Swiss adventurer aims to fly plane to edge of space
Switzerland

Swiss adventurer aims to fly plane to edge of space

After sailing around the world in a solar-powered boat in 2012, Swiss adventurer Raphaël Domjan has set his sights on establishing a new record by flying a two-seat plane to the edge of space, more than 24 kilometres above the earth.

‘Judge must drop murder case against US troops’
Spain

‘Judge must drop murder case against US troops’

A judge in Spain drew criticism on Wednesday for defying the government by pushing on with an investigation into the 2003 killing of a Spanish journalist by US fire in Iraq.

‘F**k tourism’: Graffiti attack at Sacré Coeur
France

‘F**k tourism’: Graffiti attack at Sacré Coeur

A slew of anarchist slogans including one which read "F**k tourism" were daubed around the Sacré Coeur basilica, one of Paris’s most visited tourist attractions, this week. Local politicians were left outraged by the graffiti attack.

‘Rich day care made babies eat crispbread’
Sweden

‘Rich day care made babies eat crispbread’

A profitable day care kept such tight reins on its budget for meals that children who had not yet grown teeth had to chomp on crispbread, a new Sveriges Television (SVT) report has claimed.

French election candidates: A porn star, a fake priest and a recently deceased
France

French election candidates: A porn star, a fake priest and a recently deceased

Almost 900,000 candidates have put themselves forward for the local elections in France this weekend, but some of them stand out more than others. Among those fighting for election are porn actresses, beauty queens and even a dead person.

Smuggler undone by bulging underpants
Italy

Smuggler undone by bulging underpants

An Italian has been stopped by police on a Swiss train, after his suspiciously large package turned out to be €40,000 in banknotes stuffed into his underwear.

Germany asks Russia for ‘go’ on observers
Germany

Germany asks Russia for ‘go’ on observers

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he had told his Russian counterpart Wednesday that approval was needed immediately for a mandate to send foreign observers to Ukraine.

Man throws three kids and self from window
Germany

Man throws three kids and self from window

A young German father threw his three children out of a second-floor window before jumping out himself on Tuesday, in what police believe was a bid to get his girlfriend back. Their ten-month-old son was left fighting for his life.

‘You’d be amazed at who beats me online’: Carlsen
Norway

‘You’d be amazed at who beats me online’: Carlsen

Norwegian chess phenomenon Magnus Carlsen has admitted to sneaking anonymously onto online chess forums and demolishing unsuspecting amateurs, in an answer to a question posed to him on Reddit, the user-generated news website.

Quake rattles coast of Spain’s Catalonia region
Spain

Quake rattles coast of Spain’s Catalonia region

An earthquake off the coast of Spain's Girona province shook several towns and villages in the region on Wednesday.

Ten hidden Stockholm gems for less than a latte
Sweden

Ten hidden Stockholm gems for less than a latte

Stockholm is an expensive city at the best of times, so here at The Local we've come up with ten hidden gems you can see around the capital - all for less than 30 kronor. But how?

A warm weekend should replace rainy gloom
Germany

A warm weekend should replace rainy gloom

Germany may have had a bit of a soggy week but sunnier weather is set to return, state forecaster the DWD said on Wednesday. Temperatures could hit 23C over the weekend.

Police issue pics of gun-slinging metro freerider
Sweden

Police issue pics of gun-slinging metro freerider

Stockholm police have issued the video of a man who threatened a metro employee with a gun when he was not allowed to jump the barrier without a ticket.

The ‘top ten’ companies to work for in France
France

The ‘top ten’ companies to work for in France

A new standings table was released on Wednesday that ranks the best companies in France to work for. Although Anglo multi-nationals took many of the higher places, it was a French company with an aversion to meetings that grabbed the prestigious top spot.

Norway suicides up since financial crisis: OECD
Norway

Norway suicides up since financial crisis: OECD

Norway's suicide rate has jumped 15 percent since the financial crisis hit in 2007, while the share of the population who say they do not have enough money to buy food has leapt from 5.7 percent to seven percent, according to a new report from the OECD.

