Norway gold medallist was doping ‘suspect’
Norway

Norway gold medallist was doping ‘suspect’

Norwegian cross country skier Anders Aukland was suspected of doping at the time he won gold with Norway's relay team at the 2002 Winter Olympics, a Swedish investigative documentary claimed on Wednesday.

National rail operator aims to cut suicides
Switzerland

National rail operator aims to cut suicides

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) is stepping up action to reduce the number of people in Switzerland who commit suicide by throwing themselves in front of trains.

Thieves steal 30 fur coats from St. Moritz shop
Switzerland

Thieves steal 30 fur coats from St. Moritz shop

Graubünden cantonal police are searching for two men who broke into a clothing boutique in the upscale mountain resort town of Saint Moritz and stole 30 fur coats valued at more than one million francs ($1.12 million francs).

Reputation of French universities tumbles
France

Reputation of French universities tumbles

A league table of the world’s most prestigious universities published on Wednesday should "sound alarm bells" in France with the latest rankings showing the country now only has two institutions in the world's top 100.

Hassle-free tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Germany

Hassle-free tax preparation for Americans in Germany

If you dread filing your US expat taxes each year, you are not alone. But Greenback Expat Tax Services can prepare your taxes efficiently, accurately and at a fair and honest price with no hassle guaranteed.

Basel drummers pound out expert carnival beat
Switzerland

Basel drummers pound out expert carnival beat

Drummers play a key role in Basel’s three-day annual carnival or Fasnacht. But drumming is more than just a pastime in this German-speaking city on the Rhine River, as The Local’s Emily Mawson discovers.

West meets Russia in bid to resolve Ukraine crisis
France

West meets Russia in bid to resolve Ukraine crisis

France, the United States, Britain and Russia all held crucial talks in Paris on Wednesday aimed at resolving the crisis in the Crimea. However hopes that Ukraine and Russia would come face to face for discussions hung in the balance.

Sweden’s top unis drop off Times ranking
Sweden

Sweden’s top unis drop off Times ranking

Only one Swedish university was ranked among the top 100 in the world in the new Times Higher Education ranking, as two lauded Swedish institutions fell off the list entirely.

In pictures: Wild storm wreaks havoc in Spain
Spain

In pictures: Wild storm wreaks havoc in Spain

Calm returned to Spain's Atlantic coast on Wednesday after several days of massive waves in the region. Here The Local rounds up some of the best images of the latest storms.

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Switzerland

UN probe decries Syrian sieges and starvation

Syrian government forces are waging a campaign of siege warfare and starvation against civilians as part of their military strategy, a UN-mandated commission said in Geneva on Wednesday.

Reactor rooftop intrusion ‘no threat’: Sweden
Sweden

Reactor rooftop intrusion ‘no threat’: Sweden

Swedish nuclear energy authorities said Wednesday morning's large-scale break and entry by Greenpeace activists had not threatened the reactors at Oskarshamn in the country's south.

Merkel allies turn anti-EU in beery rants
Germany

Merkel allies turn anti-EU in beery rants

Ash Wednesday's traditional beer-drenched, political slagging match descended into an EU-bashing fest for some, with Bavarian state president Horst Seehofer launching a scathing attack on Brussels.

Ukraine: US and Russia hold direct talks in Paris
France

Ukraine: US and Russia hold direct talks in Paris

Paris hosted talks between Moscow and Washington on Wednesday, the first time the two nations have come face to face since Russia sparked international anger by sending troops into the Crimea. Meanwhile Ukraine insists it does not want a fight with Russia.

‘Pope has done nothing’ over child abuse
Italy

‘Pope has done nothing’ over child abuse

A US-based support group for child abuse victims has hit back at Pope Francis for defending the Catholic Church's record on tackling paedophilia.

Ten more untranslatable Swedish words
Sweden

Ten more untranslatable Swedish words

What's that word for when you buy two bottles of champagne, only to pour one down the sink to impress the crowds with your wealth? Oh that's right, there is no word in English for that, but in Swedish, on the other hand...

