Austrian NGOs give FIFA ‘red card’
Austria

Austrian NGOs give FIFA ‘red card’

Austrian NGOs and unions have taken the opportunity one day ahead of the FIFA World Cup kick-off in Brazil to renew their criticism of the human rights violations surrounding the sporting event.

Thai junta threatens Telenor on Facebook
Norway

Thai junta threatens Telenor on Facebook

Thailand's military junta has threatened to block Norway's Telenor from bidding in the country's upcoming 4G auctions in retaliation for revealing that it was ordered to block Facebook in the immediate aftermath of last month's military coup.

OPEC keeps levels unchanged as expected
Austria

OPEC keeps levels unchanged as expected

OPEC has reached a "consensus" to maintain its oil output ceiling, Venezuela's energy minister said Wednesday, as the cartel's members met to formally agree the no-change decision.

EU president debate ‘regrettable spectacle’
Austria

EU president debate ‘regrettable spectacle’

Chancellor Werner Faymann of the Social Democrats (SPÖ) has sharply criticised the Europe-wide scuffle over the next EU Commission president.

Norway man jailed for raping Filipina au pairs
Norway

Norway man jailed for raping Filipina au pairs

A 46-year-old Norwegian man has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for raping two Filipina au pairs.

Probe after French cops ‘black up for negro party’
France

Probe after French cops ‘black up for negro party’

A group of police officers based in a Paris suburb are under internal investigation after photos of them at a “negro party” with their faces painted black, surfaced on social media.

Critic with ‘Anglo-Saxon CV’ joins Hollande’s team
France

Critic with ‘Anglo-Saxon CV’ joins Hollande’s team

When Hollande decided to ditch his chief economic advisor this week, many on the French left probably felt relieved. Until that is, they heard who the replacement was – Laurence Boone, the former Bank of America chief economist with a very "Anglo-Saxon CV”.

Named: Spain’s seven natural wonders for 2014
Spain

Named: Spain’s seven natural wonders for 2014

The 82,000 votes are in, they have all been counted, and now The Local can reveal which seven amazing wonders of nature have been labelled Spain's best in 2014.

Guatemalan police chief appeals murder sentence
Switzerland

Guatemalan police chief appeals murder sentence

Guatemala's former police chief Erwin Sperisen has appealed against the life sentence he received last week in Switzerland for the murder of seven prisoners in his Central American home country.

US VP Biden: Germany is ‘xenophobic’
Germany

US VP Biden: Germany is ‘xenophobic’

US Vice President Joe Biden suggested Germany was hostile towards immigrants in a speech on Tuesday, in which he described the US as the only "non-xenophobic" major economy in the world.

Luxury real-estate maintains strong growth
Austria

Luxury real-estate maintains strong growth

According to the current "European Cities Review" of UK wealth consultant Knight Frank, Vienna's top properties are most in demand among the super-rich from Russia and other ex-Soviet countries, followed by Germany and Saudi Arabia.

Doctors head to man in Germany’s deepest cave
Germany

Doctors head to man in Germany’s deepest cave

Two doctors attempted to descend 1,000 metres underground into Germany’s deepest cave on Wednesday to rescue severely-injured explorer Johann Westerhaus.

Denmark ends forced sterilisations
Denmark

Denmark ends forced sterilisations

Danes who want to be legally viewed as a member of the opposite sex will no longer have to go under the knife, but can simply switch their legal recognition after a "reflection period".

Seven signs you’ve lived too long in Austria
Austria

Seven signs you’ve lived too long in Austria

Many expats come and go in Austria, but occasionally circumstances conspire to make them stay longer. The author came for six months only - and that was in 1992. Vienna has worked changes - some good, some bad, but all... Austrian.

‘We need more Chinese investment in Italy’: Renzi
Italy

‘We need more Chinese investment in Italy’: Renzi

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Wednesday met top leaders of China's ruling Communist Party, the latest European leader to beat a path to Beijing's door hoping to attract more investment.

Head of Norway FA calls for Blatter to step down
Norway

Head of Norway FA calls for Blatter to step down

The head of Norway's football association has backed his Dutch counterpart's call for Sepp Blatter, the embattled Fifa president, to quit next year.

Student run over by truck in graduation parade
Sweden

Student run over by truck in graduation parade

A student who fell off a truck during a traditional Swedish graduation parade was taken to hospital on Wednesday after the truck ran over his body.

What World Cup games are free on Spanish TV?
Spain

What World Cup games are free on Spanish TV?

Wondering what World Cup games they're showing on free-to-air TV in Spain and which ones you'll have to watch in a bar or pub? The Local has trawled through all the Spanish TV listings to offer you a comprehensive viewing schedule of Brazil's 2014 World Cup.

