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

FILED UNDER       

The US is deporting a Tennessee man who was an armed guard at a Nazi concentration camp

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

The US is deporting a Tennessee man who was an armed guard at a Nazi concentration camp

The former concentration camp near Neuengamme in northern Germany is seen during the May 3, 2018, commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of its liberation.

(CNN)A US immigration judge has ordered a Tennessee resident, who served as an armed guard at a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, be deported to Germany.

Judge Rebecca L. Holt determined after a two-day trial that Friedrich Karl Berger’s “willing service as an armed guard of prisoners at a concentration camp where persecution took place constituted assistance in Nazi-sponsored persecution,” the Justice Department said in a statement Thursday.
Holt found Berger eligible for removable under the 1978 Holtzman Amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Berger, who is a German citizen, worked at a Neuengamme sub-camp near Meppen, Germany, in 1945, where prisoners included “Jews, Poles, Russians, Danes, Dutch, Latvians, French, Italians and political opponents” of the Nazis.
Prisoners were held in “atrocious conditions and were exploited for outdoor forced labor, working to the point of exhaustion and death,” Holt and the court found.
The judge also found, and Berger admitted, that he “guarded prisoners to prevent them from escaping during their dawn-to-dusk workday, and on their way to the work sites and also on their way back to the subcamp in the evening,” according to the Justice Department.
In the opinion finding, Holt also cited Berger’s role in a March 1945 evacuation to the Neuengamme main camp. After the Nazis abandoned Meppen, Berger “helped guard the prisoners” in “a nearly two-week trip under inhumane conditions, which claimed the lives of some 70 prisoners.”
Berger also “never requested a transfer from concentration camp guard service” and continues to receive a German pension that includes “his wartime service,” the Justice Department said in its statement.
“The United States will not serve as a safe haven for human rights violators and war criminals,” David C. Shaw, who oversees war crime cases of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who oversees the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center, said in a statement. “We will continue to pursue these types of cases so that justice may be served.”
Berger, now 94, told the Washington Post that he was ordered to work in the camp for a short time and did not carry a weapon.
“After 75 years, this is ridiculous,” he told the newspaper in a recent phone interview. “I cannot understand how this can happen in a country like this. You’re forcing me out of my home.”
Berger’s attorney Hugh Ward did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
However, Ward told local news station WBIR, that he is “reviewing the judge’s ruling and considering appealing.”

(A Savage Comment) With Taliban U.S. Government Being As Ignorant As England’s Chamberlain

With Taliban U.S. Government Being As Ignorant As England’s Chamberlain

 

Back in about 1939 the Prime Minister of England was a man named Chamberlain. He had just come back from a meeting with Hitler in Germany and as he got off his plane in England he was waving a piece of paper saying that he in writing had Hitlers signed agreement that there would be no war between them. Wasn’t it the very next day that Germany invaded Poland which caused England to have to help defend Poland via treaties between them. So much for Hitlers signed word.

 

I just read some headlines this morning about the U.S. Secretary of Defense just getting back to Washington from having had a week long meetings with the Leaders of the Taliban. Our Secretary says that we have reached an agreement with the Taliban about them attacking less and we can then draw down the numbers of troops there. Just like Vietnam we got into Afghanistan with no serious with-drawl program on the table.

 

Just as President Nixon lied to us all on T.V. saying that we had exited Vietnam with honor while he knew that there were still American POW and MIA’s in Country, our current President is doing the same thing here, or at least he is trying to. I am not a fan of Mr. Trump, but honestly he inherited this un-winnable mess in and around Afghanistan, there is no good way out. Reality check is that this reality should have been known to many within our own Governments (and basically everyone else) so, why did we still proceed down the path that we have? O, there was one other thing about Mr. Nixon on ending that war with Vietnam, we also gave them $4.6 Billion for ending the war with us and giving us back some of the pow’s to show the world on TV, Our POW’s coming home. Another article headline was that just a few hours after we signed this agreement one of our jets evidently popped a bomb on a vehicle killing a family of 8, including one infant.

