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Austria

Abusive defrocked priest denied jail appeal

An 81-year-old former priest sentenced to 12 years in prison for sexually and physically abusing at least 24 victims had his sentence confirmed by the Higher Regional Court in Linz on Thursday.

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Switzerland

Ammann back training after Austrian mishap

Switzerland's four-time Olympic ski jumping champion Simon Ammann returned to training on Thursday, just two weeks after suffering a serious head injury in a fall in Austria.

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Switzerland

Top court upholds death sentence — for a dog

Switzerland’s highest court has upheld a death sentence, although it doesn’t apply to a human.

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Denmark

‘The Danish Model? Helena Christensen?’

Ryanair laughed off criticism of its controversial labour practices on Thursday, with commercial manager David O'Brien making out a question about the 'Danish model' referred to 90s catwalk star Helena Christensen.

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Spain

Spanish airport staff announce major strikes

The two main unions at Spanish airport operator AENA on Thursday called 27 strike days between February and August in protest at the partial privatization of the firm.

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Spain

Marriage proposal ends in fatal clifftop fall

A young tourist in Ibiza has died after falling off a 15-metre (50-foot) cliff just moments after her boyfriend proposed to her.

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Denmark

Danish central bank slashes rates again

Denmark's central bank cut its deposit interest rate Thursday for the second time in a week to maintain its currency peg against the euro.

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Germany

Theodor Heuss: modern Germany’s first president

The first President of the post-war Federal Republic of Germany, Theodor Heuss – born on January 31, 1884 – was one of the leading liberal politicians of the Weimar Republic and later helped rehabilitate his nation on the international scene.

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Sweden

World reacts to notorious Swedish spy’s death

News of Stig Bergling's death made global headlines on Thursday, and by the end of the day it was Twitter's 10th most trending topic in the world.

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France

SNCF launches unlimited travel pass

If you haven’t had the chance to explore all of France's little corners, French rail operator SNCF has just released a new travel pass offering unlimited travel for just €60 per month.

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Spain

Spain braces for weekend of wild weather

Many parts of Spain are set for wild weather conditions in coming days with gale force winds, rain and snow all on the cards.

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Italy

Greece to bring anti-austerity battle to Rome

Greece's new left-wing Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis will visit Rome and two other European Union capitals next week to push the government's agenda for a renegotiated deal on its multi billion-euro bailout, his office said on Thursday.

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Sweden

‘Fashion sustainability requires innovation’

This week was Fashion Week in Stockholm - and that means more than catwalks and clothing. The focus needs to be on innovation and how to create sustainable clothing, Swedes say.

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France

France: What you can’t say post-terror attacks

Since the Paris shootings numerous people have been hauled before a judge or spoken to by police for expressing support for the terrorists, often in a drunken state. From an eight-year-old boy to an outspoken comic, here's a look at how they fell foul of the law.

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France

Paris commuters face chaos as strike goes on

UPDATED: Commuters in Paris faced continued travel chaos on Thursday after train drivers on the RER held a wildcat strike following a violent attack on one of their colleagues. Drivers said they will not return to work meaning more bedlam for workers heading home after work.

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Sweden

Stockholm job fair helps immigrant entrepreneurs

One of Sweden's largest job fairs, Bazaren, kicked off in Stockholm on Thursday, with an estimated 10,000 people set to attend the event with a special focus on entrepreneurs. The Local was on hand to survey the scene.

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France

Flu epidemic hits France as jab fails to work

A flu epidemic has taken hold in France after the number of infections increased sharply over the past two weeks and will continue to rise. The spread of the virus has been aided by the inefficiency of this year's flu jab.

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Italy

Milan probes Syrians for international terrorism

Prosecutors in Milan have accused six Syrians of international terrorism and other charges, following a series of violent incidents in northern Italy, national media reported on Thursday.

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Germany

Lower energy costs tank inflation rate

Plummeting energy costs and oil prices have driven Germany's rate of inflation into the red, the federal statistics agency reported on Thursday, though economists aren't ready to start talking deflation just yet.

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Italy

Renzi backs judge to be next Italy president

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Thursday backed a Constitutional Court judge whose brother was slain by the mafia to be Italy's next president.

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Italy

Homeless to get haircut and shave at the Vatican

Homeless people will soon be able to get a free shave and a haircut at the Vatican as part of a papal charity initiative.

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Germany

Poland bridles at German minimum wage

Germany's newly-introduced €8.50 minimum wage is raising hackles at Polish trucking companies, who say they shouldn't have to pay their drivers at that rate for the hours they spend on their western neighbour's roads.

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Norway

Mad cow disease case confirmed in Norway

Norwegian authorities confirmed an "atypical" case of mad cow disease Thursday but said that it posed no risk to public health.

