Hotel strike cancels Oslo Freedom Forum
Norway

Hotel strike cancels Oslo Freedom Forum

A strike of hotel workers in Norway has forced the cancellation of the Oslo Freedom Forum, an international human rights conference that was due to start on Monday.

Lesbian couple denied fostering rights
Austria

Lesbian couple denied fostering rights

Although people living in same-gender relationships are permitted to work with children, they are denied the right to act as foster parents, according to the Administrative Court of Lower Austria in St. Pölten.

Dalai Lama snub ‘a necessary sacrifice’: PM
Norway

Dalai Lama snub ‘a necessary sacrifice’: PM

Norway's government said Friday that its decision not to meet the Dalai Lama during a three-day trip to Oslo was a "necessary sacrifice" to normalise its relations with China.

‘It’s amazing to represent Sweden’: Sanna Nielsen
Sweden

‘It’s amazing to represent Sweden’: Sanna Nielsen

Who else but Sweden's Eurovision entry Sanna Nielsen for our Swede of the Week? We chatted with Sanna ahead of Saturday's final about her fans, her plans, and what "undo my sad" actually means.

Vienna’s brand fails to make the grade
Austria

Vienna’s brand fails to make the grade

Saffron Brand Consultants has devised a list of the world's best branded cities - but Vienna didn't even make the top 25. The Local Austria checks out the state of the Stadt.

Immigrants to identity: Why some French are anti-EU
France

Immigrants to identity: Why some French are anti-EU

Too many immigrants, loss of national identity and mass unemployment are among the reasons cited by a growing number of French people for turning against the European Union, according to a new opinion poll.

Merkel welcomes Hollande on ‘Europe Day’
Germany

Merkel welcomes Hollande on ‘Europe Day’

Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed French President Francois Hollande to a picturesque Baltic coastal town on Friday for talks meant to strengthen the personal chemistry between the two leaders at the heart of Europe.

Online dating is grounds for divorce, court rules
France

Online dating is grounds for divorce, court rules

A French court has ruled that frequenting a dating website is a violation of the obligations of marriage and thus grounds for divorce.

Sweden publishes global custody battle manual
Sweden

Sweden publishes global custody battle manual

The Swedish government has published a manual for parents who fear their child will be taken abroad against their will - "Sweden cannot meddle in another country's laws".

In Pictures: Seville’s Flamenco Fair kicks off
Spain

In Pictures: Seville’s Flamenco Fair kicks off

This weekend may have the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona and La Liga coming to a boil, but in Seville the focus will be on more genteel pursuits as the week-long Seville April Fair culminates in the Andalusian capital. We choose some of the best photos from the opening of this year's event.

Colin Firth swearing in Italian goes viral
Italy

Colin Firth swearing in Italian goes viral

A video interview in which British actor Colin Firth swears in Italian has gone viral in Italy, winning the star praise from the Italian media for his pronunciation. Although even the actor himself lamented that he could never "be mistaken for an Italian".

Toddler survives 18-km running board stunt
Germany

Toddler survives 18-km running board stunt

Police in Lower Saxony were left in awe of a three-year-old girl’s “stuntman-like” skills on Thursday after she clung onto the outside of a van for 18 kilometres, travelling at speeds of up to 80 km/h.

VIDEO: Politicians turn to cow to get out the vote
Germany

VIDEO: Politicians turn to cow to get out the vote

Germany’s biggest political party has turned to a cow to help it get out the vote in this month’s local elections.

‘Italians couldn’t care less about Eurovision’
Italy

‘Italians couldn’t care less about Eurovision’

Italians either don’t know what the Eurovision Song Contest is or couldn’t care less about Italy’s participation in the world’s biggest singing competition, The Local has learned.

Credit Suisse: ending US tax dispute ‘top priority’
Switzerland

Credit Suisse: ending US tax dispute ‘top priority’

Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse says that resolving a dispute with Washington over its past assistance to US tax dodgers is a top priority.

‘It’s important we sing in French not English’
France

‘It’s important we sing in French not English’

Twin Twin will represent France at this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen. Here they tell our colleagues at Parisian News TV, why it's important to sing in English and why they are not bothered about kitcsh.

Ticino restaurant tells diners: eat up or pay up
Switzerland

Ticino restaurant tells diners: eat up or pay up

A restaurateur in Losone in the canton of Ticino has come up with a novel way of reducing the amount of food thrown away.

What do Swedes really think about Eurovision?
Sweden

What do Swedes really think about Eurovision?

On the eve of the Eurovision final, we talked to ten Stockholmers and challenged them to name Sweden's entrant. We also asked what they thought about the competition. Their answers may surprise you.

