You are here: Home » Tag Archives: germany

Tag Archives: germany

Feed Subscription

Body of missing German tourist found in Australia

Police in Australia have found the body of a Cologne resident who was reported missing on January 8. Authorities have said the woman was found in the Outback, near Alice Springs. Authorities in Australia's Northern Territory (NT) have found the body of a German tourist reported missing on January 8. Workers at Desert Palm Resort, where 62-year-old Cologne resident Monika Billen had been staying, notified police three days after the woman failed to check out and board her January 5 flight to Darwin. Authorities searched for the woman for two weeks before initially halting their efforts. The search, however, was resumed after police were given information by telephone carriers. That information allowed authorities to narrow the area of their search, for which they used aircraft and drones. Read more: Missing German backpacker survives Australian Outback on diet of bugs In a statement, NT Police Superintendent Pauline Vicary said that the search: "has required extensive work, interpreting data from both international and national phone providers, but the outcome assisted in narrowing down the search parameters and eventually locating Ms Billen. It is deeply upsetting that we have to tell her family this sad news, but we are relieved to be able to provide them with answers." Billen's family had sent a heartrending letter to the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) begging for any assistance locals could provide to locate the woman one day before her body was eventually found Little protection against sweltering heat In the letter, the family wrote, "We have been consumed with worry ever since we heard of Monika's disappearance, especially because we know her as a very responsible and capable person." They feared that she may have been the victim of foul play. Billen's body was found under a tree near the popular hiking area of Emily's Gap outside Alice Springs, in Australia's Northern Territory. The area is known for its deep gorges, rocky ravines and sweltering heat, which often reaches more than 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). Read more: Rescue crews save three Australian men stuck on outback's Uluru rock Billen, an avid traveler and hiker, mentioned the heat in a December 31 e-mail to her family, the last they received: "In the heat I take more or less extensive walks in the surroundings of Alice Springs in Central Australia. Somehow the heat fits well with the landscape … I took a picture from the [Olive Pink] botanical garden lookout hill, which is near my accommodations and offers plenty of shady places to sit, dream and read." Police say that Billen was only carrying a cashmere scarf with her as protection from the heat.

Police in Australia have found the body of a Cologne resident who was reported missing on January 8. Authorities have said the woman was found in the Outback, near Alice Springs. Authorities in Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) have found the body of a German tourist reported missing on January 8. Workers at Desert Palm Resort, where 62-year-old Cologne resident Monika ... Read More »

