The most important messages at a glance:
- After the Bundestag election, Kurz relies on black and green in Germany (17:57)
- US Democrat Pelosi warns of Chinese “digital autocracy” (16:29)
- Mike Mohring resigns from the CDU Thuringia (02.02 p.m.)
- Federal Council rejects speed limit on motorways (1:13 p.m.)
- Volkswagen: Negotiations for compensation burst (12.52 p.m.)
The news of the day:
+++ 17.57 PM: shortly after the Bundestag election on black-green in Germany +++
Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz believes a coalition of the Union and the Greens is likely after the Bundestag election next year. He is currently leading an alliance with the Greens, the conservative politician said on Friday at the Munich Security Conference. “If I had to guess, I would say: After the next German federal election, there may also be a similar situation in Germany.” Briefly emphasized that as head of the ÖVP and thus a sister party of the CDU and CSU, he naturally hoped that the Union would lead this government.
Briefly, the clear definition of the CDU and CSU praised not accepting political alliances or any other cooperation with the right-wing populist AfD. Comparisons with his own earlier coalition with the right-wing conservative FPÖ are not appropriate because the FPÖ and AfD are too different.
+++ 17.48 PM: toll debacle: Seehofer wants to help clarify +++
Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer does not want to have the buck put on the debacle over the car toll. “When it comes to difficult questions about responsibility, it is easy to point a finger at others,” said the former CSU head of the German Press Agency in Berlin. He added: “The parliamentary committee of inquiry will examine and clarify the matter. I am ready to do my part.” This readiness was welcomed by the panel.
Former Federal Minister of Transport Peter Ramsauer (CSU) emphasized the responsibility of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and Seehofer in the committee on Thursday. The toll was a prestigious CSU project in the grand coalition. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) overturned it in June 2019, immediately afterwards the current Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer (CSU) terminated the contracts with the planned operators. He is criticized for having signed the contracts in 2018 before legal certainty existed. Among other things, the committee of inquiry deals with this.
+++ 17.43 PM: Brinkhaus: Merz has to be part of the CDU team +++
Union faction leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU) advised his party colleague Friedrich Merz to pursue the ambitions for the party leadership with team spirit. “If someone says they want to take responsibility, it also means that they can take responsibility as number two or number three,” said Brinkhaus in an SWR interview. If someone like Merz is ready to take on responsibility in the party, it doesn’t only work if he is “at the forefront”.
“For us, the following order applies: first the country, then the party and then the person, your own person,” replied Brinkhaus when asked about Merz’s ambitions. “And there it is that everyone who says they want to take responsibility must therefore submit to this triad accordingly.”
+++ 17.22 PM: Alignment of Stephan E. no problem for new defenders +++
The right-wing attitude of his new client Stephan E. is no problem for the Cologne criminal lawyer Mustafa Kaplan. “I am fascinated by the extremely exciting case, moral considerations are not decisive when taking on a mandate,” said the Cologne lawyer to the magazine “Der Spiegel”. For him as a defender, the political views of the alleged Lübcke murderer played no role.
E., who was in pre-trial detention, said on Wednesday through his public defender Frank Hannig that Kaplan would represent him as another defender. Kaplan was a victim advocate in the NSU trial and represented Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the dispute over a poem by TV satirist Jan Böhmermann. Kaplan does not rule out the fact that E. has a “positive public image” in mind when choosing a Turkish-born lawyer. But that was legitimate.
+++ 16.47 PM: Global defense spending increases by 4 percent +++
Global defense spending rose more in 2019 than it has in ten years. Worldwide there was an increase of 4 percent compared to the previous year, according to a study published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) at the Munich Security Conference. For Europe, the figure is even 4.2 percent. As a result, European spending was back at the level before the 2008 financial crisis, as IISS Director General John Chipman said.
This growth is driven by concerns that Russia could also increase its defense spending, the report said. Likewise, US President Donald Trump repeatedly urges European NATO partners to invest more.
+++ 16.29 PM: US Democrat Pelosi warns of Chinese “digital autocracy” +++
When expanding the fast new 5G mobile network, the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, warned of dependence on China. Western democracies must prevent their national infrastructure from being handed over to China, she said at the Munich Security Conference. While Pelosi is one of the greatest critics of US President Donald Trump, in China’s policy she agrees with his goals. If the West relies on the Chinese company Huawei to expand 5G, it would promote autocracy and “digital autocracy”.
