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France

Corruption cops question Sarkozy’s best man

A probe into alleged illegal campaign funding linked to a deadly 2002 Pakistan bombing drew closer to Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday, with the French president's best man and a former aide detained.

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Switzerland

US-Swiss tax treaty ratification delayed

Swiss parliamentarians on Wednesday delayed the ratification of a double taxation treaty with the United States, as they await a comprehensive deal with Washington that could prevent future tax
evasion probes.

Ikea blasts linked to extortion scheme
Sweden

Ikea blasts linked to extortion scheme

Officials at Swedish retail giant Ikea have confirmed that the company is the target of a blackmail attempt following a string of blasts and other incidents at Ikea outlets throughout Europe.

Father gets 18 years for killing 7-year-old son
Sweden

Father gets 18 years for killing 7-year-old son

A 53-year-old man who stabbed his 7-year-old son to death in Umeå, in northern Sweden, was convicted on Wednesday to 18 years in prison for murder and unlawful coercion.

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Switzerland

Soldier jailed for saying ‘bonjour’ to superior

A Swiss army soldier who greeted a colonel at the entrance to his barracks in Canton Wallis with a lively morning "bonjour" has been sentenced to four days in prison for his unsuitable greeting. 

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Switzerland

Woman gets 10 years in Swiss child torture case

A 27-year-old Swiss woman has been sentenced to ten years in prison after she killed a 4-year-old girl in a sect-like community in the Zurich highlands ruled with an iron fist by a man who believed he was Jesus.

Swede acquitted in landmark S&M trial
Sweden

Swede acquitted in landmark S&M trial

The Svea Court of Appeal (Hovrätten) on Wednesday acquitted a 33-year-old man charged with assault after violent sex with a teenager, in a case testing the limits of sexual violence permitted in Sweden between consenting partners.

Oktoberfest buzzes with booze and merriment
Germany

Oktoberfest buzzes with booze and merriment

Munich's 178th Oktoberfest is officially in full swing. Beer, dirndls, lederhosen and lots of sausage and pretzels will dominate the Bavarian capital for over a fortnight.

Hugo Boss comes clean on Nazi past
Germany

Hugo Boss comes clean on Nazi past

Fashion firm Hugo Boss, long rumoured to be Adolf Hitler’s favourite tailor, has published a report on its less than laudable record during the Third Reich.

Cabinet approves tax deal on money hidden in Switzerland
Germany

Cabinet approves tax deal on money hidden in Switzerland

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet approved a double-taxation deal with Switzerland on Wednesday, aiming to end a long-standing dispute over tax and banking secrecy.

Court approves Saab’s bankruptcy protection bid
Sweden

Court approves Saab’s bankruptcy protection bid

A Swedish appeals court on Wednesday gave the green light for beleaguered carmaker Saab to reorganise under bankruptcy protection, delaying what had appeared to be the company's imminent demise.

Switzerland and Germany in key tax deal
Switzerland

Switzerland and Germany in key tax deal

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet on Wednesday approved a double-taxation deal with Switzerland that aimed to end a long-standing dispute over tax and banking secrecy.

Swedish hunter fells ‘spectacular’ albino elk
Sweden

Swedish hunter fells ‘spectacular’ albino elk

Mats Broberg of Värmland county in central Sweden recently snagged the ultimate hunting trophy after he felled a massive 280 kilogramme, 15 point, white elk.

US probes Swiss bank ZKB over tax evasion
Switzerland

US probes Swiss bank ZKB over tax evasion

Swiss bank Zürcher Kantonalbank said on Wednesday that it is being investigated by US justice for helping American citizens to evade taxes, local media reported.

Prosecutor seeks Chirac acquittal in graft case
France

Prosecutor seeks Chirac acquittal in graft case

The Paris prosecutor on Tuesday asked for French former president Jacques Chirac and nine other accused to be acquitted in a graft trial relating to his time as Paris mayor.

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Norway

Norwegian football suffers as fans stay away

Rain, a new addiction to "electronic places" and strong competition from Europe are the main reasons Norwegians have abandoned their top-league football, the Eliteserien, judging by a flurry of critical press reports.

UBS board meets as pressure mounts
Switzerland

UBS board meets as pressure mounts

Swiss banking giant UBS began a meeting of its board in Singapore on Wednesday as it faces increasing pressure from shareholders after being hit by a $2.3 billion rogue-trading scandal.

Swedish preschools use GPS to avoid losing kids
Sweden

Swedish preschools use GPS to avoid losing kids

Toddlers adorned with GPS transmitters are becoming an increasingly common sight at Swedish daycares and preschools in an effort to make it easier for staff to find tots who are hiding or have gone astray.

Mozart motivates sewage treatment microbes
Germany

Mozart motivates sewage treatment microbes

Operators of a sewage treatment plant in eastern Germany have saved around €10,000 over the last year – apparently by playing Mozart to their microbes. They are now calling for scientists to come and investigate.

