VIDEO: Norway sails into Eurovision final
Norway

VIDEO: Norway sails into Eurovision final

Bergen ex-bouncer Carl Espen Thorbjørnsen went through to the finals of Eurovision on Thursday night after a powerful and passionate performance of his song Silent Storm.

Russia slams US banking sanctions at WTO
Switzerland

Russia slams US banking sanctions at WTO

Russia on Thursday accused the United States at a World Trade Organization session in Geneva of breaching the rules of global commerce by slapping sanctions on its banking sector over the Ukraine crisis.

Introducing The Local Austria
Austria

Introducing The Local Austria

With 8.5 million people in the heart of Europe, Austria is an oft-overlooked nexus of culture, cake and music. The Local is ready to shine a light on what happens in the centre of Europe.

Far more funds needed for Syria: Red Cross
Switzerland

Far more funds needed for Syria: Red Cross

The ICRC appealed on Thursday for a record budget to help Syrians affected by the humanitarian catastrophe in their war-ravaged country, in the largest funding of an operation since the 1990s Balkan wars.

64% of Spaniards will vote in EU election: Poll
Spain

64% of Spaniards will vote in EU election: Poll

Nearly two-thirds of Spaniards intend to vote in the European Parliament elections later this month, and over half have a favourable impression of the EU, according to a poll released on Thursday.

Don’t forget Crimea, appeals Tatar leader
Austria

Don’t forget Crimea, appeals Tatar leader

The Tatars of Crimea fear they will be squeezed out as Russia tightens its grip in the region.

Legendary VW Golf turns 40
Germany

Legendary VW Golf turns 40

Since the first Golf rolled off the production line in March 1974, the original hot hatchback has spawned seven generations and over 30 million cars. A German classic that helped Volkswagen conquer the globe, the Golf is our German of the Week.

‘Sweden hasn’t been neutral since 1995’
Sweden

‘Sweden hasn’t been neutral since 1995’

After Sweden and Finland signed a military agreement to strengthen joint defence resources, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences talks to The Local about Nato, the "myth" of Swedish neutrality, and Sweden's weakened armed forces.

‘Exiting from Europe is exiting from history’
France

‘Exiting from Europe is exiting from history’

President Francois Hollande on Thursday hit back at the growing anti-EU rhetoric in France fostered by the far right in its campaign for the European parliamentary elections.

Sicilian police investigate murder on migrant boat
Italy

Sicilian police investigate murder on migrant boat

Police in Ragusa, southern Sicily, are investigating the murder of a migrant who on Wednesday arrived on a rubber dinghy along with 102 African migrants. Two men have been arrested and charged with people smuggling.

Equality tsar wins case against own ministry
Germany

Equality tsar wins case against own ministry

UPDATE: The equality commissioner at the German Family Ministry won a court case on Thursday against her own employers over the appointment of three men to key positions in 2012.

VIDEO: A guide to Norway at Eurovision
Norway

VIDEO: A guide to Norway at Eurovision

From Bobbysocks!'s 'Let it Swing' to 'Fairytale' by Alexander Rybak, Norway has a Eurovision history to be proud of. Here, on the day of Carl Espen's semifinal performance, is a Spotify and YouTube playlist of the country's finest moments.

‘Pfizer didn’t live up to its promises’: Reinfeldt
Sweden

‘Pfizer didn’t live up to its promises’: Reinfeldt

Sweden's prime minister has said that a Pfizer takeover of AstraZeneca could slash jobs, undermine research, and offer little value for money for Swedish citizens whose taxes have been invested in the life sciences.

Milan Expo manager arrested for corruption
Italy

Milan Expo manager arrested for corruption

A manager for Milan Expo 2015 has been arrested while five others have been jailed as part of an investigation into a corruption scandal that also caught ex-politicians allegedly taking bribes, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

Spanish retail giant Dia to quit France
Spain

Spanish retail giant Dia to quit France

Spanish discount supermarket group Dia announced Thursday it is selling its troubled French operations, which employ some 7,500 people in 900 stores.

‘Stockholm’s like a party with a $500 coat check’
Sweden

‘Stockholm’s like a party with a $500 coat check’

Stockholm may be "the next big thing" on the world's start-up scene, but eager workers are turning up their noses due to the acute housing shortage. The Local chats to housing and start-up experts Billy McCormac and Tyler Crowley.

Ex-BP chief stays as Glencore’s chairman
Switzerland

Ex-BP chief stays as Glencore’s chairman

Swiss-based mining and commodities giant Glencore Xstrata announced Thursday that it had made former BP chief Tony Hayward's interim stint as company chairman permanent.

Immigrants in campaign clip: ‘Don’t come to Italy’
Italy

Immigrants in campaign clip: ‘Don’t come to Italy’

A politician with the far-right Northern League party who is running for election to the European Parliament has released a controversial campaign video in which immigrants in Italy warn their compatriots against coming to Italy.

