French footballer steps in to save accordion factory
France

French footballer steps in to save accordion factory

French international footballer Laurent Koscielny, who plays with Premier League team Arsenal, has demonstrated his Gallic principles of solidarity and fraternity by reportedly stepping to help save a doomed accordion factory in France.

Switzerland ready to freeze Yanukovych funds
Switzerland

Switzerland ready to freeze Yanukovych funds

Switzerland said on Thursday it was prepared to freeze any funds Ukraine's ousted president Viktor Yanukovych might have in Swiss banks.

The marines at the centre of a diplomatic spat
Italy

The marines at the centre of a diplomatic spat

In 2012, a couple of Italian marines were arrested for shooting two Indian fishermen off the coast of India. The incident has sparked a diplomatic row between the two countries that shows little sign of ending anytime soon.

Germany has ‘greatest inequality in eurozone’
Germany

Germany has ‘greatest inequality in eurozone’

The distribution of wealth in Germany is the most unequal in the eurozone, a report released on Thursday revealed. Large differences remain between men and women and east and west.

Vote rigging mires SVT’s Melodifestivalen
Sweden

Vote rigging mires SVT’s Melodifestivalen

Several Swedish bookies have pulled out of Melodifestivalen, Sweden's qualifying rounds to Eurovision, because a vote-placing robot has left organizers scratching their heads.

Norwegian MP grilled by police on drugs use
Norway

Norwegian MP grilled by police on drugs use

The deputy of Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg has been admitted to using cannabis on at least one occasion,after being questioned by police following a drugs raid on several schools in the city of Bergen.

Swiss economic growth slows and disappoints
Switzerland

Swiss economic growth slows and disappoints

Swiss economic growth slowed to a crawl at the end of 2013, official data showed on Thursday, amid concern that the strong Swiss franc and recent vote limiting immigration from the EU might further hamper the country's economy.

‘The news you watch and read is full of lies’
Spain

‘The news you watch and read is full of lies’

One of Spain's best-loved TV presenters recently spent an hour lying to the whole country. Was it a master stroke or a cynical ratings grab? Opinions are very much divided on our latest Face of the Week, Jordi Évole.

Marines dismiss too cold claim as ‘nonsense’
Norway

Marines dismiss too cold claim as ‘nonsense’

The British officer charged with running the Royal Marines' winter training in Norway has dismissed as "a nonsense" claims that his troops are confined to barracks when temperatures get "too cold".

Unions launch campaign for minimum wage
Switzerland

Unions launch campaign for minimum wage

Full-time employees are entitled to a wage they can live on, the Swiss Trade Union Federation said on Thursday at the launch of its minimum wage campaign.

World’s most venemous lizard born in Sweden
Sweden

World’s most venemous lizard born in Sweden

PICTURES: A pair of the most venomous lizards in the world were born this week in a Swedish animal park, the first of their species ever born in Europe.

Second oldest church in Germany uncovered
Germany

Second oldest church in Germany uncovered

Archaeologists have discovered Germany’s second oldest church hidden within a cathedral in the west of the country.

Captain slams ‘frenzy’ on return to shipwreck
Italy

Captain slams ‘frenzy’ on return to shipwreck

Italian captain Francesco Schettino lashed out at a media "frenzy" on Thursday after his first return to the Costa Concordia, saying people who accused him of abandoning the ship had not understood "a bloody thing".

French opposition leader tied to money scandal
France

French opposition leader tied to money scandal

The head of France’s opposition party was pushing back hard on Thursday against charges of financial irregularities regarding €8 million in party spending during the 2012 election.

Spain clamps down on judges’ global crusades
Spain

Spain clamps down on judges’ global crusades

Lawmakers in Spain voted on Thursday in favour of a bill that will reduce the capacity of the country's courts to pursue cases of human rights abuses committed abroad.

Seven songs you didn’t know were flamenco
Spain

Seven songs you didn’t know were flamenco

To mark the death of Spanish guitar great Paco de Lucía on Tuesday, the Local has put together a collection of songs that have helped break down the barriers between flamenco, rock, jazz and world music.

‘Giant marbles’ could power our homes
Germany

‘Giant marbles’ could power our homes

If The Local's German of the Week is successful, giant marbles could soon be heating the country. Andre Broessel has invented a way of harnessing the sun's power through a glass sphere, and is gearing up to go into production.

