NSA ‘tapped Gerhard Schröder’s phone too’
Germany

NSA ‘tapped Gerhard Schröder’s phone too’

US intelligence spied on former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder from 2002, when he was leading European opposition to the Iraq invasion, it was reported on Tuesday, adding fuel to a row over spying on incumbent Angela Merkel.

France ‘set to bill Google for €1 billion’ in taxes
France

France ‘set to bill Google for €1 billion’ in taxes

French authorities have decided to make a tax claim of €1 billion against Google following a probe into the tax strategies by the US Internet giant, Le Point magazine reported on Tuesday.

Robbers raid posh Zurich jewellery boutique
Switzerland

Robbers raid posh Zurich jewellery boutique

Two armed robbers raided a jewellery store on Zurich's posh Bahnhofstrasse in broad daylight Tuesday, making off with jewellery and watches worth more than $110,000, police said.

Swiss drive more diesel cars: latest figures
Switzerland

Swiss drive more diesel cars: latest figures

More motor vehicles were on the road in Switzerland last year than ever before, including an increasing number of diesel cars, government figures released on Tuesday show.

Holder hails Sweden as human rights ‘champion’
Sweden

Holder hails Sweden as human rights ‘champion’

US Attorney General Eric Holder praised Sweden as a "champion of human rights" in a speech at the Riksdag on Tuesday during the first-ever visit to Sweden by the United States' top legal official.

Too much reality TV ‘harms pupils’ grades’
France

Too much reality TV ‘harms pupils’ grades’

Have you ever been worried that too much reality TV might be frying your brain or more to the point your kids’ brains? Well you better read on.

Bomb squad sent to home of Lars Vilks
Sweden

Bomb squad sent to home of Lars Vilks

Bomb technicians were dispatched to the home of Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has previously received death threats after depicting the prophet Muhammad as a dog, for what turned out to be a false alarm.

Charlie Chaplin’s only novel restored in Italy
Italy

Charlie Chaplin’s only novel restored in Italy

A virtually unknown novel by Charlie Chaplin - the only book the silent film comic ever wrote - is being made public for the first time with the help of an Italian film restoration institute.

Woman gets jail term for pro-terrorism tweets
Spain

Woman gets jail term for pro-terrorism tweets

A young Spanish woman has been given a one-year suspended sentence for tweeting "highly radicalized and violent" content in which she glorified Spain's extreme-left terrorist group GRAPO.

Police reveal extent of bribes to ruling party
Spain

Police reveal extent of bribes to ruling party

Spanish police investigating one of the country's biggest ever corruption scandals have released a list of 'gifts' including plasma TVs, Cuban cigars and Mont Blanc pens allegedly given to top Popular Party officials to curry favour in return for public contracts.

Italy’s hottest athletes at the Sochi Olympics
Italy

Italy’s hottest athletes at the Sochi Olympics

As the start of the Sochi Winter Olympics looms, The Local finds out why this year the competition is hotter than ever.

TUI cancels all dolphin and orca show trips
Germany

TUI cancels all dolphin and orca show trips

Germany's biggest tourism operator TUI has cancelled all its trips to dolphin and orca shows, after conceding it could not check conditions at the venues.

‘Crisis has hit young Italians hardest’: Kyenge
Italy

‘Crisis has hit young Italians hardest’: Kyenge

Cecile Kyenge, Italy’s integration minister and delegate for youth policies, told The Local on Tuesday that young Italians have been the worst affected by the country's harsh economic crisis and that preparing them for the workforce, whether in Italy or abroad, was "crucial" for their development.

French robber betrays himself with a kiss
France

French robber betrays himself with a kiss

It's tough to fathom just how much trouble one French man is in all because of a tiny peck on the cheek. However this was no ordinary kiss and unfortunately for him it was the kind of smacker that his terrified victim was unlikely to forget.

Real hope for lenient ban for Ronaldo’s ‘aggro’
Spain

Real hope for lenient ban for Ronaldo’s ‘aggro’

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is hopeful that Cristiano Ronaldo will avoid a lengthy suspension despite his controversial sending-off in Sunday night's 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao in La Liga.

