Aussie head of WIPO named to second term
Switzerland

Aussie head of WIPO named to second term

An Australian lawyer and jurist, Francis Gurry, was on Thursday renewed for a second term as chief of the UN's influential intellectual property agency based in Geneva.

Gut rebounds from knee injury for podium win
Switzerland

Gut rebounds from knee injury for podium win

Swiss skier Lara Gut achieved a podium finish in the giant slalom race at Åre, Sweden on Thursday, four days after a disappointing elimination from the downhill at Crans-Montana in her home country when she slightly injured her right knee.

Is this the world’s stupidest car thief?
Norway

Is this the world’s stupidest car thief?

A car thief has been nabbed by police in Norway after he stole a Saab convertible, almost immediately ran out of petrol, and then called the owner from her own car phone to ask where the fuel card was.

Migration crisis a ‘state of emergency’: Spain
Spain

Migration crisis a ‘state of emergency’: Spain

Spain's interior minister said on Thursday the country's foreign enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in northern Africa were experiencing "a state of emergency" in the face of pressure from immigrants.

More young families under time pressure
Germany

More young families under time pressure

More parents in Germany are struggling to cope with the fast pace of modern life, according to a study into families with young children released on Thursday

Swiss return last of looted artifacts to Italy
Switzerland

Swiss return last of looted artifacts to Italy

Switzerland has finalized a 13-year process of returning more than 4,500 ancient artifacts to Italy that were stolen by a criminal gang, the Swiss justice department said on Thursday.

Swedish amputee skier, 42, makes Olympic debut
Sweden

Swedish amputee skier, 42, makes Olympic debut

Amputee, cancer survivor, and Winter Olympic debutante at the age of 42. Our Swede of the Week is parathlete Helene Ripa, who only started skiing a few years ago.

Map fail: News show puts Germany in wrong spot
Spain

Map fail: News show puts Germany in wrong spot

A Spanish television station has been left with egg on its face after misplacing several European countries on a map used in a report on Ukraine's crisis.

Anti-porn group plants fake nude pic tabloid
Norway

Anti-porn group plants fake nude pic tabloid

The feminist group Stop Porn Culture has planted fake tabloid newspapers plastered with near-naked men and women on newsstands across Norway, in a protest at "the porn culture in the mass media".

Frenchman launches poo protest against banks
France

Frenchman launches poo protest against banks

A man protesting against ‘The System’ used a spatula to stuff faeces into the money slots of 17 cash machines in a western French city, police said on Thursday. It turns out this wasn't his first protest using human waste.

Record hangover:10,000 bars close in 2013
Spain

Record hangover:10,000 bars close in 2013

Widely considered to be the country with the highest number of bars per capita, Spain saw an unprecedented 10,000 bars and restaurants close last year.

‘Mackerel war’ talks break down with Iceland
Norway

‘Mackerel war’ talks break down with Iceland

A last-ditch attempt to bridge the impasse over mackerel fishing rights in the North Sea and north Atlantic broke down on Wednesday, meaning there will be no agreement for the 2014 fishing season.

Third of Germans expect Ukraine-Russia war
Germany

Third of Germans expect Ukraine-Russia war

UPDATE: A third of Germans expect there to be an armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia over Crimea, according to a poll on Thursday. It comes on a day of frenzied diplomacy by Germany to defuse the crisis.

Italy vote paves way for torture law
Italy

Italy vote paves way for torture law

Italian senators have voted to introduce a torture law, a long-awaited move hailed by the justice minister as bringing Italy up to international standards.

Half of Sweden’s cleaners now foreign: study
Sweden

Half of Sweden’s cleaners now foreign: study

Almost every other cleaner and one in three doctors in Sweden was foreign-born in 2012, statistics published on Thursday revealed. Many immigrant doctors lived together, while truck drivers often ended up with nurses.

