BERLIN (Reuters) – German security forces shamefully neglected the threat of the far right and their bungled investigations and prejudice enabled a neo-Nazi cell blamed for nine racist murders to go undetected for more than a decade, a parliamentary committee has concluded.
The stinging report came after a 19-month inquiry into the National Socialist Underground (NSU), whose chance discovery in late 2011 scandalized Germany and forced authorities to recognize the far-right fringe was more brutal and organized than previously thought.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany will become the first European country to recognise indeterminate sex by allowing babies born with no clear gender-determining anatomy to be put on the birth register without a “male” or “female” classification.
The new regulation, which takes effect from November 1, stems from a study by the German Ethics Council into intersexuality that concluded that the rights of intersex individuals against irreversible medical interventions should be better protected.
BERLIN (Reuters) – NATO is at its most cohesive yet, its new commander said, but must ensure that spending cuts do not erode the power of an alliance facing tasks as diverse as a new training mission in Afghanistan and protecting Turkey’s border with Syria.
Many European countries have slashed defense spending since the 2008 financial crisis. Apart from the United States, Greece, Britain and Estonia, no member has met NATO’s goal of spending 2 percent of economic output on defense.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Proposals to create vast marine sanctuaries to protect Antarctic wildlife from fishing and other human activity failed on Tuesday due to opposition from Russia, environmental observers said.
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), a 25-member inter-governmental body, was considering two proposals to designate large tracts of ocean off-limits for almost all activities aside from scientific exploration.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Michelle Obama and her daughters threaded roses through the narrow slots of a Berlin Wall memorial on Wednesday, honoring those who died trying to cross the Cold War barrier at a site which holds special poignancy in the once divided city.
Accompanied by Angela Merkel’s husband Joachim Sauer, who like the German leader hails from the former East Germany, President Barack Obama’s family toured the Bernauer Strasse memorial where desperate residents of East Berlin once tried to jump from their windows into the western half of the city.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Peer Steinbrueck, the main opposition challenger to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, choked up during an interview on Sunday when he was asked about what motivated him to carry on despite all the pressure and criticism of his campaign.
In an extraordinary display of emotion from a man known for his abrasive style, Steinbrueck struggled to find words, and sighed heavily. As his eyes welled up, the audience at the event by his Social Democrat (SPD) party stood up and applauded.
DRESDEN (Reuters) – Germany’s Left party set an election platform attacking capitalism head on this weekend, avowing old school socialism and making any later coalition pact with the mainstream opposition seem all but impossible.
If the Left party and the center-left opposition Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens joined forces they could match Merkel’s center-right government in strength, possibly even ousting the chancellor after the September 22 vote.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Read the scribbled messages stuck to the vandalized shell of a car in Taksim Square and a picture emerges of the sheer breadth of frustration being vented in Turkey’s fiercest anti-government protests for decades.
From gay rights to religious tolerance, abortion to freedom of the press, what began as a protest over the redevelopment of a leafy Istanbul park has surged into a tide of defiance against the perceived authoritarianism of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted AK Party.
ISTANBUL/ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s deputy prime minister apologised on Tuesday for “excessive violence” by police in an effort to defuse days of unrest, comments which contrasted sharply with Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s defiant dismissal of the protesters.
With Erdogan abroad and strikes and demonstrations still rumbling on after five days, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc sought to assuage some of the anger at the government’s initial hardline response to what began as a sit-in against plans to build on an Istanbul park.
ISTANBUL/ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s deputy prime minister sought to mollify tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators on Tuesday by apologizing for a police crackdown on a peaceful protest that triggered five days of rioting across the country.
The comments by Bulent Arinc, who took charge of government after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan left on a visit to North Africa on Monday, contrasted with Erdogan’s defiant dismissal of the protesters as “looters”.