George H.W. Bush viewed Germany as friend and partner, says ex-World Bank boss

The former US president supported German unification when others would not. He did so because he believed German democracy had succeeded, Bush's point man for German unification, Robert Zoellick, told DW. eutsche Welle: You worked closely for and with President George H.W. Bush. Can you share a personal anecdote that sums up the person he was? Robert Zoellick: Referring to the difference to the current era, he was very much a man of honor and service while also being a very fierce competitor, both politically and in terms of America's international role. I would sum him up as a consummate alliance manager. Particularly important for Germany [was that] Bush took office when [Soviet President Mikhail] Gorbachev was the phenomenon. Part of Bush's challenge was to solidify the alliance given the ice-breaking at the end of the Cold War. Many people forget that by May of 1989, only a few months after he took office, he come forward with a rather bold proposal to cut and equalize conventional armies in Europe. It was a shift from the discussion about nuclear weapons from the INF treatyand it was important for Germany because it took the focus off the short-range missiles that were left, which is when Germans said: "The shorter the missiles, the deader the Germans." He faced some resistance from [UK Prime Minister Margaret] Thatcher, but had strong support from Germany and helped really built the core of the US-German relationship. The next step came in December that year at the Malta meeting. Bush was very eager to see Gorbachev. Some people in the administration were holding back, but I worked for Secretary [of State James] Baker at the time, who knew Bush wanted to engage Gorbachev. He came forward with a series of proposals — some economic, some political — that highlighted his willingness to embrace what Gorbachev was trying to do. And that was critically important in Gorbachev's state of mind because this was right after the opening of the Berlin Wall and the Soviets were having to determine their relationship to Germany. Bush went from that meeting to Brussels, were he briefed all the NATO countries and laid out some of the structure the US would take for the German unification process. The third aspect of that was as part of his alliance management: He really worked arm-in-arm with Chancellor [Helmut] Kohl in recognizing the historic moment for Germany, being supportive of the drive for German unification when frankly most of Europe was hesitant other than [then-President of the European Commission] Jacques Delors. But he did so in a way that also kept an eye on the overall interests of others in Europe. He obviously was focused on having a united Germany in NATO because that was also important to reassure people in Europe that the united Germany would follow the path of West Germany of the past 40 years. On the domestic side just one more example: People often just look at Bush as a foreign policy president, but actually if you look some of his domestic legislation, he did some landmark legislation with the American with Disabilities Act, revising the Clean Air Act and obviously his gutsiest step was, as he was approaching the Gulf War, he took the step of being willing to raise revenues for a budget deal, which really was the precursor of what Clinton then also did, which put us in a much better budget path for the 1990s, because it put caps on spending. That was a political debacle for him that he was willing to take that step and combined with a recession, he paid a huge price in failing to get reelected. I hope that historians will recognize more what he accomplished in four years both internationally and domestically. In Germany, President Bush senior is remembered as the US president who was instrumental in achieving German unification. How did he view Germany and why was he, unlike many other international leaders, supportive and not opposed to German unification? He viewed Germany as a friend and partner. Quite early on he gave an interview where he supported the idea of German unification even at a time that Germans were a little hesitant to speak about the topic. I think he gave some freedom for Kohl and others to take those steps. He believed that German democracy had succeeded, that Germany was a strong ally and that this was one of the good qualities of the American experience — we Americans didn't fear Germany, we saw Germans as our partners. It was a sign of confidence and faith in working with Germany, and it reflected the kind of assurances he could give others that were anxious like Britain or France and others, that the United States remained committed to transatlantic relations and also to those in Eastern Europe. To give Kohl his credit, he partly earned this in that he had taken some very courageous steps in the 1980s with the dual track commitments and the intermediate range missiles. Everyone knew this was a very gutsy thing for Kohl to do. It lead to the INF treaty and the success of eliminating those weapons. So Kohl and Germany had earned the trust. Do you think that his role in making German unification possible could be his most important foreign policy achievement? Our policy, while focused on German unification, was also focused on a Europe whole and free. I would put German unification kind of as the key stone of a peaceful end of the Cold War in a way that created structures for the future. I personally think that historians don't recognize enough that Bush not only ended the Cold War peacefully, but that he laid the foundation stones for a future structure — transatlantic relations, the NAFTA negotiations and he almost completed the Uruguay round [of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, GATT]. So in that sense he is a key transitional figure in the international order. All those things you mentioned — that he was a friend of Germany, a supporter of transatlantic relations and opposed to nationalism, economic or otherwise — that seems like a total contradiction to the current president, doesn't it? I want to draw a key distinction, because it might be helpful to your readers. I know that nationalism in some European and German quarters is seen as a negative term. And Macron obviously emphasized this. Nationalism with American internationalists is not a bad term. Let me relate that to the German unification story. You asked why was Bush comfortable with German unification where others in Europe weren't? We weren't afraid of German nationalism. We thought that a successful Germany could be a pillar of the future. He in a very practical way realized that Germany would eventually become the dominant player in Europe, even though it didn't want to be seen as acting dominantly. [Current US President Donald] Trump is unusual in that he sets nationalism against internationalism, which I think is a terrible mistake. And he has a very different worldview, right? Trump views the 40-year-old order that took us through the Cold War and afterwards as having cost the United States too much, and he thinks that others should bear a greater burden. He doesn't value the systems and institutions that the US helped create. And this story begins way before 1989: this is the story of the Marshall Plan, GATT, the World Trade Organization, and the story of creating NATO. Those structures were overhauled and adapted at the end of the Cold War. Bush actually had ideas about the future roles of NATO and the trade area. At the same time we were dealing with those issues in 1989, we had the events of Tiananmen Square in China. Bush took a great political hit to maintain the relations with China, because he saw trying to have a constructive relationship with China as important for the future world order. Now contrast that with today. Read more: What you need to know about NATO The country President Bush led, but also his Republican Party, have changed a great deal since the time he served. Would you say President George H.W. Bush was the last traditional, old school Republican president? These traits carry forward. I know that his son, George Bush 43, didn't create the same warmth in Europe as his father did, but if you look at his commitment [to] the overall international order, this is not a man who abandoned that structure by any means. Clearly, Bush 41 kind of represented and was the last president of the World War II generation. And one of the ironies of him as a human being is that he is modest in manner and he actually was kind of a heroic figure in young age as an aviator in the Pacific — almost lost his life and yet politically people said "oh, he is a wimp" — which is kind of odd for a guy who won the Distinguished Flying Cross. But politics is a rough business. Robert Zoellick, a former president of the World Bank, was the US Chief Negotiator for the 2+4 negotiations that led to German unification. He also served in various other key positions under President George H.W. Bush, among them Deputy White House Chief of Staff and presidential "Sherpa" for the G7 summits.