Spain to fine parents of teen binge drinkers
Spain

Spain to fine parents of teen binge drinkers

The Spanish government has presented an anti-alcoholism draft bill which would impose €300 ($430) fines on the parents of under-18s who knowingly allow their children to get drunk.

Green puppies shock Spanish dog breeders
Spain

Green puppies shock Spanish dog breeders

A pair of dog breeders in the Spanish province of Valladolid were shocked recently when two pups were born green.

Introducing… Housing in Stockholm
Sweden

Introducing… Housing in Stockholm

So you're moving to Stockholm - but have you found a place to live yet? The city's housing market is not like any other you'll have encountered. But fear not: where there's a will, there's a way.

‘It can’t go on like this’ – taxis in Uber protest
Germany

‘It can’t go on like this’ – taxis in Uber protest

Thousands of taxi drivers in German cities protested on Wednesday against what they see as unfair competition from app-using car services such as Uber and Blacklane. Convoys of taxis took to the streets in Berlin, Cologne and Hamburg.

Vienna University plans chair of Yiddish studies
Austria

Vienna University plans chair of Yiddish studies

According to an article in Der Standard newspaper, the University of Vienna plans to set up an interdisciplinary Chair in the Yiddish language and Yiddish studies.

Danone cuts 100 jobs in Italy due to crisis
Italy

Danone cuts 100 jobs in Italy due to crisis

One hundred jobs will be lost in Italy as the French food industry giant, Danone, closes a factory near Milan, the company announced on Wednesday.

Rome honours former Communist leader
Italy

Rome honours former Communist leader

Italy on Wednesday marked 30 years since the death of Enrico Berlinguer, the Communist leader famed for breaking away from the USSR, and whose funeral brought more than a million people to the streets of Rome.

‘Bling Bishop’ finds new home in Bavaria
Germany

‘Bling Bishop’ finds new home in Bavaria

Germany’s disgraced “bling bishop”, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, who earned his name blowing €31 million on his luxurious headquarters in central Germany has been given a new home in Bavaria.

Son’s cancer prompts Fredrik’s charity climb
Sweden

Son’s cancer prompts Fredrik’s charity climb

Fredrik Westerlund has cerebral palsy and his three-year-old son was just diagnosed with cancer. Crushed but not defeated, the Swede has set out to climb at least five mountain peaks to raise money for cancer research.

Fast-fashion empire Inditex sees profits dip
Spain

Fast-fashion empire Inditex sees profits dip

Spanish global clothing giant Inditex, owner of fast-fashion brand Zara, announced Wednesday a rare fall in quarterly profits even as it pushed ahead with an aggressive international expansion.

Top ten things you’d miss if you left Germany
Germany

Top ten things you’d miss if you left Germany

Imagine you were forced to leave Germany tomorrow and told you could never return. What would you miss the most? The Local List this week goes into exile to take a look.

Children to play behind ‘Berlin Wall’
Germany

Children to play behind ‘Berlin Wall’

Developers of a luxury housing complex in Berlin are building a five-metre-high concrete wall around a play park to shield future residents from the sound of children. The construction of the barrier, which is taller than the wall which once divided the city, is causing controversy.

Judo champion accused of abusing girls
Austria

Judo champion accused of abusing girls

Peter Seisenbacher, Austria’s most successful judo fighter and winner of two Olympic gold medals, is under investigation on suspicion of sexually harassing and sexually abusing under-age girls.

Strikes force travellers to walk to French airports
France

Strikes force travellers to walk to French airports

UPDATED: Commuters in France will face another day of travel chaos as rail unions voted to continue a nationwide strike on Thursday in protest against proposed rail reforms. To make matters worse taxi drivers, angry over the rise of internet-based firms like Uber, also staged industrial action.

Japanese firm joins battle for Alstom
France

Japanese firm joins battle for Alstom

Japanese engineering giant Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has joined the international battle to buy the massive energy operation of French group Altsom. The struggle to own Alstom has prompted nationalist opposition in France.

Berlusconi slur ’embarrassed’ Clinton
Italy

Berlusconi slur ’embarrassed’ Clinton

One of the most embarrassing moments during her four-year tenure as US Secretary of State was when she had to face Silvio Berlusconi after Wikileaks published diplomatic cables revealing what the US really thought of Italy’s former prime minister, Hillary Clinton has written in her memoir.

Ten bars in Paris to watch the World Cup
France

Ten bars in Paris to watch the World Cup

There might be no fan park in Paris to watch the action at this year's World Cup but the French capital is clearly not short of great venues to catch the football. If you are fan of England, Australia, the United States or even France, here's ten great options for you.

Spain’s MPs approve king’s abdication
Spain

Spain’s MPs approve king’s abdication

Spain's MPs have overwhelming approved the abdication of King Juan Carlos, paving the way for his son Prince Felipe to become the country's new head of state.

