Global murder rate close to 500,000: UN report
Switzerland

Global murder rate close to 500,000: UN report

Global homicide rates have plunged 16 percent since the beginning of the century, but nearly half a million people were still murdered worldwide in 2012, says a UN report released in Geneva on Wednesday.

First returned jihadist escapes Swiss jail time
Switzerland

First returned jihadist escapes Swiss jail time

The first jihadist returning to Switzerland from Syria will escape prison but has to perform 600 hours of community service, RTS, the French-language national broadcaster reported on Wednesday.

Uber starts app-driven ride service in Basel
Switzerland

Uber starts app-driven ride service in Basel

Uber, provider of the controversial ride-sharing app for smartphones that offers an alternative to taxis, expanded its service to a third city in Switzerland on Thursday.

Ten ways France aims to open up its economy
France

Ten ways France aims to open up its economy

France's whizz-kid economy minister Emmanuel Macron unveiled a bill on Wednesday designed to breathe life into France's stagnant economy by cutting red tape and boosting competition. We've picked it apart to find the most important points in the landmark reform.

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Switzerland

Rich nations slammed for ignoring migrants

The UN's human rights chief on Wednesday condemned rich nations for their indifference to waves of global migration, after new figures showed more than 3,400 people died in the Mediterranean this year trying to reach Europe.

Banker faints in trial over breaking secrecy laws
Switzerland

Banker faints in trial over breaking secrecy laws

A former Swiss banker fainted Wednesday at the opening of his Zurich trial for breaking Swiss bank secrecy laws by allegedly giving confidential data to WikiLeaks and German authorities, media reported.

Denmark presents united front ahead of EU vote
Denmark

Denmark presents united front ahead of EU vote

Regardless of who is sitting in the prime minister’s office, Danes will vote on their opt-outs to the European Union’s justice and home affairs rules no later than March 2016.

French scallops cleaned in China then sent back
France

French scallops cleaned in China then sent back

Scallops pulled out of the waters off the western coast of France are taken on an incredible journey that sees them shipped off to China to be cleaned, before being sent all the way back to France to be cooked up. Producers say its worth the cost.

World’s most starred French chef seeks more
France

World’s most starred French chef seeks more

The world's most decorated chef, Frenchman Joel Robuchon might be heading towards his seventieth birthday but he has no intention to lay down his apron. He wants another three Michelin stars to add to his record tally of 28.

Madrid’s shocking slum shames Spanish capital
Spain

Madrid’s shocking slum shames Spanish capital

Just 12 kilometres (seven miles) from downtown Madrid, hundreds of Romanian Roma are living without running water or toilets in third world conditions, a lawyer working with the community has told The Local.

Two sentenced over death of plastic surgeon
Germany

Two sentenced over death of plastic surgeon

A court in Nuremberg on Wednesday sentenced two men for causing the death of Nuremberg plastic surgeon Franz Gsell almost 12 years after they broke into and robbed his house.

Parishioners jailed for robbing church wine
Italy

Parishioners jailed for robbing church wine

Two women have been jailed for stealing bottles of wine from their local church, according to Italian media reports.

Europe’s smallest police precinct turns 100
Germany

Europe’s smallest police precinct turns 100

Where blue lights meet red lights: The Davidwache by Hamburg's Reeperbahn is the country's most famous cop shop, immortalized in TV detective series and films, and is also a popular selfie snap location for visitors to the world-famous red light district.

‘Those who play war with Putin are idiots’: Salvini
Italy

‘Those who play war with Putin are idiots’: Salvini

Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s far-right Northern League, said on Wednesday that sanctions against Russia were senseless and are having a damning effect on Italian businesses.

CIA tortured German it mistook for a terrorist
Germany

CIA tortured German it mistook for a terrorist

A German citizen abducted and tortured by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents in 2004 should never have been detained, a US Senate report published on Tuesday showed.

Ten things to know about Patrick Modiano
France

Ten things to know about Patrick Modiano

The French author Patrick Modiano picks up his Nobel Prize for Literature in Stockholm on Wednesday. Given that the first question asked by many outside France was "Who is Patrick Modiano? we’ve put together a list of ten things you need to know about him.

Man with Mexican flag disrupts Nobel ceremony
Norway

Man with Mexican flag disrupts Nobel ceremony

A man who disrupted the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for unclear reasons while brandishing a Mexican flag in Oslo on Wednesday was arrested, Norwegian police said.