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France

France hit by ‘hysteria’ as police grill 8-year-old

After a school pupil, aged just eight, was reported to police for allegedly praising the Paris gunmen, Human Rights League, a French civil liberties group, tells The Local that France is in danger of giving the terrorists exactly what they wanted.

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Spain

Gravedigger trapped under 200kg tombstone

A young gravedigger in northern Spain was trapped under a gravestone weighing 200kg (440 pounds) when the scaffolding on which he was working collapsed.

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Germany

Life sentences handed out in murder-for-hire

A Berlin judge on Thursday sentenced four people to life sentences in a sordid conspiracy murder case in which a pizza delivery driver was paid €500 to kill a young woman for her life insurance.

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Denmark

UK dance duo Disclosure joins Roskilde line-up

Live electronica phenomenon Disclosure are back in Denmark this summer to headline the Roskilde festival, after a year away that saw the British brothers take a Grammy for best dance act.

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Austria

Saudi Arabia ‘not pleased’ with Austria

Saudi Arabia is reportedly outraged by the debate around a religious dialogue centre it has financed in Vienna, according to diplomatic insiders quoted in Austrian media.

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Sweden

‘Swedish Dads’ project gives surprise snapshot

Sweden is often described as one of the most gender-equal nations in the world, but when Swedish father Johan Bävman started a photo project about being a dad during his paternity leave, he realized his country didn't always match global expectations.

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Spain

Weaker euro to boost UK tourism to Spain

A drop in the value of the euro against pound sterling is expected to lift the number of British tourists visiting Spain this year.

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Italy

Rome defies ban to register gay civil unions

Councillors in Rome have agreed to start registering gay civil unions, despite same-sex relationships having no legal status in Italy.

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Sweden

Christian Democrat party leader quits politics

Göran Hägglund, the leader of one of Sweden's four centre-right opposition Alliance parties has resigned, insisting it had nothing to do with the controversial December Agreement that the Alliance struck with the government.

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Austria

Man jailed for far-right Facebook comments

A 36-year-old man from Lower Austria has received an 18 month conditional prison sentence and been ordered to pay a €500 fine for making far-right statements on Facebook.

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Italy

Giglio island wants €20m over Concordia tragedy

The Italian island of Giglio is seeking at least €20 million in compensation for the damage caused to the island by the sinking of the Costa Concordia.

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Spain

Missing UK man thought to be in Spain

UK police are calling for help in their search for a man who went missing from his home in Derbyshire and who they now believe could be in the Barcelona or Santander areas of Spain.

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Switzerland

Swiss expat population continues to expand

The number of Swiss citizens livening outside Switzerland rose two percent in 2014 from the previous year to almost three-quarters of a million, government figures released on Thursday show.

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Germany

Jobless numbers rise to top 3 million

German jobless numbers rose this month, bringing unemployment up to seven percent, the Federal Labour Agency (BA) reported on Thursday.

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Austria

Almost a third of Austrians are single

Lonely hearts might want to consider dating an Austrian, as almost a third are single, according to a survey which polling institute Marketagent.com carried out on behalf of the online dating agency Parship.at.

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France

France unveils plan to cut police suicides

France’s interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve has unveiled a new plan to tackle the taboo subject of suicides in the police force after a sharp rise in the number of officers taking their own lives.

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Sweden

Top five trends from Stockholm Fashion Week

Stockholm's twice-yearly fashion week wrapped up on Wednesday night, with bare backs, bellbottoms and beige among the top trends spotted by The Local on the catwalks.

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Denmark

Danish ‘date-an-inmate’ site draws thousands

“Date an Inmate”, a Facebook dating page where women can arrange behind-bars romance and even the occasional conjugal visit, has gained more than 10,000 members in the two weeks since it was set up.

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Germany

Frankfurt man loses airport job over Isis links

In a decision announced on Wednesday, a Frankfurt court upheld the dismissal of a man from his job at Frankfurt airport over his close friendship with a foreign citizen with ties to terrorist group Isis.

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Spain

Police smash ‘Pig’s Head’ prostitution ring

Police in Madrid have arrested six men thought to be members of a prostitution ring formerly led by an infamous Romanian clan leader known as 'Pig's Head'.

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Spain

Pyrenean snowfall halves in 60 years

Snow accumulation in the Pyrenees has halved since the 1950s, a new study shows, with some experts saying global temperature is to blame.

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Italy

‘Taking selfies with dead patients was wrong’

An Italian nurse has admitted that taking photographs of herself with dead patients was “wrong” but has denied multiple murder charges in a case which has gripped the country.

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Germany

Cologne Karneval scraps Charlie Hebdo float

Cologne's planned Charlie Hebdo float in its Rosenmontag parade was a false start, after the organising committee scrapped its construction over security concerns.

