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  1. The leader of Germany?s Social Democrats came under growing pressure on Thursday to drop his opposition to a new ?grand coalition? with Angela Merkel?s conservatives, with senior politicians arguing the party had a duty to promote stability. Merkel is facing the biggest political crisis of her career since efforts to forge a three-way coalition with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and Greens collapsed last weekend. That has raised worries across Europe of a prolonged leadership vacuum in the continent?s economic powerhouse. The Social Democrats (SPD) have governed in coalition under Merkel since 2013. But leader Martin Schulz said the party must heed the will of voters by going into opposition after achieving its worst result of the postwar period in the Sept. 24 election. Pressure is growing on the party to revisit his decision, either by agreeing to prop up a conservative-led minority government by not voting against it, or by forming a renewed coalition. In either case, the position of Schulz as party leader could become untenable. If changing course and teaming up with the conservatives requires a change of leadership at the SPD, that would be unlikely before a party conference on Dec. 7-9. Schulz held a lengthy meeting with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a former SPD lawmaker and foreign minister, on Thursday afternoon before heading to party headquarters to consult senior party members. Steinmeier is trying to help facilitate a coalition government and avoid fresh elections. ?We will talk about if and how one can get a federal government in Germany,? a senior SPD member said ahead of the meeting, adding that one option on the table was to support Merkel only indirectly by not blocking a minority government. But Stephan Weil, the SPD premier of the state of Lower Saxony, one of the party?s most influential figures after he defied polls by winning re-election this year, implied a full coalition would preferable to a minority government. ?Minority governments are fragile constructs,? he told the RND newspaper consortium. The SPD had to chart a path between a party rank-and-file reluctant to repeat the bruising experience of a grand coalition and its democratic obligations. ?Everyone understands that the stakes are high, involving the stability of an extremely important member of the European Union,? he added. Volker Kauder, leader of the conservative parliamentary group and a key ally Merkel ally, echoed the sentiment, calling for the grand coalition to be reprised. WAITING FOR AN ANSWER ?Europe is waiting for a Germany capable of acting so that it can finally respond to the questions raised by French President (Emmanuel) Macron,? he said, referring to Macron?s call for fiscal reforms to strengthen the euro zone. Germany, the world?s fourth largest economy, has long been a bastion of stability in the EU, and officials in Brussels and Paris fear months of political uncertainty could harm plans to reform euro zone governance and EU defence and asylum policies. Merkel, who remains acting chancellor until a new government is agreed, has said she would prefer to work with the SPD, but if that option fails, she would favour new elections over an unstable minority government. Another election would also provide no speedy resolution. Under Germany?s constitution, the president could call another election only after Merkel had lost several votes in the Bundestag -- a process that could take several months. The mass-circulation Bild newspaper reported on Wednesday that 30 members of the SPD?s 153-strong parliamentary group this week had questioned Schulz?s preference for going into opposition during a meeting of the parliamentary party. Speaking to ZDF television on Thursday, SPD deputy leader Karl Lauterbach said his party might have to rethink its opposition to another ?grand coalition?, but added he was still sceptical about joining one led by Merkel. The SPD supports Macron?s proposal to give the euro zone the power to spend money to protect members of the single currency bloc against external shocks. If the SPD changes tack about a ?grand coalition?, however, the leader of Merkel?s sister party in the state of Bavaria, the Christian Social Union (CSU), said on Thursday it should not expect the conservatives to grant any significant concessions. ?We can?t be blackmailed,? said Horst Seehofer, who is himself fighting to hang on as CSU leader in the face of internal opposition.
  2. German police presents stolen diaries and other items belonging to former Beatle John Lennon that were recovered, during a news conference in Berlin, Germany. Photo: Reuters BERLIN: German police presented on Tuesday diaries, pairs of glasses and other items belonging to late Beatle John Lennon that were stolen from his widow Yoko Ono in 2006 and eventually ended up in Berlin. Police arrested a man in Berlin on Monday suspected of receiving the 86 stolen items, which include Lennon?s last diary that ended on the day he was shot and killed in New York on December 8, 1980. ?This day contains the entry that on that morning John Lennon and Yoko Ono had an appointment with Annie Leibovitz to take a photo which I think is world famous,? Berlin prosecutor Michael von Hagen told a news conference. The Leibovitz portrait of a naked Lennon curled up around Ono on their bed ran on the January 1981 cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Hagen rejected suggestions that Ono might have lent or given away the objects: ?The diaries especially ... were also treated by Yoko Ono as something sacred. And the idea that she would have given away three original diaries, especially the one that ends on the very day Lennon died, can be completely ruled out.? Beatles for sale: German police recover John Lennon diaries The items were stolen from Lennon?s widow Yoko Ono in New York in 2006 Carsten Pfohl, head of property crime for Berlin police, said investigators had found one of the pairs of glasses and a receipt in Lennon?s name hidden in the trunk of the car of the accused on Monday. Police suspect that the items were stolen by Ono?s former driver and then taken to Turkey and were only brought to Berlin in 2013 or 2014. Another suspect lives in Turkey, they said. The Berlin police was alerted after they were found by the administrator for a bankrupt auction house, which had previously valued the objects at 3.1 million euros ($3.64 million). ($1 = 0.8519 euros)
  3. German police on Monday arrested a 58-year-old man in Berlin on suspicion of handling stolen items from John Lennon?s estate, including the late Beatle?s diaries. Photo: AFP file BERLIN: German police on Monday arrested a 58-year-old man in Berlin on suspicion of handling stolen items from John Lennon?s estate, including the late Beatle?s diaries. The items were stolen from Lennon?s widow Yoko Ono in New York in 2006 and have been seized as evidence, Martin Steltner, a spokesman for the Berlin prosecutor?s office, said. The unidentified man was taken into custody suspected of fraud and handling stolen goods. A second suspect, who lives in Turkey, ?is unattainable for us at the present time,? Steltner said in a recorded statement posted on Twitter. The stolen goods consisted of ?various items from the estate of John Lennon, including several diaries that were written by him,? Steltner added. The items resurfaced in the German capital about three years ago. They were confiscated this year as part of the investigation and it is unclear when they will be returned to the estate. ?The release of the seized evidence cannot yet be decided,? Steltner said. Lennon, who along with Paul McCartney penned some of the Fab Four?s biggest hits including ?Help? and ?With a Little Help from My Friends?, was shot dead by a troubled fan in New York in 1980. His possessions have since become collectors? items. A leather jacket supposedly worn by Lennon sold for £10,400 (11,700 euros; $13,800) at an auction in England in February.