+++ 16.19 PM: helicopter crash landing in the blizzard on the Arctic Ocean – two dead +++
Two crew members were killed in the crash landing of a helicopter on the Yamal Peninsula on the Arctic Ocean. Eight people on board the MI-8 were injured on Friday, the Russian authorities said. None of them are in mortal danger. According to media reports, a severe snowstorm swept across the region in northern Siberia at the time of the accident. The helicopter wanted to fly oil workers to the port of Sabetta. The machine made a hard emergency landing about 500 meters from the landing site and overturned.
+++ 16.15 clock: indictment: Weinstein felt as “master of the universe” +++
In the rape trial against Harvey Weinstein, the indictment accused the former Hollywood mogul of abuse of power. “The defendant was the master of the universe and the witnesses were only ants he could step on without consequence,” prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said in her closing plea during the sensational trial before the New York Supreme Court. She emphasized Weinstein’s “lack of human empathy” for his alleged victims.
After weeks of negotiations, the substantive part of the spectacular trial against Weinstein ends with the arguments of the public prosecutor. If convicted of serious sex crime, the 67-year-old could spend the rest of his life in prison. As of Tuesday next week, the twelve jury members will retire to consultations to decide on Weinstein’s guilt or innocence.
+++ 16.04 clock: authority also closes Hamburg LPT animal testing laboratory +++
One month after the controversial LPT animal testing laboratory in Mienenbüttel, Lower Saxony, closed, the company’s laboratory at the Hamburg headquarters in Neugraben also had to close. The health authority has withdrawn the animal’s license “with immediate effect”. After careful examination, the operator’s reliability under animal welfare law was no longer given due to serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act and further violations of documentation and approval obligations, explained Hamburg’s health senator Cornelia Prüfer-Storcks (SPD).
+++ 15.44 PM: Greta Thunberg protests for Valentine’s Day in Swedish homeland +++
Greta Thunberg and several other Swedes demonstrated in a nationwide coordinated protest for more climate protection. Led by the climate activist herself, hundreds of protesters marched in Stockholm from the old town to the southern district of Södermalm. There, Thunberg later said in a speech that the fight against climate change must finally be taken seriously by politics. Although the climate strike has been going on for almost a year and a half, politicians and the media continue to ignore the climate crisis, the 17-year-old said.
Climate protests were also planned in more than 100 other Swedish cities on Friday. How many people were estimated to be involved was initially unknown.
+++ 15.24 PM: Thea Dorn becomes the sole host of the “Literary Quartet” +++
In the future, writer Thea Dorn will be the sole host of the ZDF literature show “The Literary Quartet”. This was announced by the Mainz broadcaster. With three changing guests, she will be debating four new publications on the German-language book market six times a year. Dorn, who has been with us since 2017, will remain the only fixture in the classic TV.
The 49-year-old invited radio journalist Marion Brasch, Austrian bestselling author Vea Kaiser and publicist Jakob Augstein to join her debut in her new role on March 6, a Friday at 11 p.m. The ZDF broadcast will continue to be recorded in the Berliner Ensemble.
+++ 15.01 PM: tourists shoot porn in a temple complex in Myanmar +++
A couple of tourists shot a sex video in a temple complex in Myanmar, causing outrage. In the 12-minute film, the 23-year-olds can be seen having sexual intercourse in the historic royal city of Bagan. The couple, who came from Italy, had published the video themselves on a porn platform, now the video appeared on the social networks of the Southeast Asian country and was sharply criticized there. “I’m not a prude,” wrote one user, “but that’s wrong.” Others described the video as “offensive” and demanded that the couple be imprisoned. By Friday afternoon, the film had been viewed more than 286,000 times.
+++ 14.24 PM: broken comparison: consumer protectors contradict VW +++
The Federal Consumer Association (vzbv) has rejected Volkswagen’s allegations that inappropriate claims by its lawyers were responsible for the failure of the settlement negotiations for VW customers affected by the diesel scandal. Rather, the car maker let the negotiations fail, explained the vzbv in Berlin. VW was not ready “to enable a transparent, trustworthy and safe system for the settlement”.
