Police remove caravan-dwellers from Bern field
Switzerland

Police remove caravan-dwellers from Bern field

Bern cantonal police mobilized officers to remove dozens of caravan-dwellers on Thursday night from a field in the Swiss capital where they were illegally camped in a protest demonstration.

Renovated Geneva train station central hall opens
Switzerland

Renovated Geneva train station central hall opens

Passengers are able to traverse the central hall of Geneva’s main train station for the first time in more than four years after renovations begun in 2010.

Le Pen’s unholy alliance hoping to ‘explode’ EU
France

Le Pen’s unholy alliance hoping to ‘explode’ EU

France’s National Front party is trying to unite a multi-nation, far-right alliance ahead of next month’s crucial European elections. The distinctly anti-EU mob would include Nazi sympathisers, anti-Muslim leaders and fervent nationalists. We take a closer look.

On the move: Sweden’s shifting mobility trends
Sweden

On the move: Sweden’s shifting mobility trends

Finding somewhere to live when you move to Sweden is a challenge. With changes afoot The Local caught up with an expert from letting agency Residensportalen to find out in what direction the market is going, and how Google Glasses may just help you find your dream home.

Chinese crackdown hurts French booze sales
France

Chinese crackdown hurts French booze sales

French booze sales in China have taken a hit after party leaders cracked down on extravagant gift-giving and sumptuous feasts in the wake of several stinging corruption scandals.

Ten most disgusting Swedish foods
Sweden

Ten most disgusting Swedish foods

Swedish food is, of course, a matter of taste. A lot of it is cake, and that's delicious, but much of it can seem disgusting to the uninitiated. (Admittedly, some views don't change post-initiation). Our loyal followers on Twitter and Facebook shared what they thought were the worst of them all.

Italian man crushed to death by giant crucifix
Italy

Italian man crushed to death by giant crucifix

An Italian man was crushed to death on Wednesday by a giant crucifix honouring John Paul II that collapsed during a ceremony ahead of the late pope's canonization.

Spain’s CaixaBank reports profits halved
Spain

Spain’s CaixaBank reports profits halved

Spanish lender CaixaBank posted on Thursday a first-quarter net profit of €152 million ($210 million), a 54.6-per cent drop from the figure at same time last year when it was boosted by one-off gains from acquisitions.

Argentina approves $5b Repsol compensation
Spain

Argentina approves $5b Repsol compensation

Argentina's lower house of Congress approved a deal on Thursday to compensate Spanish oil giant Repsol with $5 billion (€3.6 billion)in bonds for the 2012 seizure of its subsidiary YPF.

Amnesty International slams Spain on protests
Spain

Amnesty International slams Spain on protests

Amnesty International on Thursday slammed Spanish authorities for what the human rights group believes is a concerted effort to discourage people from taking part in peaceful protests.

Blood on cloth didn’t belong to King Louis XVI
France

Blood on cloth didn’t belong to King Louis XVI

Scientists say a morbid souvenir from the execution of France's last king, a cloth dipped in his blood, is a fake. The long controversial keepsake has previously been verified as containing the blood of Louis XVI.

Rome hotels break rules ahead of sainthoods
Italy

Rome hotels break rules ahead of sainthoods

Police have handed out €100,000 worth of fines to 21 hotels in Rome after they employed tactics to take advantage of the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims set to flock to the capital for the double canonization on Sunday.

Parisians really are rude to tourists –  true or false?
France

Parisians really are rude to tourists – true or false?

Almost a year ago it seemed like stories of Parisians being rude to tourists would soon be a thing of the past, when city tourist chiefs published a guide on how to better welcome visitors. The Local took to the streets to see if tourists had noticed a difference.

Minister’s jet grounded twice in a month
Germany

Minister’s jet grounded twice in a month

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had to wait for two hours on a runway on Wednesday night due to a technical glitch on his plane - the second problem the jet has had in a month.

It’s official: Drinking makes you ‘blind’
Spain

It’s official: Drinking makes you ‘blind’

Scientists at Spain's University of Granada have shown that drinking alcohol impairs night vision by intensifying people's perception of haloes around light sources like car headlamps.

Italian factory shutdown threatens 4,000 jobs
Italy

Italian factory shutdown threatens 4,000 jobs

A blast furnace at an Italian steel plant was shut down on Thursday with 4,000 jobs at risk despite a call by Pope Francis for officials "to make every effort in terms of creativity and generosity to rekindle hope".

