Major drug network busted in Macedonia
Austria

Major drug network busted in Macedonia

Europol announced on Monday that it has busted a major heroin-smuggling network based in Macedonia, including distribution hubs in Austria and Germany, with the arrests of 400 people.

Austrian skier Hirscher dominates downhill
Austria

Austrian skier Hirscher dominates downhill

Austria's triple overall World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher claimed Sunday's giant slalom in Alta Badia to overtake his legendary compatriot Franz Klammer in number of World Cup wins.

Obituary for Udo Jürgens
Austria

Obituary for Udo Jürgens

The German-speaking world was in mourning Monday for Austrian crooner and composer Udo Juergens who died suddenly in his adopted Swiss homeland -- in the middle of a tour -- aged 80.

Denmark’s oldest town even older than thought
Denmark

Denmark’s oldest town even older than thought

The town of Ribe on Denmark's west coast was a vital trading point in the early 700s but archeologists didn't think it was permanently inhabited until much later. A new study challenges that conventional wisdom.

Italy’s Ebola patient is getting better
Italy

Italy’s Ebola patient is getting better

An Italian doctor who contracted Ebola in west Africa is recovering but is still in an isolation unit, the specialist clinic in Rome treating him said on Monday.

More Swedes take to the skies for Christmas 2014
Sweden

More Swedes take to the skies for Christmas 2014

Swedes have shown a massively increased interest in travel this year, with up to 300,000 more people taking a flight over the Christmas period compared to last year.

Breivik’s letters seized over terror fears
Norway

Breivik’s letters seized over terror fears

Norway's prison authorities said Monday they had seized over 200 letters from mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik to prevent him from setting up a network outside jail.

US-Swedish newspaper archive nears completion
Sweden

US-Swedish newspaper archive nears completion

The Swedish-language press flourished in the US in the late 19th century as Swedes moved in, and a new project to archive and digitize the wealth of historical material is set to go live in 2015.

The wave Sweden will never forget
Sweden

The wave Sweden will never forget

The Local looks at how Swedes are remembering the tidal wave that shook South-East Asia exactly ten years ago, leaving 543 Swedes dead.

Sweden’s wild carnivore population on the rise
Sweden

Sweden’s wild carnivore population on the rise

An extensive European study has found that the numbers of carnivorous animals are on the rise across the continent, with Sweden seeing a hike in the populations of bears, lynxes, wolves, and wolverines.

Court launches case against Catalan leader
Spain

Court launches case against Catalan leader

Catalonia's president Artur Mas was placed under investigation on Monday for holding a banned vote on whether his region should be independent from Spain.

French towns allowed to welcome Baby Jesus
France

French towns allowed to welcome Baby Jesus

Traditionalists won another victory on Monday in France's annual nativity wars as a court allowed a town hall south of Paris to keep its display on the birth of Jesus Christ that has angered secularists.

Mum says toddler taken to Syria by Isis dad
Italy

Mum says toddler taken to Syria by Isis dad

A mother has claimed to have recognized her three-year-old boy in photos distributed on jihadist forums promoting terrorist organization Isis (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), more than a year after he disappeared from northern Italy.

Swedish parties in secret election talks: report
Sweden

Swedish parties in secret election talks: report

The government and opposition parties are reported to be conducting negotiations in a bid to avoid government chaos, putting the new March election in doubt, according to a media report.

’50 Shades of Grey’ to premiere in Berlin
Germany

’50 Shades of Grey’ to premiere in Berlin

Smut sensation "50 Shades Of Grey" will receive its international premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, it was announced Monday.

Man tries to open plane door over Munich
Germany

Man tries to open plane door over Munich

A man tried to open the emergency door of a plane as it was approaching Munich airport, police reported on Monday.

Reporter sacked over Pegida ‘interview’
Germany

Reporter sacked over Pegida ‘interview’

An undercover reporter who allowed himself to be interviewed by a rival TV network whilst taking part in an anti-Islamization demonstration in Dresden has been sacked, Spiegel reported Monday.

French pensioner spends six days stuck in bath
France

French pensioner spends six days stuck in bath

An inquisitive postal worker in southern France has saved a woman in her eighties who was trapped in her bathtub for six long days.

Swiss head to shops rather than slopes
Switzerland

Swiss head to shops rather than slopes

The lack of snow in many Swiss ski resorts has had a beneficial effect on the shops, with many people shopping rather than skiing on the Sundays leading up to Christmas.

Norway ‘too slow’ to tackle extremism: report
Norway

Norway ‘too slow’ to tackle extremism: report

Norway is acting too slowly against radicalization and violent extremism as more and more people from Norway head off to war in the Middle East, a new report has warned.

Swedish police warn of migrating elk herds
Sweden

Swedish police warn of migrating elk herds

Police in northern Sweden have urged holiday motorists to be careful after reports of unusually large herds of migrating elk.