The association was “irritated” about the termination of the negotiations by Volkswagen, said the vzbv. At 11:53 a.m. on Friday, a comparison offer was sent, which provided for the processing of costs in the amount of 50 million euros. “Processing by our lawyers was not mandatory for vzbv.” Volkswagen had previously announced that the company and vzbv had agreed on a settlement in the order of 830 million euros, but this solution had failed. The reason is “inadequate” legal requirements.
+++ 14.07 PM: VW wants to pay diesel customers despite the burst comparison +++
Volkswagen wants to pay the complaining diesel customers a compensation despite the failed settlement procedure with consumer protectors. The already negotiated 830 million euros are to be offered “even without the support of the Federation of German Consumer Centers,” the company said after an extraordinary board meeting. The digital business magazine “Business Insider” had previously reported on the move of the group.
+++ 14.03 clock: alleged right-wing terrorist cell: twelve suspects arrested +++
In the raid on a group classified as right-wing terrorism in six federal states, the federal prosecutor temporarily arrested twelve men on Friday. There are four alleged members of the group and eight alleged supporters, as the authority in Karlsruhe announced. They are now to be brought before the investigative judge of the Federal Court of Justice.
The four suspected members of the group arrested are therefore Werner S., Michael B., Thomas N., Tony E., who are said to have joined forces with another suspect in September 2019 to form the right-wing terrorist organization. The aim of the association should have been to shake and ultimately overcome the state and social order of the Federal Republic, as the Federal Prosecutor’s Office said.
+++ 14.02 clock: CDU Thuringia: Mohring vacates head of state +++
The Thuringian CDU chief Mike Mohring has announced his retirement as regional party leader as a consequence of the crisis in the formation of a government in Thuringia. He did not want to stand in the way of a reorganization of his party, he said in a video on Twitter.
+++ 2.00 p.m .: In case of eviction: 67-year-old shoots four people +++
A 67-year-old shot a bailiff in Obertshausen near Offenbach. The man and one of his companions were seriously injured. Another companion suffered a blast trauma. According to the police, the exact background and motive of the man have yet to be determined.
The two seriously injured were taken to hospital, but according to the police, they are not in mortal danger. The alleged perpetrator had been temporarily arrested in his apartment and sustained a slight head wound. He was also hospitalized. It was initially unclear whether the shooter would fire without warning. “The injured are not yet under examination,” said a police spokesman. The deed occurred shortly before 9 a.m. in the entrance area of the man’s apartment in an apartment building. According to the police, the German may have been evicted. It is still unclear whether the man has a gun license.
+++ 13:16: Federal Council: child abuse should be in the certificate of good conduct forever +++
According to the will of the Federal Council, convictions for child abuse should be saved for life. Convictions for sexual and child pornography offenses should always be included in the expanded certificate of good conduct, the regional chamber decided on Friday in Berlin. She now wants to introduce a corresponding bill in the Bundestag.
Such convictions are no longer included in the expanded certificate of good conduct after three to ten years. The exact length of the period depends on the crime and the amount of the prison sentence. Countries fear that this regulation could lead to sexual offenders in some cases being able to work with children again after a few years. An extended certificate of good conduct is required for the voluntary or professional handling of minors.
+++ 13.13 PM: Federal Council rejects speed limit on highways +++
An advance for a general speed limit on motorways has failed in the Federal Council. As expected, the Environment Committee’s proposal to add a maximum speed of 130 kilometers per hour to the planned changes to the traffic regulations did not find a majority in the State Chamber in Berlin. If coalitions in the states do not agree internally, the state must abstain from the Federal Council.
+++ 13.09 PM: After raids due to right-wing extremism: officials of the NRW police suspended +++
A police officer has been suspended in North Rhine-Westphalia in connection with raids against a suspected right-wing terrorist organization in six federal states. Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) said on Friday in Düsseldorf.
In total, four residential addresses were searched in NRW in the morning. The grouping is made up of members of a right-wing extremist scene “which we have had in view for a long time,” said Reul. The actors got to know each other online. 5 of the 13 suspects are said to have formed a right-wing terrorist organization in September 2019. Since then, they are said to have followed the plan to carry out attacks on politicians, asylum seekers and Muslims.