One in three women experience violence
Germany

One in three women experience violence

One in three German women have experienced physical or sexual violence, a Europe-wide study revealed on Wednesday. Across the EU, there are around 62 million women who at some point have been assaulted.

MPS probe prompts searches across Italy
Italy

MPS probe prompts searches across Italy

Italy's financial police searched premises in several cities Wednesday as part of a probe into an association accused of defrauding Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), media reports said.

Nazi gets Spain’s first Islamophobia jail term
Spain

Nazi gets Spain’s first Islamophobia jail term

A web administrator who was handed Spain's first prison sentence for running a homepage inciting race hatred against Muslims could escape jail if he attends a human rights course.

EU puts France under close watch over deficit
France

EU puts France under close watch over deficit

France's forecasted €2 trillion public debt has drawn a harsh rebuke from European Commission officials who said on Wednesday they place the country under close watch, warning its resistance could hamper Europe's economic recovery.

Russia must respect Ukraine borders: Spain
Spain

Russia must respect Ukraine borders: Spain

Spain's foreign minister on Wednesday urged his Russian counterpart to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity after Russia said it has no authority over pro-Moscow forces that have taken control of the Crimean Peninsula.

Swedish firm defends ‘ladies only’ job ad
Sweden

Swedish firm defends ‘ladies only’ job ad

A trendy start-up in southern Sweden has defended a job ad where they asked for female candidates only, arguing that it wasn't policy but "a philosophy".

Vikings were outlaws like Hells Angels: exhibition
Norway

Vikings were outlaws like Hells Angels: exhibition

A warrior identity was at the centre of what it meant to be a Viking, with the coastal raiders embracing an outlaw mentality like punks or Hells Angels today, according a London exhibition on Norway's most famous historical export.

Germany’s 14 weirdest town slogans
Germany

Germany’s 14 weirdest town slogans

Bad puns, questionable word play and baffling allusions. This week's Local list takes a look at weird and wonderful German town slogans.

Germany warns Russia, but coy on sanctions
Germany

Germany warns Russia, but coy on sanctions

UPDATE: Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Russia not to do anything to destabilize the situation in Ukraine after pro-Moscow forces took de-facto control of Ukraine's majority Russian Crimean Peninsula.

How to integrate successfully in Germany
Germany

How to integrate successfully in Germany

Thinking about moving to Germany? Give yourself every opportunity to fit in rapidly and successfully by using the following hints and tips.

‘A third of French women are victims of stalking’
France

‘A third of French women are victims of stalking’

Nearly one in three women in France has been victim of stalking in her life - one of the highest rates throughout Europe, a new study revealed on Wednesday. France was also well above the European average for rates of violence against women.

Spanish teacher in UK ‘taped kids’ mouths’
Spain

Spanish teacher in UK ‘taped kids’ mouths’

A Spanish art teacher working in the UK has caused outrage in the British press after she allegedly put sticky tape over her pupils' mouths to shut them up.

Italian man discovers escort is son’s girlfriend
Italy

Italian man discovers escort is son’s girlfriend

A 70-year-old man from Treviso, a city in the northern Italian region of Veneto, became embroiled in a bitter feud with his son after booking an escort who turned out to be his offspring’s girlfriend.

Sweden stops payouts to ‘anti-gay Uganda’
Sweden

Sweden stops payouts to ‘anti-gay Uganda’

Sweden will halt all state-to-state development aid to Uganda after the East African nation passed legislation curtailing the rights of homosexuals, the international development minister said on Wednesday.

Swedish champagne king gets top French nod
Sweden

Swedish champagne king gets top French nod

France will bestow its top honor the Legion d'Honneur to Swedish champagne expert and author Richard Juhlin, who has sampled more than 8,000 bottles. He said Muslims and his breastfeeding wife were behind his latest venture.

Pensioners face charges over cannabis cake
Spain

Pensioners face charges over cannabis cake

A 78-year-old and a 67-year-old have been changed after serving up a marijuana-laced cake to several unsuspecting friends.

