Angela Merkel warns that 70% of Germans could get coronavirus

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK POST)

 

Angela Merkel warns that 70% of Germans could get coronavirus

Angela Merkel has warned as much as 70% of the population will be infected with coronavirus

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday said up to 70 percent of her country’s population could be infected by the deadly coronavirus – stressing the need to slow its spread.

“When the virus is out there, the population has no immunity and no therapy exists, then 60 to 70 percent of the population will be infected,” she said during a press conference in Berlin.

“The process has to be focused on not overburdening the health system by slowing the virus’s spread … It’s about winning time,” she added, according to Reuters.

Merkel’s comments come after the German daily Bild assailed her handling of the outbreak, which it described as “the corona chaos.”

“No appearances, no speech, no leadership in the crisis,” the news outlet wrote.

As of Wednesday, Germany has confirmed two deaths and almost 1,300 infections.

Health Minister Jens Spahn, who is leading the country’s response, has said that sealing its borders would not work and has rejected calls to follow neighbor Austria in denying entry to visitors from Italy.

On Wednesday, he told broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that it was “astonishing” that no decision had been made on calling off a soccer match between Union Berlin and Bayern Munich scheduled for Saturday in Berlin.

It was later determined that the game will take place behind closed doors, a decision Spahn welcomed.

Under Germany’s federal system of government, the country’s 16 states and regional authorities can decide whether to heed Spahn’s advice to cancel events with more than 1,000 participants.

“The corona crisis shows that, without clear guidance, federalism in the fight against epidemics is reaching its limits,” Bild wrote.

Merkel, who noted that federalism does not mean anyone can avoid responsibility, said she would meet state premiers on Thursday to coordinate the country’s policy response to the outbreak.

With Post wires

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Israel: El Al cancels flights to San Francisco, Europe amid ‘unprecedented’ virus crisis

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

El Al cancels flights to San Francisco, Europe amid ‘unprecedented’ virus crisis

Israeli airline, hit hard by spread of coronavirus, combines flights, will use smaller planes as global travel slumps

El Al planes at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod, March 16, 2018. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

El Al planes at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod, March 16, 2018. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

El Al on Friday cancelled a flight to San Francisco and several others to a number of European cities amid a global drop in travel over fears about the new coronavirus, with a senior company official calling it “an unprecedented crisis.”

Flights that left for San Francisco Friday morning were combined, according to El Al, due to the low number of passengers on each plane.

In Europe, the Israeli airline was cancelling some flights to Berlin, Barcelona and Zurich. All three cities are located in countries which Israel began restricting the entry of non-nationals to on Friday as part of efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

“This is an unprecedented crisis,” a senior El Al official told the Ynet news site.

“The consequences of this crisis are huge and we are trying to do everything we can [to handle it],” he said.

El Al was also expected to cancel flights on Sunday to Munich, Budapest, Amsterdam, Brussels, Bucharest, Vienna and Marseille.

The official at the airline told the website that El Al was working to combine flights and use smaller planes.

Empty departure halls at Ben Gurion Airport. on March 4, 2020. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

On Wednesday, El Al fired some 600 permanent workers as it grapples with ongoing financial losses caused by the virus outbreak.

Other employees in high paying roles are likely to have their salaries cut.

The airline also axed hundreds of temporary workers, who are employed by the company for under five years. The fired staff include air crews, flight attendants, ground crews and others.

The company appears to be one of the hardest hit in Israel by the virus. On Wednesday, the Bank of Israel said the country’s economy was weathering the crisis, but was ready to step in to help if necessary.

On Tuesday El Al cut salaries of its senior staff by 20 percent. The salary reduction includes the company’s board of directors and chairman, and retroactively takes effect from March 1, Channel 12 reported.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the head of the union, Sharon Ben Itzhak, that he had assigned a ministerial committee to help El Al and other Israeli airlines.