Human traffickers work like ‘travel agents’
Italy

Human traffickers work like ‘travel agents’

Police in Sicily have arrested ten people accused of trafficking people across the Mediterranean to Europe, saying they operate "like a travel agency", according to Italian media reports.

PM warns of ‘populist’ Grillo votes in EU
Italy

PM warns of ‘populist’ Grillo votes in EU

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has warned Italians against voting for populist parties, such as Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement (M5S) and the Northern League, in the upcoming European Parliament elections.

‘My odd story will be told in full’: Sture Bergwall
Sweden

‘My odd story will be told in full’: Sture Bergwall

The man nicknamed Sweden's Hannibal Lecter will put his version of events down on paper, he said on Wednesday as he was set free after 23 years in a high-security mental institution.

JPMorgan’s commodities biz bought by Swiss firm
Switzerland

JPMorgan’s commodities biz bought by Swiss firm

US banking giant JPMorgan Chase announced on Wednesday that it is selling its physical commodities business to Geneva-based trading firm Mercuria Energy Group Limited for $3.5 billion.

Sweden pledges urgent loans to Ukraine
Sweden

Sweden pledges urgent loans to Ukraine

Sweden has said it would be ready to pay out emergency loans to Ukraine, with the finance minister hoping that Sweden's early-bird attitude would "put pressure" on its EU neighbours to pledge cash.

Bern suspends free trade talks with Russia
Switzerland

Bern suspends free trade talks with Russia

Switzerland has suspended talks on a trade deal with Russia as a result of the Crimea crisis, Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann said on Wednesday.

‘We saw a gap in the market in Italy’
Italy

‘We saw a gap in the market in Italy’

With its precarious economy, high corporate tax and cumbersome bureaucracy, Italy isn't usually top of the list for foreign business investment. But one company is seeing a golden opportunity amid all the obstacles.

‘They gave me C-section without anaesthesia’
Spain

‘They gave me C-section without anaesthesia’

A woman in Spain is planning to take legal action against doctors who performed an emergency caesarean section without anesthetics.

Camels get the hump and run away from the circus
Germany

Camels get the hump and run away from the circus

Munich police officers called out to a gang of vandals tearing up a lawn in the early hours of Wednesday morning found themselves facing seven woolly camels.

French court drops €5b penalty for rogue trader
France

French court drops €5b penalty for rogue trader

France's highest court ruled on Wednesday that a rogue trader doesn't have to pay back billions in losses to his former employer Société Générale, however, the judges upheld the imposition of his prison sentence.

Mafia’s grip on Italian food ‘jeopardizes safety’
Italy

Mafia’s grip on Italian food ‘jeopardizes safety’

Italy's leading agriculture industry association on Wednesday launched a drive to root out mafia infiltration which is costing the sector billions of euros.

Spanish politician strips for role in gay film
Spain

Spanish politician strips for role in gay film

Toni Cantó, the controversial actor-turned-politician who once compared Spain's language laws to paedophilia, has caused a stir yet again after baring all in his role as a gay sex tourist in an upcoming movie.

Blind athlete saves blind dog from death
Spain

Blind athlete saves blind dog from death

A blind but otherwise healthy Labrador dog who was about to be put down in Spain has found a most unlikely rescuer.

Stolen Rembrandt ‘worth millions’ found in France
France

Stolen Rembrandt ‘worth millions’ found in France

A Rembrandt painting stolen from a French museum in 1999 and worth millions has been recovered in the southern city of Nice, a source close to the investigation said on Wednesday.

Website lifts the lid on Italy’s dirtiest toilets
Italy

Website lifts the lid on Italy’s dirtiest toilets

It can spoil an otherwise pleasant time in a restaurant, bar or other public venue: nature calls, but the toilets are filthy. Now the worst ones in Italy are about to be exposed, thanks to a new website.

Sweden braces for spring-time snow storm
Sweden

Sweden braces for spring-time snow storm

Sweden's weather agency SMHI has issued a class one warning for a snow storm set to wallop most of Sweden on Wednesday.

Sweden jails man for newspaper bomb threat
Sweden

Sweden jails man for newspaper bomb threat

A Swedish court has sent a man to prison for two months after he threatened "lying" staff at a local newspaper in southern Sweden.