+++ 13.05 PM: Coronavirus patient must go to court for escape from quarantine +++
Because she escaped from her coronavirus quarantine station, a woman in Russia has to answer to court. The head of a hospital in St. Petersburg has filed a lawsuit against Alla Ilyina, said the competent court. The woman had previously complained on online networks that she was locked up and that “inedible” food was served.
Iljina had returned by plane from the Chinese holiday island of Hainan on February 1. She was examined several times and finally quarantined on February 6 with the diagnosis of “viral disease”, where she was to stay for two weeks. A first court hearing in the case is scheduled to take place next Monday. The woman is fined under Russian law.
+++ 13.03 PM: Coronavirus infected drove to the hospital with Uber +++
After the first confirmed Sars-CoV-2 infections, there is growing concern in London about the spread of the novel virus. Contrary to instructions, a woman had introduced herself directly to an emergency room in the British capital, the hospital in the Lewisham district said. As a precaution, a two-week quarantine was ordered for two employees of the clinic who came into contact with the patient. The woman came with an Uber taxi. The driver is not in danger of being infected, said the British health authority Public Health England. Since the journey took less than 15 minutes, there was no increased risk.
+++ 12.52 PM: Volkswagen: negotiations for compensation for diesel customers burst +++
Negotiations to settle compensation for hundreds of thousands of VW diesel customers have failed, according to Volkswagen. As the group announced, the amount of the fee claims of the lawyers of the Federal Association of Consumer Centers should be the reason.
According to the group, VW and the Federal Consumer Association (vzbv) had reached a comparison in the order of 830 million euros. However, this solution failed. The vzbv insisted “until the end” on a lump sum payment of 50 million euros for the settlement
+++ 12.42 PM: Lady Bitch Ray warns women of cameras in toilet bowls +++
German rapper Lady Bitch Ray has warned of hidden cameras in the toilet bowls of women’s toilets. She once booked bodyguards for a club appearance, the linguist wrote on Twitter. “One of them stuck his head in the toilet bowl in the backstage, we laughed at him and asked why he was doing it. He came out and held a mini camera in front of us:” Therefore !! “”
The summoned owner of the club claimed that they knew nothing about it, said the rapper. The toilet is public. “The bodyguards thought that this happened quite often, that they found mini cameras installed in women’s toilets,” continued the Bremen-born woman. Reports of incidents at music festivals had recently caused a stir.
+++ 12.32 PM: writer Asli Erdogan acquitted in Istanbul +++
A court in Istanbul has cleared the well-known writer Asli Erdogan, who has been charged with terrorism charges, on all counts. The novelist living in Germany was not guilty of “membership in a terrorist group” or “destruction of national unity”, the judges ruled. The court also ordered the termination of “terrorist propaganda” proceedings against the author. The verdict was pronounced in Erdogan’s absence. Two other defendants were also acquitted, including linguist Necmiye Alpay.
+++ 12.20 p.m .: Federal government warns Turkey to rule of law in the lawsuit against Yücel +++
After the criminal complaint in the Turkish trial against the journalist Deniz Yücel became known, the Federal Government warned that the rule of law should be observed. The government is calling for a “speedy and constitutional process,” said a spokesman for the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. The lawsuit against the journalist is a case in which “the substance of the allegations or the proportionality seem questionable and the process takes a long time”. The Federal Government is still in discussion with the Turkish side. The case had put a massive strain on the German-Turkish relationship. The Istanbul public prosecutor’s office had ordered Yücel to be imprisoned between four years and three months and 15 years and three months for “incitement” and “terrorist propaganda”.
+++ 11.55 a.m .: Prime Minister sees CDU in the struggle for survival +++
The leadership debate in the CDU is, according to the Saarland Prime Minister and CDU State Chairman Tobias Hans, part of a political struggle for survival. “It is about the survival of the CDU as a People’s Party and about regaining lost trust,” said Hans of the German Press Agency in Saarbrücken. The current discussion is about “far more than personnel issues,” he warned.
“Now it can only work together and in unity. Our goal must be to present someone who can bring the whole Union together.” Hans affirmed that the CDU now needed “a controlled process for the reorganization of the party presidency and the candidate for chancellor”.
