The most important messages at a glance:
- U.S. Senate curtails Trump’s Iranian powers (8:38 p.m.)
- New lawsuit against Chinese Huawei group in the US (7.45 p.m.)
- Union of values spokesman resigns due to threats (17:18)
- Great Britain: Finance Minister resigns (1:11 p.m.)
- Turkey: Prosecutor Calls Up to 16 Years in Prison for Deniz Yücel (11:07 AM)
- Airbus slips into negative territory due to billions in fines (3.03 a.m.)
You can find all the news about the CDU crisis in our extra ticker.
All news about the corona virus can be found here in our extra ticker.
The news of the day:
+++ 20.38 PM: US Senate votes to limit Trump’s Iran powers +++
The U.S. Senate has passed a resolution to curtail President Donald Trump’s military powers in the Iran conflict. The text passed the Congress Chamber with a majority of 55 of the 100 senators. Eight of Trump’s Republicans also voted for the resolution. This is considered a damper for the president, who, however, should ultimately veto it.
+++ 19.45 p.m .: New charges against Chinese Huawei company in the United States +++
The US judiciary has made new allegations against the Chinese technology group Huawei. In a published new indictment, Huawei is charged with, among other things, the theft of industrial secrets. The Chinese company wanted to acquire technology from US companies, the Department of Justice in Washington said.
+++ 19.39 PM: More attention for two Nazi victim groups +++
Nazi victims who were persecuted by the National Socialists as “anti-social” and “professional criminals” should become more aware. This goal is pursued by a joint application from the CDU / CSU and SPD, which the Bundestag has approved by a large majority. According to the coalition, these two victim groups are expressly granted a right to financial compensation.
The Nazi regime stigmatized, imprisoned and murdered the homeless, beggars and prostitutes as “anti-social”. Many petty criminals were deported to concentration camps as alleged professional or habitual criminals after serving their terms.
+++ 6.45pm: Dresden commemoration: thousands form human chain around downtown +++
On Thursday evening, thousands of citizens in Dresden used a mile-long chain of people to commemorate the destruction of the city in World War II. Despite the rain, many people shook hands at 6 p.m. to form a ring around the city center on both sides of the Elbe. In addition to Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the Duke of Kent, Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) and Dresden Mayor Dirk Hilbert (FDP) also ranked in line. The chain, which operates every year, wants to set an example for reconciliation and against the misuse of the historical date by rights.
Dresden had been badly destroyed by British and American bombers on February 13, 1945 and the days after. Up to 25,000 people died in the hail of bombs and a subsequent firestorm.
+++ 17.18 PM: spokesman for the union of values resigns because of threats +++
The federal spokesman for the conservative Union of Values, Ralf Höcker, resigns from all of his political positions due to threats. “Two hours ago, it was made very clear to me that I have to end my political engagement immediately if I don’t want to fear” consequences “,” wrote the Cologne lawyer on Facebook. “The announcement was credible and unmistakable. I bow to the pressure and immediately resign from my political office and declare myself to be leaving all political organizations.”
The chairman of the Union of Values, Alexander Mitsch, confirmed the resignation to the German Press Agency. Deutschlandfunk had previously reported on Höcker’s resignation. The Union of Values sees itself as representing the conservative current in the Union, but it is not an official party structure.
+++ 17:04: Murder in Baden-Württemberg solved after almost 25 years +++
After almost 25 years, investigators have solved a murder in Sindelfingen in Baden-Württemberg. The police arrested a 69-year-old on Wednesday in Hamburg, who is said to have murdered a 35-year-old in July 1995, the police said in Ludwigsburg on Thursday. A DNA mixed track found the suspect. He is in custody.
The 35-year-old was assaulted by an unknown offender on her way home from work in July 1995 and killed with numerous knife stings. A special commission investigated for months without success. During a regular repeat check, a DNA mixed trace secured on the victim’s body at the time was examined again. As a result, the detainee now became the focus of the investigation. In the meantime, the 69-year-old had served a prison term of several years in Hamburg for another homicide and extortion.
