Audit: ‘serious problems’ in Swedish legal system
Sweden

Audit: ‘serious problems’ in Swedish legal system

Sweden's legal system is plagued by serious shortcomings, according to a new report, which argues that a lack of coordination between different agencies as well as “weak” government management are to blame for long clearing times for criminal cases.

Trio share ‘Norwegian of the year’ award
Norway

Trio share ‘Norwegian of the year’ award

An Utøya massacre survivor, a heroic tourist, and an environmental activist have been jointly awarded the "Norwegian of the Year" prize for 2011.

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France

‘Islam compatible with democracy’ – Juppé

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé argued on Thursday that Islam and democracy are not incompatible, insisting that the Arab Spring, which has already toppled three dictators, should open the way to political pluralism.

Berlin hails ‘turning point’ in Afghan war
Germany

Berlin hails ‘turning point’ in Afghan war

During a Bundestag debate on the German army’s future mission in Afghanistan Thursday, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said a planned draw-down of troops heralded a “turning point” in the ten-year NATO-led war in Afghanistan.

President Wulff ‘regrets’ omitting private loan
Germany

President Wulff ‘regrets’ omitting private loan

German President Christian Wulff has expressed “regret” for neglecting to mention a 2008 loan he received from a businessman’s wife in a statement to the Lower Saxony state parliament last year.

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Sweden

Club’s ‘naked bottoms’ divide Swedish village

A small village near the ski resort Åre, in northern Sweden, is in two camps over plans to convert a traditional country inn, located between the church and the cemetery, into a strip club.

Top sports court backs UEFA over FC Sion ban
Switzerland

Top sports court backs UEFA over FC Sion ban

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday upheld a decision by football's European ruling body UEFA to refuse FC Sion re-entry to the Europa League after the Swiss club breached player
recruitment rules.

Swiss search for German idols on Google
Switzerland

Swiss search for German idols on Google

The fastest-growing search term in 2011 in Switzerland was 'DSDS', the German version of 'American Idol', according to statistics released by search engine giant Google.

Clamour for SVP renewal after cabinet failure
Switzerland

Clamour for SVP renewal after cabinet failure

The far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP) only has itself to blame for its failure to secure a second seat on the Federal Council , according to a near unanimous national press.

Swedes churn a profit from Norway butter crisis
Sweden

Swedes churn a profit from Norway butter crisis

Enterprising Swedes are looking to capitalize on Norway's ongoing butter shortage by offering the sought-after spread on popular buy-and-sell websites, with one seller hoping to score a Gibson guitar in exchange for a pack of margarine.

Truck drops 146-tonne crane on road
Germany

Truck drops 146-tonne crane on road

The base of a crane, weighing a massive 146 tonnes, fell off the back of a flatbed truck en route to the Airbus base near Hamburg early Thursday morning. The accident caused considerable damage to the road and destroying the vehicle escorting it, but no-one was injured.

Sweden earmarks billions for elderly care boost
Sweden

Sweden earmarks billions for elderly care boost

In the wake of a series of elderly care scandals in Sweden where one negligence allegation followed the next, the government on Thursday pledged to invest 4.3 billion kronor ($617 million) over the next few years to ”develop care for the most vulnerable elderly”.

Springsteen could play terror island gig: report
Norway

Springsteen could play terror island gig: report

Legendary musician Bruce Springsteen may be in line to play a concert next summer on the island of Utøya to mark the first anniversary of the July 22nd massacre there, sources have said.

Berlin’s entire S-Bahn train network shuts down
Germany

Berlin’s entire S-Bahn train network shuts down

The German capital’s entire commuter train system broke down on Thursday afternoon, leaving thousands stuck in trains on the tracks. The Berlin authorities do not suspect an attack behind the S-Bahn malfunction.

French bank chief: downgrade Brits first
France

French bank chief: downgrade Brits first

The head of the French central bank criticised the British economy on Thursday, arguing that ratings agencies are targeting the wrong country for a debt downgrade.

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France

Brits should be downgraded before France – bank chief

The head of the French central bank criticised the British economy on Thursday, arguing that ratings agencies are targeting the wrong country for a debt downgrade.

French blockbuster star snubs Sarkozy
France

French blockbuster star snubs Sarkozy

French actor Omar Sy, co-star in the French blockbuster "Intouchables", has declined to meet President Nicolas Sarkozy for lunch. Officially, Sy was shooting a film on poor Parisian suburbs.

Plank-wielding bank robber takes €3
Germany

Plank-wielding bank robber takes €3

A man was charged with armed robbery in Berlin after he demanded three euros from a bank cashier while holding a piece of wood.

Norwegians step up online butter search
Norway

Norwegians step up online butter search

The Norwegian word for ‘butter’ has lately become the most searched for term on a popular buy-and-sell website, as an acute shortage of the desirable dairy product threatens to give Christmas a bad taste.

Commerzbank execs face money laundering charge
Germany

Commerzbank execs face money laundering charge

Frankfurt prosecutors have filed charges against five men – four of whom are current or former Commerzbank executives – for their involvement in an alleged money laundering case with Russian connections more than a decade ago.

