Skiers rescued as wind blows lift off tower
Switzerland

Skiers rescued as wind blows lift off tower

Twelve skiers had to be rescued at a ski resort in the canton of Saint Gallen on Wednesday when high winds blew a chairlift cable off sheaves attached to a tower.

EPFL helps pioneer ‘feeling’ bionic hand
Switzerland

EPFL helps pioneer ‘feeling’ bionic hand

An amputee with a bionic hand has for the first time been able to feel the texture and shape of objects in his grasp, researchers in Lausanne said on Wednesday.

Sweden to reject Norway plea to share prisons
Norway

Sweden to reject Norway plea to share prisons

Sweden is planning to turn down Norway's request to be able to rent out empty space in its prisons, the country's justice minister Beatice Ask has said, arguing that doing so would be too complicated as it probably require the two countries to change their laws.

French leftist ‘sacked’ for drinking with the enemy
France

French leftist ‘sacked’ for drinking with the enemy

If you thought American politics was partisan to the point of absurdity then a story of the ruthless sacking of an election candidate in France this week may make you think again. And it all revolves around a glass of whiskey.

Valentine’s Day in Paris: Ten romantic restaurants
France

Valentine’s Day in Paris: Ten romantic restaurants

Talk about heartburn. Choosing the proper Parisian restaurant for your Valentine’s Day meal can be a soul-destroying task. And you don't have long left to book. Fortunately your friends at The Local have narrowed down the choice of romantic diners from 6,200 to a top ten.

Carer forced ‘intimate shave’ on 85-year-old
Sweden

Carer forced ‘intimate shave’ on 85-year-old

A care worker who reportedly shaved the private parts of an elderly Swedish man against his will has been reported for mistreatment.

Oslo mayor slammed for Olympics ban
Norway

Oslo mayor slammed for Olympics ban

The mayor of Oslo has been criticised after he ruled that the city's 55,000 employees could not watch the Winter Olympics during working hours.

Real’s Ronaldo banned for three league games
Spain

Real’s Ronaldo banned for three league games

Recently crowned Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo will miss Real Madrid's next three league games after being sent-off in his side's 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

Sweden’s ten greatest winter Olympic heroes
Sweden

Sweden’s ten greatest winter Olympic heroes

With the Winter Olympics in Sochi just days away, The Local offers up our picks for the greatest Swedish winter Olympians of all time. How many have you heard of?

Germany to increase troop numbers in Mali
Germany

Germany to increase troop numbers in Mali

UPDATE: Germany's government on Wednesday approved increasing the number of soldiers sent to crisis-torn Mali and extending the withdrawal date for troops in Afghanistan by another ten months.

French mansion worth €2m up for grabs for €10
France

French mansion worth €2m up for grabs for €10

Always wanted to buy your dream mansion in rural France but could never afford it? Well now's your chance. A €2 million 520-square-metre mini-chateau, located just a short drive from Paris is up for grabs for as little as €10. But you will have to be smart to get it.

Handelsbanken posts profits after growth in UK
Sweden

Handelsbanken posts profits after growth in UK

Swedish bank Handelsbanken announced growing profits on Wednesday for 2013, thanks largely to an expansion into the UK and the Netherlands.

Farmer dies of suspected mad cow disease
Italy

Farmer dies of suspected mad cow disease

A 46-year-old Sicilian man has died of suspected mad cow disease, local media reported on Wednesday.

Tax evaders dash to beat prosecution clock
Germany

Tax evaders dash to beat prosecution clock

It is starting to look like to be someone in Germany you have to pay back taxes on money that has been stashed away in a tax haven. The spate of apologies is being prompted by a race-against-time clause, a law professor told The Local.

Sacyr not budging in Panama Canal row
Spain

Sacyr not budging in Panama Canal row

Negotiations over who should pay for extra costs for upgrading the Panama Canal have collapsed, putting the project and up to 10,000 jobs at risk, Spanish group Sacyr said on Wednesday.

