Two Planes In ‘Minor’ Collision At Frankfurt Airport

A file picture taken on March 21, 2019 shows a passenger aircraft landing at Frankfurt am Main airport, western Germany. Credit: AFP

 

An Air Namibia plane collided with a Korean Air jet after landing at Frankfurt airport on Saturday evening, officials said, adding that no one was injured.

Both aircraft were damaged in what Air Namibia on Sunday called “a minor accident”.

A spokeswoman for Frankfurt airport said the incident happened at around 6:00 pm (1700 GMT) on Saturday. She said no one was injured and the reasons for the crash remain unclear.

“The left wing of an Air Namibia plane collided with the horizontal stabiliser of Korean Air flight KE905 as it was waiting on the taxiway after landing,” Korean Air said in a statement.

The Korean Air plane was carrying 241 passengers and 40 crew at the time, it said.

“We confirm that no passengers and crew were hurt,” Air Namibia added in its own statement.

Korea Air said its Seoul-bound return flight was delayed by 21 hours as a result, adding that affected passengers had been offered accommodation.

A replacement aircraft was set to take off on Sunday afternoon.

Air Namibia said it had likewise offered accommodation to 244 passengers due to travel from Frankfurt to Windhoek, as the airline looked for alternative flights.

Germany’s Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU) has opened an investigation into the cause of the collision.

The damage to the two jets was still being assessed, a BFU spokesman said.

Loew Downplays Germany As Euro 2020 Favourites

Germany’s headcoach Joachim Loew attends a press conference ahead of the UEFA EURO 2020 qualification football match between Germany and Belarus in Duesseldorf, western Germany, on November 15, 2019.
INA FASSBENDER / AFP

 

Germany head coach Joachim Loew insisted Friday his fledgeling team cannot be considered among the favourites for Euro 2020 as they look to wrap up qualification against Belarus this weekend.

“I don’t think we’re among the top favourites,” said Loew ahead of Saturday’s Group C qualifier, citing world champions France, England, the Netherlands or Spain as potential winners next summer.

“A lot is possible, this team has great qualities, but many players still need a few more years to develop.”

Germany, who are second in Group C, will book their Euros place in Moenchengladbach if they better Northern Ireland’s result in their match against group leaders the Netherlands.

The Germans are level on points with the Dutch with the top two teams going through, and Loew is eager to wrap up qualification before Tuesday’s final qualifier against Northern Ireland, who are three points back in third.

“We’re two steps from the Euro 2020 finals, we want to win the last two games and have a positive end to the year,” said Loew.

READ ALSO: Ajax Reappoint Van der Sar As Chief Executive Until 2023

However, Loew says his young Germany team is still a “work in progress” in the wake of last year’s World Cup debacle in Russia.

His side were humbled 4-2 at home in September by the Dutch, before throwing away a two-goal lead against a weak Argentina in last month’s 2-2 friendly draw in Dortmund.

After Germany failed to qualify from their group at the 2018 World Cup finals, the 59-year-old cleaned out his squad in March by informing Thomas Mueller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng their international careers were over.

However, two key players in Loew’s new-look team, winger Leroy Sane, 23, and defender Niklas Suele, 24, are sidelined with long-term knee injuries.

Borussia Moenchengladbach defender Matthias Ginter, 25, will lead Germany’s back four against Belarus at Borussia Park.

“I have the feeling that ‘Matze’ (Ginter) is a bit undervalued, but I know how reliable he is and how well he can perform,” added Loew.

However with Ginter’s fellow centre back Suele set to miss most of the season, Loew has refused to recall Boateng or Hummels, his key defenders when Germany won the 2014 World Cup.

“The main thing is that he (Suele) returns fit, no one knows when he will be back on the pitch next,” added Loew.

Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos, Ilkay Gundogan of Manchester City and Bayern Munich’s Leon Goretzka will form Germany’s midfield behind RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, who has scored 11 goals in as many Bundesliga games.

Germany captain Manuel Neuer is under pressure in goal from Barcelona star Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Loew has said Neuer will start against Belarus on Saturday while Ter Stegen will face the Northern Irish three days later.