Besides cutting back flights, El Al has also suspended flights to Italy and Thailand and and said it would delay its planned launch of direct flights to Tokyo until April. The airline extended its halt of flights to Beijing and Hong Kong until May.

A pilgrim wearing a protective mask visis the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City in Jerusalem on February 27, 2020. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP)

Despite the damage to the aviation industry, the Tourism Ministry said Wednesday that the usual number of tourists entered Israel in February, with some 344,000 arrivals and an estimated tourist revenue of $486 million.

Israel has thus far taken far-reaching measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, forcing thousands of Israelis into self-quarantine, barring foreigners from countries hit hard by the virus, banning large gatherings, and advising against personal contact and travel abroad.

It was the first country to urge its citizens to refrain from international travel entirely because of the outbreak, which started in China in December and has since infected over 100,000 in about 85 nations and claimed nearly 3,400 lives, almost all of them in China.

There have been 19 confirmed cases of the virus in Israel and no deaths.

Luke Tress contributed to this report.

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Vandals in Berlin dig up grave of Reinhard Heydrich, who helped plan Holocaust

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Vandals in Berlin dig up grave of Reinhard Heydrich, who helped plan Holocaust

German police say it appears nothing was removed from burial site of Nazi Gestapo head, who hosted Wannsee Conference and was regarded as cruel even within the Third Reich

The grave of Reinhard Heydrich, powerful head of Hitler's Reich Security Office during World War II, in Berlin on December 16, 2019.  (Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

The grave of Reinhard Heydrich, powerful head of Hitler’s Reich Security Office during World War II, in Berlin on December 16, 2019. (Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

BERLIN — The grave of a top Nazi who helped plan the Holocaust and was assassinated by British-trained agents during World War II has been dug up in Berlin, German police said on Monday.

The grave of Reinhard Heydrich was “dug up in the night between Wednesday and Thursday” and an investigation has been opened on charges of disturbing a burial site, a police spokeswoman told AFP.

German media said it appeared nothing was removed.

Heydrich was the powerful head of Hitler’s Reich Security Office, which included the Gestapo.

Less well known than other Nazi leaders, he was nevertheless highly influential and was marked out for his cruelty even within the Third Reich elite.

The grave of Reinhard Heydrich, powerful head of Hitler’s Reich Security Office during the World War II, is pictured in Berlin on December 16, 2019. (Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

Adolf Hitler admiringly used to refer to him as “the man with the iron heart,” according to the biography “Heydrich: The Face of Evil” by Mario Dederichs.

Heydrich hosted the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942, when leading Nazis discussed the extermination of the Jews in German-occupied Europe.

During the Nazi occupation of what is now the Czech capital, he became known as “the Butcher of Prague.”

His car was attacked with an anti-tank mine in the city on May 27, 1942, by Czechoslovak agents trained by Britain’s secret Special Operations Executive.

Gestapo head Heinrich Muller, SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, head of German criminal police Arthur Nebe and chief of state police and Gestapo in Vienna, Franz Joseph Huber, meet in Munich, Germany, in November 1939. (photo credit: German Federal Archives/Wikimedia Commons)

Heydrich died of his injuries a few days later.

His body was brought back to Berlin and buried in the city’s Invalidenfriedhof, a military cemetery.

Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich in an unknown location sometime in 1942. (AP Photo)

During the Cold War, the cemetery became a no-man’s land along the Berlin Wall and his tomb — along with the ones of other top Nazis — was dismantled.

But Heydrich’s remains were never disinterred and the location of the grave was an open secret.

In 2000, a group of anti-fascists said they had opened up the grave of Nazi stormtrooper Horst Wessel in Berlin, taken his skull and thrown it into the Spree River, according to the Tagesspiegel newspaper.

Police at the time said no remains were stolen.

