Top Putin aide was in Oslo for oil talks: Statoil
Norway

Top Putin aide was in Oslo for oil talks: Statoil

Igor Sechin, one of the most powerful figures in Vladimir Putin's Russia, was in Oslo this month to hold talks with Statoil over its international projects, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Chance of saving missing skiers ‘minimal’
Norway

Chance of saving missing skiers ‘minimal’

Norway's rescue authorities are close to giving up the search for four skiers who went missing on Monday night, with police admitting that the chances are now minimal that the men will be found alive.

US regulator seeks more Credit Suisse documents
Switzerland

US regulator seeks more Credit Suisse documents

A New York regulator probing Credit Suisse's role in enabling tax evasion has demanded a trove of additional documents from the bank, a person familiar with the situation said Tuesday.

Ex-footballer Makélélé faces Swiss tax probe
Switzerland

Ex-footballer Makélélé faces Swiss tax probe

Former France midfielder Claude Makélélé is facing a tax probe at home and in Switzerland, a filing showed Tuesday, as reports suggested it could relate to his investments in a Geneva football team.

Specialist says Swiss eat too much salty cheese
Switzerland

Specialist says Swiss eat too much salty cheese

The Swiss are known for their great love of cheese but a doctor from Lausanne is warning that they need to reduce their consumption of gruyère, emmental and other varieties because of the health risks.

Ukraine nixes ‘internal affairs’ talk in Geneva
Switzerland

Ukraine nixes ‘internal affairs’ talk in Geneva

Ukraine on Tuesday ruled out any discussion of its "internal affairs" at talks this week with Russia, the US and EU, amid spiralling tensions between Kiev and pro-Moscow militants.

French slang: Everyday words you need to know
France

French slang: Everyday words you need to know

As if learning French wasn't hard enough, the language of Molière has a wealth of informal slang words, that you should know as well - even if it's to avoid saying them in case you offend someone. Here we've picked some of the most common everyday words and translated them into French slang.

‘Italy fails to protect migrant children’: charity
Italy

‘Italy fails to protect migrant children’: charity

Save the Children criticised Italy on Tuesday for failing to protect unaccompanied migrant minors, saying over half of new boat arrivals over the past few days had fled the system and risked exploitation.

One in three Spanish kids ‘at risk of poverty’
Spain

One in three Spanish kids ‘at risk of poverty’

The charity Save the Children launched a petition on Tuesday urging Spain to do more for deprived children in the crisis-hit country, where one in three minors lives at risk of poverty.

Ten words you didn’t know came from Italy
Italy

Ten words you didn’t know came from Italy

We all know about Italy's most famous verbal exports but there are lots of other lesser-known words that derive from the language of love.

‘Baffling’ Swedish raid on German sub makers
Sweden

‘Baffling’ Swedish raid on German sub makers

After the Swedish military raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp, a military expert tells The Local why recent Russian aggression means Sweden's Saab needs to take control of national submarine production.

Why Germany should stop arming the world
Germany

Why Germany should stop arming the world

Germany's weapons industry is booming, and even the vice chancellor's attempt to stop selling tanks to the Saudis is a minor concession for the world's third biggest arms exporter. But the trade is destabilizing security.

Man signs up as organ donor then kills himself
Spain

Man signs up as organ donor then kills himself

A man in the Spanish city of Valencia shot himself in the head on Monday just moments after he'd asked two nurses at a local hospital to sign him up as an organ donor.

Independent Catalonia can stay in EU: Report
Spain

Independent Catalonia can stay in EU: Report

A "pragmatic" European Union is unlikely to eject Catalonia if it votes to part ways with the rest of Spain: that's the argument put forward in a new report by a team of pro-independence advisers to the region's government.

Swedish kids crack adult content ‘code’ at school
Sweden

Swedish kids crack adult content ‘code’ at school

Swedish parents who busted their children looking at adult content online were shocked to find the kids saying 'they'd learned the code at school'.

WWI colour photos go on display in Berlin
Germany

WWI colour photos go on display in Berlin

An exhibition opened in Berlin last week of rare colour photos from World War I. Haunting images of soldiers in trenches take centre stage in the collection.