The former US president supported German unification when others would not. He did so because he believed German democracy had succeeded, Bush’s point man for German unification, Robert Zoellick, told DW. eutsche Welle: You worked closely for and with President George H.W. Bush. Can you share a personal anecdote that sums up the person he was? Robert Zoellick: Referring to ... Read More »

German nurse accused of dozens of murders apologizes

Niels Högel is on trial for the suspected murder of 100 patients in two different hospitals. After his complete confession on opening day, he has now apologized to the relatives of his victims. A German nurse who is accused of having murdered more than 100 patients is being tried again by a court in Oldenburg, in the state of Lower Saxony. According to investigators, 41-year old Niels Högel intentionally injected patients with doses of medicine liable to cause cardiac arrest, so that he could then attempt to revive them and impress his colleagues. Högel's killing spree is one of the most serious cases of mass murder in post-war German history. On Thursday, during a hearing of the trial which began three weeks ago, Högel apologized to the victims' families, and said if there was anything he could do to help them right now, he would. "I am fully convinced now that I owe every relative an explanation," he told the court. "I am honestly sorry." He also said at the time of the murders, the killings had not affected him emotionally: "I didn't feel grief in that sense," he said. Germany's biggest killing spree The killings allegedly took place in the hospitals of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst, two towns in Lower Saxony, between 2000 and 2005. The youngest of his victims was 34 years old and the oldest was 96. Högel was already sentenced to life in prison in 2015 for six other crimes, including the murder of two patients and the attempted murder of two more. After the sentencing, the police continued to investigate and determined that the number of possible victims was much higher. Investigators suspect Högel could have killed more than 200 people, but they fear they might never find out because many of the possible victims were cremated. Police have exhumed 130 bodies of people who died while Högel was on shift. Investigators discovered traces of substances like potassium, Solatex and Gilurytmal (medicines used to control abnormal heart rhythms) or lidocaine (an anesthetic) in the exhumed bodies. Investigators have described the case as "unprecedented in Germany" to their knowledge. Högel's admission of guilt On the first day of the new trial, Högel stunned the courtroom when he admitted to all 100 suspected murders. Högel said he had previously not spoken about the murders "out of shame" and because it had taken him a long time to come to terms with how many people he had killed. While he was working at the two hospitals, Högel had gained a reputation as a jinx because so many patients had to be resuscitated or died under his watch. The hospital in Oldenberg had tried to get him to leave and wrote him positive letters of recommendation, but despite the suspicious number of deaths, a formal investigation was never opened. Högel continued to kill even when he moved to the new hospital in Delmenhorst, where he was finally caught in the act in 2005. The trial is expected to last until May 2019.

Niels Högel is on trial for the suspected murder of 100 patients in two different hospitals. After his complete confession on opening day, he has now apologized to the relatives of his victims. A German nurse who is accused of having murdered more than 100 patients is being tried again by a court in Oldenburg, in the state of Lower ... Read More »

