MPs end ‘happy hours’ tippling in Vaud bars
Switzerland

MPs end ‘happy hours’ tippling in Vaud bars

“Happy Hours” are becoming a thing of the past at bars in the canton of Vaud after MPs from the cantonal government voted on Wednesday to ban “two-for-one specials” and other cut-price deals on alcoholic drinks in bars and nightclubs.

Kerry arrives in Basel for Ukraine crisis talks
Switzerland

Kerry arrives in Basel for Ukraine crisis talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Basel on Wednesday evening for a meeting of foreign ministers from 50 member countries of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to focus on the spiralling Ukraine crisis.

At last: royal portrait unveiled 20 years late
Spain

At last: royal portrait unveiled 20 years late

A highly anticipated portrait of Spain's royals has finally been unveiled a full two decades after it was first commissioned in 1994.

Christmas ‘crappers’: Podemos boss honoured
Spain

Christmas ‘crappers’: Podemos boss honoured

The head of Spain's new Podemos party has become the subject of a new 'caganer' figurine, part of a tradition which sees some Spaniards decorating their Christmas cribs with statues of celebrities defecating.

UN Vienna warns staffers of ‘trickery crime’
Austria

UN Vienna warns staffers of ‘trickery crime’

A warning was issued today by the UN Security and Safety Service in Vienna, after UN delegates had been the target of confidence tricksters masquerading as undercover police to steal money and valuables.

Scandal: Yet another Hollande advisor is felled
France

Scandal: Yet another Hollande advisor is felled

Francois Hollande was dealt another blow Wednesday after an advisor suspected of misusing company assets resigned, the French president's latest close associate to step down under a cloud of controversy.

Dramatic evacuation of Hohe Wand in ice storm
Austria

Dramatic evacuation of Hohe Wand in ice storm

The Hohe Wand mountain ridge in the district of Wiener Neustadt was the scene of dramatic evacuations on Wednesday as the state of emergency continued in Lower Austria, caused by five days of ice storms.

Sweden’s mess reveals Denmark’s strength

Sweden’s mess reveals Denmark’s strength

With Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven forced to call a new election just three months into his term, Danish journalist and political commentator David Trads says the crisis reveals the strength of Denmark's coalition government.

Sommaruga elected as next Swiss president
Switzerland

Sommaruga elected as next Swiss president

The national parliament on Wednesday elected Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga, a Socialist party member and former concert pianist, to serve as Switzerland's president next year.

How uncomfortable feet kickstarted success
Denmark

How uncomfortable feet kickstarted success

In our weekly feature series, The Local looks into a successful entrepreneur's life - the story behind their successes, major challenges and how being an entrepreneur changed them forever. This week, The Local talks to Danish shoe designer Frederikke Schmidt.

Sweden’s Prime Minister calls fresh election
Sweden

Sweden’s Prime Minister calls fresh election

Sweden's coalition government has failed to get its budget through parliament amid a political crisis. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has announced fresh elections, just three months after voters last went to the polls.

Police seek owner of bagged rabbit
Germany

Police seek owner of bagged rabbit

Officers in Bad Säckingen were unprepared for what they found when a bank employee called to report a suspicious package on Tuesday.

French ministers and bosses fall out of love
France

French ministers and bosses fall out of love

The French PM Manuel Valls might have said he "loved business" but there was no love lost this week after a war of words broke out between ministers and employers over a key reform aimed to drag the country out of its economic quagmire.

New low-cost train service for Vienna airport
Austria

New low-cost train service for Vienna airport

Vienna's Schwechat airport now offers yet another way to reach the city, and vice versa, with the launch of a new service from the Austrian railways (ÖBB).

German Christmas cookies to bake now
Germany

German Christmas cookies to bake now

Pfeffernusse, Printen and Kipferl - oh my! It's not Christmas until you've eaten your weight in cookies, right? This week's Local List makes sure that you at least have some variety in that biscuit diet.

Italy police bust Eritrean people trafficking ring
Italy

Italy police bust Eritrean people trafficking ring

Italian police said on Wednesday they had busted an Eritrean trafficking ring accused of smuggling migrants into Europe on perilous Mediterranean boat crossings, including one in which 244 people died.

Dead Swede’s family call for suspect’s testimony
Sweden

Dead Swede’s family call for suspect’s testimony

The family of a Swedish bride murdered on her honeymoon has urged a South African court to force her British husband to testify on charges that he had her killed.