German economy enjoying ‘solid upturn’
Germany

German economy enjoying ‘solid upturn’

The German economy is currently in the middle of a "solid upturn", the government said on Tuesday, even if concerns about the fallout from Ukraine are souring investor confidence.

El Nino weather event seen likely: WMO
Switzerland

El Nino weather event seen likely: WMO

An "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean is likely this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world, the Geneva-based UN weather agency warned on Tuesday.

Strong franc hits Nestlé’s first quarter sales
Switzerland

Strong franc hits Nestlé’s first quarter sales

Nestlé, the world's leading food industry group, saw its sales slide 5.1 percent in the first quarter from the same period in 2013, the Swiss-based company said on Tuesday, blaming the effect of exchange rates and strength of the franc.

Oil drilling may have triggered deadly quakes
Italy

Oil drilling may have triggered deadly quakes

Italy's Emilia-Romagna region on Tuesday suspended new drilling as it published a report that warned that hydrocarbon exploitation may have acted as a "trigger" in twin earthquakes that killed 26 people in 2012.

Spanish tax returns: A handy expat guide
Spain

Spanish tax returns: A handy expat guide

Confused about Spanish tax returns? Don't stress: there's help at hand. The Local spoke recently Paul Greene of Spain Accountants to get the lowdown on who needs to file and what sort of deductions are available.

Industry bellwether SKF recovers to turn profit
Sweden

Industry bellwether SKF recovers to turn profit

After a drab end to 2013, Swedish ballbearing makers SKF anew posted a profit in its first quarter review. It could spell good news for the manufacturing industry worldwide.

Swedish Hobbit actor jailed in cocaine case
Sweden

Swedish Hobbit actor jailed in cocaine case

Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt has appealed a five-month prison sentence, handed down on Tuesday after he was found guilty of buying cocaine.

British firm to shut French cigarette factory
France

British firm to shut French cigarette factory

A British tobacco company will close one of its factories in France that makes Gauloises cigarettes, meaning the signature French brand will be made almost exclusively abroad.

Norway’s Aker bags €1.7bn Angola contract
Norway

Norway’s Aker bags €1.7bn Angola contract

French oil group Total, which has just announced a huge offshore exploration investment in Angola, has awarded a major contract for part of the work to Norwegian firm Aker Solutions, Aker said on Tuesday.

In Pictures: The Local’s Property of the Week
Sweden

In Pictures: The Local’s Property of the Week

The Swedish countryside is littered with small second homes, many up for a steal if you can see beyond dated wallpaper and imagine a country retreat with chanterelles and lingonberries growing in your backyard.

French MEP: EU means ‘porn without borders’
France

French MEP: EU means ‘porn without borders’

For a French member of European Parliament one of the key benefits of an EU without borders is easier access to porn movies, according to an interview he gave to a local newspaper.

36.3%: Andalusia has EU’s highest jobless rate
Spain

36.3%: Andalusia has EU’s highest jobless rate

Some 36.3 percent of people are out of work in Spain's Andalusia's region: that's the most in Europe and 14 times higher than in Germany's Upper Bavaria, which has the lowest jobless rate in the EU, figures released on Tuesday show.

Man at recycling plant finds $16,000 in old safe
Norway

Man at recycling plant finds $16,000 in old safe

An excavator operator at recycling facility in Norway has discovered 100,000 kroner ($16,000) left behind in a safe dumped at the site.

Found: Stunning Gaudí stained glass windows
Spain

Found: Stunning Gaudí stained glass windows

Two stained glass masterpieces made by Catalonia's most prolific architect, Antoni Gaudí, have been discovered after being stashed away in a chapel outside Barcelona for decades.

Rome street artist paints New York
Italy

Rome street artist paints New York

New York was given a touch of Italian colour this month when Rome-based artist Alice Pasquini painted a narrative triptych across its boroughs during a two-week painting programme.

French TV viewers resent needless use of English
France

French TV viewers resent needless use of English

In its annual report released this week French TV and radio regulators revealed that French language and culture regularly suffers as the sector expands and that viewers’ main cause for complaint is the unnecessary use of English.

