A brief overview of the messages:
- Before the eyes of his classmates: child is caught by tram and dies (6:11 p.m.)
- Mayor of Kamp-Lintfort receives personal protection (12.26 p.m.)
- Bundestag votes for moderate reform of organ donation (12:04 p.m.)
- Lignite phase-out brings compensation to power plant operators (9.45 a.m.)
- Long-awaited rain falls on bush fires (8.35 a.m.)
Today’s news in star-Ticker:
+++ 18.15 clock: impeachment proceedings against Trump in the US Senate has started +++
The historic impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump in the Senate have begun. The leading prosecutor, the democrat Adam Schiff, read the charges against the president in the Senate. The impeachment proceedings are to begin next Tuesday.
+++ 18.14 PM: Merkel rejects speculation about cabinet reshuffle +++
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has again rejected speculations about a cabinet reshuffle due in the summer. “I have already said that I like working with the ministers and do not see the reshuffle,” said Merkel after a meeting with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic in Berlin. “And there is nothing new to add to that today.”
+++ 18.11 PM: child gets into a tram in Braunschweig and dies +++
A child was hit by a tram at a stop in Braunschweig and fatally injured. Numerous classmates witnessed the accident.
In the afternoon it was initially unclear whether the child killed was a girl or a boy. The age and exact circumstances of the accident were also unknown. A police spokesman said the students were between 12 and 13 years old.
Around 20 children were in shock after the accident and were looked after by paramedics in a nearby restaurant, as were other eyewitnesses.
+++ 5.42 p.m .: After attack in Halle, the pane of the Justice Center is now perforated +++
After the attack on an SPD politician’s office in Halle, holes were also found in several windows at the judicial center. “What caused the damage is currently being determined,” said a police spokesman. So far, there was no evidence of perpetrators or motives. A connection between the two acts is being examined. The state security has started the investigation. The damage was noticed on Thursday morning.
+++ 5.41 p.m. Fifth AfD candidate fails for Vice President positions in the Bundestag +++
The AfD has offered its fifth candidate for the office of Vice President in the Bundestag – and also failed with him on first attempt. MP Karsten Hilse, who came from Bautzen in Saxony, did not receive the required 355 votes. Only 154 MPs voted for the 55-year-old trained electrician and later police officer. There were 473 against and 30 abstentions. Four other AfD MPs had previously failed.
+++ 17.34 PM: Six children and pregnant women killed in Panama – 15 injured rescued +++
The bodies of six children and a pregnant woman have been found in a mass grave in Panama. The woman was the mother of five of the children between the ages of one and 17, according to the Attorney General of the Central American country. Another 15 people were saved from being murdered. These were brought to hospitals. The alleged perpetrators – eight men, a woman and a minor – have been arrested.
According to local media reports, the ten detainees were members of a religious sect who had captured and mistreated numerous people in the village of El Terrón in western Panama. The authorities initially gave no information on this.
+++ 16.50 PM: actor Jan Fedder buried in Ohlsdorf cemetery +++
The actor Jan Fedder was buried in the Ohlsdorf cemetery in Hamburg. This was confirmed by a spokeswoman for the agency for the funeral service of the DPA news agency in Hamburg. At first, she did not want to give any further details.
+++ 16.46 PM: Half of the “millennials” expects World War III soon +++
Almost 50 percent of young adults between the ages of 20 and 35 worldwide fear that there will still be a Third World War in their lifetime. In addition, more than half expect to use nuclear weapons in the next ten years, according to a study published on Thursday by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Accordingly, the “millennials” are concerned about the future in the face of global tensions.
47 percent of the young adults surveyed believe that they will experience another world war. Fifty-four percent believe that nuclear weapons will be used in a war or armed conflict anywhere in the world within the next ten years. “Millennials seem to think a catastrophic war is likely in their lifetime,” said ICRC President Peter Maurer in the preface to the report.