Truce declared in ‘herring war’
Denmark

Truce declared in ‘herring war’

The Faroe Islands and the EU have reached an agreement that will see the autonomous Danish archipelago agreeing to end "unsustainable" fishing practices in exchange for Brussels lifting an import ban.

Elderly man shoots wife and then himself
Austria

Elderly man shoots wife and then himself

An elderly couple have been found dead in a house in Morzg, Salzburg. The bodies of an 89-year-old man and his 69-year-old wife were found on Tuesday afternoon.

Dracula’s tomb ‘found in Naples’: report
Italy

Dracula’s tomb ‘found in Naples’: report

An Italian newspaper has claimed that the tomb of Dracula - the brutal Romanian leader linked to the modern vampire novel and films - has been found in the centre of Naples.

‘Day-care rapist’ charged for molesting toddlers
Sweden

‘Day-care rapist’ charged for molesting toddlers

A 21-year-old man was charged on Wednesday for 13 sex crimes against children at a day care where he was working as an intern. The man is suspected of both rape and sharing images of the children online.

German weapons exports hit ten-year high
Germany

German weapons exports hit ten-year high

Germany’s vice-chancellor and economy minister Sigmar Gabriel still wants to massively reduce arms exports to controversial countries, despite a report showing the government approved the highest amount of weapons deals for ten years in 2013.

Alliance pledges millions to immigrant job scheme
Sweden

Alliance pledges millions to immigrant job scheme

The governing parties of Sweden proposed on Wednesday to spend 88 million kronor ($13.2 million) per year on a better job programme for immigrants.

Austrians against leaving the EU
Austria

Austrians against leaving the EU

A recent poll shows that while most Austrians feel ambivalent about the EU, the majority is against leaving the Union.

Catalonia to fine drivers using Uber taxi app
Spain

Catalonia to fine drivers using Uber taxi app

Spain's Catalonia region on Tuesday announced plans to fine drivers who use the taxi app Uber as much as €6,000 ($8,000), but the company told The Local they believe there is space for everyone to operate together.

Italian man sues doctors for prolonged erection
Italy

Italian man sues doctors for prolonged erection

An Italian man from Rome is suing two doctors after he was left with an erection that lasted “36-hours at a time, for more than a month”.

Half a million people flee Iraq’s second city: IOM
Switzerland

Half a million people flee Iraq’s second city: IOM

An estimated 500,000 Iraqis fled their homes in Mosul, fearing increased violence after jihadist militants took control of Iraq's second largest city, the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration said on Wednesday.

Plans for Fischer’s Iran visit ‘in full swing’
Austria

Plans for Fischer’s Iran visit ‘in full swing’

Austrian President Heinz Fischer's planned trip to Iran is starting to take shape. Even though there is no fixed date yet, the preparations were in "full swing", Iranian circles told the APA press agency on Tuesday.

Head teachers in favour of Turkish Matura
Austria

Head teachers in favour of Turkish Matura

Three quarters of high school (AHS) directors are in favour of introducing Turkish as a Matura exam subject, as well as a Turkish teaching diploma at Austrian universities.

Wulff blames everyone else for downfall
Germany

Wulff blames everyone else for downfall

Germany’s former president, Christian Wulff, has blamed the judiciary and the media for his downfall in a book published on Tuesday about the scandal which led to his resignation. He claimed he should still be president today.

Dispirited workers ‘cost French economy billions’
France

Dispirited workers ‘cost French economy billions’

The phenomenon of "presenteeism", where unmotivated employees turn up for work, has a negative impact in countries around the world. But in France, where the cost is estimated at up to €25 billion, the particular working culture appears to make matters worse.

Man smuggles pythons on to Spanish plane
Spain

Man smuggles pythons on to Spanish plane

Spanish police said on Tuesday they found five snakes, two lizards and thousands of insects alive and hidden inside two suitcases that arrived on the holiday island of Gran Canaria on a flight from Madrid.

Florence PD bombing is ‘serious intimidation’
Italy

Florence PD bombing is ‘serious intimidation’

Interior Minister Angelino Alfano has spoken out against the bombing earlier this week of the Democratic Party (PD) headquarters in Florence, describing the attack as "a serious act of intimidation".

Three ex-PMs bid to save French opposition
France

Three ex-PMs bid to save French opposition

France's opposition UMP on Tuesday put a trio of former prime ministers in charge as it sought to move on from a campaign funding scandal linked to former president Nicolas Sarkozy's last re-election bid.

Swedes: Please let us speak Swedish with you
Sweden

Swedes: Please let us speak Swedish with you

The Local's Oliver Gee wonders why Swedish people insist on replying to foreigners in English when we have tried to start a conversation in Swedish.