French driver’s rampage ‘not an act of terrorism’
France

French driver’s rampage ‘not an act of terrorism’

UPDATED: President François Hollande has called for the 'utmost vigilance' after two random attacks over the weekend, including one which saw a driver mow down 13 people in the city of Dijon. Prosecutors have concluded however that it wasn't a terrorist act.

Bilbao praises ‘museum that saved a city’
Spain

Bilbao praises ‘museum that saved a city’

Locals in Bilbao say an art museum helped save their Spanish city from decline. Now they are glad to know their saviour, the Guggenheim, will be staying for some time.

‘We have to take care of Isis victims’: minister
Germany

‘We have to take care of Isis victims’: minister

The government plans to set up a trauma centre for victims of a mass rape campaign by the Islamic State (Isis) militant group, Overseas Development minister Gerd Müller said on Monday.

Spain’s ‘fat one’ lottery too much for crying girl
Spain

Spain’s ‘fat one’ lottery too much for crying girl

Drawing the numbers of Spain's lottery, the world’s richest with total prizes of €2.2 billion ($2.7 billion), proved a bit too much for one little girl on Monday when she broke down in tears after getting tongue-tied.

Year 2014 in France will be warmest since 1900
France

Year 2014 in France will be warmest since 1900

Barring an unlikely Arctic weather snap to end the year, France will record its hottest year since 1900 with average temperatures in 2014 1.2 °C higher on than they've been for over a century.

Uber drivers in Geneva allege intimidation
Switzerland

Uber drivers in Geneva allege intimidation

Tensions are growing among cabbies in Geneva where drivers working for newcomer Uber have filed complaints of threats and abuse by drivers with rival taxi firms.

Italian paraglider saved from electricity cables
Italy

Italian paraglider saved from electricity cables

A paraglider in north-east Italy was saved on Sunday afternoon after his parachute became trapped in high-voltage electricity cables.

Adidas sells three million World Cup shirts
Germany

Adidas sells three million World Cup shirts

Football fans have snapped up a total of more than three million replica kits of their world-cup winning heroes, Adidas announced, with much of that boost coming in the run-up to Christmas. The team were also honoured as Germany's "Sportsmen of the Year" on Sunday.

Good news for your Christmas overdraft
Germany

Good news for your Christmas overdraft

Shoppers who go into the red on their bank account over the Yuletide period have received some early festive good news, with a plan to clarify Germany's complex rules on overdrafts.

Japanese robbery victim stabbed after chase
Austria

Japanese robbery victim stabbed after chase

A 22-year-old Japanese man stopped for a coffee from a vending machine in the lobby of a hostel in Mariahilferstrasse on Saturday night, when two men stole his backpack.

Migrants find homes in Italian convents
Italy

Migrants find homes in Italian convents

Catholic convents and other institutions in Italy have responded enthusiastically to Pope Francis' appeal to thrown open their doors to aid the wave of refugees landing in the country from Syria, Iraq and African nations.

Ancient anchors hint at Spain–Viking link
Spain

Ancient anchors hint at Spain–Viking link

Researchers from Aberdeen University in the UK are planning an archaeological dig that could confirm for the first time that Vikings made their home along Spain's northern coast.

Amazon pledge: Xmas pressies will arrive
Germany

Amazon pledge: Xmas pressies will arrive

Online retailer Amazon said on Monday that walkouts at distribution centres across the country wouldn't affect Christmas orders as the strike spread across Europe.

‘Buy olive oil for Christmas to help Italy’
Italy

‘Buy olive oil for Christmas to help Italy’

Italy's oil producers are urging consumers to give olive oil as Christmas gifts and help the industry hard hit by this year's disastrous harvest.

Podemos ‘covered in crap’: government official
Spain

Podemos ‘covered in crap’: government official

A spokesperson for Spain's ruling Popular Party has raised eyebrows by saying the country's hugely popular new anti-austerity party Podemos is "covered in filth, not to say crap" in the wake of a recent scandal.

Flu costs Spanish firms €1.2 billion a year
Spain

Flu costs Spanish firms €1.2 billion a year

Between 10 and 17 percent of sick days taken in Spain are down to the influenza virus, costing Spanish firms over 60 million lost work hours at a cost of over €1 billion ($1.2 billion) every year, new figures show.

Starving kids abandoned in Spanish home
Spain

Starving kids abandoned in Spanish home

Police in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo have found three children, abandoned in a house and showing signs of malnourishment, prompting a nationwide search for their mother.

France’s only kosher vineyard fights its corner
France

France’s only kosher vineyard fights its corner

It was a visit to Jerusalem that inspired Frenchman Alexandre Sartene to start the world's third kosher vineyard outside Israel which, despite a rocky start, now exports as far as Brazil.

France’s Amazon strike puts pressure on Santa
France

France’s Amazon strike puts pressure on Santa

A major French trade union has called on Amazon workers to go on strike on Monday to demand a salary hike and better working conditions, a decision likely to have an effect on anyone in France hoping to buy last minute Christmas gifts on the online shopping portal.

