#AceNewsReport – July.25: This report was provided. By BBC Trending on the effort to use disinformation on vaccines with public, do what’s right in your heart always ….
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says that YouTubers who blew the whistle on an anti-vax plot and the The BBC reports they have made multiple attempts to contact AdNow by phone, email and even a letter couriered to their Moscow headquarters, but they have not responded.
By Charlie Haynes and Flora Carmichael BBC Trending
“It started with an email” says Mirko Drotschmann, a German YouTuber and journalist.
Mirko normally ignores offers from brands asking him to advertise their products to his more than 1.5 million subscribers. But the sponsorship offer he received in May this year was unlike any other.
An influencer marketing agency called Fazze offered to pay him to promote what it said was leaked information that suggested the death rate among people who had the Pfizer vaccine was almost three times that of the AstraZeneca jab.
The information provided wasn’t true.
It quickly became apparent to Mirko that he was being asked to spread disinformation to undermine public confidence in vaccines in the middle of a pandemic.
“I was shocked,” says Mirko “then I was curious, what’s behind all that?”
Mirko DrotschmannMirko Drotschmann was offered money to spread disinformation on his social media accounts
In France, science YouTuber Léo Grasset received a similar offer. The agency offered him 2000 euros if he would take part. Fazze said it was acting for a client who wished to remain anonymous.
“That’s a huge red flag” says Léo.
Both Léo and Mirko were appalled by the false claims.
They pretended to be interested in order to try to find out more and were provided with detailed instructions about what they should say in their videos.
In stilted English, the brief instructed them to “Act like you have the passion and interest in this topic.”
Léo GrassetLéo Grasset was horrified by the attempt to recruit him
It told them not to mention the video had a sponsor – and instead pretend they were spontaneously giving advice out of concern for their viewers.
Social media platforms have rules that ban not disclosing that content is sponsored. In France and Germany it’s also illegal.
Fazze’s brief told influencers to share a story in French newspaper Le Monde about a data leak from the European Medicines Agency.
The story was genuine, but didn’t include anything about vaccine deaths. But in this context it would give the false impression that the death rate statistics had come from the leak.
The data the influencers were asked to share had actually been cobbled together from different sources and taken out of context.
It presented the numbers of people who had died in several countries some time after receiving different Covid vaccines. But just because someone dies after having a vaccine doesn’t mean they died because they had the vaccine. They could have been killed in a car accident.
In the countries the statistics were from, greater numbers of people had received the Pfizer vaccine at that time, so a higher number of people dying after having a Pfizer jab was to be expected.
“If you don’t have any scientific training, you could just say, ‘oh, there are these numbers, they are really different. So there must be a link.’ But you can make any spurious correlation as you want really,” Léo says.
The influencers were also provided with a list of links to share – dubious articles which all used the same set of figures that supposedly showed the Pfzer vaccine was dangerous.
When Léo and Mirko exposed the Fazze campaign on Twitter all the articles, except the Le Monde story, disappeared from the web.
By any measure the disinformation campaign was bungled.
Since Léo and Mirko blew the whistle at least four other influencers in France and Germany have gone public to reveal they also rejected Fazze’s attempts to recruit them.
But German journalist, Daniel Laufer, has identified two influencers who may have taken up the offer.
Indian YouTuber Ashkar Techy usually makes jokey videos about cars and dating and Brazilian prankster Everson Zoio, has more than three million Instagram followers.
Each of them posted uncharacteristic videos in which they pushed the same message as the Fazze campaign and shared the fake news links from the agency’s brief. Both had also participated in previous Fazze promotions.
After Daniel Laufer contacted them, Everson Zoio and Ashkar Techy removed their videos but didn’t answer his questions. The BBC tried to contact both influencers, but they didn’t respond.
Ashkar TechyAshkar Techy shared the dubious data in his video
We tried emailing the people who approached Mirko and Léo. The emails bounced back, not from Fazze, but from the domain of a company called AdNow.
Fazze is a part of AdNow, which is a digital marketing company, registered in both Russia and the UK.
Eventually we managed to contact Ewan Tolladay, one of two directors of the British arm of AdNow – who lives in Durham.
Mr Tolladay said he had very little to do with Fazze – which he said was a joint venture between his fellow director – a Russian man called Stanislav Fesenko – and another person whose identity he didn’t know.
He said that he hadn’t been a part of the disinformation campaign. He said he hadn’t even known Fazze had taken on the contract before the story broke. He couldn’t enlighten us on who the mystery client was.
He said that in light of the scandal “we are doing the responsible thing and shutting down AdNow here in the UK”. He said Fazze was also being shut down.
We have tried to get Mr Fesenko to talk to us but had no success.