Japan nabs ex-Novartis worker for ‘false data’
Switzerland

Japan nabs ex-Novartis worker for ‘false data’

Prosecutors on Wednesday arrested a former employee of the Japanese unit of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis for allegedly manipulating research data to exaggerate the benefits of a popular blood-pressure drug.

French ‘suspect Geneva bank in giant tax fraud’
Switzerland

French ‘suspect Geneva bank in giant tax fraud’

The Geneva branch of HSBC Private Bank is suspected of helping almost 3,000 French citizens to defraud France’s tax department of more than €4 billion, according to a newspaper report.

Ratings agency sounds alarm over Hypo law
Austria

Ratings agency sounds alarm over Hypo law

The government is set to adopt a special law for the nationalized Hypo Alpe Adria bank - and Standard & Poor's has put seven Austrian banks on CreditWatch negative over concerns about the legislation.

‘Spaniards are citizens not subjects of the king’
Spain

‘Spaniards are citizens not subjects of the king’

Spain's major parties on Wednesday defended the role of the monarchy in Spain on Wednesday morning during a lively debate in the lead-up to a vote which will approve the abdication of King Juan Carlos.

Deal opens way to national begging ban
Norway

Deal opens way to national begging ban

Norway could introduce a national ban on begging next year after the country's ruling right-wing coalition struck a deal giving it majority support for the measure.

‘Italy abandons refugees without food’: UN
Italy

‘Italy abandons refugees without food’: UN

The UN refugee agency on Tuesday accused Italy of abandoning hundreds of refugees in car parks on the outskirts of Rome and Milan, leaving them without shoes, food or money.

Taxi found by divers in lake
Austria

Taxi found by divers in lake

For the second time in five weeks, divers have found a stolen vehicle sitting at the bottom of a lake.

Man gunned down in southern Stockholm
Sweden

Man gunned down in southern Stockholm

A 30-year-old man was shot in the early hours of Wednesday morning in southern Stockholm, with police launching an investigation into attempted murder.

Swedish mass murderer to walk free after 20 years
Sweden

Swedish mass murderer to walk free after 20 years

Mass murderer Mattias Flink is set to walk free on Wednesday exactly 20 years after he was sentenced for killing seven people.

Minister defends Telenor Thai Facebook block
Norway

Minister defends Telenor Thai Facebook block

Norway's industry minister has defended the country's majority state-owned telecoms company Telenor for blocking access to Facebook in Thailand on the orders of the country's new military junta.

Storms cause delays on major rail routes
Germany

Storms cause delays on major rail routes

Travel delays continued for a second day on Wednesday as fallen branches obstructed major railway routes in Germany following violent storms.

Oz firm becomes top French hospital operator
France

Oz firm becomes top French hospital operator

Australian health care provider Ramway has become France's largest private hospital operator after announcing on Wednesday that it had taken control of Générale de Santé.

Spanish MPs set to okay king’s abdication
Spain

Spanish MPs set to okay king’s abdication

Spanish MPs are set on Wednesday to rubber stamp the abdication of King Juan Carlos, amid noisy protests calling for a republic, paving the way for his son Felipe to assume the scandal-hit monarchy.

Italian taxi drivers in Europe-wide protest
Italy

Italian taxi drivers in Europe-wide protest

Taxi drivers in several European capitals, including Rome, will protest Wednesday against what they see as unfair and illegal competition from app-using car services such as Uber which have shaken up the taxi industry.

Girls abducted by masked men in Norway
Norway

Girls abducted by masked men in Norway

An eight-year-old girl and her six-year-old sister have been abducted by two masked men on their way home from school in Kongsvinger, on Norway's border with Sweden.

Ten of Italy’s golden World Cup moments
Italy

Ten of Italy’s golden World Cup moments

As Italy prepares for its first World Cup game against England in Brazil this Saturday, The Local has put together a video list of the team’s golden moments in the tournament’s history.

Italians invited to whistle-blow on Expo 2015
Italy

Italians invited to whistle-blow on Expo 2015

A group of journalists have set up a website inviting people to blow the whistle on shady goings-on at Milan Expo 2015 in the wake of a corruption scandal.

Germany’s 50 most valuable brands
Germany

Germany’s 50 most valuable brands

German carmakers are the country's most valuable brands, according to a study released on Monday. Mercedes came in first place, with BMW, Volkswagen and Audi in the top ten as well. But who made up the rest of the top 50?

Iran says sanctions lift will aid oil flow
Austria

Iran says sanctions lift will aid oil flow

Iran's oil output could reach 4.0 million barrels per day (bpd) in "less than three months" if Western sanctions are lifted over its nuclear energy programme, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Tuesday in Vienna.