Court orders Vilks plot suspects released
Sweden

Court orders Vilks plot suspects released

The three men accused of planning to murder controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks in a foiled attack in Gothenburg on September should be sentenced to prison, prosecutors argued in their closing arguments on Wednesday.

New storm warnings for wind-whipped Sweden
Sweden

New storm warnings for wind-whipped Sweden

Sweden is bracing for yet another blustery storm, at the same time as the country has yet to fully recover from the chaos caused by storm Dagmar over the Christmas holiday weekend.

Breast implants ‘save lives’: advocacy group
Sweden

Breast implants ‘save lives’: advocacy group

Transgender people in Sweden who are denied breast implants are more likely to commit suicide, according to an advocacy group which has urged health authorities to draw up national guidelines on the procedure.

Widow loses pension after 17-day marriage
Germany

Widow loses pension after 17-day marriage

A court denied a woman a widow's pension Wednesday because her husband died of cancer after only 17 days of marriage. The court said it could only make exceptions in the case of accidents.

Top German emigration destinations: US and Switzerland
Germany

Top German emigration destinations: US and Switzerland

While many Germans complain of immigrants arriving and drawing on the social security system, tens of thousands of Germans also emigrate every year looking for wealth, as new statistics show.

More seniors addicted to drugs and alcohol
Germany

More seniors addicted to drugs and alcohol

Hundreds of thousands of German senior citizens are dependent on drugs or alcohol and authorities worry the number is only increasing.

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Norway

Berit, 66, saw her house blow away on Christmas Day

A 66-year-old Norwegian woman sought refuge in her cellar and escaped unharmed as a hurricane ripped her home to pieces on Christmas Day.

Somalis ‘shut out’ of Sweden’s health system
Sweden

Somalis ‘shut out’ of Sweden’s health system

Many Somalis in Sweden feel dismissed when visiting a doctor in Sweden, according to a new study, which shows that many end up looking abroad for medical treatment as a result.

Carmakers ready for record year
Germany

Carmakers ready for record year

Despite doom and gloom in many business sectors, German car manufacturers think 2012 could be a banner year, especially in the United States.

2011 in court: nude hiking, dental disaster, curled-up cat
Switzerland

2011 in court: nude hiking, dental disaster, curled-up cat

A dentist who removed the wrong teeth, a naked hiker, and a bar owner bar who played music too loud amid a techno paradewere among the protagonists in some of the oddest cases to be heard this year by the Swiss Supreme Court.

Swedes shun tax havens in favour of amnesty
Sweden

Swedes shun tax havens in favour of amnesty

A voluntary amnesty for Swedes with assets hidden in tax havens is paying dividends, according to Swedish tax authorities, who report that the amnesty had brought in close to a billion kronor in new tax revenue in 2010.

More Germans forced into early retirement
Germany

More Germans forced into early retirement

New statistics published Wednesday revealed that half of Germans retiring in 2010 had to take their pensions early, raising concerns of increasing old age poverty.

Swedish mother probed over Breivik SIM find
Norway

Swedish mother probed over Breivik SIM find

A Swedish mother of two has been investigated over suspected links to Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik after a SIM card registered in her name was discovered in a mobile broadband device found on Breivik's farm.

State invests millions in revamping Nazi retreat
Germany

State invests millions in revamping Nazi retreat

Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia state is investing millions of euros in a plan to turn a former elite school for Nazi children into a popular tourist attraction.

Swiss data hacked in ‘Anonymous’ attack
Switzerland

Swiss data hacked in ‘Anonymous’ attack

The department of Foreign Affairs, the Swiss army, private bank Julius Bär and Nestlé are among the victims of a hacking attack targeting US security firm Stratfor on Christmas Eve.

French politicians fall in love with tweeting
France

French politicians fall in love with tweeting

Politicians in France are getting increasingly competitive about their use of Twitter, the social network messaging site, and the number of followers they can attract.

Wanted Swedish couple arrested in Vietnam
Sweden

Wanted Swedish couple arrested in Vietnam

A couple from northern Sweden who fled the country after being convicted for swindling unknowing Swedes into funding fictional projects in Thailand have been arrested in Vietnam.

Church-goers have lower blood pressure: study
Norway

Church-goers have lower blood pressure: study

People who regularly attend church enjoy lower blood pressure than peers who steer clear of the pews, a Norwegian study has found.

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France

French ‘Madoff’ held over fraud charges

A 54-year old married woman in a picturesque French village is alleged to have tricked family, friends, neighbours and even her husband's work colleagues into parting with millions of euros.

Floridians want more naked Germans to visit
Germany

Floridians want more naked Germans to visit

Pandabare, a nudist community in western Florida, United States, has won an advertising grant to tempt German nudists to try stripping off stateside.

Breivik had Swedish mum’s SIM card: report
Sweden

Breivik had Swedish mum’s SIM card: report

A Swedish mother of two has been linked to Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik after a mobile broadband SIM card registered in her name was discovered in a computer found on Breivik's farm.

SNCF to hike train prices in January
France

SNCF to hike train prices in January

Passenger groups have expressed dismay at news that state-owned train operator SNCF will put its prices up by an average of 3.2 percent from January.

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France

EDF reaches deal to take over Italy’s Edison

French electricity giant EDF said on Tuesday it had reached a new agreement with Italian shareholders in Edison to take majority control of Italy's second biggest power company.

FC Sion urge Swiss FA to appeal FIFA sanctions
Switzerland

FC Sion urge Swiss FA to appeal FIFA sanctions

FC Sion on Tuesday urged the Swiss Football Association (ASF) to appeal against a threatened suspension from FIFA over breaches of player recruitment rules.

Woman didn’t want help from ‘dark-skinned’ clerk
Sweden

Woman didn’t want help from ‘dark-skinned’ clerk

A woman's refusal to be served by a "dark-skinnned" clerk at the local office of a public agency is not a crime, a Swedish court has ruled.

French graffiti artist fined in US
France

French graffiti artist fined in US

A French graffiti artist accused of tagging trains in Boston and New York paid a fine of $2,500 (€1,900) to avoid a trial on vandalism charges in one case, Massachusetts prosecutors said on Tuesday.

2011 hottest year in France since 1900
France

2011 hottest year in France since 1900

This year was the hottest in France since the start of the 20th century, national weather service Météo France said on Tuesday, with average national temperatures 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than the norm.

Heavy metal band claims German Ebay ripoff
Germany

Heavy metal band claims German Ebay ripoff

A member of the well-known American heavy metal band Mastodon has claimed that a German boy ripped him off in an eBay internet scam.

Fiery end for youth’s ill-fated firework run
Sweden

Fiery end for youth’s ill-fated firework run

Four youths from southwestern Sweden were lucky to escape without injury after their supply of New Year's fireworks inexplicably went off in their car while they were driving home.

Sweden’s ‘warmest December in 250 years’
Sweden

Sweden’s ‘warmest December in 250 years’

Sweden is experiencing one of its warmest Decembers on record, according to meteorologists, as record high temperatures have spawned signs of spring in the middle of winter.

Berlin politician attacked in own home
Germany

Berlin politician attacked in own home

A Berlin local politician active in the Syrian opposition was attacked by two men in his home, police said Tuesday, in a case the German foreign ministry said it was following closely.

The Local’s top five animal stories of 2011
Germany

The Local’s top five animal stories of 2011

Animals are always amusing, with their funny wet noses and their general gullibility, and no-one loves animal celebrities as much as the Germans, so we collected the year's big animal stories. What was that bear called again?