Norway hones armed forces for Russia threat
Norway

Norway hones armed forces for Russia threat

Norway is restructuring its armed forces to respond faster to possible Russian aggression, the country’s defence minister told the Guardian on a visit to London on Wednesday.

Amnesty slams Swiss for human rights violations
Switzerland

Amnesty slams Swiss for human rights violations

Amnesty International slammed Switzerland on Wednesday for ill treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, inhumane conditions for inmates of a Geneva prison and inadequate measures against racial discrimination.

Lego CEO has ‘awesome’ reaction to record year
Denmark

Lego CEO has ‘awesome’ reaction to record year

In 2014, Lego overtook Mattel as the world's largest toy company, had a Hollywood smash hit and become the world's most powerful brand. No wonder CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp broke into a song-and-dance routine on Wednesday.

Utøya to host first youth camp since 2011 attack
Norway

Utøya to host first youth camp since 2011 attack

Norway’s Labour Party Youth League (AUF) on Wednesday outlined its plans for the first annual summer camp on the island of Utøya since 2011, when mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik unleashed a brutal gun massacre at the event, killing 69 people.

Measles threatens a comeback across Europe
Austria

Measles threatens a comeback across Europe

Just a few days after it was reported that nearly 50 measles cases have been confirmed in Austria, the World Health Organization calls it "unacceptable" that the childhood disease is currently making a comeback in Europe.

WHO calls on Europeans to vaccinate their kids
Denmark

WHO calls on Europeans to vaccinate their kids

Just days after a second measles case was confirmed in the Copenhagen area, the World Health Organization calls it "unacceptable" that measles are currently making a comeback in Europe.

New Austrian law ‘combats Islamization’
Austria

New Austrian law ‘combats Islamization’

Austria's parliament has passed a law banning foreign sources of financing to Muslim organisations and requiring imams to be able to speak German, in a move closely watched by other European nations facing growing problems with radical Islam.

France reveals plan to fight Muslim extremism
France

France reveals plan to fight Muslim extremism

France unveiled a series of new measures on Wednesday aimed at increasing security for the country's Muslim population and forging closer links with the community. From surveillance to training imams, here's a breakdown of the new action plan.

Nine ways landlords and tenants fell out
Germany

Nine ways landlords and tenants fell out

As Wednesday finally brought some good news for Germany's often downtrodden flat tenants - rent caps and release from estate agent fees - we recap on a few oddities that have marked and marred rental relations in recent years.

Court bans Catalan independence vote
Spain

Court bans Catalan independence vote

Spain's Constitutional Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled that a referendum on secession called by the wealthy northeastern region of Catalonia in November was illegal, confirming an earlier decision to temporarily suspend the vote.

Brooms up! Quidditch casts its spell over Spain
Spain

Brooms up! Quidditch casts its spell over Spain

Just when you thought Harry Potter fever had well and truly died down, students in Spain are breathing life into a sport that many thought could never leave the pages of the bestselling books.

EU gives France until 2017 to fix finances
France

EU gives France until 2017 to fix finances

France avoided on Wednesday the embarrassment of being fined by Brussels for its budget deficit, with the EU announcing it would give Paris until 2017 to get its finances in order.

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France

How can France stop the attack of the drones?

Mysterious drones flying over Paris have left authorities baffled and apparently unable to capture the machines and track down who is controlling them. But is there a safe solution out there to help police?

France and its shocking rate of pregnant smokers
France

France and its shocking rate of pregnant smokers

Almost one in five French women will continue to smoke throughout their pregnancy, new figures show, prompting the health ministry to announce a new crackdown to get France's pregnant smokers to stub out the habit.

‘Fish mafia’ jailed over ‘sandwich war’
Germany

‘Fish mafia’ jailed over ‘sandwich war’

Two men have been sentenced to jail after taking part in a so-called 'fish sandwich war' in north Germany, which saw organized criminals battling for the right to sell tourists delicious seaside snacks.

Kerry to address UN rights council in Geneva
Switzerland

Kerry to address UN rights council in Geneva

US Secretary of State John Kerry will address the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next week, the UN said on Wednesday, confirming that he will be in Switzerland as new Iran nuclear talks kick off.

Italian teen gets titanium pelvis in world first
Italy

Italian teen gets titanium pelvis in world first

An Italian teenager suffering from bone cancer has had half his pelvis replaced by a titanium transplant in what medics at Turin's university hospital centre said on Wednesday was a world first.

Swedish Syria prisoner is back on home soil
Sweden

Swedish Syria prisoner is back on home soil

Joakim Medin, the Swedish freelance journalist who was put into solitary confinement by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is back in Sweden after being released over the weekend.

