Politics • European • Germany
Russian Covid-19 vaccine possibly "dangerous" according to German Health Minister
Jens Spahn
Jens Spahn Credit: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

In a radio interview with Deutschlandfunk, the German Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn has stated: "it is not about being first somehow, but about having an effective, a tested and therefore safe vaccine, which - and this is the important part - will vaccinate 100 million, if not billions of people".

According to his judgment, Russia has not been transparent enough about the studies, trials and science behind the Covid-19 vaccine that has already been approved.

He stated that "at least we now know that there have been no phase 3 studies" adding that it could be "dangerous to start vaccinating millions". Possible negative effects could "be quite fatal to the acceptance of vaccination if it goes wrong" as the approved Vaccine "has not been sufficiently tested here".

Politics • European • Germany
Germany fails to inform 900 people that tested positive for Covid-19

The Health Minister of the state Bavaria and the President of the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety have announced that out of 85,000 Covid-19 tests around 44,000 results haven't been communicated to the tested people.

Among these results are 900 positives ones. According to Bavarian Health Minister Melanie Huml "there is a transmission problem, there's nothing to gloss over" as most of the data needs the be entered manually into the systems.

She stated that is has top priority to inform the people that have testes positive and that they should be informed by noon tomorrow. Currently, the wait for test results takes often a week or longer.

Politics • European • Germany
Germany reports 1226 new coronavirus infections in single day, highest since May
Germany reports 1226 new coronavirus infections in single day, highest since May
Credit: Fridolin freudenfett (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The German Robert Koch-Institut (RKI) as official source for the Covid-19 infection numbers has reported 1226 new coronavirus infections in a single day.

The federal minister of health Jens Spahn has previously stated that: "At the moment, we are in any case still on a scale that the health care system and the public health service can cope with" and added that "If we stabilize at a certain level now, then we can handle it".

The last day with a higher number of new infections has been the 9th of May with 1251 cases.

Politics • European • Germany
Germany allows unmarried couples to reunite
Germany allows unmarried couples to reunite

The German Interior Ministry announced that from August 10, unmarried partners of German residents from countries that Germany considers high-risk will have an exemption allowing them to visit the country provided some proof they were in a long-term relationship before the pandemic.

Partners from "high-risk" regions and countries will have to undergo mandatory testing and quarantine until they have a negative test.

Valid proof of the relationship could come in the form of a previous joint residence abroad or a documented in-person meeting in Germany. The partner living in Germany must also provide a visit invitation, and the couple must sign a joint declaration affirming the existence of their relationship.

Politics • European • Germany
Social Democratic Party of Germany nominates finance minister as chancellor candidate to try to succeed Merkel after 2021 elections
Social Democratic Party of Germany nominates finance minister as chancellor candidate to try to succeed Merkel after 2021 elections
Credit: Olaf Kosinsky (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 DE)

The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) has announced that Olaf Scholz, currently finance minister in the cabinet under Angela Merkel, will headline the election efforts of his party with the goal of becoming chancellor after the general elections in 2021.

Angela Merkel has previously announced that the current term will be her last one. The SPD is the first party to nominate their front-runner for the elections.

Politics • European • Germany
Germany confirms death of diplomat in Beirut explosion

The German minister for foreign affairs Heiko Maas has announced that a member of the German embassy in Beirut has died from the consequences of the explosion in the Lebanese capital city.

He stated that "our worst fears have been confirmed. A member of our embassy in Beirut has been killed in her home as a result of the explosion" and added that his "thanks go to all those who, like our late colleague, take great personal risks every day all over the world in the service of our country".

Politics • European • Germany
Germany is already experiencing its second Covid-19 wave according to German doctor's union
Man with face mask, Bielefeld, Germany
Man with face mask, Bielefeld, Germany Credit: bennett tobias

Susanne Johna, the president of the German doctors union, warned that Germany is already facing a second Covid-19 wave. The daily confirmed cases in the country have increased in recent weeks, and the Marburger Bund warns that loose adherence to hygiene and social distancing rules could spur a widespread wave of new infections. 

In an interview to the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper, Johna stated: "There is a danger that we will lose the successes that we have achieved in Germany so far in a combination of repression and longing for normality,".

According to the Robert Kock Institute, Germany had 879 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, August 4.