  4. Germany?s would-be coalition partners appeared to have reached an impasse over immigration policy as a self-imposed Sunday evening deadline for agreeing the outlines of a government programme passed with no deal. A deadline of 1700 GMT passed with no announcement being made, suggesting Chancellor Angela Merkel?s conservatives, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens had been unable to agree the painful compromises needed to wrap up talks, which appear set to continue. The reluctant partners were forced to pursue the three-way tie-up, untested at national level, by voters who deserted the main parties of left and right in a September election, returning a highly fragmented parliament. Failure could precipitate Germany?s worst political crisis in decades, since the Social Democrats (SPD) have already said they intend to go into opposition after coming second. Options include new elections or a minority government, unprecedented in the country?s post-war history. ?Everyone has to take a success back home,? said Julia Kloeckner, deputy chair of Merkel?s Christian Democrats (CDU), highlighting the difficulty of compromise. ?People must ask themselves if they are prepared for this to fail over details.? The tie-up represents Merkel?s only realistic chance of securing a fourth term. But the FDP, freshly returned to parliament after four years in the wilderness, and the Greens, out of power for 12 years, are reluctant to put their hard-won return at risk by alienating their rank-and-file. ?The FDP is now waiting for the Greens and the conservatives to see how far they are prepared to go and if we can then look each other in the eye,? said Greens chairwoman Nicola Beer, suggesting it was now for the others to make concessions. For Merkel?s own arch-conservative allies in Bavaria?s Christian Social Union (CSU), the stakes are existential. The CSU fears that a failure to secure an immigration cap could fuel a far-right surge in a regional election next year, perhaps even unseating the CSU after 60 years in power. While the FDP continues to demand tax cuts, the trickiest sticking point concerns immigration, where the CSU insists on capping new arrivals at 200,000 a year. The cap is opposed by the Greens, who also want to preserve a rule allowing successful asylum seekers to bring family members to join them - though the CDU?s Kloeckner implored the Greens to acknowledge this as only a ?subsidiary right?. Failure to reach a deal could lead to a new election, something all the parties are anxious to avoid as they fear this could lead to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) making further gains after surging into parliament in September.
  5. Germany?s three would-be coalition partners went deep into overtime in talks on Saturday as they sought enough common ground in climate and migration policy to form a government and stave off the prospect of a repeat election. Incumbent chancellor Angela Merkel?s only realistic hope of securing a fourth term after suffering losses in September?s election is an awkward three-way conservative-liberal-Green alliance. But after four weeks of talks, the parties remained far apart as they adjourned for the night. The biggest sticking points are climate change, where the Greens want emissions cuts that the other parties see as economically ruinous, and immigration, where Merkel?s arch-conservative allies in Bavaria insist on stricter rules. With the pro-business, tax-cutting Free Democrat (FDP) liberals freshly returned to parliament after four years in the wilderness, and the Greens out of office for 12 years, neither is keen to give ground. A self-imposed deadline of Thursday for wrapping up exploratory talks and starting formal coalition negotiations passed without agreement, forcing the conservatives to promise further concessions on emissions cuts to the Greens. FDP leader Christian Lindner said the talks now had to be wrapped up by 1700 GMT on Sunday. But President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a former foreign minister who now plays an apolitical role, said brinkmanship was to be expected. ?Before the formal talks start, there are always attempts by parties to drive prices up,? he told the weekly Welt am Sonntag. ?What we?ve seen in the past weeks isn?t so different from previous coalition negotiations.? WIDE DIVISIONS Greens chairwoman Simone Peter said much that had earlier been agreed on emissions policy had been undone, without giving details. Bavaria?s Christian Social Union (CSU) faces regional state elections next year, and fears the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) could unseat it after 60 years if it fails to secure tough immigration rules - which are anathema to the left-leaning Greens. Among its demands are a cap of 200,000 per year on the number of refugees Germany will take, and an end to the practice of allowing successful asylum seekers to bring their immediate families to join them. All parties are anxious to avoid a repeat election, which they fear could boost the AfD, which surged into parliament for the first time in September?s national election. But the heterogeneous three-way coalition, made necessary after the conservatives and the centre-left suffered punishing election losses, is untested at national level.
  6. A coal power plant is seen during a thunderstorm in the western city of Weisweiler, Germany, June 9, 2014. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender/Files BERLIN: Environmental policy dominated negotiations on forming a new German coalition on Monday, as the Greens pushed their would-be partners for a quicker exit from coal power. Chancellor Angela Merkel?s conservatives, who lost seats in last month?s election, hope a deal with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens will keep her in office, but the unlikely partners are far apart on a host of issues. Merkel urged party leaders at the weekend to show more willingness to compromise after three weeks of exploratory talks also failed to paper over differences pertaining to transport, immigration, and eurozone governance. ?What?s lying on the table isn?t enough for us,? said Greens chairwoman Simone Peter in response to a suggestion by the two other camps that 10 coal-fired power stations be shuttered. The Greens are holding out for carbon dioxide emissions cuts that would require the closing of 20 coal plants. Earlier, a discussion paper seen by Reuters showed that the two more pro-business partners wanted to cut coal power by 3-5 gigawatts by 2020. The ecologists wanted an 8-10 gigawatt cut. Peter told reporters that the Greens disagreed on the size of cuts in carbon dioxide emissions that were needed by 2020. The conservatives and the FDP believed cuts of up to 66 million tonnes were needed by 2020, while the Greens believed cuts of up to 120 million could be needed.
  7. Angela Merkel ? the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) ? arrives at the German Parliamentary Society offices before the start of exploratory talks about forming a new coalition government in Berlin, Germany, November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch BERLIN: German parties cited progress on Friday after three weeks of talks about a three-way coalition, with their leaders due to thrash out remaining differences over transport and climate on Sunday. Chancellor Angela Merkel?s conservatives, which bled support to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the Sept. 24 election, are trying to forge a coalition government with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the environmentalist Greens. The chiefs of the parties huddled on Friday evening to review progress in the talks thus far but planned no statements. They had initially hoped to agree on the outlines of a coalition deal by Friday after the two smaller parties dropped demands this week on tax and climate policy but later decided to meet again on Sunday before a final push by full delegations for an outline deal next week. Still, the overall tone was more upbeat than at the end of the previous week. ?We?re heading into the home stretch,? Horst Seehofer, head of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party of Merkel?s Christian Democrats (CDU), told reporters. Seehofer and FDP leader Christian Lindner said they were optimistic that the exploratory talks could be wrapped up next week, paving the way for weeks of detailed negotiations about the exact terms of a coalition contract. But Michael Kellner, a top negotiator for the Greens, demanded more compromises from the other parties. Giving ground The FDP this week gave ground by agreeing to accept more modest income tax cuts than a campaign pledge of 30-40 billion euros ($35-46 billion) of relief. In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel on Friday, Lindner also signalled a readiness to compromise on the euro zone?s European Stability Mechanism, moving away from a campaign pledge to shut down the rescue fund. The Greens for their part dropped their insistence on fixed dates for shutting down coal-fired power stations and banning cars with internal combustion engines. But the parties remain divided on whether or not to push for a eurozone budget, on Europe?s banking union and on the use of drones in military conflicts, as well as German participation in foreign military missions, according to draft papers seen by Reuters. They must also agree how to meet key targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, how to deal with the pollution caused by diesel cars already on the road, and whether to introduce a law that would ease tax rates for venture capital projects. If the parties fail to reach an agreement, Germany could be forced into a new election that could unsettle investors at a time when many in the European Union are looking to Europe?s biggest economic power for leadership on issues ranging from eurozone governance to transatlantic relations. Merkel, seeking a fourth term as chancellor, hopes to reach agreement in the exploratory talks by November 16. She plans to take the broad outlines of what is agreed to key conservative party leaders in five meetings the following weekend, the CDU said.