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30 Years Since Berlin Wall Fell, Now It Is All At Risk

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNBC NEWS)

 

  • This weekend’s 30th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s fall provides a good moment to reflect on four reasons that event has failed to deliver on its full potential, writes Frederick Kempe.
AP: Berlin Wall pulled down 891111
East German border guards look through a hole in the Berlin wall after demonstrators pulled down one segment of the wall at Brandenburg gate Saturday, November 11, 1989.
Lionel Cironneau | AP

The most significant hopes and gains unlocked by the Berlin Wall’s fall, which was 30 years ago Saturday, are all at risk.

They included a historic expansion of democracies and open markets, a wave of globalization that created the greatest prosperity and largest global middle class the world has ever seen, and the enlargement the European Union, to 28 from 12 members, and NATO, to 29 from 16 – deepening ties among the world’s leading democracies.

That all brought with it the hope of what then-President George H.W. Bush called in 1989 “A Europe Whole and Free,” in which Russia could find its proper and peaceful place. Bush went even further in September 1990, after the UN Security Council had blessed the U.S.-led coalition’s war to free Kuwait from Iraqi invasion, envisioning a New World Order, “an era in which the nations of the world, East and West, North and South, can prosper and live in harmony.”

The idea had been hatched a month earlier by President Bush and General Brent Scowcroft, his national security adviser, while fishing near the president’s vacation home at Kennebunkport, Maine. They came home with three bluefish and an audacious vision that the Cold War’s end and the Persian Gulf Crisis presented a unique chance to build a global system against aggression “out of the collapse of the US-Soviet antagonisms,” in the words of General Scowcroft.

Reflecting on those heady days, Scowcroft recently told me that he felt everything he had worked for in his life was now at risk. If U.S. and European leaders don’t recover the common purpose they shared at that time – and there is yet little sign they will – this weekend’s Berlin Wall anniversary is more a moment for concern than celebration.

“Look at what is happening in the world,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a freshly published interview in the Economist. “Things that were unthinkable five years ago. To be wearing ourselves out over Brexit, to have Europe finding it so difficult to move forward, to have an American ally turning its back on us so quickly on strategic issues; nobody would have believed this possible.”

This weekend’s 30th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s fall provides a good moment to reflect on four reasons that event – one of freedom’s greatest historic triumphs – has failed to deliver on its full potential. Understanding that, might unlock a better path forward.

1. China’s authoritarian turn

Another thirtieth anniversary this year, the crushing of the Tiananmen Square protests in June 1989, might have had even more lasting consequences.

The regime’s attack on the pro-democracy movement, at a time when the Communist Party could have chosen greater liberalization over repression, ensured that the most important rising power of this century would be increasingly authoritarian in nature.

The lesson Beijing took from the Cold War’s end was that the Soviet Union had failed because it had liberalized its economy too little and its politics too much – a fatal combination. Economic liberalization and a growing Chinese middle class failed to bring with it the Western-style democratic freedoms that some thought would follow.

That doesn’t mean a New World Order can’t still be built with Beijing, but it will take considerable vision and patience to knit the two most important countries of our times together simultaneously, as strategic competitors and collaborators.

2. Revanchist Russia and the ‘Gray Zone Conflicts’

There’s a lot of finger pointing still about “who lost Russia” after the Cold War, whether it was Westerners who didn’t offer enough of an embrace or Russians who missed the opportunity.

Wherever you stand in that debate, the U.S. and its European allies failed to appreciate the potential or staying power of Putin, who has made it his life’s purpose to redress what he considered the biggest disaster of the 20th century, Soviet collapse.

At the same time, the enlargement of the European Union and NATO left behind a “gray zone” of 14 countries like Ukraine that were no longer in the Soviet bloc or Warsaw Pact but hadn’t been integrated into Western institutions.

French leader Macron has argued that it would be a huge mistake not to work to find more common ground with Russia. The difficulty is how to do so without selling out the democratic, sovereign hopes of Russia’s neighbors.