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France

Nordics outshine French at culinary world cup

Despite the so-called 'world cup for chefs' being held on home soil in Lyon, France failed to pick up the Bocuse d’Or this year as Nordic and American chefs took the podium places.

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Austria

11 years jail for kidnapping at gunpoint

A 28-year-old Slovakian man was sentenced to 11 years in prison in Graz on Wednesday, for an aggravated car-jacking and armed robbery.

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Austria

Police ban left-wing rallies ahead of ball

Police in Vienna are preparing for “higher levels of violence than expected” on Friday as left-wing protesters have promised to disrupt the right-wing Akademikerball which takes place for the third time at Vienna’s imperial Hofburg palace - despite two planned rallies having been banned.

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France

France seeks to bar ‘hated’ US pick-up coach

A petition to stop the controversial US seduction coach and pick-up artist Julien Blanc from coming to France later this year as part of his European tour has already garnered thousands of signatures.

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Switzerland

Property salesman jailed over gambling addiction

A real estate salesman who gambled away and otherwise spent several million francs obtained from client deposits and through other fraudulent means was jailed for five years by a Lausanne court on Wednesday.

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Denmark

Second Danish priest doubts resurrection

A second Danish priest has come forward to admit that she does not believe in the literal truth of either the resurrection of Jesus Christ or the biblical account of the creation.

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Spain

Looted Egyptian treasures seized in Spain

Over 2,200 looted artefacts, many from ancient Egypt, were seized as part of a Europe-wide crackdown that also snared 35 suspected traffickers, Europol announced on Wednesday.

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Norway

Norwegian chef wins world’s top food prize

The world's most prestigious food competition, Bocuse d'Or, has wrapped up in Lyon, France, with a Norwegian talent taking the crown.

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Italy

Proud Parisse confident of Italy rugby revival

Italy captain Sergio Parisse expects his side to more than justify their place in the forthcoming Six Nations Championship following a lacklustre campaign last year.

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Sweden

Feb. 8: The Campana Brothers – Changing the World (Umeå)

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France

French comic festival opens amid tight security

The world's leading comics festival was set to open in France on Thursday under a tight net of security as it dedicated this year's event to the murdered cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo.

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Sweden

Feb. 6: Water Crisis in Iran: The Signs, Causes and Solutions (Stockholm)

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Sweden

Feb. 5: Discussion Group – Social Mechanisms (Linköping)

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Germany

Overnight raids bust up smugglers ring

Federal police arrested 12 people on Wednesday night after a national raid by police broke apart a smuggling ring.

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Italy

Italy artisan crafts guitars for musicians in need

Offer Roberto Ceretti a fortune for one of his coveted hand-made guitars and he'll likely turn you down: the Italian craftsman may be in demand among collectors, but only plies his trade for top musicians in need.

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France

Animals have feelings, French parliament rules

There was a significant victory for animal rights capaigners in France on Wednesday when the country's parliament officially recognised animals as "living, sentient beings" rather than just pieces of "furniture".

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Germany

Anti-euro AfD split over Pegida ties

Germany's upstart anti-euro AfD party will seek to mend a rift among members on whether to forge close ties with an emergent "anti-Islamisation" movement at a congress this weekend.

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Italy

Italy launches search for a new president

Italy's parliament meets on Thursday to begin selecting a new president with the race apparently wide open and much at stake for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who is keen on having a friendly figure installed as head of state.

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Denmark

‘Ryanair don’t get what they’re up against’

Danish air unions are threatening to batter budget airline Ryanair with strikes, as it formally announces a slew of new flights from Copenhagen’s Kastrup airport.

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France

French cops grill 8-year-old for ‘glorifying terror’

France is suffering from a "colective hysteria" in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, according to an Islamaphobia watchdog, after it emerged an eight-year-old boy was grilled by police over comments he made at school allegedly praising the terrorists.

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Italy

AS Roma announce US soccer academy deal

AS Roma on Wednesday announced a partnership with seven American soccer teams with the aim of helping produce a steady stream of elite players with strong links to the Serie A club.

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Sweden

Sony ditches streaming service for Spotify

Swedish music streamer Spotify will provide the soundtrack for Sony devices, the two companies have announced, spelling the end to the streaming music service from the Japanese tech giant that invented the Walkman.

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Sweden

Integration now second biggest voter issue

Education is the top issue for Swedish voters, with integration coming second, in a new poll which also suggests growing concerns about rising Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in Sweden.

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Germany

Court grants kids right to know donor fathers

The Supreme Court (BGH) decided on Wednesday that the children of sperm donors have a right to know who their biological father is at any time.

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Sweden

Sweden wins bronze at food ‘World Cup’

The world's most prestigious food competition, Bocuse d'Or, has wrapped up in Lyon, France, with a top Swedish chef scooping a bronze and a Norwegian talent taking the crown.