AFP

Pompeo Warns Against China, Russia On Eve Of Berlin Wall Anniversary

 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday issued a stark warning against China and Russia on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“Western, free nations have a responsibility to deter threats to our people” from governments like China, Russia and Iran, Pompeo said, speaking just a few metres (yards) away from where the Wall ran past the German capital’s world-famous Brandenburg Gate.

The US and its allies should “defend what was so hard-won… in 1989” and “recognise we are in a competition of values with unfree nations,” he added.

Picking at sore spots in Washington’s relationship with Berlin, Pompeo said the under-construction Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany would mean “Europe’s energy supplies… depend on (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s whims”.

READ ALSO: Trump Will Not Impose Tariffs On EU Cars – Juncker

Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly said the pipeline is a purely private business concern.

And he warned of “Chinese companies’ intent to build 5G networks”, after the German government failed to exclude tech giant Huawei from the bidding process for the next-generation mobile network infrastructure.

Pompeo is on a whirlwind two-day tour of Germany where he has revisited the site of his Cold War military service on the former Iron Curtain border and is slated to meet leaders including Merkel.

While in Europe, he has looked to shore up transatlantic relations eroded by trade conflicts and discord over geopolitical crises and military spending.

Spurred by the US leaving the way open to Turkish and Russian military action in northern Syria, France’s President Emmanuel Macron told The Economist this week that the NATO alliance — of which Ankara is also a member — was suffering a “brain death” of lack of coordination between Europe and Washington.

Recalling past “challenges between partners” within NATO, including France’s 1960s departure from the alliance’s command structure, Pompeo on Friday dismissed the debate around Macron’s comments as a “kerfuffle”.

Other leaders including Merkel, NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have also firmly rejected Macron’s assessment.

Trump Will Not Impose Tariffs On EU Cars – Juncker

 

The outgoing president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said Friday he believes the US will not impose new tariffs on imported European cars in the coming days.

President Donald Trump’s administration has been threatening since last year to impose tariffs on auto imports to defend the US automaking sector, a symbol of American manufacturing.

After postponing such measures in May, Trump is due to decide by mid-November whether to impose the supplemental tariffs on cars built in EU countries — a step particularly feared by the big German automakers.

READ ALSO: Five Killed, 120 Injured In Iran Earthquake

But in an interview with a German newspaper, Juncker said he was “fully informed” on the issue and that Trump “will not do it”.

“Trump will criticise a little, but there will not be tariffs on cars,” he told the Suddeutsche Zeitung published Friday.

If adopted, it would mark the latest escalation of the trade conflict between Brussels and Washington, coming only weeks after the US imposed new punitive taxes on European products worth $7.5 billion.

That increase came in mid-October, four days after the World Trade Organization (WTO) gave Washington a green light to take retaliatory trade measures against the EU over its subsidies to European aerospace giant Airbus.

The United States also imposed heightened tariffs last year on EU-made steel and aluminium products.

On November 3, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross suggested Washington may not need to impose new customs taxes on auto imports.

“We’ve had very good conversations with our European friends, with our Japanese friends, with our Korean friends,” Ross said.

Sombre Mood As Germany Marks 30 Years Of Berlin Wall Fall

Spectators stand in front of a 3D video installation projected on the so-called East Side Gallery, a 1,3 km-long portion of the Berlin wall, during a rehearsal on November 3, 2019 in Berlin.
PHOTO: Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP

 

Germany marks three decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall this week, but a hint of a return of the Cold War and the rise of nationalism is dampening the mood.

Leaders of former Cold War powers will be absent from anniversary festivities, as Donald Trump’s America First, Britain’s Brexit and Russia’s resurgence put a strain on ties.

Gone, too, is the euphoric optimism for liberal democracy and freedom that characterised the momentous event on November 9, 1989, as Germany grapples with a surge in far-right support in its former communist states.

“The spirit of optimism” that we saw 30 years ago, or even five or 10 years ago, “is not perceivable” today, said Berlin’s culture senator Klaus Lederer, whose office took the lead in putting together the capital’s festivities for the week.

The mood is, therefore “reflective, but we are celebrating”, he said. “We are looking back at history together, and we are also talking about the future.”