+++ 11.48 clock: guide dog may run through the doctor’s office +++
A doctor’s office in Berlin must allow a blind woman to cross the waiting room with her guide dog. “The passage ban is disproportionate and discriminates against them in an unconstitutional manner,” says the recently published decision of the Federal Constitutional Court. In it, the Karlsruhe judges emphasize that the prohibition of discrimination of disabled people enshrined in the Basic Law also radiates into civil society.
The blind applicant was being treated in a physiotherapy practice. This was accessible through a courtyard via an open steel lattice staircase, but also through the waiting room of an orthopedic group practice in the same house. The woman had already made her way through the practice several times, crossing the waiting room with her dog. The doctors then prohibited her from doing so. The blind woman complained.
+++ 11.46 clock: CDU MPs: Mohring should ask a question of trust +++
According to party circles, Thuringia’s CDU parliamentary group leader Mike Mohring is asked the question of trust in his parliamentary group. This had requested eight CDU MPs, as it was said on Friday from CDU parliamentary groups. The MDR had previously reported on this. The letter, which is available in extracts from the German Press Agency, states: “In the past few weeks, events have occurred that clearly question the trust in the chairman, his sincerity and leadership ability.” Accordingly, there should already be a secret vote on Mohring’s future as group leader on Wednesday.
Since the state election lost for the Thuringian CDU and the debacle over the election of the FDP politician Thomas Kemmerichs as Thuringian prime minister with votes from the AfD and CDU, Mohring has been under public pressure. Last week, he had already announced that he would not run again as chairman of the CDU parliamentary group in an election of the parliamentary board in May.
+++ 11.37 PM: FDP calls crisis summit to impact the corona virus +++
FDP parliamentary group leader Michael Theurer has asked Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) to convene a crisis summit on the economic effects of the novel corona virus. “The economic impact of the corona virus can quickly reach billions,” Theurer told Handelsblatt. Industrial production is just as affected as tourism and trade.
“At the meeting, facts should be secured and measures discussed in order to be able to take action if necessary,” suggested Theurer. He accused the Minister of Economy of inaction. “The Ministry of Economic Affairs is obviously in deep sleep. We need an economic policy plan in addition to the necessary and priority health measures.”
+++ 11.22 PM: shots in Obertshausen – two injured +++
According to media reports, eviction has escalated in the Offenbach district. As the police report Southeast Hesse, the shots were fired at 8.50 a.m. in Hausen. Two people were injured and immediately taken to the hospital. According to the radio station FFH, the injured are a bailiff and a freight forwarder. Accordingly, they wanted to vacate the apartment of a 67-year-old who, however, opened the fire after opening the door. According to the radio station, one of the victims was shot in the stomach. The exact background of the fact is still unclear.
+++ 11.17 PM: Serbia and Kosovo decide new connections +++
The former war opponents Serbia and Kosovo want to move closer together. Representatives of both Balkan countries signed a letter of intent on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, according to which train and motorway connections between the two countries should be created. Above all, this should promote the economic development of the region. At first, no details were given.
Railway links between Serbia and its then southern province of Kosovo had existed before 1990, when Serbia was part of socialist Yugoslavia. A highway from Serbia to Kosovo would have to be built. The most suitable seems to be the expansion of the approximately 120 km long road that leads from the southern Serbian Nis to the Kosovo capital Pristina.
+++ 11.11 a.m .: Bundestag tightened rent brake +++
The rent brake introduced in 2015 will be tightened and extended until the end of 2025. The Bundestag decided that. Federal Minister of Justice Christine Lambrecht (SPD) emphasized that the rental price brake works. Therefore, the five-year extension is “a very important decision”.
In areas with a “tight housing market”, the rental price cap covers the cost of new or re-letting to the level of the local comparative rent plus ten percent. In the future, tenants can also retroactively claim excess rent for the first two and a half years of the lease.
+++ 10.45 a.m .: OVG: Parents are not entitled to certain daycare opening hours +++
According to a current court order, parents are not entitled to certain opening times of a day care center. This emerges from a recently published ruling by the Oberverwaltungsgericht (OVG) in Münster. In the case, a couple of parents had claimed that because of their working hours, they needed a day care center with childcare until at least 6:00 p.m. (Az. 12 B 1324/19)
In its decision, the OVG Senate pointed out, among other things, that child day care facilities and child day care were of equal importance. Both forms of early childhood support could be used side by side to cover individual needs – such as care during off-peak hours. The childcare provider was therefore not obliged to increase the capacity of a specific day care center with extended childcare hours.