Danes face the world’s highest tax burden
Denmark

Danes face the world’s highest tax burden

Denmark is the most taxed country in the world with nearly half of its GDP raised through taxes, giving it a tax-to-GDP ratio that towers over the other OECD countries.

Cops stop licence-less driver after 46 years
Germany

Cops stop licence-less driver after 46 years

It took almost half a century, but police in Lower Saxony finally asked for a 77-year-old driver's papers this week - only to be duped one last time before he takes the rap.

Tissue seller hands in €16,000 to police
Spain

Tissue seller hands in €16,000 to police

A Nigerian tissue seller in Spain has handed in a wallet containing over €16,000 ($19,800) to police after it fell off the roof of a car.

Malala and Satyarthi get Peace Prize in Oslo
Norway

Malala and Satyarthi get Peace Prize in Oslo

UPDATED: Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai became the youngest ever Nobel laureate on Wednesday when she received the Peace Prize in Oslo, sharing it with Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi.

Football club security chiefs fired over riot
Spain

Football club security chiefs fired over riot

Spain's government has ordered the sacking of the security heads of football clubs Atletico Madrid and Deportivo La Coruña over a deadly riot that left a fan dead.

‘All nuclear weapons must be abolished’
Sweden

‘All nuclear weapons must be abolished’

The lessons of nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the 1940s must never be forgotten and there should be a united front to ensure all nuclear weapons are decommissioned, says Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström.

Sweden ranked fifth in global tax burden report
Sweden

Sweden ranked fifth in global tax burden report

Sweden is the fifth most taxed country in the world with more than 40 percent of its GDP raised through taxes, according to a new report.

Mother and baby dead in suspected quarry murder
Sweden

Mother and baby dead in suspected quarry murder

Police in southern Sweden have arrested a man in connection with the suspected murder of a woman and her nine-month-old baby, after the pair were discovered at the foot of a quarry.

Italy tax burden higher than Norway: OECD
Italy

Italy tax burden higher than Norway: OECD

Italy’s tax burden is higher than that of Norway, although it decreased slightly last year, a new OECD report has found.

French town to slap fines on Christmas drunks
France

French town to slap fines on Christmas drunks

Tis the season to be merry but taking the festive spirit that bit too far will cost alcohol-fuelled revellers in a city in central France €120 ($148) as part of the Town Hall's crackdown on street drunkenness.

Spanish hero named honorary US citizen
Spain

Spanish hero named honorary US citizen

More than two centuries after his death, Spanish military leader and politician Bernardo de Gálvez (1746—1786) has been made an honorary citizen of the United States for his efforts in fighting for American independence.

Teacher sues pupil for tripping her up
Austria

Teacher sues pupil for tripping her up

An Austrian teacher is suing one of her pupils for €1,700, claiming that he tripped her up on purpose in the classroom, causing serious bruising, pain and suffering.

Three die in wild storms in Catalonia
Spain

Three die in wild storms in Catalonia

Three people died and one was left seriously injured as strong winds battered Spain's Catalonia region on Tuesday.

Rules for partying with the French at Christmas
France

Rules for partying with the French at Christmas

With plenty of festive lunches, dinners and parties ahead, here's a list of tips to ensure you have a jolly old time with your French in-laws or friends without making a massive fool of yourself this Christmas.

Nuclear incidents highlighted in Vienna
Austria

Nuclear incidents highlighted in Vienna

When a nuclear bomb landed in the Gregg yard in South Carolina in 1958, it left a big crater, killed a few chickens, caused the family minor injuries and wrecked their Chevrolet.

Teens put lid on binge drinking, report finds
Germany

Teens put lid on binge drinking, report finds

Fewer teenagers are drinking enough to end up in hospital emergency rooms, figures from health insurers DAK showed on Wednesday.

Homeless bodybuilder turns Paris into gym
France

Homeless bodybuilder turns Paris into gym

A video of a muscle-bound homeless Frenchman using the streets of Paris as his own personal gym has turned him into an overnight internet sensation.

‘Torture can be useful to make people talk’: Le Pen
France

‘Torture can be useful to make people talk’: Le Pen

In the wake of the damning American Senate report on the CIA’s torture practices French far-right leader Marine Le Pen risked a backlash when in an interview she claimed there are times when torture can "be useful to make someone talk".