As a sign of the tense times, Germany will put on a sober political programme to mark the epochal event that led to reunification and brought down the Iron Curtain dividing a communist East from a capitalist West.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the anniversary was a chance to remind Europe why it needs to stay united in the face of rising geopolitical tensions around the world.

“Exhortations from individual European capitals fall on deaf ears in Moscow, Beijing and, unfortunately, to an increasing extent also in Washington, DC,” he wrote in an op-ed carried in newspapers across the EU on Saturday.

“It is only Europe’s voice that carries decisive weight. This is why unilateral action at the national level must finally be taboo in Europe.”

– Serious tone –
While the spotlight five years ago was on world leaders from Barack Obama to Mikhail Gorbachev, this time around, the central focus is on Europe itself.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen will set the tone with a speech on the eve of the anniversary at an event attended also by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

On November 9, only central European presidents will headline the official ceremonies.

Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will be joined by his Polish, Czech, Slovak, and Hungarian counterparts, in town to mark “the contribution of the central European countries to the peaceful revolution” that led to the collapse of the communist regime.

Merkel will speak at the Chapel of Reconciliation, which stands on the former Berlin Wall border strip.

Steinmeier, the moral arbiter of the country, will also make a speech at the Brandenburg Gate on the anniversary evening, before a series of concerts including by the prestigious Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

And US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was stationed in Germany as a young soldier in 1989, will be in visiting from Wednesday but leave on the eve of the anniversary.

He meets Merkel and members of her cabinet on Friday, in meetings set to underline the growing divisions across the globe.

In a statement announcing his visit, Pompeo’s office said talks with his counterpart Maas will “discuss the importance of our Transatlantic partnership and the need for strengthened engagement in the face of growing threats from Russia, China, and Iran.”

– ‘Cold war is back’ –
While the fall of the Iron Curtain that divided post-war Europe had led to hopes of a liberal democratic era and arms dismantlement three decades ago, the mood has soured today.

Within the EU, cracks have appeared as former eastern bloc countries like Hungary or Poland are accused by Brussels of challenging the rule of law.

On a broader arena, Trump’s go-it-alone stance on rejecting world treaties including on climate change and a nuclear disarmament deal with Iran has deeply shaken long-time allies in Europe.

Russia, meanwhile, is consolidating its foothold in the Middle East, while the US is also increasingly at odds with China.

For UN chief Antonio Guterres, “the Cold War is back — with a vengeance, but with a difference. The mechanisms and the safeguards to manage the risks of escalation that existed in the past no longer seem to be present.”

Gorbachev, who chose to stand aside instead of stopping the Wall from falling 30 years back, was also more pessimistic today.

Writing in his latest book, Gorbachev warned: “International politics is on an extremely dangerous trajectory… military operations currently have the characteristics of a real war.”

AFP

Euro 2020: Germany Boss Loew Rules Out Recalling Hummels

Germany’s coach Joachim Loew speaks to his players/ AFP

 

Germany head coach Joachim Loew on Thursday ruled out recalling Mats Hummels as injury cover for next month’s key Euro 2020 qualifiers with the Germans still hunting a finals berth.

There have been calls for Loew to reinstate Hummels to the national squad for November’s games against Belarus and Northern Ireland, especially with first-choice centre-back Niklas Suele ruled out for six months.

The 30-year-old Hummels has rebooted his career since leaving Bayern Munich in the summer to return to Borussia Dortmund, the club he represented 225 times between 2009 and 2016, having been told by Loew in March that his Germany days are over.

However, despite a series of eye-catching performances, Loew insisted that recalling Hummels is “not a topic at the moment” with Germany needing to win both of their remaining qualifiers to confirm their berth at the Euro 2020 finals.

Loew has experimented with Freiburg’s Robin Koch, Bayer Leverkusen’s Jonathan Tah, Thilo Kehrer of Paris St. Germain, all 23 years old, plus Hertha Berlin defender Niklas Stark, 24, and Matthias Ginter, 25, of Moenchengladbach in recent internationals.

“I have said that I am betting on young players and you have to throw them in at the deep end,” added Loew at an event in Wolfsburg.

“One should not throw all plans now out of the window, just because this or that player is hurt.