 

We can say we are getting out with dignity, but, is there such a thing in this instance? We had to be knowledgeable enough to know that once you go in, how the hell do you get out? You should always know that answer before you give the order to attack! Reality is that once we do get every one of Our Service Members off their ground, the people that will be mauled in that Country will forever stain a lot of ground. With Honor? Will we ever really know the truth about the Taliban returning all of our captured or killed? Well, thats my thoughts on it anyway, you’re always welcome to tell me your opinion. Hope you’all have a good and a safe weekend.

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.

JOIN US!
A MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR OF TIMES OF ISRAEL
DAVID HOROVITZ

For as little as $6 a month, you can help support our independent journalism — and enjoy an ADS-FREE experience, as well as special benefits and status as a Times of Israel Community member!

Read moreJOIN THE TIMES OF ISRAEL COMMUNITYAlready a member? Sign in to stop seeing this

READ MORE:
COMMENTS

Germany: Merkel at Auschwitz

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

‘I BOW MY HEAD BEFORE THE VICTIMS OF THE SHOAH’

Merkel at Auschwitz: Remembering Nazi crimes inseparable from German identity

Making her first visit to Nazi death camp as chancellor, German leader speaks of ‘deep shame’ and vows fight against anti-Semitism and all hatred is priority for her government

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, from left, visit the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland on Friday, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. Merkel attend an event in occasion of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Auschwitz Foundation. (Photo/Markus Schreiber via AP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, from left, visit the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland on Friday, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. Merkel attend an event in occasion of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Auschwitz Foundation. (Photo/Markus Schreiber via AP)

OSWIECIM, Poland (AFP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday said acknowledging Nazi crimes was part of Germany’s national identity in a message aimed at far-right calls for a shift away from a culture of remembrance.

Merkel crossed the gates of the former Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Poland on Friday for the first time in her 14 years as chancellor, promising to battle a new wave of anti-Semitism.

Merkel is only the third German chancellor ever to visit the Nazi camp where a million Jews were killed between 1940 and 1945 and which has come to symbolize the Holocaust as a whole.

Members of the Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) party have said there should be less apology for Germany’s Nazi past and other periods of its history should be celebrated instead.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel walks in front of the main railway entrance to Birkenau as she visits the former German Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland on December 6, 2019. (John MacDougall/AFP)

“Nothing can bring back the people who were murdered here. Nothing can reverse the unprecedented crimes committed here. These crimes are and will remain part of German history and this history must be told over and over again,” she said.

“Remembering the crimes… is a responsibility which never ends. It belongs inseparably to our country,” Merkel said.

“To be aware of this responsibility is part of our national identity, our self-understanding as an enlightened and free society, a democracy with rule of law,” she said.

Merkel said Auschwitz “demands that we keep the memory alive”.

She expressed Germany’s enduring “deep shame in the face of the barbaric crimes committed by Germans here” in Auschwitz-Birkenau, where a million Jews lost their lives between 1940 and 1945.

“There are no words to express our sorrow,” she said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel commemorates in front of the death wall during a wreath laying ceremony in the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Germany, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. Merkel attend an event in occasion of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Auschwitz Foundation. (Photo/Markus Schreiber via AP)

Addressing Holocaust survivors present, she added: “I bow my head before the victims of the Shoah.”

The chancellor also addressed a rise of anti-Semitic and other hate crimes in Germany in recent years, saying they had reached an “alarming level”.

“To combat anti-Semitism, the history of extermination camps has to be shared, it has to be told,” she said.

Her trip, which comes ahead of the 75th anniversary of the camp’s liberation by Soviet troops on January 27, is being seen as an important political message.

