elon Musk is in Norway to say thank you to the 2,100 people in the country who bought one of his Tesla S electric sports cars, making it the vehicle's second biggest market after the United States.

Hollande refuses to answer ‘affair’ question
France

Hollande refuses to answer ‘affair’ question

French President Francois Hollande on Friday refused to answer a British journalist's question about whether his private life had made "an international joke" out of France.

Swiss off to strong start in Davis Cup tennis
Switzerland

Swiss off to strong start in Davis Cup tennis

France and Switzerland enjoyed perfect starts to their Davis Cup tennis World Group first round ties on Friday but the Czech Republic stuttered in their quest for a third consecutive title.

Red flood alert as storm lashes France
France

Red flood alert as storm lashes France

Parts of France were placed on alert for flooding on Friday, Meteo France, the country’s main weather service said, as a storm batters the country’s Atlantic coast.

The fuzzy hamster that took Sweden for a ride
Sweden

The fuzzy hamster that took Sweden for a ride

He's small, furry, and famous. The Swede of the Week reveals a lot about Swedish humour, media, and cannibalization. We're talking about Börje the hamster.

Spain’s top banks enjoy 2013 profit surge
Spain

Spain’s top banks enjoy 2013 profit surge

Top Spanish banks have reported a 2013 profit surge, predicting better times ahead after taking hefty losses in Spain and other crisis-hit eurozone nations.

‘If you want an adventure, learn a language’
Germany

‘If you want an adventure, learn a language’

Making Germans laugh can seem a thankless prospect in any language and trying in freshly learned German might seem the project of a masochist. Eddie Izzard tells The Local why he is game.

Cat-flinger video sparks outrage in France
France

Cat-flinger video sparks outrage in France

A man in Marseille faces charges of animal abuse after a video appeared on YouTube in which he is allegedly filmed throwing a cat against a building. The alarm was raised after thousands of viewers demanded his arrest in an online petition.

Police break up people smuggling gang
Germany

Police break up people smuggling gang

A suspected people smuggling gang, which used Polish taxi drivers to transport 200 migrants into Germany, was broken up on Wednesday.

Nordea rebuts ‘nervous’ Krugman’s debt fears
Sweden

Nordea rebuts ‘nervous’ Krugman’s debt fears

Swedish bank Nordea on Friday published a report that slammed any claims the country faced a debt crisis, a key point made by American economist Paul Krugman on a recent visit.

Give ‘disenfranchised’ expats the vote: EU
Sweden

Give ‘disenfranchised’ expats the vote: EU

Expats living in other European countries should be given the right to vote in general elections – even if they’ve been abroad for years – the European Commission has said.

US view of Germany ‘better than ever’
Germany

US view of Germany ‘better than ever’

Despite America's reputation in Germany taking a hit over the NSA spying scandal, Americans have a more positive impression of Germany than at any time in the last 12 years, according to a study released on Thursday.

Slush fund? France reports on ‘reserve’ cash
France

Slush fund? France reports on ‘reserve’ cash

A report released on Friday showed French lawmakers spent thousands in tax payer money last year on things like fishing and baton twirling clubs. The revelations come from a first ever accounting of a unique French parliamentary power.

Malmö Somalis suffer integration ‘black hole’
Sweden

Malmö Somalis suffer integration ‘black hole’

Somali immigrants in Malmö are "stuck in a trap" due to a dire local job market, creating overcrowding and low self-confidence, a new report said on Friday. Researchers urged city hall, and pensioners, to address the problem.

Spain not merry about European Beer Index
Spain

Spain not merry about European Beer Index

An online map which showcases how many beers you can buy with the monthly minimum wage of different European countries is taking the internet by storm. But not all Spaniards believe they can rightfully claim one of the top spots on the beer-bargain podium.

Storms trigger floods in Rome and Tuscany
Italy

Storms trigger floods in Rome and Tuscany

Heavy rain swept across Italy overnight, reducing transport in Rome to all but "essential travel" and triggering floods and landslides in Tuscany.

