#AceNewsReport – July.20: The head of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BND, has given a rare interview specifically to warn that, despite appearances, terrorism remains a real threat to world order, even 20 years after 9/11….
#AceDailyNews says that ‘Islamist Terrorism; has developed as have the number of terrorist actors and the danger they pose has increased’ across the country according to a German spy chief who warns of #IslamicState ‘s strength,” DW, July 13, 2021:
The head of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency has warned that the Islamic State is just as strong as it ever was — even without its caliphate. Terrorism experts agree that it has morphed into a powerful network.
The head of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BND, has given a rare interview specifically to warn that, despite appearances, terrorism remains a real threat to world order, even 20 years after 9/11.
Speaking to the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday, Bruno Kahl said that, though Europe and the US had not seen any more major terrorist attacks like those of two decades ago, “Islamist terrorism has developed further, and cost very many human lives. The number of terrorist actors and the danger they pose has increased.”
There have of course been major successes in the fight against the Islamic State in the past few years — especially the 2019 killing of the group’s self-proclaimed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the destruction of the “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq as a quasi state entity. But since then, said Kahl, IS has turned into a decentralized network, much like al Qaeda, whose suborganizations “are even spreading out.”
This isn’t exactly news, according to Mirna El Masri, a radicalization and terrorism researcher at the Hamburg-based German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA). “There had been indications in 2019 after the loss of its territories that IS had strengthened considerably,” she told DW. “On the other hand, new circumstances have exacerbated the situation in the past year, which might explain why Kahl has decided to talk about this now.”
For one thing, the spread of the coronavirus in the Middle East region has weakened the Iraqi government and increased the desperation of many people, which has turned refugee camps in northern Syria into particularly good IS recruitment centers. The longer the pandemic continues, El Masri said, the more it will help IS.
The Islamic State has also learned to adapt its strategies, according to El Masri. Commanders have been subdivided into specific operational sectors in the region, taking over decision-making responsibilities. The latest reports also suggest that IS fighters have withdrawn completely from urban areas, but are able to move freely in the open country simply by avoiding state forces, especially near the city around the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor.
IS has also developed new business models, adopting organized crime tactics such as demanding illegal taxes along oil and trade routes and using hotels, real estate and even car dealerships to launder money between Iraq, Syria, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
“That has made it more difficult to see and monitor for German and international intelligence agencies,” said Eric Stollenwerk, terrorism and Sahel region researcher for GIGA, who agrees that the group is still very powerful in both Syria and Iraq. “Beyond that, it has strong connections with other regions in the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa and especially the Sahel region,” he added.
Kahl told DZ that there is only one way to stop the development of terrorist organizations such as IS: “The imposition of the monopoly of state power, the erection of state structures, the guarantee of security.” That, he argues, is where European and Western powers can help countries such as Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria. “We have to support the states in regaining control or at least to maintain it where it can be maintained,” he said….
#AceNewsReport – July.08: The lawsuit, filed by the VZBV at a regional court in Stuttgart, seeks to set a precedent that would enable owners of Mercedes GLC and GLK cars to gain compensation over software that was allegedly used to trick emissions tests.
BERLIN: German consumer group files diesel emissions lawsuit against Daimler: Those who may have been affected will obtain certainty over whether Daimler AG deliberately installed illegal defeat devices in several vehicle models,” VZBV chief Klaus Mueller said in a statement.
Reuters: July.07, 20219:35 AM BST: Updated 18 minutes ago
“Despite official recalls, Daimler AG to this day denies it deliberately manipulated the emissions of its cars. The Stuttgart regional court should declare this. That would bring legal clarity for many consumers who have been affected.”
Daimler said it considered emissions litigation against it to be baseless and would contest the case brought by the VZBV.
The VZBV estimates that a total of 254,000 Mercedes vehicles were recalled in Germany. Its so-called Musterfeststellungsklage – or Model Declaratory Action – covers nearly 50,000 Mercedes GLC and GLK models.
The recall was ordered in 2018 and the VZBV said it was filing its case before Daimler’s potential legal liability expires after a three-year period has elapsed.
