Germany Slump To Japan In Another World Cup Shocker

Germany’s defender #02 Antonio Ruediger falls next to Japan’s midfielder #11 Takefusa Kubo during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Germany and Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by INA FASSBENDER / AFP)

 

Japan stunned Germany 2-1 in their World Cup opener on Wednesday, punishing the four-time champions for not taking their chances after they dominated the first half.

The German team covered their mouths for the team photo before the match in a powerful protest against FIFA’s decision to ban rainbow-themed armbands.

Hansi Flick’s team came to Qatar under huge pressure to avoid the disaster of 2018, when they failed to make it out of the group stage in Russia as holders.

They took the lead through a first-half penalty from Ilkay Gundogan and should have been out of sight after creating a host of chances.

But Japan hung on and equalised through substitute Ritsu Doan in the 75th minute.

Takuma Asano then completed a remarkable turnaround eight minutes later, smashing the ball home to send the boisterous Japanese fans wild.

Germany’s World Cup future is now on the line, with games to come in Group E against Spain and Costa Rica.

Japan are eyeing a place in the knockout round after a dramatic comeback that scarcely looked possible at the end of the first half.

The Blue Samurai made a positive start, with Daizen Maeda putting the ball in the net as early as the eighth minute only for the linesman to flag for offside.

READ ALSO: [PHOTOS] Top Moments From Day 4 | Qatar 2022

German Chances

The ball drifts wide of the goal of Japan’s goalkeeper #12 Shuichi Gonda (R) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Germany and Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

But it was to prove a false dawn for Japan as Antonio Rudiger headed past the post from a corner, before Joshua Kimmich tested goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda, with Gundogan blasting the rebound over the bar.

Gundogan peppered the Japan goal with shots, with Gonda keeping him out before Maya Yoshida threw his body in the way of another effort.

Gundogan put the Germans ahead after they were awarded a penalty when Gonda tripped David Raum, coolly slotting his kick down the middle.

Jamal Musiala give a glimpse of his immense talent when he turned and flashed a shot over the bar on the stroke of half-time.

There was just enough time for Kai Havertz to put the ball in the net before the interval, only for VAR to rule the goal out for offside.

Musiala returned to torment Japan after the break, skipping through the defence before blazing over.

The 19-year-old then turned provider, laying the ball off for Gundogan to lash against the post.

Japan brought on livewire forwards Asano and Kaoru Mitoma to try to inject some energy into the four-times Asian champions.

But Germany kept up their pressure and only a string of last-ditch saves from Gonda prevented Japan from falling further behind.

Hiroki Sakai had a golden chance to equalise but blazed wildly over the bar after Manuel Neuer had parried the ball into his path.

Doan showed him how it was done just minutes later, converting after Neuer had palmed away Takumi Minamino’s effort.

Asano then put the Japanese fans in dreamland, racing away into the box before lashing home a shot that Neuer was powerless to stop.

Germany threw everyone forward in a desperate search for an equaliser but it was too little to late.

AFP

Germany Players Cover Mouths In Protest For World Cup Photo

Germany’s players cover their mouths as they pose for a group picture during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Germany and Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

Germany’s players covered their mouths for the team photo before their World Cup opener against Japan on Wednesday in protest at FIFA’s refusal to allow rainbow-themed armbands.

Captains of seven European teams had planned to wear the anti-discrimination armbands during the tournament in Qatar as part of a campaign for diversity, but backed down over the threat of disciplinary action from football’s governing body, including yellow cards.

The rainbow armbands had been viewed as a symbolic protest against laws in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.

Germany’s football federation said in a tweet moments after the photo protest that “human rights are not negotiable”.

READ ALSO: Morocco, Croatia Share Points After Barren Draw

“This is not a political position; human rights are not negotiable,” the DFB tweeted.

“To ban the armband is like banning our right to speak,” the federation added.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino was at the Khalifa International Stadium for the Germany-Japan match.

The German government spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, said earlier in the day in Berlin that FIFA’s decision to bar captains from wearing the “OneLove” armbands was “very unfortunate”.