Swedish rent-a-desk can help save expat lives
Sweden

Swedish rent-a-desk can help save expat lives

Share a kettle and some banter. The social aspect to renting office space in Sweden as a new arrival is great, but, as contributor Danny Chapman discovers, some believe the new and evolved breed of collectives, or co-working spaces, are "the future of working".

Google in bid to boost Italy’s famed produce
Italy

Google in bid to boost Italy’s famed produce

Google Cultural Institute has launched a platform to showcase Italy's famed food products and handicrafts as part of a bid to boost businesses across the country.

Football wife does another post-birth selfie
Norway

Football wife does another post-birth selfie

The glamorous footballer's wife who caused a storm last year by posting a 'selfie' of her washboard stomach just four days after giving birth has done it again.

‘Italians welcome you with open arms’
Italy

‘Italians welcome you with open arms’

Amy Lucinda Jones moved from Worcestershire, in the UK, to Puglia to teach English. Having studied German at university, she didn't speak the language but says the local community, and their food and festivals, made her feel at home.

Norway researcher finds shipwrecked man
Norway

Norway researcher finds shipwrecked man

A Norwegian anthropologist working on a far-flung Pacific island on Thursday said he had found an emaciated castaway who claimed to have spent 16 months adrift at sea, floating more than 12,500 kilometres.

Judge spares Spain’s Princess ‘walk of shame’
Spain

Judge spares Spain’s Princess ‘walk of shame’

A Spanish judge ruled on Friday that King Juan Carlos' youngest daughter Infanta Cristina may drive to court for a fraud hearing, rather than endure a walk under the gaze of the world's media.

Veteran UN mediator stays patient over Syria
Switzerland

Veteran UN mediator stays patient over Syria

Despite the slim pickings from a week of UN-brokered peace talks between Syria's warring sides, getting them to the table at all was a huge feat in itself.

Spain’s suicide rate highest in eight years
Spain

Spain’s suicide rate highest in eight years

Figures from Spain's National Institute of Statistics (INE) show a surge in the suicide rate but heart attacks remain the leading cause of death.

French teen ‘jihadist’ faces terror charge
France

French teen ‘jihadist’ faces terror charge

Just days after two French high school boys were brought back from Turkey after trying to join jihadists fighting in Syria, one was charged under a terror statute. Prosecutors were continuing to look into how the boys allegedly became radicalized.

Norway fire caused by child lighting aerosol
Norway

Norway fire caused by child lighting aerosol

The fire that raged over 12 square kilometres of the island of Frøya on Wednesday and Thursday, was caused by children lighting a deodorant spray, local police have said in interview.

Swedish bride murder suspect loses court bid
Sweden

Swedish bride murder suspect loses court bid

A British man wanted in South Africa in connection with the murder of his Swedish wife lost a High Court bid in the UK to block his extradition to South Africa.

‘I’m against gender quotas’: equality minister
Norway

‘I’m against gender quotas’: equality minister

Norway's equality minister has declared that she is opposed to gender quotas or affirmative action designed at increasing equality for women in the workplace, although she stressed she would not seek to rewrite Norway's existing rules.

‘What? No Becks?’ Men set fire to shop
Germany

‘What? No Becks?’ Men set fire to shop

Two men set fire to a shop in western Germany because it did not stock the brand of beer they were looking for - Becks Gold.

‘Don’t stop serving pork for Muslims’: Minister
Norway

‘Don’t stop serving pork for Muslims’: Minister

Norway's agriculture minister has called on the country's prisons, hospitals and nursery schools to serve more pork, claiming that the meat is being pulled off the menu to avoid offending the country's Muslim minority.

Yay or nay to Sweden’s annual Mello meltdown?
Sweden

Yay or nay to Sweden’s annual Mello meltdown?

It's that time of year again. Melodifestivalen, Sweden's long road to Eurovision glory, kicks off on Saturday. Love it or hate it, it's impossible to ignore. See why The Local's Ann Törnkvist says Nay!, while Oliver Gee says Yay!