Merkel talks refugees, Ukraine with Swedish PM
Germany

Merkel talks refugees, Ukraine with Swedish PM

Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in Berlin on Wednesday for talks on the two countries' shared migration and integration concerns. Between them, Germany and Sweden take in more asylum seekers from Syria than the rest of the EU combined.

Sweden and Germany share asylum concerns
Sweden

Sweden and Germany share asylum concerns

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven met Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Wednesday to hold talks on migration and integration concerns shared by the two countries, which currently take in more asylum seekers from Syria than the rest of the EU combined.

Ex-lawyer jailed again for Holocaust denial
Germany

Ex-lawyer jailed again for Holocaust denial

A Munich court on Wednesday sentenced a previously convicted Holocaust denier and ex-lawyer to a second jail term, after she publicly declared that there had been no organized genocide of the Jews under Adolf Hitler.

Taking the sharing economy on the road
Denmark

Taking the sharing economy on the road

In our ongoing feature series, The Local looks into a successful entrepreneur's life - the story behind their success, major challenges and how being an entrepreneur changed them forever. This week, we talk to Søren Riis, the co-founder of GoMore and an associate professor of philosophy at Roskilde University.

Amnesty slams Denmark for refugee restrictions
Denmark

Amnesty slams Denmark for refugee restrictions

Amnesty International criticized Denmark in its annual report for its failure to investigate unlawful surveillance practices and for placing restrictions on Syrian asylum seekers.

Amnesty scolds France over Roma policy again
France

Amnesty scolds France over Roma policy again

France's treatment of its Roma community has once again come under fire in a new report from Amnesty International, which also takes aim at authorities for biased investigations into allegations of police violence.

Telefonica profits plummet a third in 2014
Spain

Telefonica profits plummet a third in 2014

Spain's Telefonica on Wednesday reported a 34.7 percent plunge in profits to €3.0 billion euros ($3.4 billion) in 2014, citing Venezuela's economic crisis and other exceptional costs.

Amnesty slams Spain for migrant care in enclaves
Spain

Amnesty slams Spain for migrant care in enclaves

Amnesty International slammed Spain for its unlawful treatment of migrants and asylum seekers seeking to cross into the country through the north African enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta.

British teen survives dangerous ski selfie
Austria

British teen survives dangerous ski selfie

A British teenager had a stroke of luck when he survived a 500 metre fall after plunging over the edge of an Austrian mountain while posing for a selfie.

‘I didn’t go to Syria because I was a Muslim’
Norway

‘I didn’t go to Syria because I was a Muslim’

A Norwegian on trial for fighting with the banned terror group Isis, has told an Oslo court that he went to Syria out of of anger at the “injustice” of the Assad regime, and that it had “nothing to do with becoming a Muslim”.

Sweden rapped for ‘too white’ company boards
Sweden

Sweden rapped for ‘too white’ company boards

The ten largest listed companies in Sweden are being criticised for failing to display diversity on company boards, with just eleven out of ninety top staff having a non-European background according to the latest figures.

Denmark’s bestiality ban moves forward
Denmark

Denmark’s bestiality ban moves forward

“It’s important that Denmark is not viewed as a country where sexual relations with animals are allowed,” an opposition spokesman said as a law banning animal sex began its way through parliament.

Amnesty slams Austria’s treatment of prisoners
Austria

Amnesty slams Austria’s treatment of prisoners

Amnesty International criticized Austria on Wednesday for allowing the chronic neglect of detainees in preventive detention, and also highlighted a lack of legal advice and inadequate care for asylum seekers.

US party after surprise ski cup win in Sweden
Sweden

US party after surprise ski cup win in Sweden

The Ski World Cup held in Sweden has created a buzz on the other side of the pond. A flurry of congratulations has been pouring in on social media after two American skiers historically took to the podium alongside Swedish champion Charlotte Kalla.

Eta fugitive on run for 15 years arrested in Rome

Eta fugitive on run for 15 years arrested in Rome

An Eta terrorist sentenced to 16 years in prison has been arrested in Rome, after being on the run since 2000, Spain’s Interior Ministry has announced.

French are EU’s least likely social networkers
France

French are EU’s least likely social networkers

The French are the least connected to social networks in all of Europe, according to a new EU survey released this week, and they are not into reading news online either.

Gerbils not rats caused Black Death: Oslo Uni
Norway

Gerbils not rats caused Black Death: Oslo Uni

Forget what you learnt in school: rats were not to blame for the Bubonic Plague that wiped out a third of Europe’s population in the 1300s and then struck regularly for 400 years. The real culprit, according to a University of Oslo study, is the gerbil.