+++ 16.23 PM: Brazilian journalist killed in Paraguayan border town +++
A Brazilian journalist was killed in the Paraguayan border town of Pedro Juan Caballero. Leo Veras was hit by twelve shots when two hooded assailants entered his home, where the reporter was having dinner with his wife, as prosecutor Marco Amarilla said. Veras ran the Portuguese-language Internet platform Porá News and kept reporting on organized crime in the border region between Paraguay and Brazil. According to the Journalists’ Association in the neighboring Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, the reporter had recently received death threats.
There are several criminal gangs operating in the region who smuggle drugs and cigarettes across the border. In January, a mass outbreak resulted in 75 prisoners being towed out of a prison in Pedro Juan Caballero. They are said to have belonged for the most part to the powerful Brazilian crime syndicate Primer Comando da Capital (PCC).
+++ 16:16: Young mother strangled in the hotel room – arrest warrant against companion +++
According to initial findings, a young mother was killed by her companion in a hotel room in Schleswig-Holstein – in the presence of her baby. The district court in Rendsburg issued a warrant for manslaughter against the 24-year-old, the Kiel public prosecutor said.
The man strangled the 28-year-old woman from Schleswig-Holstein in Rendsburg, according to the current status. According to the prosecutor, both knew each other before the crime. The relationship between them was still unclear. The woman’s infant had been found beside the dead woman. The public prosecutor’s office initially made no statements about the nationality of the alleged perpetrator.
+++ 4.15 p.m .: Attackers loot village in Nigeria – according to local residents, 23 dead +++
In Nigeria, attackers in a village killed at least 23 people, including 12 members of a family, according to local residents. Two bodies of Tuesday’s attack were recovered on Thursday, Yunusa Mahmoud, a resident of Bakali village in central Kaduna, told the German Press Agency. It was initially unclear who was responsible for the crime.
According to local residents, the perpetrators attacked the site, set fire to buildings and vehicles, and looted. In a house, twelve members of a family – three women and nine children – were burned alive, said Sani Bakali, a relative of the family. Muhammad Jalige, a police spokesman for the state of Kaduna, confirmed the incident to the Nigerian media, but did not state the number of victims. Police officers were sent to investigate.
+++ 15.49 PM: Lieutenant General Alfons Mais takes command of the German army +++
Lieutenant General Alfons Mais has taken command of the German army. The Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, Eberhard Zorn, ceremonially handed over the command to Lieutenant General Jörg Vollmer in Strausberg, Brandenburg, as the army announced. Federal Council President Dietmar Woidke (SPD) paid tribute to the deployment of the soldiers of the army there. They performed “a difficult, but also varied and responsible service,” said the Brandenburg Prime Minister.
With more than 60,000 soldiers, the army is the largest branch of the Bundeswehr and therefore larger than the Air Force and Navy. Vollmer had been in command of the army since July 2015. Mais was previously the commander of the 1st German-Dutch Corps in Münster.
+++ 15.19 PM: Russian court imposes fines on Facebook and Twitter +++
A Russian court fined Facebook and Twitter for the two U.S. companies continuing to store Russian users’ data abroad. The Internet giants must therefore pay a fine of four million rubles (almost 58,000 euros), as reported by the State Agency Tass on Thursday. The law requires foreign communications companies to have their servers in Russia. The authorities argue with security concerns. Hackers would then find it harder to get information from Russian citizens. Facebook and Twitter can now appeal the decision within ten days.
+++ 2.30 p.m .: France wants Huawei to participate in 5G expansion to a limited extent +++
Like Great Britain, France does not want to fundamentally exclude the Chinese technology group Huawei from the expansion of 5G mobile radio networks. “Huawei is not excluded from 5G in France,” said Economics Minister Bruno Le Maire in Paris. But he added: “European providers like Nokia and Ericsson could be preferred.”
Le Maire said that there would be “a number of restrictions” around sensitive facilities such as military bases and nuclear power plants to safeguard France’s state interests.