  8. A partially burnt poster is seen at an impromptu memorial after a protest by journalists ? in Valletta, Malta ? following the assassination of an investigative journalist, October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/Files BERLIN: The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) on Saturday dropped a controversial bid for data on the ethnic backgrounds and private views of journalists after concerns surfaced about its registration form for a party congress. The party?s initial registration form had sparked sharp criticism on Friday from the German Journalists Association and prompted an investigation by the Berlin data protection office. The party ? which rails against what it calls the ?Islamisation of Europe? and ?fake news? coverage by mainstream news outlets ? became the third largest force in the German Bundestag (the lower house of parliament) in September 24 elections. AfD officials had declined to comment to the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper, which first reported the issue on Friday, and did not respond to a request for comment by Reuters. However, the party?s spokesman downplayed controversy about the issue in a posting on Twitter on Saturday. ?Test version deleted. Starting immediately journalists can use the official registration form on our website,? AfD spokesman Christian Lueth wrote on Twitter. The initial media version had asked journalists to check a box in which they agreed to the collection, storage and use of personal data provided, such as name, medium and press pass number, as well as ?special data?. The form referenced a section of Germany?s data protection law, which lists such ?special data? as including racial and ethnic background, political views, religious or philosophical convictions, union membership, health or sexual orientation. Other parties require basic information for registration of journalists but do not ask for such personal details. ?This is an unacceptable intrusion into the private affairs of journalists,? said Hendrik Zoerner, spokesman for the German Journalists Association. ?We call on the AfD to immediately remove the required agreement.? The AfD won nearly 13 percent of the vote on September 24, making it the third largest party in the Bundestag, or lower house of parliament, and the first far-right group to move into the legislature in more than half a century. German civil rights groups are mobilizing to stage a large protest at the start of the party congress in the northern city of Hanover on December 2.
  9. MIAMI: Researchers in Germany have documented a steep decline in flying insects at dozens of nature reserves in the past three decades, and agricultural pesticides may be to blame, said a study Wednesday. While it is well documented that butterflies and bees have been disappearing in Europe and North America, the study in PLOS ONE is the first to document that flying insects, in general, have decreased by more than three-quarters across Germany since 1989. Researchers are concerned because insects are important pollinators and also a key part of the food chain, serving as meals for birds and other small creatures. "The fact that flying insects are decreasing at such a high rate in such a large area is an even more alarming discovery," said lead researcher Hans de Kroon of Radboud University. For the study, researchers used sticky traps to collect insects at 63 nature reserves, then measured the biomass, documenting changes over time. Over the past 27 years, they found an average decline of 76 percent, with the effects appearing worst in summer (82 percent). "All these areas are protected and most of them are managed nature reserves. Yet, this dramatic decline has occurred," said co-author Caspar Hallmann from Radboud University. While the study did not pinpoint a reason for the drop, researchers said many nature reserves are encircled by farm fields, and that pesticides could be to blame. "As entire ecosystems are dependent on insects for food and as pollinators, it places the decline of insect-eating birds and mammals in a new context," said de Kroon. "We need to do less of the things that we know have a negative impact, such as the use of pesticides," he added. "We also have to work hard at extending our nature reserves and decreasing the ratio of reserves that border agricultural areas."
  10. Do you remember watching the 2015 Christian Bale movie, 'The Big Short'? The movie is so obsessed with numbers and how the economy works all over the world and is definitely a modern masterpiece. There is a lot you can learn from the movie. The plot revolves around how a handful of people didn't just predict but also made a fortune off of the Great Recession that struck the world in 2007-2008. This financial crisis which turned the world economy upside down was triggered by the United States housing bubble. It seems like such a bubble formation is starting up again when outgoing German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble warned the world of the next debt crisis and a liquidity-driven global financial crisis in the future. © The Beacon Blog - Independent Institute Humanity has suffered the Great Depression of 1929-1939 and then again the Great Recession in 2007-2008, and as humans, we possess the ability to learn from our past mistakes. So, we can talk about the subject and make people aware of the threats it poses. So, here is the crux of the movie, 'The Big Short'. Consider a scenario where a bank gives you a housing loan against a particular interest or variable interest rate which varies as per up's and down's in the market. And they are providing you the loan at a very low-interest rate and almost no collateral to bet against. The ball seems to be on your side. But, what if most people are unable to pay back the loan and that's what happened when the housing bubble burst in the United States. More defaulters meant an increased interest rate which meant no more customers who would be interested in taking loans anymore on such high-interest rates. It truly was a black year for the investors and banks all over the world due to the loss incurred. Wolfgang Schäuble, The German Finance Minister, is warning us of a next global financial crisis driven by debt, in an interview over the weekend. © Reuters He said, “The IMF and others agree with us that we are in danger of encouraging new bubbles to form. We have no idea where the next crisis will happen but economists all over the world are concerned about the increased risks arising from the accumulation of more and more liquidity and the growth of public and private debt. And I myself am concerned about this too.” We all know about the increasing debt on most of the countries and here liquidity simply means something that cannot be instantly converted into cash. Now a currency or stock could be a liquid asset but a painting is not. So, with the increasing debt, and increasing liquidity, the government is trying to monitor the currency value by modifying the fiscal policy, monetary policy. These are the policies which help in managing inflation. Schäuble further added, “Lawmakers will continue to discuss, as they have in the past that what could be the correct relationship is between fiscal policy, monetary policy, and structural reforms. It is right to try to reduce the risks posed by state budgets and public debt on the one hand and the banking sector on the other, in order to stabilize the single currency—that's the basic reason why the banking union is important.” Schäuble also said that risks are still too high in the EU, pointing at the balance sheets of European banks.
