North Rhine-Westphalia

Regional News • Europe • Germany
German CDU chair Armin Laschet calls for harder lockdown
German CDU chair Armin Laschet calls for harder lockdown
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) State Premier Armin Laschet called for a harder lockdown on Monday as Germany struggles to contain a third wave of the coronavirus. The chairman of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and one of her potential successor as chancellor said that Germany needed harder lockdown measures to stem a rise in cases of Covid-19.

"We need a bridge lockdown. We have to build a bridge to the point in time when a lot of people are vaccinated," Laschet told.

Germany: 92-year-old Holocaust denier Haverbeck sentenced to prison for the second time

Ursula Haverbeck, a repeatedly convicted Holocaust denier, has been sentenced again to imprisonment only a few weeks after her release from prison. The 92-year-old from North Rhine-Westphalia, who did not appear in court for the sentencing, is accused of having denied the Holocaust in March 2018 in an interview published on the internet. For years, criminal courts have had to deal with the senior citizen's statements time and again.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany bans neo-nazi organization "Sturmbrigade 44"
Germany bans neo-nazi organization "Sturmbrigade 44"
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

German Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU) banned the neo-Nazi association "Sturmbrigade 44", which also calls itself "Wolfsbrigade 44", on Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning, the police searched objects of 13 club members in Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and North Rhine-Westphalia. According to Herbert Reul (CDU), Minister of the Interior of North Rhine-Westphalia, the police seized cell phones and drugs, among other things, during the searches.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
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.

Constitutional protection of North Rhine-Westphalia: radicalization among corona opponents possible
Protest against corona measures in Germany
Protest against corona measures in Germany Credit: (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The North Rhine-Westphalian Office for the Protection of the Constitution warns of unorganised radicalisation among the Corona opponents.

The events of the last few months would have shown that the measures adopted by the federal government, to contain the pandemic, are viewed by its opponents as such a threat that individual terrorism cannot be ruled out.

Two Nigerian men arrested after allegedly scamming German state over PPE

According to the Nigerian police two men have allegedly cloned the website of a Dutch company to obtain an order for PPE worth €2,3 million from the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

A representative of the state government visited the company's offices in the Netherlands after the PPE didn't show up and discovered that the company had never done business with them.

Regional News • Europe • 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.

Duisburg: Gay couple discriminated against by security guards

According to the German Covid-19 rules, a supermarket in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia could only be entered with a shopping cart. The exception was that spouses from one household can share a cart.

Despite the indication that homosexuals are also allowed to marry these days, the security guard did not let the couple in with one shopping cart. Even the deputy branch manager who was brought in was unable to influence the security force and obtain an apology. This was the third incident at Lidl for the couple concerned.

Protection of the Constitution: Conspiracy theories can lead to extremism
Burkhard Feier (first on the left)
Burkhard Feier (first on the left) Credit: Raimond Spekking (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution in North Rhine-Westphalia warns that conspiracy theories can lead to terror. However, this would affect all forms of extremism and could be observed in the right and left spectrum.

Burkhard Feier, head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in NRW, said: "We see several worrying trends in the area of right-wing extremism. The neo-Nazi milieus are becoming more and more radicalized.".

Climate & Environment
Germany starts commercial operation of new coal-fired power plant
Datteln IV coal power plant
Datteln IV coal power plant Credit: Frank Vincentz (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The energy company Uniper has started operating the new Datteln 4 coal power plant despite ten different protests being registered with the police. The German government and the regional government of North Rhine-Westphalia have stated that the new power plant won't add more emissions to the air, because older coal power plants will go out of operation until 2025. The so-called "coal commission" that advises the German government on the exit from coal energy has previously recommended finding different solutions to compensate the energy company in order to prevent Dattel 4 from going into operation.

North Rhine-Westphalia: Firearm threats are increasing

Almost every second police officer in North Rhine-Westphalia has been a victim of violence in 2019. Over 18,500 attacks have been counted, with firearm threats in particular increasing.

Terrorist attack Breitscheidplatz - missing information from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

In addition to the many question marks about the misconduct by the security authorities in Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia, an employee of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania now also plays an unknown role in the terrorist attack that happened in 2016.

Information from sources after the terrorist attack apparently did not reach the investigating Federal Criminal Police Office. What information this was and why the employee reported to the General Attorney General as a witness is currently still unclear.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Over 32,000 cases and 150 deaths in Germany

According to recent figures, Germany now counts 32,400 coronavirus infections. Particularly affected states are North Rhine-Westphalia with more than 9000 cases, Bavaria with more than 6300 and Baden-Württemberg with more than 5800 cases. 150 total deaths have been reported.