+++ 2.30 p.m .: Von der Leyen admits mistakes in dealing with external consultants for the Bundeswehr +++
In her hearing before the Bundestag’s committee of inquiry on the so-called advisory affair, the former Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) admitted mistakes. When awarding contracts to external consultants, there were violations of law and regulations during her term of office, to which the ministry reacted immediately, the EU Commission President told the Bundestag committee in Berlin.
These mistakes had been made in a phase in which the Bundeswehr had undergone extensive modernization: “A lot has been done well, but errors have also occurred in the considerable development effort,” said von der Leyen. This is “all the more regrettable” since the modernization process was urgently needed. “We took up the criticism of the Federal Audit Office and took measures” to counter undesirable developments, she emphasized.
+++ 13.34 PM: UN warns of humanitarian disaster in Syria +++
The offensive of Syrian government troops on the last major rebel stronghold around the city of Idlib is driving more and more desperate people into flight. Since early December, more than 700,000 people have fled bombing, fighting and advancing government troops, David Swanson, spokesman for the UN emergency relief agency Okha for Syria, said on Thursday. As a result, the already dire humanitarian situation is worsening. “Many flee in open trucks or on foot, often at night, to avoid being spotted,” said Swanson. “All this while night temperatures drop below zero.”
The aid organization Save the Children warned that the situation of the refugees in the region is deteriorating at an “alarming rate”. At least 290,000 children have been displaced by the violence. A “humanitarian catastrophe” is taking place in Idlib.
+++ 13.11 PM: Great Britain: finance minister surprisingly resigns +++
British Finance Minister Sajid Javid has surprisingly resigned. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is considered the most important post in the UK after the Prime Minister. Although the resignation comes as part of a long-awaited cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Javid was actually considered secure in his position. The former State Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Rishi Sunak, is to succeed him.
There had always been conflicts between Javid and Johnson. The finance minister, who was now shot, recently pushed ahead with the announcement that the controversial rail project HS2 will be continued. The high-speed road is supposed to better connect the economically dependent regions in the Midlands and the north of England with the capital.
+++ 12.27 PM: Belgium: men stunned and robbed during dates +++
Thieves attacked men in Belgium through dating sites on the Internet and subsequently stole them. Investigators discovered more than a dozen cases across the country, police spokesman Wouter Bruyns told Gazet van Antwerpen. Women therefore arranged to meet with the victims online for a rendezvous in their homes and poured a narcotic into their drink. According to the report, henchmen were able to bag all valuables undisturbed. “In some cases, the victims were so anesthetized that they slept for up to 14 hours at a time,” said Bruyns. Four suspects were arrested.
+++ 12.26 PM: animal rights activists warn against lax rules for pig farming +++
Animal and environmentalists have warned the Federal Council against softening stricter requirements for pig farming. The dispute is primarily about the confinement of sows in narrow crates, which the Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner (CDU) wants to keep, albeit with restrictions. The Federal Council will vote on Friday to amend the Animal Welfare and Livestock Farming Ordinance.
“Any extension of crate keeping violates the Basic Law,” the Foodwatch organization said on Thursday in Berlin. Above all, it urged the Greens to stop Klöckner’s plans for regulation by participating in numerous state governments.
+++ 12.18 PM: toll investigation committee: Ramsauer takes Scheuer under protection +++
In the toll investigation committee, former transport minister Peter Ramsauer protected his successors Alexander Dobrindt and Andreas Scheuer (all CSU). Ramsauer said as a witness that Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the then CSU leader Horst Seehofer had negotiated a “European law impossibility” in the coalition agreement with the SPD “seeing eyes” during the coalition negotiations in 2013. “My successors had to deal with this mortgage, and the rest is known,” said Ramsauer of the car toll that later burst. He was in office from 2009 to 2013.
Specifically, it is about a passage in the coalition agreement at the time that for the additional financing of the maintenance and expansion of the motorway network, an appropriate contribution should be made by the owners of cars that are not registered in Germany – with the “stipulation that no vehicle owner in Germany will be charged more than today”.