‘We need concrete action to help migrants’: MPs
Italy

‘We need concrete action to help migrants’: MPs

Politicians from Italy’s Democratic Party on Tuesday called for a national day to welcome migrants to the country and remember those who have died trying to reach Italy. The proposal comes amid criticism of the government's failure to act after hundreds of migrants drowned off the Italian coast.

Elephant hunter becomes agriculture boss
Germany

Elephant hunter becomes agriculture boss

A German conservation official who caused uproar after he boasted about shooting an elephant in Botswana has been made president of a state agricultural institute rather than being sacked.

Horses asked how they prefer to stay warm
Norway

Horses asked how they prefer to stay warm

Worried about the Norwegian habit of shearing off horses' thick winter coats and replacing them with blankets, Norwegian researchers have started asking the horses themselves how they prefer to ward off the cold.

French €1.5b anti-cancer plan in eight key points
France

French €1.5b anti-cancer plan in eight key points

The leading cause of death in France is not road accidents or heart disease brought on by rich food, but cancer. On Tuesday the French president revealed a new €1.5 billion Cancer Plan, proposing major changes in how France fights the disease. Here are the key points.

Drug addict bank robber ‘wanted to go to jail’
Germany

Drug addict bank robber ‘wanted to go to jail’

A drug addict tried to rob a bank in Frankfurt - not to feed his habit, but so he would be put in jail where he could go cold turkey and beat his habit. He was handed a cup of coffee rather than cash by bank staff.

Oslo’s National Theatre holds Knausgård play
Norway

Oslo’s National Theatre holds Knausgård play

Norway's National Theatre has postponed its production of Karl Ove Knausgård's novel My Struggle until next year, after the theatre's director, Hanne Tømta, decided it needed more time.

Swedish DJ Avicii wins Music Export Prize
Sweden

Swedish DJ Avicii wins Music Export Prize

Swedish DJ Avicii won a government award on Tuesday for his contribution to the country's music export scene, with supergroup Abba picking up another prize.

Iran nuke deal possible within six months: Bildt
Sweden

Iran nuke deal possible within six months: Bildt

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said on Tuesday that an international nuclear agreement with Iran is possible within six months.

Young Swedish women often ‘coerced into sex’
Sweden

Young Swedish women often ‘coerced into sex’

More than one third of young Swedish women have been forced to perform sexual acts against their will, a new study from Lund University has revealed.

Mystery Spanish cat found in Scottish garage
Spain

Mystery Spanish cat found in Scottish garage

A cat fitted with a microchip in the Canary Islands has been discovered hiding in an Aberdeen garage after making a mystery solo trip.

Turkey urges German support for EU bid
Germany

Turkey urges German support for EU bid

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Germany on Tuesday to step up support for his country's bid to enter the European Union, but acknowledged Turkey must also press on with reforms.

Widow charged for killing husband with stun gun
Sweden

Widow charged for killing husband with stun gun

A 72-year-old woman from western Sweden is finally facing court on murder charges nearly 20 years after she allegedly killed her husband with a stun gun.

Qatar Airlines slammed for sexist job advert
Norway

Qatar Airlines slammed for sexist job advert

Qatar Airways has been sharply criticized by Norway's anti-discrimination ombudsman after it specified that all women coming to a recruitment day for cabin crew had to wear short skirts.

Hollande’s u-turn shows ‘disdain for lesbians’
France

Hollande’s u-turn shows ‘disdain for lesbians’

Gay rights groups and leftist political parties slammed the French government on Tuesday for an apparent u-turn on legislation that would have legalized medically assisted procreation for lesbian couples. Conservatives however were heralding a victory.

The pain of Merkel’s S&M government
Germany

The pain of Merkel’s S&M government

Merkel's "grand coalition" government is such an extreme combination of passivity and aggression, it is practically sado-masochist, Malte Lehming argues in Cicero magazine this month.

German engineering suffers a tough year
Germany

German engineering suffers a tough year

Falling domestic and export demand hit Germany's key mechanical engineering sector in December, and 2013 as a whole was a difficult year, the industry said on Tuesday.

Gallery: The Local’s Property of the Week
Sweden

Gallery: The Local’s Property of the Week

Hello folks and welcome to another Property of the Week. This time, we're heading to the east coast of Sweden where we have a family home up for sale. But bring your sunglasses, the brightness inside may blind you.

