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Switzerland

Venezuela judges target protesters: jurist body

Venezuela's judiciary is cracking down on students and dissidents while allowing nine out of ten other crimes, including thousands of murders, to go unpunished, an international watchdog said in Geneva on Thursday.

Burkhalter set for Ukraine president’s inauguration
Switzerland

Burkhalter set for Ukraine president’s inauguration

Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, who chairs European security body the OSCE, will attend the inauguration of Ukraine's president-elect Petro Poroshenko on Saturday, his office announced on Thursday.

Swiss heatwave expected over holiday weekend
Switzerland

Swiss heatwave expected over holiday weekend

After a tentative start to summer, punctuated by cool spells and rain, Switzerland is bracing for its first heatwave this long Whitsun weekend.

Thieves steal 200 bicycles from bike maker
Switzerland

Thieves steal 200 bicycles from bike maker

Bicycle thefts are commonplace in Switzerland but it’s not every day that 200 are stolen in one fell swoop.

Red Cross freezes Libya work after Swiss death
Switzerland

Red Cross freezes Libya work after Swiss death

The International Committee of the Red Cross says it is temporarily freezing its operations in Libya to reevaluate the security situation after a Swiss staffer was killed by gunmen.

D-Day Anniversary: ‘We had a funeral every day’
France

D-Day Anniversary: ‘We had a funeral every day’

James Sansom landed on the beaches of Normandy just days after D-Day, but soon found himself being held as a prisoner of war, praying for the allied advance. His memories are the second installment in The Local's series marking the 70th anniversary of the allied invasion of France.

How I built world’s first vegan supermarket chain
Germany

How I built world’s first vegan supermarket chain

Former meat-lover Jan Bredack set up the world's first vegan supermarket chain in Berlin in 2011. He now plans to open dozens of branches across Europe and tells The Local how he turned tofu into dough.

Ex-French PM tells Brits: Exit EU before you ruin it
France

Ex-French PM tells Brits: Exit EU before you ruin it

Britain needs to exit the European Union to avoid breaking it, former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard has argued in an eviscerating opinion piece.

Zoo fail: man ‘in gorilla suit’ shot in training drill
Spain

Zoo fail: man ‘in gorilla suit’ shot in training drill

A Spanish zoo worker who dressed up in a gorilla costume as part of a drill was rushed to hospital after one of the vets mistook him for a real ape and shot him with a tranquilizer rifle.

Spain’s left-wing signs republican declaration
Spain

Spain’s left-wing signs republican declaration

A coalition of some of Spain's largest left-wing and environmentalist groups on Thursday published a declaration calling for the Spanish people to be allowed to decide on the future of the monarchy via a referendum.

First heatwave of 2014 to bring highs of 34C
Germany

First heatwave of 2014 to bring highs of 34C

This weekend is set to be the hottest Pentecost public holiday for at least 50 years, with temperatures forecast to reach 34C in some parts of Germany.

Afghan interpreter makes Norway return
Norway

Afghan interpreter makes Norway return

Afghan interpreter Faizullah Muradi returned to Norway on Thursday to have his asylum case heard, following a u-turn by Norwegian authorities.

Irish author wins top Spanish literary award
Spain

Irish author wins top Spanish literary award

Irish author John Banville, best known for his crime novels written under the pseudonym of Benjamin Black, has been awarded Spain's prestigious Prince of Asturias literature award, the prize jury said on Wednesday.

Sweden to host world’s first underground run
Sweden

Sweden to host world’s first underground run

Hold onto your (hard) hats - Stockholm is set to hold the world's first fun run far below the surface of the earth.

Sweden Democrats alone as EU groups form
Sweden

Sweden Democrats alone as EU groups form

While the Danish People's Party and The Finns have been admitted to the UK Tories-backed ECR group in the EU parliament, the Sweden Democrats remain without a platform.

Spanish woman suffers ‘Spice’ drug psychosis
Spain

Spanish woman suffers ‘Spice’ drug psychosis

Spanish scientists have reported the first ever case of catatonic psychosis caused by using a type of synthetic cannabis called Spice, a drug which is becoming increasingly popular.

Turkish PM to visit Vienna
Austria

Turkish PM to visit Vienna

The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to visit Vienna for two days in mid-June, according to the Union of European-Turkish Democrats (UETD).