Teen ‘forced kids to strip and fight’
Spain

Teen ‘forced kids to strip and fight’

A teenager in Spain's Almeria province could spend up to two years in juvenile detention after he allegedly forced two children, aged 11 and 12, to strip down and fight each other for five hours.

Eiffel Tower to host first ever vertical race
France

Eiffel Tower to host first ever vertical race

Next year the Eiffel Tower will host its first ever vertical race. Runners will have the tough task of sprinting up the Paris landmark's 1665 steps and cross the finish line 279 metres up in the sky. Do you have what it takes?

Italy’s far-right leader to meet Putin in January
Italy

Italy’s far-right leader to meet Putin in January

Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s far-right Northern League, will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in January, La Repubblica reported.

Qatar decision spurs call for IAAF reforms
Germany

Qatar decision spurs call for IAAF reforms

The honorary president of the German Athletics Federation (DLV) has suggested a reform of the selection process after Qatar was awarded the 2019 world athletics championships last month.

Schettino claims his actions saved lives
Italy

Schettino claims his actions saved lives

Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino claimed on Wednesday that his decision to delay evacuation of the stricken cruise ship may actually have saved lives in the 2012 disaster.

500-year-old skeletons unearthed in Denmark
Denmark

500-year-old skeletons unearthed in Denmark

Fifteen skeletons uncovered this week in Aalborg are assumed to be the remains of 15 soldiers who died fighting in a Danish civil war nearly 500 years ago.

Swift justice promised as Tugce buried
Germany

Swift justice promised as Tugce buried

As hundreds gathered for the funeral of Tugce Albayrak, the student fatally beaten after intervening in a fight, prosecutors said they would act quickly against suspects.

Crowdfunded doc ‘to expose train crash lies’
Spain

Crowdfunded doc ‘to expose train crash lies’

A year and a half after a train crash killed 81 people in northern Spain, victims are hoping a new crowdfunded documentary will expose what they believe is the web of misinformation surrounding the crash.

TeliaSonera and Telenor merge in Denmark
Sweden

TeliaSonera and Telenor merge in Denmark

Swedish-Finnish telecom operator TeliaSonera and Norwegian rival Telenor on Wednesday said they would merge their operations in Denmark, which last week was deemed the world's most connected country.

Austrian boy partially blinded by laser pointer
Austria

Austrian boy partially blinded by laser pointer

A 12-year-old Austrian boy has suffered "massive and lasting" damage to his eyes after playing with a laser pointer, with his vision reduced by 60 percent, doctors said.

TeliaSonera and Telenor to merge in Denmark
Denmark

TeliaSonera and Telenor to merge in Denmark

A merger of the two Scandinavian telecoms would create Denmark's biggest mobile carrier by number of customers.

French train travel rattled by ticket inspector strike
France

French train travel rattled by ticket inspector strike

Train users in France may have their travel plans disrupted this weekend as SNCF ticket inspectors prepare to go on strike from Thursday to Sunday.

Bulgarian trio forced amputee to beg in Vienna
Austria

Bulgarian trio forced amputee to beg in Vienna

A Bulgarian man has been sentenced to two years in prison for people trafficking after forcing a 75-year-old double amputee to beg in Vienna.

Ten million ballot papers on standby in Sweden
Sweden

Ten million ballot papers on standby in Sweden

Sweden’s election authority says it has already ordered millions of new ballot papers as the country faces the prospect of a new election. A future vote could spring some surprises, according to polling firm Novus.

Baby Jesus banned from local council in France
France

Baby Jesus banned from local council in France

The latest row over secularism in France has erupted after a court in the western city of Nantes ordered a traditional nativity scene to be removed from the Christmas decorations in a local council building.

Did Dragons’ Den winner scam Spanish workers?
Spain

Did Dragons’ Den winner scam Spanish workers?

Updated: A group of Spaniards say they have been scammed by an agency which promised to help them move to the UK, with one of the victims telling The Local she was even threatened by the company's boss. The claims are disputed by the firm.

Indebted hoarder kept 140 animals
Austria

Indebted hoarder kept 140 animals

A German-born woman with property in Austria and Hungary has been discovered to have around 140 animals, some of them kept in appalling conditions.