Germany issuing travel bans to 18 Saudis over Khashoggi’s death

Germany is banning 18 Saudi citizens suspected of being involved in Jamal Khashoggi's death from entering Europe's Schengen zone. The government says it is also halting previously approved arms exports to Saudi Arabia. Germany has triggered proceedings to ban 18 Saudi citizens allegedly involved in the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi from entering Europe's border-free Schengen zone, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday. "We still have more questions than answers in the Khashoggi case," Maas said on the sidelines of a European Union meeting in Brussels, adding that he had discussed the decision with Britain and France prior to his announcement. The Schengen Area comprises 26 European countries. It includes most EU countries and non-EU members Norway and Switzerland. A German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told the Reuters news agency that Germany's privacy laws precluded her from naming the individuals. Arms sales on ice In another move in response to the killing, the German Economy Ministry said on Monday that it had halted all arms sales to the kingdom, even those previously approved. A month ago, Germany said it would not give the green light to any new weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, but did not say what would happen with contracts that had already received approval. The decision to halt exports is likely to affect the delivery of 20 patrol boats that are already under construction in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Other EU member states, and notably France, have so far declined to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Saudi dithering Khashoggi was killed while visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2. His body was dismembered and removed. Germany and the European Union have repeatedly called on Saudi authorities to clarify the circumstances of Khashoggi's death. Riyadh initially denied that he had been killed. But amid growing international pressure, it accused 11 rogue agents of carrying out the killing without its consent. Doubts remain however about the complicity of Saudi leaders. On Saturday, US media reported that the US Central Intelligence Agency believed with "high confidence" that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directly ordered the killing. Germany announced it would stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia in late October until the full facts of Khashoggi's death were "on the table."

Germany is banning 18 Saudi citizens suspected of being involved in Jamal Khashoggi’s death from entering Europe’s Schengen zone. The government says it is also halting previously approved arms exports to Saudi Arabia. Germany has triggered proceedings to ban 18 Saudi citizens allegedly involved in the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi from entering Europe’s border-free Schengen zone, German Foreign ... Read More »

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas calls for China transparency over Uighur Muslims

Despite warnings from China that Germany should not interfere in its internal affairs, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called on Beijing to be transparent about the human rights conflict surrounding the Uighur Muslims. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas began his visit to China on Monday by calling for more transparency from the Chinese government regarding the human rights conflict surrounding reports about the mass detention of a million Uighur Muslims. UN experts have said there are credible reports that as many as a million Uighurs, ethnically Turkic Muslims which reside in western China, have been interned in camps in the last year. "We cannot accept re-education camps," Maas said after meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Beijing, adding that more information was needed to assess the situation. On Monday, Maas said his talks with Vice Premier Liu were "free of controversy" and that all sides had an interest in matters being ransparent. When asked if human rights organizations should enter the camps, the German minister said: "At first, it is of secondary importance who ensures transparency." Bundestag condemnation Last Thursday, members of Germany's Bundestag condemned the Chinese government for its treatment of the Uighur population, accusing Beijing of violating human rights. In a motion, the Greens party called on the German government to demand that Beijing grant independent observers and journalists access to the Xinjiang region. The discussion in the Bundestag prompted a fierce response from China. The Chinese Embassy in Berlin said that Beijing was "extremely dissatisfied" and accused the Bundestag of "blatant interference in internal affairs and a gross violation of China's sovereignty." Bundestag condemnation Last Thursday, members of Germany's Bundestag condemned the Chinese government for its treatment of the Uighur population, accusing Beijing of violating human rights. In a motion, the Greens party called on the German government to demand that Beijing grant independent observers and journalists access to the Xinjiang region. The discussion in the Bundestag prompted a fierce response from China. The Chinese Embassy in Berlin said that Beijing was "extremely dissatisfied" and accused the Bundestag of "blatant interference in internal affairs and a gross violation of China's sovereignty." Xinjiang belongs to the territory of the People's Republic of China, and issues concerning Xinjiang fall within China's jurisdictions and internal affairs," a statement published last Friday by the Embassy read. China has said the camps are "training centers" to equip people with employable skill to help combat Islamist extremism in the still bloodied Xinjiang province. However, rights activists say the centers are political indoctrination camps where Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities are taught Communist propaganda and forced to renounce their religion. Two-day visit The minister also said that issues relating to arms control and disarmament should be the subject of multilateral agreements, especially in the case of new weapons systems. "We want to talk to China about this," the ministry said via Twitter: Germany wants to expand bilateral consultations between Germany and China, on cooperation at the UN among other issues. Before he left Germany, Maas had said "China is more than just our most important trading partner in Asia," and needed a strong relationship to tacle issues such as security and climate change. Maas also stressed that Berlin and Beijing had a common interest in ending trade disputes. China was Germany's most important trade partner in 2017 with a trade volume of over €186 billion ($209 billion). The minister was also to meet with economy officials and with Yang Jiechi, the director of China's foreign affairs office, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi as part of his two-day visit.

