Germany

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The German Health Minister Jens Spahn tested positive for Covid-19
Jens Spahn
Jens Spahn Credit: Olaf Kosinsky (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 DE)

Jens Spahn, the German Health Minister, tested positive for Covid-19 and has gone into immediate isolation.

The healthy ministry confirmed all those in close contact with Spahn had been informed.

Members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet, that have met Spahn earlier on Wednesday, will not be self-isolating.

According to a government spokesperson: "The Federal Cabinet meets in compliance with hygiene and distance rules, which aim to ensure that even if a person who later tests positive were to participate, quarantining of other or even all participants would not be necessary."

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Handshake denied - Lebanese does not get German citizenship
Handshake denied - Lebanese does not get German citizenship
Credit: Amtec Photos (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The German administrative court of Baden-Württemberg has ruled that anyone who refuses to shake hands with women because of fundamentalist values is not allowed to be made a citizen of Germany.

The Lebanese had signed the leaflet on loyalty to the constitution and the rejection of any form of extremism. He had also achieved the maximum number of points in the naturalization test. But then he refused to shake hands with the responsible official during the planned handover. The district administration office thereupon rejected citizenship, a decision that has been upheld by the German court.

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Berlin court overturn 11 pm Covid-19 curfew for restaurants and bars in the city
Berlin court overturn 11 pm Covid-19 curfew for restaurants and bars in the city
Credit: Berlin IckLiebeDir (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

A Berlin court suspended the 11 pm curfew on bars and restaurants that was in effect for a week. The court stated there was no evidence that establishments sticking to the existing rules on mask-wearing and social distancing contributed to an increase in the infection rates.

The court ruling was in response to a legal action brought by restaurant owners who contested the curfew, but not a ban on the sale of alcohol after 11 pm.

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Germany: Investigation against right-wing extremist chat groups at the Berlin police
Germany: Investigation against right-wing extremist chat groups at the Berlin police
Credit: Marco (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In recent weeks and months, various right-wing extremist chat groups by police officers have been uncovered throughout Germany. After Hesse and North-Rhine Westphalia, the first such case became known to the Berlin police at the beginning of October.

As it turns out today, Wednesday, not an isolated case. Once again a WhatsApp group, this time from Berlin police students, became known in which right-wing extremist memes and symbols were also sent to each other. Criminal investigations were initiated against the suspects.

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Berlin house project evicted by Police
Berlin house project evicted by Police
Credit: Courtesy Niklas Franzen via Twitter

The anarchic-queer-feminist house project Liebig34, in Berlin, was evacuated by court order Friday morning. Protests by opponents of the eviction took place even before the eviction began. The protests continued throughout the day and are still active. Clear clashes between police officers and demonstrators are visible.

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Berlin: First curfew in 70 years amid Covid-19 case surge
Berlin: First curfew in 70 years amid Covid-19 case surge
Credit: unsplash.com/hidde schalm

Starting Saturday, Berlin's bars, restaurants and local shops will have to close between 11 pm, and 6 am, the Berlin Senate said announcing the first curfew in 70 years. The new curfew-period also forbids private gatherings of more than five people and nighttime meetings in parks. Daytime gatherings of more than 10 people will also be banned under the new rules. Gas stations can remain open during the night but are not allowed to sell alcohol during curfew hours.

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26-year old student attacked in front of Hamburg synagogue
26-year old student attacked in front of Hamburg synagogue
Credit: Catrin / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

During the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles on Sunday afternoon, a 29-year-old man dressed in army-like clothing had attacked a 26-year-old man who was about to enter the grounds of the Hohe Weide Synagogue in the Hamburg district of Eimsbüttel.

The police and general public prosecutor's office are investigating the man for attempted murder in a crime with dangerous bodily harm. They assume that the suspect has an anti-semitic motive.

In the trouser pocket of the suspect, a note with a hand-drawn swastika had been found after he had been caught following the attack.

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Potential right-wing terrorist detained in Poland
Representative image of police forces
Representative image of police forces Credit: unsplash.com / ev

According to the Polish counterintelligence agency ABW, a German man was arrested last week in Poland. The suspect apparently has a right-wing background and a history of online hate speech. He was charged with possession of weapons and explosives. A further investigation is underway.

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Berlin police starts criminal procedures over right wing chat group by police officers
Berlin police starts criminal procedures over right wing chat group by police officers
Credit: unsplash.com / Leon Seibert

According to a report, a chat with racist content has appeared in the ranks of the Berlin police. The authorities have started investigations.

It is said to be the internal chat of a service group of the Berlin police, in which more than 25 officers are said to have exchanged information. The report says that seven officers in particular regularly made clear racist statements, often in the form of alleged jokes. Colleagues had often commented on the statements with approval.

