Germany Turns On Coach Loew After Spain Catastrophe

Joachim Loew

 

Germany coach Joachim Loew faces the biggest crisis of his 14-year reign after his side were thrashed by Spain, with former players and the media questioning Wednesday whether he should lead the team into next year’s European championship finals.

The 6-0 drubbing in Seville on Tuesday was Germany’s heaviest defeat for 89 years as Spain completely dominated the Nations League match in Seville.

The Bild daily was blunt in its assessment, headlining its coverage: “Loew should offer to resign.”

“Just seven months before the Euro, the German FA has to answer the question whether Joachim Loew is still the right man for the tournament,” the paper said.

Ferran Torres scored a brilliant hat-trick as Spain attacked at will with Loew’s Germany side offering little resistance as they slumped to their heaviest defeat since losing 6-0 in Berlin against Austria in 1931.

Loew batted off questions about his future in the post-match press conference.

“You have to ask others. I can’t answer that spontaneously,” he replied when asked if he was worried about his job.

Loew led Germany to the 2014 World Cup but the credit from that triumph was largely dissipated by the debacle at the 2018 finals in Russia when Germany crashed out in the group phase.

Loew’s contract with the German federation runs until the 2022 World Cup and he appears to still have the support of Germany team director Oliver Bierhoff.

“The confidence is completely there,” Bierhoff insisted in the wake of the drubbing, but promised a “hard analysis”.

Bierhoff pointed to a lineup on Tuesday containing veteran players Manuel Neuer, Ilkay Gundogan and Toni Kroos as proof that “lack of experience of the players is no excuse”.

– ‘Fiasco’ –

Bastian Schweinsteiger, who won the 2014 World Cup under Loew, was horrified by the performance.

“It did not feel like a team – there were no commands” in the German ranks, said the 36-year-old, who now works as a media pundit.

“You only heard the Spanish talking. You have to change something. The German national team can’t play like that.

“There are certain values, which I didn’t see on the pitch.”

Munich-based newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the humiliation in Spain must fuel the debate “How much longer with Jogi Loew?”.

“The fiasco in Seville will obviously have consequences,” said Cologne-based Express. “Is Joachim Loew still the right coach for the national team?”

Schweinsteiger reignited the debate about whether three other veteran players who Loew has sidelined from the national team — Mats Hummels and Bayern Munich’s Champions League-winning pair Jerome Boateng and Thomas Mueller — should be reinstated.

Loew told all three in 2019 that their Germany careers were over, yet the trio are all currently in great form for their clubs.

“This is the German team, it has to bring together the best players,” Schweinsteiger said, adding that Mueller and Boateng would be in his team for Euro 2020 if he were coach.

“The coach has his own opinion on this, I have a different one,” he added.

Even Neuer, the team’s captain and goalkeeper whose record 96th international appearance was one he will want to forget, hinted the trio should return.

“I do not want to highlight any of the three named: all players could help us in principle, they have proven that often enough,” Neuer told Sport Bild magazine.

Time is running out for Loew to prove he can turn things around before the Euro 2020 finals, postponed from last year, kick-off in June.

“The path that the national coach has taken, I will follow up to and including the European Championship,” Bierhoff told the Frankfurt newspaper FAZ.

-AFP

Spain’s 6-0 Win Inflicts Worst Defeat On Germany In 89 Years

The game was Germany’s worst defeat since 1931. Photo:[email protected]ón Española de Fútbol

 

Ferran Torres grabbed a hat-trick as Spain condemned Germany to their worst defeat in 89 years on Tuesday, winning 6-0 in Seville to qualify for the UEFA Nations League finals and join France, who came from behind to beat Sweden 4-2.

Manchester City forward Torres was the star for Spain, who were as brilliant as Germany were bad. The result raises further questions about Germany coach Joachim Loew, who was already under pressure coming into this game.

“This has been a black day for us,” admitted Loew after Germany’s heaviest defeat since losing 6-0 to Austria in 1931.