Daimler has not admitted wrongdoing in the matter, which is part of the wider ‘Dieselgate’ emissions scandal that has cost rival Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) more than 32 billion euros ($38 billion) in vehicle refits, fines and legal costs. read more
Reporting by Douglas Busvine and Alexander Huebner, editing by Thomas Escritt
#AceNewsReport – July.07: Police searched the homes of Kosovan national Blinor S. and German Drilon G., who are suspected of failing to report planned offences, prosecutors said.
#AceDailyNews says that on Wednesday german police raided homes of suspected accomplices to Vienna attacker as Austria is still investigating the 21 people as possible accomplices of the terrorist who went on a deadly shooting rampage in Vienna but much remains unknown, including how he got to the area of the attack, officials said on Friday.
The 20-year-old Vienna native armed with an assault rifle, handgun and machete killed four people in a part of the city center with many bars that also houses Vienna’s main synagogue, which was closed at the time. He was shot dead by police.
“No one else was immediately involved in carrying out this crime on November 2. What we cannot yet say definitively is to what extent accomplices provided support before the act,” the police official leading the investigation, Michael Lohnegger, told a news conference.
Vienna prosecutors’ office spokeswoman Nina Bussek said the number of people remanded in custody over the attack was unchanged at 10, and 21 people in total were under investigation, aged 16-28. As yet unknown additional accomplices are still being looked for.
Austria has admitted to an intelligence failure before the attack since it mishandled information that the attacker tried to buy ammunition in Slovakia in July, and that he met known foreign extremists that month – two from Germany who were under surveillance and two from Switzerland who have been arrested.
It remains unclear how the attacker carrying weapons, ammunition and a dummy explosives belt traveled to the city center more than 10 days ago.
“What we can currently actually rule out here is that the perpetrator arrived at the crime scene by public transport,” Lohnegger said, adding that other forms of transport including taxis were still being worked on.
“Whether it is also possible that he walked to the scene of the crime, I cannot say. That means I also cannot rule it out.”
#AceNewsReport – June.15: The report noted that German state interests would significantly be affected in case of anti-Turkey activities or passive support for the PKK terrorists, as Turkey strongly opposes support for the terrorist group:
GERMANY: According to the report by Die Welt, pro-PKK Kurdish associations in Germany launched a “human shield” campaign for the PKK terrorists and were planning to send groups of people to Iraq in June.
by DAILY SABAH
The incident took place at the Duesseldorf Airport on Saturday.
Police noted that the co-chairperson of the German Left Party (Die Linke) in Hamburg, Cansu Özdemir, and a group of 18 people were prevented from boarding a plane to Irbil for “the threat of damaging Germany’s reputation.”
Police also told the German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) that they were unsure if they “could rule out any danger coming from members of this group that could potentially have long-lasting effects on Germany’s security concerns abroad.”
The statement also said the preservation of the KRG’s stability, especially in Irbil, is a red line and that will not be allowed to deteriorate under any pretext or group.
The ministry’s statement also pointed out that if the aforementioned groups’ intentions were truly peace and tranquility, they should focus on Qandil because the unrest and warmongering stemmed from there.
The Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq are the PKK’s stronghold, and the group is active in many cities and towns. It occupies a large number of villages in the region and launches attacks on Turkey from there.
The PKK terrorist group has recently increased its multifaceted terrorist attacks by targeting legitimate representatives of the Kurdish people in northern Iraq, including Peshmerga forces and police officers, kidnapping civilians, targeting diplomatic missions and inciting peaceful protests to violence in the KRG.
The terrorist group, disturbed by the Baghdad-Irbil agreement of Oct. 9, 2020, that will end the PKK’s presence in the Sinjar region, is trying to spread the instability it has created in other occupied regions to the north of Iraq with terrorist acts and to divert attention from Sinjar.
The PKK also accuses the Irbil administration of collaborating with Turkey in its successful counterterrorism operations in northern Iraq, while also attacking the KRG’s Peshmerga forces.
Northern Iraq is known as the location of many PKK terrorist hideouts and bases from where they carry out attacks in Turkey. The Turkish military regularly conducts cross-border operations in northern Iraq. Turkey has long been stressing that it will not tolerate terrorist threats posed against its national security and has called on Iraqi officials to take the necessary steps to eliminate the terrorist group. Ankara previously noted that if the expected steps were not taken, it would not shy away from targeting terrorist threats.