+++ 10.38 PM: Federal Council facilitates shooting of wolves +++
The Federal Council has made it easier to shoot wolves. The State Chamber approved the law approved by the Bundestag at the end of last year, according to which wolves can be shot in the future even if they cause “serious damage” to livestock farmers. So far, the animal keeper concerned had to be threatened in order to obtain a shooting permit.
In addition, in the case of recurring damage “in close time and space” the shooting of wolves of a pack should also be possible if specific individual animals cannot be identified as the cause. The shooting of the wolves should continue “until no damage has occurred”.
+++ 10.24 PM: AKK will soon make a successor proposal +++
According to a media report, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer wants to quickly settle her succession. In a conversation with “Focus Online”, Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) said that Kramp-Karrenbauer would “organize the process responsibly” and make a proposal on February 24.
+++ 9.42 a.m .: Researchers measure new temperature record in the Antarctic +++
Researchers have set a new temperature record in the Antarctic. As the Brazilian soil scientist Carlos Schaefer told the AFP news agency, a temperature of 20.75 degrees was measured on the northern tip of Antarctica on February 9. “There has never been such a high temperature in Antarctica,” said Schaefer. It is the first time that the 20-degree mark has been exceeded.
The temperature measurement at the Marambio research station in Argentina is part of a 20-year research project on the effects of climate change on permafrost in the region, said Schaefer. The last temperature record was around 19 degrees, he added. Schaefer emphasized that the temperature record does not allow any conclusions to be drawn regarding future climate developments. It is just a data point.
+++ 9.32 PM: Defense Ministers discuss the fight against IS +++
Defense ministers of the international coalition against the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) have begun discussions in Munich on continuing the joint effort. The ministers met on Friday before the official start of the Munich Security Conference. Defense Secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) and her US counterpart Mark Esper invited to the meeting of the core countries of the alliance.
The meeting is primarily about international military operations in Iraq. This had come under pressure after the United States killed a general drone attack on the Iranian general Ghassem Soleimani in Baghdad in early January. Iran responded to missile attacks on US targets in Iraq. The Iraqi parliament then demanded that foreign troops be withdrawn; the government in Baghdad has signaled that the common struggle against IS should continue.
+++ 9.08 PM: DIHK considers economic data as “warning for the current year” +++
The German economy sees the weak economic data for the end of 2019 as a “warning for the current year”. The German export industry and thus many key industrial sectors continued to struggle with the serious trade conflicts and the as yet unexplained consequences of Brexit, said DIHK CEO Martin Wansleben on Friday. “In addition, the effects of the corona virus are still unpredictable, but still cause uncertainty among internationally active German companies.” Wansleben called for political relief signals in Germany: “Accelerated planning for investment projects and tax cuts should be at the top of the federal government’s agenda.”
+++ 8.58 a.m .: raid against alleged right-wing extremists in six federal states +++
There have been raids in several federal states against an alleged right-wing terrorist association. A spokesman for the Federal Prosecutor’s Office confirmed the relevant SWR information on request. The initial suspicion was that a right-wing terrorist organization had been founded and that it had participated in it. Accordingly, the investigation is directed against five people and eight supporters.
Specialists searched around a dozen apartments and properties in the morning. There were initially no arrests. As it was said, it is being investigated against people in six federal states: in Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Bavaria, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony-Anhalt.
+++ 8.43 a.m .: Hamburg’s mayor resists accusations of taxes on cum-ex transactions +++
Hamburg’s first mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) has resisted criticism from media reports that the financial authorities of the Hanseatic city had waived 47 million euros from Warburg Bank for cum-ex transactions. “We are after every tax euro that we can get back,” said Tschentscher in the ZDF “Morgenmagazin”. Hamburg was the first federal state to take consistent action against cum-ex transactions.
According to reports by “Zeit” and the ARD magazine “Panorama”, the Hanseatic city’s waiver of the 47 million euros is due to tax documents that were the subject of the first cum-ex criminal case before the district court in Bonn. Accordingly, the city of Hamburg had known of its claim at the latest since 2016 – at that time the current Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz (SPD) was the mayor, Tschentscher was the finance senator. However, Hamburg had the claim expired.