They came into their final game in League A, Group 4 on top, a point clear of Spain, and so only needed a draw at an empty La Cartuja to qualify for the finals in October next year.

But Alvaro Morata headed Spain in front in the 17th minute before Torres crashed in the second on 33 minutes after Dani Olmo’s header hit the bar.

His City team-mate Rodri headed in another to make it 3-0 for Spain before the end of a first half in which they lost Sergio Canales and skipper Sergio Ramos to injury, with the latter coming off feeling his hamstring.

Germany’s defence was posted missing as Jose Gaya burst through and squared for Torres to get the fourth on 55 minutes, and Fabian Ruiz teed up the 20-year-old Torres to complete his hat-trick.

Serge Gnabry hit the bar for Germany before substitute Mikel Oyarzabal completed the rout.

“It was one of the best and most complete matches of the Spanish national team,” said Spain coach Luis Enrique.

Germany now have several months to reflect on this loss before the start of 2022 World Cup qualifying in March and then the delayed Euro 2020 in June and July.

Spain, meanwhile, become the second side to qualify for the Nations League finals after France clinched their place by beating Portugal at the weekend.

– Portugal win with late goal –
The World Cup holders finished off their League A, Group 3 campaign by beating Sweden behind closed doors at the Stade de France as Olivier Giroud continued his remarkable scoring record for Les Bleus with a brace.

Viktor Claesson’s deflected early strike gave Sweden the lead, but Giroud soon equalised and Benjamin Pavard put France ahead before half-time.

Giroud then headed in Kylian Mbappe’s cross to make it 3-1 before the hour mark, and Kingsley Coman scored France’s final goal at the death after Robin Quaison had netted Sweden’s second.

Having recently overtaken Michel Platini’s tally of 41 goals for Les Bleus, Giroud is now on 44 and is closing in on Thierry Henry’s overall record mark of 51.

The 34-year-old remains a key player for France despite being on the periphery with his club Chelsea, for whom he has started just once this season, in the League Cup.

Sweden finish bottom of the group behind Croatia and are relegated to the second-tier League B for the next edition of the competition.

That is despite 10-man Croatia losing 3-2 at home to Portugal in Split, with Manchester City defender Ruben Dias getting a 90th-minute winner for the 2019 Nations League champions.

Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic had scored twice for Croatia, either side of Dias’s first of the night and a Joao Felix effort for Portugal, who featured Cristiano Ronaldo wearing the captain’s armband.

Marko Rog was sent off for Croatia.

The remaining two spots in the Nations League semi-finals will be decided on Wednesday, with Italy and Belgium currently in pole position.

Tuesday’s other scheduled Group 4 game between Switzerland and Ukraine in Lucerne was postponed after six Covid-19 cases in the Ukrainian squad led to their entire delegation being ordered into quarantine by Swiss health authorities.

Elsewhere, Montenegro’s 4-0 victory over Cyprus saw them top League C, Group 1 and win promotion to League B. Gibraltar and the Faroe Islands won promotion to League C.

AFP

Three Arrested Over ‘Spectacular’ Dresden Museum Jewellry Heist

Thieves targeted three sets of items in the Jewel Room of the Green Vault museum in a heist carried out early Monday. The burgled room is seen here in a photo provided by the Dresden State Art Collections.
David Brandt/Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

 

German police on Tuesday arrested three suspects and raided properties over a spectacular heist a year ago in which more than a dozen diamond-encrusted items were snatched from a state museum in Dresden.

Investigators were searching 18 properties in Berlin, including 10 apartments as well as garages and vehicles, in connection to what local media had dubbed the biggest art heist in modern history.

“The measures today are focused on the search for the stolen art treasures and possible evidence, such as data storage media, clothing and tools,” police and prosecutors said in a statement.

The robbers had launched their brazen raid on Green Vault museum in Dresden’s Royal Palace on November 25, 2019.

Having initiated a partial power cut and broken in through a window, they had snatched priceless 18th-century jewellery from the collection of the Saxon ruler August the Strong.

