Italians upbeat about health in 2014
Italy

Italians upbeat about health in 2014

Italians are feeling upbeat about their health and can expect to live a long life despite their economic worries, according to the latest government statistics released on Tuesday.

Ten traditions that make an Italian Christmas
Italy

Ten traditions that make an Italian Christmas

Did you know that cannons are fired in Rome to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus, or that Italians ski down the slopes bearing flaming torches each Christmas Eve? For details of these and other festive traditions, check out The Local's list.

Swedish help hotlines ready for festive rush
Sweden

Swedish help hotlines ready for festive rush

Help hotlines across Sweden are preparing themselves for what is typically one of the busiest periods of year.

Hearty Norwegians hit the gym at Christmas
Norway

Hearty Norwegians hit the gym at Christmas

Norwegians have a reputation for being fitness freaks - and many plan to keep up their good habits over Christmas, a new survey shows, with one in five planning to hit the gym.

US radio star buried in Oslo after family row
Norway

US radio star buried in Oslo after family row

American radio legend Casey Kasem was buried last week in Oslo, six months after his death, it has emerged. The burial followed a long and bitter dispute between his widow and his children over the cause of his death.

Will anywhere in France have a white Christmas?
France

Will anywhere in France have a white Christmas?

Those dreaming of a white Christmas in France are unlikely to get what they've been hoping for, but there is one region which could turn into a winter wonderland before the New Year. Here’s France’s weather review for the Christmas period.

Reward offered for €150k homing pigeon
Germany

Reward offered for €150k homing pigeon

A breeder in Düsseldorf has offered a €10,000 reward after thieves stole a homing pigeon worth €150,000 from his aviary.

‘Slave-like’ conditions revealed in car washes
Norway

‘Slave-like’ conditions revealed in car washes

Many workers in Norwegian car washes work in “slave-like” conditions, with illegal activity such as human trafficking and illegal immigration found in 90 percent of establishments, official inspections have shown.

Royal palace restored to glory after €4.5m refit
Germany

Royal palace restored to glory after €4.5m refit

The royal palace of Fredrick the Great in Berlin is to fully reopen to visitors on Boxing Day after a 4.5 million euro refit.

Zlatan peeved with nod for ‘second-best athlete’
Sweden

Zlatan peeved with nod for ‘second-best athlete’

Swedish footballing superstar has expressed his dissatisfaction at being ranked as the second best sports star in Swedish history. "Being second is as good as coming last," he said.

La Scala conductor outburst at fan’s photos
Italy

La Scala conductor outburst at fan’s photos

Conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim has become the latest artist to interrupt a concert to tick off the audience for taking photographs, slamming flash-happy fans at Milan's prestigious opera house as "badly educated".

Bertolt Brecht statue hit with potato salad
Germany

Bertolt Brecht statue hit with potato salad

Bertolt Brecht's statue in front of the Berliner Ensemble theatre was splattered with potato salad by pranksters early on Tuesday morning, in a protest against supposed gentrification of the capital by wealthy southerners.

Pompeii restored with help of artefact thieves
Italy

Pompeii restored with help of artefact thieves

The ruins of Pompeii are being restored with the aid of a most unlikely source – thieves with a conscience who are returning fragments once stolen from the ancient Roman city.

Spanish soprano avoids jail for tax fraud
Spain

Spanish soprano avoids jail for tax fraud

Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé, famous for her 'Barcelona' duet with Freddy Mercury, later used as the official anthem of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, will escape prison after coming to an agreement with Spain’s public prosecutor over tax fraud charges.

France deploys 300 extra soldiers after attacks
France

France deploys 300 extra soldiers after attacks

France has reacted to three shocking attacks on members of the public and police officers by deciding to deploy up to 300 extra soldiers over Christmas.

Christmas cake seized by Italy health police
Italy

Christmas cake seized by Italy health police

Italian police have seized more than 60 tonnes of seasonal pastries and sweets in a nationwide campaign targeting fraudulent food producers ahead of Christmas.