Spain’s cancer rate: More cases, fewer deaths
Spain

Spain’s cancer rate: More cases, fewer deaths

The World Health Organization said on Tuesday the globe is facing a "tidal wave" of cancer, a trend which seems to apply to Spain as cancer rates have grown by nearly 10 percent in five years.

Queen Elizabeth to meet Pope Francis in Rome
Italy

Queen Elizabeth to meet Pope Francis in Rome

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is to visit Rome in April, where she and husband Prince Philip will meet President Giorgio Napolitano and Pope Francis.

Brittany to be pounded by yet more storms
France

Brittany to be pounded by yet more storms

It’s been a tough winter for the French region of Brittany which has been repeatedly battered by devastating storms and subsequent floods that have caused millions of euros of damage. And there is more bad extreme weather on the way on Tuesday.

Wawrinka seeks home in historic town: report
Switzerland

Wawrinka seeks home in historic town: report

Grand Slam tennis champ Stanislas Wawrinka is building a new home in the town of Coppet in the canton of Vaud, according to a report.

Spain starts 2014 with more unemployed
Spain

Spain starts 2014 with more unemployed

Spain's unemployment queue grew in January but by the smallest margin since 2007, before the economy entered five years of stop-start recession that destroyed millions of jobs, government figures showed on Tuesday.

Ukraine calls in German ambassador
Germany

Ukraine calls in German ambassador

UPDATE: Ukraine summoned the German ambassador on Tuesday after Germany's foreign minister threatened the leadership of the crisis-hit country with sanctions.

Swedish thieves head west for rich Norwegians
Sweden

Swedish thieves head west for rich Norwegians

Police in the Norwegian capital have reported a surge in robberies from Swedish gang members who've crossed the border to prey on their wealthier neighbours.

GALLERY: Norway’s hottest athletes at Sochi
Norway

GALLERY: Norway’s hottest athletes at Sochi

Norway is far and away the favourite to take the most gold medals at Sochi, with so many top athletes, there's even debate of dropping multiple gold-medallist Petter Northug from the team. Here are some to watch out for.

Man in samurai sword attack over unpaid beer
Italy

Man in samurai sword attack over unpaid beer

A man in Bologna was attacked on Sunday afternoon with a baseball bat and samurai sword after leaving a restaurant without paying for a bottle of beer.

Prison director fired after affairs with prostitutes
Switzerland

Prison director fired after affairs with prostitutes

The director of a prison in the canton of Bern has been relieved of his duties following embarrassing revelations in the press about his involvement with prostitutes.

Swedes fret over sugar death risk study
Sweden

Swedes fret over sugar death risk study

A US study about the potential deadliness of consuming too much sugar has raised alarm bells in Sweden, where doctors and health experts warn that Swedes already eat enough unhealthy food.

Germany to ‘sell Egypt two more subs’
Germany

Germany to ‘sell Egypt two more subs’

EXCLUSIVE: Germany is “weeks away” from signing a contract with Egypt to provide the troubled Middle Eastern country with two more submarines in a multi-million euro deal, a defence source told the The Local.

Almost all Spaniards think corruption is rife
Spain

Almost all Spaniards think corruption is rife

Ninety-five percent of Spaniards believe that the institutions of their country are corrupt, according to a European Commission report published on Monday that described the problem across the EU as "breathtaking".

Norway snowboard ace hit by illness in Sochi
Norway

Norway snowboard ace hit by illness in Sochi

Norwegian snowboarder Silje Norendal has been taken ill in Sochi, Russia, putting the participation of yet another of the country's gold-medal hopefuls in question.

Cyclist rejects blame for Pakistani cop deaths
Spain

Cyclist rejects blame for Pakistani cop deaths

A Spanish around-the-world cyclist has released a gripping account of the moment he came under attack and was hit by shrapnel while crossing Pakistan. He's also denied any implication in the death of six policemen who were allegedly acting as his bodyguards.

New law could see Berlusconi win elections
Italy

New law could see Berlusconi win elections

A coalition led by centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi would win national elections if Italians were to head to the polls under the new proposed electoral law, an opinion poll has found.

Outrage after attack on special needs student
France

Outrage after attack on special needs student

Facebook users in France reacted with outrage this week after a video showing two youths tormenting and humiliating a young man with learning difficulties was posted online. Police feared the angry public would seek to hand out justice themselves.