+++ 16.23 PM: Federation of taxpayers criticizes coal compromise +++
The taxpayers’ federation is dissatisfied with the federal-state agreement to phase out coal. “Going nationally from coal-fired power generation becomes unnecessarily expensive,” said association president Reiner Holznagel of Düsseldorf’s “Rheinische Post” (online edition). “It would make more sense to rely on the tried-and-tested instrument of European certificate trading, which already encompasses the energy industry and thus coal power generation.”
The certificate trade ensures that the European targets for reducing CO2 emissions would be achieved – “because with the foreseeable rise in the prices of these certificates, coal-fired power generation would become increasingly expensive and therefore unprofitable anyway”. The coal phaseout would come “without a political decision”, but would be cheaper, said Holznagel.
+++ 16.18 PM: UN: 45 million people in southern Africa face hunger +++
The supply situation in southern Africa is deteriorating. A record 45 million people are at risk of acute famine due to droughts, floods and mismanagement, warned the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in a press release published in London and Johannesburg. The international community must now act urgently, both to ensure emergency aid and to provide money for long-term investments to prepare for climate change. So far, the WFP has only received $ 205 million of the $ 489 million needed.
+++ 15.38 PM: Russia: new head of government promises “changes for the better” +++
In his first public appearance since his nomination, the new Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced “real changes for the better”. The 53-year-old spoke in front of the Russian lower house, which shortly afterwards, as expected, confirmed him as the new head of government. Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin met with the working group to work out the constitutional reforms he had announced.
383 Duma deputies voted for Putin ‘s candidate Mishustin, there were no votes against, only the Communist Party deputies abstained.
+++ 15.33 PM: 52 million euros fine for illegal “Picasso export” +++
The prominent Spanish billionaire, ex-banker and art collector Jaime Botín has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined € 52.4 million for attempting to illegally export a painting by Pablo Picasso. The defendant attempted to sell the picture “Head of a Young Woman”, which is a national cultural asset, abroad without the necessary permission from the Spanish authorities, according to the recently published judgment of a Madrid criminal court. According to the judgment, the picture also becomes the property of the state. However, the convicted person can appeal to a higher authority.
The exemplary fine is twice the estimated value of the image he wanted to export, the court emphasized. The court considered it proven that Botín wanted to auction the picture at Christie’s in London.
+++ 15.26 PM: General Haftar ready for armistice according to Maas +++
In the Libyan civil war, the influential General Chalifa Haftar, according to Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, agreed to an armistice. “He has agreed to honor the ceasefire regardless of not signing the ceasefire agreement in Moscow earlier this week. This is extremely important,” said Maas after a three-hour conversation with Haftar in Benghazi, Libya.
+++ 15.22 PM: Germans drink less mineral water +++
In the past year, consumers in Germany used mineral water and medicinal water to quench their thirst much less frequently than in super summer 2018. Total sales of the mineral fountain industry decreased by 3.9 percent in 2019 to around 14.4 billion liters, according to the Association of German Mineral Wells (VDM) announced. “To reach or even exceed the record sales of 2018 was hardly achievable in 2019 due to the fluctuating weather conditions in summer”, emphasized VDM Managing Director Udo Kremer.
According to the VDM, per capita consumption of mineral and medicinal water as well as mineral water-based soft drinks decreased by almost eight liters to almost 190 liters. According to the association, the most popular was still the mineral water with little carbon dioxide (medium) with a sales of around 4.7 billion liters.
+++ 15.10 PM: Ukraine investigated against US President Trump +++
Ukraine has launched an investigation into the possible illegal surveillance of former US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. The police said the police wanted to determine whether Ukrainian or international law protecting diplomats had been violated. At the same time, it is not excluded that this could have been “bragging or misinformation” in an informal conversation between two US citizens.
The Washington Post had previously published a chat conversation that could suggest that a Republican Party congressional candidate had intercepted and monitored former Ambassador Yovanovitch.
