Poor hygiene ‘costs French economy €14.5bn’
France

Poor hygiene ‘costs French economy €14.5bn’

Poor personal hygiene cost French companies a staggering €14.5 billion in 2013, according to a new study published this week. The report did not smell much sweeter for British and German companies, which also suffered big losses because of uncleanliness.

‘I won’t talk peace with terrorists’: Spanish PM
Spain

‘I won’t talk peace with terrorists’: Spanish PM

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Wednesday rejected calls to respond to a disarmament pledge by the Basque separatist group Eta.

British expats in Spain urged to register to vote
Spain

British expats in Spain urged to register to vote

British expats living in Spain are being urged to register to vote on Wednesday — which has been named the official "Overseas Registration Day". The final deadline for registration is May 6th.

‘Slaughter’ leaves 21,000 birds dead in France
France

‘Slaughter’ leaves 21,000 birds dead in France

In what authorities called the 'slaughter' of the century, 21,000 sea birds have died due to the spate of storms that have pounded the French coast since January.

JobTalk: The Local’s guide to working in Germany
Germany

JobTalk: The Local’s guide to working in Germany

The Local's regular Monday feature, JobTalk, gives you the rundown on a range of topics on working in Germany. Now we bring these articles, from maternity leave to internships, together in one place.

Brazil beans and Japan barley come to Svalbard
Norway

Brazil beans and Japan barley come to Svalbard

Over 20,000 crops originating from over 100 countries arrived in Svalbard on Wednesday to be put into the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) in time for the its sixth anniversary.

Germany’s tallest hotel planned for Berlin
Germany

Germany’s tallest hotel planned for Berlin

Developers revealed plans on Tuesday to build Germany's highest hotel rising 175 metres above the city in the Neukölln area of Berlin. It will boast 814 rooms on 46 floors.

British expats in France urged to register to vote
France

British expats in France urged to register to vote

British expats living in France are being urged to register to vote on Wednesday – which has been named the official "Overseas Registration Day". The British government are hoping 25,000 voters will sign up.

Italians beg Swiss: please buy Sardinia

Italians beg Swiss: please buy Sardinia

Could Sardinia become Switzerland's 27th canton? In a bid to ease Italy's economic woes, a Facebook campaign has been set up to sell the southern Italian island of Sardinia to the Alpine country.

Italian MEP protests during EU-Swiss debate
Italy

Italian MEP protests during EU-Swiss debate

An outspoken Italian MEP and member of the far-right Northern League party interrupted a session of the European Parliament on Wednesday to defend the Swiss anti-immigration vote of February 9th.

One in ten Norwegian women raped: survey
Norway

One in ten Norwegian women raped: survey

Nearly one in ten women in Norway have been raped, half of them when they were below the age of 18, according to a new survey.

Italian MEP protests at EU-Swiss debate
Switzerland

Italian MEP protests at EU-Swiss debate

An outspoken far-right Italian MEP interrupted a session of the European Parliament on Wednesday to defend the Swiss anti-immigration vote of February 9th.

Credit Suisse ‘deeply’ regrets misconduct
Switzerland

Credit Suisse ‘deeply’ regrets misconduct

Switzerland's second largest bank, Credit Suisse, accused by Washington of helping US clients hide billions from the taxman, acknowledged on Wednesday there had been "misconduct" by some of its employees but said management was unaware.

‘Cute and exciting’ princess name revealed
Sweden

‘Cute and exciting’ princess name revealed

The Royal Palace has revealed the name and title of Princess Madeleine's baby daughter at the official council ceremony in Stockholm.

VIDEO: Reindeer swirl as herd splits up
Norway

VIDEO: Reindeer swirl as herd splits up

Jan Helmer Olsen, a drone photography enthusiast from Karasjok in northern Norway, last week shot Sami herders splitting up their reindeer, beautifully bringing out the swirling geometry of the herd.

Fury after ‘Virgin Mary’ awarded top police medal
Spain

Fury after ‘Virgin Mary’ awarded top police medal

The Spanish interior ministry's decision to award the Gold Medal of Police Merit, the highest honour of the country's national force, to an image of the Virgin Mary has been described as "mockery" by Police union chiefs.