Dutch firm offers to restore Rome after riot
Italy

Dutch firm offers to restore Rome after riot

A Dutch restoration company has offered to help Rome with repairs after fans of Feyenoord football club wrecked havoc in the capital last week.

Poll: Majority fear radicalization of Muslims
Austria

Poll: Majority fear radicalization of Muslims

The majority of Austrians feel that an increasing number of Muslims are becoming radicalized in their country and want to see more police on the streets, according to a new survey from market research company ÖGM.

Amnesty slams Italy for migrant care
Italy

Amnesty slams Italy for migrant care

Amnesty International on Wednesday criticized Italy for its handling of the influx of boat migrants, while also reprimanding the government for discriminating against the Roma community.

Attacks on train staff surge by 25 percent
Germany

Attacks on train staff surge by 25 percent

Attacks on train staff increased by 25 percent in 2014, rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) said on Wednesday, although there were fewer cases of violence against passengers.

Islam teacher reinstated after ‘Paris comments’
Austria

Islam teacher reinstated after ‘Paris comments’

An Islamic studies teacher from Graz who was suspended by the board of education after allegedly defending the Paris shootings to his pupils has been told he can teach again - as there was insufficient evidence he ever made the statements.

Treasure hunter faces embezzlement charges
Germany

Treasure hunter faces embezzlement charges

A man who struck gold when he dug up an ancient "barbarian treasure" was in the dock on Wednesday on charges of embezzlement for not reporting the find.

Homeless man to get Vatican burial
Italy

Homeless man to get Vatican burial

A dead homeless man will have the rare honour of being buried in the Teutonic cemetery at the Vatican after Pope Francis gave his permission, according to Italian media reports.

Party for tenants as coalition agrees rent cap
Germany

Party for tenants as coalition agrees rent cap

Amid growing housing shortages, the parties of Germany's coalition government have settled a long-running dispute around new draft legislation on rent increases and estate agents' fees.

VIDEO: Paris by drone – banned but beautiful
France

VIDEO: Paris by drone – banned but beautiful

While police in Paris are trying to solve the mystery of who is flying drones over specific landmarks in the capital, a quick search on the internet reveals it's not the first time the unmanned aircraft have taken to the skies over the City of Light.

Many cigarette brands set to raise prices
Austria

Many cigarette brands set to raise prices

Smokers in Austria will have to dig a little deeper into their pockets next week with the price of most cigarettes due to increase.

Julian Assange launches ‘final’ arrest appeal
Sweden

Julian Assange launches ‘final’ arrest appeal

UPDATED: The Wikileaks founder's lawyers have asked Sweden's Supreme Court to throw out the European arrest warrant against him, on the grounds that his freedoms have been unreasonably restricted since he sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Bremen MPs want €1,900 chairs for ‘backache’
Germany

Bremen MPs want €1,900 chairs for ‘backache’

Bremen's MPs want new seats. Not the kind secured by elections, but ergonomic, colour-coordinated models costing some €1,900 each. That price tag doesn't sit well with voters in the financially struggling state.

Germans charge Danish imam for anti-Jew threats
Denmark

Germans charge Danish imam for anti-Jew threats

An imam from the controversial Grimhøj Mosque in Aarhus faces charges in Germany for leading a prayer in Berlin in which he called for the death of "Zionist Jews".

Swiss and French police seek two ‘homejackers’
Switzerland

Swiss and French police seek two ‘homejackers’

An international police hunt is under way for two criminals who held hostage the family of a security guard who works for a currency exchange outlet in Geneva but lives in neighbouring France.

Yemen: Hollande urges release of French woman
France

Yemen: Hollande urges release of French woman

UPDATED: A French woman working for an international organization in the Yemeni capital Sanaa was kidnapped on Tuesday morning, the Foreign Ministry said. It comes after France had urged its nationals to leave the country earlier this month.

Speaker played Candy Crush during PM address
Spain

Speaker played Candy Crush during PM address

While in the speaker´s chair Celia Villalobos was caught on camera appearing to play Candy Crush during the Prime Minister's speech at Tuesday's state of the nation debate.

Sound and light to mark Waterloo bicentenary
France

Sound and light to mark Waterloo bicentenary

The battlefields of Waterloo in Belgium will resonate to a huge sound-and-light show on June 18th to mark the 200th anniversary of Napoleon's defeat at the hands of British and Prussian forces, organizers have announced.

Austrian pioneers mind-controlled bionic hand
Austria

Austrian pioneers mind-controlled bionic hand

A Viennese surgeon and team of engineers have devised a mind-controlled bionic hand that restores function almost as well as a flesh-and-blood transplant, but without the risk of rejection, a research paper said Wednesday.