  11. BERLIN: Postal workers in the western German town of Bad Hersfeld are getting a helping hand from a new colleague. A bright yellow, four-wheeled robot will carry mail and packages and follow them as they do their rounds. The scheme is being tried by German postal and logistics company Deutsche Post DHL, which says the custom-built ?PostBOT? can carry loads of up to 150 kilograms and can navigate around obstacles. With the rise of online shopping, postal workers are having to handle ever-heavier packages. Deutsche Post staff already have access to electric bikes and trikes to help them with their deliveries. The robot, which can carry up to six post trays, uses sensors to track the legs of the postal worker and can be used in all weather conditions, the company said. ?Day in and day out, our delivery staff performs outstanding but exhausting work. We?re constantly working on new solutions to allow our employees to handle this physically challenging work even as they continue to age,? Deutsche Post executive Juergen Gerdes said in a statement. The ?PostBOT? design is based on a robot from French company Effidence. The trial in two delivery districts in Bad Hersfeld will run for six weeks, after which Deutsche Post will assess the project to see how further improvements can be made.
  12. French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech to set out plans for reforming the European Union at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, September 26, 2017. ? REUTERS PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron offered an ambitious vision for European renewal on Tuesday, calling for the EU to work more closely on defense and immigration and for the euro zone to have its own budget, ideas he may struggle to implement. In a nearly two-hour speech delivered two days after the German election in which Chancellor Angela Merkel?s conservative CDU/CSU bloc scored its worst result since 1949, limiting her freedom to maneuver on Europe, the 39-year-old French president held little back in terms of sweep, self-assurance and aspiration. But at a time when Europe is beset by tensions between east and west and battling to overcome nearly a decade of draining economic crisis, Macron?s earnest and at times high-brow discourse ran the risk of falling on deaf ears. Speaking at the Sorbonne, he portrayed Europe as needing to relaunch itself, saying that on issues as diverse as asylum, border protection, corporate tax, intelligence sharing, defense and financial stability it needed much deeper cooperation. ?The only path that assures our future is the rebuilding of a Europe that is sovereign, united and democratic,? the former investment banker and philosophy student said, flanked by a French and a European Union flag. ?At the beginning of the next decade, Europe must have a joint intervention force, a common defense budget and a joint doctrine for action.? In his run for the presidency, Macron made European reform a central plank of his centrist campaign, and he and Merkel have spoken frequently about their desire for France and Germany, the European Union?s two largest economies and often its engines of change, to take the lead on integration. But five months into his five-year term, Macron faces the threat that Merkel, 63 and looking to start her fourth term, has less capacity to move than either would have hoped. Her alliance is still the largest bloc in the Bundestag, but to build a working majority she will likely have to form a coalition with the Greens and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), who are opposed to many of Macron?s ideas. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, a senior member of the Social Democrats (SPD), hailed Macron?s speech ?a passionate plea against nationalism and for Europe?. ?He can count on us,? said Gabriel, whose party has ruled out being part of a new grand coalition. Rather than tailoring his speech to fit the contours of what the FDP, the Greens or Merkel may have wanted to hear, Macron kept his vision broad and far-reaching, while also detailing some specific ideas for an improved euro zone. ?A budget can only go hand-in-hand with strong political leadership led by a common (finance) minister and a strong parliamentary supervision at the European level,? he said, emphasising the need for democratic accountability. Provide detail The fiscally conservative FDP dislikes the idea of a euro zone budget or any facility that may lead to financial transfers from wealthier euro zone countries to poorer ones, as well as the possibility of national debt being pooled. The party has also called for phasing out Europe?s ESM bailout fund, which Macron wants to turn into a European Monetary Fund, and wants to see changes to EU treaties that would allow countries to leave the euro zone. ?You don?t strengthen Europe with new pots of money,? Alexander Lambsdorff, an FDP member in the European Parliament, said on Twitter in reaction to Macron?s speech. In a statement issued by the FDP in Berlin, Lambsdorff said: ?The problem in Europe is not a lack of public funds, but the lack of reform. A euro zone budget would set exactly the wrong incentives.? Not shying away from addressing Germany directly even as it tries to resolve the fallout from Sunday?s election, Macron set an objective that the two countries completely integrate their markets and corporate rules by 2024. ?We share the same European ambitions and I know her commitment to Europe,? he said of Merkel. ?I?m proposing to Germany a new partnership. We will not agree on everything, not immediately, but we will discuss everything.? In Berlin on Monday, Merkel said it was important to move beyond catchphrases and provide detail on how Europe could be improved. It was not immediately clear whether Macron had managed to go beyond slogans as far as Merkel was concerned. But Martin Selmayr, the chief of staff of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, said the proposals to reinforce the euro zone would be discussed alongside Juncker?s own at a euro zone summit planned for December. Italy?s EU affairs minister, Sandro Gozi, said the speech would inspire European leaders into action. ?An excellent speech by Emmanuel Macron on reviving the European Union. Let?s work on this together, starting tomorrow at the Lyon Summit,? he said, referring to a meeting of the Italian and French leaders to discuss industrial policy. Macron said he hoped his ideas would be taken into account in Germany?s coalition building negotiations. Those talks are not expected to begin until mid-October and may take several months. ?Some had said I should wait for the coalition talks to be concluded,? Macron said, adding had he done so, the reaction in Berlin would have been: ?Your proposals are great but it?s too late, the coalition deal already lays out what will we do on Europe for the next four years.?
  13. Weakened by the worst result for her party since 1949 and facing a more fractious political landscape at home, Germany's Angela Merkel could be forced to rein in plans to re-shape Europe together with France's Emmanuel Macron. Merkel's conservatives garnered more support than any other party in the German election on Sunday, projections showed, ensuring that she will return for a fourth term as chancellor. But her party appeared on track for its poorest performance since the first German election after World War Two and its only path to power may be through an unwieldy, untested three-way coalition with the ecologist Greens and liberal Free Democrats (FDP), fierce critics of Macron's ideas for Europe. Over the next four years, Merkel will also have to cope with a more confrontational opposition force in the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a eurosceptic, anti-immigration party that rode a wave of public anger after her decision to open Germany's borders to hundreds of thousands of migrants in 2015. The AfD was on track to win over 13 percent, above what polls had predicted. They will become the first far-right party to enter the German parliament since the 1950s. This will be a new world for Merkel, who has grown accustomed to cozy coalitions and toothless Bundestag opposition during her 12 years in power. "In my mind, reform of the euro zone is the single most important foreign policy issue that the new government has in front of it," said Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, who runs the Berlin office of the German Marshall Fund. But he predicted a so-called "Jamaica" coalition between Merkel's conservatives, the FDP and the Greens - whose combined party colors of black, yellow and green are like those the Jamaican national flag - would struggle to deliver. Whereas the Greens said on Sunday night that a "stronger Europe" was a priority for the party, the FDP is averse to further steps to integrate policies at European level. "It would be the party of no, the party of yes and an incrementalist chancellor. Those are not ideal conditions for a Franco-German grand bargain," he said. TUESDAY SPEECH Macron ran for the French presidency on a pledge to "relaunch" Europe, in tandem with Germany, after years of economic and financial crisis and the new shock dealt by Britain's vote last year to leave the bloc. He is due to flesh out his ideas in a speech at the Sorbonne University in Paris on Tuesday. Macron has called for a finance minister and budget for the single currency bloc, ideas that Merkel has tentatively supported even though scepticism in her own party runs high. But with the FDP as a partner and the AfD pushing back loudly in parliament, the prospect of selling deeper European integration to her new coalition and the wider public looks far more challenging. In its election program, the FDP called for a phasing out of Europe's ESM bailout fund and changes to EU treaties that would allow countries to leave the euro zone. Its young leader Christian Lindner openly called for Greece to return to the drachma during the campaign. "On Europe, the FDP is not so far from the AfD on some issues. If all of their ideas were implemented we would be plunged back into a euro zone crisis," Franziska Brantner, a Greens lawmaker, told Reuters. The FDP would not be the only difficult ally in Merkel's coalition. The AfD's strong performance could push her Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) -- already a thorn in her side during the refugee crisis -- further to the right ahead of an election next year in its home state. Winning back voters who fled to the AfD could become one of the main priorities for Merkel's conservative bloc over the coming four years. That would mean tougher stances on migration and on Europe. NO URGENCY Even before the election, officials close to Merkel were playing down the urgency of a reform of the euro zone, describing efforts to secure Europe's borders and agree a fair distribution of refugees across the bloc as higher priorities. "A second refugee crisis would be more devastating to Europe than a second euro zone crisis," a senior German official told Reuters last month. These officials point to the strengthening of the European economy and suggest that Macron was elected despite rather than because of his grand plans for the euro zone. A Bertelsmann Foundation survey last year showed just 41 percent of French believe Europe needs more political and economic integration, 10 points below the EU average. The survey also showed that Germans and French are the most skeptical toward Macron's ideas for a European finance minister and dedicated euro zone budget. Only 31 percent of French and 39 percent of Germans thought a euro zone budget should be used to support economically weaker states, as Macron suggests.