Italian ‘old guard’ ousted in Vatican shake-up
Italy

Italian ‘old guard’ ousted in Vatican shake-up

Pope Francis on Thursday named four new members to the Vatican's Financial Information Authority including a former security adviser to US President George W. Bush, sweeping away an "old guard" of Italian appointees.

Church vandal released from custody
Austria

Church vandal released from custody

A man who was arrested after vandalising Vienna’s cathedral and several churches has been released from custody, after a psychiatrist concluded that he could not be held responsible for his actions.

Topless feminist stabs wax Putin in France
France

Topless feminist stabs wax Putin in France

The same day President Vladimir Putin was to arrive in France for D-Day anniversary events, radical feminist protest group Femen destroyed the Russian leader's statue in a Paris wax museum.

New protest party backs Spain’s republic demos
Spain

New protest party backs Spain’s republic demos

Podemos, a new Spanish protest party that was the surprise package in last month's EU elections, said on Thursday it would join the push for a referendum on the monarchy following the abdication of King Juan Carlos.

French troops go from heroes to villains in CAR
France

French troops go from heroes to villains in CAR

Six months after being welcomed as saviours in the Central African Republic, the 2,000 French soldiers in the country face growing hostility from a population accusing them of failing to curb interfaith violence.

Malmö artwork washed off as graffiti
Sweden

Malmö artwork washed off as graffiti

A mural in central Malmö by an internationally-renowned Colombian street artist was removed by mistake by a cleaning firm who mistook it for graffiti.

‘There is misogyny in the Italian wine industry’
Italy

‘There is misogyny in the Italian wine industry’

Hande Leimer, from Turkey, abandoned her career in Germany to work in the Italian wine industry. She talks to The Local about opening her wine tasting studio - Vino Roma - and her battles against misogyny and misunderstandings.

Search on for driver who plunged into Danube
Austria

Search on for driver who plunged into Danube

Police are searching for the driver of a car that sank in the Danube river in Upper Austria on Thursday morning.

Which German city has the best police force?
Germany

Which German city has the best police force?

Munich and Frankfurt have the most effective police forces of the major German cities, figures released on Wednesday show. But crime in the Bavarian capital rose last year.

Teenagers injure each other with air rifle
Austria

Teenagers injure each other with air rifle

Two teenagers from Burgenland have been injured - one of them seriously - after shooting at each other with an air rifle.

Cops cancel parade over ‘worst-ever’ grad drunks
Sweden

Cops cancel parade over ‘worst-ever’ grad drunks

Police in a central Swedish town had to put an end to a traditional graduation parade, saying the students' drunken behaviour was "worse than ever before".

Germans hate German sunbed grabbers
Germany

Germans hate German sunbed grabbers

Holidaymakers annoyed by tourists from a certain northern European nation nabbing the best sunbathing spots may finally have some solace - the Germans hate that too. They also dislike British and Russian tourists more than any other nationality while on holiday.

Tibetans slam Norway over Dalai Lama snub
Norway

Tibetans slam Norway over Dalai Lama snub

The leader of Tibet's exiled government criticised Thursday the Norwegian government's decision not to meet the Dalai Lama, saying it should have resisted Chinese pressure.

‘Spain’s PM would fail high school English’
Spain

‘Spain’s PM would fail high school English’

Nine out of every ten English teachers in Spain think the country's Prime Minister wouldn't pass a high-school English test, a new survey by Cambridge University Press reveals.

Driver ‘dropped trousers’ after Pope’s audience
Italy

Driver ‘dropped trousers’ after Pope’s audience

The driver of a pilgrim bus has been arrested for allegedly exposing himself in front of a teenage tourist shortly after Pope Francis finished his general audience at St Peter’s Square on Wednesday.

Second Italian climber found dead in Peru
Italy

Second Italian climber found dead in Peru

The body of a second Italian climber missing since Friday has been found in the Peruvian Andes, although icy weather conditions has made it too dangerous to recover his body.

Mystery boa constrictors terrorize French town
France

Mystery boa constrictors terrorize French town

The discovery of two separate boa constrictors slithering around a French town in under a month has residents in panic mode. Now authorities have launched a probe into fears someone intentionally set the potentially dangerous creatures loose.

Life Ball makes €2.3 million
Austria

Life Ball makes €2.3 million

The Vienna Life Ball - the biggest annual charity event in Europe supporting people with HIV or AIDS - has made a net profit of €2.3 million.

Kärrtorp clashes: Four neo-Nazis jailed
Sweden

Kärrtorp clashes: Four neo-Nazis jailed

A court of appeals sentenced four neo-Nazis to jail on Thursday morning for their involvement in December's clashes in southern Stockholm.