Norway minister to bring husband to Sochi
Norway

Norway minister to bring husband to Sochi

Norway's most high-profile gay politician plans to bring his husband along to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, despite the deteriorating gay rights situation in Russia.

UBS posts dramatic turnaround for 2013
Switzerland

UBS posts dramatic turnaround for 2013

UBS, Switzerland's largest bank, on Tuesday reported a huge switch back into profit last year and accelerating performance in the last quarter.

Factory workers fight to be called slaves
Italy

Factory workers fight to be called slaves

Hundreds of Bangladeshis working in textiles factories in Sant'Antimo, near Naples, are fighting to be recognized as slaves in an effort to escape their employer after it was revealed they toil for long hours for a monthly salary of less than €250.

UN urges Spain to drop Civil War taboos
Spain

UN urges Spain to drop Civil War taboos

A UN expert on Monday urged Spain to break a decades-long taboo by investigating atrocities allegedly committed in its 1936-39 civil war and the Franco dictatorship that followed.

Dieudonné stiff-arms Queen at Swiss concert
Switzerland

Dieudonné stiff-arms Queen at Swiss concert

French comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala on Monday answered Britain's decision to ban him from entry by giving Queen Elizabeth II his trademark Nazi-like salute during a show in Switzerland.

Sweden’s cancer care neglects family’s needs
Sweden

Sweden’s cancer care neglects family’s needs

Close relatives and family of cancer patients in Sweden rarely get the help they need to cope with the effects of treating the disease, a new survey has found.

Thousands of pigs stuck in burning sty
Sweden

Thousands of pigs stuck in burning sty

A full pig pen in southern Sweden caught fire on Tuesday morning, with police, fire fighters, and veterinarians on the scene to quell the blaze and rescue the pigs.

Storm warning as winter pauses with 11C high
Germany

Storm warning as winter pauses with 11C high

The unsettled weather affecting other areas of Europe could be on its way to Germany, with forecasters warning of rising temperatures and accompanying storms.

Brit blasts French arts body over fake Chagall
France

Brit blasts French arts body over fake Chagall

An art-loving British businessman has appealed to a French arts body to overturn its "unjust" decision to destroy a treasured painting that he thought was by Marc Chagall, but was in fact judged to be a fake.

Couple ‘chained teen to floor to go shopping’
Germany

Couple ‘chained teen to floor to go shopping’

A German couple are being investigated for allegedly repeatedly chaining their 13-year-old to the floor when they went shopping. He apparently kept leaving the house to meet his friends who his parents did not approve of.

Echoes of Clinton in Social Democrats’ welfare reform bid
Sweden

Echoes of Clinton in Social Democrats’ welfare reform bid

The Social Democrats have proposed major changes to Sweden's welfare system, a move that reminds liberal commentator Nima Sanandaji of reforms enacted by former US President Bill Clinton.

Knox judge faces inquiry after media comments
Italy

Knox judge faces inquiry after media comments

The judge who announced the guilty verdicts against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher is facing disciplinary action for “impropriety” following comments made to an Italian newspaper.

Rwanda: Landmark trial opens in France
France

Rwanda: Landmark trial opens in France

The landmark trial of a former Rwandan army captain charged with complicity in the 1994 genocide kicked off in Paris on Tuesday, the first of its kind in France.

Dieudonné gives Queen the quenelle after UK ban
France

Dieudonné gives Queen the quenelle after UK ban

French comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala on Monday answered Britain's decision to ban him from entry by giving Queen Elizabeth II his trademark quenelle salute, which he says is an anti-establishment gesture, but critics say is anti-Semitic.

Geneva group fights to free jailed professor
Switzerland

Geneva group fights to free jailed professor

Campaigners in Switzerland are fighting to free an expat wife and mother accused in the United States of facilitating the brutal murder of her alleged rapist.

Nordea puts Israeli holdings under the loop
Sweden

Nordea puts Israeli holdings under the loop

Swedish bank Nordea has vowed to review its holding in two Israeli banks for possible ties to the building of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

Japanese singer to marry Italian barman
Italy

Japanese singer to marry Italian barman

Songstress Hikaru Utada is to tie the knot, she announced on her website, with Japanese media saying her intended is an Italian barman eight years her junior.