+++ 14.52 PM: Federal police officers deliver young truancy from Flensburg to the rector +++
A planned independent trip to Hamburg has come to a somewhat inglorious end for three young schoolchildren from Flensburg. Federal police picked up the boys between the ages of 14 and 15 at the station in the Schleswig-Holstein city and contacted their school. The rector then asked for a “feed” of his students, reported the federal police in Flensburg. According to the federal police, the students had made their way to Hamburg because one of them had a birthday on Thursday. However, they only came up to a ticket machine, where they noticed the police patrol. At first, officials claimed they were off school. If asked, they would have pushed around.
+++ 14.37 PM: Italy leaves 200 migrants ashore +++
More than 200 migrants rescued from distress have landed in two Italian ships in southern Italian ports. This was announced by the aid groups that have the ships in the Mediterranean cruised off Libya. The “Sea-Watch 3” arrived with 119 migrants in Taranto in Puglia. People were able to disembark in the morning, the rescuers reported on Twitter. They had been admitted about a week earlier. The Italian authorities had assigned the Sicilian port of Messina to the ship of the Spanish organization Open Arms, which also had over 100 rescued on board. Open Arms released a video on Wednesday of how people, including women and children, disembark.
Germany, France, Portugal and Ireland agreed to accept asylum seekers, the Italian Ministry of the Interior said on Tuesday.
+++ 14.25 PM: small plane crashes near Berlin +++
Two people were killed in a plane crash in Strausberg, Brandenburg. The single-engine aircraft crashed into the grounds of the Strausberg airfield for an initially unexplained cause and immediately burned out, the police said. After the flames were extinguished, police officers and firefighters found the two bodies.
The identity of the victims was initially unclear. Investigations by specialists from the Federal Office for Aircraft Accident Investigation should now provide information on the cause of the crash. The criminal police opened investigations into suspected negligent homicide. According to eyewitnesses, the plane is said to have fallen almost vertically from the sky.
+++ 13.38 PM: $ 300,000 plus sheep compensation for a slap in the face +++
A former MP is said to have slapped a minister in Afghanistan for $ 300,000 and a sheep to compensate. Haji Din Mohammad, a tribal elder and deputy chief of the High Peace Council, confirmed on Thursday that the Council of Elders had passed a decision. The dispute between ex-MP Mullah Tarachel Muhammadi and the Executive Minister for Hajj and Religious Affairs, Abdul Hakim Munib, broke out in September.
According to a ministry statement, Mullah Tarachel insulted and “physically attacked” Minister Munib after Friday prayers in the presidential palace mosque. Local media and Afghans assumed that the high dignitaries would not clash with one another. Mullah Tarachel denied the allegations and said that he had spoken to the minister about “legitimate problems”. The argument was purely verbal in nature.
+++ 13.34 PM: Russia: Parliament confirms Putin’s preferred candidate +++
After the surprising resignation of the Russian government, the House of Commons confirmed Mikhail Mishustin as the new Prime Minister. As expected, the Duma deputies voted in Moscow on Thursday with an overwhelming majority for the preferred candidate of Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin.
+++ 13.01 PM: oil slick on the Danube near Vienna – drinking water wells blocked +++
An oil slick on the Danube near Vienna caused restrictions on shipping on Thursday. As the police told the Austrian capital on Twitter, the shipping between Greifenstein and the Freudenau power plant, i.e. over a distance of around 30 kilometers, was initially stopped. In addition, all drinking water wells along the river were blocked. The measures were intended to keep the environmental impact as low as possible.
“Who or what caused this is currently unknown, but is the subject of an investigation,” the police told the Austrian daily “Der Standard”.
+++ 12.26 PM: Mayor of Kamp-Lintfort receives personal protection +++
The mayor of Kamp-Lintfort on the Lower Rhine, Christoph Landscheidt (SPD), has been receiving personal protection for several days. This was announced by NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) to the Interior Committee of the state parliament in Düsseldorf. An examination of the state protection showed that Landscheidt was endangered. The mayor had applied for a gun license, sparking a debate about the security of local politicians.