Politics • European • Germany
20,000 protest against Covid-19 measures in Berlin, 18 police officers injured

According to police estimations around 20,000 people have attended a protest march against the Covid-19 measures in Germany. Most of the protestors did not wear masks and complied with the hygiene rules, prompting the police to launch legal action against the organizers. The police then tried to break up the protest which has lead to multiple injured officers of which three needed to be hospitalized.

Politics • European • Germany
Germany: Officials 'very concerned' by rising numbers of Covid-19 cases
Prof. Dr. Lothar Wieler
Prof. Dr. Lothar Wieler Credit: YouTube (Reproduction)

Lothar Wieler, the head of the Robert Koch Institute has said that negligence is to blame for an increase in cases. Over the last seven days, Germany has registered a daily average of 557 cases, compared to around 350 in early June. The number of new infections nearly doubled to 633 on Tuesday, up from 340 on Monday.

Tuesday, during his first press conference in weeks, Wieler said: "The rise has to do with the fact that we have become negligent.". He also asked people for the first time to wear a mask outdoors if they cannot maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres.

Politics • European • Germany
German Government advises against travel to Aragon, Navarra, and Catalonia
La Barceloneta, Barcelona, Spain
La Barceloneta, Barcelona, Spain Credit: Lucrezia Carnelos

Germany's Foreign Ministry issued a notice warning against tourist travel to the Spanish regions of Aragon, Navarra, and Catalonia after a spike in coronavirus cases.

The Ministry website states: “We currently advise against unnecessary tourist trips to the autonomous communities of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarre due to high infection numbers and local lockdowns,”.

Bernat Sole, Catalonia's foreign affairs chief, said: "We do not get into evaluating the decisions by other countries but we obviously don't share it. The Catalan government is responsible … and we are working to protect the life and health of people that live here or are visiting us,".

Politics • European • Germany
Germany: Baden-Württemberg bans burqas, niqabs in schools
Germany: Baden-Württemberg bans burqas, niqabs in schools
Credit: Flood G. (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

State Premier Winfried Kretschmann announced Baden-Württemberg will now ban full-face coverings for all school children. Kretschmann said burqas and niqabs did not belong in a free society.

Politics • European • Germany
Hambacher Forst: Continued police operations
Hambach Forest Barricade
Hambach Forest Barricade Credit: Infoletta Hambach (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Activists in the Hambacher Forst, an ancient forest located in western Germany, again kept the police busy last weekend. The RWE security service informed the police five times after they found nail boards hidden under leaves on access roads. In addition, fire was lit and garbage set on fire.

Politics • European • Germany
Germany has systematically violated arms export regulations for 30 years
A Leopard 2 tank in a NATO exercise
A Leopard 2 tank in a NATO exercise Credit: Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

A new study by the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) claims Germany, since 1990, has authorized and exported weapons and military equipment to be used in countries with human rights violations and ravaged by war.

According to the EU criteria, the recipient of arms must respect human rights and international law, as well as maintain peace and stability in their region. However, Germany has repeatedly struck deals with nations with a poor human rights record, such as Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, and Indonesia, oftentimes selling off old Bundeswehr hardware, PRIF notes.

The study states there have been "wars fought with German weapons and serious human rights violations.".

Politics • European • Germany
Germany: Seehofer continues blockade against racism study within the police
Horst Seehofer
Horst Seehofer Credit: Martin Rulsch (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

According to information from SPIEGEL, Horst Seehofer maintains his blockade against an independent racism study within the police. He sees no structural racism problems that should be examined. The German Police University had submitted a project application to the Interior Ministry to investigate "right-wing extremist attitudes and actions", but the three-year project is now on hold.

Not only Seehofer, but the CSU is also opposed to a study recommended by the EU.

Lower Saxony's Minister of the Interior Pistorius now wants to commission a study in cooperation with other federal states.

Politics • European • Germany
Stuttgart is discussing a structured survey of the migration background
Stuttgart is discussing a structured survey of the migration background
Credit: NTV (Reproduction)

The criminologist Tobias Singelnstein criticizes the collection of the "family tree" among the identified perpetrators of the riots in Stuttgart. In juvenile criminal law - which will probably be used these cases - due to the educational concept, it is necessary to find out about family backgrounds, but the immigration background demonstrably does not say anything about the crime.

He is facing headwind from CDU politicians who justify this investigative approach by the fact that it could initiate preventive measures.