“The rights of LGBTQ people are non-negotiable,” Hebestreit said at a regular press conference.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, who was to attend the game in Doha against Japan, said FIFA’s ban was a “huge mistake”.

Not only players, but fans should also be allowed to show pro-LGBTQ symbols “openly”, she told reporters in Qatar.

Security staff at the World Cup have ordered spectators to remove items of clothing featuring rainbow logos.

Supporters should however “make a decision for themselves” about whether they wanted to wear the symbols, Faeser said.

Underlining tensions at the tournament over the issue, Belgium’s Jan Vertonghen said on Tuesday in Qatar that he was “afraid” to talk about human rights.

Vertonghen, speaking on the eve of Belgium’s opening game against Canada later Wednesday, said he did not feel comfortable.

“I’m afraid if I say something about this I might not be able to play tomorrow,” the defender said.

“It’s an experience I’ve never felt in football before. I feel controlled. I’m afraid to even say something about this.

“We’re just saying normal things about racism and discrimination and if you can’t even say things about it, that says it all.

“I want to appear on the pitch tomorrow, so I’ll leave it at that.”

AFP

Seven Players Of Nigerian Descent Who’d Feature For Other Nations At W/Cup

While Nigeria did not qualify for the competition, several players with roots to the country are heading to Qatar with other nations.

 

With days away from the 2022 World Cup, several nations have released their squads for the Qatar soccer fiesta. Although the Super Eagles did not qualify for the competition, some teams have called up players of Nigerian descent to feature for their country in the Middle East nation.

Checks indicate that some sides have invited some players with Nigerian roots for the tournament which runs from November 20th to December 18th.

Ahead of the kickoff, Channels Television beams the searchlight on these players who would be wearing the colours of other nations in the world’s biggest football competition.

READ ALSO: Ayew Brothers Lead Ghana’s Squad For 2022 World Cup


Bukayo Saka – England

Saka has been instrumental to Arsenal’s title charge this season. [email protected]

 

The Arsenal youngster burst onto the scene two seasons ago and has grown to be one of the Gunners’ key players under Mikel Arteta’s tutelage. Born in London to Nigerian parents, the 21-year-old was eligible to feature for the Super Eagles but chose the Three Lions.

Since making his debut for Gareth Southgate’s side in 2020, Saka has featured 22 times for the 1966 World Cup winners, scoring four goals in the process. The English Footballer of the Year struck thrice as the team qualified for Qatar. He is expected to extend his fine form at Arsenal to the national team aiming to go further than their semi-final finish four years ago.


Manuel Akanji – Switzerland

Akanji played for the Swiss in the 2018 World Cup. [email protected]_36

 

Another Premier League star of Nigerian lineage set to feature in the quadrennial tournament is Manuel Akanji. The 27-year-old Manchester City defender was born in Neftenbach, Switzerland, to a Nigerian father and a Swiss mother.

This would be his second appearance in the competition having featured for the Europeans four years ago. Akanji, who recently moved to England, has 42 caps and made his debut for the Red Crosses in 2017. He featured for them at the youth level and was touted to represent Nigeria before pitching his tent with his birthplace.


Noah Okafor – Switzerland

Noah Okafor is one of the two players with Nigerian ancestry going to the World Cup with Switzerland. [email protected]

 

Aside from Akanji, the Swiss national team have another player of Nigerian ancestry heading to the World Cup. Noah Okafor shares a similarity with the Manchester City man in the sense that he was born to a Nigerian father and has a Swiss mother.

The 22-year-old forward, born in Binningen, played for the Europeans at every youth level but made his debut for the senior side in 2019. He was instrumental in their Qatar qualification as his first international goal sealed the World Cup ticket for Switzerland. This year’s edition would be his first outing at the quadrennial tournament.


Jamal Musiala – Germany

Jamal is one of the youngsters to watch out for in Qatar. [email protected] Musiala

 

Away from the Swiss team, Germany also have another player of Nigerian roots in their ranks. Bayern Munich youth sensation was listed in the squad for the competition.