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Sweden

Prison for dad who made girl fake mental illness

A 46-year-old father who forced his young daughter to pretend she had a mental illness in order to cash in on assistance benefits was sentenced to four years in prison by a court in western Sweden on Thursday.

Swiss central bank stands by currency cap
Switzerland

Swiss central bank stands by currency cap

The Swiss central bank said on Thursday it would continue to enforce its cap on the franc's exchange rate against the euro, pledging to buy "unlimited" foreign currency if necessary.

Teacher’s teen sex text leads to child porn stash
Sweden

Teacher’s teen sex text leads to child porn stash

A school teacher from southern Sweden was charged on Thursday after the investigation into a sex-themed text message he sent to a 13-year-old student revealed over 6 hours of child porn material on his computer.

FDP turns to another ‘boygroup’ member
Germany

FDP turns to another ‘boygroup’ member

Germany's Free Democratic Party has picked 38-year-old Patrick Döring as its new general secretary, following the abrupt departure of Christian Lindner. Critics say it’s the last chance for party leader Philipp Rösler.

Club sells tickets to game fans can’t attend
Germany

Club sells tickets to game fans can’t attend

German second division football club Hansa Rostock is hawking tickets to the team’s Sunday match against Dynamo Dresden. The only hitch: Fans won’t be allowed inside to watch the game.

Eight new cancer cases in breast implant scandal
France

Eight new cancer cases in breast implant scandal

Eight women who have received faulty breast implants are suffering from cancer, says the French Health Ministry. It is feared 44,000 women carry defective breast implants which were produced in the south of France.

Chirac escapes jail after guilty verdict
France

Chirac escapes jail after guilty verdict

Popular former French president Jacques Chirac was convicted of graft on Thursday but escaped jail when he was handed a two-year suspended sentence for running ghost workers at Paris city hall.

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France

Weather warning issued as coast braces for storm

Violent winds and massive waves are battering the Britanny coast and expected to hit the west of France over the next 24 hours. Eleven French departments have been put on orange alert.

What’s on in Germany:  December 15 – 21
Germany

What’s on in Germany: December 15 – 21

This Week's Highlights: Synagogue music in Berlin, horses in Frankfurt, and a French dance troupe rocks out in Munich.

Catastrophe costs reach record level: Swiss Re
Switzerland

Catastrophe costs reach record level: Swiss Re

Natural and man-made catastrophes cost the world economy a record $350 billion this year, reinsurer Swiss Re said on Thursday.

Footballer banned after spouse abuse conviction
Sweden

Footballer banned after spouse abuse conviction

Swedish footballer Alexander Gerndt has been suspended from the national team indefinitely after being convicted for assaulting his wife.

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France

Amorous Brit floods squatted Riviera villa

A British fantasist who sneaked into a French luxury villa to prepare it for a romantic night ended up facing charges after flooding the property, police said Wednesday.

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France

Photographer charged over L’Oreal heiress relationship

A French court Wednesday charged a celebrity photographer with abusing his relationship with aged L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt after he was named a beneficiary in her will.

French court to rule in Chirac corruption trial
France

French court to rule in Chirac corruption trial

Paris judges are to give their verdict on Thursday in the unprecedented corruption case against aged ex-leader Jacques Chirac, the first time a former French president has faced charges in court.

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Switzerland

Swiss league docks points from Xamax

The Swiss Football League (SFL) on Wednesday said it had docked top flight outfit Neuchatel Xamax four points for failing to provide financial details pertinent to the awarding of operating licences.

Terror raid based on ‘vague’ information
Sweden

Terror raid based on ‘vague’ information

The terror allegations which caused police to break into the homes of two families in conjunction with a bomb threat against a Gothenburg shopping centre last autumn were based on “vague and confused” statements, according to a report by Sveriges Radio (SR).

German banks abandon US customers
Germany

German banks abandon US customers

German banks are closing US customers’ investment accounts because they say financial reporting requirements by American authorities are just too onerous.

Struggling pensioners forced back to work
Germany

Struggling pensioners forced back to work

Germany, as Europe's top economy, may be currently seen as the land of plenty but its senior citizens are increasingly being forced to take a part-time job in their twilight years just to make ends meet.

Reinfeldt lauds ‘proper laundry room’ in renovated palace home
Sweden

Reinfeldt lauds ‘proper laundry room’ in renovated palace home

Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's official residence, Sagerska Huset in Stockholm, which he was forced to leave due to extensive renovations in April, is now ready for the family to move back.

Bergman ‘notes’ go on the block in Stockholm
Sweden

Bergman ‘notes’ go on the block in Stockholm

Legendary Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman not only wrote riveting movie scripts: his 32 notes -- some angry and annoyed -- to his housekeeper were auctioned off Wednesday for 44,000 kronor ($6,300).

Goethe Institute sees surging interest in German
Germany

Goethe Institute sees surging interest in German

The Goethe Institute, which promotes German language and culture abroad, says interest in German is spiking around the world as Germany's economic and political clout has grown during Europe’s debt crisis.