Search is on for baby rhino name
Germany

Search is on for baby rhino name

Although Germans name their own babies Mia or Ben, possible monikers for the latest arrival at Magdeburg zoo are all a little more exotic – Makini, Mali and Makena are among the suggestions for a baby rhino’s name.

‘Mia’ and ‘Ben’ favourite baby names of 2011
Germany

‘Mia’ and ‘Ben’ favourite baby names of 2011

German parents kept it short and sweet when picking a name for their new bundles of joy this year. The most popular baby names in 2011 were Mia for girls and Ben for boys.

Two arrested in hunt for cop killers
Germany

Two arrested in hunt for cop killers

Police have arrested two men suspected of shooting dead a policeman after a dramatic chase through the woods in Bavaria two months ago, they announced on Thursday.

Swedish cop filmed naked female colleagues
Sweden

Swedish cop filmed naked female colleagues

A Swedish police commissioner has been suspended after it was revealed that he had secretly filmed female officers in the nude by hiding a video camera inside a locker in the station's changing room.

Sweden’s five biggest news stories of 2011
Sweden

Sweden’s five biggest news stories of 2011

As 2011 draws to a close, The Local looks back at some of the stories that dominated headlines in Sweden in the past year.

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Sweden

Elk hunter acquitted of killing skier by mistake

A Swedish elk hunter who felled her first elk with a single shot that passed through the animal only to hit and then kill a cross-country skier, has been acquitted of manslaughter charges by the district court in Växjö in central Sweden.

This year cost 2.3 percent more than last
Germany

This year cost 2.3 percent more than last

Life became 2.3 percent more expensive in Germany during 2011, as shown by inflation figures for the year released by the government on Thursday.

Veiled woman given driving fine
France

Veiled woman given driving fine

A woman in Brittany was slapped with a €35 ($45) fine after police spotted her driving her car wearing a full-face veil.

‘Shrimp shortage’ set to spoil Swedes’ New Year
Sweden

‘Shrimp shortage’ set to spoil Swedes’ New Year

Seafood features prominently on many a Swede's New Year's menu, but harsh winds on Sweden's west coast have made fishing difficult recently, sending shrimp and crayfish prices sky high.

Swiss Defago wins Bormio downhill
Switzerland

Swiss Defago wins Bormio downhill

Switzerland's Olympic champion Didier Defago won the men's World Cup downhill in Bormio, Italy, on Thursday ahead of teammate Patrick Kueng and Austrian Klaus Kroell.

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Switzerland

Father found dead after killing infant daughter

A 34-year old man in Bulle, western Switzerland, killed his two-month-old baby and seriously injured his six-year-old daughter before shooting himself dead on Wednesday.

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Switzerland

US crash widower sues Swiss for $10m: report

A US law professor whose wife was killed in an accident involving a Swiss embassy car in Washington is suing the Swiss government for $10 million, it was reported on Thursday.

Ex-politician charged over sex with minor
Norway

Ex-politician charged over sex with minor

The former head of the Progress Party’s youth wing, Trond Birkedal, has been indicted over allegations he secretly filmed naked boys and had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy.

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Sweden

Sex scandal conviction for porn-surfing politico

A formerly high-ranking local politician from western Sweden was among seven people convicted on Thursday in connection with the unmasking of a major prostitution ring in Halmstad.

Half of Germans optimistic for 2012
Germany

Half of Germans optimistic for 2012

Nearly half of all Germans are looking towards 2012 with more hope than fear, though the main challenge may be keeping that optimism, one expert has warned.

Sweden’s growing wealth gap ‘troubling’: Borg
Sweden

Sweden’s growing wealth gap ‘troubling’: Borg

Figures showing financial improvements for Sweden's middle and upper classes, at the same time the country's poorest have seen their incomes decline have given finance minister something to fret about.

OMG: Eye test  blooper on Norwegian news
Norway

OMG: Eye test blooper on Norwegian news

TV viewers in Norway were left laughing their posteriors off after a serious nightly news show inadvertently used an eye chart teeming with internet slang.