The former Chelsea Academy star was born to a British-Nigeria father in Stuggart and has a German mother. He moved to England at seven and featured for the English U-17 side but snubbed the nation and Nigeria for his mother’s nation at the senior level.

Nigeria had attempted to convince the 19-year-old to play for the Super Eagles in 2020, according to former team handler Gernot Rohr. Like several others, Musiala rejected Nigeria, choosing the Mannschaft instead. He made his debut for the Europeans in March 2021 and has since then played 16 more games for the side with one goal to his credit. Hansi Flick will be banking on the youth sensation to help the Germans win their first World Cup after 2014.


Karim Adeyemi – Germany

Karim Adeyemi joined Borussia Dortmund in May. [email protected] Adeyemi.

 

Just like Musiala, the German team will be parading 20-year-old Karim Adeyemi after Flick listed him in the squad for the quadrennial competition.

Adeyemi was born to a Nigerian father and a Romanian mother in the German city of Munich. His father reportedly moved to Germany in the 1990s to pursue a football career.

Having played for the European nation at all age-grade levels, he made his senior team debut in a World Cup qualification against Armenia on 5 September 2021.

The forward, who plays for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, joined the German side in May 2022. Before then, the striker scored 19 times for Red Bull Salzburg in the 2021-2022 campaign. Since switching to Germany, he has played four times for the side.


Ike Ugbo – Canada

Ike Ugbo is expected to play a key part in Canada’s outing. [email protected] Ugbo

 

Moving to North America, two players who have Nigerian roots made the cut for the Canadian national team squad. Leading the list is Ike Ugbo who plays for Ligue 1 team Troyes. He was born in London to Nigerian parents but the family moved to Canada when he was around five.

While the 24-year-old forward was eligible to represent the three nations, he played for the English side at the youth level. In September last year, Ugbo pledged his allegiance to the three-time African champions but made a U-turn two months later, committing his future to Canada.

The former Chelsea youth player then made his debut for the North Americans in a 2022 World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica on November 12. Overall, he has played eight times for the Reds since then.


Samuel Adekugbe – Canada

Samuel was born in England but moved to Canada at a young age. [email protected] Adekugbe

 

Another name in the Canadian rooster is Samuel Adekugbe who was born in England to Nigerian parents. The 27-year-old defender’s family later moved to Canada and the player who features for Turkish Super Lig club Hatayspor is on the plane to the Middle East nation.

He has 33 appearances for Coach Jon Herdman’s charges and is expected to help make Canada’s return to the competition – after several decades – one to remember.

China, Germany Oppose Any Nuclear Arms Use In Ukraine War – Scholz

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz addresses a press conference at the end of the Berlin Process 2022 Western Balkans Summit at the Chancellery in Berlin on November 3, 2022. (Photo by Jens Schlueter / AFP)

 

Germany and China are opposed to the use of any nuclear weapon in the Ukraine war, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on a visit to Beijing on Friday.

“Here in China everyone knows that an escalation (of the war in Ukraine) would have consequences for us all,” Scholz told reporters.

“That is why it is very important for me to stress that everyone says clearly that an escalation via the use of a tactical nuclear weapon is ruled out,” he added.

READ ALSO: China’s Xi, Scholz Seek closer Ties In Controversial Summit

“I am pleased that we at least reached agreement on that.”

Scholz said after talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping that he had insisted “the Russia war in Ukraine is a dangerous situation for the whole world”.

He told Xi earlier that “it is important for China to use its influence on Russia”.

“Russia must immediately stop the attacks under which the civilian population is suffering daily and withdraw from Ukraine,” Scholz said.

The White House said this week that repeated discussion by Russian officials of the potential use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine has left Washington worried it could become a reality.

“We have grown increasingly concerned about the potential as these months have gone on,” said White House national security spokesman John Kirby.

Russia’s foreign ministry responded that the world’s “top priority” should be to avoid a clash of nuclear powers “in the current difficult and turbulent situation”.