  14. It's that time of the year again when beer drinkers unite to make merry and chug down beer like the world and their lives depended on it. Oktoberfest—the German beer festival—is one of the most popular festivals in the world, thanks to its connection to beer, the drink that most men love. © Pexels And it goes just as well for Indians, too. Over the past few years, celebrating beer and beer drinkers during this time has become a tradition in most metropolitan cities of the country. Cafés, bars and pubs across the country come up with new and innovative ideas to attract beer lovers to chug to glory. “The fact that Oktoberfest comes at a time in India where people are wrapped up in festive vibes and celebrations are at large. Good food, beer and happiness are what the fest is all about; especially in metropolitan cities where we see an amalgamation of different cultures. It serves as a very good time for restaurants to roll out promotional activities, special deals and offers to attract the crowd with interactive concepts,” says Priyank Sukhija, Owner, CEO and MD of First Fiddle Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. We decided to talk to a few of these bar and pub owners about the importance of Oktoberfest in India and listed out some of the best places to enjoy your beer, this Oktoberfest. Prost! © Express UK “As Indians, we just need a reason to celebrate. So, with the love for beer as a beverage accompanied with scrumptious food in a country like ours, we could celebrate it every day. Oktoberfest just gives us a good enough reason to legitimize our obsession with beer,” says Arjun Raj Kher, Business Head, Hitchki, Powai. “India's tropical weather is actually what also makes it a perfect destination for beer lovers. And for us, October marks the start of festive season which gives us all the more reason to drink,” quips Dhairya Sethi, Owner of Branch. © Unsplash “The young Indian is a global citizen, and youngsters need no prodding to celebrate another occasion to have a good time! Oktoberfest is as good a reason as any to pull out the stops, have a premium dining experience, and join in on global conversations,” Ashish Thadani, CEO, TI Absolute Concepts (Ciclo Café) seconds. “When it comes to drinking beer, the growth rates in India are very healthy thanks to young and increasingly affluent consumers, as well as changing cultural attitudes,” Thadani further explains. Jaspreet Maadaan, Owner, The Classroom, in Gurgaon agrees and informs that the venue sees a distinctive increase of customers by a good 20 to 30 percent. © Pexels “Oktoberfest is now pretty much a worldwide celebration of everything brewed, the heart of which of course, lies in the German tradition and love for beer. It's mostly a great time for pubs and bars in Delhi, the weather demands a fantastic cold brew, the festive season is hanging around and everyone wants a piece of the world's most popular beer festival closer to home,” quips Rachit Goel, owner of the newly opened Bar Cat, in South Extension-II, New Delhi. “Indian bars and pubs mostly though make it a discount-based drinking session of beer, rather than a community drinking experience and I think that's what is essentially missing in the F&B industry in the country. Discount driven events don't have a heart and soul, and you can call it Oktoberfest or what you like, but the fun of it is not in the name but the concept,” he further opines. © Beer-y Sausages & Crusty Pretzel at The Irish House Mr. Sanju Arora, General Manager, The Irish House tells us that the venue sees an increase of approximately 10-15% in their footfall during Oktoberfest. “There's a great amount of planning and effort that we put into curating a great ‘German' experience for our guests at all our outposts across India. We take care of all aspects to recreate the same vibe – right from themed décor, photo booths, special food menu, drinking games, live band performances, and of course, lots of beer with great deals on a range of domestic as well as international brands (both, bottled and craft varieties). We also do our bit to promote safe drinking through partnerships with popular cab service brands. We go all out to bring the best of the biggest worldwide beer drinking fest and try to keep it quite authentic – the décor (similar to the traditional white and blue draped tents with lights); hanging gingerbread hearts; our servers wearing suspenders & caps; German dishes like pretzels, kartoffelpuffer, apple strudel, sausages, etc; maximum variety of draught beer (both local craft brews and international brands); fun drinking games; and even live band performances paying tribute to popular German rock bands,” Arora elaborates. © Kaitlyn's Beer Garden, Mumbai Another prominent venue that goes all out during this time of year is The Beer Café which is the country's largest alco-beverage chain. TBC comes up with they like to call the ‘Okotbrewfest'—an innovative spin-off for the German beer festival. Under this annual initiative, The Beer Café makes the largest collection of authentic German beers and cuisines available to its patrons in India—Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, and Pune—between September 16 and October 31. Premium brews such as Eichbaum, Erdinger Weissbier, Erdinger Dunkel, Schneider Weisse, and Hofbräu Weisse are made available across cities, as are authentic German cuisine such as bratwurst, krakauer, and bockwurst sausage platters. Rahul Singh, Founder & CEO, The Beer Café, says, “When it comes to beer, nobody does it quite like the Germans do. Why, they've even got an entire festival dedicated to it! It is to recreate the spirit of Oktoberfest for Indian beerophiles that we have decided to celebrate our own Oktobrewfest. We will be serving premium German brews and authentic Deutsche cuisine across all outlets in select locations. Moreover, through in-store collaterals, we are giving our patrons a chance to really immerse themselves in the beery festive fervour without having to go all the way to Germany!” © The Classroom “India being a new beer drinking country with people ready to explore new tastes and flavors in both Food and Beverage, Oktoberfest brings in great opportunity for many to enjoy and experience Global cuisine with varieties of Wheat, Lager, Klosch, Ale and delicacies from Bavarian, Thuringian and Lower Saxon Cuisines of Germany,” reasons Hukum