On the eve of her visit, 65-year-old Merkel said that “the fight against anti-Semitism and against all forms of hate” was a priority for her government.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel lays down a wreath at the death wall in the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Germany, December 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

She also hailed a new 60 million euro ($66 million) donation for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation that was approved by Germany’s federal states on Thursday.

Merkel began her visit by walking under the Nazi slogan “Arbeit macht frei” (Work will set you free) that still hangs over the gates of the camp.

She also held a minute’s silence by the Death Wall where thousands of prisoners were shot dead and visit the site of a gas chamber and a crematorium.

The visit “is a particularly important signal of attention and solidarity at a time when Auschwitz survivors are victims of anti-Semitic insults and hate-filled emails,” said Christoph Heubner, deputy chairman of the Auschwitz International Committee.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, right, visit the former Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland on December 6, 2019 (Markus Schreiber via AP)

Merkel was accompanied during the visit by a survivor of the camp, 87-year-old Bogdan Stanislaw Bartnikowski, as well as Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, and Ronald Lauder, head of the World Jewish Congress, also took part in the visit.

In total, 1.1 million people were killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau, including Jews, non-Jewish Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, Roma and anti-Nazi fighters.

Many were killed the same day they arrived at the camp.

“There is no other place of memory that demonstrates with such precision what happened during the Shoah,” Schuster told AFP ahead of the visit.

‘Break with civilization’

Merkel follows in the footsteps of previous German chancellors Helmut Schmidt, who came in 1977, and Helmut Kohl, who visited in 1989 and 1995.

She has already visited several of the former camps in Germany over many years and has been to Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center five times.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel lays a wreath during a ceremony at the Hall of Remembrance at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem on October 4, 2018 (Oren Ben Hakoon/POOL)

In 2008, she became the first German leader to address the Israeli parliament. In that speech, she spoke of the “shame” that Germans still feel.

Merkel has called the Holocaust a “break with civilization” and has voiced concern about the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany.

People place flowers in front of a synagogue in Halle, Germany, Oct. 10, 2019 (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

Her visit comes two months after an attack aimed at a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle in which two people were killed — part of a growing trend.

Police figures show that anti-Semitic offences rose by almost 10 percent in Germany last year from the previous year to 1,646 — the highest level in a decade.

Germany’s far-right AfD party, some of whose members have been accused of using anti-Semitic rhetoric, has called for a rethink of the way Germany remembers its Nazi past.

Senior AfD lawmaker Bjoern Hoecke has called for a “180-degree shift” in the culture of atonement.

The timing of the visit is also significant because of questions over Merkel’s political future as tensions persist within the governing coalition.

German media reported that she wanted to make the trip ahead of any potential political crisis.

Merkel intends to step down at the end of her mandate in 2021 but there is a chance that the date could be brought forward if her junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats, pull out of the government.

AP contributed to this report

JOIN US!
A MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR OF TIMES OF ISRAEL
DAVID HOROVITZ

For as little as $6 a month, you can help support our independent journalism — and enjoy special benefits and status as a Times of Israel Community member!

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We’ve achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY
READ MORE:

Israel: In surprise change, 13 countries vote against pro-Palestine UN resolution

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

In surprise change, 13 countries vote against pro-Palestine UN resolution

States led by Germany change their voting pattern in favor of Israel, opposing Division of Palestinian Rights, although motion still passes by wide margin

View of the United Nations General Assembly during a vote the US-imposed embargo on Cuba on November 7, 2019. (Evan Schneider/ UN)

View of the United Nations General Assembly during a vote the US-imposed embargo on Cuba on November 7, 2019. (Evan Schneider/ UN)

Over a dozen countries on Tuesday abruptly changed their voting pattern at the United Nations in Israel’s favor, opposing an annual resolution expressing support for a pro-Palestinian UN agency traditionally critical of the Jewish state.

Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Brazil and Colombia for the first time voted against the resolution regarding the Division of Palestinian Rights at the UN Secretariat.

In past years, these countries had abstained on the resolution.