‘Opinion Taliban’, ‘tree murder’ make 2011 new Swedish word list
Sweden

‘Opinion Taliban’, ‘tree murder’ make 2011 new Swedish word list

Words inspired by flip-flopping politicians and mobile phone apps, as well as creative terms for opinionated people are among the newest Swedish words, according to an annual list of new and topical words released on Thursday.

Half a million kilometres of traffic jams this year
Germany

Half a million kilometres of traffic jams this year

Far from effortlessly zooming down Autobahns at limitless speeds, German drivers are increasingly sitting in traffic– with nearly half a million kilometres of jams recorded this year.

Berlin’s spirits come in small batches
Germany

Berlin’s spirits come in small batches

As the drinks flow over the days and nights leading up to January 1, spare a thought for the bumper crop of potatoes which introduced northern Germany to large-scale spirit making. Caitlan Carroll looked at what has evolved.

Princess Victoria: 2011 a ‘very rough year’
Sweden

Princess Victoria: 2011 a ‘very rough year’

Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria and Queen Silvia have finally broken their silence about the past year's royal scandals in an open-hearted interview set for broadcast on Thursday.

2011: record year for popular initiatives
Switzerland

2011: record year for popular initiatives

Switzerland's system of direct democracy seemed more alive than ever in 2011, with the year seeing the launch of a record 23 popular initiatives

Museums and galleries enjoy bumper year
France

Museums and galleries enjoy bumper year

Figures released on Wednesday show a 5 percent increase in the number of visits to France's 1,000 plus museums and galleries this year.

Agency slams immigrant language class failings
Sweden

Agency slams immigrant language class failings

Many of Sweden's municipalities fail to place newly arrived immigrants in Swedish language classes within the time frames stipulated by law, a new investigation has found.

Cruise ships pollute like millions of cars
Germany

Cruise ships pollute like millions of cars

Those considering taking a cruise in the new year should choose carefully – in a single trip each ship operated by top German firms Aida Cruises and Tui Cruises creates as much pollution as five million cars, says environmental group Nabu.

Most annoying politicians named in poll
France

Most annoying politicians named in poll

Former Socialist presidential candidate Ségolène Royal tops a new poll asking French people to name the most irritating politicians.

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Switzerland

Swiss rehabilitate WWII Jewish refugee helpers

Switzerland said Wednesday it had finally finished the process of rehabilitating more than a hundred people punished during WWII for having helped Jews escape Nazi persecution.

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France

Google fined for faulty word suggestion

Google France has been ordered to pay €50,000 ($64,670) to a French company after its search engine automatically added the word "escroc" ("crook" or "swindler") after the company's name.

‘Record number’ of homes for sale in Sweden
Sweden

‘Record number’ of homes for sale in Sweden

The number of houses and apartments for sale in Sweden is nearing record highs, according to a Swedish real estate listing service.

More jobless only getting basic support
Germany

More jobless only getting basic support

One in four people in Germany who lose their jobs have paid so little into the generous social security system that they go straight onto the lowest possible level of support.

Charges for Sweden’s ‘biggest-ever’ coke bust
Sweden

Charges for Sweden’s ‘biggest-ever’ coke bust

Four men were charged on Thursday in connection with Sweden's “biggest-ever” cocaine bust that netted worth an estimated 145 million kronor ($21 million) from what police believe is a Balkan-based smuggling operation.

France approves tax on fizzy drinks
France

France approves tax on fizzy drinks

France's top constitutional body on Wednesday approved a new tax on sugary drinks that aims to fight obesity while giving a boost to state coffers.

Breast implant tycoon hits back over scandal
France

Breast implant tycoon hits back over scandal

Holed up at his home in the south of France, the founder of troubled breast implant manufacturer PIP is fighting back against a growing international scandal over his allegedly faulty products.

The Local’s top five features of 2011
Germany

The Local’s top five features of 2011

While the economy was on everyone’s mind this year, The Local’s feature writers took an in-depth look at stories that may have been off the radar. We’ve picked some of our favourites.