“I hope a few players will return from injury, but we already have a few very young and good defenders, that we can develop over the next few months.”

However, Germany fans disagree as a survey published Monday by Kicker magazine showed 77 percent of 96,000 people who responded want Hummels back in Germany’s white shirt.

AFP

Germany Bans Weapons Sales To Turkey Over Syria Offensive

Turkish troops and Turkish-backed Syrian rebels gather outside the border town of Ras al-Ain on October 12, 2019, during their assault on Kurdish-held border towns in northeastern Syria. Nazeer Al-khatib / AFP

 

Germany is halting sales of weapons to Turkey over its operation against Kurdish militias in northern Syria, its foreign minister was quoted as saying on Saturday.

Germany, along with many of its allies, has condemned the offensive that Ankara says is targing the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia — a force that has played a key role against the Islamic State group in Syria.

“In the context of the Turkish military offensive in northeastern Syria, the government will not issue any new permits for any military equipment that could be used in Syria by Turkey,” Maas was quoted as telling the Sunday edition of Bild.

Last year, Germany exported arms totalling almost 243 million euros ($270 million) to fellow NATO member Turkey — almost a third of its total weapons sales of 771 million euros.

And in the first four months of this year, sales to Turkey — its biggest customer in NATO — reached 184 million euros.

Germany’s population includes about 2.5 million people of Turkish origin.

Germany is one of the world’s biggest arms exporters along with the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France.

Last year it imposed an embargo on weapons sales to Saudi Arabia after the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul.

Maas this week warned that Turkey’s operation risked the resurgence of IS in the region and that it could trigger a humanitarian disaster.

AFP

Germany Wants Facebook Platform Access After Encryption

 

The German government wants US social media giant Facebook to ensure that security forces can gain access to its platforms after it has encrypted them so as to help fight crime.

The United States, Britain and Australia urged Facebook in an open letter earlier this month not to encrypt its messaging services because this would hinder efforts to combat terrorism and child abuse.

A government statement to be published in Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday says: “The preoccupations expressed in this open letter concerning the consequences of Facebook’s plans are shared by the interior ministry.”

The company says it recognises the problems raised but that it still plans to go ahead.

Facebook has run into stiff criticism over massive personal data security lapses and recently promised to encrypt its instant messenger service, in line with its WhatsApp offering.

The German government said this move would result in “a weakening of the authorities’ capacity to detect serious threats”.

To resolve the issue, it wants Facebook to build in back-door access to the encrypted messages.

“Technical solutions must be found on a case-by-case basis,” it said in the statement.

Finding the “appropriate solution… is first and foremost the responsibility of the company,” it added.

Facebook bluntly rejected the request as a threat to user security around the world.

“We vehemently reject government efforts to gain back-door access because that would put in danger the private lives and the security of people around the world,” the newspaper cited a Facebook German spokesman as saying.

In their open letter, the United States, Britain and Australia said Facebook reported 16.8 million paedophile content cases last year and said 70 percent of these would not have been discovered if its services were encrypted.

AFP

German Shooter Video Stays Online Despite Crackdown

A special unit of the police examines on October 9, 2019 on a road in Werschen, eastern Germany, a taxi that was involved in the case of a shooting in Halle an der Saale, eastern Germany./ AFP

 

Video of a deadly shooting in Germany was easily accessible on 4chan, BitChute and other sites Thursday, attracting tens of thousands of views, despite efforts by tech companies to curb the spread of violent content.

Roughly 24 hours after the attack, video and links to an anti-Semitic “manifesto” published a week earlier by the gunman were also still available online using a simple keyword search on popular anonymous online forum 4chan.

The assault in city of Halle, which left two people dead Wednesday, took place as Jews marked the holy day of Yom Kippur, with the gunman streaming the attack live online.

The assailant’s 35-minute video was originally livestreamed on Twitch, an Amazon-owned, gaming-focused streaming platform.

Twitch said it was viewed live by just five users and a recording was seen by 2,200 people before it was flagged and removed.

But the full video was still available Thursday on multiple sites promoting violent and sexual content.

Two video links found by AFP had been viewed more than 90,000 times, according to the sites’ visitor counters.

One of them, BitChute, is a video-hosting service which enables peer-to-peer sharing.