“I am pleased that this significant group of countries has decided today to voice a clear moral stance against discrimination toward Israel at the UN,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a statement. “This represents an important step in the long struggle against the prejudiced bias toward Israel at the United Nations. Particularly noticeable is the shift in the stance of several member states of the European Union and I trust that the remaining EU members will adopt this position soon.”

The UK, France and Spain abstained, as they do every year.

The resolution — co-sponsored by Comoros, Cuba, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, United Arab Emirates and Yemen — still passed with a comfortable majority, with 87 “yes” votes, 54 “no” votes and 23 abstentions.

UN Watch

@UNWatch

The resolution titled “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine” was adopted by a vote of 147 – 7 – 13.

The U.S., Canada, and Australia voted No.

See text here: https://undocs.org/en/A/74/L.15 

View image on Twitter

UN Watch

@UNWatch

The resolution titled “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat” was adopted by a vote of 87–23–54.

A group of EU states who last year abstained switched their votes to No, including:

🇩🇪 Germany
🇳🇱 Netherlands
🇩🇰 Denmark
& more

See text here: https://undocs.org/en/A/74/L.16 

View image on Twitter
38 people are talking about this

Katz also thanked the United States, Canada, Australia, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Nauru and Kiribati who again voted against the resolution.

The New York-based Division for Palestinian Rights is notorious among Israeli officials and pro-Israel advocates for its harsh criticism of Israeli policies. It serves as the Secretariat of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and organizes international conferences that usually focus on bashing Israel. It is also responsible for the annual observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 27.

The resolution passed Tuesday states that the Division for Palestinian Rights “continues to make a constructive and positive contribution to raising international awareness of the question of Palestine and of the urgency of a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine in all its aspects.”

“This body represents the structural discrimination against Israel in the UN arena and uses UN manpower and budgetary resources to promote a Palestinian narrative while simultaneously encouraging a distinctly anti-Israel agenda,” Katz said.

According to Hillel Neuer, the executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch, the surprising change in the voting pattern of 11 EU states has to do with “an unprecedented focus” on Germany, whose Foreign Minister Heiko Mass earlier this year pledged to oppose the unfair treatment of Israel at the UN.

“I think Germany felt the need to modify some of its anti-Israel votes, and that this rare EU split at the GA allowed Netherlands, Austria and others to follow,” Neuer told The Times of Israel. “We were disappointed that countries like the UK, France and Spain did not join this principled opposition.”

“With it’s ‘no’ this year, Germany expresses its criticism on the disproportionally high number of resolutions that are critical of Israel,” Germany’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The ministry further said that there was no reason for the special status enjoyed by the Division for Palestinian Rights.

JOIN US!
A MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR OF TIMES OF ISRAEL
DAVID HOROVITZ

For as little as $6 a month, you can help support our independent journalism — and enjoy special benefits and status as a Times of Israel Community member!

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We’ve achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY
READ MORE:

Germany: Jewelry of ‘immeasurable worth’ stolen in dramatic Dresden museum heist

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE UK GUARDIAN NEWS)

 

Jewelry of ‘immeasurable worth’ stolen in dramatic Dresden museum heist

German police say thieves on the run after ‘cultural treasures’ stolen from Green Vault

The Jewel Room at the Green Vault in Dresden
 The Jewel Room at the Green Vault in Dresden’s Royal Palace. Photograph: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa/AFP via Getty Images

Thieves in the German city of Dresden have broken into one of Europe’s largest collections of art treasures, making off with three sets of 18th-century jewelry of “immeasurable worth” in what German media has described as the biggest such theft since the second world war.

The dramatic heist took place at dawn on Monday, after a fire broke out at an electrical distribution point nearby, deactivating the museum’s alarm and plunging the area into darkness.

Despite the power cut, a surveillance camera filmed two men breaking into the Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault) at Dresden’s Royal Palace.