Ukraine crisis threatens new ‘Cold War’: Italy FM
Italy

Ukraine crisis threatens new ‘Cold War’: Italy FM

Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini has said the Ukraine crisis risks propelling Europe into "a new Cold War scenario" that could "take us backwards by decades".

French workers set to be paid to cycle to the office
France

French workers set to be paid to cycle to the office

French workers could soon be paid for getting on their bikes and cycling to the office, under a scheme set to be announced by the government on Wednesday.

Berlin woman killed by her own car
Germany

Berlin woman killed by her own car

A Berlin woman was killed by her own car on Wednesday after it ran her over when she opened her garage door.

Italy slaps Swiss pharma giants with huge fines
Switzerland

Italy slaps Swiss pharma giants with huge fines

Italy's antitrust body said on Wednesday it has slapped Swiss giants Novartis and Roche with a €182.5-million fine for allegedly manipulating sales of a cheap drug used to treat sight problems.

EU takes aim at soaraway German surplus
Germany

EU takes aim at soaraway German surplus

UPDATE: The EU Commission said on Wednesday that Germany's huge current account surplus is a source of economic imbalance in Europe as Berlin appeared to be admit for the first time that there was a problem.

Italy fines Swiss pharma giants for ‘illicit deal’
Italy

Italy fines Swiss pharma giants for ‘illicit deal’

Italy's antitrust body said on Wednesday it has slapped Swiss giants Novartis and Roche with a €182.5 million fine for allegedly manipulating sales of a cheap drug used to treat sight problems.

Popular download site pulls plug on free movies
Spain

Popular download site pulls plug on free movies

The owners of Spain's most popular downloading site - 'SeriesYonkis' – have withdrawn all links to the countless series and films they offered, in the midst of a legal scandal which could see them spend up to four years behind bars.

Carmakers in Geneva push SUVs of all sizes
Switzerland

Carmakers in Geneva push SUVs of all sizes

Massive or small, affordable or off-the scale pricey: urban sports utility vehicles abound at the 2014 Geneva International Motor Show, with luxury carmakers speeding into the lucrative market.

17 people arrested over mafia waste dumping
Italy

17 people arrested over mafia waste dumping

Italian police on Wednesday arrested 17 people accused of being part of lucrative illegal waste dumping in Campania, with ties to one of the regions most notorious mafia families.

54-year-old Italian gives birth to baby girl
Italy

54-year-old Italian gives birth to baby girl

A 54-year-old woman from Avellino, a province in the southern Italian region of Campania, has given birth to her first child.

Boys, 10, ‘try to sell sex’ to morning commuters
Sweden

Boys, 10, ‘try to sell sex’ to morning commuters

Swedish police have received a report that three underage boys speaking bad German tried to sell sex to women at a busy commuter hub in central Sweden.

Oslo beaten to priciest city title once again
Norway

Oslo beaten to priciest city title once again

For the second time this year, Oslo has lost its customary top spot as the world's most expensive city, after Singapore and Paris beat it in a new list put together by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

One in five Spanish women victim of assault
Spain

One in five Spanish women victim of assault

A new European Union review of violence against women shows that Spain has one of the lowest rates of physical assault and rape in the EU but the problem remains very serious.

Greenpeace activists enter Swiss nuclear plant
Switzerland

Greenpeace activists enter Swiss nuclear plant

Greenpeace said 100 activists from the environmental organization from nine countries penetrated the grounds of the world’s oldest operating nuclear plant in the canton of Aargau on Wednesday in a bid to shut it down.

Puppies too young to travel rescued from truck
Germany

Puppies too young to travel rescued from truck

Customs officials in Nuremberg have rescued 77 puppies which were being transported in a small truck from eastern Europe.

Salmon to be farmed in giant offshore platforms
Norway

Salmon to be farmed in giant offshore platforms

Norway's third-largest salmon farming company SalMar plans to start rearing fish out to sea using constructions based on oil platforms, each of which could house eight times as many salmon as conventional cages.

