Tag Archives: German

German court convicts Tamil man over killing of Sri Lanka FM

German court convicts Tamil man over killing of Sri Lanka FMA German court convicted a Sri Lankan man Monday of accessory to murder in the 2005 killing of the South Asian nation’s foreign minister for providing his assassins with crucial information. The regional court in Stuttgart concluded that the defendant, previously identified only as Navanithan G. in line with German privacy rules, had tipped off members of the Tamil Tigers separatist group about Lakshman Kathirkamar’s whereabouts. German news agency dpa reported that the court sentenced him to six years and 10 months imprisonment.



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Russia Retaliates by Expelling Two German Diplomats Over Berlin Murder Probe

Russia Retaliates by Expelling Two German Diplomats Over Berlin Murder ProbeThe Russian Foreign Ministry said that it was making the move “due to the reciprocity principle”



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Merkel’s Fading Power Laid Bare as German Ministers Go Rogue

Merkel’s Fading Power Laid Bare as German Ministers Go Rogue(Bloomberg) — For the second time in as many weeks, one of Angela Merkel’s chief cabinet members has gone rogue.Finance Minister Olaf Scholz’s bid to break years of deadlock over European efforts to complete a banking union was announced with fanfare Wednesday.But he hadn’t cleared it with the chancellor, his boss.“This contribution to a discussion has yet to be discussed within the government,” Merkel’s chief spokesman, Steffen Seibert, told reporters.The free-for-all in a once-disciplined government has left Germans wondering who is really in charge as Merkel approaches her 15th year in office.The chancellor’s authority was similarly tested two weeks ago, when her defense minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, set out a peace plan for northern Syria. While Merkel was given a heads up on that occasion, the chancellery was caught out all the same when Kramp-Karrenbauer unleashed the proposal without squaring it with their coalition partners. The idea was pilloried by the Social Democrats as unworkable and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas complained he’d found out about the plan by text message.The Next ChancellorWhat connects both episodes is the looming question of who will follow Merkel as chancellor when her term ends in 2021 at the latest. Both AKK, as the defense chief is known, and Scholz may be in the running even as they uphold responsibilities in the creaking coalition.It’s a dangerous game though. Both Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the SPD have suffered in the polls as the coalition limps forward. They could face serious punishment if the political maneuvers were to trigger an election.So on the same day that Scholz made his move on banking union, he also joined Merkel at the Chancellery in Berlin to stage a show of unity as the cabinet vaunted its policy achievements since coming together last year.“This shows that we’re capable and willing to work,” the chancellor said.Rift With MerkelHer party is unhappy all the same. AKK, who was Merkel’s chosen successor as CDU leader, is already facing an open revolt over her lackluster performance and her bond with the chancellor has broken down.Merkel left her one-time protegee to face the music after the CDU’s embarrassing defeat in the eastern state of Thuringia last week. When CDU lawmakers protested Merkel’s plans to cut a deal with the SPD over pensions at a closed-door meeting Tuesday, AKK kept silent leaving the chancellor to defend her decision alone, according to a party official who was present.AKK took another swipe at her boss on Thursday, complaining that German foreign policy has in the past been too preachy without delivering concrete results."We Germans are often very good at setting out high moral standards for ourselves and for others, rather than suggesting concrete measures and following through with them," she said during a speech in Munich.She also called for Germany to establish a presence in the Pacific to push back against China and more leeway from the Bundestag to send troops abroad, suggestions that are likely to stir up more trouble with the SPD.On Merkel’s other flank, Scholz is trying to win a contest for the leadership of the SPD. His rivals have signaled they could pull out of the coalition triggering a snap election and bringing down the curtain on Merkel’s political career.No One in ChargeThe mood in Berlin though is one of drift rather than revolution. While Merkel’s power has waned, neither of the contenders have succeeded in stamping their authority on the administration.AKK’s Syria proposal, a mission to secure a swath of land to protect Kurds along Turkey’s border, was dispatched within days of its unveiling as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey carved the area between them as U.S. forces pulled out.Scholz’s plan to complete the banking union, while stirring promise within the 19-member euro area, had a cold reception in Merkel’s Bundestag caucus. CDU lawmaker Olav Gutting, who sits on the Bundestag finance committee, insisted Merkel’s party will stand by the conditions for a deposit insurance set out by Scholz’s predecessor, Wolfgang Schaeuble.“Risks must first be reduced and controlled on a sustainable basis,” Gutting said in an email to Bloomberg News. “Then you can have a European deposit insurance.”(Updates with AKK quotes in 14th paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Patrick Donahue in Berlin at pdonahue1@bloomberg.net;Arne Delfs in Berlin at adelfs@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Caroline AlexanderFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Far-right AfD deals setback to Merkel's CDU in German state vote

Far-right AfD deals setback to Merkel's CDU in German state voteThe far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) beat Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives into third place in Sunday’s regional election in the eastern state of Thuringia, in which the incumbent far-left Linke came first, an exit poll showed. The result follows the AfD’s successes in the eastern states of Saxony and Brandenburg, where it surged into second place in Sept. 1 elections, and marks a setback from Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU).