Row over hymn-singing in primary schools
Austria

Row over hymn-singing in primary schools

A row has broken out over children being made to sing hymns in a primary school in Lower Austria.

Electoral video banned over king’s hunting photo
Spain

Electoral video banned over king’s hunting photo

Spain's Central Electoral Commission has banned an animal rights party's campaign video which featured a photograph of King Juan Carlos during an elephant hunt.

Give banana-thrower his job back: Barça star
Spain

Give banana-thrower his job back: Barça star

Barcelona's Brazilian defender Dani Alves has called for the banana-thrower who sparked a global anti-racist uproar to be given his job back after he reportedly lost it due to the incident.

Eurovision-sceptics: Are the French the biggest?
France

Eurovision-sceptics: Are the French the biggest?

The world’s most famous song contest takes place in Copenhagen on Saturday night but it seems no one in France actually cares. Are the French Europe’s biggest Eurovision-sceptics.

Norwegian ends free tickets as strike begins
Norway

Norwegian ends free tickets as strike begins

Norwegian Air Shuttle has stripped its cabin staff of one of the main perks of the job -- free airline tickets -- in retaliation for a strike announced on Wednesday.

Sports Direct rebrands Sports Eybl
Austria

Sports Direct rebrands Sports Eybl

Sports Direct has completed its acquisition of the remaining 49% of Austria's Eybl & Sports Experts and will now re-brand all its Austrian shops.

Austrian priest’s luxury flat stirs controversy
Austria

Austrian priest’s luxury flat stirs controversy

An Austrian priest living in Vienna's luxury first district has attracted criticism for living the "high life." But all is not what it seems...

Pakistan to hold Swiss talks on illicit money
Switzerland

Pakistan to hold Swiss talks on illicit money

Pakistan is to hold talks with Switzerland on a new tax treaty in the hope of retrieving state assets illegally stashed in the Swiss banking system.

Father cleared after ‘forgetting’ son in car
Italy

Father cleared after ‘forgetting’ son in car

A father in Piacenza, northern Italy, who last summer forgot his two-year-old son in the back of his boiling hot car resulting in the toddler’s death, was cleared of manslaughter on Thursday.

10 things you didn’t know about asparagus
Germany

10 things you didn’t know about asparagus

Germans are passionate about white asparagus. Also known as “white gold” or the “vegetable of kings”, they won't have their Spargel any other colour during asparagus season, which runs until June 24th.

Christoph Blocher quits ‘bureaucratic’ parliament
Switzerland

Christoph Blocher quits ‘bureaucratic’ parliament

Christoph Blocher, the controversial figurehead of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, is to quit parliament at the end of May.

Venice pool bans men to integrate Muslims
Italy

Venice pool bans men to integrate Muslims

A sports club in Mestre, a suburb of Venice, is banning men from the pool and offering women-only sessions only as part of an experiment to integrate the Muslim community.

Proven: Nordic voting at Eurovision IS biased
Norway

Proven: Nordic voting at Eurovision IS biased

Two Italian researchers have proven statistically what you've always suspected: Nordic countries' voting in Eurovision is biased -- which means Norway's Carl Espen can expect to benefit from special treatment from Denmark, Sweden and Iceland at Saturday's final.

Roof of new French shopping mall caves in
France

Roof of new French shopping mall caves in

A huge section roof at a shopping centre in the south west of the country collapsed overnight on Thursday, just two days after the mall opened. See images of the collapsed roof here.

Tourists find murder victim in Père Lachaise
France

Tourists find murder victim in Père Lachaise

A group of American tourists had a horrific surprise this week when they stumbled upon the body of a murdered pensioner as they visited Paris’s famous Père Lachaise cemetery, the final resting place of countless famous figures such as Oscar Wilde and Doors singer Jim Morrison.

Swedish girl, 12, found high at school
Sweden

Swedish girl, 12, found high at school

Police were called in when a young Swedish schoolgirl was acting strangely at her southern Sweden high school. Tests showed that she had cannabis in her blood system.

Norway’s May 17 gift to UK: 99p fish and chips
Norway

Norway’s May 17 gift to UK: 99p fish and chips

Norway is taking its May 17 Constitution Day celebrations across the North Sea, unveiling plans to generously give away a whopping 16 tonnes of cod so that fish and chip shops across the UK can offer their customers a celebratory meal for just 99p.

‘Men abused at home as often as women’: report
Sweden

‘Men abused at home as often as women’: report

Swedish men and women are as likely to be abused in an intimate relationship, a new benchmark report has found, but women are more often hospitalized after being assaulted by a partner.