Items stolen included a sword whose hilt is encrusted with nine large and 770 smaller diamonds and a shoulder piece which contains the famous 49-carat Dresden white diamond, Dresden’s Royal Palace had said.

 

Items stolen from the “Green Vault” museum in Dresden, Germany, include (from left) the breast star of the Polish Order of the White Eagle, a hat clasp containing a 16-carat diamond and a diamond-studded sword hilt with a matching scabbard.

 

The director of Dresden’s state art collection, Marion Ackermann, had refused to put a value on the stolen items, calling them “priceless”.

Dramatic CCTV footage released at that time showed one of the robbers breaking into a display case with an axe.

Police hunting for the suspects had launched several appeals, offering up to half a million euros in reward for information leading to their arrests.

On Tuesday, around 1,600 officers were deployed in the raids and arrests, with special reinforcements called in from across the country to help in what was code-named Special Commission Epaulette — after one of the stolen precious pieces.

Police did not name the three arrested, but said they are German citizens.

All three are accused of “serious gang robbery and two counts of arson,” said Dresden prosecutors.

100-kg gold coin

Germany’s best-selling daily Bild said several of the addresses raided in Berlin on Tuesday were linked to a family of Arab origin notorious for ties to organised crime.

The so-called “Remmo clan” had been implicated in another high-profile museum robbery in the heart of Berlin in which a 100-kilogramme (220-pound) gold coin was stolen.

Two out of three of the suspects convicted in February in that case belonged to the family.

Police have found no trace of the Canadian coin since the late-night heist in March 2017 from the Bode Museum, located close to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Berlin apartment.

The “Big Maple Leaf”, one of five minted in 2007, is considered the world’s second-largest gold coin after the one-tonne Australian Kangaroo issued in 2012.

Investigators probing the Dresden break-in had said they were examining links to the gold coin robbery.

In recent years, so-called “clans” of primarily Middle Eastern origin have become a particular focus for police in Berlin.

Investigators last year targeted the Remmos with the seizure of 77 properties worth a total of 9.3 million euros, charging that they were purchased with the proceeds of various crimes, including a 2014 bank robbery.

In another huge heist this month, robbers hit a German customs office, making off with 6.5 million euros ($7.7 million) in cash.

Investigators said they drilled through a basement cellar through to the vault, snatching bags of cash.

Police have offered 100,000 euros in reward for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of the suspects.

Merkel Eyes Tougher Restrictions To Curb Soaring COVID-19 Cases

 

Netherlands' Prime Minister Mark Rutte (L) looks on next to Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel ( 2nd L), President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen (2nd R) and France's President Emmanuel Macron prior the start of the European Council building in Brussels, on July 18, 2020, as the leaders of the European Union hold their first face-to-face summit over a post-virus economic rescue plan. Francisco Seco / POOL / AFP
. Francisco Seco / POOL / AFP

Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Monday push for tougher curbs including masks in all schools, smaller class sizes and drastic limits on contacts to bring down coronavirus infections in Germany.

Outside work or school, contact between people should also be “restricted to those from another fixed household,” according to a proposal by Merkel’s office and which would be put to regional leaders of Germany’s 16 states later Monday.

Europe’s biggest economy began a new round of shutdowns in November, closing restaurants, cultural venues and leisure facilities to curb transmission of Covid-19.

But while new cases are plateauing, the daily numbers are still too high for officials to determine the infection chain and thereby break the transmission.

During talks to take stock of the situation, Merkel will seek to get state premiers to sign up to drastically limiting contacts.

All private parties should be cancelled until Christmas, the document proposes.

Children and youths should pick just one specific friend to meet up with outside school hours.

To ensure that schools are kept open as long as possible, the chancellery has also suggested that classes “without exceptions be broken up into fixed groups, where the size of groups in classrooms are halved compared to normal operations”.

An alternative is to use larger rooms for classes, according to the draft.

The document also urges anyone with signs of a cold, including a cough or runny nose, to self-isolate for five to seven days until they are free of symptoms again.