Italian police swoop on neo-fascist extremists
Italy

Italian police swoop on neo-fascist extremists

Anti-terrorism police on Monday arrested 14 alleged neo-fascist extremists accused of planning violent attacks across Italy.

Spanish princess to be tried for fraud
Spain

Spanish princess to be tried for fraud

Spain's Princess Cristina is to be tried in court for tax fraud in what is a first for the Spanish royal family, the judge overseeing the case said on Monday.

Meet the Italian sketching a new Swedish future
Sweden

Meet the Italian sketching a new Swedish future

For this week's My Swedish Career, The Local chats to Filippo Vanzo, a freelance illustrator who started to picture life in Stockholm after meeting his Swedish girlfriend online.

Drunk driver impersonates cop
Austria

Drunk driver impersonates cop

A 23-year-old man from Burgenland had a great idea to raise a little money on Saturday night, by impersonating a police officer.

SVP loses ground but remains strongest party
Switzerland

SVP loses ground but remains strongest party

Support for the rightwing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) has fallen while centre-left parties are gaining in popularity, according to a voter survey.

Armed heist at Berlin’s top department store
Germany

Armed heist at Berlin’s top department store

Stunned shoppers looked on in horror as masked robbers made a daylight raid at Germany's most exclusive department store on the busiest shopping day before Christmas.

Two thirds of Danish pig farms have MRSA
Denmark

Two thirds of Danish pig farms have MRSA

The food and agriculture minister admits that "previous efforts have not been enough" as a new study shows that the MRSA bacteria is more widespread than believed.

Italian protester climbs St Peter’s Basilica – again
Italy

Italian protester climbs St Peter’s Basilica – again

A disgruntled Italian entrepreneur on Sunday climbed the facade of St Peter's Basilica in an anti-EU protest, marking the fifth time the man has scaled the ornate building to highlight his country's economic woes.

Basque government to help terror group disarm
Spain

Basque government to help terror group disarm

The regional Basque government on Sunday unveiled a plan to facilitate the disarmament process of the terrorist group Eta, amid frustration over a lack of response from the Spanish government three years after the group ended its campaign of violence.

Protesters slam Spain’s tough new security law
Spain

Protesters slam Spain’s tough new security law

Thousands of people across Spain protested against the country's new Citizen Security Law on Saturday, with critics saying the legislation seriously limits free speech.

Danish traffic deaths approach record low
Denmark

Danish traffic deaths approach record low

2014 may end with the fewest number of traffic fatalities in over 80 years thanks to dedicated campaigns to road safety and the dangers of drinking and driving.

Third of Italians back anti-immigrant party
Italy

Third of Italians back anti-immigrant party

More than one third of Italians - including many in the once-hostile south - are ready to vote for the anti-EU, anti-immigration Northern League, a poll showed on Sunday.

Masked thieves get away with millions
Austria

Masked thieves get away with millions

A pair of masked thieves broke into an armored car security transport company in Innsbruck on Saturday evening, getting away with millions of euros in cash.

Saint Francis order in ‘grave’ trouble over fraud
Italy

Saint Francis order in ‘grave’ trouble over fraud

The Franciscan Order founded by Saint Francis of Assisi, who advocated a life of poverty, is in deep financial trouble following the discovery of massive fraud and is appealing for help.

Security tests find holes at Frankfurt airport
Germany

Security tests find holes at Frankfurt airport

Weapons and dangerous objects were successfully smuggled through security checks 50 percent of the time at Frankfurt airport, in a probe by European Commission inspectors, it emerged on Sunday.

Marseille win to ensure top spot at Christmas
France

Marseille win to ensure top spot at Christmas

Marseille will end the year on top of Ligue 1 after beating Lille on Sunday. Marcelo Bielsa's team finish the first half of the season three points ahead of rivals PSG and two ahead of Lyon. Here's a round-up of all the latest action from Ligue 1

Breakfast stumble costs Berlin giraffe her life
Germany

Breakfast stumble costs Berlin giraffe her life

One of Berlin Zoo’s most popular attractions has had to be put down, after tearing a muscle in her leg.

France braces for doctors’ Christmas strike
France

France braces for doctors’ Christmas strike

France is bracing for a major strike over the Christmas period by overworked doctors, including casualty staff and specialists, unhappy about a new health bill.

Driver yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’ rams pedestrians
France

Driver yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’ rams pedestrians

A driver shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest") ploughed into pedestrians in eastern France Sunday, injuring 11 of them, just a day after a man yelling the same words was killed in an attack on police officers.

Icy roads as Swedes head home for Christmas
Sweden

Icy roads as Swedes head home for Christmas

The Swedish weather agency has issued a warning for icy roads across the country as many city-dwellers head out to the countryside for Christmas.

Bomb blasts rock Malmö’s Rosengård
Sweden

Bomb blasts rock Malmö’s Rosengård

Police suspect that a rental dispute is behind a twin explosion which rocked the area around Ramels Väg in the Rosengård area of Malmö over the weekend.