‘Bastard’ judges revelations hit Sarkozy
France

‘Bastard’ judges revelations hit Sarkozy

Things seem to go from bad to worse for Nicolas Sarkozy right now. Extracts from tapped phone conversations between Sarkozy and his lawyer, published on Wednesday, suggest the ex-president tried to influence judges who were investigating him.

Allianz pays insurance on missing Malaysia jet
Germany

Allianz pays insurance on missing Malaysia jet

German insurance giant Allianz has started paying out millions of euros for the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet MH370.

Italy university course drop-out rate hits 40%
Italy

Italy university course drop-out rate hits 40%

Forty percent of students that enrol in an Italian university fail to graduate in their chosen course, a report released on Wednesday has shown.

France seeks answers as terror attacks marked
France

France seeks answers as terror attacks marked

As France pauses on Wednesday to mark the two-year anniversary of Toulouse terrorist Mohamed Merah's shooting spree, the country’s intelligence services remain under investigation for its alleged failure to prevent the slaughter. And the hunt for Merah's accomplices goes on.

UK animal rights activist convicted in Vasella case
Switzerland

UK animal rights activist convicted in Vasella case

A British animal rights activist has been found guilty of involvement in a ten-year campaign of intimidation to shut down Huntingdon Life Sciences, a major animal testing firm linked to Swiss pharma giant Novartis.

Rolling Stones still set to rock Germany
Germany

Rolling Stones still set to rock Germany

The Rolling Stones have said that their tour will still come to Germany this summer, despite cancelling the Australian leg following the death of L'Wren Scott, frontman Mick Jagger's partner.

Mystery woman found asleep in Riksdag
Sweden

Mystery woman found asleep in Riksdag

A cleaner doing the rounds in Sweden's parliament found a woman in a pool of vomit sleeping in the high-security complex. How she got in remains a mystery.

Ten ways you know it’s spring in Germany
Germany

Ten ways you know it’s spring in Germany

Crocuses and daffodils have popped up to add colour to lawns, work finishes before the skies darken for the night - spring can be felt across Europe. Germans do this - as they do many things - a little differently. Here are ten ways how.

Foreign candidates split France’s National Front
France

Foreign candidates split France’s National Front

France's National Front party might be against foreigners getting the vote but that has not stopped them signing up 80 expat candidates to stand for their party in the local elections. However the controversial founder of the party Jean-Marie Le Pen is not a happy man.

‘Somalia suicide bomber was Norwegian’: Shebab
Norway

‘Somalia suicide bomber was Norwegian’: Shebab

Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels on Wednesday identified a suicide car bomber who struck a town recently captured by African Union troops as a 60-year-old Somali man who held Norwegian citizenship.

Spain sends riot police to African borders
Spain

Spain sends riot police to African borders

Spain is planning to send 100 riot police to the border between its enclave of Melilla in North Africa after several recent massive assaults on the frontier by would-be immigrants.

60 percent of Catalans want own state: Poll
Spain

60 percent of Catalans want own state: Poll

Almost two thirds of people living in the Spanish region of Catalonia want independence from the rest of Spain, poll results released on Tuesday show.

Facebook ‘anxiety’ for children in care: report
Norway

Facebook ‘anxiety’ for children in care: report

Facebook and other social media sites are creating new forms of anxiety for children who have been taken into social care, as their parents openly discuss alcohol, drug use and other problems online, a new report by Norway's Nova think tank has revealed.

Madrid kick Schalke out of Champions League
Germany

Madrid kick Schalke out of Champions League

Schalke 04 failed to prevent what had seemed like the inevitable, and has been booted out of the Champions League after losing 1:3 to Real Madrid.

Swede cleared of serial killing free after 23 years
Sweden

Swede cleared of serial killing free after 23 years

Sture Bergwall, who was convicted of eight murders and later cleared, was officially ordered to be released from a high-security psychiatric hospital on Wednesday.

Expert calls for six-digit fines for elk deaths
Norway

Expert calls for six-digit fines for elk deaths

One of Norway's leading elk experts has called for six-digit fines to be imposed when motorists or trains kill the animals, arguing that is the only way to force rail and road organisations to take action.