Germany has fared relatively well in the first wave of the pandemic, but numbers have dramatically shot up in the autumn.

On Monday, it reported 10,824 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing total infections to date to 801,327. Some 12,547 people have died from the virus.

German Coach, Loew Tells Players To’Take Control Of Nations League Group


Roman Kruchinin / AFP

 

Germany head coach Joachim Loew has told his stars to knuckle down and take control of their Nations League group, starting against Ukraine on Saturday, after three draws and just one win in their mediocre campaign so far.

The three-time European champions host Ukraine in Leipzig on Saturday, then face Spain in Seville on Tuesday.

Victories in both of their final two Nations League games would see Germany win the group.

“We must definitely use both games, and our matches in March, to find our game and establish ourselves,” said Loew, with one eye on next June’s Euro 2020 finals.

Germany squeezed past a determined Ukraine side with a 2-1 win in Kiev last month.

Both Germany and Ukraine are level on six points, one behind group leaders Spain, who face bottom side Switzerland in Basel on Saturday.

Loew is wary of a dogged Ukrainian side coached by former Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko, who have already beaten Spain and Switzerland in the group.

“We will have to overcome a lot of resistance and have extremely good solutions ready if we want to hold our own against Ukraine,” Loew said on Friday.

Germany are unbeaten in their last 11 games, but the statistic masks defensive problems, exposed by last month’s 3-3 draws against both Switzerland and in a friendly with Turkey.

In their Nations League games so far, Germany surrendered the lead three times to draw with Spain and twice against the Swiss.

Bayern Munich wingers Serge Gnarby and Leroy Sane are set to play either side of Chelsea striker Timo Werner.

Manuel Neuer captains the side and will equal Sepp Maier’s Germany record of 95 appearances for a goalkeeper.

With Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos suspended, Leon Goretzka is set to partner Ilkay Gundogan in the defensive midfield.

Burly Bayern defender Niklas Suele is also set to play despite training on Tuesday for the first time since testing positive for the coronavirus ten days ago.

“He made a good impression in training and you can assume that he will play,” Loew added.

Despite this season’s congested fixture list due to the coronavirus pandemic, Loew says he sees the value of the Nations League and is demanding two final performances.

“The competition has a certain importance and if we beat Ukraine, we would be in a good position” before the final match against Spain, added Loew.

-AFP

Russia’s Navalny Sanctions Plan ‘Unjustified,’ Says Germany


Tiziana FABI, Mladen ANTONOV / AFP

 

The German government on Friday branded as “unjustified” plans by Russia to impose retaliatory sanctions on German and French officials over the poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert was reacting to an announcement on Thursday by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that the Kremlin had confirmed it would soon inform Germany and France of new sanctions against them.

Lavrov described the step as a response to the European Union’s move to slap sanctions on several Russian officials in October.

The bloc had argued the August poisoning of Navalny could not have been carried out without the complicity of Moscow’s security services.

“Russia has all the means at its disposal to get to the bottom of this crime and instead it levels sanctions against officials of other states,” Seibert said.

He called the punitive measures “unjustified and inappropriate”, saying that Russia was “disregarding the international interest in solving this case”.

Instead, Moscow was “making it an issue in its bilateral relations with Germany and France”.

The 44-year-old anti-graft campaigner collapsed on a flight in Russia in August and was transported to Germany where experts concluded he was poisoned with the Soviet-designed nerve agent Novichok.

Navalny has said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the poisoning, while the Kremlin has strenuously denied involvement and accused Germany of refusing to cooperate in an investigation.

Lavrov on Thursday added without providing evidence that Moscow had “reason to believe” the nerve agent could have entered Navalny’s system during the flight to Berlin’s Charite hospital or while he was in Germany.

Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh called the suggestion that Navalny was poisoned in Germany “the most idiotic of them all”.

Doctors who treated Navalny before he was flown to Berlin said last week that he had not been poisoned but instead was suffering from metabolic issues and pancreatitis.