Briton ‘blacked out’ on night of Paris murder
France

Briton ‘blacked out’ on night of Paris murder

British businessman Ian Griffin described on Tuesday the scene of devastation to which he awoke the morning after his girlfriend died, on the second day of his Paris trial for her murder.

Skåne man caught stealing from beggar
Sweden

Skåne man caught stealing from beggar

A hidden camera has captured a man stealing from a beggar's cup that was left unattended in the southern city of Helsingborg, fuelling a row about how Roma immigrants are being treated in the region.

Government trying to control us: TV journalists
Spain

Government trying to control us: TV journalists

Journalists at Spain's state broadcaster RTVE are accusing Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government of tightening its control on the network ahead of local and legislative elections next year.

Cycling, insulation and less coal to fight CO2
Germany

Cycling, insulation and less coal to fight CO2

The cabinet agreed a new environmental package on Wednesday aimed at meeting the target of a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

Chelsea not interested in Ødegaard: Mourinho
Norway

Chelsea not interested in Ødegaard: Mourinho

Chelsea manager José Mourinho has admitted he is curious about where Norwegian soccer sensation Martin Ødegaard will be playing in the future, but denied Chelsea will become the 15-year-old's next club.

Italy still one of Europe’s most corrupt countries
Italy

Italy still one of Europe’s most corrupt countries

Italy has failed to improve its reputation as one of the most corrupt countries in Europe, ranking joint worst in the region in a Transparency International index released on Wednesday.

Ski hotel ‘receives bomb threat’
Austria

Ski hotel ‘receives bomb threat’

The Kronen Zeitung newspaper is reporting that a luxury ski hotel in western Austria is under police protection after it received a threatening email from self-proclaimed “Caucasus terrorists” who said they planned a bomb attack as retaliation against the recent arrests of 14 suspected jihadists.

Church slams tough new immigration plans
Spain

Church slams tough new immigration plans

Spain's Conference of Bishops has slammed a government proposal which would allow for the instant deportation of migrants who clamber over border fences into the country's north African enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta.

Sweden’s Avicii is most played Spotify artist
Sweden

Sweden’s Avicii is most played Spotify artist

House DJ Avicii was the most streamed artist on Spotify in his home country in 2014, according to new figures released by the Swedish music giant.

Free train wifi on track for 2016
Germany

Free train wifi on track for 2016

Deutsche Bahn (DB) plans to equip all its ICE trains with free wifi by 2016, the head of the national rail operator said on Wednesday.

Royals deliver special message from Myanmar
Norway

Royals deliver special message from Myanmar

King Harald took time out during his state visit to Myanmar to congratulate his grandson, Prince Sverre Magnus for his ninth birthday, on Wednesday.

Swiss remain among world’s ‘least corrupt’
Switzerland

Swiss remain among world’s ‘least corrupt’

Switzerland is still perceived to be among the least corrupt countries in the world, according to the results of a study released on Wednesday that found corruption is feared to be worsening in China, Turkey and other fast-growing countries.

Sweden among world’s least corrupt nations
Sweden

Sweden among world’s least corrupt nations

Sweden has ranked as the fourth least corrupt country in a study by global anti-corruption campaign group Transparency International.

Icy conditions cause chaos in Lower Austria
Austria

Icy conditions cause chaos in Lower Austria

Five days of freezing frost and rain in Lower Austria have caused a state of emergency in Zwettl and parts of Krems. 2,500 households are without electricity and the weather outlook remains grim.

Spain ‘stagnant’ on corruption fight: report
Spain

Spain ‘stagnant’ on corruption fight: report

Perceptions of corruption in Spain remain almost unchanged despite a raft of scandals over the last 12 months, a new report from International Transparency shows.

‘No more tax rises’ – A French minister’s pledge
France

‘No more tax rises’ – A French minister’s pledge

The French public breathed a communal sigh of relief on Wednesday when the country’s finance minister vowed there would be no more tax rises before the end of Hollande’s presidency in 2017. But will the promise be kept.

Top ten Christmas markets in Italy
Italy

Top ten Christmas markets in Italy

From the best DIY nativity scene to where to find the most delicious hot tipple, The Local brings you Italy's top ten Christmas markets.

Blaze ruins Christmas for 15,000 poor in France
France

Blaze ruins Christmas for 15,000 poor in France

A blaze in northern France on Tuesday destroyed almost 100 tonnes of food and merchandise meant for 15,000 poor people, donated as part of a Christmas campaign led by a well-known French charity. An urgent appeal for donations has been set up.