Dmitri Hvorostovsky: the Rafa Nadal of Opera?
Austria

Dmitri Hvorostovsky: the Rafa Nadal of Opera?

Dmitri Hvorostovsky, the Russian baritone, invited comparisons to Rafa Nadal on his recent visit to Vienna.

Swiss secure coveted place in Eurovision final
Switzerland

Swiss secure coveted place in Eurovision final

Switzerland have made it into the final of the Eurovision Song Contest — for the first time in three years.

Graffiti clean-up costs Karlskirche 13,000 euros
Austria

Graffiti clean-up costs Karlskirche 13,000 euros

Work has begun to clean up Vienna's baroque Karlskirche church after it was vandalised by graffiti.

Smog-hit Madrid to wage war on cars
Spain

Smog-hit Madrid to wage war on cars

Traffic-blighted Madrid is to see a new approach to cars in the city centre, according to a new City Hall plan to which a leading Spanish newspaper has had access.

British woman to head French car giant Citroën
France

British woman to head French car giant Citroën

A British woman is set to make history in France when she takes on the job of heading French car giant Citroën. Linda Jackson becomes the first Briton and the first woman to land the prestigious role.

Neopolitian pizza takes the US by storm
Italy

Neopolitian pizza takes the US by storm

A growing number of pizza-makers in the United States have received the seal of approval from a Naples-based organization to produce authentic Neopolitan pizza, and in ovens that contain ash from Mount Vesuvius, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

How to master the art of the German stroll
Germany

How to master the art of the German stroll

Strolling, like single-handedly dismantling a queue by utterly failing to grasp its function, is a great German past time. Writer Liv Hambrett goes for a walk in this week's Expat Dispatches.

Fans angry at Bayern Munich kit colour change
Germany

Fans angry at Bayern Munich kit colour change

Bayern Munich unveiled their new home kit on Friday for next season - and immediately garnered a storm of protest from fans.

A third of Austrians want ‘strong leader’
Austria

A third of Austrians want ‘strong leader’

Nearly 30 percent of Austrians want a "strong leader" who isn't bothered with democracy, according to a new survey.

Taxman boils rice to nail restaurant owner
Sweden

Taxman boils rice to nail restaurant owner

The Swedish tax agency (Skatteverket) has uptaxed a restaurant in southern Sweden after investigators launched "Operation Rice Cooking", and turned to a saucepan to prove the fraud.

Painting of SPÖ leader thrown in river
Austria

Painting of SPÖ leader thrown in river

A thief admitted to stealing a portrait of former Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, and throwing it into a river as a political protest.

Every third child in Berlin lives off benefits
Germany

Every third child in Berlin lives off benefits

A third of children in Berlin are living in households dependent on unemployment benefit Hartz IV. Despite sustained economic growth and falling unemployment, the numbers of families receiving state benefits rose in the last year.

VIDEO: Diva nun sings with Kylie Minogue
Italy

VIDEO: Diva nun sings with Kylie Minogue

Sister Cristina Scuccia, the Sicilian nun whose musical talent has taken the world by storm, and pop sensation Kylie Minogue made unlikely singing partners on Wednesday night on the Italian version of The Voice.

‘Too much work’ at Ericsson kills Italian man
Sweden

‘Too much work’ at Ericsson kills Italian man

Italy's highest court has ordered Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson to pay €859,000 in compensation to an Italian family after one of its employees died of a heart attack due to work-related stress.

Paris: New plan to avoid repeat of pollution crisis
France

Paris: New plan to avoid repeat of pollution crisis

The city of Paris, which in March had to impose a temporary ban on cars when air pollution levels grew dangerously high, is drawing up a five-point action plan to avoid a repeat of the crisis. Environmental groups have welcomed the measures.

Court jails mum who torched daughter’s rapist
Spain

Court jails mum who torched daughter’s rapist

A Spanish mother who killed her daughter's rapist has finally been sent to prison where she is due to serve a five-and-a-half-year sentence for the 2005 killing.

Blatter aims for fifth term as FIFA boss
Switzerland

Blatter aims for fifth term as FIFA boss

FIFA president Sepp Blatter plans to run for a fifth term as the boss of global football, Zurich-based newspaper Blick said on Friday.

French pilot found in Spain days after crash
France

French pilot found in Spain days after crash

A French pilot who was feared dead in a plane crash has had a miraculous escape after he was found lying on a footpath by a hiker in Spain. The man, aged in his 60s, had lain there for three days hoping someone would pass by.

Video: Reindeer take boat to summer island home
Norway

Video: Reindeer take boat to summer island home

Norwegian photographer Jan Olsen has shot this stunning time lapse video of reindeer arriving by boat back to their island home far inside the Arctic circle in northern Norway.