Jensen sisters spar on Twitter over coal ban
Norway

Jensen sisters spar on Twitter over coal ban

The activist sister of Norwegian Finance Minister Siv Jensen has warned politicians not to be "sweet-talked" by her politically savvy sibling into allowing the Norwegian oil fund to continue investing in coal.

Police bust ‘enormous’ cannabis farm in Italy
Italy

Police bust ‘enormous’ cannabis farm in Italy

Police on Thursday uncovered an "enormous" haul of cannabis in Tuscany, seizing 5,000 plants and arresting a Chinese gang accused of being behind the drug factory.

Norway sees warmest winter for 150 years
Norway

Norway sees warmest winter for 150 years

Western Norway has seen the warmest winter since records began in 1861, government meteorologist Kjersti Opstad Strand has told the Yr.no weather portal.

Pensioner’s exploding trash causes mayhem
Spain

Pensioner’s exploding trash causes mayhem

A retired 73-year-old fireworks fancier accidentally caused a massive explosion on Wednesday afternoon when he dropped a bag of rubbish into a curb side container.

Hollande vows to help Nigeria fight extemists
France

Hollande vows to help Nigeria fight extemists

President François Hollande pledged in a speech in Nigeria to help fight terrorism and extremism there not simply with 'political' means. He also plans to meet French troops on Friday deployed in the Central African Republic.

Norway now grows less than 40% of its food
Norway

Norway now grows less than 40% of its food

Less than 40 percent of the food eaten in Norway is now grown in the country, new figures from Norway's Directorate of Health and Social Affairs have revealed.

Paris: ‘Worst restaurants’ named and shamed
France

Paris: ‘Worst restaurants’ named and shamed

Ten thousand internet voters have spoken and named and shamed the worst restaurants and clubs the City of Light has to offer. The black list even contains some well known establishments frequented by Anglos. Find out if you have been eating in the wrong places.

Sweden’s ten best and worst town slogans
Sweden

Sweden’s ten best and worst town slogans

There are 290 municipalities in Sweden, each with their own slogan. We trudged through them all and selected our ten favourites... from the weird and the ingenious, to the downright terrible.

‘Don’t euthanize kids’: Spaniards tell Belgium
Spain

‘Don’t euthanize kids’: Spaniards tell Belgium

A Spanish conservative lobby group on Thursday delivered more than 200,000 signatures to Belgian King Philippe in Brussels, urging him not to sign controversial child euthanasia legislation passed by parliament.

Swedish man ruled legal father of unwanted twins
Sweden

Swedish man ruled legal father of unwanted twins

A Malmö court has ruled that a man is the legal father of twins, conceived "against his wishes" when his wife lied to the fertility clinic abroad.

Spain’s ‘stupid driver’ arrested via Twitter
Spain

Spain’s ‘stupid driver’ arrested via Twitter

Spanish Police's Twitter hotshots have taken just 13 hours to locate a reckless driver who posted a video of himself steering his vehicle from the passenger seat.

Man killed in freak parking accident
Switzerland

Man killed in freak parking accident

A 41-year-old man has died while apparently trying to reverse his car into a parking space.

Italian police probe American student’s death
Italy

Italian police probe American student’s death

Investigators are currently working to determine the cause of death of a 21-year-old American student found dead in a train tunnel over the weekend.

Alps tourism chiefs slam planned French rail strike
France

Alps tourism chiefs slam planned French rail strike

Bosses of ski stations in the French Alps are furious over a planned strike by French rail workers this weekend that is timed for when 50,000 skiers will be heading to and from the slopes. One resort chief said strikers were 'holding skiers to ransom'.

Merkel: UK must stay in EU but reform unlikely
Germany

Merkel: UK must stay in EU but reform unlikely

UPDATE: Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Britain on Thursday to stay in the EU but played down David Cameron's hopes that her visit to London would bring major reforms.

Karneval festivities kick off in Rhineland
Germany

Karneval festivities kick off in Rhineland

Germany's Rhineland exploded into colour and music on Thursday morning, signalling the beginning of the Karneval season. Cities in the area transform annually for a big party.

Swiss students shut out of EU exchange deal
Switzerland

Swiss students shut out of EU exchange deal

The European Union has blocked Switzerland from its Erasmus+ student exchange programme as a result of the vote to re-introduce quotas on EU citizens.