Both the French and German authorities have launched investigations into Fazze’s approaches to influencers.
But the identity of the agency’s mystery client remains unclear.
There has been speculation about the Russian connections to this scandal and the interests of the Russian state in promoting its own vaccine – Sputnik V.
Omid Nouripour, the foreign policy spokesman for the German Green party has suggested looking to Moscow for the motivation behind the Fazze campaign.
He said: “Bad-mouthing vaccines in the West undermines trust in our democracies and is supposed to increase trust in Russia’s vaccines, and there is only one side that benefits and that is the Kremlin.”
But in a statement the Russian embassy in London said: “We treat Covid-19 as a global threat and, thus, are not interested in undermining global efforts in the fight against it, with vaccinating people with the Pfizer vaccine as one of the ways to cope with the virus.”
While Fazze’s campaign was a flop, Léo Grasset believes it won’t be the last attempt to use the power of social influencers to spread disinformation.
“If you want to manipulate public opinion, especially for young people, you don’t go to TV” says French YouTuber Léo Grasset.
“Just spend the same money on TikTok creators, YouTube creators. The whole ecosystem is perfectly built for maximum efficiency of disinformation right now.”
#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….
#AceWeatherReport – July.17: The death toll from devastating floods in Germany reached 133 on Saturday, police said, bringing the total number of those killed in Europe to 153: Rescuers resumed the search for survivors with hundreds still missing on Saturday morning as desperate families released pictures of their loved ones.
GERMANY: Death toll after Europe flash floods hits 133 as Rescuers continue hunt for survivors Such is the scale of the human tragedy that economic cost-counting has barely begun, though one official said bluntly that total will certainly be in the ‘billions’ according to MailOnline
It is just the latest episode in the evolving weather crisis in central Europe, with more than 130 people killed across Germany, marking the country’s deadliest floods since at least 1962 when more than 300 people were killed in flooding in Hamburg.
At least another 23 people were killed in neighbouring Belgium where a ‘tsunami-like’ torrent of water inundated parts of Leige and Verviers, causing the Meuse and Vesdre rivers to burst their banks.
There are fears that toll could rise considerably with hundreds of people still missing, mostly from the hard-hit Ahrweiler region, south of Bonn, where whole villages were destroyed as the Ahr river broke its banks.
Names, pictures, and details of the last contact with ten people who are unaccounted for were published in German outlet Bild as part of a campaign to help find the missing.
A family were among the missing on Saturday morning. Pictures of Hans Neufeld, 71, wife Ella, 59, and their son Frank, 22, were submitted by the couple’s first son Harry, 30.
He said they were last seen at home in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler in the early hours of Thursday, when flood waters started rising significantly. ‘Since then, there has been no trace,’ he said.
Karl-Heinz Zimmermann, a 93-year-old grandfather from Bad Neuenahr was reported missing by his granddaughter Sandy Zimmermann. She said she last spoke to him around 10pm on Thursday evening.
‘He wanted to go to bed normally, and didn’t feel threatened by the water’, she said. ‘But now the whole house is full of mud and nobody can be reached there. I tried to call him all day – over and over again. The fire brigade doesn’t know where he is either.’
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, and vice Prime Minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne, visited the disaster zone in Belgium on Saturday.
It comes after a landslide in the flood-damaged town of Blessem, near Cologne, killed ‘several’ people on Friday as Germany’s worst flooding crisis in decades continued to worsen
A second family – Nicole Berg, Patrick Berg, and their son Dennis – were also among the missing. Their pictures were submitted to Bild by Nicole’s sister Katja who said her sibling was last online on Wednesday 10pm.
Gerhard Hubner, 60 was also among the missing. His picture was submitted by housewife Christina Drothen, 36, who said he was last seen at his house in Ahrweiler on Wednesday evening.
Julia Dillenburger, 39, from Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, was another. She was last heard from in the early hours of Thursday after she escaped her basement flat for her neighbours apartment on the first floor.
Husband and wife Aida Maria, 74, and Klaus Wolfgang Huber, 76, were last heard from on Wednesday evening. Aida, who is Ecuadorian, has lived in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler since 2005. Her niece said there has been no sign of the pair since the flood.
Diana Janko, 60, was last seen a few days ago on Facebook video call. She recently told loved ones she wanted to go to the hospital, but has failed to pick up her phone for several days.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet visited Erftstadt fire department to get an overview of flooding in the region on Saturday.
‘A lot of people have lost everything they spent their lives building up — their possessions, their home, the roof over their heads,’ Steinmeier said after meeting rescue workers and others in the town of Erftstadt.
‘It may only be possible to clear up in weeks how much damage needs to be compensated,’ he said.