3. Europe’s lost momentum

Bill Emmott argues in Project Syndicate this week that the European Union’s biggest problem “is not Euroskepticism but indifference.”

He’s partially right: some 72% of French respondents in an opinion poll based on interviews with over 12,000 respondents across the 28 EU countries don’t think they would miss the EU as well as 67% of Italians and 60% of Germans.

That said, the EU also suffers from not having addressed design flaws that hobble it even as it has grown to its current size of 28 member states with 513 million citizens and a GDP of $18.756 trillion.

They include a monetary union without a fiscal union, immigration policies that allowed free movement inside the so-called Schengen Zone but too-porous external borders, and a failure to envision a world where the U.S. is losing interest, Russia remains a problem, and China is remaking global politics and economics.

Europe is “on the edge of a precipice,” Macron told the Economist. “If we don’t wake up … there’s a considerable risk that in the long run we will disappear Geo-politically, or at least we will no longer be in control of our destiny. I believe that very deeply,” he stated.

4. The lack of U.S. vision and strategy

The Berlin Wall’s fall in 1989 – taken together with Soviet collapse and the Cold War’s end – marked an inflection point of history for U.S. leadership globally that one can compare to 1919, the end of World War I, and 1945, the end of World War II, in its potential historic consequences.

U.S. and European leaders failed after 1919 to prevent the rise of European fascism, and then the Holocaust and World War II. The US got it more right than wrong in 1945 after World War II, creating the institutions and principles that paved the way for one of the world’s most sustained periods of relative peace and prosperity.

In his 1989 “A Europe Whole and Free”, President H.W. Bush underscored how “too many in the West, Americans and Europeans alike, seem[ed] to have forgotten the lessons of our common heritage and how the world we know came to be. And that should not be, and that cannot be.”

Thirty years later, the jury is still out on what the post-Cold War period will bring, but none of the post-Cold War presidencies – from President Bill Clinton to President Donald Trump – have yet recognized the stakes or laid out a strategy commensurate to the risks.

5 Old Olympics Facilities You Can Still Visit

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Old Olympics Facilities You Can Still Visit

The Olympic Games are the leading international sporting events that still bring the world together. Thousands of athletic competitors from more than 200 nations participate and compete for gold, silver, and bronze medals. Media coverage is intense, sports records are broken, and stories of hope, despair, and triumph generate both empathy and world acclaim.

Since the ancient Olympics games held in Olympia, Greece, the winter and summer Olympics evolved into the modern versions we know today, which have taken place at elaborate facilities across the globe. Here are a few you can still visit to relive the glory.

Olympia, Greece: Ancient Olympic Games

Credit: Jana_Janina / iStock

The roots of the Olympic Games are religious and athletic festivals held in honor of Zeus in Olympia on the Peloponnese Peninsula. During classical times, athletics and combat sports such as wrestling, javelin, and horse and chariot racing events were common.

Starting in 776 BC, they continued every four years through Greek and Roman rule until AD 393 when Theodosius suspended them to enforce Christianity. You can immerse yourself in ancient history by exploring the remnants of the once-grand Stadium at Olympia.

Olympia is located a 3.5-hour drive from Athens. Now transformed into a tourist destination, there is plenty to see and do. The archaeological site itself is surrounded by the Museum of the History of the Olympic Games in Antiquity, the Museum of the History of Excavations in Olympia, and the Archaeological Museum of Olympia.

The ancient site lies a brief five-minute walk from the main entrance. The sanctuary includes the gymnasium, the Temple of Hera, the Philippeion, and other fragments of buildings, statues, and monuments.

Berlin, Germany: Olympic Village (1936)

Credit: typo-graphics / iStock

This is where the Jews were barred from participating in 1936 during the Nazi rule. Berlin was awarded the Olympic contract two years before being taken over by the Nazis. They were the first Olympic games to be broadcast worldwide, and the competitions were not just for athletes but political messages, as well.