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Angela Merkel Intervenes to Allow Huawei Access to German Networks

Angela Merkel Intervenes to Allow Huawei Access to German NetworksGermany will allow Huawei access to its 5G networks despite a U.S. pressure campaign, spearheaded by FCC chairman Ajit Pai, to block the Chinese tech giant from interacting with allies' data networks.“Essentially our approach is as follows: We are not taking a pre-emptive decision to ban any actor, or any company,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference Monday, as Germany’s Federal Network Agency plans to release an in-depth “security catalogue” on compliance criteria for 5G networks in the coming days. The announcement confirmed a report by German business newspaper Handelsblatt, which stated that a review of the current draft of security requirements permits Huawei to provide 5G services in Germany.Handelsblatt also reports that the decision to include Huawei came from the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, due to fears that exclusion would damage the country's relationship with China.Merkel’s office, in partnership with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, also removed a clause from a 5G government policy paper that suggested only “trusted suppliers” should be given access to the network.The decision comes after heavy pressure from the U.S. to urge international allies to resist partnerships with Huawei over fears of espionage, fraud, and intellectual property theft. In January, the Justice Department indicted the Chinese firm after allegations of theft and conspiracy.“The criminal activity in this indictment goes back ten years and goes all the way to the top of the company,” said former acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker at a press conference announcing the charges.In May, President Trump blacklisted Huawei from doing business with American firms.Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and other U.S. allies have already moved to block Huawei from accessing their networks, while the U.K. has had a political debate over the inclusion of the company in the wake of the rollout of 5G technology.



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German police investigate bitcoin transfer to synagogue killer

German police investigate bitcoin transfer to synagogue killerGerman police are investigating a bitcoin transfer made to the far-Right extremist behind Wednesday’s terror attack in Halle to determine if the man possessed a broader support network. German media outlet Spiegel reports that a transfer of 0.1 bitcoin – approximately €750 (£660) – was made to alleged attacker Stephan Balliet in the lead up to the attack. Police said the transfer came from an unknown source. Balliet told police interrogators that he had received the money from someone whom he had communicated with on the internet, but that he did not know who they were. Questions were raised as to how Balliet, who had been unemployed for a significant period of time in the lead up to the attack, was able to fund the attack, including buying the materials for his home-made weapons. As reported by Spiegel, the man told investigators that the weapons were cheap to manufacture, primarily as he constructed them from basic raw materials. He told police he bought steel worth €50, cartridge cases for €25 and a telescope for €20 to manufacture the weapons, which he based on designs released online by British pro-gun activist Philip Luty "The further investigations will deal in particular with the question of whether other persons were involved in the act or its preparation alongside Stephan Balliet", said a spokesman for the Federal Criminal Police Office. The 27-year-old Balliet was active in far-Right chatrooms, with police suspecting he was radicalised online. Balliet uploaded a manifesto outlining his motives, details of his weapons and indications as to the nature of his plans in the lead up to the attack.



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German Attack Offers Lessons on Guns and Neo-Nazis