+++ 12.14 PM: child abuse: network from Bergisch Gladbach extends to all federal states +++
In the investigation against a pedophile network, which started in October in Bergisch Gladbach near Cologne, the authorities have now targeted suspects from all over Germany. Suspected cases of child sexual abuse are now in all 16 federal states, the police said on Thursday in Cologne. In North Rhine-Westphalia alone, the investigators counted 26 suspects.
Eight of the alleged perpetrators in the most populous federal state are reportedly in custody. The Cologne police also provided the local authorities in the 15 other federal states with a total of 36 indications of sexual abuse. The Bergisch Gladbach case became known at the end of October. At that time, investigators in the city near Cologne had come across a large number of child pornographic files among a suspect. Since then, the investigation has revolved around a nationwide criminal network.
+++ 11.54 PM: Great Britain: Caribbean vacation brings Johnson criticism +++
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come under fire for luxury vacations in the Caribbean. The opposition asked him on Thursday to quickly resolve an alleged inconsistency in the information on the financing of the vacation.
Johnson had stated in a parliamentary register published on Wednesday that the stay in a villa worth £ 15,000 (just under € 18,000) on the Caribbean island of Mustique over the New Year had been donated to him by businessman David Ross. But, according to a Daily Mail report, Ross denies paying for Johnson. “It was a house that was rented, but people couldn’t come, so Boris Johnson could use it,” the paper quoted a spokesman for the entrepreneur. Ross only helped Johnson find the place to stay.
+++ 11.47 PM: Facebook postpones the start of the dating app +++
Facebook has postponed the launch of its dating app in Europe, which was actually planned for Valentine’s Day, due to concerns from data protection experts. “It’s really important that we get Facebook Dating off to a good start, so we’re taking a little more time to make sure the product is ready for the European market,” said the US technology group.
The background is data protection concerns against the new service. The Irish data protection authority DPC accuses the company of having informed them for the first time at the beginning of February that the dating app was launched in Europe. The offer should therefore be activated this Thursday – immediately before Valentine’s Day. However, Facebook has not provided any information or documents on data protection compliance, the authority criticized. The examiners were “very concerned” about the short lead-up to the planned start.
+++ 11.40 clock: Union and SPD call AfD application “hypocritical” +++
The AfD wants the protection of the constitution to monitor parts of the Turkish mosque association Ditib. In an application that the Bundestag parliamentary group put up for discussion for the first time in the plenum, a warning was given of the “spread of Islamism in Germany”. The federal authorities should not “naively and helplessly” watch the goings-on of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in this country, demanded the AfD deputy Martin Hess.
Members of the SPD and Union pointed out that the protection of the constitution is also interested in AfD politicians for a good reason. “Democratic elections alone do not turn you into a democrat,” said SPD interior politician Uli Grötsch. Christian Democrat Philipp Amthor said to the AfD that those who tolerate extremists in their own ranks and blur borders are themselves no better than the extremists. The proposal was “hypocritical”.
+++ 11.36 a.m .: Czech Republic: online shops sell anti-Semitic children’s book +++
For years, several Internet bookstores in the Czech Republic have had the translated version of the anti-Semitic children’s book “The Toadstool” in its range. The police are dealing with the case, said a spokeswoman for the Presidium in Prague on Thursday. The work of Ernst Hiemer from 1938 is a prime example of National Socialist propaganda. The former Middle East correspondent for Czech television CT, Jakub Szanto, was the first to draw attention to the dubious Internet offerings.
The head of the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic, Petr Papousek, condemned the sale of the publication as “taunting the victims of the Shoah”, the Nazi genocide against the Jews of Europe. He urged the authorities to prevent the further spread of the “gross and racist hate speech”. Czech Socialist Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek spoke on Twitter: “This is terrible – I hope that the responsible organs take immediate action.”
+++ 11.29 PM: repair costs for Big Ben increase significantly +++
The repair work on the London landmark Big Ben, which has been ongoing for several years, will be significantly more expensive than previously expected. The cost of work on the Elizabeth Tower with the famous bell rises by just under £ 19 million to just under £ 80 million (€ 95 million), the British Parliament said on Thursday. The reason is damage from a bomb from World War II, dirt and asbestos.