Steinmeier said that people in the affected areas are counting on continuing support.
‘Many people here in these regions have nothing left but their hope, and we must not disappoint this hope,’ he said.
Dutch caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte visited flooded parts of the city of Venlo on Friday.
He said the region faced ‘three disasters.’
‘First, there was corona, now these floods, and soon people will have to work on cleanup and recovery,’ he said. ‘It is disaster after disaster after disaster. But we will not abandon Limburg,’ the southern province hit by the floods.
His government has declared the flooding a state of emergency, opening up national funds for those affected.
It comes after thousands of villagers in western German prayed for a miracle on Friday night amid fears a nearby dam could collapse and inundate their homes with water.
The villages in the Euskirchen region, near the city of Bonn, were evacuated with 4,500 told to flee their homes after cracks started appearing in the dam holding back the nearby Steinbach reservoir.
Engineers warned the dam was dangerously close to collapse after a huge amount of water was dumped into the reservoir as three months’ worth of rain fell on the region in just one week, causing widespread devastation.
The dam is designed to vent excess water, but its drainage system has been blocked by debris including trees and rubble from destroyed buildings. The strain was clearly visible Friday as huge cracks appeared in the soil reinforcing the front of the dam.
By Saturday, waters were receding across much of the affected regions, laying bare the extent of the damage.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier planned to travel Saturday to Erftstadt, southwest of Cologne, where a harrowing rescue effort unfolded on Friday as people were trapped when the ground gave way. At least three houses and part of a mansion in the town’s Blessem district collapsed.
The German military used armoured vehicles on Saturday to clear away cars and trucks overwhelmed by the floodwaters on a nearby road, some of which were still at least partly submerged. Officials feared that some people did not manage to escape in Erftstadt, but on Saturday morning no casualties had been confirmed.
In the Ahrweiler area, police warned people of a potential risk from downed power lines and urged curious visitors to stay away.
Around 700 people were evacuated from part of the German town of Wassenberg, on the Dutch border, after the breach of a dike on the Rur river. Volunteers across Germany have collected clothes and taken them emergency accommodation for flood victims.
Train lines and roads remained blocked in many areas of eastern Belgium. The national railway service said traffic would start returning to normal on Monday.
Parts of northern France were also underwater by Saturday morning, following days of heavy rainfall.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday she was planning to visit the disaster zone, hours after King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium visited Pepinster, where the water has continued to rise.
The visit comes just hours after a landslide in the town of Blessem, near Cologne, killed an unknown number of people when waterlogged ground collapsed into a nearby gravel pit – taking homes, cars, and families with it.
Helicopters circled overhead following the collapse, looking for anyone left to save. It is thought 55 people were evacuated from the town overnight, but an unknown number returned in the morning to check the damage when the landslide struck.
Such is the scale of the devastation and human tragedy that economic cost-counting has barely even begun, though one German official said bluntly that the cost is certainly in the ‘billions’.
A bird’s eye view of Valkenburg, the Netherlands as the shocking floods in Europe continued to sweep through the continent on Friday
Authorities in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate said 63 people had died there, including 12 residents of an assisted living facility for disabled people in the town of Sinzig who were surprised by a sudden rush of water from the nearby Ahr River.
In neighboring North Rhine-Westphalia state officials put the death toll at 43, but warned that the figure could increase.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he was ‘stunned’ by the devastation caused by the flooding and pledged support to the families of those killed and to cities and towns facing significant damage.
‘In the hour of need, our country stands together,’ Steinmeier said in a statement. ‘It’s important that we show solidarity for those from whom the flood has taken everything.’
Rescuers sought to save people trapped in their homes in the German town of Erftstadt, southwest of Cologne. Regional authorities said several people had died after their houses collapsed when the ground beneath them sank suddenly. Aerial photos showed what appeared to be a massive sinkhole.
‘We managed to get 50 people out of their houses last night,’ county administrator Frank Rock said. ‘We know of 15 people who still need to be rescued.’
Speaking to German broadcaster n-tv, Rock said authorities had no precise number yet for how many had died in the flash floods that turned roads into wild raging torrents, ripping up cobblestones, collapsing homes and flipping parked cars into piles of rubble.
‘One has to assume that under the circumstances some people didn’t manage to escape,’ he said.
Authorities were still trying to account for hundreds of people listed as missing, but cautioned that the high number could be due to duplicated reports and difficulties reaching people because of disrupted roads and phone service.
After Germany, where more than 100 people have died, Belgium was the hardest hit by the floods that caused homes to be ripped away.
Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden told the VRT network Friday that the country’s official confirmed death toll had grown to 20, with 20 other people still missing.