D-Day Anniversary: ‘I didn’t have a gun’
Germany

D-Day Anniversary: ‘I didn’t have a gun’

Edwin Kendrick was a combat medic who waded ashore in Normandy three days after D-Day with nothing but a medical kit and red cross armband. His memories are the first installment in our series marking the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany.

Huge fire at Graz recycling plant
Austria

Huge fire at Graz recycling plant

A fire in a processing plant for old electrical appliances near Graz has caused millions of euros worth of damage.

More US senators reject Norway envoy
Norway

More US senators reject Norway envoy

Minnesota senator Al Franken has pledged to vote against the appointment of George Tsunis as US ambassador to Norway, meaning both senators from the state - home to the largest Norwegian-American population - oppose President Obama's nominee.

Spanish cop jailed for beating up his parents
Spain

Spanish cop jailed for beating up his parents

An agent of Spain's Civil Guard police force has been sentenced to prison for hitting and kicking his parents during a heated family argument.

Catalan leaders snub vote on Spain’s new king
Spain

Catalan leaders snub vote on Spain’s new king

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has accused the leaders of Catalonia's ruling coalition of being "petty" after they confirmed they will abstain from voting for a new law that will make Prince Felipe Spain's new king.

Fugitive sex offender abuses girl, 13
Germany

Fugitive sex offender abuses girl, 13

A sex offender and violent criminal who was let out on day release disappeared last Friday and allegedly sexually abused a 13-year old girl. Police have asked the public for help finding the fugitive in central Germany.

Italy lost 12,000 firms in three months
Italy

Italy lost 12,000 firms in three months

The number of businesses in Italy fell by 12,000 in the first three months of 2014, according to a report released on Thursday by the business confederation, Confcommercio.

Should France let drivers into emergency lanes?
France

Should France let drivers into emergency lanes?

Criticism was quick and pointed after a French transportation official floated the idea this week of allowing certain vehicles to use emergency lanes during bottlenecks on the country's notoriously crowded roads.

FINMA blocks launch of Zurich bitcoin ATM
Switzerland

FINMA blocks launch of Zurich bitcoin ATM

A bitcoin company that planned to open an ATM in Zurich on Wednesday said it has been forced to suspend the launch at the request of FINMA, Switzerland’s financial regulatory authority.

The lowdown on Sweden’s National Day
Sweden

The lowdown on Sweden’s National Day

Friday marks Sweden's National Day. But what does it all mean and how should you celebrate? The Local's James Savage explains the essentials.

Imam arrested in Graz on terrorism charges
Austria

Imam arrested in Graz on terrorism charges

A Muslim cleric has been arrested in Graz on suspicion of forming a terrorist organization.

Striking Norway barbers: ‘Let your hair grow’
Norway

Striking Norway barbers: ‘Let your hair grow’

Unions representing striking Norwegian hairdressers have called on members to indulge in a little follicle flamboyance after failing to reach a pay deal with employer representatives.

Tourist wanted Pompeii tiles as ‘souvenir’
Italy

Tourist wanted Pompeii tiles as ‘souvenir’

A Georgian tourist has been caught trying to steal tiles from a mosaic at Pompeii, reportedly telling people he wanted to take "a memory" home from the ancient site, Italian media reported.

‘Corruption is bad for Italy’s image’: Renzi
Italy

‘Corruption is bad for Italy’s image’: Renzi

Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has pledged to crack down on corruption in the wake of a scandal surrounding a public project to safeguard Venice from flooding in which 35 people, including several politicians, have been implicated.

Football fat cats: Spain players to earn €720,000
Spain

Football fat cats: Spain players to earn €720,000

Players with Spain's national football team will earn nearly $1 million in prize money each if the team wins the World Cup, a salary that is being slammed by some as a 'scandal' in crisis-hit Spain.

Norway police seek ‘dumdum’ ammo switch
Norway

Norway police seek ‘dumdum’ ammo switch

Norwegian police want to acquire expanding bullets, informally known as dumdum bullets and which are forbidden in international warfare, because they claim current ammunition risks collateral damage.

Shooting suspect to fight handover to Belgium
France

Shooting suspect to fight handover to Belgium

Mehdi Nemmouche, the French Islamist arrested on suspicion of a triple murder at the Brussels Jewish Museum, is to contest being handed over by France to Belgium, his lawyer said Wednesday.