The Olympic village was built approximately 20 miles from the western edge of Berlin. The venue includes training facilities, a swimming pool, and low-level dormitories. The 1936 Olympics saw African-American Jesse Owens make history, earning four gold medals in the track and field events and setting three world records in the process. After the Olympics, the facility underwent renovations and became a hospital, then a Soviet military camp. Tours are available; however, be aware that the center is in decay.

Beijing, China: Birds Nest Stadium (2008)

Credit: PhotoTalk / iStock

Designed for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, the National Stadium—perhaps better known as the Bird’s Nest—was the largest facility created for the games. The one-of-a-kind architecture interprets nature in its rendering of a bird’s nest.

The specifications were daunting: The structure needed to be earthquake-proof, with 111,000 tons of steel and struts, yet visually lightweight, airy, and inspiring. As one of Beijing’s top landmarks, it has hosted many competitions and events. Weight throw, discus, track and field, football, and other sporting events were held at the Bird’s Nest.

For the full visual impact, plan your trip at night to see the artistic illumination. Currently, it is used as a soccer stadium but is open for visitors and will host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Athens, Greece: Panathenaic Stadium (2004)

Credit: SerrNovik / iStock

Located on an ancient stadium site from the fourth century, the Panathenaic Stadium is a famous cultural and historic landmark in Athens, Greece. It is built entirely of marble and shaped as a parallelogram. It hosted the first modern games in 1896, and more recently, the 2004 games in Athens. This is where the iconic Olympic flame begins its trek to the new host city for every winter, summer, and youth games.

The Hellenic Olympic Committee owns, operates and manages the Panathenaic Stadium. Its mission is to advance, sponsor, and guard the Olympic Movement day and night, and to encourage the sporting spirit among the next generations. The modern-day stadium accommodates multi-purpose events for conferences, seminars, and athletics. You can take in classical history on a breathtaking tour with a certified guide, audio guide, or interactive nature journey.

Vancouver, Canada: Olympic Village Condos (2010)

Credit: MJ_Prototype / iStock

In 2010, Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The Millennium Development Group built one thousand units to accommodate close to 3,000 athletes and visitors. It is touted as the greenest, most environmentally-friendly complex in the world. The structures use natural solar heating, green roof practices, and other sustainable advances.

Do not expect to see artifacts of the 2010 Olympic Games as the property was re-purposed into a mixed-use community and open-space development. This compound is located on the southeast corner of False Creek, which has hiking, biking, shopping, and dog walking paths in a park near the Olympic Village. Vancouver’s famous (and protected) beaver community has taken up residence in the area.

3 Landmarks From Around the World with Odd Nicknames

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Landmarks From Around the World with Odd Nicknames

Most buildings have memorable features about them, even more so the architectural landmarks that decorate the world’s major cities. Whether it be their designs, extortionate budgets, history or residents, there’s usually something of interest to the general public. There are also landmarks that have inspired curious and affectionate nicknames. Once a new building is unveiled, city and town folk are forever eager to come up with an informal moniker. Here’s three landmarks with odd nicknames and one that triggered a presidential campaign to end the construction of strange-looking designs.

House of World Cultures, Berlin

Credit: Claudio Divizia/Shutterstock

On the banks of the river Spree and in the northeastern corner of Tiergarten park is the House of World Cultures (Haus der Kulturen Der Welt), lovingly called The Pregnant Oyster (Die Suchwangere Auster). American architect Hugh Stubbins designed the building in 1957 as the Kongresshalle conference center. Looking at it across the basin from the southern side, it is easy to note the similarities between the parabolic roof and the shell of an oyster. Henry Moore’s sculpture the Living Divided Oval: Butterfly, which is characterized by accentuated curves, stands in the basin. Could it be the oyster’s offspring? Probably not, but perhaps worth pondering.

While you are here, check out the venue’s year-round schedule of art exhibitions, concerts, educational programs, lectures and performing arts. There’s even an aptly named Auster (Oyster) restaurant, which has a menu packed with seafood dishes and traditional German fare.