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Germany: Ex-AfD faction spokesman Christian Lüth secretly filmed talking about the gassing of migrants

The former press spokesman of the AfD Bundestag faction who has been on leave since spring, Christian Lüth, has been dismissed with immediate effect. Previously a video of him had been aired in a TV documentary where he speaks of "shooting" and "gassing" in connection with migrants.

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Friedrich Merz 'regrets' controversial gay chancellor remarks
Friedrich Merz
Friedrich Merz Credit: Olaf Kosinsky (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

German politician Friedrich Merz says he now "regrets" comments made when asked whether he would have reservations if an LGBT+ chancellor were to lead Germany.

During a video interview for the Bild newspaper, Merz replied to the question with: "No. Concerning the question of sexual orientation, as long as it is within the law and does not affect children — which at this point, for me, would be an absolute limit — it is not an issue for public discussion."

Merz is the leading candidate for the position of chair of the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU). Whoever is selected for the role would likely become the party's candidate to replace Angela Merkel as chancellor.

Merz' answer sparked an outcry from German politicians, especially as one of his rivals for the position of CDU chair, Health Minister Jens Spahn, is openly gay.

Another gay politician, deputy chair of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), Kevin Kühnert tweeted: "This is how someone works who cannot hide the fact that he cannot deal with the normalization of homosexuality."

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Germany confirms that Vienna will likely be declared Covid-19 risk area
Germany confirms that Vienna will likely be declared Covid-19 risk area
Credit: unsplash.com / Dimitry Anikin

According to a report by STANDARD the German government has stated that "since September 5, there have been significantly more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants [in Vienna], so we feel compelled to take action".

The Austrian newspaper states that a final decision to declare Vienna a risk area will likely be made Wednesday afternoon.

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Germany: Delay in security checks by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution
Germany: Delay in security checks by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution
Credit: Wo st 01 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 DE)

Staff shortages at the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution could become a security risk. Due to additional tasks such as the security check for other authorities (e.g. Federal Police), the internal security check for employees can only be carried out with a considerable delay.

The checks can be delayed for up to four years which could pose significant risks in the integrity of the authority.

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German opposition pressures Merkel to end Nord Stream 2 support after Navalny poisoning
German opposition pressures Merkel to end Nord Stream 2 support after Navalny poisoning
Credit: Russian Presidential Executive Office (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The German Green party is urging Angela Merkel to use the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to press the Kremlin over the poisoning of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Katrin Göring-Eckardt, the Green's co-chair, said: "This openly attempted murder through the Kremlin’s mafia-like structures should not just worry us but needs to have real consequences."

At her annual Summer press conference, Angela Merkel stated, "Our opinion is that Nord Stream 2 should be completed ... I don't think it is appropriate to link this business-operated project with the Navalny question."

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Study shows 70% of Germans 'proud' of Covid-19 response
Study shows 70% of Germans 'proud' of Covid-19 response
Credit: Cate Blouke

A study carried by the More in Common research group has shown that 70% of Germans are satisfied with their government's response to the pandemic. However, some 30% believe authorities are overblowing the crisis.

The study interviewed 2,000 people in July about how they have "personally, politically and socially" experienced the coronavirus crisis.

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Mother allegedly killed her five children, then tried to commit suicide

A 27-year-old mother allegedly killed her five children in the west German town so Solingen. The grandmother called the police and officer later found the bodies of the children in the woman's apartment. The woman jumped in front of a train after but survived severely injured. Her oldest son was unharmed.

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Merkel condemns 'shameful' Covid-19 parliament protest
Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel Credit: Philipp (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

On Monday, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned as "shameful" an attempt by protesters angry at Covid-19 restrictions to storm parliament, saying they had abused the right to demonstrate peacefully.

Several hundred people tried to get into the Reichstag building during a rally against coronavirus rules in Berlin on Saturday.

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Thousands protest coronavirus measures in Berlin
Protesters in Berlin
Protesters in Berlin Credit: Twitter Reproduction

Some 38,000 people have protested Saturday in the German capital, Berlin, against the coronavirus restrictions. While most of the protest was peaceful, hundreds of protestors attempted to storm the Reichstag parliament building.

Members of Germany's far-right scene were also present, many of them visible with the flags of the German Empire and The Kingdom of Prussia. Both have become synonymous with the Reichsbürger movement that denies the legitimacy of the modern German state. Others waved placards affiliated with the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon.

Germany has so far not seen the wave of cases affecting some other countries of Europe, but its infection rate has been growing. New case numbers are reaching highs last seen in April.

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Germany: Court decides that Federal Ministry of the Interior must make its Twitter direct messages public
Germany: Court decides that Federal Ministry of the Interior must make its Twitter direct messages public
Credit: Alter Fritz (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Following a decision by the Administrative Court of Berlin on Wednesday, the German Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) must make direct messages sent from the ministry's official account on Twitter publicly available.

It is still unclear whether details such as names or other information relevant to data protection law can or must be blacked out.