Volker Lange, the head of Dresden police, said the thieves smashed a window and cut through a fence before approaching and breaking open a display cabinet in the Grünes Gewölbe’s Jewel Room in “a targeted manner”.

Officers were at the scene within minutes of being alerted to the robbery shortly before 5 am local time, but the suspects had escaped. A burning car found in Dresden early on Monday may have been the getaway vehicle, police said. They have set up roadblocks on motorway approach roads around the city in an attempt to prevent the suspects from leaving. But the close proximity of the gallery to the autobahn is likely to have helped the thieves’ speedy escape, police said.

German media reported the losses from the burglary could run into the high hundreds of millions of euros, but the director of Dresden’s state art collections, Marion Ackermann, said it was impossible to estimate the value of the items.

“We cannot give a value because it is impossible to sell,” she said, appealing to the thieves not to break the collections into pieces. “The material value doesn’t reflect the historic meaning.”

Ackermann said the stolen items included three “priceless” sets of diamonds, including brilliant-cut diamonds which belonged to an 18th-century collection of jewelry assembled by the museum’s founder.

Created by Augustus the Strong, the Elector of Saxony, in 1723, the Grünes Gewölbe is one of 12 museums which make up the famous Dresden state art collections. It got its name because some rooms were decorated with malachite-green paint.

One of the oldest museums in Europe, the Grünes Gewölbe holds treasures including a 63.8 cm figure of a Moor studded with emeralds and a 547.71-carat sapphire gifted by Tsar Peter I of Russia.

The museum is now made up of two sections, one historic and a newer part. It was the historic section, which contains around three-quarters of the museum’s treasures, that was broken into on Monday.

Entrance to the historic vault must be reserved in advance, and there is a strict limit on the number of daily visitors. Exhibits are arranged into nine rooms, including an ivory room, a silver gilt room and the central Hall of Treasures.

Michael Kretschmer, the leader of Saxony, of which Dresden is the capital, said he was devastated by the losses. “Not only the gallery has been robbed, but also the Saxonians,” he said. “You cannot understand the history of our country, or the free state of Saxony, without the Grünes Gewölbe and the state art collections of Saxony.”

Historic Grape Cups were among the treasures on display in the Green Vault, where burglars carried out a heist.
Pinterest
 Historic Grape Cups were among the treasures on display in the Green Vault, where burglars carried out a heist. Photograph: Ralf Hirschberger/EPA

The Grünes Gewölbe alone consists of 10 rooms teeming with about 3,000 items of jewelry and other masterpieces. The building was heavily damaged during the second world war but has been successfully restored, reopening to great international fanfare in 2006. It has been a tourist magnet since 1724, when it first opened to the public.

One of the museum’s most famous and precious treasures, the Dresden Green Diamond, is currently on loan with other valuable pieces to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for an exhibition.

Saxony’s interior minister, Roland Wöller, said: “This is a bitter day for the cultural heritage of Saxony. The thieves stole cultural treasures of immeasurable worth – that is not only the material worth but also the intangible worth to the state of Saxony, which is impossible to estimate.”

Wöller said police had already set up a special team of investigators to pursue the case. “We will do everything in our power not only to bring the cultural treasures back, but to capture the perpetrators,” he said.

Leading international theft experts speculated about the thieves’ motives.

The Dutch “art detective” Arthur Brand, who made headlines earlier this month after uncovering a long-lost gold ring belonging to the writer Oscar Wilde, said the objects might have been stolen by people hoping to sell them, who would soon realise there was little hope of doing so.

“But the second and worst scenario would be professional robbers who just want the objects for their material value, the melted down gold or silver, who would take out the diamonds and sell them separately,” he told Der Spiegel. “But as soon as the works are destroyed, they are of course lost forever.”