New website to boost transparency in Spain
Spain

New website to boost transparency in Spain

The launch of a new 'transparency portal' on Wednesday will allow Spaniards to access to never before seen data on all aspects of government and public life.

Vienna one of the best value cities to stay in
Austria

Vienna one of the best value cities to stay in

The Austrian capital is one of the best value cities in the world for tourist and business accommodation, according to the results of a survey released by the GoEuro Accommodation Price Index.

IOC unveils futuristic plans for new home
Switzerland

IOC unveils futuristic plans for new home

The Lausanne-based International Olympic Committee is planning to build a new headquarters budgeted at 160 million francs to bring together employees currently working in different offices.

Spain’s tax burden still at pre-crisis levels
Spain

Spain’s tax burden still at pre-crisis levels

Despite hikes in both income tax rates and value-added tax, Spain is one of the few wealthy countries in the world to have an lower overall tax burden now than before the economic crisis, a new report from the OECD shows.

Renzi toughens law after Rome corruption scandal
Italy

Renzi toughens law after Rome corruption scandal

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Tuesday outlined key changes to Italian law which will see those guilty of corruption serve lengthier jail terms, following revelations of a mafia group infiltrating Rome’s city hall.

French tax man second greediest in the world
France

French tax man second greediest in the world

France is now the second most taxed country in the world with a mammoth 45 percent of its GDP raised through taxes. Only Denmark has a larger tax-to-GDP ratio, a new study by Paris-based think tank the OECD has found.

Expo fetes Berliner who put 007 in space
Germany

Expo fetes Berliner who put 007 in space

A new exhibition in the German capital celebrates the set-building prowess of 93-year-old Sir Ken Adam, the Berlin-born designer who made volcanoes slide open and Fort Knox surrender its gold bullion.

Party like a German: 10 top tips
Germany

Party like a German: 10 top tips

It's party season, and to help you seamlessly blend into German life and culture we've put together our top ten ways you can avoid embarrassment while you're keeping out the winter chill.

Swedish teen dies fighting in middle east
Sweden

Swedish teen dies fighting in middle east

A 17-year-old boy from Gothenburg has become the youngest Swedish victim to die fighting with radical Islamists in the Middle East.

Interior Ministry holds asylum crisis meeting
Austria

Interior Ministry holds asylum crisis meeting

Austria’s Interior Ministry is holding a crisis meeting on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the country’s urgent need for more accommodation for asylum seekers.

How to party with Italians this Christmas
Italy

How to party with Italians this Christmas

With just a few weeks to go until Christmas, the party season is in full swing. We've put together some tips to help you pass a pleasant time with your Italians chums or in-laws this time of year.

Swiss banks eye Chinese wealth opportunities
Switzerland

Swiss banks eye Chinese wealth opportunities

Switzerland's banking sector, facing the end of the secrecy that was once the bedrock of its business, is turning to China as it seeks new markets for the future.

Italy complicit in US torture programme
Italy

Italy complicit in US torture programme

Italy is among the many countries that was complicit in the US government torture programme, according to a report released on Tuesday, although it is also the only country where officials involved in the CIA programme have been convicted.

German comic acquitted of Zurich rape charges
Switzerland

German comic acquitted of Zurich rape charges

German comedian and TV personality Karl Dall threatened to jump in Lake Zurich on Wednesday to celebrate his acquittal in a rape case brought against him by a Swiss journalist and photographer.

Dewani back in Britain after court acquittal
Sweden

Dewani back in Britain after court acquittal

British businessman Shrien Dewani arrived back home on Wednesday after being cleared by a South African court of murdering his Swedish bride during their honeymoon

Partying like a Spaniard: the ultimate guide
Spain

Partying like a Spaniard: the ultimate guide

With the festive season fast approaching, The Local shines a light on everything you need to know about letting loose Spanish-style. Let the fiesta begin!

Copenhagen City Hall’s pigeons put to death
Denmark

Copenhagen City Hall’s pigeons put to death

Pigeons have been steady residents of Copenhagen City Hall's tower for over 100 years, but that has now come to a sad end.

Ten things to know before an Austrian party
Austria

Ten things to know before an Austrian party

As the festive season gets underway, here are The Local's tips on how to prepare for a party in Austria. From taking off your shoes, to the perils of Schnapps and what songs you really shouldn't sing, we've got you covered.