Nigeria Defeat Germany, Clinch Bronze In U-17 Women’s World Cup

Nigeria’s Flamingos celebrate after defeating Germany to clinch the consolatory bronze medal in the third-place match of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in India on October 30, 2022.

 

Nigeria’s Flamingos defeated Germany to clinch a consolatory bronze medal at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India.

The match ended 3-3 in regulation time, leading to a penalty shootout. The penalty then ended 3-2 in Nigeria’s favour as the team took revenge for their loss against the Europeans in their opening fixture.

Nigeria began the match in good stead and were rewarded when forward Opeyemi Ajakaye broke her goal drought with her brilliant 20th-minute opener for the Flamingos.

Reward For Success

READ ALSO: U-17WWC: Colombia Defeat Nigeria, Book Final Spot

The game stayed that way for the first half but the Nigerians doubled the lead three minutes into the second half of the clash via an Aminat Bello strike.

Coach Olowookere Bankole’s girls then made it three when Etim Edidiong found the back of the net in the 63rd minute.

But the Germans were not done. They scored three goals in the last seventeen minutes of the match to push the game to penalties. It was, however, the Nigerians who smiled at last in the tie that also saw Ajakaye win the Player of the Match prize, her third in the competition.

It was also the third penalty shootout for the Flamingos in the tournament. They lost the semi-final against Colombia after penalties and had earlier defeated the US on penalties to reach that feat.

In six matches, the Nigerians won four and lost two. This was also the first time the West Africans reached the semi-final of the competition.

Sunday’s win makes Nigeria the second African side to have clinched bronze after Ghana won it in 2012.

To celebrate the feat, Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa, promised the team a N3 million reward.

“Three million waiting for Flamingos in Abuja,” he wrote in reply to a tweet on the Super Falcons’ handle celebrating the Flamingos’ win. “Congratulations.”

The team is expected back in the country later in the week.

Germany Agrees Plan To Legalise Recreational Cannabis

(FILES) This file photo taken on August 10, 2019 in Berlin shows a German national flag bearing a marijuana leaf during the 23rd Hanfparade, a traditional German-wide pro-Cannabis march, to ask for its legalisation.  (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP)

 

 

Germany on Wednesday paved the way to legalising the purchase and possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, as well as its production.

“The federal cabinet today agreed the key points for the controlled distribution of cannabis to adults for recreational use,” Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said at a news conference.

Electricity: Buhari Restates Commitment To Partnership With Germany, Siemens

 

President Muhammadu Buhari pledged on Thursday in Abuja that Nigeria remains dedicated to the partnership with Siemens and the German Government to improve electricity generation in the country.

Receiving officials of Siemens Energy AG at State House, the President urged them not to relent in ensuring that government’s commitment to Nigerians in delivering the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) is fulfilled.

The President told the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Siemens Energy, Dr. Christian Bruch, the CEO of Siemens Africa, Nadia Haakansson, and the CEO of Siemens Nigeria, Mr. Seun Suleiman, that the outcome of the collaboration will deliver critical business enablers and opportunities to engage young enterprising Nigerians in various endeavours.

The President also welcomed the training of 200 Nigerian engineers on network development studies under the initiative, saying that this represents ”a very important upskilling and knowledge transfer process.”


READ ALSO: Energy Transition A Developmental Opportunity, But Africa Needs To Engage Critically – Osinbajo


The President added that he looks forward to the 5,000 engineers that would have been trained by the end of the programme.

Recounting his promise to Nigerians earlier in this administration to improve electricity supply by resolving capacity deficit across the sector’s value chain, the President lauded the German Government, through the former Chancellor, Angela Merkel, for graciously supporting the country, leading to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Siemens.

He also thanked Chancellor Olaf Scholz for the German Government’s continued support for the PPI.

”A plan to deliver capacity improvements of 2,000 Megawatts in the transmission-distribution interface is now firmly the focus of PPI Phase I.

”In April 2022, the Honourable Minister of Power briefed me on the outcome of his visit to Germany where he held meetings with Siemens executives.

”That visit was fruitful in emphasizing the need to expedite delivery of the pilot PPI project, elements of which have started arriving in the country.