Arlanda airport hit by bomb threat
Sweden

Arlanda airport hit by bomb threat

Parts of Stockholm's Arlanda airport was cordoned off and closed down on Wednesday afternoon after a bomb threat directed at a passenger plane.

Islanders torn as Costa Concordia captain visits
Italy

Islanders torn as Costa Concordia captain visits

UPDATED: Residents of Italy's Giglio Island reacted with mixed emotions on Wednesday to the first return visit by captain Francesco Schettino since a tragedy in which 32 people on his Costa Concordia cruise ship died.

Marauding boars cause record crop damage
Switzerland

Marauding boars cause record crop damage

Wild boar in canton Aargau caused a record 780,000 francs ($877,000) worth of damage to crops in 2013.

Former Olympic athlete ‘kills son then himself’
Germany

Former Olympic athlete ‘kills son then himself’

A former German Olympic gymnast jumped to his death from a bridge on Monday night after reportedly suffocating his disabled teenage son to death in his bed.

Chaos after jobs agency invites 61,000 to meeting
Sweden

Chaos after jobs agency invites 61,000 to meeting

Swarms of jobseekers descended upon a Stockholm office for Sweden's national jobs agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) on Wednesday after workers accidentally invited 61,000 people to a meeting intended for 1,000.

Five best (and five worst) German flashmobs ever
Germany

Five best (and five worst) German flashmobs ever

From the no pants subway ride to the "grand central freeze" in New York, flashmobs can make for great video – or a boring waste of time. The Local has found Germany's best and worst examples.

Tap water ‘polluted’ for 1.5 million in France
France

Tap water ‘polluted’ for 1.5 million in France

Polluted drinking water is pouring out of taps at the homes of nearly 1.5 million people in France, according to a new study released on Wednesday. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s not residents of French cities who are gulping down the most contaminated water. (SEE MAP)

Spanish PM’s speech busts ‘applause-o-meter’
Spain

Spanish PM’s speech busts ‘applause-o-meter’

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy broke all records for applause received from his own bench during his upbeat state of the nation speech on Tuesday but outside his own party the reaction was rather more lukewarm.

Police bust ‘magic mushroom cake’ chefs
Spain

Police bust ‘magic mushroom cake’ chefs

Civil Guard officers in Valencia have arrested two crooked cooks suspected of making and selling chocolate cakes with an unusual secret ingredient – hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Cardinal calls for fresh business approach
Italy

Cardinal calls for fresh business approach

Since Pope Francis was elected last year, he has both criticized the “tyranny” of the markets while also sought the help of big business to revamp Vatican finances. The Local speaks to newly-appointed Cardinal Vincent Nichols in Rome, to find out about the Holy See’s new approach to business relations.

‘Blind’ man filmed giving directions and shopping
Italy

‘Blind’ man filmed giving directions and shopping

A man in Bari has been arrested after he defrauded the Italian state of €135,000 ($185,500) by claiming to suffer from “total blindness”. He was caught out after he was filmed performing normal activities such as shopping and giving directions.

French cops tweet photo of murder victim’s corpse
France

French cops tweet photo of murder victim’s corpse

French cops made a Twitter blunder this week when, in launching an appeal to identify a murder victim, they tweeted out a disturbing photo of the face of a dead man in the hope someone might recognize him. It's not the only recent social media gaffe police have made.

Italian navy rescues 600 migrants in 24 hours
Italy

Italian navy rescues 600 migrants in 24 hours

The Italian navy said on Wednesday it had rescued nearly 600 migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Africa over the past 24 hours in an operation launched after two shipwrecks in which hundreds drowned.

Javier Bardem gaffe sparks diplomatic row
Spain

Javier Bardem gaffe sparks diplomatic row

An off-the-cuff remark by Spanish movie star Javier Bardem, in which he let slip private comments by a French ambassador, has sparked a high-level diplomatic crisis between France and Morocco.

Phantom limb patients treated in virtual reality
Sweden

Phantom limb patients treated in virtual reality

Leading researchers in Sweden have found that rigging up amputees to virtual reality computer games can help ease the pain caused by their phantom limbs.

Doctors criticized for ‘cannabis can kill’ study
Germany

Doctors criticized for ‘cannabis can kill’ study

UPDATE: German researchers who claimed in a study that cannabis can be deadly have faced criticism for exaggerating the dangers of marijuana.