Higher Adecco profits reflect improved markets
Switzerland

Higher Adecco profits reflect improved markets

The world's biggest temporary staffing group, Swiss-based Adecco, on Thursday announced a better-than-expected net profit for the first quarter, confirming that the long-depressed European market is on the rebound.

Exorcism course ‘open to priests and housewives’
Italy

Exorcism course ‘open to priests and housewives’

An estimated 200 priests have descended on Rome and Bologna this week for a training course on how to rid people of demons as demand for exorcism rises in Italy.

SAS flight in Russian spy plane near miss
Sweden

SAS flight in Russian spy plane near miss

A Scandinavian Airlines flight had to take last minute evasive action to avoid colliding with a Russian spy plane just off the Swedish south coast in March, according to a report which emerged on Thursday.

Surreal: George W. Bush paints Spain’s ex-PM
Spain

Surreal: George W. Bush paints Spain’s ex-PM

Former US president George W. Bush has paid homage to his political ally and good friend former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar by painting a portrait of him and posting it on Instagram.

Löw reveals German World Cup squad
Germany

Löw reveals German World Cup squad

UPDATE: Germany’s football coach Joachim Löw revealed his provisional 30-man squad on Thursday for the World Cup in Brazil which starts next month.

Man gets life for ‘brutal’ double murder
Sweden

Man gets life for ‘brutal’ double murder

A 34-year-old man was given life imprisonment on Thursday for the murder of a 15-year-old boy and 57-year-old woman in Ljungsbro in eastern Sweden in November 2013.

Women wield swords in Spain’s Game of Thrones
Spain

Women wield swords in Spain’s Game of Thrones

The Spanish town of Belmonte hosted a medieval fight contest recently, with women allowed to compete in the gruelling battles for the very first time.

Putin will attend D-Day memorial: ambassador
France

Putin will attend D-Day memorial: ambassador

Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend ceremonies in France next month marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day, despite the standoff between Moscow and the West over Ukraine, the ambassador to Paris said on Thursday.

German Parliament to question Snowden
Germany

German Parliament to question Snowden

Germany's parliamentary committee investigating the NSA spying scandal in the country intends to call whistleblower Edward Snowden as a witness, it said on Thursday.

Train bosses to face court over metro tragedy
Spain

Train bosses to face court over metro tragedy

Nearly eight years after a tragic underground railway accident in Spain's Valencia region which killed 43 people, a judge has finally called in three top railway officials for questioning.

No crime after 9-year-old killed in ‘hit and run’
Sweden

No crime after 9-year-old killed in ‘hit and run’

Prosecutors declared on Thursday that there was no crime involved when a nine-year-old boy died in February after he was hit by a vehicle in a parking garage.

Overbudget concert house ‘possibly criminal’
Germany

Overbudget concert house ‘possibly criminal’

State prosecutors in Hamburg could open a criminal investigation into suspicions of embezzlement and fraud in the long-running scandal over the city's €800-million concert house.

End of World War II commemorated in Vienna
Austria

End of World War II commemorated in Vienna

Ceremonies are taking place in Vienna to commemorate the end of World War II, 69 years ago.

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Spain

Spanish factories raise output in March

Spain's factories are gently lifting production in response to a hesitant, jobs-starved recovery from years of recession, official data showed on Thursday.

West has more teething problems than East
Germany

West has more teething problems than East

The divide between Germans in the former West and East even extends to teeth. Despite lagging behind in wealth and employment indicators, eastern Germans top the tables for dental hygiene.

Drink your coffee black to ‘detox your cells’
Austria

Drink your coffee black to ‘detox your cells’

Good news for coffee drinkers - a daily cup of your favourite brew consumed without milk could be a way of detoxing, according to scientists in Graz.

France to send 3,000 troops to African hotspot
France

France to send 3,000 troops to African hotspot

France said Thursday on it would deploy 3,000 soldiers to combat Islamist violence in the vast and largely lawless Sahel region of Africa.

Officer fights dismissal for dressing as a woman
Italy

Officer fights dismissal for dressing as a woman

A police officer from Venice who was fired in 2006 for dressing as a woman may soon be able to return to the force, as well as claim damages, after a court ruled he was suffering from a “disease”.

Crucifixion killing: DNA matches in three cases
Italy

Crucifixion killing: DNA matches in three cases

Police have found DNA matches in three separate cases linked to the so-called “crucifixion killing” of a prostitute whose body was found tied to a horizontal bar in a position similar to that of crucifixion in the outskirts of Florence.

Seadrill strikes deal after Svalbard tax haven flop
Norway

Seadrill strikes deal after Svalbard tax haven flop

Norwegian shipping magnate John Fredriksen has reportedly reached a secret deal with Norway's tax authorities after a plan to use the Arctic Svalbard Islands as a tax haven for his Seadrill business was rejected.