Turkey has repeatedly urged German authorities to take action against the PKK, which has been outlawed in Germany since 1993.
The PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union – has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for 40 years and has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.
Despite its status as a designated international terrorist organization, the PKK has enjoyed relative freedom in European cities and has a particularly strong presence in Germany. PKK supporters have been allowed to hold rallies, recruit militants and collect funds in Germany, which is home to some 5 million people of Turkish origin, including Kurds.
The PKK has been banned in Germany since 1993, but it is still active, with nearly 14,000 followers among the country’s Kurdish immigrant population.
#AceNewsReport – June.01: In light of the historical and moral responsibility of Germany, we will ask Namibia and the descendants of the victims for forgiveness,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in a statement, adding that the German government will fund projects related to “reconstruction and the development” of Namibia amounting to €1.1 billion ($1.3 billion). The sum will be paid out over 30 years and must primarily benefit the descendants of the Herero and Nama, Agence France-Presse reported:
GERMANY: Officially Recognises Colonial-Era Atrocities in Namibia. But For Some, Reconciliation Is a Long Way Off after German government formally recognized colonial-era atrocities against the Herero and Nama people in modern-day Namibia for the first time, referring to the early 20th century massacres as “genocide” on Friday and pledging to pay a “gesture to recognize the immense suffering inflicted.”
Fri, May 28, 2021, 5:50 PM
Paramount Chief Adv. Vekuii Rukoro, high-ranked chiefs and other members of the Herero and Nama communities gather around a monument in honor of the Ovaherero and Nama people that were victims of the genocide by German colonial forces at the Swakopmund Concentration Camp Memorial, in Swakopmund, Namibia, as a part of the Reparation Walk 2019 on March 30, 2019. Credit – Christian Ender—Getty Images
Although it’s a significant step for a once colonial power to agree such a deal with a former colony, there’s skepticism among some experts and observers.
“I have an ambivalent reaction to this,” says Olivette Otele, professor of the history of slavery at the University of Bristol, U.K., and author of African Europeans: An Untold History. “It means that the conversation is ongoing, but I’m assuming and I want to believe that this is not the end. It’s not a case of doing one gesture, and then everything’s forgotten, because that wouldn’t work in terms of reconciliation and bringing communities together.”
What happened to the Herero and Nama people?
Between 1904 and 1908, German colonial forces killed, tortured and displaced thousands of Herero and Nama people in what some historians have called the first genocide of the 20th century. After an uprising against brutal German settler colonial rule in what was then known as German Southwest Africa, many Herero were forced into the Omaheke Desert and left to die of starvation and thirst. Thousands of Nama later suffered a similar fate. Those who survived were imprisoned in concentration camps, where they were subjected to sexual violence, forced labor and medical experiments by German officials, with the aim of exterminating the indigenous people. As many as 60,000 Herero—more than 80% of the group’s total population living in German Southwest Africa at that time—and 10,000 Nama—50% of the population—are estimated to have died.
Since the atrocities, the descendants of the Herero and Nama people have struggled to secure a formal apology, reparations or meaningful reconciliation offers from the German government. The 1985 United Nations’ Whitaker Report classified the campaign against the Herero as a genocide, and in 1988, Germany’s then-president, Roman Herzog, met Herero leaders in Namibia but stopped short of a formal apology. In 2001, representatives of the Herero people filed a $4 billion lawsuit against the German government and two German firms in the U.S., but the claim was dismissed. Another lawsuit filed in New York was dismissed in 2019. In 2018, Germany returned the human remains of Herero and Nama people who were killed during the genocide to Namibia. The remains had been stored in hospitals, museums and universities for decades and had originally been sent to Germany for discredited, racist and pseudo-scientific experiments that sought to prove racial hierarchies.
On the 100th anniversary of the genocide in 2004, German politician Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul identified the atrocities committed as genocide, adding that “we Germans accept our historical and moral responsibility and the guilt incurred by Germans at that time.” Talks between the governments of both countries have been ongoing for years, punctuated with debates and disagreements over formal apologies, reconciliation and reparations.
In August last year, the Namibian government rejected a German offer of compensation for the atrocities, reportedly totalling €10 million ($12.1 million). At the time, Namibia’s president Hage Geingob said that the offer “for reparations made by the German government … is not acceptable” and needed to be “revised.” Notably, Friday’s statement from Germany’s foreign ministry avoided the term “reparations,” a term of contention between the two countries.