It has become popular with the global “alt-right” as it avoids content restrictions on social media platforms like YouTube by relying on user donations rather than advertising.

BitChute has hosted content from prominent conspiracy theorists who have been banned from YouTube, including US vlogger David Seaman, who promoted conspiracies about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Users of 4chan have also repeatedly shared links to the full video from Halle since it was first uploaded on Wednesday.

A keyword search for “Halle” on the forum led to multiple posts with links to the footage.

One 4chan user posted a link to a downloadable copy of the gunman’s manifesto and the full video — with English subtitles added.

“After seeing a lot of non-german speaking anons always asking for what is being said in the Halle Synagogue Shooting Video,” they wrote, “I decide to translate it with subtitles.”

On another online forum, kiwifarms.net, AFP found at least one user offering a link to download the full video using torrent software, along with full instructions.

Christchurch Call

But the video was not readily available Thursday on mainstream social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

This is in contrast to the livestreamed footage of the Christchurch mosque shootings in March, which was continually re-uploaded to these platforms despite a concerted effort to remove it.

After the Christchurch attacks, governments and tech companies including Amazon signed up to a partnership known as The Call, which aims to eradicate extremism and terrorism online.

“Amazon joined the Christchurch Call in New York, so the incident protocol that we’ve developed has kicked in,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said after the Halle attack.

“Companies are communicating as I understand with one other to ensure that that video does not spread online.”

Police captured the Halle suspect after a gun battle that left him injured.

Suspected Gunman In Deadly Germany Shooting Arrested

A special unit of the police examines on October 9, 2019 on a road in Werschen, eastern Germany, a taxi that was involved in the case of a shooting in Halle an der Saale, eastern Germany./ AFP

 

The suspected gunman in a deadly shooting Tuesday in Germany’s Halle city has been detained, police said. 

“The suspect has been arrested,” a police spokesman told AFP, adding that the man was “being treated” for injuries.

Germany’s World Cup Winner Schweinsteiger Announces Retirement

(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 28, 2018 former Bayern Munich’s midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger waves during his farewell match between his former teams FC Bayern Munich and Chicago Fire in the stadium in Munich, southern Germany, on August 28, 2018.  Christof STACHE / AFP

 

Bastian Schweinsteiger is welcome to join the Germany coaching staff, national team coach Joachim Loew said Tuesday just hours before the veteran midfielder announced his retirement on Tuesday.

“The time has now come and I will be finishing my active career at the end of the season,” Schweinsteiger wrote on Twitter.

“Saying goodbye as an active player makes me feel a little nostalgic, but I am also looking forward to the exciting challenges that await me.”

The 35-year-old former Bayern Munich and Manchester United midfielder has effectively hung up his boots as his current team Chicago Fire team failed to make the MLS play-offs.

Shortly before Tuesday’s announcement on social media by Schweinsteiger, Loew said the midfielder could join his staff.

“We will always have a place for him,” said Loew in Dortmund where Germany are preparing to host Argentina in a friendly on Wednesday.

“I don’t know what his plans are,” he said, adding “any player who has ever played in the national team, and has the goal of being a coach, is always welcome here to get a taste of what it’s like.”

Schweinsteiger’s former national team-mate Miroslav Klose was briefly part of Loew’s coaching staff, as a forwards coach, until last year’s World Cup.

Schweinsteiger retired from the national team in 2016 after making 121 appearances.

Loew heaped praise on Schweinsteiger, who helped inspire a 1-0 extra-time victory over Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final despite a cut under his right eye.

“Everyone has a picture of him in their heads: blood-stained in the Maracana (in the 2014 World Cup final), he got up again and again and gave everything.

“He is one of the greatest players in German history,” enthused Loew.

“You could always feel his will to win. He was a great player and a great personality.”

AFP

Germany Extends Saudi Arms Exports Ban

German Chancellor Angela Merkel/ AFP

 

Germany has extended a weapons export embargo against Saudi Arabia for six months until the end of March 2020, a government spokesman said Wednesday.

Besides a halt in deliveries during the period, no new weapons contracts would be approved, the spokesman added about the embargo, which was imposed last October over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

AFP