Police in Dresden are investigating how thieves broke into the Green Vault.
Pinterest
 Police in Dresden are investigating how thieves broke into the Green Vault. Photograph: Filip Singer/EPA

Bernhard Pacher, manager of the art auction house Hermann Historica, told the tabloid Bild that if the objects stolen had a value of a billion euros, as initially estimated by police, “even when they are broken down and melted they can still deliver a 100-200 million euro return, which still makes it worth stealing them.”

Ackermann said that security at the state collections would now undergo a thorough review after what appeared to have been a meticulously planned heist.

“An incident like this naturally raises the question as to what can be improved, what can be done differently in future,” she said. “But there’s no such thing as 100% security.”

The theft is the second high-profile heist in Germany in recent years, after a 100kg, 24-carat gold coin was stolen from Berlin’s Bode Museum in 2017.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report

World’s biggest heists

  1. £100m diamond ‘heist of the century’In 2003, £100m in diamonds were stolen from the Diamond Centre in Antwerp, Belgium. Some of the diamonds have since been recovered.
  2. £90.5m Cannes film-like robberyA thief in Cannes made off with over £90m in jewels in a 2013 smash and grab at a temporary exhibition in the Carlton Hotel, where Alfred Hitchcock filmed To Catch a Thief. The jewels have yet to be found.
  3. £58m airport heistIn 2005, a £58m diamond theft took place at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport. Though the police have recovered some, £43m worth of diamonds are still unaccounted for.
  4. £56m Paris theftIn 2008, Harry Winston’s boutique near Paris’ Champs-Elysees was raided by a group of men in make-up, who lifted £56m of gems and watches.
  5. £40m Mayfair robberyIn 2009, Graff’s Diamond Store in Mayfair was stripped of its rings and diamonds worth more than £40m. It is likely that the jewels have been broken down and sold onto unregulated international markets. Oliver Taylor
$232,726
contributed
$1,500,000
our goal

Democracy, civility and truth…

… are under threat, but with your help we can continue to put them center stage. These are perilous times. Over the last three years, much of what the Guardian holds dear has been threatened. This US administration is establishing new norms of behaviour. Anger and cruelty disfigure public discourse and lying is commonplace. Truth is being chased away. It will be defining year and we’re asking for your help as we prepare for 2020.

Rampant disinformation, partisan news sources and social media’s tsunami of fake news is no basis on which to inform the American public in 2020. The need for a robust, independent press has never been greater, and with your help we can continue to provide fact-based reporting that offers public scrutiny and oversight. We are also committed to keeping our journalism open and accessible to everyone and with your help we can keep it that way.

“Next year America faces an epic choice – and the result could define the country for a generation. It is at a tipping point, finely balanced between truth and lies, hope and hate, civility and nastiness. Many vital aspects of American public life are in play – the Supreme Court, abortion rights, climate policy, wealth inequality, Big Tech and much more. The stakes could hardly be higher. As that choice nears, the Guardian, as it has done for 200 years, and with your continued support, will continue to argue for the values we hold dear – facts, science, diversity, equality and fairness.” – US editor, John Mulholland

On the occasion of its 100th birthday in 1921 the editor of the Guardian said, “Perhaps the chief virtue of a newspaper is its independence. It should have a soul of its own.” That is more true than ever. Freed from the influence of an owner or shareholders the Guardian’s robust independence is our unique driving force and guiding principle.

We also want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported the Guardian in 2019. You provide us with the motivation and financial support to keep doing what we do. We hope to surpass our goal by early January. Every contribution, big or small, will help us reach it. Make a year-end gift from as little as $1. Thank you.

China: 2020 launch for Shanghai-Deutsche Stock Connect

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

2020 launch for Shanghai-Deutsche Stock Connect

Preparations for a Shanghai-Deutsche Stock Connect program is well under way.

The new scheme linking the Shanghai and Frankfurt stock exchanges will be launched in 2020 with the China Europe International Exchange (CEINEX) currently in charge of its establishment.