What constitutes reparations is understood in different ways by different people. “Memory scholars, historians and grassroots organisations think in terms of reparative justice,” says historian Otele. “The legacy of the past cannot be repaired through just money—there’s education, health, environmental considerations, and the preservation of community livelihoods. There are so many things that can be done that won’t be included in that package.”
There’s also the question of inclusion, and who has truly been represented in these negotiations, billed as a landmark agreement. Ahead of the formal announcement of the agreement, local Namibian media outlets reported that some government-recognised traditional leaders, who were consulted during negotiations, refused to endorse the deal.One unnamed chief was quoted as saying that “what is being offered is too little, an insult to our community and totally different to what we, the chiefs, have agreed on.” Herero paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro also told Reuters the reported agreement was a “sellout.”
For writer and academic Zoé Samudzi, who has just completed a PhD on how the effects of the genocide of the Herero and Nama people have endured in the present-day, the agreement represents a hollow victory, “if you can even call it that.” She points out that the financial package has been framed around development and infrastructure, rather than compensation for the atrocities and for survivor communities. Henning Melber, a scholar of Namibian history, tweeted that the 30-year financial package in this new agreement wouldn’t represent a step change in German aid contributions to Namibia, because it’s roughly equivalent to the amount Germany has put on record as development aid for Namibia over the last three decades.
“Herero and Nama traditional leadership are rejecting this, because they have been adamant for many years about no recognition without reparations,” says Samudzi. “We should not even have the words reconciliation in our mouths,” she says. “Any conception of reconciliation in this moment is simply a way for Germany to absolve itself, and to not have to think about the ways that this genocide was incredibly formative for a lot of other German state violence.”
The acknowledgment from Germany comes at a time of reckoning over imperial history across the continent. This has manifested through debates about the repatriation of objects looted in violent colonial expeditions, the inclusion of imperial history in school curriculums, and the presence of statues of colonizers and slave traders in public spaces, as well as formal apologies for past racist violence and slavery.
“We just saw France, not apologizing for what it did in Rwanda, but already asking for forgiveness,” says Samudzi. “And Germany is doing very similarly, through acknowledging and using the ‘G’ word [genocide], but being very quick to reject the possibility of meaningful compensation for the survivor communities.”
Otele says that, while the developments in Germany should put pressure on other governments to examine their pasts, the reality is that some political systems across Europe are stagnant, reluctant or slow to move on these issues. Imperial nostalgia is also still prevalent within some societies: A 2020 poll found a third of people in the U.K. believed Britain’s colonies were better off for being part of an empire, and that Britons were more likely to say they would like their country to still have an empire compared with people living in other former colonial powers.
Otele, a Cameroonian citizen, says the history of German colonization in the country of her birth in the 19th century has been significantly underexplored. “It will be interesting to see how Germany addresses other stories,” she says, adding that the conversations around these issues in broader society, particularly at the institutional level in some museums and universities in the U.K., are a positive sign. “It’s not perfect. There’s so much more to be done. But the conversation is actually happening rather than avoiding it.”
#AceNewsReport – May.31: There was a large-scale police operation with a fatal ending on the corner of Hebebrandstrasse and Sengelmannstrasse: a man repeatedly walked onto the road with a knife, threatening motorists:
GERMANY: Knife-wielding jihadist screaming ‘Allahu akbar’ threatens motorists, attacks cops, motive ‘not determined’ Police shoot knife man,” translated from “Polizei erschießt Messer-Mann,” by Thomas Röthemeier, Bild, May 28, 2021 (thanks to Medforth):
He damaged vehicles with his gun, and shouted “Allahu Akbar” several times! Then he attacked the police officers who had been called to the scene.
The operation began shortly before 4 p.m. First the police tried to stop the knife man with pepper spray. But the attacker continued.
By chance, SEK officers were nearby; they used a taser. But the electric shock didn’t stop the man either. He continued to approach the police officers, threatening them with the knife.
A patrolman shot. The knife man collapsed bleeding on the sidewalk. An emergency doctor and a paramedic took care of him. But despite resuscitation, he died at the site.