Landscheidt had reported that he had been threatened from the right-wing scene since the European election campaign. He applied for the gun license in order not to be exposed to attacks against himself and his family. After his application was rejected, he sued.
+++ 12.11 PM: fatal crash with patrol car – Berlin police officer accused +++
Almost two years after a fatal accident with a patrol car, the public prosecutor charged a Berlin police officer. The 52-year-old is accused of negligent killing and endangerment of road traffic by alcohol at the wheel, the prosecution said.
The car of a 21-year-old was rammed on January 29, 2018 by the police car with flashing lights near Alexanderplatz. The young woman died at the scene of the accident.
According to the public prosecutor, the suspect was initially under the influence of alcohol at a speed of 130 kilometers per hour. He is said to have noticed the 21-year-old’s vehicle too late when parking and then hit it. At the collision, a speed of 93 kilometers per hour was determined.
+++ 12.04 PM: Bundestag votes for moderate organ donation reform +++
In future, Germans should be more strongly encouraged to make a concrete decision about organ donation. The Bundestag decided on Thursday to draft a group of MPs led by Green Party leader Annalena Baerbock, which would provide regular information on the subject of ID card collection. At the crucial third reading, 432 MPs voted in favor, 200 MPs voted against, 37 abstained. In this way, organ donation in Germany is only permitted with explicit consent.
Previously, another group led by Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) in the Bundestag had failed. She had proposed a “double contradiction solution”, according to which everyone should be considered a donor in the future – unless you object.
+++ 11.58: Alicante airport closed due to fire +++
The airport of the Spanish tourist center Alicante remains closed due to a fire on the roof of the terminal. The fire was under control, but not yet completely extinguished, said a spokeswoman for the operating company Aena in the morning. Flight operations are expected to resume in the afternoon at the earliest.
The spokeswoman could not say how many flights had to be canceled or rerouted. Flight operations ceased on Wednesday after the fire broke out on the roof of the terminal. According to the fire department, a roof area of around 1200 square meters is affected, the cause of the fire was initially unclear.
+++ 11.53 PM: Yemen: At least 162 people die from dengue fever +++
In the civil war country of Yemen, at least 162 people have died as a result of the outbreak of dengue, including 78 children. This was announced by the aid organization Save the Children and spoke of more than 52,000 suspected cases of the disease across the country. She fears an epidemic will break out. “We have never experienced anything like this,” said project worker for the organization in Hodeida province, Mariam Aldogani.
There are reports of new deaths in remote areas every day. “The hospitals are full, some patients have to lie on the floor.” At the end of November last year, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) still spoke of around 3,500 patients.
+++ 11:52: Bundestag votes for decision-making when organ donation +++
In the Bundestag, a majority suggests a new regulation of organ donation, according to which people should be more strongly motivated to make a decision. In the second reading, 382 MPs voted on Thursday for the drafting of a group of MPs led by Green Party leader Annalena Baerbock. In the roll call vote, 261 parliamentarians voted no, 28 abstained. The draft stipulates that all citizens will be asked to donate organs at least every ten years when they collect their ID. However, the decision is only made in third reading, for which the next vote began immediately afterwards.
+++ 11.40 clock: environmental associations criticize the coal phase-out schedule +++
Representatives of the environmental associations in the coal commission have sharply criticized the now fixed schedule for the coal phase-out. This would violate the compromise agreed in the commission, said Greenpeace chief Martin Kaiser and the head of the German nature protection ring, Kai Niebert.
Kaiser told the German Press Agency that there was a gap in the exit path between late 2022 and early 2025, but agreement had been reached on continuity. By the end of 2022, only 2.8 gigawatts of lignite should have been taken off the grid, but 3.1 gigawatts were agreed and necessary.