Denmark seen as world’s least corrupt nation
Denmark

Denmark seen as world’s least corrupt nation

For the third consecutive year, Denmark has been declared the world’s least corrupt country by Transparency International.

Austria lagging but improving in corruption
Austria

Austria lagging but improving in corruption

Austria has improved slightly in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index released on Wednesday, moving from 26th up to 23rd place in the rankings.

Man arrested after Trondheim house fire
Norway

Man arrested after Trondheim house fire

A man was arrested in connection with starting a late-night house fire in Trondheim, where 11 Norwegians were injured, on Wednesday.

Foreign minister under fire for travel expenses
Norway

Foreign minister under fire for travel expenses

Børge Brende faces criticism after it was revealed on Wednesday that the foreign minister has spent 250 days in just over one year travelling outside Norway - far more than his predecessors.

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Sweden

Dec. 7: Become an industrial designer for a day (Umeå)

Extortionist’s bomb threats shut down city
Germany

Extortionist’s bomb threats shut down city

Police in Cologne are looking for a suspect on Wednesday after part of the city's centre was shut down by a bomb threat.

‘Sweden will have a new election in the spring’
Sweden

‘Sweden will have a new election in the spring’

Sweden's government crisis will most likely result in fresh elections in the spring, political scientist Jenny Madestam tells The Local.

Jailed art forger’s works on sale at Bern gallery
Switzerland

Jailed art forger’s works on sale at Bern gallery

Paintings of convicted German art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi went on sale at a small Bern art gallery this week, even though he remains in jail in Cologne.

France’s roving distillers roll out ancient brandy
France

France’s roving distillers roll out ancient brandy

As the autumn chill sets in and trees and vines turn a coppery yellow, itinerant distillers in Gascony load up their stills and set to work transforming the region's fragrant white wines into Armagnac, France's oldest - and for many - finest brandy.

Denmark’s jihadist rehab: school, sport and Islam
Denmark

Denmark’s jihadist rehab: school, sport and Islam

Young men who have fought alongside Isis in Syria are welcomed back into Aarhus by a controversial rehab programme that has shown signs of success despite being condemned by many as too soft and naive.

New DNA twist to Pasolini murder mystery
Italy

New DNA twist to Pasolini murder mystery

Nearly four decades after his murder, the mystery surrounding the death of acclaimed Italian film director and poet Pier Paolo Pasolini has been given a dramatic new twist.

King dines with Nobel prize winners in Paris
Sweden

King dines with Nobel prize winners in Paris

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia are continuing their official visit to France and are scheduled to have lunch with Nobel Literature Prize winner Patrick Modiano and economics laureate Jean Tirole, following a banquet with France's President Francois Hollande on Tuesday.

More Lufthansa strikes coming this week
Germany

More Lufthansa strikes coming this week

Lufthansa is set to be hit by its 11th pilots' strike of the year from Thursday after a leading union called for another stoppage to long-haul and cargo flights. The 10th strike in the labour dispute ended on Tuesday at midnight.

Italy wants to help restore peace in Libya
Italy

Italy wants to help restore peace in Libya

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Rome is ready to contribute to international efforts to restore peace in strife-torn Libya, during a visit to neighbouring Algeria on Tuesday.

Airbus offices searched over corruption fears
Germany

Airbus offices searched over corruption fears

German investigators searched offices of European aerospace giant Airbus in a probe into suspected corruption over contracts with Saudi Arabia and Romania, the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reported on Wednesday.

No snow: France’s ski resorts delay opening
France

No snow: France’s ski resorts delay opening

Skiers and snowboarders beware: several resorts in the French Alps, Pyrenees and Jura said Tuesday they would open at least a week later than planned due to a worrying lack of snow.

‘Mona Lisa was a slave from China’: historian

‘Mona Lisa was a slave from China’: historian

An Italian historian's theory that Mona Lisa might be a Chinese slave and Leonardo da Vinci's mother - making the 15th-century polymath half-Chinese - sent online commentators into a frenzy on Wednesday.

Topless cathedral protest gets day in court
Germany

Topless cathedral protest gets day in court

A member of activist group Femen will stand before a court in Cologne on Wednesday after jumping topless onto the altar of the city's famous cathedral.