Centre Pompidou Metz, Metz

Credit: repistu/Shutterstock

Modern buildings often evoke imaginative nicknames, which is true for the Centre Pompidou Metz.  The Chinese Hat is a hexagonal-shaped building with irregular geometric aspects and a spire rising out of its center, which stands 77 meters tall to commemorate the 1977 year of inauguration. Apparently the Japanese and French architects were fascinated with the technical details of the cane-work pattern of Chinese and Japanese hats. In order to recreate this pattern style, they used almost 10 miles of glued laminated timber. Upon seeing the whitewashed facade for the first time, the then mayor of Metz lobbied to call it The Smurf House. The architects’ wish prevailed.

The building is a venue for modern and contemporary art exhibitions and is a sister institute of Paris’s Centre Pompidou. It draws on a catalogue of some 76,000 works to curate rotating expositions. There’s also guided tours, movie screenings, performing arts and talks.

China Central Television (CCTV) Headquarters, Beijing

Credit: bingdian/Shutterstock

It’s nigh impossible to not turn your attention to the Big Pants Building when wandering through the Beijing Central Business District. That’s because, to an imaginative mind, the 768-feet-tall CCTV Headquarters does resemble a pair of boxer shorts. Breaking from the traditional tower, this glass-fronted landmark is made up of a series of horizontal and vertical sections that produce a contorted 3D facade. A local critic once claimed that the tower replicates a naked woman on her hands and knees, although the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaus profusely denied it.

Ironically, this isn’t the only landmark in China that has been compared to underwear. Featuring twin spires that converge at the top, the British-designed Oriental Arc has an uncanny resemblance to a pair of pants. Both landmarks played a part in Chinese president Xi Jinping calling for an end to weird architecture in 2014.

Poem: The Walls Of Reagan, Old Man Bush, And Trump

The Walls Of Reagan, Old Man Bush, And Trump

 

Do You remember Berlin Germany and the Russian Wall

Mr. Reagan went there and called Mr. Gorbachev Out

The wall that had to come down if freedom was to ring

Machine Guns and bricks do not a good neighbor make

 

Old Man Bush, on his watch the Wall finally did fall

People rushed out, killed their captor, freed themselves

The West welcomed the downtrodden from the East

There could be no EU until that Devils wall did fall

 

Different place and time, some now want a Wall built

Christians backing a man who joys in starving the poor

Hate begets hate until there is in fact, an unholy war

Trump, You, Your Minions and Your Wall will burn in Hell

So In Germany There Is No Freedom Of Speech: Can’t Call A Pedophile A Pedophile?

So In Germany There Is No Freedom Of Speech: Can’t Call A Pedophile A Pedophile?

This post is mostly a copy paste of an article in “The Muslim Issue”. The German Chancellor says you can’t say bad things about a country’s leader even if what you are saying is the truth. So, you can lie and that is okay? The German leader does not seem to have any problem with the rampant pedophilia that she is responsible for bringing into Germany. She may be a smart person when it comes to economics but when it comes to the actual safety of the German people in their own homes, streets, or shopping centers she turns a blind eye. Please read this reblog from the Muslim Issue below to see what you think of these issues.

(THIS ARTICLE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON APRIL 15TH OF 2016)

MUSLIMS WORLDWIDE

Germany: Merkel grants Turkish request to prosecute comic over Erdogan insult

4 Votes

Merkel screwed by Erdogan

Text by FRANCE 24
Latest update : 2016-04-15

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that Germany had accepted a request from Turkey to seek prosecution of a German comedian who read out a crude poem about Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on German television.

Erdogan had demanded that Germany press charges against comedian Jan Boehmermann after he mocked the Turkish leader in a show on German public broadcaster ZDF on March 31, suggesting that he hits girls, watches child pornography and engages in bestiality.