Despite warnings from China that Germany should not interfere in its internal affairs, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called on Beijing to be transparent about the human rights conflict surrounding the Uighur Muslims. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas began his visit to China on Monday by calling for more transparency from the Chinese government regarding the human rights conflict surrounding reports ... Read More »

Refugee abuse trial opens in Germany

The refugee abuse scandal sent shock waves through Germany when it became public nearly four years ago. Now, 30 guards and workers at the asylum center face a host of charges. The trial of 30 people accused of abusing refugees at an asylum center in Germany started on Thursday in the western town of Siegen. It has been nearly four years since shocking images of abuse against refugees in the small western town of Burbach triggered widespread outrage. The abuse was captured on cellphone photos. One of the Burbach photos showed a security guard posing with his foot on the neck of a handcuffed refugee lying on the floor, while another showed a refugee being forced to lie on a mattress stained with vomit. Security guards also took the refugees to a "problem room" where they were allegedly imprisoned, beaten and robbed. At the time the photos became public, Police Chief Frank Richter from nearby Hagen said: "These are images of the kind we've seen from Guantanamo Bay." The 30 guards and workers at the asylum facility face charges that include grievous bodily harm, deprivation of liberty, coercion and theft. Following the scandal, operations at the refugee center were transferred from the social services company European Homecare to the German Red Cross.

The refugee abuse scandal sent shock waves through Germany when it became public nearly four years ago. Now, 30 guards and workers at the asylum center face a host of charges. The trial of 30 people accused of abusing refugees at an asylum center in Germany started on Thursday in the western town of Siegen. It has been nearly four ... Read More »

Germany cautious as France leads European defense initiative

France is leading a 10-country defense initiative in a bid to "face new threats" outside existing structures. Germany is wary that the project could entangle its military in foreign interventions and undermine the EU. Defense ministers from 10 European countries gathered in Paris on Wednesday to set the agenda for the European Intervention Initiative (EI2), a defense coalition spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron. "To face new threats, Europe needs a strong defense," the French Defense Ministry said in a tweet after the meeting. "With the European Intervention Initiative, 10 European countries are committed to its protection." EI2's goal is to create a results-based common strategic culture that allows for rapid response joint military operations, including in humanitarian efforts. As such, it is not aimed at establishing a supranational European army. However, as an initiative outside EU and NATO frameworks, the French Defense Ministry has tried to alleviate concerns that it would undermine defense structures in the bloc and alliance. "With the European Intervention Initiative, the whole European Union and the European pillar in NATO will also be strengthened," it added. Germany felt pressured' But France's efforts have done little to placate concerns in Berlin, which Paris sees as a pivotal actor in the initiative. Claudia Major, senior international security associate at the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), told DW that German officials are wary because "it's explicitly and deliberately organized and set up outside the European Union's structures." "For the Germans, making a deliberate attempt to setting up something meaningful outside the EU's structures — and outside NATO — is not seen as a positive move but rather as undermining the EU," Major said. "In the end, Germany felt pressured to agree and engage in the initiative, because otherwise all the talk about France and Germany being the engine of Europe and the heart of Europe, and driving European integration and cooperation forward, would look cheap, wouldn't it?" Fear of 'military adventures' Observers have suggested the initiative poses other challenges for Germany, especially in terms of possible military interventions abroad. Others have even highlighted that the French-led initiative could be used as a means to reinforce Paris' foreign policy objectives. "Berlin has watered down every French proposal for fear of being drawn into ill-considered military adventures in Africa," Philipp Rotmann, associate director of the Global Public Policy Institute, told DW. "But I haven't heard any ambitious, practical proposals from Paris, either — so either the French were too timid in the face of German opposition, or they just hoped that everyone would sign up to taking over the French way of when and how to use military force." Due to Germany's wartime past, the country's armed forces, known as the Bundeswehr, must receive parliamentary approval for military operations on foreign soil. German officials are worried this could be muddied by elements of the initiative. Bundeswehr sources have also pointed to France's decision to disengage militarily in other areas, including Afghanistan and Kosovo, as a cautionary sign of the initiative's purpose, according to the Reuters news agency. Change on the horizon Wednesday's meeting came a day after Macron called for a "real European army" to be established as a means to wean Europe off of US defense guarantees, especially after US President Donald Trump threatened to moderate Washington's commitment to the continent. "We need a Europe which defends itself better alone, without just depending on the United States," Macron said. The initiative comprises Germany, the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Portugal, Finland and France. While dreams of a supranational European military force remain elusive, Macron's vision for a flexible defense coalition may be just around the corner, even with a cautious Germany.