+++ 11.36 a.m .: Organ donation: Bundestag rejects solution to objection +++
The Bundestag clearly rejected the introduction of a “double contradiction solution” for organ donation. The draft of a group of MPs around Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), according to which everyone is to be considered a donor until further notice, did not find a majority.
+++ 11.30 a.m .: Nigeria: kidnapped NGO employees released +++
After more than three weeks in extremist violence, several people have been released in Nigeria – including three aid workers. UN coordinator Edward Kallon confirmed the release. Accordingly, it took place the day before. There was initially no information about the backgrounds. The freedmen were abducted by gunmen on the Monguno-Maiduguru route on December 22.
+++ 11.10 PM: climate package has only a weak impact on the labor market +++
According to experts, the climate package will have little impact on jobs and economic development in Germany. An analysis published on Thursday by the Institute for Labor Market and Vocational Research at the Federal Employment Agency in Nuremberg shows that this will temporarily create new jobs in the construction industry, while in other sectors some will be lost. “The bottom line is that the climate package will not cause any job loss,” said labor market researcher Enzo Weber. Economic growth will slow the climate package slightly in the long term: In 2035, the gross domestic product will therefore be 4 billion euros and thus 0.1 percent lower.
+++ 10.57 a.m .: Airport company: BER receives further approvals +++
Further obstacles have been removed for the planned opening of the new BER airport in Schönefeld in October. As an airport spokesman said, the TÜV has completed its exams in other parts of the terminal. The “Tagesspiegel” reported.
After years of work for fire protection at the transition from the terminal to the underground train station, the inspectors no longer have any complaints for the area. There are also approvals for smoke extraction, fire detection and alarm systems. In addition, there were official approvals for two types of dowels installed, for which the standards had changed in the course of the long BER construction period. However, further special permits are still pending.
+++ 10.31 PM: Austria: 20-year-old Bayer dies while sledding +++
A 20-year-old from Bavaria crashed into a tree while sledding in Tyrol in Austria and died from his injuries. According to the police, the man died after resuscitation attempts at the scene of the accident.
The 20-year-old was on a company outing with five colleagues. At the fourth descent on Wednesday he left the left edge of the toboggan run for an unknown cause and crashed into the tree after about six meters. His colleagues and the alarmed rescue workers tried unsuccessfully to reanimate the man.
+++ 10.30 a.m .: Texas: First execution of the year carried out +++
In the US state of Texas, a 64-year-old was executed 15 years after the murder of his wife. Joe Gardner died on Wednesday from a lethal injection. He was sentenced to death in 2006 for killing his fifth wife, who had left him after numerous domestic violence cases and filed for divorce.
Shortly before the divorce came into effect, Gardner broke into his wife’s new apartment and shot her in the head. Tammy Gardner died two days later. Gardner’s execution was the first in the US this year.
+++ 10.27 PM: Netherlands: Customs finds 921 kilos of cocaine +++
Dutch customs have discovered 921 kilos of cocaine hidden in a banana container in the port of Vlissingen. The drugs were found by scanning the container with a mobile X-ray device, the customs said on Thursday. The container came from Ecuador. The drugs were destroyed after the find on Tuesday. According to the information, possible participants in the smuggling have not yet been identified. The sales value of the drugs should have been at least tens of millions of euros.
+++ 10.21 PM: unknown people throw dead pig from helicopter into a pool +++
In Uruguay, strangers dropped a dead pig over an entrepreneur’s pool. A video distributed on the Internet shows how a helicopter flies over a villa before an animal falls and hits the pool with a big splash. The incident in the chic seaside resort of José Ignacio east of the capital Montevideo is being investigated, said a representative of the prosecutor. The owner of the house, an Argentinian businessman, said in a witness survey that he and his family were at home when they suddenly heard noise. Then they went outside and discovered a dead pig in the pool. The family quickly grilled and ate the animal, said the investigator.
The Uruguayan Air Force, which is responsible for airspace surveillance, has launched an investigation into the bizarre incident. The issue is whether there is a criminal offense or a violation of the regulations for air traffic.