Vatican slams UN ‘interference’ on abortion
Italy

Vatican slams UN ‘interference’ on abortion

The Vatican said on Wednesday that it would study a damning UN report accusing it of failing to stamp out child abuse, but slammed criticism of its religious teachings as "interference".

Spain tops list of UK ‘abroad fraud’
Spain

Spain tops list of UK ‘abroad fraud’

Spain has a higher number of UK benefit cheats than any other country in the world, new figures provided by the British Embassy reveal. More than 750 cases were investigated in Spain last year by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Vatican slammed over child abuse ‘failures’
Switzerland

Vatican slammed over child abuse ‘failures’

A UN committee in Geneva denounced the Vatican on Wednesday for failing to stamp out systematic child abuse and called on the Church to remove all clergy suspected of raping or molesting children.

Barcelona: new home of the world’s biggest liner
Spain

Barcelona: new home of the world’s biggest liner

The 361.5-metre Royal Caribbean International cruise liner 'Allure of the Seas' will move its home base to Barcelona from 2015 onwards, bringing an estimated €27 million ($36.5 million) economic boost to the Catalan port.

Politician quits in wake of whisky theft scandal
Sweden

Politician quits in wake of whisky theft scandal

A high-ranking Social Democrat in Stockholm stepped down on Wednesday after he was caught taking a bottle of booze from a suburban liquor store.

Norwegian Islamist refused referee licence
Norway

Norwegian Islamist refused referee licence

The founder of one of Norway's most infamous militant Islamist groups has applied to return to work as a referee, and had his request turned down by the Norwegian Football Association.

Who are Germany’s Sochi Olympic hotshots?
Germany

Who are Germany’s Sochi Olympic hotshots?

As Friday's opening ceremony approaches, The Local gives you a run-down of the most promising athletes Germany has sent to the Winter Games in Sochi.

German tourists stay close to home on holiday
Germany

German tourists stay close to home on holiday

Germany's favourite holiday destination is... Germany, with nearly half taking their vacations within their own country, a study released on Wednesday revealed.

Cargo ship splits in two off French coast
France

Cargo ship splits in two off French coast

French authorities had to launch an emergency plan to prevent environmental damage on Wednesday after a cargo ship split in two after it crashed against a sea wall in stormy seas off the French Atlantic Coast.

Cops jailed for false baby-beating claim
Spain

Cops jailed for false baby-beating claim

Two police officers in Barcelona have been sent to prison for two years for making a knowingly false accusation that a woman had beaten her baby, resulting in an eight-month legal separation between mother and daughter.

‘Vatican refuses to stop abuse’: victims’ group
Italy

‘Vatican refuses to stop abuse’: victims’ group

The Catholic Church and Pope Francis have "refused to take action that will protect children", the president of a network for abuse victims has said in response to a damning UN report blasting the Vatican's failure to stamp out child abuse.

US committee approves blundering Norway envoy
Norway

US committee approves blundering Norway envoy

The US Senate's Foreign Affairs Committee has approved George Tsunis as the next ambassador of Norway, despite his catastrophic appointment hearing last month, and despite a warning from John McCain, its most prominent member, that he had already become "a mockery".

Last year sixth warmest on record: WMO figures
Switzerland

Last year sixth warmest on record: WMO figures

Last year tied for the sixth hottest on record, confirming that Earth's climate system is in the grip of warming that will affect generations to come, the UN's Geneva-based weather agency said on Wednesday.

SNCF faces ban in US over Holocaust role
France

SNCF faces ban in US over Holocaust role

France's state-owned rail company SNCF faces the prospect of being barred from bidding for a €4.4 billion project in the US because of its role in transporting Jews to concentration camps during World War Two.

Minister faces questions over Luxembourg links
Switzerland

Minister faces questions over Luxembourg links

Swiss Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann came under renewed scrutiny on Wednesday following revelations in the media that his family company used a subsidiary in Luxembourg to evade taxes in Switzerland.

Norwegian salmon farmer posts record profits
Norway

Norwegian salmon farmer posts record profits

Norwegian salmon farming giant Marine Harvest has posted its highest profit ever on the back of record high salmon prices and solid growth.

