German shipping traffic blocked as rivers freeze
Germany

German shipping traffic blocked as rivers freeze

A week of record-breaking subzero temperatures has frozen stretches of Germany’s rivers, hindering boat traffic in several places around the country, the shipping authorities reported on Friday.

Russia’s Putin to attend ball for debutantes in Dresden
Germany

Russia’s Putin to attend ball for debutantes in Dresden

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will attend a debutantes' ball next week in the eastern German city of Dresden where he worked for the Soviet spy agency the KGB, the German government said on Friday.

Hoeneß says Podolski set for return to Cologne
Germany

Hoeneß says Podolski set for return to Cologne

Unsettled Bayern Munich forward Lukas Podolski is likely to be sold to his formative club FC Cologne, Bayern's general manager Uli Hoeneß said on Friday.

Doubts cloud Mannichl Nazi stabbing claims
Germany

Doubts cloud Mannichl Nazi stabbing claims

Investigators have found discrepancies in Passau police chief Alois Mannichl’s claim that he was stabbed by a neo-Nazi in mid-December and leads point to a domestic dispute instead, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Friday.

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Germany

Man arrested for murder 31 years later

A 76-year-old German man suspected of the brutal rape and murder of an 86-year-old woman has been arrested on the basis of DNA evidence re-examined more than 31 years after the crime, police said Friday.

Let’s Dance swings into action
Sweden

Let’s Dance swings into action

One of Sweden's most popular television shows has its season premiere on Friday evening, with viewers expected to tune in en masse to watch celebrities shake their stuff on Let's Dance.

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Sweden

Stockholm native faces discrimination in Malmö

A Stockholm-born consultant living in the southern Swedish town of Malmö claims he is being discriminated against due to his Stockholm dialect.

Steinbrück calls for lower entry tax rate
Germany

Steinbrück calls for lower entry tax rate

German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück is mulling a cut in the base income tax rate to 12 percent from 15 percent to help pull Europe's biggest economy out of a deep recession, his spokesman said Friday.

Cops chase bulldog puppy 15 kilometres down autobahn
Germany

Cops chase bulldog puppy 15 kilometres down autobahn

Authorities in the German state of Lower Saxony chased a bulldog puppy some 15 kilometres along the autobahn before capturing and safely returning the rambunctious dog to its owner, Oldenburg police said on Friday.

Happy birthday Heiner Müller
Germany

Happy birthday Heiner Müller

The eastern German dramatist Heiner Müller was born eighty years ago on Friday. As the cultural establishment salutes his legend, Daniel Miller questions his legacy.

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Sweden

Driver loses control: bus smashes 11 cars

An out of control bus rammed into ten cars and a minibus in downtown Borås in western Sweden on Friday, sending four people to hospital with minor injuries.

Sixteen charged for brazen postal heist
Sweden

Sixteen charged for brazen postal heist

Prosecutors on Friday indicted 16 people in Gothenburg District Court for their role in the audacious robbery of a postal depot near the city’s central train station in January 2008.

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Sweden

Swedes headed home following Gaza escape

Twelve Swedes who managed to get out of Gaza are now in the Jordanian capital of Amman and will be headed back to Sweden on Friday evening.

Commerzbank shares slammed by government bailout
Germany

Commerzbank shares slammed by government bailout

German markets emerged from shell-shock Friday following news the state will take a 25 percent stake in the second biggest bank, Commerzbank, so it can manage a costly takeover of the troubled Dresdner Bank.

Turkish Karneval club was a TV spoof
Germany

Turkish Karneval club was a TV spoof

News this week that the first Turkish Karneval club had been founded in Cologne with the aim of making the wild and boozy festivities a more civilised matter befitting Muslims has turned out to be a TV spoof, broadcaster RTL revealed on Friday.

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Sweden

‘Our three million members do not want us to sell wine’

Wine merchant Mark Majzner is angered by his treatment at the hands of Sweden's powerful cooperative union after a lucrative deal fell through at the eleventh hour.

June date set for immigrant ID cards
Sweden

June date set for immigrant ID cards

Immigrants to Sweden will likely have to wait at least another six months before being able to receive Swedish national identification cards from the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket).

Steinmeier heads to Egypt for Gaza talks
Germany

Steinmeier heads to Egypt for Gaza talks

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he would travel to the Middle East on Friday for talks on ending the bloodshed in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Financial crisis to ‘peter out’ in 2009: Riksbank
Sweden

Financial crisis to ‘peter out’ in 2009: Riksbank

Sweden's economy is set to rediscover its growth trend in 2010 as the ongoing financial crisis tails off in 2009, according to a new prognosis from the country's central bank.

Alcohol ruled out in Althaus ski crash
Germany

Alcohol ruled out in Althaus ski crash

Investigators on Friday said they have ruled out alcohol in the deadly ski collision that seriously injured Thuringia’s state premier Dieter Althaus and killed a Slovakian woman on New Year’s Day in Austria.

German UN troops a possibility in Gaza
Germany

German UN troops a possibility in Gaza

A high-ranking Foreign Ministry official on Friday said Berlin would consider sending German UN troops to the Gaza Strip to help quell the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Integration minister rejects including ethnicity in crime stats
Germany

Integration minister rejects including ethnicity in crime stats

Germany's commissioner for integration, Maria Böhmer, has rejected calls to include the ethnic background of criminals in police statistics by her own conservatives, daily Frankfurter Rundschau reported on Friday.

Retail sales sank in 2008
Germany

Retail sales sank in 2008

German retail sales probably contracted last year on a so-called real, or adjusted basis, the national statistics office said on Friday, after releasing provisional data for the month of November.

Soldier jailed for leaving baby to die in barracks
Germany

Soldier jailed for leaving baby to die in barracks

A German soldier was jailed Thursday for leaving her newborn daughter to die after giving birth at army barracks toilet while allegedly unaware she was pregnant.

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Sweden

Swedish town struggles to bury its dead

A controversy has erupted in Kristianstad in southern Sweden over responsibility for the handling of corpses, resulting in an overflow at the central hospital’s morgue.

Swedish researchers awarded grant from actor Michael J. Fox
Sweden

Swedish researchers awarded grant from actor Michael J. Fox

Swedish-American biopharmaceutical company ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. has received an $830,000 grant from the foundation started by actor Michael J. Fox to support research into Parkinson’s disease.

GM denies problems selling Saab brand
Sweden

GM denies problems selling Saab brand

Saab Automobile owner General Motors on Thursday rejected reports it was having trouble finding any buyers interested in acquiring the troubled Swedish car brand.