German Attack Offers Lessons on Guns and Neo-Nazis(Bloomberg Opinion) — An anti-Semitic shooting on Yom Kippur in Germany – worse news is difficult to imagine. But Wednesday’s horrible events in the eastern German city of Halle would have been bloodier had they taken place in a country with weaker gun laws and a less security-aware Jewish community.There’s also another lesson in what happened. For all the talk of “imported anti-Semitism” that comes with an increase in Muslim immigration, Jews and Muslims are in the same boat when it comes to the deadliest kind of xenophobic violence – the traditional, neo-Nazi kind.The 27-year-old attacker took care to document his motives, planning and the attack itself. In files he posted online before he drove to the Halle synagogue on Wednesday, he called himself a neo-Nazi and explained that he wanted to “kill as many anti-whites as possible, Jews preferred.” He mentioned that he’d also thought of attacking a mosque or an antifascist cultural center, because they were less protected than synagogues. (In Germany, all Jewish establishments including houses of worship are watched over by the police.) But then he changed his mind, he said, because the influx of immigrants into Europe made for too big a target.He described how he made his own arms, the goal being to show that improvised guns can work. The only factory-made weapon he managed to obtain was an ancient Smith carbine for use as a last resort. He actually expected to fail unless the synagogue’s thick doors were open or would succumb to a makeshift hand grenade.In the event, the doors held, saving the 80 people inside, who barricaded themselves in after they heard shots. The attacker killed a woman outside the house of worship, all while streaming his actions to the gamer website Twitch, which has since taken down the video. He then drove to a nearby Turkish restaurant and shot a man dead before his weapon jammed. As mass shootings go, the Halle attack was a relative failure, in part thanks to the use of homemade weapons. It’s hard for a lone terrorist of limited means to get his hands on any other kind of guns in Germany. Automatic rifles are pretty much out of reach for anyone without serious organized crime connections. Hunting weapons and handguns are somewhat easier to obtain despite strict laws regulating access to them, but they are of no use to an aspiring mass murderer.There’s much hand-wringing about the security measures and police posts at German synagogues. But the stark reality is that Jews are targets for neo-Nazi violence in any corner of the world. The Halle shooter wrote and spoke in English, addressing an international audience. The high security awareness of Germany’s Jewish communities and the help they get from the police are entirely justified. They stop people from being killed. Elsewhere, similar measures should be in place to thwart attacks like last year’s synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, in which 11 people died.The German police keep detailed statistics on hate crime and anti-Semitic crime in particular. Last year, they recorded 1,799 anti-Semitic offenses, a 20% increase from 2017. Of these, 89% were committed by people with extreme-right motives and views. That’s the reality of modern Germany, though attacks by Muslim immigrants attract more media attention. The threat to Jews comes overwhelmingly not from the Muslims, but from extreme nationalists and racists who hate all non-Whites and non-Christians – people like the Halle shooter. Of the 910 anti-Muslim crimes committed in 2018, right-wing radicals were responsible for 92%.Bavaria’s Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann on Thursday blamed “spiritual arsonists” from the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party for the spread of anti-Semitism, even though the AfD is mostly an anti-immigrant party. He even singled out AfD politician Bjoern Hoecke, considered the leader of the party’s hardline wing.Herrmann has a point. In the area around Halle, Saalekreis, part of the state of Saxony Anhalt, the AfD came first in this year’s European Parliament election, winning 24% of the vote. It’s probably note a coincidence that the shooter came from a part of the country that votes this way. Hoecke on Wednesday professed “disgust, sadness and anger” at the shooting. But in his Facebook post, he only mentioned the synagogue attack, not the shooting at the kebab restaurant. That may be a calculated recognition of a sad reality in Germany today, that while a politician can’t get away with open anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim utterances aren’t judged as harshly.The potential victims of neo-Nazi violence – Jews, Muslims, everyone with a different skin color –  should feel more solidarity with each other. The danger is shared.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at mpozsgay@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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German suspect admits anti-Semitic attack, far-right motive

German suspect admits anti-Semitic attack, far-right motiveThe German suspect in a deadly attack targeting a synagogue has admitted to the shooting rampage, confessing it was motivated by anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism, federal prosecutors said Friday amid government warnings of an “elevated” risk of further attacks. Stephan Balliet, 27, made a “very comprehensive” confession during an interrogation lasting several hours, said a spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe. Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer warned meanwhile in a ZDF television interview that there was now an “elevated” threat of another anti-Semitic or terrorist attack saying around half of 24,000 suspected far-right extremists had an “affinity” with firearms and could engage in violence.



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German Interior Minister: Yom Kippur Shooting was Anti-Semitic Attack

German Interior Minister: Yom Kippur Shooting was Anti-Semitic AttackGerman officials called a live-streamed shooting at a synagogue Wednesday in the city of Halle an anti-Semitic attack after the gunman denied the Holocaust and denounced Jews on the stream before embarking. Two people have been killed and another two are seriously injured, according to Reuters, and a suspect is in custody. The gunman attempted to force his way into the synagogue, but was unsuccessful after finding the gates shut. The man then went on a shooting spree, killing a woman outside and a man in a nearby kabob shop.Max Privorozki, Halle’s Jewish community chairman, told the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper that approximately 75 people were in the synagogue observing Yom Kippur, known as the Day of Atonement which is the holiest day of the Jewish year and is marked by fasting and solemn prayer.“We saw via the camera system at our synagogue that a heavily armed perpetrator with a steel helmet and a gun tried to shoot open our doors,” he said. “We barricaded the doors from inside and waited for the police.”The attack was streamed on Twitch, an online streaming service popular with gamers and a subsidiary of Amazon’s. An Amazon spokeswoman said that the platform “worked with urgency to remove this content and will permanently suspend any accounts found to be posting or reposting content of this abhorrent act.”In the aftermath of the attack, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited a Berlin synagogue where a vigil was being held outside. Merkel’s spokesman tweeted: “We must oppose any form of anti-Semitism.”Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted condolences to families of the victims  and called on Germany to fight anti-Semitism.“The terrorist attack against the community in Halle in Germany on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of our nation, is yet another expression that anti-Semitism is growing in Europe,” he said.



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Silent streets, Jews on edge in German city after shooting

Silent streets, Jews on edge in German city after shootingSilence gripped the abandoned streets of the eastern German city of Halle Wednesday as elite anti-terror forces carried out a manhunt after a deadly shooting at a synagogue and a Turkish restaurant. “We are carrying out an intensive search and ask the public to stay at home,” the Halle police force tweeted. Normally busy city streets were closed to traffic, with the only vehicles circulating police cruisers and ambulances with flashing lights.



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