The journalist and activist from the Open Knowledge Foundation and the transparency portal "Frag den Staat" ("Ask the State"), Arne Semsrott, filed a lawsuit against the BMI in September 2018.

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Berlin bans demonstration against Covid-19 measures
Berlin bans demonstration against Covid-19 measures
Credit: Screenshot press release

The Berlin authorities have banned the large demonstration against the Covid-19 measures planned for this Saturday.

"Freedom of assembly does not mean being able to disregard applicable law"

Among the expected group of participants, violations of the current infection protection ordinance can be expected, said Interior Senator Andreas Geisel (SPD) on August 26, 2020.

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German government: Alexei Navalny 'likely poisoned,'

According to the statement of a German government spokesman it was likely that Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny was poisoned.

Personal protection for the Russian opposition leader is "necessary" a spokesman said. Doctors at a hospital where he was treated in Russia, however, have denied outside influence or the possibility of poisoning.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany to amend the law to require dogs to be walked twice a day
Germany to amend the law to require dogs to be walked twice a day
Credit: CHRIS CANDID (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The German Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Julia Klöckner has announced she will present an amendment to existing regulations, requiring owners to walk their dogs at least twice a day. Outdoor exercise is already required under the Animal Welfare and Dog Regulation Act, the proposed amendment will stipulate the frequency and duration.

Under the new rules, owners would also be forbidden from tying up their dogs for long periods of time or even leaving them alone all day.

It is estimated that around 20 per cent of the German homes have a dog.

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Germany reports increase of weekly Covid-19 tests from 578,000 to 875,000 tests in two weeks
Germany reports increase of weekly Covid-19 tests from 578,000 to 875,000 tests in two weeks
Credit: unsplash.com / National Cancer Institute

Germany has increased the number of conducted Covid-19 tests over the past weeks, partly due to compulsory testing of returning travelers from risk areas.

According to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in calendar week 31 a total of 578,000 Covid-19 tests had been conducted, in calendar week 32 the number had gotten up to 875,000 Covid-19 tests.

Out of the 250 registered laboratories that process Covid-19 tests, 41 laboratories had mentioned delivery problems for reagents.

According to the RKI, some products are highly dependent on individual manufacturers. In addition consumables, and reagents are only stored for short periods of time in the laboratories, among other reasons because of limited shelf life.

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Over 1,2 million applications for German €1,200/month universal-basic-income trial in three days
Over 1,2 million applications for German €1,200/month universal-basic-income trial in three days
Credit: unsplash.com / Robert Bye

The German Pilotprojekt Grundeinkommen (pilot project basic income) initiative has crossed the goal of 1 million applications just three days after announcing the pilot project and stated that they will keep the applications for participation open until the 10 November 2020. As of writing over 1,2 million people have applied.

The study plans to give €1,200 per month over three years to 120 participants. Researchers will compare their experiences with another group of 1,380 people who will not receive the payments.

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German initiative starts three year basic income pilot project - over 160,000 applications on first day
German initiative starts three year basic income pilot project - over 160,000 applications on first day
Credit: Screenshot project website

The German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin and the non-profit association Mein Grundeinkommen e.V. (‘My Basic Income Association’) have partnered to start a basic income pilot project.

In total 1,500 people will participate in the basic income study out of which 120 people will receive €1,200 per month. The remaining 1,380 people will be part of a control group. The study question that will be evaluated is: "What would be the maximum benefit of an idealized basic income without a financing model?"

From 2022 and 2023 on the initiative aims to try other forms of basic income such as topping up existing monthly income up to €1,200 and another one where all participants receive €1,200, which is offset against a simulated tax of 50 percent on all other income. The difference will be paid out.

Every person 18 and older that has a primary residence registered in Germany can apply to be part of the study. As of writing over 160,000 people have applied during the first day. The project is financed by private people via crowdfunding.

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The German government denies recent call between Merkel-Lukashenko happened
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko Credit: Serge Serebro, Vitebsk Popular News (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Reuters report that a spokesman for the German government denied that any phone call had taken place between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Belarus's Alexander Lukashenko since the August 9 election.

Earlier Monday Interfax news agency reported Alexander Lukashenko said he received a phone call on Sunday from the German Chancellor.

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50.000 Germans sign petition to demand study about racial profiling at the police
50.000 Germans sign petition to demand study about racial profiling at the police
Credit: unsplash.com / Leon Seibert

A petition that "calls for a study on "Racial Profiling" to be carried out by federal and state police authorities" has reached the quorum of 50.000 needed signatures on the official petition platform of the German state. The threshold has been met five days before the official deadline on the 20.08.2020. Each public petition has four weeks from the moment it is published online to gather the required amount of signatures.

The Petitions Committee will now, as the quorum has been met, invite the petitioner to a public hearing about the petition to further present their concern directly to the members of the Committee.

Federal Minister of the Interior, Building and Community Horst Seehofer has previously blocked a study about racial profiling and racism inside the German police.

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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".

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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.

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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.