Minister in hot seat over firm’s Jersey links
Switzerland

Minister in hot seat over firm’s Jersey links

Swiss Economy MInister Johann Schneider-Ammann is in the political hot seat over revelations that his family company may have used a subsidiary in the Channel Islands to dodge taxes before he joined the government.

Kerry in Berlin: ‘US is committed to privacy’
Germany

Kerry in Berlin: ‘US is committed to privacy’

US Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged on Friday that relations with Germany had gone through a "rough period" of late over NSA snooping but he said the US was "committed to privacy".

Electrolux blames Europe for fourth quarter loss
Sweden

Electrolux blames Europe for fourth quarter loss

Swedish home appliance giant Electrolux blamed a weak European market on Friday for fourth-quarter losses that were wildly beyond analysts' expectations.

Teacher shows school kids porn by mistake
Italy

Teacher shows school kids porn by mistake

A video of an orgy, set to music by famous pop bands Duran Duran and Take That, has been accidentally shown in an Italian primary school, local media reported on Thursday.

Doctor fined €210K over illegal AIDS tests
Spain

Doctor fined €210K over illegal AIDS tests

A Spanish HIV researcher will have to cough up €210,000 after he was caught performing unauthorized medical tests on 311 patients using a powerful new compound thought to lessen the side effects of AIDS treatment.

Islamic extremism on the rise in Sweden: study
Sweden

Islamic extremism on the rise in Sweden: study

Violent Islamic extremists in Sweden pose an increased threat to the public, a government investigation found on Friday, with the prime risks coming from those who have travelled to war zones for military training.

Hollande’s ‘mistress’ gets French Oscar nomination
France

Hollande’s ‘mistress’ gets French Oscar nomination

Julie Gayet, the actress reported to have had an affair with President François Hollande, has been nominated for the French equivalent of an Oscar - for playing a super-sexy vamp.

More new citizens, student visas in France
France

More new citizens, student visas in France

France under President François Hollande is a slightly more welcoming place for immigrants, according to new data released on Friday by the country's top cop. However, the statistics show not everything is different.

Italy makes comeback on EU foreign policy
Italy

Italy makes comeback on EU foreign policy

Italy now ranks among the most influential countries in the European Union when it comes to EU foreign policy after making a "remarkable comeback" through its leadership in areas including aid to Syria.

Germans oppose more military intervention
Germany

Germans oppose more military intervention

The majority of Germans are against a bigger role for their military in the world's trouble spots despite a push by the country's new defence minister, a poll on Friday showed.

Smart car the ‘most stolen in France in 2013’
France

Smart car the ‘most stolen in France in 2013’

It may not be the fastest or flashiest car on the market, but for the second year in a row the Smart Fortwo was the most coveted car by French thieves. Curiously, the car thieves weren't so interested in the car, but rather what's in it.

Madrid’s €550m ‘road to ruin’ tops fiasco list
Spain

Madrid’s €550m ‘road to ruin’ tops fiasco list

The builders of a 9.4km (5.8 mile) toll road designed to absorb the bulk of the traffic between Madrid and Barajas airport have declared a debt of €550 million ($744 million) as a result of runaway construction costs and the unforeseen preference of motorists for using the free road that runs alongside.

Drunks and onlookers delay bomb explosion
Germany

Drunks and onlookers delay bomb explosion

Police in Cologne faced a logistical nightmare on Thursday night as they kept having to delay a controlled explosion of a World War II bomb.

‘It would be difficult to meet Knox’: Kerchers
Italy

‘It would be difficult to meet Knox’: Kerchers

The sister of murdered British student Meredith Kercher said it would be “difficult to meet Amanda Knox after everything that has happened”.

Sollecito stopped by police near border
Italy

Sollecito stopped by police near border

Raffaele Sollecito, convicted with former lover Amanda Knox of the murder of a British student, has been picked up by police near the Italian border and has surrendered his passport.

US Coursera bans impact Swiss universities
Switzerland

US Coursera bans impact Swiss universities

Internet courses offered by Swiss universities through the Coursera online learning platform that were supposed to be accessible anywhere in the world have been blocked in four countries by American government sanctions.