Ericsson workload killed Italian man: high court
Italy

Ericsson workload killed Italian man: high court

Italy’s highest court has ordered the Swedish telecoms giant, Ericsson, to pay €859,000 in compensation to an Italian family after one of its employees died of a heart attack due to work-related stress.

‘We feel the Nazi frost in the air’: Sweden
Sweden

‘We feel the Nazi frost in the air’: Sweden

IN PICTURES: Two of Sweden's most prominent politicians have asked their European counterparts "to wake up". Cecilia Malmström and Birgitta Ohlsson argue that it is time to fight "Hitler's ideological heirs, who are marching towards our legislative assemblies".

Woman, 86, damages 11 parked cars
Germany

Woman, 86, damages 11 parked cars

An 86-year-old woman damaged 11 cars when she tried to drive out of a multi-storey car park in central Germany on Thursday afternoon.

I’m staying! Spain’s 104-year-old eviction fighter
Spain

I’m staying! Spain’s 104-year-old eviction fighter

At 104, Inocencia Zofío is quite possibly the oldest person in Spain fighting not to be kicked out of her home. Her story has sent shockwaves through Spanish society and proven just how ruthless the country's authorities can be when evicting helpless homeowners and tenants.

Spain’s best long jumper found dead at 36
Spain

Spain’s best long jumper found dead at 36

Former Spanish long jumper Yago Lamela, who was the 1999 world championship silver medallist, was found dead at his home on Thursday. He was 36.

Man confesses to ‘crucifixion killing’
Italy

Man confesses to ‘crucifixion killing’

The man believed to be behind the so-called “crucifixion killing” of a prostitute whose body was discovered tied to an iron bar was arrested in Florence on Friday morning, Italian media reported. He has reportedly confessed to the crime.

Five teens killed in tragic minibus crash
Spain

Five teens killed in tragic minibus crash

Five teenagers from a youth football team were killed when their minibus crashed into a mechanical digger on a country road in southern Spain on Thursday night, officials said.

VIDEO: Boulangerie cat becomes star of the web
France

VIDEO: Boulangerie cat becomes star of the web

Every cat has its fifteen seconds of fame on the web these days, it seems, and this week it was the turn of a French moggy, whose surprise appearance in the “Best Boulangerie in France” TV show has gone viral on the web. See for yourself why.

Orbán to Merkel: Thanks for your support
Germany

Orbán to Merkel: Thanks for your support

Hungary's ultra-conservative prime minister Viktor Orbán - accused of dismantling democratic institutions in his own country - thanked Chancellor Angela Merkel for her support during his visit to Berlin on Thursday.

Merkel to host Hollande in her voter heartland
France

Merkel to host Hollande in her voter heartland

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will welcome French President Francois Hollande to her own electoral fiefdom on Friday. It's a first for a French president and is seen as a sign of her desire to strengthen ties between the two leaders.

Silvio Berlusconi begins community service
Italy

Silvio Berlusconi begins community service

UPDATED: Italy's Silvio Berlusconi began his community service for tax fraud on Friday in a spectacular fall from grace for the flamboyant ex-premier, who will likely seek political gain from the symbolic punishment.

Swiss museum to inspect Gurlitt paintings
Germany

Swiss museum to inspect Gurlitt paintings

A Swiss museum that unexpectedly inherited a disputed hoard of priceless paintings, some likely plundered from Jews during World War II, plans to send a team to Germany to inspect the treasure.

Swede, 30, dies as ambulance turns back
Sweden

Swede, 30, dies as ambulance turns back

Emergency services in Uppsala turned back from a call-out when they couldn't contact a 30-year-old man at his address. He was later found dead from a brain hemorrhage.

US concern over French warship sale to Russia
France

US concern over French warship sale to Russia

US officials voiced concern on Thursday at the sale of French warships to Moscow as they mulled tougher sanctions on Russia for the political upheaval triggered by the Ukraine crisis.

Swedish woman fined for wet diaper attack
Sweden

Swedish woman fined for wet diaper attack

A Swedish woman who hurled a wet diaper at daycare staff has been found guilty of harassment and assault in Växjö.

Swedish feminist party gains new poll ground
Sweden

Swedish feminist party gains new poll ground

April saw Sweden's Feminist Initiative (Fi) party add another percentage point to its voter support, edging closer to the parliamentary threshold just days after 52 percent of Swedes said they'd like to see the upstart party in government.

Penis biter in court after carnival affray
Austria

Penis biter in court after carnival affray

A 30-year-old man faced assault charges in court for allegedly biting another man's penis while wearing a carnival costume.