Romanians go hungry as mega-cathedral rises
Sweden

Romanians go hungry as mega-cathedral rises

The EU should demand that Romania meets its membership obligations and prioritizes its destitute people ahead of 'pharaoh-esque' building projects, the Liberal Party's Jenny Sonesson argues.

Stockholm promised a white Christmas
Sweden

Stockholm promised a white Christmas

Sweden's weather agency has predicted a white Christmas for the Swedish capital, with snow expected to fall on Christmas Eve.

UK-bound migrants hide among Christmas trees
France

UK-bound migrants hide among Christmas trees

A group of migrants took advantage of seasonal traditions by hiding in a truck load of Christmas trees in a bid to make it from France to the UK.

‘Cursed’ Christmas Market catches fire
Germany

‘Cursed’ Christmas Market catches fire

A blaze at one of Berlin's biggest Christmas markets has caused locals to wonder if the place is cursed.

‘Don’t be skimpy in rewarding top talent’
Germany

‘Don’t be skimpy in rewarding top talent’

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, Sparsh Sharma talks to Bertram Meyer, one of the four German co-founders of Taulia.

Circus tricked kids with dogs painted as pandas
Italy

Circus tricked kids with dogs painted as pandas

Two painted chow chow dogs posing as pandas have been seized from a circus in northern Italy, after tricking children into handing over cash, police have said.

8 weird ways parliament spends your money
Spain

8 weird ways parliament spends your money

From telegram bills to tapestry touch-ups, the budget for the Spanish parliament is full of surprises once you scratch below the surface.

Severed elk head found in Swedish parking lot
Sweden

Severed elk head found in Swedish parking lot

A severed head of an elk has been found in a parking lot in Ringenäs in western Sweden, the third such find in recent years and which has left locals baffled.

Renzi a target in neo-fascist terrorist plot
Italy

Renzi a target in neo-fascist terrorist plot

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi were to be the targets of deadly terrorism attacks allegedly planned by members of a banned neo-fascist network, police claimed on Monday.

Judges slam Spain’s crumbling courts
Spain

Judges slam Spain’s crumbling courts

Judges and civil servants across the country have criticized the appalling conditions at many Spanish courts, warning that staff are being put at serious risk.

Driver attacks in France spark copycat act fears
France

Driver attacks in France spark copycat act fears

Two frightening incidents in two days of drivers ploughing into pedestrians in France has left authorities fearing there may be more copycat attacks, even if they insist they were not terrorist acts. An emergency government meeting was called on Tuesday.

French GPs strike: What to do if you get sick
France

French GPs strike: What to do if you get sick

Those spending Christmas in France this year might want to baste their turkey with Vitamin C and avoid off-piste skiing as GPs in L'Hexagone begin a weeklong strike on Tuesday. Here's what you should do if you do fall ill.

Terror alert ‘higher than in decades’
Germany

Terror alert ‘higher than in decades’

A leaked government report shows that security authorities believe the threat of a terrorist attack in Germany is higher than at any time since the late 1970s.

Wet, windy, stormy Christmas in store
Germany

Wet, windy, stormy Christmas in store

Those hoping for a traditional white Christmas in Germany are going to be disappointed, with weathermen saying Tuesday the current wet, windy and stormy weather is set to stay.

Terror alert level raised in Vienna
Austria

Terror alert level raised in Vienna

Wiener Linien, which is responsible for public transport, including buses, trams and the subway in Austria's capital city, confirmed on Monday that they have raised the alert level of their internal security system to level 2 (yellow).

Man led police on wild chase before being shot
Denmark

Man led police on wild chase before being shot

The man who was shot and killed by the South Zealand and Lolland-Falster Police on Sunday is a 23-year-old who led police on a dramatic car chase in a stolen car.

’Tis the season … for home break-ins
Denmark

’Tis the season … for home break-ins

Danes’ homes are broken into during the Christmas season at a rate four time higher than normal.