”The Honourable Minister also mentioned that you, Dr. Bruch, will pay a visit to Nigeria, and we are glad that you are with us today.

”The PPI remains a priority project for our Administration and Nigerians believe in the value that the Siemens’ brand can deliver.

”On our part, nothing is spared to ensure we improve the lives and livelihoods of our citizens,” he said.

President Buhari expressed delight at some notable progress on the implementation arrangements of the PPI, adding that the first batch of two power transformers already delivered by Siemens would be commissioned in November 2022.

”I have been reliably assured that 10 Power Transformers and 10 Mobile Substations would have been completely delivered and installed by May 2023.

”This is in spite of production challenges and constraints due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has severely impacted global production and supply chain.”

The Nigerian leader thanked the Government of Germany for approving Euler Hermes to provide cover for the financing of the PPI pilot project, noting that this will serve as a template for the subsequent phases.

Acknowledging that the overall frameworks for technical and commercial arrangements are being concluded, the President said:

”However, what I would like to see is that we attain completion of the entire transaction process by December 2022. This will entrench the mandate of the PPI in full committal terms.”

The Minister of Power, Engr Abubakar Aliyu, thanked the President for ”the remarkable vision of PPI, adding that Nigerians will be thankful to him for a long time after leaving office, “because the power sector will be revitalized.”

He said Siemens was one of the world’s best in power, ”and will surely deliver.”

Dr Christian Bruch, after sympathizing with Nigerians affected by the current devastating flood, said his team was fully committed to the PPI, ”and we will push forward in the weeks and months ahead, as we need to move the process faster.”

He also promised to continue with trainings and improvement of capacities, adding that though general elections were ahead in Nigeria, ”the power initiative will continue, as we are fully committed, and will accelerate the process.”

Russia-Germany Oil Pipeline Partly Shut After Leak – Operator

Crude oil processing facilities on the site of PCK-Raffinerie GmbH. On the same day, a second meeting of the federal-state project group on the future of the oil refinery in Schwedt will be held. At noon, there is to be a press statement on the matter. Photo: Patrick Pleul/dpa 

 

The Druzhba oil pipeline linking Russia and Germany has been partly shut after a leak was discovered in Poland, the Polish PERN operator said on Wednesday.

“The cause of the incident is not known for the moment. Pumping in the affected line was immediately stopped. Line 2 of the pipeline is functioning normally,” the operator said.

The German government said oil deliveries were continuing to two key refineries despite the leak.

“Germany’s security of supply is currently guaranteed… Deliveries are uninterrupted,” the economy ministry said in a statement.

The incident comes after four leaks were discovered in the undersea Nord Stream gas pipelines from Russia to Germany.

The pipelines have been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

READ ALSO: Zelensky Pleads For Ukraine ‘Air Shield’ After Russian Onslaught

The leak on an underground segment of the Druzhba pipeline was detected late on Tuesday near the village of Zurawice about 180 kilometres (112 miles) to the west of Warsaw in central Poland.

PERN spokeswoman Katarzyna Krasinska told AFP that firefighters were in the process of pumping out the spilled oil, “which could take several hours”.

Russian oil pipeline operator Transneft said its Polish counterpart had notified it of the leak.

“Yes, we received a message… We have no information as to how long it will take to repair the damage,” Transneft vice president Sergei Andronov said, according to the Interfax news agency.

“From their end at the moment, oil continues to be accepted,” he added.

The pipeline mainly supplies two refineries in Schwedt and Leuna in Germany.

The Schwedt refinery, which is close to the Polish border, supplies around 90 percent of the oil consumed in Berlin and the surrounding region, including Berlin-Brandenburg international airport.

Last month, the German government said it had taken control of the refinery — and the other German operations of Russian firm Rosneft — to secure energy supplies.

German authorities can now run the refining operations using crude from countries other than Russia.

The Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline network was started in the 1960s and covers 5,500 kilometres, pumping oil from the Urals to Europe through two main branches via Belarus and Ukraine.

