What’s on in Germany: January 13 – 19
Germany

What’s on in Germany: January 13 – 19

This Week's Highlights: Berlin hosts a Japanese festival, Cologne celebrates design and Frankfurt resounds with Italian arias.

Schäuble: Hike lending capacity of euro fund
Germany

Schäuble: Hike lending capacity of euro fund

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said on Thursday that the lending capacity of the euro crisis mechanism should be increased, but that the overall size of the fund should remain steady.

Wolf hunt set to proceed despite EU complaints
Sweden

Wolf hunt set to proceed despite EU complaints

Despite looming legal action from the European Commission and complaints about the size of the quota, 6,500 Swedish hunters are set to go after 20 wolves in Sweden's second annual wolf hunt.

Taxman eyes Swedish online poker star
Sweden

Taxman eyes Swedish online poker star

A Swedish high-stakes poker player has made his identity public after successfully playing under online moniker for over a year, and may now risk a hefty Swedish tax bill.

Banks to display extra ATM fees
Germany

Banks to display extra ATM fees

Starting Friday at midnight, cash machines in Germany will display the extra fees customers of rival banks are charged when making withdrawals, allowing them to abort the transaction.

Gambling firm takes bets on Swedish train delays
Sweden

Gambling firm takes bets on Swedish train delays

Nearly a third of passenger trains in Sweden were delayed in December, according to the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) on Thursday, as a betting company announced it will start calculating the odds on train delays.

Nazi-hunters give Germany top grades
Germany

Nazi-hunters give Germany top grades

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has for the first time awarded Germany full marks in its annual "report card" on investigation and prosecution of war criminals, it said on Thursday.

Swedish landlord to pay tenants who tattle on smoking neighbours
Sweden

Swedish landlord to pay tenants who tattle on smoking neighbours

A plan by a landlord in northern Sweden to pay tenants to report neighbours who violate a building's no-smoking policy and then evict offenders has been slammed by a tenants rights group.

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Germany

Porn star suffers heart attack during breast enlargement

Police are investigating a Hamburg plastic surgery clinic after a German porn actress named “Sexy Cora,” made famous by the TV show Big Brother, suffered a heart attack during a breast enhancement operation.

Swedish TV licence fees contribute to better society
Sweden

Swedish TV licence fees contribute to better society

Sweden's television and radio licence fee system may appear confusing to new arrivals to the country, especially to those who come from countries that collect revenue for public broadcasting through taxation.

Commerzbank to boost capital
Germany

Commerzbank to boost capital

Commerzbank, the second-biggest German bank, said on Thursday it would raise its capital by 10 percent to strengthen core capital in line with tougher international regulations.

European court rules preventive detention of sex offenders unjust
Germany

European court rules preventive detention of sex offenders unjust

The European Court of Human Rights delivered another blow to Germany’s controversial “preventive detention” system on Thursday, ruling that four convicted sex offenders’ rights to freedom have been breached.

Larsson partner: ‘I can finish Millennium series’
Sweden

Larsson partner: ‘I can finish Millennium series’

Eva Gabrielsson, the longtime partner of Swedish author Stieg Larsson, as said she could complete the unfinished fourth volume of the wildly-successful Millennium crime trilogy if she could secure the rights.

Lower Saxony hopes song contest will give voice to Plattdeutsch
Germany

Lower Saxony hopes song contest will give voice to Plattdeutsch

The Culture Ministry of Lower Saxony has launched a song competition to promote Low German, or Plattdeutsch, in a bid to keep the regional language alive among younger people.

Housing costs cause Swedish inflation spike
Sweden

Housing costs cause Swedish inflation spike

A substantial increase in housing costs and higher prices for electricity and food raised Sweden's inflation rate to the unexpectedly high level of 2.3 percent in December, exceeding the central bank's, the Riksbank's, target.

Citizenship for Iraqi informant ‘Curveball’ sparks questions
Germany

Citizenship for Iraqi informant ‘Curveball’ sparks questions

The German naturalization of the notorious Iraqi informant “Curveball,” who provided false intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons programme prior to the US-led invasion, has sparked a flurry of questions in the state of Baden-Württemberg.

Terror suspect a ‘normal Muslim’: wife
Sweden

Terror suspect a ‘normal Muslim’: wife

The 37-year-old man being held in Sweden on suspicions of plotting a terror attack on a Danish newspaper is a "normal Muslim," his wife has told a Swedish newspaper on Thursday.

Sweden looks to combat Islamophobia
Sweden

Sweden looks to combat Islamophobia

Sweden’s integration minister Erik Ullenhag is meeting on Thursday with representatives from the Swedish Muslim community to develop a strategy for combating Islamophobia in the wake of the Stockholm suicide bombing.

The key to hiring and firing in Sweden
Sweden

The key to hiring and firing in Sweden

Sweden has a reputation for strong unions and generous labour laws. Now a course has been specially designed to help foreign managers in Sweden weave their way through the maze of regulation.

Middle-aged Swedes take more mortgage rate risks
Sweden

Middle-aged Swedes take more mortgage rate risks

Middle-aged Swedes take more interest rate risks than both their younger and older counterparts, a new study conducted by state-owned mortgage lender SBAB revealed on Thursday.

Ship with acid capsizes near the Loreley
Germany

Ship with acid capsizes near the Loreley

A tanker ship carrying 2,400 tonnes of sulphuric acid has capsized on the Rhine River near the rocky point known as the Loreley. Two crew members are missing.

Firm develops internet ‘eraser’ for web photos
Germany

Firm develops internet ‘eraser’ for web photos

A German firm is poised to launch software allowing users to have photos uploaded to websites such as Facebook, MySpace and Flickr erased automatically after a certain time.

Sweden’s Söderling gears up for Aussie Open
Sweden

Sweden’s Söderling gears up for Aussie Open

Sweden's Robin Söderling is poised to make a major breakthrough at the upcoming Australian Open, which begins on Sunday local time, despite a woeful record at the season's first major.

Leftists fear becoming ‘attractive as a cow pie’
Germany

Leftists fear becoming ‘attractive as a cow pie’

Coming on the heels of an unwanted debate about communism, the embattled leader of The Left has rejected criticism of his supposedly opulent lifestyle, saying the socialist party was in danger of becoming “as attractive as a cow pie.”