Juve move closer to Champions League glory
Italy

Juve move closer to Champions League glory

Carlos Tevez and Alvaro Morata struck for Juventus as the Italian champions secured a 2-1 Champions League last 16 first leg win over Borussia Dortmund in Turin on Tuesday.

Italy among EU’s worst ‘digital’ nations
Italy

Italy among EU’s worst ‘digital’ nations

With slow and inconsistent internet connection being the bane of many peoples' lives in Italy, it will probably come as no surprise that the country is the fourth worst in the EU for 'digital performance'.

Parma’s dream days turn into nightmares
Italy

Parma’s dream days turn into nightmares

In the 1990s Parma threatened to upset the established order in Italy by winning four European trophies and finishing second in Serie A, but now they are staring into the abyss.

Police raid Luxembourg banks and lawyers
Germany

Police raid Luxembourg banks and lawyers

A newly-created police unit in Düsseldorf has spent months investigating Luxembourg banks and their German subsidiaries on suspicion of helping clients evade tax and launder money, triggering a wave of raids on Tuesday.

Danish intelligence to get more power than NSA
Denmark

Danish intelligence to get more power than NSA

As part of the government's new counter-terror measures, the Danish Defence Intelligence Service is given the ability to conduct surveillance on citizens abroad without a court order – something that not even the NSA or GCHQ can do.

‘Spain has achieved the impossible,’ insists Rajoy
Spain

‘Spain has achieved the impossible,’ insists Rajoy

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy defended his record during a key debate in parliament on Tuesday ahead of a series of elections in which he anti-austerity Podemos party is tipped for strong gains.

Black is back as Milan Fashion Week opens
Italy

Black is back as Milan Fashion Week opens

Forget rainbow knits and ruby galoshes. All the signs are that black is back in a big way as Milan fashion week kicks off on Wednesday.

More unidentified drones seen flying over Paris
France

More unidentified drones seen flying over Paris

Unidentified drones flew over Paris for a second night in a row, police said on Wednesday in the latest mystery appearance of unmanned aircraft over major sites in France.

Twenty beggars evicted from Stockholm streets
Sweden

Twenty beggars evicted from Stockholm streets

Swedish police turned away dozens of rough sleepers from central areas of the capital for the second time this month on Wednesday morning, amid calls to give greater eviction powers to local authorities.

French rugby team in 1980s ‘pumped on drugs’
France

French rugby team in 1980s ‘pumped on drugs’

France's national rugby union team was a vast consumer of amphetamines in the 1980s including in a famous win over the All Blacks, according to a new book.

Eight surprising Swedish celebrity sweethearts
Sweden

Eight surprising Swedish celebrity sweethearts

Following a week of romance, as two former politicians' revelations about their new sweethearts took Sweden's gossip scene by surprise, The Local has listed eight of the most unlikely Swedish couples.

Schäuble starts selling Greek deal to MPs
Germany

Schäuble starts selling Greek deal to MPs

UPDATE: Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble stressed Wednesday that Greece, having won breathing space in its debt talks, will not receive "a single euro" until it meets the pledges of its existing bail-out programme. He must convince sceptics in his own party of the Greeks' credibility before a Bundestag vote on Friday.

007 gets licence to eat in Rome
Italy

007 gets licence to eat in Rome

Daniel Craig has been taking advantage of new James Bond movie, Spectre, being shot in Rome to sample the local cuisine in between high-speed car chases around the Eternal City.

US returns stolen artwork to Italy
Italy

US returns stolen artwork to Italy

US authorities on Tuesday handed back to Italy an 18th century painting and ancient Etruscan bronze statuette at a ceremony in New York, decades after they were stolen.

Oil slump hits Norway consumer confidence
Norway

Oil slump hits Norway consumer confidence

Norwegians expect the country to struggle financially this year according to the latest survey by Finance Norway, as the slump in the oil price brings consumer confidence to its lowest point since the 2008 financial crisis.

Blowup Jacuzzis pose risk of electrocution
Switzerland

Blowup Jacuzzis pose risk of electrocution

Migros, Switzerland’s biggest retailer, said on Tuesday that it is recalling a range of inflatable Jacuzzis because they pose a risk of electrocuting users.

Claims Swedish PM will not end Saudi arms deal
Sweden

Claims Swedish PM will not end Saudi arms deal

Swedish ministers have agreed not to end a controversial military arms deal with Saudi Arabia, according to newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, which claims the reason is that Sweden does not want to risk a place on the UN Security Council.

More Swedes want to have a sex change
Sweden

More Swedes want to have a sex change

More and more Swedes want to change their sex. A new law and fewer taboos convinced around 600 people to visit the country's six surgeries last year.