Navalny remains in Germany for treatment but has vowed to return to Russia after making a full recovery.

-AFP

Germany Sees Signs Of Decline In New COVID-19 Cases

German Chancellor Angela Merkel takes part in a "Citizen Dialogue" (Buergerdialog) held digitally as part of a series called "The Chancellor in conversation" on November 12, 2020 at the Chancellery in Berlin. John MACDOUGALL / AFP / POOL
German Chancellor Angela Merkel takes part in a “Citizen Dialogue” (Buergerdialog) held digitally as part of a series called “The Chancellor in conversation” on November 12, 2020 at the Chancellery in Berlin. John MACDOUGALL / AFP / POOL

 

Germany is seeing tentative signs that a surge in coronavirus infections may be easing, officials said Thursday, giving credit to anti-transmission measures that they warned would have to be maintained through winter and beyond.

“The curve is flattening,” said Lothar Wieler, who heads the country’s disease control agency RKI.

Falling daily new infection figures show “we are not helpless against this virus” and that restrictions such as social distancing and mask wearing can help halt the march of Covid-19, he added.

Germany reported 21,866 new cases of Covid-19 over the last 24 hours, according to RKI data.

Information cards are seen at the new Lufthansa coronavirus test center of the Franz-Josef-Strauss airport in Munich, southern Germany, on November 12, 2020, amid the ongoing novel coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. Christof STACHE / AFP
Information cards are seen at the new Lufthansa coronavirus test center of the Franz-Josef-Strauss airport in Munich, southern Germany, on November 12, 2020, amid the ongoing novel coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. Christof STACHE / AFP

 

The key reproduction figure has fallen below 1 to 0.89, meaning that 100 people are passing on the virus to 89 others — a sign that transmission is slowing.

Despite the encouraging data, the Robert Koch Institute chief said the situation could worsen in the coming weeks in hospitals, which may “reach their limits”.

“We must prevent the situation from deteriorating,” he said, stressing Germany’s aim is to bring infection numbers down to a level that the healthcare system can cope with.

Wieler urged Germans to keep social contacts to a minimum, saying the so-called AHA-L measures would still be necessary even if a vaccine is available because it will take time to roll out the jabs.

Under Germany’s AHA-L rule mantra, individuals are urged to maintain distances of at least 1.5 metres (five feet), wash their hands regularly, wear masks in indoors or crowded outdoor places as well as airing out rooms.

‘A long time’

Germany reimposed tough curbs this month to help slow the outbreak, with leisure and cultural centres closing and restaurants and bars only allowed to offer takeaway.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to hold a new round of talks with regional leaders of Germany’s 16 states on Monday to take stock of the situation and examine if the restrictions should be maintained or toughened.

Taking questions during a citizens’ dialogue, Merkel told a Bavarian hotel manager that if people behaved “reasonably,… we might have a chance” of slowly re-opening in December.

But the veteran leader has also begun managing Germans’ expectations for Christmas, saying that she could foresee small family gatherings but no lavish parties.

Health Minister Jens Spahn said it was clear that the Christmas festive season would be accompanied by restrictions.

The virus “takes a long time to brake,” he told regional radio RBB.

“Even if we managed to bring the numbers down now, it doesn’t mean that people can just get going everywhere again in December or January.”

“Partying over Christmas like nothing is going on won’t work,” he warned.

For the health minister, parties with more than 10 people this winter are not on if Germany wants to keep the pandemic under control.

With an eye on rising infections in schools, several German states have mooted the idea of lengthening the Christmas vacation to keep the population home and break the chain of transmission.

Merkel has warned that only when 60 to 70 percent of the population has achieved immunity can Covid-19 be deemed to have been “more or less overcome”.

 

AFP

Robbers Burgle German Customs Office, Cart Away With 6.5M Euros

View of the customs office in the main terminal at Tegel ‘Otto Lilienthal’ Airport, in Berlin on November 8, 2020. Berlin’s beloved Cold War-era Tegel airport finally closed its doors on November 8 after a last flight took off, one week after a much-delayed replacement hub opened on the other side of the German capital.
John MACDOUGALL / AFP

 

German investigators said Wednesday they had launched a manhunt for suspects who made off with 6.5 million euros ($7.6 million) in cash after breaking into a customs office.

