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France

Local opposition sinks Sponge Bob sea statue plans

Plans to place giant statues of the cartoon character Sponge Bob in the sea off one of France's top natural sites have been scrapped in the face of stiff local opposition.

Ginola loses “bastard” defamation case
France

Ginola loses “bastard” defamation case

A court in Toulon has rejected David Ginola's claim for damages against former France coach Gerard Houllier over remarks concerning Ginola's role in France's failure to reach the 1994 World Cup.

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Sweden

Volvo execs convicted for Saddam-era bribes

Two former Swedish executives with Volvo's construction equipment subsidiary were convicted on Tuesday for paying bribes to the regime of Saddam Hussein to bypass restrictions related to the United Nations’ Oil-for-Food Programme.

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Sweden

Six charged in Stockholm sex trafficking ring

Six of the ten men under suspicion of being behind a large scale sex trafficking ring in Sweden’s capital were charged in Stockholm on Wednesday.

US woman’s Hamburg killer ruled insane
Germany

US woman’s Hamburg killer ruled insane

A man who killed a young American woman, using a penknife to stab her 180 times, was told he will probably spend the rest of his life in a secure psychiatric clinic by a court in Hamburg on Wednesday.

Ilmar Reepalu: ‘the Swedish Ken Livingstone’
Sweden

Ilmar Reepalu: ‘the Swedish Ken Livingstone’

Embattled Malmö mayor Ilmar Reepalu's most recent "anti-Semitic" row is reminiscent of the troubles that plagued London's outspoken ex-mayor Ken Livingstone, argues historian and former Malmö resident David Linden.

Sweden hosts mystery ‘terror regime’ meet-up
Sweden

Sweden hosts mystery ‘terror regime’ meet-up

A pro-Eritrean regime youth group is hosting a large international conference somewhere in Sweden over Easter weekend in what outraged Swedes have billed as "brainwashing" for a "terror regime".

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Switzerland

Swiss extradite Czech millionaire fraud suspect

Switzerland on Wednesday extradited multi-millionaire Czech businessman Tomas Pitr to his home country, where he is wanted for fraud and tax offences.

Copper thieves cut off Sweden’s main rail line
Sweden

Copper thieves cut off Sweden’s main rail line

Rail traffic connecting Stockholm, Malmö, and Copenhagen was brought to a standstill on Tuesday after thieves severed the high-voltage overhead lines in order to steal the valuable copper wire inside.

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Switzerland

‘I won’t let my girls swim with boys’: Muslim dad

A Muslim father in Basel is refusing to let his daughters participate in mixed swimming lessons, despite having been taken to court and fined several times.

Bonking bankers get horny in the high-rise
Germany

Bonking bankers get horny in the high-rise

A German banker and his secretary caught having sex in his 56th floor office are facing punishment – not for romping in the office but for wasting work time, Bild newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Günter Grass slates Israel in new poem
Germany

Günter Grass slates Israel in new poem

German Nobel literature laureate Günter Grass published a poem on Wednesday in which he accused Israel of plotting Iran's annihilation and threatening global security.

German tabloid sues Swiss minister in tax spat
Switzerland

German tabloid sues Swiss minister in tax spat

Germany's Bild daily, the most-read newspaper in Europe, said on Wednesday it had filed a lawsuit against a Swiss minister amid a simmering tax evasion row between the two neighbours.

US woman hoops star convicted of assault
Sweden

US woman hoops star convicted of assault

An American woman basketball player was convicted of assault by a Swedish court on Wednesday for pushing and kicking man on the Baltic island of Gotland in February.

Swiss bank ‘bans advisers from Germany’
Germany

Swiss bank ‘bans advisers from Germany’

The tax row between Germany and Switzerland escalated on Wednesday with mounting speculation that Swiss bank Crédit Suisse had banned its customer advisers from travelling to Germany.

IVF kids more likely to have heart trouble: study
Switzerland

IVF kids more likely to have heart trouble: study

Babies born using IVF treatments are more likely to develop cardiovascular problems than their naturally conceived counterparts, Swiss researchers have found.

Staff told to help disabled teen use Facebook
Sweden

Staff told to help disabled teen use Facebook

Staff at a Swedish care home for disabled children have been told that they must manage a Facebook account belonging to one of the teenage patients, who is unable to do so himself.

Frankfurt airport night flight ban confirmed
Germany

Frankfurt airport night flight ban confirmed

A German court upheld Wednesday a ban on night flights at Frankfurt airport, Europe's third busiest, in a move that will deal a serious blow to freight companies including Lufthansa Cargo.

French gay Muslims: Muhammad would approve of our marriage
France

French gay Muslims: Muhammad would approve of our marriage

A Muslim who became the first French man to marry his same sex partner in an Islamic religious ceremony has said that if the prophet Muhammad were alive today he would be happy to marry same sex couples.

Breivik: Mental ward a fate ‘worse than death’
Norway

Breivik: Mental ward a fate ‘worse than death’

Anders Behring Breivik, who is set to go on trial on April 16th for killing 77 people in Norway last July, said in a letter published on Wednesday that being sentenced to psychiatric care would be the worst fate imaginable.