+++ 10.20 a.m .: Jänschwalde power plant runs until 2028 +++
The Jänschwalde lignite-fired power plant in Brandenburg is scheduled to go offline by the end of 2028. The Federal Government announced in Berlin. According to the operator Leag, the Jänschwalde power plant is currently the third largest power plant in Germany if the blocks are included in the security readiness. These blocks should be available when the electricity production is insufficient to cover consumption, for example in extreme weather conditions.
+++ 10.15 a.m .: The first blocks from the Boxberg power plant will go offline in 2029 +++
The first two blocks of the Boxberg coal-fired power plant in Saxony will go offline at the end of 2029. The Federal Government announced on Thursday in Berlin. The exit date for the Lippendorf power plant south of Leipzig is set at the end of 2035. The rest of Boxberg will follow at the end of 2038. Boxberg is the last Saxon power plant in Lusatia.
+++ 9.59 a.m .: Panama: Investigators find mass grave on cult site +++
Investigators found a mass grave on the site of a sect in Panama and released more than a dozen prisoners. Seven bodies were found in the grave, including six child corpses, reports from investigative circles on Wednesday (local time). Police had previously freed 15 people on the site in the difficult-to-access indigenous region of Ngäbe Buglé who had been held captive by a sect against their will.
According to police chief Alexis Muñoz, the prisoners showed traces of beatings and burns. Among them were seven children and two pregnant women. The cult members tried to brainwash their prisoners. Ten members of the La Nueva Luz de Dios sect (The New Light of God) were arrested.
+++ 9.56 a.m .: Thailand: German dies on Phuket +++
An 84-year-old tourist from Germany lost consciousness at the wheel of a car in Thailand and died. The video said that the man in a parking lot at the international airport on the holiday island of Phuket is passing out and slowly rams a parked car with his car, the police said. Less than an hour later, airport employees found him dead in his car.
His body was reportedly taken to a Phuket hospital for autopsy. There were no further details on the circumstances of his death at first. It was also unknown which German city or region he came from.
+++ 9.53 a.m .: The first power plant block will be off the grid in 2020 +++
The first block of a coal-fired power plant is scheduled to go offline this year after the federal and state governments have agreed. This was announced by Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) in Berlin. Eight very old and dirty blocks would be shut down quickly, she said. All eight are operated by RWE in the Rhineland, the first shutdown date is December 31, 2020. “The coal phase-out begins immediately, it is binding,” emphasized Schulze. Economics Minister Peter Altmaier spoke of “a good agreement for climate protection that makes it clear that we are serious”.
+++ 9.48 am: Probably 39 fighters killed in battles in Idlib +++
Violent clashes between government forces and jihadist and rebel groups in the Syrian province of Idlib have killed at least 39 fighters last night, activists say. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the fighting was accompanied by air strikes, artillery shelling and ground fighting. The dead included 22 fighters from jihadist and rebel groups and 17 fighters from the Syrian army and allied militias.
+++ 9.45 a.m .: Power plant operators get billions because of coal phase-out +++
In connection with the coal phase-out, the federal government wants to pay the power plant operators EUR 4.35 billion. That said Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) in Berlin. Accordingly, 2.6 billion euros are to go to western Germany, 1.75 billion euros to power plant operators in eastern Germany.
The money should flow for 15 years after the shutdown of the power plants, said Scholz. He classified the costs for the federal government as acceptable. The night before, the federal government and the lignite countries had agreed to implement the coal phase-out by 2038 at the latest.
+++ 9.25 a.m .: Survey on organ donation: majority for contradiction solution +++
Before the Bundestag vote on the future of organ donations, a majority of the polls advocate that in future everyone will automatically become an organ donor after death, unless they object. According to the new ZDF Politbarometer published on Thursday, 61 percent of respondents are in favor of the reform proposal of a group of MPs around Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU). Around 36 percent do not find the so-called contradiction solution good.