Shekhawat, Mixologist, Radisson Blu Atria Bengaluru. “In, general, the consumption of beer is high during Oktoberfest from September, 16th to October, 4th for the Radisson Bengaluru property. “We have tried creating an ambience by getting some really authentic Bavarian delicious like cheese hedgehog, Sauerkraut and potato, chorizo and mushroom tapas and so on, paired with wheat/lager beers. We gear up in suspenders and Alpine hats along with melodious German music,” Shekhawat says. © Pexels At Kaitlyn's Beer Garden, in Bandra, Mumbai, the Oktoberfest enjoys an almost legendary status worldwide and more and more in India. Several pubs and microbreweries are trying to recreate the magic of the fest, by offering special menus, music, a Bavarian setup and thousands of liters of beer. The traffic especially on weekends are a full house. In India, it also depends on how the restobars promote their offers on beer and food for the weekdays as well as the weekends. Navin Mittal, Founder & Partner, Gateway Brewing Co. tells us, “Last year, we brewed two additional German-style beers apart from our flagship German style White Zen (hefeweizen) and German style Doppelganger (dunkelweizen). Both these, along with the Vienna Style Lager and Oktoberfest Lager, sold out very quickly at our client bars and restaurants across Mumbai and Pune. So much so that we hoped we had brewed a lot more. If last year is an indicator of the interest in Oktoberfest, we anticipate immense excitement this year as well. We are not only brewing the Vienna Style Lager and Oktoberfest Lager again this year but are also supplying to the IGCC Octoberfest event that is being held early this year in October. In addition to this, we are celebrating Oktoberfest at the Gateway Taproom, in BKC, Mumbai and while not an Indian festival, it is loved by one and all.” © Pexels “India does not have its own drink fests, apart from some annual wine festivals which are now becoming a ritual. Oktoberfest therefore, is a drink pilgrimage for us. With Indians travelling more, exposure from all media channels and easy availability of beers have together contributed to making Oktoberfest global as much as it is German,” explains Ajit Balgi founder of The Happy High is a wine, beverage & food consulting and experiences firm which curates wine dinners, whiskey degustation, and more bespoke events. © The Oktoberfest Trip Even a city like Chennai, being laced with numerous German companies like Daimler, Bosh, B-Braun Medical and Durr India, their strong presence allows for the German expats and employees to join in and commemorate the festival; their place of choice being majorly Leather Bar, at The Park Chennai. Keeping in mind the festive spirit of the festival, the décor of the bar is themed around Oktoberfest. The Leather Bar also has a Dirndll dress photo booth where guests can pose with beer that's served only in the beer mugs during this festival. The festival sees chefs curating authentic Bavarian Fare like Spiedine, Lockig Currywurest, Hühnchen Bratwurst and Apple Strudel. © Loaded Kartoffelpuffer at The Irish House Oktoberfest is easily as popular as the Navratras, Pujo and Diwali celebrations in the country with people even combining the festivals. It does make for a very cosmopolitan feel in the country, no doubt. And the hype around the beer festival is only increasing with time, as more homegrown beer labels sprout; not to mention the many restobars and pubs opening up and giving ready consumers something new to try almost instantly. What's not to love, I guess? Just fetch yourself a beer of your choice and celebrate the German spirit! © Tomatina at Hitchki, Powai
  15. RAWALPINDI: German Ambassador to Pakistan Martin Kobler Thursday met Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters GHQ, according to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). The two figures discussed affairs of mutual interest including security situation, the ISPR said in a statement. On the occasion, Ambassador Kobler said that Germany is grateful to Pakistan for its fight against terrorism, the statement read. He assured of his continued efforts in improving bilateral ties between the two countries, it added.
  16. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the 39th Mukhtars Meeting, at Presidential Complex in Ankara, August 22, 2017. AFP/Adem Altan BERLIN: Germany's foreign and justice ministers warned Tuesday that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was using "propaganda" to divide their country's three-million-strong ethnic Turkish community. In a tough-worded commentary published amid a raging bilateral row, they warned that Germany's democratic culture was at threat from the "radicalisation" of Erdogan's politics, spreading through state-backed mosques and groups. "We must be careful Muslim communities in Germany do not fall under the sway of President Erdogan," Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Justice Minister Heiko Maas wrote. "The slow dissolution of the separation of religion and state taking place in Turkey is poison for democracy," they said. "Erdogan's rhetoric about enemies and his defamation of people who oppose him as 'infidels' or 'traitors' is a threat to the democratic culture of Germany." "Our country must protect the people who oppose Erdogan's cultural battle and propaganda," they added. Relations between Berlin and Ankara have deteriorated sharply, particularly since a failed coup against Erdogan over a year ago and a subsequent mass crackdown on its suspected plotters. Among the alleged state enemies and terrorist supporters behind bars in Turkey are several German or dual Turkish-German citizens, including journalists and rights workers. Erdogan has charged that Germany is sheltering Kurdish militants, coup plotters and terrorists, but also personally attacked Gabriel in recent days. And he has urged ethnic Turks in Germany to vote in September 24 elections against Merkel's conservatives and their coalition partners the Social Democrats, the party of Gabriel and Maas. The escalating tensions have split the Turkish community in Europe's top economy, the largest diaspora abroad, which is a legacy of Germany's "guest worker" programme of the 1960s and 70s. The two ministers warned in their Spiegel Online commentary that Erdogan's "dangerous ideologies must not be imported to Germany via certain mosques."