The homicide squad and the state security have taken over the investigation. The motive has not yet been determined. Police spokeswoman Sandra Levgrün: “We also have to consider a religious motivation.”
The identity of the attacker is also still unclear.
#AceNewsReport – May.26: The investigation has “outstanding cross-market significance” due to the breadth of Google’s digital products, Cartel office head Andreas Mundt said:
German antitrust watchdog launches probe into Google: ‘The Federal Cartel Office will investigate the European units of Google in Germany and Ireland and its parent company, Alphabet, in California, it said in a statement’
by French Press Agency – AFP
“Google’s business model is very fundamentally built on the processing of its users’ data,” Mundt said. “Google has a strategic advantage here due to its established access to competitively relevant data.”
A key question in the probe was whether consumers “have sufficient choice over the use of their data by Google if they want to use Google services,” he said.
The investigation follows the application of a new law giving the authorities more power to rein in big tech companies, with similar proceedings launched recently against Amazon and Facebook.
Under the amendment to Germany’s competition law passed in January, the watchdog said it now has more power to “intervene earlier and more effectively” against big tech companies, rather than simply punishing them for abuses of their dominant market position.
The Federal Cartel Office said last week it is examining whether Amazon has “an almost unchallengeable position of economic power,” having already launched two traditional abuse control proceedings.
The watchdog has also employed its new powers to widen the scope of an investigation into Facebook over its integration of virtual reality headsets.
The push to tighten legislation comes as big tech companies are facing increasing scrutiny around the globe, including in the U.S., where Google and Facebook are facing antitrust suits.
#AceNewsReport – May.20: It has long been known – including by the German government: anti-Semitism is widespread among the Muslim population in Europe. Almost half of European Muslims believe, according to a 2013 study by the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB), that Jews cannot be trusted. For comparison: only less than ten percent of Christians believe this:
Merkel’s Germany: 81% of Jews have been attacked by Muslims: Predominantly anti-Jewish: Germany is sitting on a powder keg, the origin lies in Islam,” translated from “Überwiegend judenfeindlich: Deutschland sitzt auf einem Pulverfass, im Islam liegt der Ursprung,” edited by Matthias Hochstätter, Focus, May 18, 2021 (thanks to Medforth):
According to the study, there are hardly any differences in views between the first and second generation of Muslims in Germany, France or Great Britain. Religious fundamentalism, anti-Semitism and bigotry are widespread and deeply rooted.
No wonder that 52 percent of Germans perceive Islam as a threat, according to a 2019 study by the Bertelsmann Foundation. Muslim Germans were also interviewed.
The Jewish population experiences the hostility of the Muslims firsthand. In a 2017 study by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence in Bielefeld, 81 percent of the Jews surveyed in Germany stated that they had already been attacked by Muslims, 61 percent had experienced verbal insults or harassment.
Anti-Semitism creates identity for Muslims and is characteristic of Islam
According to experts, the causes are rooted in Islam: In the Islamic world, 53 percent of the countries are ruled in an authoritarian manner and only four percent are democratic, writes WZB scientist Ruud Koopmans. In 2018, the Berlin historian and sociologist Günther Jikeli presented one of the few systematic studies on anti-Semitism among Muslims in Europe. He conducted interviews with young Muslim men of different ethnic backgrounds in London, Berlin and Paris.
In these conversations, he found different forms of anti-Semitism: “classic anti-Semitism”, such as stereotypes that Jews are rich, forms of Israel-related anti-Semitism, and anti-Semitism that completely dispenses with justifications. For Jikeli, anti-Semitism lies “in the interpretation of Muslim identity”: enmity against Jews is therefore part of Islam, part of being Muslim. Anti-Semitism is not the exception, but the rule among Muslims, and hatred of Jews is often the norm, so Jikeli’s conclusion.
For the Hamburg political scientist Matthias Küntzel, the humiliation of the Jews, perceived as “weak and despicable”, is a characteristic of Islam: “As Arab youth in Berlin in the summer of 2014 chanted the slogan: ‘Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come out and fight alone’, this devaluation became evident. When an Arab in Berlin grabbed his belt in April 2018 to whip a kippah wearer, he, too, used an archaic language that expresses more than just violence: similar to spitting at or slapping with the belt, the belt slap serves to belittle the other – the humiliation was more important here than the physical injury.”