+++ 8.36 clock: Facebook boss Zuckerberg ready for higher tax payments +++
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg is open to a reform of the global tax system, in which technology companies are asked to pay more. The online network supports the reform plans of the industrialized nations organization OECD, emerges from a previously known speech for Zuckerberg’s appearance at the Munich Security Conference. “And we accept that this could mean a new set of rules, that we will pay more taxes in the future, in different countries.” Facebook understood that there was frustration in Europe over the taxation of tech companies.
+++ 8.32 PM: Colombia: Police discovered drug laboratory on the site of Ambassador +++
The Colombian police have excavated a drug laboratory on the property of a Colombian ambassador’s family, which, according to the authorities, could produce around a ton of cocaine per month. Five suspects were arrested while on the family estate of Ambassador Fernando Sanclemente in the city of Guasca, according to a police document that AFP was able to see on Thursday (local time). The investigators burned the laboratory down.
Sanclemente, the Colombian ambassador to Uruguay, was “totally surprised” by the find. He was a “man of honor” and his family also had an impeccable reputation nationwide, he emphasized. According to him, the drug laboratory was discovered in a densely forested part of the property. The property is owned by a company owned by the Sanclemente family.
+++ 8.07 PM: German economy stagnates +++
The German economy ran out of steam at the end of 2019. The gross domestic product stagnated in the fourth quarter compared to the previous quarter, as the Federal Statistical Office announced based on preliminary data in Wiesbaden. As assumed a month ago, gross domestic product grew by 0.6 percent for the year as a whole. That was significantly less than in each of the two previous years. In 2013, growth was just as weak as in 2019.
+++ 7.45 a.m .: UN Ocean Representative: 2020 decisive year for marine protection +++
In the struggle for intact oceans, the year 2020 is crucial, according to UN Ocean Commissioner Peter Thomson. “When the year ends and we have no results, we are in big trouble,” Thomson told the German Press Agency. “We need a lot more attention to the oceans. It all depends on one another: oceans, biodiversity, climate – that’s one thing,” said Thomson. “So far, governments and people have always put the seas and the environment at the bottom of the priority list. They have given priority to safety and food.” That had to change immediately.
People don’t understand how bad the loss of oxygen is for life in the oceans. “It is getting worse,” said Thomson. Added to this is the acidification of the oceans by carbon dioxide (CO2), which dissolves in the ocean. “The seas have become increasingly acidic since industrialization began, which makes it very difficult for mussels and vertebrates to exist.” Corals would also be damaged.
+++ 7.30 a.m .: Survey: majority of Thuringians for dissolution of the state parliament +++
After the controversial prime minister election in Thuringia, a majority of the Thuringians voted in favor of dissolving the state parliament. According to a survey published on Friday by the Insa Institute on behalf of the Thuringian newspapers of the Funke media group, 57 percent of the respondents are in favor of new elections. On the other hand, one in three prefers to repeat the prime ministerial election. More than half of those questioned would like a second term in office for Bodo Ramelow, head of the Left in Thuringia.
According to the survey, almost every second respondent is in favor of CDU MPs voting for Ramelow in the first ballot. This is supported by 40 percent of the CDU supporters. A majority of the FDP and AfD voters reject such voting behavior.
+++ 6.05 PM: USA accuse China of lack of transparency because of corona virus +++
The US government has complained about China’s “lack of transparency” in handling the new corona virus. Washington is “a bit disappointed” that no US experts have been admitted, US economic adviser Larry Kudlow said in Washington on Thursday (local time). The question arises whether “the Politburo is really honest with us”.
Contrary to Kudlow’s comments, US President Donald Trump said in a radio interview that the US was working with Beijing on the virus: “We are sending a lot of people” to China He considers China’s President Xi Jinping to be “extremely capable”.
+++ 4.43 a.m .: Passengers may leave the cruise ship “Westerdam” +++
After days of wandering and rejection by several Asian countries, the US cruise ship “Westerdam” has entered a Cambodian port. The passengers in Sihanoukville were finally able to feel solid ground under their feet again on Friday after 14 days at sea. Prime Minister Hun Sen personally greeted the first holidaymakers at the harbor, they were hung with flowers and traditional scarves.