Politics • European • Germany
Germany accused of discrimination after the removal of the Taiwan flag from the Foreign Ministry website
Screenshot of the Federal Foreign Office website
Screenshot of the Federal Foreign Office website Credit: Federal Foreign Office

The Taiwanese Government reacted with dismay to the German Foreign Ministry's decision to remove Taiwan's national flag from its website.

Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Joanne Ou on Monday stated that the ministry "could not accept this kind of discrimination", because the page introducing Taiwan is inconsistent with other countries or regions.

When asked during a press conference about the decision, Rainer Breul, the foreign ministry representative, claimed the change was in keeping with Germany's "one China policy.".

Politics • European • Germany
Sex workers in Hamburg demonstrate for re-opening of business
Herbertstraße, Hamburg
Herbertstraße, Hamburg Credit: (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the brothels in the Herbertstraße, which is part of the red light area of Hamburg's St. Pauli district, have been forced to close. The ban hasn't been lifted so far, and sex workers have now demonstrated for a re-opening. While prostitution is legal in Germany, the Association of Sex Workers has stated that the forced closure of the licensed establishments forces some sex workers into illegal work on the streets, adding that this is far more dangerous and unhygienic.

The association stated that "Prostitution does not carry a greater risk of infection than other close-to-body services, like massages, cosmetics or even dancing or contact sports" and organised a protest on Saturday evening.

Politics • European • Germany
Berlin changes racist subway station name
Berlin changes racist subway station name
Credit: BVG Berlin via Twitter

The BVG, Berlin's public transport company, has announced that it would rename the subway station in the city centre named "Mohrenstraße" to "Glinkastraße".

The term "mohr" has been coined throughout colonial times and has a racist background as it was used as a medieval term for people from Northern Africa.

Activists had previously started a petition to rename the station and name-giving street, and had temporarily put up signs naming it "George Floyd Street".

Politics • European • Germany
Germany criminalizes upskirting and pictures of accident victims
Bundestag plenar hall
Bundestag plenar hall Credit: Andreas Praefcke (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

The German parliament Bundestag has criminalized taking nonconsensual pictures under skirts or dresses. Under current legislation, it hadn't been illegal in most cases while under new legislations the perpetrators can be sentenced to up to two years of prison time. The same penalties will be applied to taking pictures and photographs of deceased accident victims as the current legislation only protected survivors.

Politics • European • Germany
Stuttgart: Investigation after racist WhatsApp voice message by police officer
Stuttgart: Investigation after racist WhatsApp voice message by police officer
Credit: Christian Wiediger

After the riots in Stuttgart, a voice message with racist content by a police officer appeared on social networks. The official describes the events in Stuttgart city center and draws a direct parallel to refugee policy and migrants. The police have confirmed the authenticity and have initiated an internal investigation against a known police officer.

Politics • European • Germany
Arson attack on German parliament building
Representative picture of the Reichstag building
Representative picture of the Reichstag building Credit: / Christian Lue

Unknown suspects have tried to light a chipboard on the east side of the German Reichstag on fire. The board had replaced a broken window and the suspects placed flammable fluid on it and lit it up. The fire brigade was dispatched with a contingent of 50 people but the chipboard didn't catch fire and the fire brigade didn't need to intervene. The deployment was over after 30 minutes. At this point it is unclear if the suspects have been filmed by video cameras and the police state security is investigating.

Politics • European • Germany
Amazon workers in Germany will go on strike Monday over Covid-19 infections gift card gift card Credit: Donald Trung Quoc Don (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Under the motto 'Good and healthy work', workers from six Amazon locations in Germany will start a 48-hour strike on Monday, according to Verdi labour union. The affected sites are in Leipzig, Bad Hersfeld, Rheinberg, Werne and Koblenz.

Verdi representative Orhan Akman said on Sunday: "We have information that at least 30 to 40 colleagues were infected,".

Politics • European • Germany
Neo-Nazi group "Nordadler" has been banned in Germany
Neo-Nazi group "Nordadler" has been banned in Germany
Credit: Spiske

The neo-nazi group "Nordadler" has been banned by Horst Seehofer, the German minister of the Interior, Building and Community. This is the third ban of a right-wing extremist group in 2020, following raids of group members in four different federal German states. The ministry has stated that the group had formed plans to create a community of right-wing extremists in rural areas and that they had pledged allegiance to Adolf Hitler.