Poker – Not Just a Game for Internet Nerds
Germany

Poker – Not Just a Game for Internet Nerds

With so many young players dominating the recent headlines with major tournament wins, you might think that poker is becoming a game where being young means having an edge.

Swede Wins $500,000 in Spectacular Online Poker Duel
Sweden

Swede Wins $500,000 in Spectacular Online Poker Duel

In a dramatic high-stakes poker game spanning three days, 21-year-old Viktor Blom from Dals-Ed won half a million dollars from seasoned American pro player Isaac Haxton.

How Germans are turning to dumpsters for dinner
Germany

How Germans are turning to dumpsters for dinner

‘Bin diving’ is no longer only a last resort for the homeless or a statement made by the politically idealistic - it is going mainstream. We sent our foodie reporter Jessica Ware to dive head first into some of Berlin's smellier bins.

German military to get US-style Veterans’ Day
Germany

German military to get US-style Veterans’ Day

The German military is to have a US-style Veterans’ Day, despite criticism from opposition parties and general unease about the army’s history.

Saudi Arabia a ‘family business’: Bildt
Sweden

Saudi Arabia a ‘family business’: Bildt

Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt has said that, although he has not been consulted on the weapons deals with Saudi Arabia, he sees no problems with exporting arms to the country, according to a report in business paper Dagens Industri (DI).

Roche urges Illumina shareholders to revolt
Switzerland

Roche urges Illumina shareholders to revolt

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche appealed on Wednesday to shareholders of US gene mapper Illumina to accept its $6.55 billion takeover bid, and called on them to vote its nominees onto the US firm's board.

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Norway

12 dead in Afghanistan blast: Norway army

A suicide bomber on Wednesday killed at least 12 people and injured many more in the Faryab province in northern Afghanistan, a Norwegian armed forces' spokesman told AFP.

Giant cargo ships head to Hamburg after river vote
Germany

Giant cargo ships head to Hamburg after river vote

A project to deepen more than 130 kilometres of the River Elbe so giant cargo ships can reach Hamburg harbour is likely to go ahead after a crucial vote – although environmentalists have vowed to challenge the decision in court.

‘Child killer’ told cops he was paedophile
Germany

‘Child killer’ told cops he was paedophile

The young man accused of sexually abusing and killing a young girl in northern Germany turned himself in to police four months ago for undressing and photographing a seven-year-old girl – but nothing was done.

92% of Swiss workers ‘satisfied’: survey
Switzerland

92% of Swiss workers ‘satisfied’: survey

Swiss workers are among the most satisfied in the world, a survey shows.

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Norway

Breivik ‘sought bomb shack’ in rural Sweden

Norwegian confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik attempted to rent a Swedish country house a year before his dual terrorist attacks, with police believing he wished to find a secluded site for his bomb-making activities.

Breivik planned secret base on Swedish farm
Sweden

Breivik planned secret base on Swedish farm

Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Breivik planned to hire a Swedish country house in what police believe was to be a base for running his terrorist operations in Oslo and Utøya.

Angry train passengers spend night in tunnel
France

Angry train passengers spend night in tunnel

Passengers on a high speed TGV train from Nice to Paris had to spend most of the night in a tunnel outside Marseille after their train broke down on Tuesday night.

Reinfeldt slams proposal to lower youth wages
Sweden

Reinfeldt slams proposal to lower youth wages

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfelt has rejected the Liberal Party's proposal to lower young people's pay in the wake of rising youth unemployment in Sweden, and has urged politicians around the nation to follow suit.

Bayern sail through to European semi-finals
Germany

Bayern sail through to European semi-finals

Bayern Munich reached the Champions League semi-finals after striker Ivica Olic netted both goals in a 2-0 win over Marseille in Tuesday's quarter-final second leg.

10 arrested in new radical Islamists raids
France

10 arrested in new radical Islamists raids

French police swooped in on suspected radical Islamists in pre-dawn raids in several cities on Wednesday, arresting at least 10 people, a source close to the investigation said.

Police probe New York death of top prof
France

Police probe New York death of top prof

New York police Tuesday were investigating the death of a prominent French academic and the director of one of France's most elite colleges after his naked body was found in his hotel room.

Petrol-sucking Swede sparks vacuum blast
Sweden

Petrol-sucking Swede sparks vacuum blast

A man who needed extra fuel for his snow-blower made the mistake of using a household vacuum cleaner to suck petrol from his car, causing the vacuum to explode and his car to catch on fire.

Sarkozy denies 2007 illegal campaign funding
France

Sarkozy denies 2007 illegal campaign funding

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday vehemently denied new accusations of illegal party financing that are threatening to overshadow his re-election campaign.

Doctors regain right to decide on suicide aid
Germany

Doctors regain right to decide on suicide aid

German doctors have regained the power to use their own judgement in cases where terminally ill patients want to die – after a court lifted an absolute ban on them leaving such patients with enough drugs to kill themselves.