Germany signs €3 bln in deals with Kazakhstan
Germany

Germany signs €3 bln in deals with Kazakhstan

Germany and Kazakhstan signed agreements Wednesday worth €3 billion ($4 billion) to cooperate on raw materials, industry and technology in Berlin.

Drunken Munich U-Bahn train driver busted
Germany

Drunken Munich U-Bahn train driver busted

A drunken train driver for Munich’s U-Bahn metro has been relieved of his duties after being busted driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.2 percent.

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Sweden

15-year-old girl abducted by father and armed men

A 15-year-old girl, taken into custody by social services last week, was removed on Sunday from her foster home by four armed men, one of which was her father.

Star Wars in Swedish causes fan outrage
Sweden

Star Wars in Swedish causes fan outrage

Star Wars, The Phantom Menace, is about to hit Sweden's cinemas in 3D, dubbed into Swedish, a move which has infuriated die-hard fans and prompting them to lobby for a boycott of the film.

Swiss ski star turns down million-euro lure
Switzerland

Swiss ski star turns down million-euro lure

Swiss downhill specialist Didier Cuche said on Wednesday a million-euro offer to remain in alpine skiing one more year won't change his plans to retire at the end of the season.

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Switzerland

Swiss jobless rate rises to 3.4 percent

Switzerland's unemployment rate rose to 3.4 percent in January from 3.3 percent in December, official figures released on Wednesday showed.

Double-barrel profit hike for Norway’s Statoil
Norway

Double-barrel profit hike for Norway’s Statoil

The Norwegian oil group Statoil said on Wednesday that its net profit doubled in 2011 to 78.8 billion kroner ($14.3 billion) on higher prices and sustained output.

Arctic cold wreaks quirky havoc across Germany
Germany

Arctic cold wreaks quirky havoc across Germany

The bitter cold is wreaking havoc across Germany in unexpected ways, with the subzero temperatures freezing an ice cream factory, forcing gravediggers to use jackhammers and driving penguins indoors. But Hamburg can look forward to a party.

Saab to cut Swiss Gripen fighter price: report
Sweden

Saab to cut Swiss Gripen fighter price: report

Swedish defence firm Saab will cut the price on its Gripen fighter jet to ensure that it wins a Swiss order after French planemaker Dassault threatened to undercut its offer, a report said Wednesday.

‘Hugging’ thieves baffle Stockholm police
Sweden

‘Hugging’ thieves baffle Stockholm police

A gang of tactile thieves in central Stockholm has embraced a new pickpocketing technique, leaving police baffled and dozens of victims stunned and phoneless.

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Switzerland

Swiss see hike in Africa tobacco smuggling

Swizerland has seen a large-scale hike in cigarette-smuggling from Africa where prices are 10 times cheaper, a senior customs official said on Wednesday.

Bayern Munich swoop for Swiss star Shaqiri
Switzerland

Bayern Munich swoop for Swiss star Shaqiri

Bayern Munich are set to sign midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri for next season from Champions League rivals FC Basel, with media reports claiming the Swiss has already had a medical in the Bavarian city.

Saab to cut jet fighter price for Swiss: report
Switzerland

Saab to cut jet fighter price for Swiss: report

Swedish defence firm Saab will cut the price on its Gripen fighter jet to ensure that it wins a Swiss order after French planemaker Dassault threatened to undercut its offer, a report said Wednesday.

Exports top €1 trillion despite euro crisis
Germany

Exports top €1 trillion despite euro crisis

German exports topped €1 trillion for the first time in 2011, but fell at year-end as the eurozone debt crisis hit demand for goods made in Germany, official data showed on Wednesday.

Untrained docs enlarging breasts in Switzerland
Switzerland

Untrained docs enlarging breasts in Switzerland

Non-qualified doctors are carrying out one in five breast enlargement operations in Switzerland, plastic surgeons have warned. 

‘Swedish needs a gender-neutral pronoun’
Sweden

‘Swedish needs a gender-neutral pronoun’

The Swedish language is in need of a new pronoun free of preconceived notions about gender, argue a Swedish linguist along with representatives from a publishing house set to release a children's book featuring the word “hen” rather than “han” (he) or hon (she).

Twins ‘overwhelmed’ by new Indonesian findings
Sweden

Twins ‘overwhelmed’ by new Indonesian findings

29-year-old twins Lin Backlund and Emilie Falk, adopted to separate Swedish families at birth, are lying low after reporters in Indonesia claimed to have found their birth mother and family.

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Sweden

Bones and guts in military ‘horror dungeon’

Two aspiring officers at a military training centre in western Sweden have been reprimanded after building a ”horror dungeon” with bones, faeces and animal guts meant to frighten younger trainees.

Commentator’s ‘Maggie Thatcher’ outburst makes UNESCO list
Norway

Commentator’s ‘Maggie Thatcher’ outburst makes UNESCO list

Norway has selected a football commentator’s ecstatic outpouring of emotion and political one-upmanship as one of the most important cultural documents in the country’s history.

Merkel helps boost conservatives’ popularity
Germany

Merkel helps boost conservatives’ popularity

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives are flying high in a new opinion poll, which shows them garnering their best result since her beleaguered centre-right coalition took power in 2009.