Water levels on the Meuse Rriver that runs from Belgium into the Netherlands remains critical, and several dikes were at risk of collapsing, Verlinden said.
Authorities in the southern Dutch town of Venlo evacuated 200 hospital patients due to the looming threat of flooding from the river.
Flash floods this week followed days of heavy rainfall in Western Europe. Thousands of people remained homeless in Germany after their houses were destroyed or deemed at-risk by authorities.
The governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, who is hoping to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel as the nation’s leader after Germany’s election on September 26, said the disaster had caused immense economic damage to the country’s most densely populated state.
‘The floods have literally pulled the ground from beneath many people’s feet,’ Gov. Armin Laschet said at a news conference. ‘They lost their houses, farms or businesses.’
Federal and state officials have pledged financial aid to the affect areas, which also includes the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where at least 60 people died and entire villages were destroyed.
Malu Dreyer, the governor of Rhineland-Palatinate state, said the disaster showed the need to speed up efforts to curb global warming.
She accused Laschet and Merkel’s center-right Union bloc of hindering efforts to achieve greater greenhouse gas reductions in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and a major emitter of planet-warming gases.
‘Climate change isn’t abstract anymore. We are experiencing it up close and painfully,’ she told the Funke media group.
Steinmeier, the German president, echoed her calls for greater efforts to combat global warming.
‘Only if we decisively take up the fight against climate change will we be able to limit the extreme weather conditions we are now experiencing,’ he said.
Experts say such disasters could become more common in the future.
‘Some parts of Western Europe … received up to two months of rainfall in the space of two days. What made it worse is that the soils were already saturated by previous rainfall,’ World Meteorological Organization spokesperson Clare Nullis said.
While she said it was too soon to blame the floods and preceding heat wave on rising global temperatures, Nullis added: ‘Climate change is already increasing the frequency of extreme events. And many single events have been shown to be made worse by global warming.’
Defense Ministry spokesman Arne Collatz said the German military had deployed over 850 troops to help with flood effeorts but the number is ‘rising significantly because the need is growing.’ He said the ministry had triggered a ‘military disaster alarm.’
Italy sent a civil protection officials, firefighters and rescue dinghies to Belgium to help in the search for missing people from the devastating floods.
In the southern Dutch province of Limburg, which also has been hit hard by flooding, troops piled sandbags to strengthen a 1.1-kilometer (0.7 mile) stretch of dike along the Maas River and police helped evacuate low-lying neighborhoods.
Caretaker Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the government was officially declaring flood-hit regions a disaster area, meaning businesses and residents are eligible for compensation. Dutch King Willem-Alexander visited the region Thursday night and called the scenes ‘heart-breaking.’
Meanwhile, sustained rainfall in Switzerland has caused several rivers and lakes to burst their banks. Public broadcaster SRF reported that a flash flood swept away cars, flooded basements and destroyed small bridges in the northern villages of Schleitheim und Beggingen late Thursday.
Erik Schulz, the mayor of the hard-hit German city of Hagen, 50 kilometers (31 miles) northeast of Cologne, said there had been a wave of solidarity from other regions and ordinary citizens to help those affected by the floods.
‘We have many, many citizens saying `I can offer a place to stay, where can I go to help, where can I registered, where can I bring my shovel and bucket?’,’ he told n-tv. ‘The city is standing together and you can feel that.’
‘In less that 10 minutes, the water rose by almost a metre,’ said Isabelle Bervoets, surveying the wreckage of her restaurant in Grez-Doiceau, Belgium.
The Train river that passes through the small community is one of those that burst its banks following days of torrential rain.
At least 20 Belgians died and 19 are missing, with scores more fatalities in neighbouring Germany.
But the economic toll in the Brabant region is all too clear, along city riverfronts, blocked train tracks and drowned factories – as well as in Isabelle’s restaurant.
The ground is a sea of mud, there is a stench of sewage, bar stools are scattered everywhere, the fridge in the wine cellar is wrecked, and Isabelle’s frustration with local authorities is overflowing.
‘I’m pretty furious with the commune,’ the 53-year-old said. ‘It was some young folk who brought us sand bags. I called the town hall but they didn’t have any.’
Not far away, Amandine Bosquet is surveying the wreckage of her family home, stacking damp cardboard boxes. ‘Everything on the ground floor, we’ve lost,’ the young woman says.
Belgium’s King Philippe is due to visit the flooded region later in the day, and Prime Minister Alexander de Croos was to give a news conference.
Meanwhile the vast tide of mud and water is draining down the Train through the Brabant’s green but densely populated valleys, into the Dyle, the Meuse and on to the hard-hit Netherlands.
The region experienced flooding in 2002 and 2005.