+++ 9.23 PM: Despite coal exit: Datteln 4 should go online +++
The controversial hard coal power plant Datteln 4 in North Rhine-Westphalia is to go online. The German press agency learned this after the top meeting of the federal and state governments to phase out coal from negotiating circles. The Schkopau lignite-fired power plant in Saxony-Anhalt is scheduled to run until 2034.
+++ 8.58 a.m .: Millions of Germans would like to work more +++
Millions of people in Germany would like to work more. Around 2.2 million people aged 15 to 74 wanted to do more in 2018. They worked an average of 28.9 hours a week and would like to stay 10.6 hours longer in the job, as the Federal Statistical Office announced in Wiesbaden on Thursday. At the same time, a good 1.4 million people wanted to cut their jobs. They were on average 41.6 hours a week and wanted a reduction of 10.8 hours.
Full-time and part-time workers were taken into account. Part-time workers worked an average of 20.0 hours per week, full-time employees 41.4 hours.
+++ 8.35 a.m .: Australia: rain falls on fire areas +++
In parts of the bush fire areas of Australia, long-awaited rain fell on Thursday. In the state of New South Wales, where many of the worst fires raged, there had been “good rains”, the local weather agency said. The fire brigade spoke of relief for those who had been in constant use against the flaming fighting firefighters for weeks.
The rains would not be able to extinguish all fires, but they would make a major contribution to containing the fires. Before the rain started, 30 bush fires were out of control in New South Wales.
+++ 8.10 clock: special status for Hong Kong beyond 2047? +++
According to Prime Minister Carrie Lam, Hong Kong could also be governed beyond 2047 according to the “one country, two systems” principle, which gives people in the special administrative region more freedom than in the rest of China. If the principle is fully understood and implemented, there are “sufficient reasons to assume” that nothing will change after 2047, Lam said on Thursday, according to the Hong Kong broadcaster RTHK in front of the city’s parliament. Hong Kong can only keep its benefits from the statute if it remains loyal to Beijing.
Since its return to China in 1997, the former British crown colony has been governed autonomously according to the “one country, two systems” principle. This special status is guaranteed until 2047. Unlike the people in the People’s Republic, the seven million Hong Kong citizens enjoy many rights, such as freedom of assembly and expression.
+++ 7.33 a.m .: USA: Two men convicted of spying for Iran +++
Two men have been convicted of spying on members of an Iranian opposition group in the United States. One of the two, a 39-year-old Iranian and US national, was sentenced to 38 months in prison, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Wednesday (local time). The other, a 60-year-old Iranian resident in California, has to go to prison for 30 months.
The two had gathered information about US citizens that the Iranian secret service could then use to intimidate or harm them or their families, the release said.
+++ 5.04 PM: Saxony’s prime minister considers re-entry into nuclear power as possible +++
Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer considers a return to nuclear power in Germany to be conceivable. “Whether this is necessary will depend on whether the energy turnaround works, whether the costs remain reasonable and the security of supply is guaranteed,” said the CDU politician to the editorial network Germany (RND / Thursday). “It’s a question that will come up in ten or 15 years.”
Nuclear research must continue to be carried out and promoted: “We have to remain open to technology. This does not mean that we will build new power plants right away, but we have to keep the competence for it,” emphasized the Prime Minister. At the same time, he admitted that there is currently no social majority for nuclear power in Germany. You have to acknowledge that. But it was right to keep discussing this question again and again: “After all, nuclear energy would have less CO2 emissions.”
+++ 5.03 PM: Russia: Parliament advises on new government +++
After the surprising resignation of the Russian head of government Dmitri Medwedew and his cabinet, the parliament wants to discuss the successor this Thursday. From the early morning, MPs want to discuss this in the individual parliamentary groups, the Duma press office said. Earlier, Kremlin chief Putin had proposed the head of the tax authority, Mikhail Mishustin, as his preferred candidate for the post.