It is illegal under German criminal code to insult a foreign leader, but the law leaves it to the government to decide whether to authorise prosecutors to pursue such cases.

This has put Merkel an awkward position. The driving force behind a controversial European Union-Turkey migrant deal, she has already come under fire for ignoring human rights and press freedom violations in Turkey in an effort to secure its cooperation.

“There were different opinions between the coalition partners – the conservatives and the SPD [Social Democrats],” Merkel told reporters at the Chancellery in Berlin.

”The outcome is that the German government will give the authorisation in the current case,” she added, stressing that this was not a decision about the merits of the prosecution’s case against Boehmermann.

Merkel’s announcement sparked sharp criticism from the SPD, her centre-left coalition partner, which was opposed to Turkey’s request.

“This was the wrong decision in my view,” said Thomas Oppermann, leader of the SPD in parliament. “Prosecution of satire due to ‘lèse-majesté’ does not fit with modern democracy.”

Anton Hofreiter, parliamentary leader of the opposition Greens, said Merkel must now “live with the accusation that the deal with Turkey is more important to her than defending freedom of the press”.

Sahra Wagenknecht of the far-left Linke accused Merkel of kowtowing to the “Turkish despot” Erdogan.

‘Merkel is walking quite a difficult diplomatic tightrope’

‘Wrong signal’

Boehmermann, an impish-looking 35-year-old, is known for pushing the boundaries of satire. Last year he claimed to have manipulated a video of Greece’s then-finance minister Yanis Varoufakis in which he is shown giving the middle finger – known as the “Stinkefinger” in German – to Berlin for its tough stance in the debt crisis. The video infuriated German politicians.

The cult comedian made clear before reciting the poem about Erdogan that he was intentionally going beyond what German law allowed.

ZDF has since removed a video of the poem from its website. But Boehmermann has received backing from prominent German artists and a poll for Focus magazine showed 82 percent viewed the poem as defensible.

He is reportedly under police protection and cancelled his last show on ZDF.

In giving her statement, Merkel pressed Turkey – a candidate country for European Union membership – to uphold the values of freedom of expression, the press and art.

She justified the decision to accept the Turkish request by pointing to the close and friendly relationship Berlin shares with Ankara, referring to the three million people with Turkish roots who live in Germany, the strong economic ties between the countries and their cooperation as NATO allies.

But the Association of German Journalists (DJV) said Merkel had sent the “wrong signal” to the Turkish government and added that her references to violations of the right to freedom of press and opinion in Turkey had not made up for that.

A Turkish group called the Union of European Turkish Democrats, which has posted videos online supporting Erdogan, filed a complaint with Austria’s media watchdog on Friday over Austrian newspaper Oesterreich reprinting parts of Boehmermann’s poem under the headline, ‘Is this confused poem art or a scandal?’

Merkel said the German government planned to remove the section of the criminal code that requires it to grant permission for prosecution in such cases.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

German Police Spoil Another Terrorist Attack In Berlin Today

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS)

 

German police detain 6 in connection to planned knife attack at Berlin half-marathon

Runners compete during the half-marathon in Berlin on April 8, 2018.

 AFP/GETTY

BERLIN — German authorities say six people were detained in connection with what police and prosecutors allege was a plan to carry out an attack on Berlin’s half-marathon Sunday. “There were isolated indications that those arrested, aged between 18 and 21 years, were participating in the preparation of a crime in connection with this event,” prosecutors and police wrote in a joint statement.

Berlin police tweeted that six people were detained in cooperation with the city’s prosecutor’s office.

The German daily Die Welt first reported that police foiled a plot to attack race spectators and participants with two knives.

The main suspect allegedly knew Anis Amri, a Tunisian who killed 12 people and injured dozens more when he drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin in December 2016, Die Welt reported.

One of the apartments Berlin police raided before the race started Sunday was also searched after the Christmas market attack, the newspaper said.