The “Westerdam” set sail on February 1 in Hong Kong with 2,257 passengers and crew on board for a 14-day East Asia cruise. But Japan, Guam, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand rejected the ship out of fear of the new corona virus. Finally, Cambodia agreed to let the “Westerdam” enter. No case of the virus had been detected on board.
+++ 4.33 PM: Ischinger criticizes Germany’s military weakness +++
Before the start of the Munich Security Conference, head Wolfgang Ischinger criticized German foreign policy as too slow. The address given by the then Federal President Joachim Gauck in 2014 with the call for more German responsibility in the world did set things in motion, said Ischinger in an interview with the German Press Agency. “Given the tremendous speed at which world politics is developing, it’s going too slowly for me. It’s a little too little with a little too little determination.”
+++ 4.18 PM: SPD sharply criticizes Union pension reform ideas +++
With their reform proposals for retirement, Union politicians have caused violent criticism from the coalition partner SPD. The FDP also did not leave the proposals in good hands. A working group from the Union faction had proposed linking the retirement age to increasing life expectancy.
Another suggestion is that higher pension contributions should flow to low-wage earners. This is how they should be protected against poverty in old age. The basic pension could run out in the long run, wrote the working group of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group in a position paper available to the German press agency. The Union experts want to accompany the work of the government’s pension commission.
+++ 1.52 PM: Pelé comments on his state of health +++
The Brazilian football idol Pelé has commented on his alleged depression, soothing his health, according to his son. “Thank you for your prayers and don’t worry. I’m fine. I’m turning 80 this year,” Pelé wrote in a statement released Thursday. He had “good days and bad days, which is normal for people my age,” added the soccer star.
His son Edinho said in an interview earlier this week that his father was “pretty frail”, barely left the house, and was suffering from a “sort of depression”. Pelé, on the other hand, emphasized in his statement that he was not missing any of the “commitments of my very busy schedule” and was trying to “accept as well as possible his physical limitations”. Pelé has had to rely on a walker since hip surgery.
+++ 1.38 PM: China: number of coronavirus cases increases strongly +++
After the new classification of virus cases in China, the number of confirmed infections has risen sharply again. In the severely affected province of Hubei in central China alone, 4,823 infections were added within a day, according to state television, referring to the provincial health commission. This increases the number nationwide to almost 65,000. Again, 116 patients died of the disease in Hubei alone. This means that almost 1,500 deaths have been reported across the country.
+++ 0.25 PM: Syria: State media report rocket attack on Damskus +++
The Syrian air defense has thwarted a missile attack on the capital Damascus, according to reports from the state media. The state news agency Sana reported on Friday night that “enemy targets” had been intercepted. The rockets were launched from the Golan Heights into Syrian territory.
The Syrian Human Rights Observatory blamed Israel for the attack. This was directed against militias supported by Iran near the capital, the observatory based in Great Britain reported.
+++ 0.07 a.m .: USA extend exemption for business with Huawei +++
The U.S. government has again renewed an exemption for certain deals with Chinese smartphone vendor and network equipment supplier Huawei. The deferment by 45 days until April 1 should give affected customers more time to switch their businesses to products from other manufacturers, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday. The United States placed Huawei on a list of companies last May whose business relationships with US partners are subject to strict controls. The exemption to continue certain businesses has been extended several times since then.
+++ 0.06 clock: Iraq: US base hit by missile +++
A US base near Kirkuk in northern Iraq has been hit by a “small missile”. No damage was done and no one was injured, a spokesman for the international military alliance in Iraq said on Thursday evening on Twitter. For the time being, no group claimed responsibility for the attack. An attack on this base in December killed a US civilian employee and wounded several American and Iraqi soldiers.
+++ 0.05 PM: UN ambassador: climate change threatens peace +++
The German UN ambassador Christoph Heusgen classifies climate change as a threat to security worldwide. “This will be a new big problem for peace. We have to take care of it now, because otherwise it may be too late,” said the diplomat of the “Rheinische Post” (Friday). As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council this year, Germany will focus on the climate and security complex.
“We want to make it clear how climate change affects security,” said Heusgen. “For example, if populations migrate due to drought and want to settle in other areas, conflicts regularly arise.” Areas particularly affected are the Sahel and Lake Chad regions or countries such as Niger, Vietnam and island countries.