Vatican must report child abusers to police: UN
Italy

Vatican must report child abusers to police: UN

The Vatican must remove all child sexual abusers from their posts and turn them over to the police, the United Nations children's rights watchdog said on Wednesday.

In Pictures: Tidal waves crush northern Spain
Spain

In Pictures: Tidal waves crush northern Spain

Spain's northern coast hasn't seen the last of the destructive tidal waves and gale-force winds that have caused havoc over the past few days. Storm Petra is now on its way, a freak weather occurrence labelled by meteorologists as an "explosive cyclogenesis": the perfect storm.

Italian police bust sex-slave trafficking ring
Italy

Italian police bust sex-slave trafficking ring

The Italian police on Wednesday morning issued arrest warrants for 34 people allegedly involved with a mafia-style gang that forced women from west Africa into sexual slavery in Italy.

Uber launches new ‘taxi service’ in Paris
France

Uber launches new ‘taxi service’ in Paris

Californian start-up Uber launched a new ridesharing service in the French capital on Wednesday, that could see (almost) anyone become a chauffeur. The move is unlikely to go down well with Paris’s infamously tetchy taxi drivers however.

US ambassador: Merkel phone tap was stupid
Germany

US ambassador: Merkel phone tap was stupid

The US ambassador admitted on Tuesday the tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone by US security services was “stupid”. He was speaking minutes before it emerged the phone of Merkel’s predecessor was also targeted.

Swatch posts record profit as 2013 sales soar
Switzerland

Swatch posts record profit as 2013 sales soar

Switzerland's biggest watch group Swatch on Wednesday posted record net profits for 2013, up more than 20 percent from the previous year, and hailed a promising start to the new year.

Passengers stuck on lost bus as flight leaves
Germany

Passengers stuck on lost bus as flight leaves

A group of passengers whose plane wasn't working were left in a shuttle bus when their replacement flight from Cologne Airport departed.

VIDEO: Dog rescued from ice in daring operation
Norway

VIDEO: Dog rescued from ice in daring operation

When Ove Karlsen lowered himself into icy waters to save a trapped St. Bernard dog, he never expected to make the news in the UK.

KFC’s ‘finger-lickin’-good’ chicken heads to Sweden
Sweden

KFC’s ‘finger-lickin’-good’ chicken heads to Sweden

US fast food chain KFC, formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, is set to open in Sweden in 2014.

70-year-old Swede kept 557 weapons at home
Sweden

70-year-old Swede kept 557 weapons at home

Police have called upon the military for help and are scratching their heads as to how and why a man in southern Sweden managed to amass an arsenal of hundreds of weapons, 557 of which he had a licence to own.

Bern tells parents: Jessico not a boy’s name
Switzerland

Bern tells parents: Jessico not a boy’s name

A young couple in the canton of Bern have been ordered to change the name of their newborn son because it is too feminine, according to media reports.

‘Berlusconi for PM’ campervan tours Italy
Italy

‘Berlusconi for PM’ campervan tours Italy

Supporters of Silvio Berlusconi's party Go Italy (Forza Italia) have set out on a campervan tour as part of a campaign calling for the former prime minister's daughter, Marina Berlusconi, to become a candidate for the Italian premiership.

New bid to curb secret political party donations
Sweden

New bid to curb secret political party donations

On the heels of continued international criticism over Sweden's lack of political party funding transparency, new efforts are underway to ban anonymous party donations.

Burgers rule traditional French restaurant menus
France

Burgers rule traditional French restaurant menus

France's sacred and traditional baguettes are being sandwiched by a somewhat unlikely competitor: the hamburger. A new study published on Wednesday revealed the extent to which the French are being seduced by burgers at the expense of baguettes.

School shooting victims to share €2m insurance
Germany

School shooting victims to share €2m insurance

Victims and relatives of one of Germany's worst school shootings will share €2 million in compensation payments, it was confirmed on Wednesday.