‘But since then, we’ve seen nothing like it, and we’d never imagine it hitting us so quickly,’ says Bervoets.
Chaudfontaine, Theux, Verviers, Pepinster, Spa – dozens of cities, towns and villages have been hit.
Liege was threatened with evacuation of the town centre, but after splashing the top of its embankment, the Meuse failed to break its way into the city.
Cars lie in market squares, stacked up like damp firewood.
Scout camps were evacuated. A train derailed. Rescue helicopters and boats plucked up families and terrified pets and took them to safety.
Rescue teams have flown in from France, Italy and Austria to help the Belgian authorities.
Pepinster, a small town outside Verviers, bore the brunt of the disaster within Belgium, with the town centre turning into a river and more than a dozen houses collapsing.
‘It’s a disaster, a tsunami,’ the local mayor, Philippe Godin, told AFP.
A day after the wave rushed through there’s no electricity, no drinking water, unreliable mobile reception and, Godin adds: ‘You have to think of the people who have lost everything, their memories. It’s terrifying.’
Heavy rainfall has caused extensive damage in Roermond, the Netherlands, but no casualties have been reported
In the western German district of Ahrweiler, up to 1,300 people are unaccounted for, the authorities say. A spokeswoman for the local government said mobile networks had been put out of action, making it impossible to contact many people.
The village of Schuld (population 700) was almost entirely destroyed. A major dam near the Belgian border, the Rurtalsperre, is at capacity and overflowing slightly, officials say.
Some 15,000 police, soldiers and emergency service workers are at the scene to aid with search and rescue, while helicopters picked stranded residents from roof tops and tanks cleared roads of fallen trees and debris.
In the town of Erftstadt-Blessem, floodwaters caused a row of houses to collapse wholly or partially. Calls for help could be heard coming from the buildings, whose residents could only be reached by boat.
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BBC Chronicle of a disaster foretold Scientists have condemned politicians for failing to protect their citizens from extreme weather events such as the floods in northern Europe and the US heat dome.They have been predicting for years that summer rainfall and heatwaves would become more intense due to human-induced climate change.Hannah Cloke, Professor of Hydrology at the University of Reading, said: “The deaths and destruction across Europe as a result of flooding is a tragedy that should have been avoided. “Forecasters issued alerts early in the week, and yet the warnings were not taken seriously enough and preparations were inadequate.”The fact that other parts of the northern hemisphere are currently suffering record-breaking heatwaves and fires should serve as a reminder of just much more dangerous our weather could become in an ever-warmer world.”Scientists say government must both cut the CO2 emissions that are fuelling extreme events, AND prepare for more extreme weather.Yet in the UK – hit by severe flooding on Monday – the government’s advisory climate change committee recently told ministers the nation was even worse prepared for extreme weather than it was five years ago. It said the government was keeping only a fifth of its pledges to cut emissions.And only this week the UK government told people that they don’t need to reduce flying because technology will solve the emissions problem – a notion that most experts consider a gamble.Speaking during a meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington DC, Mrs Merkel expressed her “deepest condolences” to everyone across the region who had lost loved ones after “a day of worry and despair”.”I fear we will only see the full extent of this tragedy in the coming days,” she said. She also pledged government support with rescue efforts and with reconstruction, saying to the German people that the government “will not leave you alone in this difficult, terrible hour”.In Belgium, dramatic footage of the floods showed cars being swept away along a street in the city of Verviers. A curfew was in place overnight because of the risk of looting. Residents of Liège, Belgium’s third-largest urban area after Brussels and Antwerp, were ordered to evacuate. Local officials said those unable to leave should move to the upper floors of their buildings. The Meuse river, which flows through the city, stabilised on Friday morning, with small overflows in some areas. Officials are also concerned that a dam bridge in the area may collapse and urged people to help each other.”The crisis situation is exceptional and solidarity must prevail,” the local authority said in a statement.Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde visited a crisis centre in Chaudfontaine, southeast of Liège, set up for affected residents.EPABelgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde (left) visited a crisis centre in Chaudfontaine on ThursdayIn the Netherlands, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima inspected damage in Valkenburg, close to the Belgian and German borders, where flooding engulfed the town centre and forced the evacuation of several nursing homes.The country has reported no casualties but thousands of people in towns and villages along the Meuse river have been urged to leave their houses quickly. In the Dutch city of Maastricht, 10,000 people were ordered to evacuate.
#AceNewsReport – July.08: Maj. Gen. Phanthana Nutchanart identified the two suspects as 42-year-old Alex Kartun, a dual German-Russian national, and 38-year-old Alexander Wolfien, a German citizen.