A third of renters can afford own home
Germany

A third of renters can afford own home

Germany is known for being a country of renters rather than homeowners, but a third of tenants could afford their own property, according to research released on Wednesday.

Haiti hospital fraudster escapes jail for now
Spain

Haiti hospital fraudster escapes jail for now

The Spanish politician who bought real estate with millions of euros meant for a hospital in earthquake-hit Haiti and other humanitarian projects in Latin America has hastily paid his €200,000 bail to escape jail for the time being.

Merkel warns Russia of more Ukraine sanctions
Germany

Merkel warns Russia of more Ukraine sanctions

Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated a warning on Wednesday ahead of a G7 summit that Russia could face new stepped-up economic sanctions if it does not help defuse the crisis in Ukraine.

Danish People’s Party joins Tories in EU group
Denmark

Danish People’s Party joins Tories in EU group

The Morten Messerschmidt-led party joins Finland's populist Finns in the European Conservatives and Reformists group.

Fire badly damages 650-year-old church
Germany

Fire badly damages 650-year-old church

A fire ripped through a 650-year-old church in the historic centre of Nuremberg in the early hours of Thursday morning largely destroying it.

Right-wing march passes peacefully
Austria

Right-wing march passes peacefully

A march of German-nationalist student federations and a counter demonstration of left-wing groups in Vienna has passed without any serious incidents.

Merkel won’t be quizzed in NSA probe
Germany

Merkel won’t be quizzed in NSA probe

Chancellor Angela Merkel will not be questioned about the alleged bugging of her phone by US spies, Germany's top prosecutor, who is leading a criminal probe into National Security Agency (NSA) activities in Germany, said on Wednesday night.

Stockholm trains hit by fresh delays
Sweden

Stockholm trains hit by fresh delays

Trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg suffered extensive disruption on Thursday morning after an overhead power cable was damaged in western Sweden.

Europe’s Jews grapple with ‘new anti-Semitism’
France

Europe’s Jews grapple with ‘new anti-Semitism’

From his kosher store in Paris, David Slama has watched the rise of a violent "new anti-Semitism" for more than a decade.

French TV backtracks on pay for D-Day broadcasts
France

French TV backtracks on pay for D-Day broadcasts

A scandal that erupted in France over fees that could have limited the live broadcast of D-Day memorial events, has been squelched after the head of France's TV networks announced the broadcast will be free of charge.

‘I leave the future in the hands of providence’
Italy

‘I leave the future in the hands of providence’

UPDATED: Italian nun Sister Cristina Scuccia said she was putting her trust in God as she prepares for the final of a television talent show after winning over audiences with her soulful singing.

Profile: IAEA and latest on Iran
Austria

Profile: IAEA and latest on Iran

The International Atomic Energy Agency is one of the most significant inter-governmental organizations in Vienna. The Local looks at why it's important, and what the organization does around the world.

Nazi-looted medieval painting returns to Italy
Italy

Nazi-looted medieval painting returns to Italy

A 14th-century painting looted by Nazi troops from the Tuscan home of a US collector was put on display in Milan on Tuesday after being recovered by Italy's art police.

Cheering crowd greets Queen in France
France

Cheering crowd greets Queen in France

Queen Elizabeth II arrived to a superstar's welcome on Thursday France, where she is making an official state visit on the occasion of the D-Day 70th anniversary commemorations.

Italy’s ENI in €5.14 billion Venezuelan gas deal
Italy

Italy’s ENI in €5.14 billion Venezuelan gas deal

Venezuela's oil giant PDVSA announced on Wednesday it was teaming with Italy's ENI and Spain's Repsol on a $7 billion (€5.14bn) investment to exploit a massive natural gas field.

Insurer backs woman disabled from pill use
Switzerland

Insurer backs woman disabled from pill use

Swiss health insurance company CSS is backing one of its clients, a woman who became severely disabled from using a birth control pill, in appealing to the supreme court a ruling that denied her damages from the drug maker.

Brit skips World Cup to paddle around Sweden
Sweden

Brit skips World Cup to paddle around Sweden

James Cox is on a solo mission from Norway to Finland - by water - and he's documenting the whole Swedish coastline in blog form for The Local

The Local’s ultimate guide to Midsummer’s Eve
Sweden

The Local’s ultimate guide to Midsummer’s Eve

Midsummer takes place in June - but what exactly is it all about? The Local's James Savage answers your questions about why Swedes go nuts for the annual festival.