Photographer’s hymn to the ‘murdered’ heart of Paris
France

Photographer’s hymn to the ‘murdered’ heart of Paris

In 1971, Paris lost a piece of its soul as the teeming hub of humanity that was "Les Halles" food market was ripped out, part of a disastrous experiment in urbanism caught on camera by iconic photographer Robert Doisneau.

Saucy ad leads to sexism complaints
France

Saucy ad leads to sexism complaints

A suggestive ad for a football apparel store has provoked complaints from women's groups after it appeared to show a woman giving a male client an unusually high level of customer service.

GM threatens major job cuts at Opel
Germany

GM threatens major job cuts at Opel

German carmaker Opel was left to prepare for the worst on Tuesday as its US parent company General Motors announced “horrendous” fourth quarter losses and warned of factory closures at its ailing European unit.

Swiss philosopher plans London atheist temple
Switzerland

Swiss philosopher plans London atheist temple

Swiss philosopher and writer, Alain de Botton, is proposing to build a temple to atheism in the heart of London’s financial district.

British PM in Sweden to discuss women and work
Sweden

British PM in Sweden to discuss women and work

David Cameron joined Fredrik Reinfeldt and other heads of government from northern Europe who have gathered in Stockholm to discuss common future challenges at the Northern Future Forum.

Ice freezes transport in Switzerland
Switzerland

Ice freezes transport in Switzerland

The number of distress calls made by motorists has increased dramatically in recent days, as sub-zero temperatures paralyze Switzerland.

TV mag tells Sarkozy to ‘get out’
France

TV mag tells Sarkozy to ‘get out’

A weekly TV magazine has apologized after accidentally allowing a mischievous employee to slip in a hostile comment about President Nicolas Sarkozy in a TV review.

Action! Babelsberg film studio fêtes 100 years
Germany

Action! Babelsberg film studio fêtes 100 years

The world's oldest major film studio celebrates its 100th birthday this month with Hollywood stars and European players ready to toast Germany's mythic Studio Babelsberg outside Berlin. AFP's Deborah Cole reports.

Liberal deputy charged with raping 17-year-old
Norway

Liberal deputy charged with raping 17-year-old

The Liberal Party’s deputy leader Helge Solum Larsen has resigned over allegations that he raped a 17-year-old girl at a party conference last weekend.

Swede charged following US child porn bust
Sweden

Swede charged following US child porn bust

A 38-year-old Swedish man has been charged with child pornography crimes after a probe in the United States uncovered thousands of images that were traced to the man's home in southern Sweden.

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Norway

Norway presses India on cancelled mobile permits

Norway raised its concerns with the Indian government on Tuesday about a Delhi court decision cancelling mobile phone licences held by Norwegian phone giant Telenor.

Swiss architects team with Ai Weiwei for London pavilion
Switzerland

Swiss architects team with Ai Weiwei for London pavilion

Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei is reuniting with the Swiss architects with whom he created Beijing's spectacular Bird's Nest Stadium, to build a pavilion for this year's London Olympics.

Minister calls for school ‘Facebook lessons’
Germany

Minister calls for school ‘Facebook lessons’

Family Minister Kristina Schröder has called on Germany’s high schools to teach the dangers of social networks on the internet.

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France

Teacher stabbed while breaking up fight

A 37-year-old male teacher was stabbed on Tuesday while breaking up a fight between two pupils at a school in the south-east suburbs of Paris.

Man performed surgery on his own dog
Sweden

Man performed surgery on his own dog

A dog-owner in eastern Sweden is believed to have carried out a botched operation on his own dog without the use of anesthetics or properly stitching the wound.

Few Swedes ready to work until they’re 75: poll
Sweden

Few Swedes ready to work until they’re 75: poll

An overwhelming majority of Swedes disagree with Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's suggestion that workers should be ready to stay on the job until they are 75, a new poll shows.

Sex shop near school sparks row with church
France

Sex shop near school sparks row with church

An argument sparked by the Catholic church over the location of a shop selling sex toys will move to a Paris courtroom today where lawyers will argue over whether its products qualify as pornographic.

German papers win paparazzi case in Europe
Germany

German papers win paparazzi case in Europe

German media outlets did not infringe on celebrities' privacy rights when they printed sensitive photographs or stories, the European Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday.

Immunisations and anal pharmacists
Germany

Immunisations and anal pharmacists

Motherhood in the Fatherland follows mum Sabine Devins as she navigates the cultural quirks of having a baby in Germany. In the latest instalment, she tackles immunisations and baby pharmaceuticals.

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Sweden

‘Deadly’ train crossing claims third victim

A man died after he was hit by a train in Stenungsund in western Sweden on Tuesday afternoon, at the same location where two Swedish teenagers were killed by a train in September 2010.

France claims broad support for finance tax
France

France claims broad support for finance tax

Finance Minister François Baroin signalled on Tuesday that nine eurozone governments are ready to press ahead with the introduction of a Paris-inspired financial transactions tax.

Angry MPs storm out after ‘Nazi’ taunt
France

Angry MPs storm out after ‘Nazi’ taunt

French Prime Minister François Fillon and his ministers stormed out of parliament in protest on Tuesday after an opposition deputy accused the government of flirting with Nazi ideology.