Swedish wolf hunt put on hold after protests
Sweden

Swedish wolf hunt put on hold after protests

The plan to cull eight wolves in the county of Dalarna in central Sweden has been halted following legal challenges from animal conservation groups.

Pope lambasts lust for power within Vatican
Italy

Pope lambasts lust for power within Vatican

Pope Francis lambasted the Vatican's bureaucracy on Monday, saying some within the Church lusted for power and suffered from "spiritual Alzheimer's" in comments likely to outrage his adversaries.

King’s Xmas speech hit by royal fraud case
Spain

King’s Xmas speech hit by royal fraud case

Spain's new King Felipe is to give his first annual Christmas speech on Wednesday but many Spaniards will only be tuning in to find out if says anything about his sister Cristina's upcoming appearance in court in a fraud trial.

Spain enjoys record tourism year in 2014
Spain

Spain enjoys record tourism year in 2014

Spain welcomed a staggering 61.7 million visitors in the first 11 months of 2014, more than all of 2013 combined and already a new annual record for the country.

Swedes keep the faith in Reinfeldt: poll
Sweden

Swedes keep the faith in Reinfeldt: poll

Former Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt remains hugely respected among Swedish voters despite being on the losing side of September's election, with 60 percent expressing confidence in him.

‘Three Wise Men’ fined for not wearing helmets
Spain

‘Three Wise Men’ fined for not wearing helmets

Police in Zaragoza have fined the three kings who rode their motorbikes without wearing helmets while en route to an appearance at a local school.

Shamed Chinese leader’s French villa goes on sale
France

Shamed Chinese leader’s French villa goes on sale

A luxurious villa linked to disgraced former Chinese political heavyweight Bo Xilai has gone on sale for nearly €7 million in France, state media reported Monday.

Italian parliament adopts budget after EU battle
Italy

Italian parliament adopts budget after EU battle

The Italian parliament adopted the government's 2015 budget late on Monday, after the European Union forced Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to redraft the text to rein in the country's deficit.

Merkel to have a chilly Ukraine Christmas
Germany

Merkel to have a chilly Ukraine Christmas

Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany agreed on new peace talks this week on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, Ukrainian President Petro Poroschenko announced on Monday evening.

Anti-Islam demo turnout up – but not by much
Germany

Anti-Islam demo turnout up – but not by much

A record 17,500 protestors turned up in Dresden on Monday night to protest against the supposed Islamification of Germany, according to police figures.

Whale escapes Sweden after five-hour ordeal
Sweden

Whale escapes Sweden after five-hour ordeal

A whale which had got itself stuck in Kungshamn harbour in western Sweden on Monday evening was able to find its way back out to sea after a five-hour struggle.

TripAdvisor fined for fake reviews in Italy
Italy

TripAdvisor fined for fake reviews in Italy

Italy's competition watchdog slapped TripAdvisor with a €500,000 fine on Monday for failing to warn users some of the opinions posted on the popular review website may be fakes.

US fines France’s Alstom $772M in bribery case
France

US fines France’s Alstom $772M in bribery case

French industrial giant Alstom will plead guilty and pay a record $772.3 million penalty in a wide-ranging foreign bribery case, the US Justice Department announced on Monday.

Driver rams Christmas shoppers in France
France

Driver rams Christmas shoppers in France

A driver ploughed into a Christmas market in western France Monday, injuring 10 people before stabbing himself, a day after a similar attack in another French city. The French government has called an emergency crisis meeting.

New photo book shows beauty of Venice
Italy

New photo book shows beauty of Venice

To mark the release of a new photography book on Venice, The Local speaks to editor JoAnn Locktov about falling in love with Italy’s canal city.

Berlin’s FC Union swaps footy for carols
Germany

Berlin’s FC Union swaps footy for carols

The stadium's terraces are packed to capacity with the crowd singing loudly, but there's no match on - floodlit football has been replaced with carols by candlelight.