Sweden threatens to sue the EU over chemicals
Sweden

Sweden threatens to sue the EU over chemicals

Sweden's environment minister is on the war path and threatening to sue the European Commission for dragging its feet on the issue of harmful chemicals in clothes and beauty products.

Bayer says $2.6bn Algeta takeover successful
Norway

Bayer says $2.6bn Algeta takeover successful

German pharmaceuticals giant Bayer said on Wednesday that its 1.9-billion-euro ($2.6-billion) bid for Norwegian cancer treatment specialist Algeta has been successful and it now holds more than 97 percent in the firm.

Sweden’s Riksbank keeps eye on inflation
Sweden

Sweden’s Riksbank keeps eye on inflation

Sweden's central bank revealed on Wednesday that it was keeping an eye on the low inflation, while its board members asked that policy makers pay attention to the country's high level of household indebtedness.

Business school teacher shows porn in class
Switzerland

Business school teacher shows porn in class

Students at a Zurich business school on Monday were surprised to see pornographic images beamed on to the classroom blackboard after their teacher forgot to turn off the overhead projector.

Which subjects are German unis best at?
Germany

Which subjects are German unis best at?

Five German universities have made it into the top 20 world rankings by subject area, listings released on Wednesday revealed. Physics and languages emerged on top.

Arctic Norway ‘too cold’ for British troops
Norway

Arctic Norway ‘too cold’ for British troops

British soldiers are shying away from doing exercises at the Allied Training Centre in Porsangmoen -- Norway's most northerly military base -- because they simply can't stand the cold, the centre's commanding officer has complained.

Spain’s nurses ‘Europe’s most stressed’: Study
Spain

Spain’s nurses ‘Europe’s most stressed’: Study

Spain's nurses are among the most overworked and stressed out in Europe, but it's not all bad news for patients in a country that has been hard bit by spending cuts, a new study reveals.

Fat Swedes need scalpel after gastric bypass op
Sweden

Fat Swedes need scalpel after gastric bypass op

The vast majority of gastric bypass patients in Sweden are happy with the results - an average loss of two thirds of their body weight - but almost half have to resort to plastic surgery, new long-term research showed.

Court boosts fringe parties’ election hopes
Germany

Court boosts fringe parties’ election hopes

Germany’s smallest political parties have been given a huge boost ahead of European elections in May, with the country’s top court ruling they will no longer need a minimum percent of the vote to win seats in parliament.

‘Naples really isn’t as dangerous as people say’
Italy

‘Naples really isn’t as dangerous as people say’

Cousins Rachel and Gabrielle moved half way across the world from New Zealand to Naples. Gabrielle tells The Local why Naples doesn't deserve its negative press, and why she loves the Neapolitan way of life.

Why the French don’t do restaurant ‘doggy bags’
France

Why the French don’t do restaurant ‘doggy bags’

For Americans few cultural differences between the US and France are as bemusing as the lack of doggy bags in restaurants. Here's why taking your leftover boeuf bourguignon home with you is unlikely to become common practice in French diners.

VIDEO: Stunning time-lapse of Northern Lights
Norway

VIDEO: Stunning time-lapse of Northern Lights

A Norwegian nature photographer has created this stunning time-lapse film of the pulsating shapes and colours of the Northern Lights over the city of Trondheim in northern Norway.

Swiss to vote on world’s highest minimum wage
Switzerland

Swiss to vote on world’s highest minimum wage

A proposed minimum wage of 22 francs an hour ($24.80) would have a damaging effect on Switzerland's job market, says Swiss economics minister Johann Schneider-Ammann, as voters prepare to decide.

Adidas pulls ‘sex trade’ World Cup T-shirts
Germany

Adidas pulls ‘sex trade’ World Cup T-shirts

German sports giant Adidas has removed two World Cup T-shirts from sale following complaints from hosts Brazil that they were promoting prostitution.

Neknominate drinking craze spreads to Italy
Italy

Neknominate drinking craze spreads to Italy

It’s a deadly social media craze that has so far claimed five lives across the world. Now Neknominate, a drinking game that involves people filming themselves downing alcohol and then nominating someone else to continue, has spread to Italy.