Versace agrees to sell minority stake to US firm
Italy

Versace agrees to sell minority stake to US firm

Italian family-run fashion house Versace said on Thursday it had agreed to sell a 20-percent stake to US private equity firm Blackstone in a deal that values the group at €1.0 billion ($1.4 billion).

Is Spain becoming ‘the whorehouse of Europe’?
Spain

Is Spain becoming ‘the whorehouse of Europe’?

A Barcelona-based career development course for aspiring prostitutes has outraged Spanish activists who say positive media coverage of the event could see Spain becoming "the whorehouse of Europe".

Stunned mum, 45, didn’t know she was pregnant
France

Stunned mum, 45, didn’t know she was pregnant

A 45-year-old French woman says she had no idea she was pregnant until her baby literally popped out while she was on holiday at a ski resort in the Alps this week. It may sound unbelievable but the phenomemon is not as uncommon as you might have thought.

Swedes react to new baby princess name
Sweden

Swedes react to new baby princess name

Amelia, Beatrice, Astrid... and top dog Desirée. None of these princess baby name predictions stuck, however. But what did Average Sven think of the name? And what about you?

‘Cameron’s red carpet reeks of desperation’
Germany

‘Cameron’s red carpet reeks of desperation’

Angela Merkel’s visit to London shows how much more David Cameron needs the German Chancellor than she needs him. Until Thursday, her trip was ignored by the German papers who accuse the British press of “hyping” the visit.

Leipzig zoo’s baby gorilla strolls into the limelight
Germany

Leipzig zoo’s baby gorilla strolls into the limelight

Leipzig zookeepers found out the sex of their two-month-old baby gorilla and gave him a name on Monday, after weeks of waiting for an opportunity to examine the animal.

Court clears ex-president of ‘favours’ charges
Germany

Court clears ex-president of ‘favours’ charges

UPDATE: Former German President Christian Wulff was on Thursday cleared of charges he received financial favours during his time in office as state premiere of Lower Saxony.

Oslo’s top anti-gang cop charged for corruption
Norway

Oslo’s top anti-gang cop charged for corruption

One of Oslo's top undercover policemen has been charged with gross corruption after a local drug kingpin claimed he had made regular protection payments to him over several years.

Guantanamo: Paris judge asked to probe ‘torture’
France

Guantanamo: Paris judge asked to probe ‘torture’

Two French citizens, who are former inmates at the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison camp have asked a French judge to subpoena a former prison commander thay accuse of overseeing an alleged "systematic plan of torture and ill-treatment".

Photo of the day: Pope’s mini-me weeps at Vatican
Italy

Photo of the day: Pope’s mini-me weeps at Vatican

Images of children dressed as their "hero" Pope Francis have melted the hearts of many Italians. But when the pontiff finally met one of his miniature selves on Wednesday the meeting didn’t exactly go according to plan.

Disgraced captain to board cruise ship wreck
Italy

Disgraced captain to board cruise ship wreck

Italian captain Francesco Schettino on Thursday prepared to return on board his Costa Concordia cruise ship, more than two years after leaving it in a hurry as it sank in a tragedy that claimed 32 lives.

‘Veganism can cause anorexia’: Italian priest
Italy

‘Veganism can cause anorexia’: Italian priest

A row has erupted in north-eastern Italy after a priest reportedly refused to host a vegan book launch, claiming that the meat- and dairy-free diet can prompt eating disorders.

Sweden’s 2013 exports figures take a dip
Sweden

Sweden’s 2013 exports figures take a dip

Swedish exports decreased seven percent in the past year, yet trade was comparatively buoyant in the last quarter of 2013 compared to the months prior.

Australia bans Swedish film for child nudity
Sweden

Australia bans Swedish film for child nudity

Censors in Australia have effectively banned a Swedish film due to scenes of child nudity, with anyone caught selling or showing the film in public risking hefty fines and up to ten years in prison.

Olympic bosses demand own VIP hotel floor
Norway

Olympic bosses demand own VIP hotel floor

The International Olympic Committee is demanding that Oslo provide its officials with an entire VIP floor of a luxury hotel, with their own dedicated medical staff available 24/7, as part of the price of hosting the Winter Olympics in 2022.