Drunk statue left legless after student selfie
Italy

Drunk statue left legless after student selfie

A statue in Milan's celebrated Brera Academy was found on Tuesday without a leg, with the damage thought to be the handiwork of a foreign student trying to take a photograph of himself with the "Drunk Satyr" sculpture.

US senators seek Swiss bankers’ extradition
Switzerland

US senators seek Swiss bankers’ extradition

Two influential American senators want the US justice department (DOJ) to seek the extradition of more than 50 Swiss bankers and financial advisers who have been charged by the department for aiding and abetting tax evasion.

Inditex profits slip amid global expansion push
Spain

Inditex profits slip amid global expansion push

Spanish textile titan Inditex, owner of global fashion brand Zara, reported Wednesday slower profit growth in 2013 as it poured money into new stores, with up to 500 more to open this year.

‘The French just can’t take a gentle bashing’
France

‘The French just can’t take a gentle bashing’

In the second of our Reader Rants series, in which we give you the chance to get something off your chest, France-based author Piu Marie-Eatwell, from the UK, laments the fact that the "sensitive" French can't take a little bit of gentle criticism.

Teacher ‘took students to a swingers’ club’
Italy

Teacher ‘took students to a swingers’ club’

A teacher from the northern Italian city of Turin allegedly took two female students, one of them underage, to a swingers' club and then tried to intimidate them into not telling anyone.

Swedes find way to catch pancreatic cancer faster
Sweden

Swedes find way to catch pancreatic cancer faster

Swedish researchers announced on Tuesday that they have found a new way to diagnose pancreatic cancer much earlier than currently possible, a development they hope will boost survival rates.

Did Germany contribute to Paris smog?
Germany

Did Germany contribute to Paris smog?

Some Parisians are blaming Germany for the smog which last week led authorities in the French capital to ban half of all cars from the city in an attempt to cut air pollution.

Norway to mandate hospital circumcision
Norway

Norway to mandate hospital circumcision

Norway's Health Minister Bent Høie will propose that hospitals take the lead in carrying out ritual circumcisions on Jewish and Muslim baby boys, when the results of a government consultation are passed to the country's parliament for discussion in the coming weeks.

Spain becomes world’s biggest wine producer
Spain

Spain becomes world’s biggest wine producer

In their fields of vines in deepest Spain, the winemakers at the Jesús del Perdón cooperative smiled last August: the blend of rain and sun promised a bumper grape crop. They just didn't realize how big it would be.

France beefs up security at nuclear plants
France

France beefs up security at nuclear plants

Security at France’s nuclear power stations will be increased, the government announced this week, after dozens of Greenpeace activists stormed the country’s oldest plant to highlight how vulnerable it is.

Merkel, Obama condemn Russian Crimea annex
Germany

Merkel, Obama condemn Russian Crimea annex

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama in a phone call condemned Russia's moves to annex Crimea but said "a clear path" remains to solve the crisis diplomatically.

France’s Orange hit by new wave of suicides
France

France’s Orange hit by new wave of suicides

Questions have been raised about the working conditions at French telecoms giant Orange after reports that ten employees had committed suicide since the start of the year for reasons "explicity related" to their jobs.

Court upholds Berlusconi ban from public office
Italy

Court upholds Berlusconi ban from public office

Italy's supreme court on Tuesday upheld a two-year ban from public office against former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi who had filed an appeal with the country's top court.

Police suspect left-wing element in Kärrtorp clash
Sweden

Police suspect left-wing element in Kärrtorp clash

Swedish police are looking at the suspected role of five people with reported ties to the extreme-left in connection with the violent clash earlier this year in Kärrtorp with alleged neo-Nazis.

Penélope Cruz gets comic book makeover
Spain

Penélope Cruz gets comic book makeover

A Spanish publishing company is paying tribute to the successes of the country's most famous Hollywood export, Penélope Cruz, by turning her into a comic character.

Zlatan rockets into top five on football rich list
Sweden

Zlatan rockets into top five on football rich list

Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic has catapulted into the top five of the football rich list of the best paid players, after earning a cool 208 million kronor (almost $33 million) in 2013.