‘Germans work hard, let’s give them a break’
Germany

‘Germans work hard, let’s give them a break’

Thai boxer by night, head of Porsche's supervisory board by day, Uwe Hück made the news this week by calling for shorter working hours. He is The Local's German of the Week.

Student procrastinators pull mass all-nighter
Germany

Student procrastinators pull mass all-nighter

Students are holding a "long night of the delayed coursework," in Germany on Thursday. It is an annual event in which even the laziest students get a motivational push to sit down and write.

Caveman comedy comes to Zurich in English
Switzerland

Caveman comedy comes to Zurich in English

Caveman is a successful solo comedy about a man, woman and relationships. It is being performed in English in Zurich on March 22nd and 29th at the ComedyBühne Weisser Wind, Oberdorfstrasse 20 at 8pm. And it's a must see if you haven't.

Closer pays Hollande’s ex €12,000 over bikini snaps
France

Closer pays Hollande’s ex €12,000 over bikini snaps

Celebrity magazine Closer was ordered to pay €12,000 ($16,500) to the French president's ex partner Valerie Trierweiler on Thursday over pictures of her in a bikini. On the same day, François Hollande's mistress Julie Gayet brought her own privacy suit against the magazine.

Italy’s most popular city mayors
Italy

Italy’s most popular city mayors

From the heel of Italy's boot to the northern economic powerhouse, Italians have been ranking their city mayors. The Local takes a look at the most popular ones in the country and how they are trying to transform their metropolises.

Shares in Norwegian tumble as margins hit
Norway

Shares in Norwegian tumble as margins hit

Shares in Norwegian Air Shuttle tumbled on Thursday morning after the company announced that growing competition had driven down its yields, which reflect average fares, by 21 percent in February, compared to the year before.

VIDEO: Web illusionist steals Eiffel Tower
France

VIDEO: Web illusionist steals Eiffel Tower

Social media sensation Zach King, famed for his six-second videos showing him apparently pulling off impossible feats, turned his attention to the Eiffel Tower this week. Watch him at work.

Gallery: The Local’s Property of the Week
Italy

Gallery: The Local’s Property of the Week

This will probably be one for history buffs more than the price conscious, but a Napoleonic fort is up for sale in Italy, and right in the heart of one of the most romantic cities in Europe.

Italy warns Libya over weapons fears
Italy

Italy warns Libya over weapons fears

Italy's new foreign minister, Federica Mogherini, warned Libya on Thursday that political instability is hampering international efforts to provide assistance to the deeply divided country.

Rising seas could drown Spanish cathedral
Spain

Rising seas could drown Spanish cathedral

Several major Unesco World Heritage-listed buildings in Spain including Seville's famous cathedral could eventually be swallowed up by rising sea levels, a new study claims.

Mother who froze her babies faces 40 years
Spain

Mother who froze her babies faces 40 years

A woman who allegedly killed and then froze two of her own babies is facing up to 40 years in jail for the horrific crime.

Italy reclaims looted treasures from Swiss
Italy

Italy reclaims looted treasures from Swiss

Switzerland has finalized a 13-year process of returning more than 4,500 ancient artifacts to Italy that were stolen by a criminal gang, the Swiss justice ministry said on Thursday.

Video of brutal beating of teen girl shocks Spain
Spain

Video of brutal beating of teen girl shocks Spain

Footage of a 14-year-old girl beating up a classmate because in her own words she "had good reason to" has sent shockwaves throughout the country.

Munch portrait seized in drug smuggler’s flat
Norway

Munch portrait seized in drug smuggler’s flat

Police seized a self-portrait by the Scream artist Edvard Munch when they raided the flat of alleged drugs kingpin Gjermund Cappelen in December, Norway's VG newspaper has reported.

Swiss woman’s burnt body found in Italy
Switzerland

Swiss woman’s burnt body found in Italy

The burnt body of a 43-year-old Swiss woman was found on Wednesday in a wooded area of Italy's central Emilia-Romagna region, Italian police say.