These cost drivers were only discovered when the project officers were able to explore the interior of the 177-year-old building for the first time. Nevertheless, according to the authorities, the work should be completed by the end of 2021 as planned and the tower will then shine again in its “former splendor”.
+++ 11.07 PM: Prosecutor demands up to 16 years in prison for Deniz Yücel +++
In the Turkish trial against the “world” reporter Deniz Yücel because of terrorist allegations, the prosecutor has asked for up to 16 years in prison. That said Yücel’s lawyer Veysel Ok at the court in the morning. The prosecutor had not read his plea out loud, but had previously submitted it in writing.
Ok asked for more time for defense. The process is now scheduled to continue on April 2nd. Yücel is not present. The prosecutor demanded punishment for propaganda for the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and sedition. “Both are illegal,” said Ok.
+++ 10.34 PM: researchers discover fossils of giant turtle +++
In the swampy areas of South America, millions of years ago, enormous turtles with tanks almost three meters long were on the move. In Venezuela and Colombia, researchers discovered the remains of the giant turtle Stupendemys geographicus, as they write in the journal “Science Advances”. The animals could reach an estimated body weight of over a ton. Despite their enormous size, the turtles had a natural enemy: Purus dinosaurs, which could reach a body length of more than ten meters.
In addition to the jaw and other skeletal parts, the scientists also excavated shell fragments of the turtle, according to a statement from the University of Zurich. The species was discovered in the 1970s. The turtle family tree was “fundamentally revised” by the new fossil finds.
+++ 10.19 clock: Turkey: court hears sentence for Deniz Yücel +++
In Turkey, another trial has started in the trial of “world” journalist Deniz Yücel accused of terrorism. The prosecutor could request a sentence in his plea. The managing director of Reporter Without Borders in Germany, Christian Mihr, told the German press agency: “If the Turkish judiciary were independent, there would only be an obvious scenario, and that would be an acquittal.”
The Turkish constitutional court itself has already ruled that the contents of the articles that Yücel was accused of centrally do not justify the detention and have also been translated incorrectly, said Mihr. But he warned: “On the other hand, we know that arbitrariness and political influence are very great, especially in the lower courts, and in this respect it would honestly not be surprising if there were no acquittal.”
+++ 10.06 PM: second dead found after storm in Sweden +++
A second casualty has been found in Sweden after the severe storm over large parts of Northern Europe. The dead man was the missing person who capsized together with another fisherman on a boat on a lake in the municipality of Svenljunga on Sunday, said a police spokeswoman. The body was discovered by the water police late Wednesday evening. According to Swedish media reports, the victim was about 25 years old. The other man was found a few hours after the accident and later died in the hospital. Svenljunga is located around 100 kilometers southeast of Gothenburg.
+++ 10.01 PM: Australia: All bushfires in New South Wales under control +++
Backed by days of rain, the Australian fire department has brought all of the bushfires in the hardest hit state of New South Wales under control. “All fires in New South Wales are now contained,” said a spokesman for the force on Thursday. The rain helped extinguish blazing fires along the east coast since September. “This is very good news.”
The bush and forest fire season in Australia started particularly early this time after months of drought and record temperatures. The fires destroyed more than ten million hectares of land and more than 2500 houses in the east and south of the country. 33 people and an estimated more than a billion animals died.
+++ 10 a.m .: EU Parliament checks immunity of Catalan MPs +++
The EU Parliament is examining the waiver of the parliamentary immunity of the new MEP and supporter of Catalonia’s independence, Clara Ponsatí. The Spanish authorities have submitted a request to “allow criminal proceedings against them to continue,” said Vice President of the European Parliament Nicola Beer (FDP) in Strasbourg on Thursday. The legal committee will now deal with it.
As Minister of Education, Ponsatí was a member of the regional government under Carles Puigdemont, who had declared Catalonia independence from Spain after a referendum declared illegal in 2017. The Spanish authorities then brought numerous political leaders to court. Ponsatí avoided prosecution by fleeing to Scotland.