The scheme will promote German listed blue-chip companies to issue Chinese depositary receipts on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, and support certain qualified Chinese listed companies, especially those in the manufacturing sector, to issue global depositary receipts on the Frankfurt bourse in order to strengthen the interconnection between Chinese and German stock markets, according to CEINEX.

“In the next step, through the issuance of depository receipts, CEINEX will make efforts to build closer links between the capital markets and the real economy in China and Germany,” Chen Han, Co-Chief Executive Officer of CEINEX.

The CEINEX is a joint venture established in 2015 by the Shanghai Stock Exchange, Deutsche Börse Group, and China Financial Futures Exchange. It is the first dedicated trading venue for investment products related to China and the yuan outside the Chinese mainland.

The stock connect program, which first launched five years ago with a pilot project linking Shanghai with Hong Kong, has been a success in China’s progress in opening up the mainland’s equity market to overseas capital.

The program has led to sustained growth in two-way capital flow, as it enabled offshore capital to invest in the mainland market and also give a way for Chinese investors to reach overseas markets.

Data showed that by the end of October, the total cumulative northbound (to the mainland) trading turnover on stock connect was 17.41 trillion yuan (about US$2.48 trillion), bringing net capital inflows of 860 billion yuan into the A-share market.

Meanwhile, total cumulative southbound (to Hong Kong) trading turnover reached HK$8.75 trillion (about US$1.12 trillion) over the past five years, bringing net capital inflows of HK$987 billion into the Hong Kong market, according to Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing.

Pope Francis compares politicians who rage against gays to Hitler

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Pope Francis compares politicians who rage against gays to Hitler

Pope Francis did not name any politicians or countries as the targets of his criticism.

WORLD Updated: Nov 16, 2019 06:54 IST

Reuters

Reuters

Vatican City
Pope Francis says that the habit of persecuting Jews is beginning to be reborn which is neither human nor Christian.
Pope Francis says that the habit of persecuting Jews is beginning to be reborn which is neither human nor Christian.(AP Photo)

Pope Francis said on Friday politicians who rage against homosexuals, gypsies and Jews remind him of Hitler.

“It is not coincidental that at times there is a resurgence of symbols typical of Nazism,” Francis said in an address to participants of an international conference on criminal law.

“And I must confess to you that when I hear a speech (by) someone responsible for order or for a government, I think of speeches by Hitler in 1934, 1936,” he said, departing from his prepared address.

“With the persecution of Jews, gypsies, and people with homosexual tendencies, today these actions are typical (and) represent ‘par excellence’ a culture of waste and hate. That is what was done in those days and today it is happening again.”

During the 1933-45 Nazi regime in Germany, six million Jews were killed and homosexuals and gypsies were among those sent to extermination camps.

Pope Francis did not name any politicians or countries as the targets of his criticism.

In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro had a history of making homophobic, racist and sexist public remarks before he took office on Jan. 1. He told one interviewer he would rather have a dead son than a gay son.

In May, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah extended a moratorium on the death penalty to incoming legislation prohibiting gay sex, seeking to temper a global backlash led by celebrities such as George Clooney and Elton John.

The United Nations had warned Brunei it would be violating human rights by implementing Islamic laws that would allow death by stoning for adultery and homosexuality.

In recent weeks, Pope Francis has also denounced a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe.

On Wednesday, in improvised remarks at his general audience, he said: “Today the habit of persecuting Jews is beginning to be reborn. Brothers and sisters: this is neither human nor Christian; the Jews are our brothers and sisters and must not be persecuted! Understood?”

Last week, a Vatican cardinal said he was “disgusted” by anti-Semitic abuse directed at an 89-year-old Italian senator and Holocaust survivor, who was given police protection after receiving death threats.

In July, a European Union study said young Jewish Europeans experience more anti-Semitism than their parents, with a rise in abuse coming in emails, text messages and social media postings.

More than 80% of Jews of all ages said they felt anti-Semitism had increased on the Internet over the past five years and around 70% said they faced more hostility in public, the study found.

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.