BANGKOK: Thai police expect to extradite 2 German drug suspects after the men were arrested in Thailand and are expected to be extradited to Germany on suspicion of being part of a European drug trafficking gang, immigration police said Wednesday.
He said the two were arrested Tuesday in southern Thailand at the request of German authorities for allegedly producing and distributing an illicit drug made from chemical and herbal substances. German Embassy officials said the gang distributed the drug in several European countries and some users reportedly died, Phanthana said.
The two suspects were unavailable for comment and it was not known if they had legal representation.
About 20 people suspected of involvement in production and sale of the drug were arrested in Germany, but the two detained Tuesday escaped to Thailand several years ago, Phanthana said. The two men face 14 charges in Germany related to trafficking the drug and two related to producing it, he said.
Kartun, who was accused of being the leader of the gang, was arrested at a luxury villa on Phangan island with a Russian companion, 42-year-old Victor Thubnikov, whom Thai police arrested for alleged possession of marijuana.
Police arrested Wolfien on the resort island of Phuket where he had more than 1 million baht ($31,000 ) in cash, several luxury watches and ownership titles for land in Phuket and Phangan worth more than 10 million baht ($310,000).
Phanthana said police will investigate the source of the two men’s funds. The suspects can challenge their extradition in court, though if they are found to be staying illegally in Thailand they may be subject to deportation without an extradition hearing.
#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 – July.05: Terrible scenes on Monday evening at around 9.15 p.m. in the Gorbitz residential area in Dresden. According to the police, an Eritrean (25) is said to have threatened children with a machete and a knife. An Iraqi (26) intervened and prevented worse.
GERMANY: Machete immigrant threatens children in Dresden,” translated from “Macheten-Mann bedroht Kinder in Dresden,” by Bernhard Schilz, Bild, June 29, 2021 (thanks to Medforth): Danke, Merkel! Celebrate diversity!
Police spokesman Marko Laske (47) said: “The suspect is said to have shouted ‘Allahu akbar’ (‘God is great’, editor’s note). In order to clarify whether a political motive was involved, the state security is investigating.”
The Iraqi watched the children being harassed, bravely threw himself at the machete man, and was injured in the leg in the process. A cut wound later had to be treated on an outpatient basis. Another passer-by alerted the police.
The Eritrean, who is already known to the police for crimes of bodily harm, initially fled the scene.
“Police officers were able to find the suspect on Lise-Meithner-Strasse,” said spokesman Laske. “The man was provisionally arrested. A breath alcohol test on the 25-year-old showed a value of around 1.4 per thousand.”
The Times reported German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to designate the UK as a “country of concern” because the Delta variant of the coronavirus is so widespread.
Germany also wants the European Union to restrict UK travellers: The plans will be discussed by senior European and national officials on the EU’s integrated political crisis response committee.
Mrs Merkel previously told Germany’s parliament: “In our country, if you come from Great Britain, you have to go into quarantine – and that’s not the case in every European country, and that’s what I would like to see as she is set to meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Chequers next week.
EPA: French President Emmanuel Macron has also talked about his concern at the spread of the variant.
Last week, Mr Macron said: “We should all be vigilant because the Delta variant is coming.
“We see that it affects people who have not yet been vaccinated or who have only had one dose, which means we have to be even faster in this vaccination campaign.”
Currently, fully-vaccinated UK visitors to France can enter without quarantining.
In Portugal, the legislation is in force until 11 July, but the Portuguese authorities stated it could be reviewed “at any time, depending on the evolution of the epidemiological situation”.
The new quarantine measures only apply to those travelling to mainland Portugal and not Madeira.
Brazil, South Africa, India and Nepal were already on Portugal’s quarantine list, but the exception for people who are vaccinated against Covid-19 to avoid isolating only applies to the UK.
For all countries on the list, an exception is also made for participants in specified sporting competitions being held in June and July.
#AceNewsReport – June.26: Three are dead and five very seriously injured,” regional Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said after arriving on the scene. “With the most seriously injured we are not sure they will survive.”
GERMANY: At least three killed and five seriously injured in knife attack on Friday the police stopped and arrested the attacker in the town of Wuerzburg by firing a bullet through his thigh they said his injuries were not life-threatening
The man had lived in Wuerzburg since 2015, the year Germany opened its borders to more than a million migrants and refugees fleeing war and poverty. His life was not in danger and he was being questioned by police in hospital, Herrmann said.
“His condition had been noticed in recent months, including violent tendencies, and a few days ago he was put into compulsory psychiatric treatment,” Herrmann said.
Later, he told public television that, according to one witness, the suspect had called “Allahu akbar”, an Arabic phrase meaning “God is great” and often associated with acts of Islamist terrorism before starting his spree.