Politics • European • Germany
German labor minister demands compensation from meat company after 1,300 Covid-19 cases at processing plant
Maximilian Tönnies, Andres Ruff, Clemens Tönnies
Maximilian Tönnies, Andres Ruff, Clemens Tönnies Credit: Tönnies

The German federal minister of labor and social affairs Hubertus Heil has demanded that the meat processing company Tönnies should be held liable and forced to compensation payments due to the Covid-19 outbreak in its meat processing plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrück. Over 1,300 people have tested positive and all of the 6,500 workers are under mandatory quarantine. Due to problems with the documentation inside the company and the number of cases, schools and daycare centers in the region have been closed. Heil stated that "There must be a civil liability of the company" and accused the company of taking "an entire region hostage".

Politics • European • Germany
German interior minister Horst Seehofer announces that he will file police report over news article
Picture of Horst Seehofer from 2019
Picture of Horst Seehofer from 2019 Credit: Patrick Büttgen, phoenix (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The German minister of the Interior, Building and Community Horst Seehofer has publicly announced that he plans on filing a formal report to the police over an opinion piece that was published by the Berlin newspaper "tageszeitung" (taz). In the German publication "Bild" he stated that (translated) "A disinhibition of words inevitably leads to a disinhibition of deeds and to excesses of violence, just as we have now seen in Stuttgart. We must not accept this any longer". The satirically meant article in question had discussed the topic of abolishing the police and mentioned the option that they instead could be put on a landfill.

Politics • European • Germany
Germany's coronavirus reproduction rate jumps to 2.88
German Covid-19 contact tracing app
German Covid-19 contact tracing app Credit: Mika Baumeister

Germany's coronavirus reproduction rate has jumped to 2.88 on Sunday. The "R" number estimates how many people an infected person passes the virus to, and a value of less than one is needed to control the spread of the disease.

Numbers released by the Robert Koch Institute shown the average four-day reproduction rate jumped from 1.79 on Saturday, to 2.88. The 7-day 'R' value also increased from 1.55 on Saturday to 2.03 on Sunday.

According to the RKI, the increase was mainly due to local outbreaks in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where more than 1,300 workers at a meat-processing plant tested positive to Covid-19.

Politics • European • Germany
Germany: Background check for civil servants in first state

Brandenburg is the first federal state to introduce a background check for state employees. Above all, compliance with the constitution should be checked and extremist infiltration recognized and combated at an early stage. The powers of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution are also to be expanded: Individuals who radicalize independently of membership in a group should be easier to observe.

This was triggered by individual cases in the federal state and a decision by the Interior Ministers' Conference in 2019.

Government officials consider this step to be necessary because in some places private security forces are better checked than state officials.

Politics • European • Germany
German prosecutor accuses Russia of ordering Georgian's murder in Berlin park

Germany top prosecutor have now confirmed that he will seek to prove in court that a Georgian man murdered in Berlin last year was a hit ordered by the Russian government.

On August 23, 2019, a Russian man allegedly murdered a 40-year-old Chechen with Georgian citizenship with three shots in Berlin's Kleiner Tiergarten. The suspect was caught a few hours later, after being seen throwing a wig, a bicycle and a gun into the river Spree.

Politics • European • Germany
New regulations for the security industry in Germany
Horst Seehofer being interviewed on November 2018
Horst Seehofer being interviewed on November 2018 Credit: Olaf Kosinsky / CC BY-SA 3.0 DE (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Horst Seehofen (Minister of the Interior) plans to define new regulations with the change of responsibility for the private security industry.

A change of responsibility from the Federal Ministry of Economics to the Ministry of the Interior had already been agreed in the coalition agreement for the current legislative period and had long been expected by the industry. In particular, training, qualifications and equipment requirements are to be reorganized. The previous point of contention was the "guard register" that the Interior Ministry did not want to take over due to further weaknesses. In the future, the register will be the responsibility of the Federal Statistical Office.

Politics • European • Germany
Germany releases Covid-19 warn app
Campaign image for the Corona-Warn App
Campaign image for the Corona-Warn App Credit: Bundesregierung Deutschland

The German government has released an app for both iOS and Android to help tracing new Covid-19 infections and warn people that have been in contact with others that have been tested positive. The source code for the application is publically available in order to ensure that there are no privacy concerns. According to the FAQ section the users personal data will remain anonymous at all times and for the registration no personal data needs to be provided.