“The break-in was professionally planned and carried out: three as yet unidentified perpetrators used a drill to get to the vault from an adjoining room in the cellar of the building,” police said in a statement.

“From there they stole about 6.5 million euros in cash.”

The heist, which struck the customs office in the western city of Duisburg, took place on Sunday, November 1.

Witnesses said they had heard drilling sounds at around 6:00 am. Three hours later, three men dressed in dark clothing and dark knit caps were seen walking in and out of the building to load objects into a white van with sliding doors.

They then drove off with the van.

Another witness noticed a man walking around the customs office before getting into a car and driving off in the same direction as the van.

Photographs of the man taken by the witness were published by police, who are offering a 100,000-euro reward for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of the suspects.

– 100kg gold coin –

Germany has been hit by several high-profile heists, with banks and museums frequent targets.

A Berlin court sentenced three men to multi-year jail sentences in February for the spectacular theft of a 100-kilogram (220-lb) gold coin from one of the German capital’s museums.

Police have found no trace of the Canadian coin since the late-night heist in March 2017 from the Bode Museum, located close to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Berlin apartment.

The “Big Maple Leaf”, one of five minted in 2007, is considered the world’s second-largest gold coin after the one-tonne Australian Kangaroo issued in 2012.

Two of the men convicted belong to a family of Arab origin notorious for ties to organised crime, while the third was a security guard at the museum.

The Remmo family, whose patriarchs fled war-torn Lebanon in the 1980s, are considered to be one of Berlin’s most notorious organised crime clans.

Priceless diamonds were meanwhile among a huge haul of jewelry stolen from the Green Vault museum in Dresden’s Royal Palace in November last year.

Half a million euros in reward has been offered for information about the spectacular break-in, but no suspects have yet been named.

None of the objects, many encrusted with hundreds of diamonds, have been recovered.

Most recently in Berlin, at least three bank robbery attempts were reported over the summer.

A bank in the upmarket central district of Wilmersdorf was hit twice, with thieves reportedly making off with half a million euros in their first bid while holding up a money transporter.

It was unclear if any money was taken in the second attempt.

A separate bank in the German capital was also hit in August, but thieves fled empty-handed.

-AFP

France Arrrests Italian Over 160 Child Rapes, Assaults

52-year-old Italian was arrested on October 16 following a European arrest warrant issued by Germany suspecting 160 rape sexual assaults, police said on Friday November 23. October.

 

An Italian has been arrested in France on a warrant issued by Germany, where is wanted on 160 counts of rape or sexual assault of his daughter and other minors, police told AFP on Friday.

The 52-year-old was arrested on a European warrant last Friday south of Strasbourg near the German border for the alleged crimes committed over a 14-year period starting in 2000.

Germany has 122 open investigations against him, said France’s BNRF fugitive-tracking brigade.

The Italian is accused of having raped his own daughter for a period of about 10 years starting in 2000. He is alleged to have done the same, over the same period, with the minor daughters of a different partner.

“He operated in his various family circles,” said the BNRF.

German police alerted the BNRF in early October that the wanted man had fled from Germany to Alsace in eastern France.

He was arrested at a partner’s house in Rumersheim-Le-Haut, south of Strasbourg.

The man is being held in prison in nearby Colmar to be handed over to German authorities, the BNRF said.

Germany Sees Alarming Rise In COVID-19 Cases

The president of Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) Lothar Wieler takes off his face mask as he arrives to address a press conference amid the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, on October 8, 2020 in Berlin.  (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / various sources / AFP)

 

Germany is experiencing a “worrying jump” in coronavirus cases, Health Minister Jens Spahn said Thursday, as the number of new daily infections soared past 4,000 for the first time since early April.