Thousands of salmon escape cages in Norway
Norway

Thousands of salmon escape cages in Norway

More than 47,000 salmon have escaped their cages in the Ålfjorden north of Stavanger, fuelling environmentalist fears that Norway's salmon farming industry will destroy wild salmon stocks and weaken the natural gene pool.

Beppe Grillo attacked for Holocaust poem parody
Italy

Beppe Grillo attacked for Holocaust poem parody

Beppe Grillo, the leader of the Five Star Movement (M5S), has outraged Italy’s Jewish community by publishing his own version of the opening verses of Holocaust survivor Primo Levi’s classic ‘If this is a man’ on his blog.

French tax declarations: Key things to remember
France

French tax declarations: Key things to remember

With the deadline for declaring your 2014 French tax returns fast approaching we have asked two French tax experts to let us know the most important things to remember when it comes to filing your tax returns.

French to help Britain treat nuclear waste
France

French to help Britain treat nuclear waste

French nuclear power group Areva said on Tuesday it will help build a plant to treat radioactive waste at a facility in northwest England.

Berlusconi must do community service: court
Italy

Berlusconi must do community service: court

An Italian court on Tuesday ordered former prime minister and billionaire tycoon Silvio Berlusconi to do a year of community service following his conviction for tax fraud, Italian media reported.

Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Germany

Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals

Customs officers in western Germany caught an elderly man with almost €200,000 taped to his genitals. He and his wife had just crossed into the country from Luxembourg last week.

Young Spaniards scrape by in ruthless London
Spain

Young Spaniards scrape by in ruthless London

More and more young Spaniards, forced to leave home by crippling unemployment, are attracted to London by the prospect of work and the chance to learn English — but often run into a fresh set of problems.

Paris cops told to ‘purge’ Roma from posh area
France

Paris cops told to ‘purge’ Roma from posh area

Police in Paris’s posh 6th arrondissement have been ordered to count up Roma people and “systematically purge” them from the area, media reports said on Tuesday. The public outrage prompted by the orders forced France's top cop to wade into the row.

Puppies lost in ‘black market’ chihuahua raid
Sweden

Puppies lost in ‘black market’ chihuahua raid

Thieves escaped from a flat in Malmö on Monday with jewellery, electronics, and four chihuahua-papillon puppies. Police worry the dogs will be sold on the black market, a growing trend in Sweden.

Spain to open first gay old people’s home
Spain

Spain to open first gay old people’s home

A Madrid foundation wants to offer the country's elderly gay and lesbian community a place where they can be open about their sexuality without facing rejection or bullying from their peers. The Local Spain speaks to their president.

Humans rights chief decries Syrian torture
Switzerland

Humans rights chief decries Syrian torture

The UN's human rights chief in Geneva condemned on Monday the "routine" use of torture in Syrian detention facilities, as a new report said victims were raped, beaten and had their teeth and toenails pulled out.

‘Dangerously high dust levels’ hit big cities
Germany

‘Dangerously high dust levels’ hit big cities

Germany is being exposed to very high levels of fine dust in the air, the environmental office (UBA) said on Tuesday. In big cities, levels exceed those deemed safe by experts.

Swiss junior doctors ‘working 56-hour weeks’
Switzerland

Swiss junior doctors ‘working 56-hour weeks’

More than two-thirds of medical interns and junior doctors in Swiss hospitals are working an average of 56 hours a week in violation of federal labour law, an association of medical employees says.

Embryo mix-up: couples to get DNA tests
Italy

Embryo mix-up: couples to get DNA tests

DNA tests will be carried out on four couples who underwent fertility treatment on the same day at a clinic in Rome following the discovery that one of the women became pregnant with the twins of another couple.

Police face prison after torturing Brits
Spain

Police face prison after torturing Brits

A public prosecutor in Spain is seeking long prison sentences for four police officers who allegedly tortured two Brits while they were in custody in 2009.