Cold snap to bring weekend snow to Sweden
Sweden

Cold snap to bring weekend snow to Sweden

A snow storm from Poland is knocking on Sweden's door, with the national weather agency issuing warnings and predicting up to 15 centimetres of snow to hit on Friday.

Unpaid underdogs forego chance of cup glory
Spain

Unpaid underdogs forego chance of cup glory

The players of third-tier Spanish side Racing Santander refused to play in their Copa del Rey quarter-final, second leg against Real Sociedad on Thursday in a dispute with the club's president Angel Lavin over unpaid wages.

Corruption-probing newspaper chief sacked
Spain

Corruption-probing newspaper chief sacked

Spain's leading centre-right newspaper El Mundo said on Thursday it was dismissing its director Pedro J. Ramirez, under whose leadership the daily broke a series of political corruption stories.

Louis Vuitton group posts record sales
France

Louis Vuitton group posts record sales

The luxury group LVMH, which includes Louis Vuitton, bucked the slowdown in the global luxury market, posting a four percent increase in sales last year to a record €29.15 billion ($39.5), although net profits were flat at 3.4 billion.

German retailers report poor Christmas
Germany

German retailers report poor Christmas

German retailers reported a shock drop in business in December, suggesting a disappointing Christmas period, official data showed on Friday.

‘Italy has come out in front’: Kercher lawyer
Italy

‘Italy has come out in front’: Kercher lawyer

Francesco Maresca, the lawyer for the family of Meredith Kercher, told The Local that Italy has “come out in front” after a Florence court found Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito guilty of her murder.

Boy, 5, drives into mother and child
Germany

Boy, 5, drives into mother and child

A five-year-old boy seriously injured a mother and her young son after starting his parents' car at a kindergarten in central Germany and driving into them.

Hollande: EU changes ‘not a priority’ for France
France

Hollande: EU changes ‘not a priority’ for France

Speaking at an Anglo-French summit on Friday, France's president François Hollande said that changes to the European Union treaty sought by Britain are "not a priority" for France.

Why I loathe food shopping in Sweden
Sweden

Why I loathe food shopping in Sweden

Frozen Englishman Paul Connolly takes merciless aim at food shopping in Sweden, questioning the manky vegetables, the sky-high prices, and the small conveyer belts... and shares his tips for how to take your business elsewhere.

Vatican trove of Catholic persecution in Japan
Italy

Vatican trove of Catholic persecution in Japan

A trove of ancient documents unearthed at the Vatican could shed light on the brutal crackdown on Christianity in isolationist Japan under its samurai rulers, scholars say.

Centre Party at three-decade low in polls
Sweden

Centre Party at three-decade low in polls

The minority Centre Party, a government coalition party that has traced an uneasy arc from farmers lobbyists to libertarians, has slumped below the voter support level required to stay in parliament.

La Dolce Vita striptease dancer dies in Rome
Italy

La Dolce Vita striptease dancer dies in Rome

A belly-dancer whose striptease in a Rome restaurant in the 1950s caused a scandal and inspired filmmaker Federico Fellini for his cult movie La Dolce Vita has died in Rome, aged 78, Italian media reported on Thursday.

Charlemagne’s bones are (probably) real
Germany

Charlemagne’s bones are (probably) real

German scientists have announced after almost 26 years of research that the bones interred for centuries at Aachen Cathedral are likely to be those of Charlemagne.

US likely to extradite Knox if Italy asks
Italy

US likely to extradite Knox if Italy asks

The United States will have little legal argument for turning down an extradition request should Italy seek the return of Amanda Knox for the 2007 murder of her British housemate.

‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ creates stir in Italy
Italy

‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ creates stir in Italy

Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring is going on show in the city of Bologna in Italy next month but the arrival of the celebrated painting of a young beauty is already causing a stir.

Harvard athlete told he can’t help Swedish kids
Sweden

Harvard athlete told he can’t help Swedish kids

American basketball player Keith Wright is at the centre of a tussle between Sweden's Uppsala basketball team and migration authorities, who demanded changes to his contract that prevent him from working with local youth.