The parliament still has to confirm Putin’s proposal, but this is a matter of form. Some parties have already announced that they intend to support the candidacy. Politically, the 53-year-old economic expert Mischustin, who has led the tax authority for ten years, has hardly made an appearance so far. Observers also assume that he could work as a kind of transition premiere.
+++ 4.33 PM: membership numbers of almost all parties decrease +++
The CDU and SPD membership declined last year. According to its own statements, the SPD had 419,340 at the end of 2019, around 18,500 fewer members than at the end of 2018. At the CDU, the number of members between the end of November 2018 and the end of November 2019 decreased by around 9,200 from 407,347. A similar trend is emerging on the left: As of the end of September 2019, the party registered 61,055 members. At the end of 2018, the number was just over 62,000.
The Greens are among the big winners. According to its own information, it has around 95,000 members – around 20,000 more than in 2018. The CSU in Bavaria was able to initiate a turnaround after six years of falling membership numbers, as the Christian Socialists announced. As a result, around 140,880 members were booked for Bayern in early December 2019. In the previous year 2018, there were still 139,100, or about 1,780 fewer. The alternative for Germany and the FDP each grew by around 1,600 members last year compared to 2018.
+++ 1.46 p.m .: federal and state governments agree on schedule for lignite phase-out +++
According to dpa information, the federal government and the federal states with lignite regions have agreed on a schedule for switching off coal-fired power plants. The government had presented the prime ministers of North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg a decommissioning path that they had agreed to, it said on Thursday morning. Now the federal government wants to contractually stipulate this path with the operators of the lignite power plants and opencast mines. According to this, the bill for the coal phase-out will be launched in January and will be adopted by the middle of the year.
+++ 1.32 PM: Epstein is said to have abused girls until shortly before his death +++
The American millionaire Jeffrey Epstein is said to have abused underage girls until a few months before his death. The Attorney General of the US Virgin Islands raised this allegation in a civil suit filed on Wednesday. Epstein had died in a New York prison cell in August. According to forensic medicine, the 66-year-old committed suicide.
Attorney General of the United States Virgin Islands, Denise George, is seeking compensation from the Epstein legacy for crimes alleged to have been committed by the millionaire in US territories from 2001 to 2019. Epstein had two private islands in the Caribbean. The charges brought against him by the US judiciary before Epstein’s death, however, only covered the period from 2002 to 2005.
+++ 1.18 PM: Turkey deports terrorist suspects to Germany +++
Turkey has deported a woman classified as a “foreign terrorist fighter” to Germany. A machine with the suspect on board landed at Hamburg Airport on Wednesday evening, as the federal police of the German Press Agency confirmed. In the plane coming from Istanbul, according to DPA information, sat next to the young woman from Norderstedt and her two sons at the age of two and four. The Ministry of the Interior in Ankara previously informed about the deportation of “foreign terrorist fighters” via Twitter. A representative of the ministry did not want to comment on the details on dpa request.
+++ 0.28: record number of weapons confiscated from US airports +++
The record number of 4,432 firearms were seized last year during security checks at US airports. This was an increase of five percent compared to the previous year, as the traffic safety authority TSA announced. 87 percent of the weapons were loaded. Authorities chief David Pekoske called the numbers “extremely worrying”.
Most firearms were reported to have been found during controls at Atlanta International Airport – 323. The international airports in Dallas / Fort Worth (217), Denver (140) and Houston (138) followed. The TSA recalled that taking handguns in hand luggage can be punished with up to $ 13,000.
+++ 0.06 a.m .: House of Representatives hands over impeachment to Senate +++
The US House of Representatives has brought the indictment for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump to the Senate. At a ceremonial ceremony, representatives of the House of Representatives brought the indictment to the House of Lords on Wednesday. The trial of Trump over the Ukraine affair is now being conducted there.
The charges should be read on Thursday afternoon (local time). Then U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial, will be sworn in. The 100 senators are then sworn in as juries. The actual process is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.