Following the Nord Stream leaks, NATO on Tuesday said it had bolstered naval deployments to protect its infrastructure in the Baltic and North Seas and called the incidents an act of “sabotage”.

G7 leaders also on Tuesday said in a statement they were “deeply troubled” by the Nord Stream leaks and “strongly condemn any deliberate disruption of critical infrastructure”.

AFP

U-17 World Cup: Germany Clip Flamingos Wings

Nigeria did not play in the last edition of the tournament. [email protected]

 

Germany overturned a first-half deficit to beat Nigeria’s Flamingos 1-2 in a Group B game at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup on Tuesday. 

Miracle Usani had given Nigeria the lead after firing a spot kick home in the 30th minute of the encounter in Goa. The goal was enough for the Flamingos to see off the first half of the tie in India.

The European champions, however, came to level terms 15 minutes into the second half through a Svea Stold strike.

It took about 15 minutes for the Germans to get another. The Nigerians failed to clear their lines and Mara Alber beat Faith Omilana to make it two.

The Nigerians poured forward looking for an equaliser but the Europeans held on firmly to secure all points at stake in their first game.

Having lost to Germany, Nigeria’s attention will shift to New Zealand for a chance to revive their tournament. The game takes place on Friday.

READ ALSO: Liverpool Star Diaz Ruled Out Until After World Cup

Earlier, Chile defeated New Zealand in another Group B clash in Goa. The South Americans will now play Germany in their second match.

Nigeria have not gone past the quarter-finals since the inception of the competition and missed the last edition in 2018.

Benin Bronzes Get Final Berlin Show Before Return

 

 

Stolen during the colonial era, dozens of Benin bronzes that once decorated the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin will go on show for one last time in Berlin from Saturday before being repatriated to Nigeria.

The renowned pieces of African art and their tumultuous journey up to the exhibition at the Humboldt Museum speak to Germany’s gradual reckoning with the colonial era and the injustices of the past.

The move to return some of the bronzes is the latest in a series of steps taken by Germany to try to take responsibility for the crimes of the colonial era, including the official recognition in May 2021 of a genocide perpetrated by Germany in Namibia.


READ ALSO: Decolonizing Ignorance and Stereotypes: A Review of Burying The Ghosts of Dead Narratives


Among the items being exhibited are a pair of thrones and a commemorative bust of the monarch, which used to decorate the walls of the royal palace in Benin city, in modern-day Nigeria.

Two rooms in the sprawling museum are being dedicated to the art and the history of the Kingdom of Benin, an exhibition realised “in close cooperation with partners in Nigeria”, according to the German side.

The removal of the precious objects is explained in the gallery, while educational workshops are also planned around the display.

Thousands of Benin bronzes, metal plaques and sculptures are now scattered around European museums after being looted by the British at the end of the 19th century.

The recognition of the colonial injustices and the subsequent return of the items “will continue to define our work in the future,” Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which oversees the national museums in the German capital, said in a statement.

‘Lucid view’

“Just like the Netherlands and Belgium, Germany has established a museums policy that has a lucid view of the colonial past,” French historian Pascal Blanchard, a specialist on the era, told AFP.

The Africa museum in Tervuren, near Brussels in Belgium, which reopened at the end of 2018, claims to take a “critical look” at the past and the history of the objects collected by Belgian King Leopold II, who for a long time kept the Congo as his private property in the 19th century.

Likewise, the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam takes a long look at the Netherlands’ colonial past.

Unlike some countries, such as France, Germany lost its empire after its defeat in World War One and as such does not have a significant community of people repatriated from Africa.

“It does not play politically, which makes it easier to come to terms with the past,” said Blanchard.

Benin City

Nonetheless, Germany has been the target of criticism in recent years over the origin of many of the objects in its museums, following in the wake of a greater public reckoning with racism.

The outrage grew louder with the opening of the first part of the new Humboldt Museum in December 2020, which is housed in a partially rebuilt Prussian palace.

The highly symbolic location — the former residence of the Hohenzollern dynasty, who oversaw Germany’s colonial adventures — was set to exhibit objects from the period.