“That suggests a possible Islamist motive, and that is also part of the investigation,” he added.
Among the three dead was a young boy and one of his parents, Main Post newspaper said.
As is standard practice in Germany, police did not release the name of the suspect.
Police said there was no indication that there were any other attackers, and that the situation was now under control.
Videos posted on social media showed a seemingly barefoot man holding a long knife being warded off by other men with chairs until police arrived. Another video appeared to show blood on the ground.
The videos matched the reported location of the attacks on and around Wuerzburg’s central Barbarossaplatz, though it was not immediately possible to confirm when they had been made.
Reuters footage from the scene showed dozens of police and emergency vehicles in attendance.
Wuerzburg, an ancient city of 130,000 people some 100 km (62 miles) south-east of Frankfurt, was five years ago the scene of a knife attack on a train by a 17-year-old Pakistani asylum seeker in which five people were injured, two seriously.
#AceHealthReport – June.20: The new measures follow similar curbs on UK travellers by France and Germany: Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza added a ban on people arriving from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will remain in place.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – ITALY: To impose quarantine on UK travellers the government and will also be required to have mandatory #COVID19 tests: Italy, however, will also open the door to USA, Canada, Japan and the EU, if visitors show they have been vaccinated or recently tested negative
If you can’t see the look-up click here.The postcode search has been updated to replace data for health boards in Scotland with data for local councils. In England, data for county councils has been replaced with data for district councils. Figures for boroughs and unitary authorities remain unchanged:
#AceNewsReport – June.19: A man wanted for his alleged involvement in multi-tonne cocaine importations from South America to Germany has been arrested by the National Crime Agency:
NCA: ‘Arrested a WANTED: Suspected member of international organised crime group who used #EncroChat arrested’ the 44-year-old man was apprehended this morning (Wed 16 June) after NCA officers tracked him down to an address in Woolwich, South East London, on behalf of the Bundeskriminalamt in Germany.
He is believed to have a significant role in an Albanian and German organised crime group behind cocaine importations over a number of years, who have associates in South America and across Europe to facilitate the movement of drugs.
Deputy Director Andrea Wilson, from the National Crime Agency, said: “This man has gone to great lengths to evade law enforcement both in Germany and the UK, which included using the encrypted comms platform EncroChat to communicate with his associates:
His arrest is the culmination of great collaborative work between the NCA and our colleagues in the BKA, and highlights how we are working together with partners to target and dismantle the organised crime groups responsible for bringing drugs to our streets: We know that Western Balkan crime groups have a presence at all stages of the cocaine supply chain, from South America to the UK. They play a significant role in the wholesale movement of cocaine, and we will not stop in our endeavours to identify those involved and disrupt their activity.”
#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 – Jun.05: It is important to me to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by Church officials over the past decades,” he said in a letter to Pope Francis.
ROME: Top German cleric asks to quit over Church sex abuse failures: The statement in German on the Munich archbishop’s website says his letter was dated 21 May. The Pope has asked him to remain in his post pending a decision on his resignation offer.
21 hours ago
He is the Archbishop of Munich. The Pope is still considering his offer.
Pope Francis has sent two bishops to Cologne to investigate abuse cases.
In 2018, a study commissioned by the Church itself found that more than 3,600 children in Germany had been sexually assaulted by Roman Catholic priests between 1946 and 2014.
Only 38% of the alleged perpetrators were prosecuted, with most facing only minor disciplinary procedures. About one in six cases involved rape. Most of the victims were boys, and more than half were aged 13 or younger.
In his letter, Cardinal Marx said investigations in recent years had revealed “a lot of personal failure and administrative mistakes” but also “institutional or systemic failure” in relation to child sex abuse.
Cardinal Marx said in his letter that the Church had come to “a dead end”. He said that with his resignation the Church could perhaps “make a fresh start, a new departure”.
“I want to show that it’s not the institution in the foreground, but the mission of the gospel.”
Cardinal Marx has a liberal reputation and has often called for reform of the Church, the BBC’s Damien McGuinness reports from Berlin.
The German Catholic Church has been rocked by allegations that some Church leaders covered up past child abuse. Conservative Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, Archbishop of Cologne, is particularly under fire, our correspondent says.
In March, Cardinal Woelki refused to resign, despite an independent report which revealed many breaches of duty by clerics in his Cologne Archdiocese. The report named more than 300 sexual abuse victims,after examination of Church records.
Cardinal Woelki has said he welcomes the Pope’s decision to send two bishops to investigate the handling of abuse allegations, and would support them in their work.
In March the cardinal said his resignation would have been “the easier path”. “By staying in office I’m taking on responsibility for what I have started in Cologne: unsparing full revelation.”