Most Germans unhappy with squabbling government coalition
Germany

Most Germans unhappy with squabbling government coalition

Germans are unhappy with the government, with a full 83 percent saying they are dissatisfied by the poor cooperation between the parties of the governing centre-right coalition according to a poll.

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France

Command post theft leaves army abashed

Police searching a warehouse outside Paris had a shock when they discovered a stolen 6 x 2.5 metre modular army command post.

Ex-politicians cash in on early pensions pay out
Sweden

Ex-politicians cash in on early pensions pay out

During the first half of 2011 more than 450 former local politicians shared a total of 42 million kronor ($6.3 million) in "temporary" early retirement pensions pay out, a study carried out by Sveriges Radio (SR) shows.

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France

NZ media fume over French ‘insult’

New Zealand media blasted France's team as an "insult" and a "farce" on Wednesday claiming they had chosen an experimental line-up to face the mighty All Blacks.

Lagardere and Foret show off ‘his and hers’ tattoos
France

Lagardere and Foret show off ‘his and hers’ tattoos

In another public display of affection, the girlfriend of French businessman Arnaud Lagardère has revealed he and his girlfriend have had tattoos to show their devotion to each other.

Swedish firm launches ‘invisible’ cycle helmet
Sweden

Swedish firm launches ‘invisible’ cycle helmet

Recognising that vain cyclists need a reason other than the risk of serious injury to wear a helmet, a Swedish firm has developed a discreet novel collar that works much like an air-bag, Lina Sennevall reports.

Paris gets tough on trash with new campaign
France

Paris gets tough on trash with new campaign

A new campaign was launched on Wednesday to warn Parisians and tourists they risk a fine if they throw litter or urinate in the street.

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France

Guard killed by gunmen in Paris raid

Masked gunmen disguised as police raided a safe deposit centre near Paris on Wednesday, killing a guard and wounding two others before taking a hostage and shooting at police during their getaway.

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Norway

More cheats should be jailed: tax office

One third of Norwegians feel there's little risk in being caught cheating the tax man, a conference on financial security has heard in Oslo.

Catholics demand reform ahead of pope visit
Germany

Catholics demand reform ahead of pope visit

Pope Benedict XVI faces a clamour for change as he heads to Germany on Thursday for his first state visit, with calls for reform on many fronts – from recognising gays to ordaining women to the priesthood.

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Switzerland

Swiss court orders retrial of Nigerian dictator’s son

Switzerland's highest court on Tuesday ordered a retrial of Abba Abacha, the son of former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, who was charged by Geneva authorities for taking part in a criminal organisation.

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France

Briton dies after Cannes street fight

Three French men are being held following a fight in which a 37-year-old British man was killed in the early hours of Monday morning on the French Riviera.

Spammers abuse T-Online email accounts, blocking normal users
Germany

Spammers abuse T-Online email accounts, blocking normal users

T-Online customers have had their emails rejected after the firm enabled mass mailings – irresistible to spammers whose activities prompted servers around the world to block all T-Online addresses.

Air Berlin to save €200 mln with reduced fleet
Germany

Air Berlin to save €200 mln with reduced fleet

Air Berlin, Germany’s second-largest airline, is announcing dramatic savings plans to improve its results by €200 million a year, by reducing its fleet from the current figure of 170 to 152 by next summer.

‘Vilks was target of Gothenburg attack’
Sweden

‘Vilks was target of Gothenburg attack’

Controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks was the target of a foiled attack at the Röda Sten art gallery in Gothenburg on September 11th, according to a report in the Metro newspaper.

Germany to guarantee Brazilian nuclear plans
Germany

Germany to guarantee Brazilian nuclear plans

The German government is supporting the construction of a nuclear power station in Brazil – in a mountainous coastal region prone to landslides using plans dating back to 1975, it has emerged.

Techno trousers get smart enough to switch off chainsaw in emergency
Germany

Techno trousers get smart enough to switch off chainsaw in emergency

German researchers are field-testing smart trousers which they hope can reduce the risk of chainsaw injuries by being able to tell when a saw is getting too close – and switching it off. Michael Dumiak reports.

Kitty catapulted to Swedish celebrity after drainpipe drama
Sweden

Kitty catapulted to Swedish celebrity after drainpipe drama

A kitten stuck in a water pipe in the Hisingen area of Gothenburg on Tuesday became a nationwide news sensation with media following the ultimately successful efforts of up to five plumbers to save the forlorn feline.

Third union demands Saab bankruptcy
Sweden

Third union demands Saab bankruptcy

IF Metall on Tuesday became the third trade union to ask a court to place cash-strapped carmaker Saab in bankruptcy in order to secure wages for its members.