Sweden’s worst office clichés revealed
Sweden

Sweden’s worst office clichés revealed

"We have to hit the brakes and the gas at the same time." Does your Swedish boss confuse you? You're not alone. Swedes have crowned that phrase as the worst workplace cliché of the year.

‘There is growing interest for Italian liqueurs’
Italy

‘There is growing interest for Italian liqueurs’

Italian drinks company Campari on Tuesday announced it was buying the owner of the Averna digestif brand in a €103.75 million deal and said it hoped for a boost from new trends in the United States.

‘Dangerous’ mascot eagle banned from stadium
France

‘Dangerous’ mascot eagle banned from stadium

French authorities have barred Nice football club's pre-match ritual of flying an eagle before each match on health and safety grounds, claiming the club mascot is a danger to the public. Nice are refusing to abide by the decision.

Italy names three women as heads of state firms
Italy

Italy names three women as heads of state firms

The Italian government named four new directors, including three women, to state-controlled companies Monday and capped executive pay at such firms at €238,000 a year.

Italy’s poor forced to live in squats
Italy

Italy’s poor forced to live in squats

Medina Mercedez lugs her possessions into the abandoned office space she now calls home, joining the growing ranks of Italy's poor forced to live in squats amid social misery despite a tentative economic recovery.

Norway celebs plan own funerals in new show
Norway

Norway celebs plan own funerals in new show

Norway's ever-inventive national television channel NRK has moved from 'Slow TV' to 'TV Macabre' with "The Coffin", which follows a set of celebrities planning their own funerals.

More Swedes want to join Nato
Sweden

More Swedes want to join Nato

Almost one in three Swedes support joining Nato, compared with just 17 percent in 2013, a survey revealed on Tuesday. The sentiment was echoed by the Finnish Prime Minister.

Captain thought he hit ‘a little rock’
Italy

Captain thought he hit ‘a little rock’

The Italian cruise ship captain on trial for murder after the sinking of the Costa Concordia in early 2012 said on the night of the fateful accident that he believed he had hit only "a little rock", a court heard on Monday.

Anti-royal protesters march in Madrid
Spain

Anti-royal protesters march in Madrid

Hundreds of people marched through the streets of Madrid on Monday to protest against Spain's scandal-tainted monarchy and demand the return of a democratically elected head of state.

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Is the PM overstaying his welcome?

Is the PM overstaying his welcome?
Sweden

Is the PM overstaying his welcome?

Seen both as a statesman and a normal guy, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has a solid standing, despite his government's poor poll ratings. But have the Moderates prepared for life post-Reinfeldt? And does his successor matter to the voters?

Paris: Iconic Lutetia hotel closes for major revamp
France

Paris: Iconic Lutetia hotel closes for major revamp

Another one of Paris's iconic luxury hotels has closed for major renovations. After the Ritz and the Crillon shut their doors for a makeover this week the famous Le Lutetia followed suit.

Woman decomposed on bathroom floor
Germany

Woman decomposed on bathroom floor

A woman's body lay decomposing on her bathroom floor in Berlin for several months before neighbours noticed her letterbox had overflowed.

Lock of Napoleon’s hair stolen from museum
France

Lock of Napoleon’s hair stolen from museum

A lock of Napoleon Bonaparte's hair and other "priceless" artefacts linked to the French emperor have been stolen from a museum in Australia, police said on Tuesday.

‘Six-hour work day will hurt Sweden’
Sweden

‘Six-hour work day will hurt Sweden’

The six-hour workday would punish employers who already struggle to find competent staff. And if parts of the economy slow down, so will industries reliant on them, argues liberal commentator Nima Sanandaji.

Thieves clean out casinos with software
Germany

Thieves clean out casinos with software

Thieves swindled hundreds of casinos across Germany in just one night by exploiting a software-bug in defective slot machines. The manufacturer may be liable for up to €10 million in damages.

Air Berlin cancels flights to Sharm el-Sheikh
Germany

Air Berlin cancels flights to Sharm el-Sheikh

Germany's second-biggest airline, Air Berlin, on Monday said it has cancelled flights this month to Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh resort on the Red Sea because of deteriorating security for foreign tourists.