‘Boring’ weather forecast ends Spain’s crazy winter
Spain

‘Boring’ weather forecast ends Spain’s crazy winter

For the first time in 88 days, no weather warnings have been issued in Spain for Thursday, the country's meteorological agency have reported.

Kids mourn sad end of bankrupt Pocoyo
Spain

Kids mourn sad end of bankrupt Pocoyo

The Spanish production company behind 'Pocoyo', a children television's show screened internationally and starring an animated toddler and his animal friends, said Wednesday it had filed for bankruptcy protection.

Record French jobless rate is ‘under control’
France

Record French jobless rate is ‘under control’

Despite the number of unemployed people in France hitting a new record this week, with 3.31 million people now out of work, the country's labour minister has insisted the government has the jobless rate under control.

Real rout Schalke to earn rare win in Germany
Spain

Real rout Schalke to earn rare win in Germany

Real Madrid notched up a rare victory on German soil as they romped to a 6-1 win at Schalke 04 in Wednesday's Champions League's last 16, first-leg clash.

PM wins ‘state of the nation’ battle: Polls
Spain

PM wins ‘state of the nation’ battle: Polls

After three days of intense parliamentary debate, Spanish voters believe Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy performed marginally better than his opposition socialist PSOE counterpart, two polls published on Thursday show.

Renaissance frescos to get a makeover in Rome
Italy

Renaissance frescos to get a makeover in Rome

A year-long restoration of the Farnese Gallery at the French embassy in a Renaissance palace in Rome will begin next month, officials said on Wednesday.

Minister eyes fuel price hike to pay for roads
Switzerland

Minister eyes fuel price hike to pay for roads

Transport Minister Doris Leuthard has outlined plans for a new road fund to ease congestion in Switzerland.

Morocco raises stakes in torture row with France
France

Morocco raises stakes in torture row with France

A diplomatic rumpus between France and Morocco deepened on Wednesday when the North African country broke off all judicial cooperation with Paris. It stems from a row over allegations of torture directed at Morocco's intelligence chief.

French and Italians top Europe’s infidelity poll
France

French and Italians top Europe’s infidelity poll

French and Italians are Europe's biggest "love-rats" according to a European poll on infidelity published this week. The poll also revealed that the more disciplined couples of northern Europe were not complete angels though.

Italian love-rats top European infidelity poll
Italy

Italian love-rats top European infidelity poll

When even their former prime minister is caught having raunchy "bunga bunga" parties, it is perhaps unsurprising to find the hot-blooded Italians topping a poll for infidelity.

Germany rejects Greek Jews’ WWII claim
Germany

Germany rejects Greek Jews’ WWII claim

Germany on Wednesday rejected a fresh Nazi-era reparation claim by a Greek city's Jewish community but offered the group cooperation on future projects.

British Embassy road may open after 11 years
Germany

British Embassy road may open after 11 years

The central Berlin street home to the British Embassy could be opened to traffic again after 11 years, with politicians putting pressure on security officials to remove the bollards.

Older dads linked to kids with mental health woes
Sweden

Older dads linked to kids with mental health woes

A study of over 2 million Swedes has found that those with older fathers face higher risks of psychiatric problems and attention disorders, announced researchers on Wednesday.

Schalke lose 6-1 at home to Real Madrid
Germany

Schalke lose 6-1 at home to Real Madrid

Real Madrid cruised to a rare victory on German soil as they romped to a 6-1 win at Schalke 04 in Wednesday's Champions League's last 16, first-leg clash.

Two Picassos given to Stockholm museum
Sweden

Two Picassos given to Stockholm museum

The widow of a Swedish media tycoon donated two paintings by Picasso to Stockholm's Museum of Modern Art, along with six other pieces by other European artists.

Police pull eight-year-old drug pusher claim
Sweden

Police pull eight-year-old drug pusher claim

Swedish police have retracted a statement that an eight-year-old in a Stockholm suburb was selling narcotics, part of a network of underage couriers in a neighbourhood said to be blighted by drugs.

Apple boycotts Swedish ethical tech review
Sweden

Apple boycotts Swedish ethical tech review

Sweden's main white-collar union TCO has said most big IT and telecom companies worldwide are happy to work with its ethical certificate scheme, bar one - Apple.