+++ 9.40 clock: Israel limits cooperation with the UN +++
After the UN Human Rights Office published a list of 112 companies that were active in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Israel is further restricting its cooperation with the United Nations (UN). Foreign Minister Israel Katz announced a halt to cooperation with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, a ministry spokesman confirmed on Thursday.
Israel had already announced in 2012 that it would end cooperation with the UN Human Rights Council; it later left the UN cultural organization Unesco. Israel accuses the UN and its organizations of being hostile to Israel.
+++ 9.27 a.m .: State protection determined after restaurant fire because of swastikas +++
After an alleged arson in a restaurant in Syke near Bremen, the police assume a “xenophobic background”. Based on the traces found at the site of the fire, an arson had to be assumed, the investigators said on Thursday. The operator has a migration background. The officers discovered a broken window on the back of the restaurant. The police also found several “xenophobic symbols”, including two swastikas. The state protection, which is responsible for politically motivated crime, is investigating.
Nobody was in the restaurant at the time of the fire on Thursday night, a police spokeswoman said. The property damage is estimated at at least 150,000 euros. According to the police, there are no clues to date about the perpetrators. The unknown was also searched for by helicopter during the night.
+++ 9.02 clock: Ramelow complains of persecution by right-wing extremists +++
Former Thuringian Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) has complained about unprecedented persecution of his family as well. What he and his family have experienced since last week, “we have never seen it before,” said Ramelow on Wednesday evening on the ARD program “Maischberger”. The right-wing extremist identity movement set out after a tweet to “make me the number one enemy”. He and his family are under police protection.
The trigger was said to have been a deleted tweet, which compared the handshake of the Prime Minister elected FDP politician Thomas Kemmerich and the Thuringian AfD leader Björn Höcke with the handshake of Adolf Hitler with the Reich President Paul von Hindenburg in 1933.
+++ 8.59 clock: Hungary hardly grants asylum +++
The EU country Hungary no longer grants asylum or other protection to refugees. This emerges from figures published by the Budapest daily “Nepszava” and which the State Directorate General for Foreign Police Affairs had given to it on request. According to this, just 60 people who applied for asylum in Hungary received asylum or other protection in 2019. In the previous year there were 367 and in 2017 1291 people.
The proportion of rejected asylum applications, on the other hand, increased by leaps and bounds. If more than half of the 671 people seeking protection received it in 2018, in 2019 only twelve percent of 500 applicants were recognized as seeking protection. Around half of the asylum applications were made by minors in 2019.
+++ 8.38 a.m .: 14 dead in bus accident in northern India +++
At least 14 people were killed in a serious bus accident in northern India. More than 30 passengers were injured when the bus crashed into a parked truck in Uttar Pradesh state, local police said Thursday. The driver of the truck was among the fatalities of the accident in the Firozabad district. He was reported to have been monitoring roadside repairs on Wednesday night when the bus crashed into the truck from behind. According to local media reports, the bus driver had nodded behind the wheel and lost control of the vehicle.
India has the highest death toll in the world. Among other things, this is due to the poor condition of roads and vehicles as well as the driving style of many road users. According to official figures, almost 149,000 people died in road accidents in the South Asian country in 2018 alone.
+++ 7.23 PM: Ministry of Transport apparently sued car toll companies +++
The dispute over the cost of the failed car toll is entering a new round: As the newspapers of the Funke Media Group reported, citing the Federal Ministry of Transport, no settlement was reached last week as part of a dispute settlement initiated in January. The ministry therefore filed an extrajudicial arbitration suit against the participating companies Autoticket, CTS Eventim and Kapsch TrafficCom.
According to the report, the federal government intends to use the lawsuit to determine that Autoticket and its shareholders are not entitled to reimbursement or compensation. In the room there are claims by the toll companies totaling around 560 million euros. Rather, the federal government is now enforcing unspecified contractual penalties against the companies, the ministry informed the Funke newspapers. The ministry accuses operators of not fulfilling contractual services and breaking agreed milestones. In addition, after the termination they violated the operator contract “unfaithfully”.