First ever ‘train from China’ arrives in Madrid
Spain

First ever ‘train from China’ arrives in Madrid

The first freight train to link China directly to Spain arrived in Madrid on Tuesday after covering over 13,000 kilometres (8,000 miles) in a test run of a planned regular service between the two nations.

‘It’s pork or nothing’, French mayor tells pupils
France

‘It’s pork or nothing’, French mayor tells pupils

A mayor in France has stirred up a hornet’s nest by deciding Muslim pupils at the local school will not be given an alternative meal to pork. The mayor has justified his stance by claiming it's in the name of secularism.

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Sweden

Dec. 16: The “Accidental” Menace: Turkey, Islamic State, Kurdistan (Lund)

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Sweden

Dec. 14: Christmas Concert (Lund)

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Sweden

Dec. 12: Lucia Celebration (Jönköping)

Denmark admits ‘doubts’ about Eritrea report
Denmark

Denmark admits ‘doubts’ about Eritrea report

The Danish Immigration Service's fact-finding report on Eritrea has been under heavy fire since its release and the agency now says that the feedback "raises doubts" and that Eritreans can expect to be "granted asylum in many cases".

Art dealer on trial for swindling Aldi heir
Germany

Art dealer on trial for swindling Aldi heir

A German art dealer went on trial Tuesday accused of defrauding one of the country's richest families of tens of millions in the sales of paintings and vintage cars.

Six years on: Spain starts building again
Spain

Six years on: Spain starts building again

After six tough years, Spain's ailing building sector is finally coming back to life, with public sector projects fuelling a lot of the new growth.

Austria complicit in US torture program
Austria

Austria complicit in US torture program

Austria was one of many European and Arab countries which was complicit in US torture programs, by supporting the secret and illegal transfer of detainees to some of its 'black site' prisons, according to a new report released on Tuesday.

Juve boss hopes to avoid football’s Fab Four
Italy

Juve boss hopes to avoid football’s Fab Four

Massimiliano Allegri is hoping Juventus avoid being drawn with one of the four European giants tipped to win this season's Champions League after seeing his side scrape into the last 16 on Tuesday.

Oldest man in Sweden dies aged 109
Sweden

Oldest man in Sweden dies aged 109

Eric Andersson from western Sweden has died just a few weeks after celebrating his 109th birthday.

SPD leaders hit back at Merkel’s record
Germany

SPD leaders hit back at Merkel’s record

Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Sigmar Gabriel turned Angela Merkel's criticisms in her party conference speech back on her in media interviews on Wednesday.

France unveils divisive plan to unblock economy
France

France unveils divisive plan to unblock economy

Crisis-hit France was poised on Wednesday to unveil a controversial package of reforms aimed at unblocking its stagnant economy. Brussels and Berlin will be keeping a close watch on the plan.

Ten things to know before a Swedish party
Sweden

Ten things to know before a Swedish party

Our top tips on how to party in Sweden, from bringing your own booze to the benefits of good socks and underwear.

Rome-Venice train link to boost Italy tourism
Italy

Rome-Venice train link to boost Italy tourism

A trip to Italy taking in both Rome and Venice will get easier from Sunday when some of the country's high-speed trains start travelling directly to the capital's main airport.

Last French hostage arrives back in Paris
France

Last French hostage arrives back in Paris

France's last remaining hostage, Serge Lazarevic, arrived back in Paris on Wednesday after being held for three years by Islamist militants. As he touched down he was greeted by French President François Hollande.

Bulldozer havoc at concentration camp site
Germany

Bulldozer havoc at concentration camp site

Police in Saxony were on Tuesday searching for thieves who stole a bulldozer from a building site and crashed through a former concentration camp memorial site, causing thousands of euros worth of damage.

Swedish police launch raid against Pirate Bay
Sweden

Swedish police launch raid against Pirate Bay

Swedish police carried out a raid out at a facility which contained servers for Pirate Bay on Tuesday, it has emerged, with the file-sharing website going offline shortly afterwards.

Malmö’s European adventure ends in defeat
Sweden

Malmö’s European adventure ends in defeat

The Swedish champions won't be playing European football until next season, after losing their final Champions League group match against Olympiakos.

Sweden can’t sue Israel over Ship to Gaza raids
Sweden

Sweden can’t sue Israel over Ship to Gaza raids

Sweden cannot sue Israel for raids against two international aid ships headed for Gaza between 2010 and 2012 even if the assaults were staged in violation of international law, prosecutors have said.