Great influence from Arab, Iranian and Turkish media
Scholars see the influence of the Arab, Iranian and Turkish media as one of the reasons for the widespread anti-Semitism in Muslim milieus in Europe. Anti-Semitism is often expressed very openly here, writes the Institute for Democracy and Civil Society (IDZ) from Jena: “In addition, there is the influence of Islamist organizations that are paid from abroad on mosque associations and imams in Germany.”
Physical attacks on Jews and the desecration and destruction of synagogues are therefore mainly carried out by young Muslim perpetrators, mostly of Arab descent, reports the IDZ. Muslim perpetrators are also responsible for numerous anti-Semitic murders in Europe in recent years: For example, the attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012, in which a teacher and three children were shot, for the attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels in 2014, in which four people were killed, for the attack on a Jewish supermarket near Paris in 2015 with four dead, for the attack on a synagogue in Copenhagen in 2015 with two dead.
Interesting: The Central Council of Muslims in Germany also sits on the IDZ Board of Trustees.
#AceNewsReport – Nov.21: A 41-year-old resident of Berlin’s northern district of Pankow has been placed into custody by a local court on Friday. The suspect identified by the German media as Stefan R. is accused of a sexually motivated murder. “It was an act aimed at satisfying the sexual instinct,” the court ruling said: Now, the Berlin Prosecutor’s Office said it had reasons to suspect “cannibalistic background” in this case:
RT World News https://ift.tt/393I2aT
The chilling murder has first come to light when some skeletal remains were discovered in a wooded area in Berlin’s Pankow district in early November: According to the police, the bones were “totally devoid of flesh.” A forensic analysis indicated the bones belonged to a 44-year-old construction worker Stefan T., who vanished without a trace on September.05: The investigation led by the Berlin police homicide department together with the prosecutor’s office led to Stefan R., who is said to be living not far from the place where the bones were found. The law enforcement officers found traces of blood reportedly belonging to the victim as well as cutting tools in his apartment: The two men also allegedly new each other as they exchanged messages on an online dating platform: However, the suspect, who is said to be a math and chemistry teacher at a private high school, according to the media report, also frequented websites of much more sinister nature:
“ The suspect had an interest in cannibalism,” Berlin prosecutors’ office spokesman Martin Steltner said. “He searched online for the topic.” The suspect remains silent and does not comment on the allegations, he added: The prosecution also refused to provide any further details on this case while saying it was investigating it “at full speed.”
The chilling case is reminiscent of another murder, which saw a former computer repair technician, Armin Meiwes, killing and eating his victim in 2001: One of the most unnerving details of the murder was that Meiwes, who currently serves life sentence in prison, claimed that his victim himself fantasized about being eaten:
#AceNewsReport – Apr.06: Germans in large cities are protesting on Saturday against what they see as the unfair influence of large landlords on the housing market: They want the biggest players undercut and their property expropriated…….In past years, German people living in larger cities saw a wave of gentrification and rising rent levels. Some of the tenants couldn’t keep up and had to move out, while others had to leave when owners of their homes decided to tear them down and build new, more expensive property, which could generate more profits RT News reported.
LIVE: Protesters hold rally in #Berlin to oppose ‘rent insanity’ (VIDEO) https://t.co/Qt7TlY7RIn pic.twitter.com/viTKsq2pvo— Sputnik (@SputnikInt) April 6, 2019 via Ace Newsroom Live http://bit.ly/2FVMgS0
The situation in Berlin was among the most acute, with rent doubling over a decade. Some attempts by the authorities to rein in the growth, like the so-called rent-break in 2015, were underwhelming.
For many Germans, there is also a political aspect to the problem: Some of the social housing that could have gone to citizens struggling to pay larger rent went to thousands of refugees, which the country had accepted. According to ZDF, nearly 55,000 refugees were living in Berlin in 2016, putting a bit of extra pressure on the housing market.
The anger and frustration of people affected by the housing boom in a negative way sparked a public protest movement against this “Mietwahnsinn,” or “rental insanity.” Some 25,000 activists are expected to show up on Saturday for the latest rally in the capital, with smaller events scheduled in cities like Munich, Cologne and Frankfurt.