+++ 7.13 PM: rescuers find dead after storm in Australia +++
After heavy rain, the body of a 75-year-old kayak paddler was found in a river in the Australian state of Queensland. According to the police, the man was previously missing. In addition, a 26-year-old woman was searched at a waterfall in the Gold Coast tourist region.
Aid had to start at least 19 rescue operations, including for a nursing home that was evacuated because of the water masses. At least 18 schools in the eastern state were closed on Thursday. The weather office also expected heavy rain for the coming days.
+++ 6.03 PM: China degrades Hong Kong top official +++
After months of political protests in Hong Kong, the Chinese leadership has demoted a top official responsible for the special administrative zone. The previous head of the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Zones office, Zhang Xiaoming, was downgraded to his deputy chief, the State Council said on Thursday. Xia Baolong, who has been Secretary General of the government’s top advisory board, will be the new head of the office.
+++ 5.34 a.m .: Ex-Minister Ramsauer says about the car toll +++
In the Bundestag’s committee of inquiry, the opposition hopes that former Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer (CSU) will contribute to clarifying the debacle over the car toll. Ramsauer had toll plans in his drawer during his time as transport minister (2009 to 2013), but a “toll for everyone without discrimination,” said FDP transport politician Oliver Luksic of the German Press Agency. The current Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) was State Secretary under Ramsau. The Greens politician Stephan Kühn told the DPA news agency: “Under Ramsauer, the pitfalls of the compatibility of the car toll with EU law became apparent.”
The opposition accuses Scheuer of making serious mistakes at the expense of taxpayers. The minister rejects the allegations.
+++ 5.23 PM: deportation flight from Germany landed in Kabul +++
Another flight from Germany with deported people arrived in the Afghan capital Kabul in the morning. The aircraft landed with 31 Afghans deported shortly after 7:00 a.m. local time, officials at the airport said. It was the 32nd collective deportation since the first such flight in December 2016.
In the past 31 deportations, the federal and state governments had brought 837 men back to Afghanistan. The deportations are controversial. The war against the militant Islamist Taliban and the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) continues. At least six people were killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul on Tuesday.
+++ 5.03 PM: Number of people without a school-leaving qualification drops in Germany +++
The number of people without a school leaving certificate in Germany has decreased compared to 2010. Their share of the total population was 4.0 percent in 2018 – after 4.1 percent in 2010. This is based on information from the Federal Ministry of Education to the AfD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, which is available to the German Press Agency. In 2018, a total of 2.837 million people did not have a general school leaving certificate or had attended school for a maximum of seven years.
There are considerable differences between the federal states. The proportionate majority of people without a school-leaving qualification lived in Bremen (7.2 percent), the least in Thuringia (1.4 percent). The rate was also higher for foreigners at 17.8 percent – especially among non-EU foreigners (26.5 percent). The ministry excluded children and adolescents under the age of 15 from this count, because they generally do not yet have a school leaving certificate.
The AfD member of the Bundestag René Springer spoke of a “declaration of bankruptcy for the education policy of the federal government” and a “danger to Germany as a business location”.
+++ 4.13 PM: bomb threat against fourth mosque in NRW +++
Another mosque in North Rhine-Westphalia was evacuated on Wednesday evening due to a bomb threat. The police announced early in the morning that a mosque in Bielefeld had also been threatened. Three bomb threats had already been received in mosques in Essen, Unna and Hagen on Wednesday afternoon, and the buildings were evacuated.
In the evening, officials at the Bielefeld mosque noticed the anonymous threatening email and informed the police, it was said. The mosque was also evacuated, and detection dogs found no explosives here either. The state protection of the Bielefeld police investigated.
+++ 4.03 PM: Hessen wants to extend the deposit requirement +++
Hessen is advocating in the Federal Council for an extension of the deposit to all beverage cans and single-use plastic bottles. “Our goal is to reduce fast-moving packaging and disposable products,” said Environment Minister Priska Hinz (Greens) in Wiesbaden. “The ever increasing amounts of plastic waste are one of the greatest environmental problems of our time worldwide.” The Hessian initiative is to be presented this Friday in the state chamber in Berlin.