Spanish guitar legend Paco de Lucía dies
Spain

Spanish guitar legend Paco de Lucía dies

The Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía has died aged 66 of a heart attack while on holiday in Mexico with his family, according to official sources in his home town of Algeciras in Andalucia.

‘I am open to dialogue on Catalonia’: Spanish PM
Spain

‘I am open to dialogue on Catalonia’: Spanish PM

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Tuesday that a referendum on Catalan independence planned for September 9th will not take place because it would be illegal, but he added he was open to dialogue.

Repsol accepts Argentina YPF compensation deal
Spain

Repsol accepts Argentina YPF compensation deal

Spanish oil giant Repsol said on Tuesday it had agreed to accept a €3.6 billion ($5 billion) compensation package from Argentina for the country's controversial seizure of its subsidiary YPF.

Vasaloppet skiers get longed-for go-ahead
Sweden

Vasaloppet skiers get longed-for go-ahead

Organizers of Sweden's annual Vasaloppet cross-country ski race, which is scheduled to begin on Sunday, said the historic race would go ahead despite unusually high temperatures.

France extends CAR mission amid threats
France

France extends CAR mission amid threats

French MPs gave their approval on Tuesday to an extension of the country's military operation in the Central African Republic as the UN warned of a potential new bloodbath in the troubled African state.

Police appeal over teens’ jewellery store axe raid
Germany

Police appeal over teens’ jewellery store axe raid

Police in Munich are appealing for help following a raid at the start of February on an upmarket jewellery store, allegedly by axe-wielding teens believed to be linked to the Pink Panther burglary gang.

‘Air Cocaine’ affair: Pilot unions urge boycott
France

‘Air Cocaine’ affair: Pilot unions urge boycott

French pilots have been urged to refuse to fly to the Dominican Republic in protest over the arrest and detention of two colleagues, who have been accused of smuggling drugs in what has been dubbed the "Air Cocaine" affair in France.

Convicted rapists among Sweden’s legal guardians
Sweden

Convicted rapists among Sweden’s legal guardians

Convicted rapists and fraudsters have managed to become legal guardians for people with disabilities in Sweden, a new review showed on Wednesday.

‘Mein Kampf’ signed by Hitler to be auctioned
Germany

‘Mein Kampf’ signed by Hitler to be auctioned

Two copies of "Mein Kampf" signed by Adolf Hitler as well as a leather jacket belonging to his chief architect, Albert Speer, are to go under the hammer in Los Angeles.

British skier dies in 600m fall in French Alps
France

British skier dies in 600m fall in French Alps

An investigation has been launched into the death of a British skier who plunged 600 metres to his death in the French Alps on Tuesday. A fellow British skier avoided the fall.

Swiss bank ‘used golf’ to lure US tax cheats
Switzerland

Swiss bank ‘used golf’ to lure US tax cheats

Switzerland's second largest bank, Credit Suisse, used elaborate measures to find wealthy clients and help an estimated 19,000 US customers evade American tax authorities, a scathing report from a Senate inquiry said on Tuesday.

Swiss president meets Biden for Ukraine talks
Switzerland

Swiss president meets Biden for Ukraine talks

US Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday met Didier Burkhalter, leader of Switzerland and current head of the OSCE group that is seeking a leading role during Ukraine's political transition.

EU makes budget plea to Italy’s ‘Super Mario’
Italy

EU makes budget plea to Italy’s ‘Super Mario’

Former Italian prime minister Mario Monti has been handed the thorny task of finding new sources of funding for the EU budget, European authorities announced on Tuesday.

‘Without Italy there is no Europe’: Renzi
Italy

‘Without Italy there is no Europe’: Renzi

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Tuesday voiced his views on Europe, after winning a no confidence vote in Italy's lower house of parliament that completes a daring and speedy power grab by the 39-year-old centre-left leader.

Police swoop on insider-trading ring
Switzerland

Police swoop on insider-trading ring

Police launched about 50 coordinated home and office raids in Germany and Switzerland Tuesday against suspects in an insider-trading ring, they said.

Brits and Germans: Give us more power over EU
Germany

Brits and Germans: Give us more power over EU

A majority of Germans and Brits want a greater role for their national parliaments in EU decision-making, a poll released on Wednesday suggested. It comes ahead of EU talks between Angela Merkel and David Cameron in London.