France is leading a 10-country defense initiative in a bid to “face new threats” outside existing structures. Germany is wary that the project could entangle its military in foreign interventions and undermine the EU. Defense ministers from 10 European countries gathered in Paris on Wednesday to set the agenda for the European Intervention Initiative (EI2), a defense coalition spearheaded by ... Read More »

Germany, Europe see little hope for Trump policy change after US midterm election

Berlin isn't expecting Trump to change his "America First" stance following the US midterm elections, Germany's foreign minister said. Other German and European politicians hailed the results as a setback for Trump. Although Democrats made electoral gains in Tuesday's midterm elections, officials in Germany and other European Union countries said they do not believe the results will prompt a change in US President Donald Trump's approach to foreign policy. "It would be a mistake to expect a course correction from Donald Trump now," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote on Twitter. He emphasized that the United States remains Germany's closest partner outside of Europe, but in order to maintain that partnership he said, "We will have to recalibrate and adjust our relationship with the USA." The Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives in Tuesday's polls, but Trump's Republicans strengthened their grip on power in the Senate. The transatlantic coordinator for the German government, Peter Beyer, was also skeptical that Tuesday's election results will ease Europe's worries, particularly since NATO matters and international trade are under the jurisdiction of the Republican-controlled Senate. "I don't think we should expect too much from this outcome and the impact on us," Beyer told German public broadcaster ZDF. EU politicians praise Democrat wins Frans Timmermans, the vice president of the European Commission, wrote on Twitter that US voters "chose hope over fear, civility over rudeness, inclusion over racism, equality over discrimination." "They stood up for their values. And so will we," the Dutch politician added, looking ahead to the European Parliament elections in 2019. Pierre Moscovici, a former French finance minister who is the European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, made an ironic comment about Trump's claim of "tremendous success" in the election. "The Democrats win the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years despite powerful Republican gerrymandering," Moscovici wrote on Twitter. "Donald Trump is right: 'Tremendous success tonight.'" Manfred Weber, a German politician who heads up the European Parliament's center-right European People's Party (EPP), said the results were a "mixed signal." With Democrats in control of the House of Representatives, pushing through Trump's legislative agenda will now be harder, Weber told local public broadcaster Bayerische Rundfunk, adding that Republicans and Democrats will have to work together to find solutions and "that is perhaps the good news of the day." Good day for democracy in America' Some in Germany saw the election results as an opportunity to forge better ties with Congress, and possibly block actions from Trump that could negatively impact Europe. "Now there are more people in office who might be more open to having a constructive dialogue with Europeans and I think Germans will use that opportunity," Daniela Schwarzer, Director at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) told DW. Jürgen Hardt, the foreign policy spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc in parliament, said Germany needs to quickly line-up talks with the new members of Congress in Washington. Berlin especially needs to make clear the "the importance of the transatlantic relationship" to the new representatives and senators, he told public broadcaster SWR. Annalena Baerbock, the co-leader of the Greens, hailed the election as a "good day for democracy in America," adding that the results show "that discriminatory rhetoric and policies of marginalization do not win over the majority." Overall, Democratic candidates for Congress won nearly 14 million votes more than Republican nominees. Backing for Trump came from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), who congratulated the US leader on his victory in the Senate, saying the results were due to his "successful economic and migration policy," reported DW's Thomas Sparrow.