Hesse relies on reuse and recycling, explained Hinz. “Unfortunately, one-way packaging has increased in the past few years, especially for beverages.” A deposit should therefore be taken for all cans and plastic bottles. “Nobody can understand why there is no deposit on a non-carbonated apple juice, but on an apple spritzer or a cola.” A general deposit would create clarity for consumers and help protect the environment.
+++ 3.03 PM: Airbus slips into the minus because of penalty payments +++
The European aerospace and defense group Airbus has slipped into the red after the billions in fines for allegations of corruption. As the group announced in Toulouse, a loss of almost 1.4 billion euros was incurred in the 2019 financial year. In 2018, the net profit was still a good 3 billion euros.
After an agreement with the authorities, the European aircraft manufacturer had agreed to pay a total of 3.6 billion euros in France, Great Britain and the USA. Airbus agreed in late January in the investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption in France, Great Britain and the United States on the billions of compromise. The investigations that had been going on for years had put pressure on the aviation group with a control center in Toulouse, France.
+++ 2.25 PM: Venezuela: Uncle arrested by opposition leader Guaidó +++
Venezuelan opposition leader and self-appointed interim president Juan Guaidó has sharply criticized the arrest of his uncle Juan José Márquez and blamed socialist leader Nicolás Maduro for access at Caracas international airport. “He’s been missing for 24 hours. I blame you, usurper Nicolás Maduro, and any of your wrists if Juan José Márquez happens to anything,” Guaidó wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
Guaidó’s uncle was arrested at the airport on Tuesday after returning from a trip abroad lasting several weeks with the self-appointed interim president. Although Guaidó had left the country illegally and had been subjected to several investigations, the border guards let him enter freely. However, in the power struggle with head of state Maduro, the government-loyal security forces had repeatedly arrested people from Guaidó’s environment.
+++ 1.19 PM: head of the US Democrats in Iowa resigns +++
As a result of the chaotic vote count in the area code in the state of Iowa, the local party leader of the Democrats has resigned. He takes responsibility for the big problems with the counting, Troy Price said on Wednesday (local time). “It is a fact that the Democrats deserved better than what happened on the night of the primary,” Price said. “It was simply unacceptable,” he said.
He said that a new interim head should be elected at a special meeting of the party executive on Saturday. This will then also lead the ongoing review of the results of the area code of February 3. The vote had been watched with great excitement because it was the first primary in the race for the Democratic presidential candidacy. When voting, however, there were massive problems with the transmission of the results from the polling stations. The publication of the binding results was therefore delayed by several days. The Democrats have launched an investigation to clarify the causes of the fiasco.
+++ 0.32 PM: UN Security Council votes for Libya resolution +++
More than three weeks after the Libya summit in Berlin, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to support decisions for peace in the civil war country. The 15-member body of the United Nations voted for the draft on Wednesday (local time) with an abstention from Russia. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas spoke of a “big step” for a solution to the Libya conflict. “The results of the Berlin Libya conference are therefore binding for everyone.” The current arms embargo must finally be fully respected.
The resolution, which is available to the German Press Agency, gives the Berlin Agreement additional emphasis due to its international legal relationship. However, the UN decision does not contain any new sanctions for breaching the obligations, which means there is no leverage to meet them. For years, existing sanctions for conflict parties have been reaffirmed.
+++ 0.19 PM: Hennig-Wellsow does not regret throwing flowers +++
The Thuringian Left Group leader Susanne Hennig-Wellsow does not regret having thrown flowers at the feet of the FDP politician Thomas Kemmerich after his election as Prime Minister. You can not just assume Kemmerich naivety, said Hennig-Wellsow on Wednesday in the ZDF program “Markus Lanz”. When asked why, in your opinion, he accepted the election, Hennig-Wellsow said: “I think it was pure lust for power.”
She had remembered how a few days before the prime minister election in the state parliament, survivors were still thinking about the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp. When the election results were announced, she felt “deep contempt” for Kemmerich. She therefore regrets her action with the bouquet “not a second”.