Berlin’s Ethnological Museum currently holds 530 items that were taken from the Kingdom of Benin, including some 440 bronzes, considered to be the largest collection behind the British Museum in London.

According to the Berlin museum’s director, Lars-Christian Koch, a portion of the objects will soon be returned, another third will be kept as a loan, and the rest, not on display, will be studied by researchers.

Germany is not the only country to begin returning stolen artefacts. In November 2021, France returned 26 artefacts from the royal treasures of Abomey to the country of Benin, next to Nigeria.

The pressure is also growing on the British Museum, which has around 700 bronzes. It has long argued that its vast trove of foreign artefacts, such as the Elgin Marbles taken from the Parthenon in Athens, are best housed there.

The repatriation of the objects was a long time coming in the opinion of historian Benedicte Savoy.

“The requests for return go back to independence in the 1960s. They have been silenced, refused, forgotten for years,” she told AFP.

Nigeria is planning to build a museum in Benin City, in the south of the country, to bring together the works on their return.

Germany Suspends Military Operations In Mali

 This file photo taken on August 2, 2018 shows German soldiers from the parachutists detachment of the MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) searching for IED (improvised explosive device) during a patrol on the route from Gao to Gossi, Mali. (Photo by SEYLLOU / AFP)
This file photo taken on August 2, 2018 shows German soldiers from the parachutists detachment of the MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) searching for IED (improvised explosive device) during a patrol on the route from Gao to Gossi, Mali. (Photo by SEYLLOU / AFP)

 

The German defence ministry said Friday it had suspended most of its operations in Mali after the local military-led government denied flyover rights to a UN peacekeeping mission.

“The Malian government has once again refused to give flyover rights to a flight planned today” for the rotation of personnel on the ground, a ministry spokesman said at a regular press conference.

In response, Germany had decided to “suspend until further notice the operations of our reconnaissance forces and CH-53 (helicopter) transport flights”.

“It is no longer possible to support the MINUSMA reconnaissance missions on an operational basis,” the spokesman said.

Without the new troops, who were set to “replace French forces” in the process of withdrawing, “security on site is not assured” as the “remaining forces must be kept ready for security operations”.

The flyover rights were refused despite assurances to the contrary from the Malian Defence Minister Sadio Camara in a call with his German counterpart Christine Lambrecht Thursday, the spokesman said.

“Camara’s actions tell a different story than his words,” Lambrecht said in a statement posted by her ministry on Twitter.

The German move comes as Mali’s junta turned away from France and toward Russia in its fight against jihadism.

The long-running insurgency has claimed thousands of lives and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes.

The relationship between Bamako and Paris, its former colonial power and traditional ally, has deteriorated in recent months.

The arrival of Russian paramilitaries in the country on the invitation of the government was a key factor in France’s decision to pull its military forces out.

The withdrawal is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

AFP

Germany Plans €10b Inflation Relief Tax Package For Workers 

Christian Lindner (FDP) Federal Minister of Finance, speaks at a press conference about European financial policy. Photo: Britta Pedersen/dpa

 

Germany will offer tax relief worth 10 billion euros to help workers cope with soaring inflation, Finance Minister Christian Lindner said Wednesday.

The package will raise base tax-free allowance as well as bring up the level from which the top income tax rate of 42 percent will apply.

Families will also benefit from higher tax exemptions for dependent children.

Inflation in Germany reached 7.5 percent in July, fractionally lower than the 7.6 percent recorded in June, fuelled mainly by soaring energy prices.

Lindner said his plan is aimed primarily at fighting the problem of employees who find themselves with a higher tax burden because they have received a pay increase to combat inflation.

READ ALSO: Elon Musk Sells Nearly $7bn In Tesla Stock

As a result, the gain the workers have received is wiped out essentially by the higher taxes due.

The phenomenon, called “cold progression”, also typically hits lower incomes harder.

Lindner said 48 million Germans would be facing higher taxes from January 2023 if no relief was offered.

“For the state to benefit at a time when daily life is becoming more expensive… that is not fair and also dangerous for economic development,” said Lindner.

AFP