The campaign behind it is called “Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen & Co,” named after one of the largest owners of rental property in the country: Deutsche Wohnen’s share of the Berlin market is about 6.5 percent, or 111,500 apartments. Protesters say it and other large private companies abuse their superior position to inflate prices and profit through speculation.
The protesters see the solution in a never-before-used Article 14 of the German constitution, which allows the forced transfer of private property into public ownership with due compensation – the national version of eminent domain: Under the plan, the shares of Deutsche Wohnen and about a dozen other large landlords with more than 3,000 apartments in their portfolio would be downsized to that number, with the excess transferred to a new public body for social housing.
The current goal for the campaign is to push their vision through a referendum: They need to collect 20,000 signatures within the next six months and a further 170,000 by February for the proposal to be put forward before the German Parliament, which would work on putting it into a law.
Critics of the plan say the campaign overestimates the influence that larger landlords have on the market: There will also be a hefty price tag for the public to pick if the proposed expropriation takes place. The estimates vary from €7.3 billion ($8.2 billion) to as much as €36 billion ($40.4 billion).
#AceNewsServices – BERLIN – October 26 – The number of Islamic extremists in Germany is growing rapidly, the head of the country’s domestic intelligence agency said Saturday.
‘ Salafism Another Type of Nazism ‘
The agency estimates that some 6,300 people in Germany are adherents of an ultraconservative strain of Islam known as Salafism, Hans-Georg Maassen told public broadcaster rbb-Inforadio. In Germany, all Salafis are considered Islamic extremists and on the radar of the security services, though other groups are also monitored if they are determined to be a threat to the state or democratic order.
Maassen said the number of Salafis could rise to 7,000 by the end of the year, compared to about 3,800 three years ago.
Extremist strands of Islam provide disaffected young people with a sense of belonging and purpose that allows them to hope they’ll go “from being underdogs to top dogs,” he said.
Authorities have spoken of at least 450 Islamic extremists who have travelled from Germany to join extremists groups fighting in Syria and Iraq.
German weekly Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported Saturday that the actual figure could be far higher.
The Salafi movement, also known as the Salafi methodology and the Salafist movement, is a movement or sect within Islam that takes its name from the term salaf (“predecessors”, “ancestors”) used to identify the earliest Muslims, who, its adherents believe, provide the epitome of Islamic practice. The popular hadith that quotes Muhammad as saying ‘The people of my own generation are the best, then those who come after them, and then those of the next generation,’ is seen as a call to Muslims to follow the example of those first three generations, thesalaf.
#AceWorldNews – BERLIN, October 10. /TASS/. The recent protests in Hong Kong, the former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997, are China’s internal affair, the country’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang said on Friday.
“The Chinese government will protect Hong Kong residents,” as well as the legitimate interests of all foreign investors in the global financial hub, Li told a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“Maintaining the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong is not only in China’s interests, but is mostly in the interests of the people of Hong Kong,” he added,
“The central government of China has always had the guiding principle — one country, two systems,” Li said, stressing that there will be no change to this policy.
Merkel expressed hope that the protests that began in late September will remain peaceful.
‘ Umbrella Revolution and Freedom Statue ‘
The Hong Kong protesters are demanding free elections and the resignation of the chief executive, Leung Chun-ying.
The movement has been dubbed “the Umbrella Revolution” after many people started using umbrellas to protect themselves from pepper spray and tear gas, as well as to cope with oppressive heat.
#AceWorldNews – GERMANY (Berlin) – October 05 – The German government says it is planning to expand its military involvement in the fight against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) by helping train Kurdish and Iraqi troops, the country’s Defence Ministry said on Saturday.
The ministry announced plans to create a training military base in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous region of Kurdistan, a ministry spokeswoman told EPD news agency.
It also signalled that it is interested in taking part in training the Iraqi army, and is considering sending more military officers.
However, the plans contained no mention of Germany’s role in US-led air-strikes against the Islamic State.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier agreed to the expansion on Wednesday, DW news agency reported, citing sources.
#AceNewsServices – GERMANY (Berlin) October 04 – German police Monday started an investigation into six private security guards at a refugee centre accused of assaulting and humiliating asylum seekers in ways that drew comparisons to abuse against Guantanamo Bay prisoners, with some nicknamed the SSThe Local reported.