Filipino sailors rescued as storms batter Spain
Spain

Filipino sailors rescued as storms batter Spain

Spanish coastguards rescued five Filipino sailors by helicopter after the seamen's boat got caught in a storm on Tuesday off northwestern Spain, where fresh sea gales were growing, authorities said.

Auction record smashed for Spanish artist Gris
Spain

Auction record smashed for Spanish artist Gris

Juan Gris's Cubist still life "Nature Morte a la Nappe a Carreaux" ("The Checked Tablecloth") sold for €42 million ($56.8 million) at a London sale Tuesday, smashing the auction record for the Spanish artist.

Lauda outraged by Schumacher mag cover
Germany

Lauda outraged by Schumacher mag cover

Former Formula One World Champion Niki Lauda has reacted angrily to the front cover of a German satirical magazine which placed a photo of him above a headline, “it’s hit Schumi this badly”.

Novartis plans to trim executive pay: report
Switzerland

Novartis plans to trim executive pay: report

Basel-based pharmaceutical giant Novartis is preparing to slash the pay of its chairman and board, following a push in Switzerland to rein in the bonuses of top executives, according to a report published onTuesday.

Iran is not open for business, US tells France
France

Iran is not open for business, US tells France

A visit to Iran by a large French business delegation drew a stern warning from Washington Tuesday that most US sanctions remain in place and will be enforced even against allies.

Real Madrid seek Cup revenge against Atlético
Spain

Real Madrid seek Cup revenge against Atlético

Copa del Rey holders Atlético Madrid return to the scene where they won the trophy last year when they face Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of their semi-final on Wednesday.

Warm weather scuppers classic Viking ice race
Sweden

Warm weather scuppers classic Viking ice race

Sweden's yearly 'Viking Race', where ice skaters glide 80 kilometres along an old Viking route on a frozen lake, has been cancelled due to a lack of ice.

Brittany: 25,000 hit by power cuts after storm
France

Brittany: 25,000 hit by power cuts after storm

The French region of Brittany came under the cosh from extreme weather once again on Tuesday night as a fierce storm left around 25,000 without power. The whole of the French Atlantic coast has now been placed on alert and cross-Channel ferries have been affected.

Cash-boost from Kuwait ‘will help create jobs’:PM
Italy

Cash-boost from Kuwait ‘will help create jobs’:PM

A €500 million investment in Italy from Kuwait’s Investment Authority “will help Italian companies and create jobs”, Prime Minister Enrico Letta said.

Ibra double puts PSG in League Cup finals
Sweden

Ibra double puts PSG in League Cup finals

Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored early and late to give Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain a 2-1 win over Nantes, sending his squad to the League Cup final and on the way to a possible domestic double.

‘Minimum wage could encourage moonlighting’
Germany

‘Minimum wage could encourage moonlighting’

The nationwide minimum wage, coupled with pension reforms, could reverse a long decline in people working off the books in Germany, and even prompt an increase, according to a study released on Tuesday.

Pope’s Latin tweets are a roaring success
Italy

Pope’s Latin tweets are a roaring success

Quis hoc crederet? Against all the odds, Pope Francis's Latin-language Twitter account is a roaring success - boasting 208,000 followers on Wednesday - more than those following papal tweets in German or Arabic.

Enel profits boosted by Russian sell-off
Italy

Enel profits boosted by Russian sell-off

Italian energy company Enel said on Tuesday its operating profit rose by 7.6 percent to €17 billion euros, although the gain was largely due to disposals.

Italian MP laments ‘massive’ refugee influx
Italy

Italian MP laments ‘massive’ refugee influx

The number of refugees landing in Italy rose tenfold in January, the country's deputy interior minister said on Tuesday, complaining of an "incessant and massive influx of migrants".

‘Foreign students should have time to find jobs’
Sweden

‘Foreign students should have time to find jobs’

Liberal Swedish MEP Cecilia Wikström tells The Local about a new EU directive that will allow greater opportunities for non-EU students who wish to study and work in Sweden.