Special police forces detained four men in connection with the race plot, the paper said — different from the six that police reported.

Die Welt reported that the main suspect, who was not identified, had prepared two knives to use in the attack. It also wrote that in one of the searched apartments, dogs trained to find explosives barked when they were taken into the dwelling’s basement.

The local daily Tagesspiegel reported that the main suspect had been under observation for two weeks around the clock. After a foreign intelligence service tipped off German authorities that he was planning to attack the half-marathon, police raided apartments and two vehicles in the Charlottenburg and Neukoelln districts of the city.

The half-marathon was being guarded by some 630 police officers, German news agency dpa reported.

In a separate incident Saturday, a 48-year-old German man drove a van into a crowd outside a popular bar in Muenster, killing two people and injuring 20 others before shooting himself to death.

On Sunday, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said the government would do everything it can to protect citizens. “We have again experienced that absolute security is unfortunately not possible,” he said, Reuters reports.

German government talks collapse; Merkel seeks to reassure

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

German government talks collapse; Merkel seeks to reassure


address the media during a news conference about the results of their exploratory talks on a coalition of their parties in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Nov. 20, 2017. (Michael Sohn/Associated Press)
 November 19 at 8:49 PM
BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged early Monday to maintain stability after the Free Democratic Party pulled out of talks on forming a new government with her conservative bloc and the left-leaning Greens, raising the possibility of new elections.Merkel told reporters that the parties had been close to reaching a consensus on how to proceed with formal coalition talks but that the Free Democrats decided abruptly to pull out just before midnight Sunday — a move she said she respected, but found “regrettable.”

She said she would consult with Germany’s president later in the day to brief him on the negotiations and discuss what comes next.

Without bringing the Free Democrats back to the table, Merkel will be forced to try to continue her current governing coalition with the Social Democrats, although that center-left party has said it will not do so, or she could try to form a minority government, which was seen as unlikely. Otherwise, Germany will have to hold new elections.

“It is at least a day of deep reflection on how to go forward in Germany,” Merkel said. “But I will do everything possible to ensure that this country will be well led through these difficult weeks.”

Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats and sister Bavaria-only Christian Social Union, the pro-business Free Democrats and the left-leaning Greens had already blown past Merkel’s own deadline of Thursday to agree on a basis for opening formal negotiations on a coalition of all four parties, a configuration that has never been tried at a national level in Germany.

Key sticking points were the issues of migration and climate change.

Among other things the Greens were pushing for Germany to end its use of coal and combustion engines by 2030, though they had signaled they were open to some compromise.

The other parties are also committed to reducing carbon emissions, but Merkel’s bloc hadn’t put a date on when to phase out coal. The Free Democrats also expressed concern about what the moves would mean for jobs and Germany’s economic competitiveness.

On migration, the Christian Social Union wanted an annual cap on refugees, while the Greens sought to allow more categories of recent migrants to bring their closest relatives to join them.

Merkel said that “we thought we were on a path where we could have reached an agreement,” when that the Free Democrats decided to pull out.

Free Democrat leader Christian Lindner told reporters that his party decided to withdraw rather than further compromise its principles and sign on to policies the party was not convinced of.

“It is better not to govern than to govern falsely,” he said.

Greens politician Reinhard Buetikofer criticized Lindner’s decision, saying on Twitter that the Free Democrat had chosen “a kind of populist agitation instead of governmental responsibility.”

Looking ahead, if it comes to a new election, polls currently suggest it would produce a very similar parliament to the current one, which would make efforts to form a new government similarly difficult.

Though Merkel could also abandon the Free Democrats and the Greens and instead form a coalition with the center-left Social Democrats, her current partners in the outgoing government, the Social Democrats have been adamant about going into opposition following its disastrous result in the Sept. 24 election.

Party leader Martin Schulz as recently as Sunday again ruled out the possibility of pairing up with Merkel’s bloc to form a new government.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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