Around a quarter of the German population is registered in the Catholic Church.Brigitte, a survivor of child sex abuse by a chaplain, explains why she is ready to speak now (From 2019)
#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 – May.18: There is no telling who is behind these two incidents, which as far as I know have no connection to each other:
Christian statues beheaded and hands cut off in Massachusetts and Germany: ‘The CBS story about the incident in Waltham notes this. The story about the incident in Bühl doesn’t mention it, but it’s clear from the photo of the defaced statue’
Maybe it’s just a coincidence. But large numbers of people who believe these things have entered both the U.S. and Germany in recent years. However, given the political situation and the state of the establishment media in both countries, we will likely never know for sure:
“POL-OG: Bühl – owner wanted,” translated from “POL-OG: Bühl – Eigentümer gesucht,” PressePortal, May 12, 2021 (thanks to Medforth):
Officers of the Bühl police station are looking for the owner of a statue that was found on Monday afternoon in front of a property in Hauptstrasse. According to Christian belief, the damaged sculpture should represent Joseph. How it got there and where it came from is still unclear….
“Statue Of Jesus At Waltham Church Beheaded,” by Mike LaCrosse, CBS, May 5, 2021:
WALTHAM (CBS) – A statue of Jesus outside St. Charles Chapel on the south side of Waltham was beheaded over the weekend.
“It pains me to see any attack on the faith, on the religion of any believers or any church or religion,” Pastor Michael Nolan.
A hand on the statue was also knocked off.
Pastor Michael Nolan is hoping the damage was just an accident.
Either way, he’d like to see someone come forward if they have any information.
“So we’re hoping that if someone did this intentionally, they can come get help and they won’t do it again to another church or any religious institution or place,” said Father Nolan….
#AceNewsReport – May.04: Officials say Boystown had more than 400,000 registered users: They say some images showed the most serious sexual abuse of young children:
GERMANY: DARKNET: The EU police agency Europol says it will also examine intelligence gained from the operation, and “more arrests and rescues are to be expected globally” on that basis as four held in German-led raid on huge child sexual abuse network: ‘The international operation, involving several police forces, targeted a dark net platform called Boystown, which has now been taken down’
2 hours ago
The dark net is an internet area beyond the reach of mainstream search engines.
The German-led investigation involved law enforcement agencies in the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, the US and Canada.
Several related paedophile chat sites on the dark net were also dismantled, Europol says.
German police say three men detained since mid-April are believed to have run the paedophile network: one aged 40 from Paderborn, one aged 49 from the Munich area and a 58-year-old from north Germany who has been living in South America for several years. He was detained in Paraguay’s Concepción region under an international arrest warrant, and German authorities have asked for his extradition.
The fourth suspect is a 64-year-old from Hamburg who was allegedly one of the most active members, responsible for more than 3,500 posts.
The US police battling against child abusers on the internet (2014)
#AceNewsReport – May.02: A German intelligence agency for the state of Bavaria said last week in its new report that the Islamic Republic of Iran has not ceased its drive to obtain weapons of mass destruction during 2020.” Iran has never slowed down, and no deal will stop it:
German intelligence: Iran, Syria, and Pakistan are producing weapons of mass destruction: The Jerusalem Post reviewed the 380-page intelligence document which contains 28 references to the Islamic Republic. The report lists additional threats to Bavaria’s democracy.
“Iran still seeks mass destruction weapons – German intelligence report,” by Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem Post, April 28, 2021:
The German intelligence agency for the state of Bavaria said last week in its new report that the Islamic Republic of Iran has not ceased its drive to obtain weapons of mass destruction during 2020.
“Proliferation-relevant states like Iran, North Korea, Syria and Pakistan are making efforts to expand their conventional arsenal of weapons through the production or constant modernization of weapons of mass destruction,” wrote the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the formal name for the domestic intelligence agency.
“In order to obtain the necessary know-how and corresponding components, these states are trying to establish business contacts to companies in high-technology countries like Germany,” said the Bavarian intelligence report in its section on weapons of mass destruction.
The German agency is the rough equivalent of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
The intelligence report defines proliferation as “the unauthorized spread of atomic, biological, chemical weapons of mass destruction or the products used for their manufacture as well as the corresponding weapon carrier systems, including the necessary know-how.”
With respect to the section of the report on the Islamic Republic’s espionage activities, the intelligence document stated that “Germany remains in the focus of intelligence activities. This includes information from foreign and security policy as well as business and science. An additional focus [of Iran’s intelligence services] is the observation of, and fight against, opposition groups domestically and abroad.”
Hezbollah, the Iranian regime’s chief strategic ally in the Middle East, has 30 members in Bavaria….