Sweden wants cruise missiles ‘for defence’
Sweden

Sweden wants cruise missiles ‘for defence’

The Swedish government has announced plans to beef up its defence forces by fitting its fleet of Gripen fighter jets with long-range cruise missiles.

France bids to cut EU’s reliance on Russian gas
France

France bids to cut EU’s reliance on Russian gas

As the Ukraine crisis intensifes and threatens to divide Russia from the West, France and Poland made a joint call for a European-wide energy union that would help reduce dependence on Russian gas supplies.

‘It’s important people are confronted with cancer’
Germany

‘It’s important people are confronted with cancer’

Images of children with cancer often evoke weakness and defeat. But Marina Proksch-Park shows them enjoying life. The photographer who has sparked an online campaign with her pictures is The Local's German of the Week.

Italy plans global network to fight mafia
Italy

Italy plans global network to fight mafia

The Italian government has announced plans to open offices around the world to coordinate the fight against the mafia, in addition to upping efforts to tackle organized crime at home.

Sweden’s oldest would-be MP: ‘They promised I wouldn’t get in’
Sweden

Sweden’s oldest would-be MP: ‘They promised I wouldn’t get in’

Gösta Arvedson, 89, is the oldest Riksdag candidate in Sweden, but our Swede of the Week explains that the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) had to make some unusual promises for him to put his name forward.

Family pretend to be French to rob jewellers
France

Family pretend to be French to rob jewellers

A family managed to steal €180,000 worth of jewellery from a plush shop in Milan’s Piazza del Duomo. Their modus operandi: pretending to be French to give off an air of sophistication.

CDU candidate forced to remove Turkish logo
Germany

CDU candidate forced to remove Turkish logo

A Christian Democrat (CDU) town council candidate has apologized and withdrawn campaign bags on which he had printed a new party logo where the Turkish crescent appeared inside the "C" for Christian.

Pope in trouble over ‘personal’ phone calls
Italy

Pope in trouble over ‘personal’ phone calls

Pope Francis's habit of picking up the phone and cold calling people who write to him is landing the Vatican in hot water and spokesman Federico Lombardi has had enough.

Neo-Nazi Hitler party shocks French village
France

Neo-Nazi Hitler party shocks French village

The mayor of a small village in eastern France was forced to explain this week how he ended up giving the green light for a neo-Nazi party commemorating the 125th anniversiary of Hitler’s birth. The mayor said he presumed it was just going to be an ordinary birthday party.

‘French’ family robs plush jewellery shop
Italy

‘French’ family robs plush jewellery shop

A family pretending to be French and giving off an air of sophistication managed to steal €180,000 worth of jewellery from a plush shop in Milan’s Piazza del Duomo.

Feature: Norway’s Dalai Lama dilemma
Norway

Feature: Norway’s Dalai Lama dilemma

A planned visit by the Dalai Lama has Oslo torn between its will to warm up frozen ties with China and warnings from the public not to compromise its stance on human rights, writes AFP's Pierre-Henry Deshayes.

‘Some rapes less bad than others’: psychiatrist
Norway

‘Some rapes less bad than others’: psychiatrist

A psychiatrist in Norway has called for rape to be divided into different categories, with some -- such as when a man penetrates a woman he has gone to bed with while she is sleeping -- classed as less serious.

Cheap flights get pricier as airlines expand
Germany

Cheap flights get pricier as airlines expand

Budget airlines are expanding their range of routes from Germany but ticket prices are climbing along with them, a report from the German Aeronautics Centre (DLR) revealed on Thursday.

What’s on in Spain: May
Spain

What’s on in Spain: May

Still not booked up for May? The Local has rounded up a list of some of the best events in Spain, including cultural festivals, music festivals, and major sporting events.

Martial arts tourists tackle Spanish mugger
Spain

Martial arts tourists tackle Spanish mugger

Two Taiwanese tourists used their martial arts skills this week to take down and detain a mugger who tried to steal a woman's mobile phone in the southern Spanish town of Ronda.

Italian waiter was killed in ‘senseless attack’
Italy

Italian waiter was killed in ‘senseless attack’

An Italian man who was beaten to death in the UK last year had left Italy to start a job as a waiter just days before he was killed, in what proscecutors described as a "senseless attack of brutal, drunken violence".

Ecclestone lawyers: Bribes never happened
Germany

Ecclestone lawyers: Bribes never happened

UPDATE: Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone went on trial in Germany on Thursday, denying charges of bribery that threaten to land the British billionaire in jail.