  17. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey and Chairman of the Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), greets an audience in the Sincan district of Ankara, August 14, 2017. AFP/Adem Altan ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Friday urged ethnic Turks in Germany to reject its main parties in upcoming elections, prompting a sharp warning from Berlin to stop the "unprecedented" meddling. Erdogan called on ethnic Turks to ignore Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and their partners in the grand ruling coalition, the Social Democratic Party (SPD). They should also reject the Greens, he said, branding all three parties "enemies of Turkey". The president's attack ? one of his strongest-ever tirades against any EU state ? escalated an already intensifying diplomatic crisis between two NATO allies with longstanding historical links. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel of the SPD was quick to react, condemning Erdogan's comments as an "unprecedented act of interference". Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Twitter: "We expect foreign governments to not interfere in our internal affairs." Erdogan issued his call in televised comments to reporters in Istanbul after Friday prayers. "I tell all my kinsmen in Germany... not to vote for them. Neither the Christian Democrats nor the SPD nor the Greens. They are all enemies of Turkey," he said. He accused the SPD and CDU of playing a game of "the more you beat up Turkey, the more votes you get" during the election campaign. "You need to support political parties there now which do not display enmity to Turkey," he said. 'Teach a lesson' Erdogan did not make it clear which German political party he would like people to support in the polls for the Bundestag on September 24. But he said he expected voters of Turkish origin to "teach a lesson to the parties which are disrespectful to Turkey" when they cast their votes in a "struggle for honour". Tensions have spiralled between Germany and Turkey in recent months. Berlin has lambasted Ankara over the magnitude of the crackdown that followed last year's failed coup, which has seen several German citizens arrested, including journalists. Ankara meanwhile has accused Berlin of failing to extradite suspected Kurdish militants and coup plotters who have taken refuge there. Turkish German journalist Deniz Yucel, the Istanbul correspondent of the Die Welt daily, has been held in jail in Turkey since February ahead of trial on terror charges. German journalist Mesale Tolu has been held on similar charges since May, while activist Peter Steudtner was arrested in a July raid. According to German foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer, there are 10 Germans, including dual nationals, in custody in Turkey. Gabriel's SPD ? whose candidate for the chancellorship is ex-EU parliament speaker Martin Schulz ? and Merkel's CDU are rivals in the election. But they have been in broad agreement on the policy regarding Turkey within the coalition. The opposition Greens meanwhile have pushed for an even tougher line against Ankara. The Greens' co-leader Cem Ozdemir, who is himself of Turkish origin, said Erdogan's comments showed that people who support democracy and oppose repression and corruption in Turkey are "quite simply considered to be traitors and enemies". 'Lost all proportion' Erdogan said it was not Turkey's responsibility to reduce the tension as Germany was to blame, even accusing Berlin of being out of step with EU membership requirements. But Gabriel denounced his comments as "an unprecedented act of interference in the sovereignty of our country". Erdogan was seeking to incite people in Germany against each other, he said. The SPD's Schulz meanwhile, said Erdogan had "lost all sense of proportion" in a tweet. "And all the more we stand on the side of all those who are struggling for a free and democratic Turkey," he added. There are an estimated three million people of Turkish origin in Germany. Many of them came, or are the descendants of those who came, to West Germany as Gastarbeiter (guest workers) from the 1960s, to make up for a postwar labour shortage. Analysts say that some 1.2 million people of Turkish origin will have the right to vote in the September polls as German citizens. In the past, Turkish-origin Germans have inclined to the left, with most voting for the SPD. But Erdogan is also popular with Turks living in Germany, and 59 percent of the votes cast by Turkish citizens resident in Germany went to his ruling party in November 2015 parliamentary polls.
  18. German Family Minister Katarina Barley arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, June 7, 2017. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/Files A government minister on Tuesday blasted German companies for failing to add more women to their management boards, suggesting the government could impose quotas unless firms acted to boost the current rate of 6 percent. Family Minister Katarina Barley, a Social Democrat (SPD), told the RND newspaper chain it was unacceptable that companies had failed to increase the percentage of women in leadership roles after years of promises. "I give industry one more year to take care of the issue itself. If nothing has happened by then, we'll have to take legislative action," Barley told the newspapers in an interview to be published Wednesday. "In many management boards, nothing has happened. Only 6 percent of directors are women. That can't continue," she said. Barley is due to present a report to Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet about the representation of women in leadership positions on Wednesday. She said she had "no problem with an obligatory quota for women on management boards", noting that years of pledges had not changed the situation and many companies had a target of zero. Under German law, women must comprise 30 percent of the supervisory boards of large companies. But there is no law governing the makeup of management boards. Barley's Social Democrats are now the junior partner to Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives in a "grand coalition," but both parties hope to forge alliances with other small parties and lead the country after a parliamentary election on Sept. 24. The latest Insa poll showed Merkel's conservatives with 37 percent support, the SPD with 25 percent, and the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party with 10 percent. Both the pro-business Free Democrats and the far-left Left party had 9 percent support, while the pro-environment Greens were at 3 percent.
  19. Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah meeting German Navy authorities - (Picture Courtesy: Pak Navy) Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah during his visit to Germany visited Naval academy and Naval submarine base, informed a statement issued by Pakistan Navy. The naval chief also had a meeting with Commandant German Naval Academy in which matters of mutual interests were discussed. Admiral Zakaullah also visited submarine training centre at Keroman Submarine Base. The statement added that the visit would further strengthen and expand defence cooperation between the two countries.
  20. A Kurdish Iraqi man armed with an M16 automatic rifle opened fire in a packed nightclub in southern Germany early Sunday after a dispute there, killing a bouncer and wounding four people before being shot by police. The 34-year-old attacker "was critically injured in a shootout with police officers as he left the disco, and later succumbed to his wounds in hospital," police said in a statement. "Nothing suggest that there could have been a terror background" to the attack at the club, said prosecutor Johannes-Georg Roth.suggest that there could have been a terror background" to the attack at the club, said prosecutor Johannes-Georg Roth. "Rather, everything points to a personal dispute that had escalated in an unspeakable manner," he added. The foreign gunman had been living in Germany since 1991, having obtained asylum status. He was the son-in-law of the owner of the nightclub called "Grey", and was known to police for previous violations including grievous bodily harm."Grey", and was known to police for previous violations including grievous bodily harm. Investigators piecing together the assault said the man had initially left the site after a "fight with an employee at the disco" and gone home to pick up the US-made M16 rifle. "He came back and shot dead the bouncer at the entrance area of the disco," recounted Roth, adding that the attacker sprayed the area with bullets. He then engaged in a shoot-out with police before being shot. One officer injured in the exchange of fire only escaped alive thanks to the titanium helmet he was wearing, added police. Officials saluted the bravery of the officers, saying their actions likely saved more lives as the "many magazines were found" at the site. 'Club was jam-packed' Officers began receiving emergency calls from terrified clubbers at around 4:30 am (0230 GMT) as the man began shooting in the nightclub heaving with "several hundred" people, said police. An unnamed clubber was quoted by Suedkurier daily that he was in the washroom when someone came in and closed the toilet door saying there was shooting. "I didn't believe it and went out. But I heard shots and quickly ran back to the toilet and closed the door with another person. With us was a bouncer who was shot and he was bandaging the wound with a belt," said the witness. A bartender then opened the emergency exit door, allowing revellers to flee, he said, adding that he saw another person with a wound in the leg lying on the grass by the parking lot. "I just shouted at everyone to run and when we were in the parking lot, we heard shots again," he said. The shooting in Constance, which borders Switzerland, came just two days after Germany was shaken by a knife attack in the northern port city of Hamburg. A 26-year-old Palestinian had killed one and injured six in an assault at a supermarket. Germany has been on high alert about the threat of a militant attack, especially since last December's truck rampage through a Berlin Christmas market that claimed 12 lives. But it has also been hit by other assaults unrelated to the militant threat. Among the deadliest in recent years is a Munich shopping mall rampage last June by 18-year-old German-Iranian man which left 10 people dead including the gunman himself.