Men still the top earners in most French couples
France

Men still the top earners in most French couples

Men are by far the main breadwinners in most French households, with three out of four women earning less than their other halves - in many cases a lot less - according to figures released on Thursday. The government has taken steps to try to redress the balance.

Welcome to Germany: Land of one million jobs
Germany

Welcome to Germany: Land of one million jobs

Germany has more than one million job vacancies, with the number of work openings at its second highest level in almost ten years.

Swedish military rejects call for ‘new doctrine’
Sweden

Swedish military rejects call for ‘new doctrine’

Sweden's Supreme Commander on Thursday rejected the call for a "new defence doctrine", as proposed by the deputy prime minister in response to Russian actions in Ukraine.

Norway pledges cash to Ukraine if it fights graft
Norway

Norway pledges cash to Ukraine if it fights graft

Norway has pledged to give financial support to the new government in Ukraine so long as it commits to put in place measures to reduce corruption.

Swiss woman’s burnt body found in Italy
Italy

Swiss woman’s burnt body found in Italy

The burnt body of a 43-year-old Swiss woman was found on Wednesday in a wooded area of Italy's central Emilia-Romagna region, police have said.

Businessmen baffled by mystery Dear Santa note
Spain

Businessmen baffled by mystery Dear Santa note

What happens when a young boy addresses his Christmas letter to the North Pole but it ends up in the letterbox of a Spanish consultancy firm?

Sarkozy moves to halt release of leaked tapes
France

Sarkozy moves to halt release of leaked tapes

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni launched legal action on Thursday over the publication of secret recordings during his term as head of state. The tapes revealed, among other things, that Sarkozy was a 'kept man' during his time in power.

Swiss firm imagines driverless car future
Switzerland

Swiss firm imagines driverless car future

Brew an espresso, watch a movie on a large screen, surf the internet or simply sit and chat with friends?

Swede in SMS debt to eat candy for breakfast
Sweden

Swede in SMS debt to eat candy for breakfast

A Stockholm woman has made headlines in Sweden after she racked up enormous debts by purchasing everything from candy to energy drinks via the controversial system of SMS loans.

Pig’s head sent to home of Jewish group chief
Italy

Pig’s head sent to home of Jewish group chief

A box containing a pig’s head was sent to the home of Riccardo Pacifici, the president of the Rome Jewish Community, days after similar packages were sent to the city’s synagogue and museum.

Berlusconi’s AC Milan eyes sale: report
Italy

Berlusconi’s AC Milan eyes sale: report

Italy's most valuable football club, AC Milan, is considering a sale according to a report on Wednesday by financial news agency Bloomberg.

VIDEO: Cop attacks pensioner in routine stop
France

VIDEO: Cop attacks pensioner in routine stop

A French pensioner has pressed charges against a policemen, who was captured on amateur video footage repeatedly punching him during a routine road stop in Paris. SEE VIDEO.

Could this be the best fake Swedish ever?
Sweden

Could this be the best fake Swedish ever?

A mystery brunette has the world transfixed by her spot-on interpretations of what different languages sound like to outsiders. So perfect is her imitation of a Swede that The Local was ready to place bets on her actually being Swedish...

Teen dies while ‘train surfing’ on Berlin S-Bahn
Germany

Teen dies while ‘train surfing’ on Berlin S-Bahn

A teenage student died while “train surfing” in Berlin on Tuesday night. He was thrown from the roof of the train onto the tracks as the S-Bahn went into a tunnel.

Child porn scandal hits Catholic workers group
Germany

Child porn scandal hits Catholic workers group

The leader of a key workers' lobbying group has resigned after it was revealed he was being investigated for child porn allegations.

US-EU foreign ministers in Rome for Ukraine talks
Italy

US-EU foreign ministers in Rome for Ukraine talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with his counterparts from Italy, Britain, France and Germany in Rome on Thursday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine.