Spain ‘fiddles numbers’ to shave jobless rate
Spain

Spain ‘fiddles numbers’ to shave jobless rate

Spain has managed to push down its unemployment rate to 25.77 percent — by adjusting the formulas used to establish the country's jobless rate to include the latest census data.

Expats lace up running shoes for Swiss races
Switzerland

Expats lace up running shoes for Swiss races


From the simply beautiful to the downright barmy, Switzerland's vast array of running races are a great way for expats to integrate into the Swiss way of life, The Local's Caroline Bishop learns.

Sri Lanka demands arrest of suspected Tamil Tiger
Norway

Sri Lanka demands arrest of suspected Tamil Tiger

Sri Lanka's government has sent out an alert demanding that Norway's government arrest Perinpanayagam Sivaparan, an Oslo-based Tamil, claiming that he is the new leader of the militant Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote
Sweden

Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote

The majority of Swedes feel the country's political parties are not doing enough to inform them about the upcoming European Parliament elections. Only two of the eight parties have dedicated their homepages to the May 25th polls.

French taxi wars: New plan to end bitter feud
France

French taxi wars: New plan to end bitter feud

An eagerly awaited series of proposed reforms were due out on Thursday aimed at ending the ongoing war between highly regulated taxi drivers and private hire car firms, which has wrought havoc on French roads. The proposals seek to make the rules fairer for both sides.

Minister praises Erasmus ‘success story’
Germany

Minister praises Erasmus ‘success story’

A revamped version of European student exchange programme Erasmus officially launched in Berlin on Thursday with Germany's education minister praising the scheme as a Europe-wide “success story”.

Unit sale drives rise in Novartis Q1 net profits
Switzerland

Unit sale drives rise in Novartis Q1 net profits

Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis on Thursday posted a 24-percent jump in first-quarter net profit from the same period a year earlier, driven largely by the sale of a blood transfusion diagnostics unit.

Norway Conservative jailed for nude pic theft
Norway

Norway Conservative jailed for nude pic theft

A former Conservative party politician who stole nude pictures from the iCloud accounts of several girls he knew and posted them on the internet has been sentenced to 60 days in prison.

Woman had abortion and hid foetus
Italy

Woman had abortion and hid foetus

A 20-year-old woman has been arrested in central Italy for infanticide, after reportedly having an abortion when she was between seven and eight months pregnant.

Oslo mulled scrapping Trafalgar Christmas tree
Norway

Oslo mulled scrapping Trafalgar Christmas tree

Oslo bureaucrats this year proposed ending a nearly 60-year-old tradition of sending a Christmas tree to Trafalgar Square in London before their suggestion was rejected outright by the city's mayor Fabian Stang.

Mayor wants museum to remember Mussolini
Italy

Mayor wants museum to remember Mussolini

The mayor of Predappio, the birthplace of Benito Mussolini in central Italy, has called for a museum to open to remember the fascist leader and his role in Italian history.

Spanish fascists make Euro election bid
Spain

Spanish fascists make Euro election bid

The list of candidates submitted by two far-right Spanish parties for May's European parliamentary elections includes people who were arrested for attacking Madrid's Catalan centre last year and criminals convicted of possessing explosives.

Turkey tourists lose call to prayer refund bid
Germany

Turkey tourists lose call to prayer refund bid

A German couple has lost their legal fight to get a refund for a Turkish holiday which they said was ruined by the calls to prayer from a nearby mosque. It is just one of a series of court claims by picky German tourists.

Local church tried to stop Norrköping murders
Sweden

Local church tried to stop Norrköping murders

The Syrian-Orthodox Church in Ektorp had tried to quell tensions between two rival families just hours before bad blood spilled into a massive brawl and two brothers lost their lives.

Spain records highest growth figure in six years
Spain

Spain records highest growth figure in six years

Spain's economy grew at the fastest pace in six years in the first quarter of 2014, the central bank said on Thursday in a preliminary estimate.

France to send fighter jets to patrol Baltics
France

France to send fighter jets to patrol Baltics

France is sending four of its fighter jets to patrol over the Baltic states in a symbolic show of solidarity amid growing anxiety in the region over Russia's intervention in Ukraine. President François Hollande is also set to pay a visit to Georgia in the coming weeks.

Perugia shortlisted for European Youth Capital
Italy

Perugia shortlisted for European Youth Capital

The medieval Umbrian capital of Perugia has been shortlisted for the title of European Youth Capital 2017.