Roma rep: Register payouts ‘a disgrace’
Sweden

Roma rep: Register payouts ‘a disgrace’

Sweden's Chancellor of Justice ruled on Wednesday that those listed in an illegal Swedish police register of Roma will be entitled to receive compensation of 5,000 kronor ($768), an award dismissed by a leading representative as "a disgrace".

Barclays to shed ‘non-core’ Spanish business
Spain

Barclays to shed ‘non-core’ Spanish business

UK bank Barclays on Thursday announced plans to seriously streamline its business, with the company's Spanish operations now considered surplus to requirements.

Ex-Berlusconi MP arrested over mafia links
Italy

Ex-Berlusconi MP arrested over mafia links

A former minister in Silvio Berlusconi's last government has been arrested for allegedly helping a businessman, convicted of collusion with the mafia, escape Italy.

Burger King boss admits scandal has hit revenues
Germany

Burger King boss admits scandal has hit revenues

A hygiene scandal involving one of Germany’s biggest Burger King franchises has hit the American fast-food chain where it hurts, with branches reporting revenue losses and a fall in customers.

Shetland cites Norway heritage in vote push
Norway

Shetland cites Norway heritage in vote push

Campaigners from Orkney, Shetland, and the Western Isles are pushing for a referendum that could grant them independence from Scotland on the grounds that they were all historically part of Norway.

Lausanne cops pioneer bike for dog squad
Switzerland

Lausanne cops pioneer bike for dog squad

Whisk, a Labrador retriever in the canine squad of the city of Lausanne’s police department, is making history.

Spain’s anti-evictions warrior bows out
Spain

Spain’s anti-evictions warrior bows out

Ada Colau, the woman who's fought for thousands of families facing eviction in Spain's economic crisis, has decided to quit her role as spokesperson for her controversial lobby group the PAH.

Chuck Berry plucks Swedish music ‘Nobel’
Sweden

Chuck Berry plucks Swedish music ‘Nobel’

US rock'n'roll godfather Chuck Berry has been awarded the 2014 Polar Music Prize, referred to by some as the "Nobel Prize of Music", landing a cool one million kronor ($153,000) to be shared with US opera director Peter Sellars.

Swiss minister urges tax hikes for Italy frontaliers
Italy

Swiss minister urges tax hikes for Italy frontaliers

Switzerland needs to change its agreement with Italy over the taxation of cross-border workers to make it less appealing for them to work in the canton of Ticino, Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf says.

Artists’ human zoo starts Kenya Twitter war
Norway

Artists’ human zoo starts Kenya Twitter war

Norway's Congo Village art project has triggered a Twitter storm across Africa, with many commenters seeming to wrongly believe that the two artists plan to fill their "human zoo" with real African villagers.

Spain’s carbon dioxide emissions plummet
Spain

Spain’s carbon dioxide emissions plummet

Spain saw its carbon dioxide emissions drop 12.6 percent in 2013, the third highest fall in the European Union. The news came on the same day as the World Health Organization issued a warning about the risks of air pollution.

Steinmeier praises Putin’s Ukraine U-turn
Germany

Steinmeier praises Putin’s Ukraine U-turn

UPDATE: Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomed Vladimir Putin's "constructive tone" on Ukraine on Thursday, after the Russian president told rebels in the east of the country to halt plans for an independence vote.

Italian mafia suspected of shooting Monaco heiress
Italy

Italian mafia suspected of shooting Monaco heiress

The Italian mafia is suspected of being behind the shooting of the 77-year-old head of one of Monaco’s richest families outside a hospital in Nice on Tuesday night.

Jeweller raids jewellery shop and banks
Germany

Jeweller raids jewellery shop and banks

A jeweller in western Germany turned robber in a desperate attempt to save his struggling business. The 48-year-old carried out a series of raids on banks and even another jewellery shop.

Police arrest man over cocaine sandwich
Spain

Police arrest man over cocaine sandwich

Police in Benidorm have arrested a Colombian man after he was found to be carrying a ham and cheese sandwich stuffed with over 100 grams of cocaine.

Picasso painting fetches €22 million in NY auction
Spain

Picasso painting fetches €22 million in NY auction

Pablo Picasso's 1932 oil painting "Le Sauvetage" sold at auction for more than €22 million($31 million) on Wednesday after a bidding war at Sotheby's in New York which saw it surge past its estimated pre-sale price.

Bearded Eurovision drag queen courts controversy
Austria

Bearded Eurovision drag queen courts controversy

Austrian drag performer Tom Neuwirth's character Conchita Wurst certainly made an impression on people.

Real ‘throw away’ La Liga in dying minutes
Spain

Real ‘throw away’ La Liga in dying minutes

Real Madrid's La Liga title hopes were all but ended as they conceded five minutes from time to draw 1-1 away to Valladolid on Wednesday.

Germans unaware of own Eurovision entry
Germany

Germans unaware of own Eurovision entry

The majority of Germans are unaware of who is representing the country at the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday night.