Spain beefs up borders in migrant crisis
Spain

Spain beefs up borders in migrant crisis

Spain's government plans to spend big on new measures to combat the ever-increasing influx of migrants trying to swim across to its African enclaves.

Swiss MPs oppose new health insurance model
Switzerland

Swiss MPs oppose new health insurance model

Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset says citizens should be able to vote this year on a proposed new health insurance system that would replace multiple private insurance providers with one single insurer.

France set for celebrity couples wedding clash
France

France set for celebrity couples wedding clash

France looks set to host two of the biggest celebrity weddings of the year on the same day. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are to marry in Paris on May 24th, which is reportedly the same day Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are to tie the knot in the south of France.

Spain doesn’t believe PM on recovery claims: Poll
Spain

Spain doesn’t believe PM on recovery claims: Poll

Only one in five Spaniards believes Spain's economy will improve over the next 12 months, despite repeated assertions from the government that the country's economy has turned the corner, a new poll shows.

Swedish digital teachers break gaming ‘taboo’
Sweden

Swedish digital teachers break gaming ‘taboo’

Swedish school children are embracing an increasing number of interactive computer games in the classroom, but critics have scorned developments saying there's plenty of time for fun and games at home.

France impress in win over Netherlands
France

France impress in win over Netherlands

France might have only just scraped through to the World Cup finals in Brazil but they showed on Wednesday night in their comfortable 2-0 win over the Netherlands that they could be a force to be reckoned with in the Summer.

Reputation of top Swiss universities rises: survey
Switzerland

Reputation of top Swiss universities rises: survey

Switzerland’s top two universities have boosted their global reputation in the eyes of academics, according to a new survey.

Renzi asks private sector to help save Pompeii
Italy

Renzi asks private sector to help save Pompeii

Italy's new prime minister on Wednesday appealed to private investors to help restore the damaged ruins of Pompeii, a UNESCO World Heritage landmark.

Rogue trader in Rome walks to Paris in protest
Italy

Rogue trader in Rome walks to Paris in protest

Jerome Kerviel, a French rogue trader who cost Société Générale bank nearly €5 billion in high-risk transactions, is said to be walking the 1,400 kilometres between Rome and Paris as a protest trek against "the tyranny of the markets".

Rogue Paris trader walks home after meeting Pope
France

Rogue Paris trader walks home after meeting Pope

Notorious rogue French trader, Jerôme Kerviel, who lost his bank €5 billion ($6.7 billion), is marching home from Rome to Paris on foot after meeting the Pope, in protest against the "tyranny of the financial markets". By the time he arrives home he could be marched off to prison.

German universities rise in reputation rankings
Germany

German universities rise in reputation rankings

The global reputation of German universities is increasing, with the country now having the third highest number of institutions in the Times Higher Education rankings.

Crimea tries wooing tourists at Berlin fair
Germany

Crimea tries wooing tourists at Berlin fair

Undeterred by spiralling violence, Ukrainians at Berlin's tourism fair were marketing Crimean resorts, Black Sea cruises and picturesque Kiev as holiday destinations.

WWI site used to destroy Syrian chemical arms
Germany

WWI site used to destroy Syrian chemical arms

Behind barbed wire fences at a top-security site in a German forest, workers in hazard suits will soon destroy remnants of Syrian chemical weapons of a type first tested here during World War I.

‘Foreign staff benefit from restaurant VAT cut’
Sweden

‘Foreign staff benefit from restaurant VAT cut’

A nine-percent increase in jobs in the Swedish restaurant industry has mostly benefited the young and employees born abroad, a review of jobs statistics from 2012 has shown.

‘Where’s my Swedish winter wonderland?
Sweden

‘Where’s my Swedish winter wonderland?

The rotten winter has British transplant Paul Connolly wondering whether the promised snowy lands of northern Sweden haven't just turned into.. the sodden UK? The current mediocrity is not what he signed up for.