Dad smuggles girl into Spain in suitcase
Spain

Dad smuggles girl into Spain in suitcase

A young Moroccan girl who was smuggled into Spain by her father inside a suitcase has been given permission to stay in the country.

Doctor acquitted for aiding senior’s suicide
Switzerland

Doctor acquitted for aiding senior’s suicide

A Neuchâtel cantonal court has overturned the conviction of a doctor found guilty of breaking the law by helping an 89-year-old man die without getting a proper diagnosis of his condition.

‘Foreigners don’t need to show banks Swedish ID’
Sweden

‘Foreigners don’t need to show banks Swedish ID’

The Swedish agency that helps Europeans fight impediments to the EU principle of free movement has revealed an increase in complaints, including one from a foreign citizen unable to open a bank account in Sweden.

Pig heart shatters in Sweden’s Eurovision clip
Sweden

Pig heart shatters in Sweden’s Eurovision clip

Sweden's Eurovision hopeful Sanna Nielsen released the official video for the song Undo on Wednesday, a clip featuring leather, slow motion destruction, and a frozen pig's heart and some violence.

Germany halts arms sales to Russia
Germany

Germany halts arms sales to Russia

Germany has stopped selling arms to Russia due to the current “political situation”, according to reports on Thursday. The sale of military equipment to Russia by German firms has been criticized by the country’s Nato allies.

Catalonia chief vows to call independence poll
Spain

Catalonia chief vows to call independence poll

Catalonia's political chief Artur Mas vowed on Wednesday to push ahead with a vote on independence from Spain on November 9th, flying in the face of fierce opposition from Madrid.

French minister Royal denies ban on cleavage
France

French minister Royal denies ban on cleavage

Ségolène Royal, France’s new minister for the environment has been forced to deny reports on Thursday that she had introduced some strict new rules for her staff, including a ban on women wearing low cut tops at work. However a French TV show claims to have found proof of the ban.

Italian doctor ‘refused to assist abortion’
Italy

Italian doctor ‘refused to assist abortion’

A woman in the process of having a medical abortion was forced to call police to a hospital in Genoa on Easter Saturday after a doctor, described as a ‘conscientious objector’ to abortion, refused to assist her.

Truck kills man lying in middle of road
Germany

Truck kills man lying in middle of road

Police were searching for witnesses on Wednesday morning following a mysterious road accident in which a 25-year-old man was killed as he lay in the middle of the road.

Software robot pinches Swedish flats in seconds
Sweden

Software robot pinches Swedish flats in seconds

A Swedish landlord suspects that a property fixer has set up a software robot to sign up for new flats on the market within seconds, and is charging house hunters to use the service.

France and Canada renew feud over islands
France

France and Canada renew feud over islands

A longstanding feud over two French islands near Canada's Atlantic Coast was rekindled this week, when Ottawa contested Paris's request that the UN recognize its control of waters around Saint-Pierre-and-Miquelon

Swedish zoo fire ‘kills only the spiders’
Sweden

Swedish zoo fire ‘kills only the spiders’

Twenty-five fire fighters were on hand on Wednesday night when a fire broke out in a southern Sweden animal park. The vast majority of the animals were unharmed, but the cluster of spiders wasn't so lucky.

Marijuana: ‘Young adults risk fatal heart problems’
France

Marijuana: ‘Young adults risk fatal heart problems’

Young adults who smoke marijuana may be at risk of serious or even fatal heart problems, according to a study by French researchers published this week. The findings raise new concerns about the safety of marijuana.

Memory loss in mice with Alzheimer’s reversed
Spain

Memory loss in mice with Alzheimer’s reversed

Spanish scientists have for the first time used gene therapy to reverse memory loss in mice with Alzheimer's, an advance that could lead to new drugs to treat the disease, they said on Wednesday.

Sweden Investor group posts sharp profit drop
Sweden

Sweden Investor group posts sharp profit drop

Swedish investment giant Investor on Wednesday said its first-quarter profits slumped by a quarter, underlining Sweden's vulnerability to international instability.

Where are Germany’s smartest towns?
Germany

Where are Germany’s smartest towns?

A brain training website released scores on Wednesday showing which German towns performed best and worst in a range of cognitive tests - with some surprising results.

Berlusconi signs up for community service
Italy

Berlusconi signs up for community service

Italian former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi officially signed up to his community service Wednesday, agreeing to a court document which lays down the rules for his punishment for tax fraud.