Berlin isn’t expecting Trump to change his “America First” stance following the US midterm elections, Germany’s foreign minister said. Other German and European politicians hailed the results as a setback for Trump. Although Democrats made electoral gains in Tuesday’s midterm elections, officials in Germany and other European Union countries said they do not believe the results will prompt a change ... Read More »

Germany ex-spy chief Maassen may be fired for insultsGermany ex-spy chief Maassen may be fired for insults

Maassen reportedly heavily criticized the government to other European security chiefs in his farewell speech. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who backed Maassen in other controversies, has declined to do so this time. Germany's controversial former domestic intelligence chief Hans-Georg Maassen looked likely to finally be getting the boot from government on Sunday. The Interior Ministry confirmed that it is reviewing Maassen's employment after more of his controversial statements came to light. Maassen, who headed Germany's domestic security service (the BfV) for six years, became the subject of outrage across Germany in September when he questioned well-documented reports of far-right violence against foreigners in the city of Chemnitz and gave no reason for his comments. There have also been reports that he passed sensitive information about Islamic extremism to the Islamophobic Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. Maassen faces the ax for insulting grand coalition Despite the uproar, Maassen's boss, conservative Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, continued to back him. An initial compromise between Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and coalition partners the Social Democrats (SPD) would have seen Maassen relieved of duty at the BfV but essentially promoted to deputy interior minister. After an outcry over the apparent promotion, he was shuffled sideways and made a consultant reporting directly to Seehofer. What finally may get Maassen fired has nothing to do with the far-right, and everything to do with how the 55-year-old spoke of the ruling CDU-SPD grand coalition in his farewell speech as BfV chief in front of European counterparts in October. While the Interior Ministry has not made the contents of Maassen's remarks public, he reportedly spoke derisively of Merkel's administration in front of the group of European security leaders. Even his former champion Horst Seehofer did not directly back him this time, telling reporters in Munich on Sunday that he could not comment on the matter yet. He will reportedly make a decision on Maassen's future when he gets the finished report on the incident at the end of the week. Maassen has been no stranger to controversy throughout his career, notably being accused in 2013 of having transferred all BfV data to the US National Security Agency.

Maassen reportedly heavily criticized the government to other European security chiefs in his farewell speech. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who backed Maassen in other controversies, has declined to do so this time. Germany’s controversial former domestic intelligence chief Hans-Georg Maassen looked likely to finally be getting the boot from government on Sunday. The Interior Ministry confirmed that it is reviewing ... Read More »

German professor goes to court to challenge €2,250 library book fine

The psychology professor's lawyer has told a judge that the fine, for the late return of 50 books, was extortionate. She is facing a fine of €1,000 and a further €1,250 in admin fees after missing a deadline by 40 days. A German university professor is challenging the library fine system in the state of North Rhine Westphalia after being landed with a €2,250 bill for the late return of dozens of books. Professor Gina Kästele, who lectures at the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences in the western city of Mönchengladbach, went to court on Friday to challenge the penalty which was imposed after she returned the books nearly six weeks late. Kästele's lawyer claims the charge — made up of €1,000 ($1,153) in library book fines and a further €1,250 in administration fees — was disproportionately high. Read more: Sensational archaeological find is likely Germany's oldest library The university allows professors to keep books for research purposes for long periods without a fee but an extension must be applied for at the end of the academic year, according to several German media outlets. The plaintiff borrowed 50 books for her scientific work from the university library at the beginning of the 2015 summer semester. Books returned 40 days too late The books were, therefore, due back at the start of the summer recess at the end of July, but Kästele didn't return them until September. The university says the library sent several reminders that the books were overdue, which Kästele's lawyer insists she didn't see because she was on holiday. Initially the library fined the plaintiff €2 per book, and then €5. After 30 days, the fine rose to €20 per book. In addition, after such a long period administrative fees of €25 for each book were applied. Read more: US Library of Congress to stop archiving all tweets The German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur said the fee structure was set by the state government in 2005. Kästele is also arguing that because the university system in Germany has since been reformed, the regulations no longer apply. If Kästele were to win her case, DPA said the ruling could have consequences for all German university libraries. A university representative acknowledged that the fine was not an accurate calculation of the library's expenses for late returns. Even so, the presiding judge said that fines of this kind were allowed to be issued as a deterrence, to ensure others return the books on time. The court is expected to issue a decision in the coming weeks.

The psychology professor’s lawyer has told a judge that the fine, for the late return of 50 books, was extortionate. She is facing a fine of €1,000 and a further €1,250 in admin fees after missing a deadline by 40 days. A German university professor is challenging the library fine system in the state of North Rhine Westphalia after being ... Read More »

Scroll To Top