  21. A man walks in front of an ambulance arriving at El Salam Hospital after an Egyptian man stabbed two German tourists to death and wounded four others at the beach of the Zahabia hotel, in Hurghada, south of the capital Cairo, Egypt, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Aly CAIRO: An Egyptian man stabbed two German tourists to death and wounded four others on Friday at a popular seaside vacation spot on the Red Sea, after apparently searching out foreigners to attack, officials and witnesses said. The knifeman killed the two German women and wounded two other tourists at the Zahabia hotel in Hurghada, then swam to a neighbouring beach to attack at least two more people at the Sunny Days El Palacio resort before being caught by staff and arrested, officials and security sources said. It was the first major attack on foreign tourists since a similar assault on the same resort more than a year ago and comes as Egypt struggles to revive a tourism industry hurt by security threats and years of political upheaval. "He had a knife with him and stabbed each of them three times in the chest. They died on the beach," Saud Abdelaziz ? the security manager at the El Palacio hotel ? told Reuters. "He jumped a wall between the hotels and swam to the other beach," he added.
  22. BERLIN: German firms have lost millions of euros to organised crime in a scam dubbed "CEO Fraud" that uses faked memos from top executives to entice accounting personnel to transfer funds, Germany's federal cyber agency said on Monday. The BSI agency said officials investigating the new scam had secured a list of 5,000 potential targets and were notifying those individuals. Organised criminals were using the information they gleaned from social media networks, public company websites, job sites and even calls to the companies to fake the contact information for chief executives and other top executives. BSI said the Federal Criminal Police Office estimated that the scam had already cost firms millions of euros in recent months. The scam targets personnel in the accounting and auditing departments of a company who were authorised to transfer funds, often using time pressure and warnings about an alleged "secret project" to manipulate them to carry out the bogus orders. BSI President Arne Schoenbohm urged companies who had fallen prey to the scam to cancel the transactions and notify police. He also urged companies to warn all those authorised to carry out financial transactions about the scam. BSI did not identify affected companies.
  23. Police arrest a demonstrator during the "Welcome to Hell" rally against the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany on July 6, 2017. ? AFP HAMBURG: German police and protestors clashed Thursday at an anti-G20 march in Hamburg, with police using water cannon and tear gas to clear a hardcore of masked anti-capitalist demonstrators, AFP reporters said. Protestors threw stones, firecrackers and bottles at police. Riot police in helmets charged in order to disperse a group of around 1,000 hard-left protestors wearing black hooded tops and masks. The protest march has been called off after clashes, police said.
  24. People celebrate as they attend a rally in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on June 30, 2017.?AFP photo Germany's parliament backed the legalisation of same-*** marriage on Friday in a historic vote hailed by gay activists and leftist parties but criticised by some in Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling conservative bloc and by the Catholic Church. The move brings Germany into line with many other European nations including France, Britain and Spain and follows Merkel's surprise decision this week to allow her lawmakers to follow their own conscience rather than the party line on the issue. Merkel, daughter of a Protestant pastor, voted against the bill. Hundreds of gay activists, some with painted faces, celebrated outside the Bundestag lower house of parliament after the vote, waving rainbow flags and placards that read "Marriage for all ? make love for all". Earlier this year, parliament agreed to grant compensation to thousands of gay men jailed under a 19th century law that was strengthened by the Nazis and only dropped in 1969 when homosexuality was decriminalised in West Germany. Merkel, who is seeking a fourth term in a national election on Sept.24, said she had voted against the bill because she believed that marriage, as defined under German law, was between a man and a woman. But she said her decision was a personal one, adding that she had become convinced in recent years that same-*** couples should be allowed to adopt children. "I hope that the vote today not only promotes respect between the different opinions but also brings more social cohesion and peace," she said. CRITICISM Lawmakers voted by 393 votes in favour of same-*** marriage to 226 against, with four abstentions. Merkel's announcement on Monday that she would allow lawmakers to vote on same-*** marriage according to their individual conscience drew the ire of some in her traditionally Catholic conservative bloc. Erika Steinbach, an independent lawmaker who quit Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in protest over her open-door policy towards asylum seekers, accused the chancellor of betraying the party's values in a clumsy attempt to defuse the politically sensitive issue before the September election. "It runs against the CDU's own party programme, which sees marriage as being between a man and a woman, so CDU decisions are clearly not worth the paper they are written on. It would be hard to exaggerate how excruciating this is," said Steinbach. To Merkel?s right, the anti-Islam Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which opposed marriage equality, accused her of "abandoning the last conservative nuances her party had". The Catholic Church said it regretted the decision. "An appreciation of same-*** cohabitation can also be expressed by a different institutional design," said Archbishop Heiner Kochof of Berlin. Political analysts say the issue will likely have faded from voters' minds by the time the September election comes around. The vote marks a rare victory for Merkel's Social Democrat (SPD) coalition partners, who are trailing the conservatives in opinion polls. They had seized on Merkel's comments on Monday to say they would push for an early vote before parliament's summer recess. SPD General Secretary Hubertus Heil accused Merkel of political cowardice over her decision to make the issue a matter of private conscience. "After 17 years with her at the top, the CDU has become cowardly," he told RND news. "Hers is a politics of no conviction." The same-*** bill, which had the backing of the opposition Greens and the far-left Linke party, will likely be signed into law by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier some time after July 7.
  25. A still image taken from video shows people leaving the open-air weekend 'Rock am Ring' concert near the Nürburgring racetrack in Nurburg, Germany June 2, 2017. Instagram/@ZUZIA93/via Reuters TV German police temporarily stopped an open-air weekend "Rock am Ring" concert near the Nürburgring race track on Friday due to a possible terrorist threat. "Due to a terror danger situation, we told the organiser to temporarily stop the concert as a precaution," police in the nearby town of Koblenz said in a statement. Der Spiegel magazine said that all those attending were asked to leave the concert and head to nearby camping grounds "in a controlled and orderly fashion". "The organiser of Rock am Ring, working closely with the security authorities, have ended ahead of schedule the festival today," the police said. "The background to this was a concrete warning that made it impossible to rule out a terror threat." Man, 19, arrested in connection with Manchester attack, bringing total to 15: GM Police The arrest was made during a raid in the Gorton area of Manchester on "We cannot provide any further details on the background information," the statement added. The suicide bombing at a pop concert in Manchester, England, on May 26 led to changes in the security planning for the German concert and the number of security officials was increased substantially to 1,200, the police said. "We take all tips and suspicious incidents extremely seriously and investigate closely," they added. Last year, the third and final day of the "Rock am Ring" was cancelled after lightning strikes injured 80 people, some seriously.