Lothar Wieler, the head of Germany’s Robert Koch Institute for disease control, warned the country could see an uncontrollable spread of the virus.

Europe’s biggest economy recorded 4,058 new Covid-19 infections over the last 24 hours, a stark increase on Wednesday’s figure of 2,828, according to the RKI.

“The numbers are showing a worrying jump,” Spahn told a press conference in Berlin, urging Germans not to drop their guard against the deadly virus.

“Barely any other country in Europe has managed the crisis as well so far,” he said. “But we must not gamble away what we’ve achieved.”

He reminded Germans to stick to the well-known rules of mask-wearing, hand washing and social distancing.

But he also urged them to add the coronavirus app and the regular airing of rooms into their daily routines.

“We don’t know how the situation in Germany will develop in the coming weeks,” RKI head Wieler told the same press conference.

“It’s possible that we will reach more than 10,000 cases a day. It’s possible that the virus will spread uncontrollably. But I hope it doesn’t.”

The alarming jump in cases came with autumn school holidays underway or starting across Germany, prompting calls from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government for citizens to avoid travel abroad during the usually busy period for tourism.

Germany’s 16 states were also tightening rules for domestic travel, with many agreeing on a ban on overnight stays in hotels or holiday apartments for visitors from so-called risk zones within the country.

Places, where new infections top 50 per 100,000 inhabitants over the last seven days are classed as risk zones and local authorities, are required to take specific measures to halt contagion.

– ‘Invincible’ –

Parts of central Berlin have slipped into the category, prompting the German capital authorities to order restaurants and bars closed from 11:00 pm.

Likewise, numbers in financial capital Frankfurt were also rising and are now just a whisker off risk-zone category.

Hotspots have sprung up elsewhere in the country, some recording mass infections from family events or private parties.

Spahn said many of the current cases were affecting younger people who were “partying, travelling, thinking they are invincible”.

“But they’re not,” he said, urging young people to think of elderly relatives for whom the disease can have serious consequences.

The RKI’s Wieler said infection numbers were rising nationwide, with experts seeing larger outbreaks as well as “lots of smaller outbreaks in many parts of Germany”.

Overall, Germany has recorded 310,144 cases since the start of the pandemic, according to the RKI.

A total of 9,578 people have died, giving the country a relatively low death toll compared with other European nations.

-AFP

German Football Body Under Investigation For Tax Fraud

German Football Association investigation
Policemen stand in front of the headquarters of the German Football Association (DFB) in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, where raids were carried out on October 7, 2020. – (Photo by Frank Rumpenhorst / dpa / AFP) / Germany OUT

 

The German judiciary on Wednesday searched the premises of the German Football Association (DFB) and the homes of “current and former officials” as part of an investigation into tax fraud, the Frankfurt public prosecutor announced. 

Six current or former officials are under investigation for “tax fraud in particularly serious cases,” said the prosecutor in a press release, without giving any names.

They are accused of having “knowingly misreported” income for the years 2014 and 2015 so the DFB could avoid paying almost 4.7 million euros ($5.5 million) in taxes, said the press release.

More than 200 investigators were involved in the search, which also targeted several private homes.

-AFP

Turkey Tells Germany Chance For Libya Peace Should Not Be Wasted

 

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said the peace drive to end the conflict in Libya since 2011 should not be wasted, in a video conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

There has been increased hope since the two main warring factions separately announced in August that they would cease hostilities, which was followed by a series of UN-backed talks.

The two main factions are based around the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and a parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Monday voiced “cautious optimism” over efforts to end the conflict in Libya, after co-chairing talks with the United Nations that involved the warring Libyan sides.

Erdogan told Merkel that “the opportunity that emerged thanks to the calm sustained on the field in Libya should not be wasted,” the Turkish presidency said.

Turkey strongly backs the Tripoli government providing military support following an April 2019 offensive by rival strongman Khalifa Haftar, who is backed by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Russia.

Erdogan on Sunday expressed “full solidarity” with the GNA after a meeting in Istanbul with its head Fayez al-Sarraj.

AFP