Pope defends Church on rooting out child abuse
Italy

Pope defends Church on rooting out child abuse

Pope Francis has defended the Church's record on tackling the sexual abuse of children by priests, saying in an interview published on Wednesday that "no-one else has done more" to root out paedophilia.

Border guards ‘seasick’ at Stockholm airport
Sweden

Border guards ‘seasick’ at Stockholm airport

Border security staff at Stockholm's Arlanda airport have complained of feeling seasick after modifications to a passport control centre left them trembling in their boots.

OAP takes wrong turn, gets lost for 20 hours
Germany

OAP takes wrong turn, gets lost for 20 hours

A pensioner from Bavaria who got lost on his way to take his car to be tested was picked up by police around 200 kilometres from home after a 20-hour ordeal.

Merkel’s grand coalition disappoints voters
Germany

Merkel’s grand coalition disappoints voters

Voters are abandoning Germany's ruling grand coalition government for smaller parties, a poll released on Wednesday suggested, amid dissatisfaction with in-fighting and squabbles.

Ukraine crisis talks in Madrid ‘useful’: EU
Spain

Ukraine crisis talks in Madrid ‘useful’: EU

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton held "useful" talks in Madrid with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday over the spiralling crisis in Ukraine, a European source said.

‘Regretful’ Normandy cyber-jihadist jailed
France

‘Regretful’ Normandy cyber-jihadist jailed

A French webmaster was handed a one-year jail sentence in a Paris court on Tuesday after being convicted of inciting and glorifying terrorism. The Muslim convert translated Al Qaeda propaganda into French before uploading it onto the web, but said he regretted his actions.

Italy PM makes Tunisia his first port of call
Italy

Italy PM makes Tunisia his first port of call

Italy's newly appointed Prime Minister Matteo Renzi visited Tunisia on Tuesday in his first official trip abroad, saying the Mediterranean should be the heart of Europe and not its border.

French artificial heart trials go on despite death
France

French artificial heart trials go on despite death

Groundbreaking French medical trials of an artificial heart will continue, despite the death of the first recipient after just 756 days, the company behind the experiment said. The device is set to be implanted in three other people.

Italy vows to spend €2m on saving Pompeii
Italy

Italy vows to spend €2m on saving Pompeii

Italy vowed on Tuesday to unblock some €2.0 million to save the long-neglected ruins of Pompeii after rain caused further damage to the UNESCO World Heritage landmark.

Sweden stands out in domestic violence study
Sweden

Sweden stands out in domestic violence study

A new EU review of violence against women has revealed that one in three European women has been assaulted, and one in twenty has been raped, with the Scandinavian countries at the top of the league tables.

Are the French finally ready to quit smoking?
France

Are the French finally ready to quit smoking?

Legend had it that the French were more likely to give up having affairs than smoking, but with new figures showing a steep decline in tobacco sales and plans to raise the price of a packet of cigarettes to €11, are the French about to fall out of love with smoking?

Gay minister pulls Sochi trip in Crimea protest
Norway

Gay minister pulls Sochi trip in Crimea protest

Norway will send no official representation to the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games, authorities said on Tuesday, in response to Russia's military intervention in Ukraine.

Sickly workers take extra 15 days off a year
Germany

Sickly workers take extra 15 days off a year

Sick leave in Germany has increased to a 14-year high, according to research released on Tuesday. On average, more than four percent of the workforce was off ill at any one time in 2013 – up from 3.4 percent the year before.

Swedes ratchet up hunt for summer houses
Sweden

Swedes ratchet up hunt for summer houses

The number of Swedes looking for a second home in the countryside went up by 15 percent last year, with one municipality in particular seeing most of the property listings traffic online.

‘Hitch-hiking’ raccoon sparks invasion fears
Sweden

‘Hitch-hiking’ raccoon sparks invasion fears

The discovery of a dead raccoon on a Swedish beach has wildlife experts worried the species may have spread to Sweden, with hopes pinned on it having fallen off a ship.