‘ German officers were Nicknamed the SS ‘ The Local reported’
Police also questioned hundreds of refugees after disturbing photo and video footage emerged at the weekend, including an image showing a security guard pinning a handcuffed Algerian man to the floor with his boot on the man’s neck.
Police said they launched their investigation after a journalist passed on to them cellphone video footage that showed security guards forcing an elderly man to lie on a mattress covered in vomit while threatening to beat him.
North Rhine-Westphalia state Interior Minister Ralf Jaeger pledged to pursue “with utmost determination” the case in the refugee centre in Burbach, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) south-east of Cologne, vowing to ensure “that this never happens again”.
“These are images of the kind we’ve seen from Guantanamo Bay,” said Frank Richter, police chief of the nearby city of Hagen, referring to the controversial US military detention facility in Cuba.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said that if investigations confirm that “refugees were abused and humiliated, then these would be repulsive acts”.
“We are a humane country. In Germany, the dignity of man is respected… and that must be true in asylum centres and refugee camps,” said Steffen Seibert.
#AceWorldNews – GERMANY (Berlin) – September 15 – Germany’s anti-euro party Alternative for Germany (AfD) got a further boost on Sunday (14 September) entering two more state parliaments following regional votes.
Alternative (AfD) Party
“We are a party that is renewing the political landscape in Germany where people turn their back to traditional parties that have lost their profile,” said AfD party head Bernd Lucke.
AfD party head Bernd Lucke
“One can’t deny it any more: the citizens are thirsting for political change,” he added.
Preliminary results suggest the right-wing party secured around 10.6 percent of the vote in Thuringia state and 12.2 percent in Brandenburg.
The two states are traditionally seen as a power base of support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.
Founded 19 months ago, the AfD manifesto calls for a scrapping of the euro in favour of the German Deutsche Mark.
The eurosceptic party has strongly criticised the eurozone bailouts and opposes the concentrated power base of the EU institutions in Brussels.
#AceWorldNews – GERMANY (Berlin) – The German government has no knowledge of any country delivering weapons to the Ukraine government, Reuters quoted Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman as saying on Monday.
“The question of whether weapons are being delivered should be directed to the countries that supposedly or allegedly are doing it.
We are not one of those countries and I know of no such thing,” Steffen Seibert said.
The spokesman made the comment when asked about the Ukrainian defence minister’s remarks that some NATO countries were sending arms to his country.
#AceWorldNews – GERMANY (Berlin) – September 12 – Germany has banned the Islamic State in order to prevent the militants from recruiting young jihadists in Germany or from using fighters returning to Europe to carry out attacks.
“The terrorist organization Islamic State is a threat to public safety in Germany as well,” Reuters quoted Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere as saying.
Over 400 Germans have reportedly joined IS in Iraq and Syria and about 40 have died, some in suicide attacks.
More than 100 jihadists are back in Germany including “some with combat experience who have learned to hate,” the minister said.
#AceWorldNews – September 11 – The foreign ministers of Germany and Britain said Thursday their states would not be taking part in air-strikes in Syria against the Islamic State militant group. Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in Berlin: “To quite clear, we have not been asked to do so and neither will we do so.” Philip Hammond, in his turn, said Britain“supports entirely the US approach of developing an international coalition” against the Islamic State.
However, he said the UK will not be taking part in any airstrikes in Syria. “We have already had that discussion in our parliament last year and we won’t be revisiting that position,” Reuters quoted him as saying.
#AceWorldNews – GERMANY(Berlin) – June 28 – The German government has said it would cuts ties with the US telecommunications giant Verizon because of concerns about Washington’s spying activities.
The decision, which was announced on Thursday, comes in response to revelations that showed the National Security Agency was using the telecom provider to spy on Germans.
Germany’s contract with Verizon was initially set to expire in 2015 but fears that the New York-based company might give way to US intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on sensitive communications in the country prompted the German government to end the contract with Verizon.
The German Interior Ministry has announced that government agencies using Verizon have switched to Deutsche Telekom.
Verizon has been providing Internet services to a number of government departments in Germany, but not to security agencies, said Interior Ministry spokesman Tobias Plate told PressTV .
The termination of the contract follows the release of documents by American whistle-blower Edward Snowden that brought to light the extent of spying by the NSA.