Category Archives: Germany

Victims in Friday’s german plane crash identified

The cause of a private plane crash in the western German state of Hesse on Friday remains unknown, but authorities have identified the five victims, the Bild newspaper reported.

One of the victims, the plane’s pilot, was a 52-year-old German textile millionaire, who lived in London. The 53-year-old head of retail chain C&A’s Austrian operations was also killed, as was a woman, 43, from Mönchengladbach.

The other victims were an American and a 27-year-old woman from Ukraine.

Police are still baffled by the the accident. Bild reported that the pilot had radio contact with a control tower and appeared calm and concentrated.

He was flying the Cessna 750 Citation X, worth about €11 million, in a straight line with no signs of trouble.

The paper speculates that a cloud bank may have suddenly appeared and surprised the pilot.

Plane crash kills five in Germany

English: Cessna Citation 550 business jet (CS-...

BERLIN (AP) — All five people on a small business jet that crashed near Frankfurt have been confirmed dead, German police said Friday.

Rescue workers discovered two more bodies amid the debris a day after the 12-seat Cessna with a pilot, co-pilot and three passengers on board crashed into a forest and burst into flames when trying to land at Egelsbach airstrip, Offenbach police spokesman Josef Michael Roesch said.

The twin engine Cessna 750 Citation X was registered in the U.S., German news agency dapd reported, but authorities have not said who owned or operated it.

Police had no immediate information on the victims’ identities or their nationalities.

Mayan ‘apocalypse’ codex goes on display

The famous Dresdner Codex, one of the original Mayan books that set the end of the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012, went on display in Dresden on Friday as part of an exhibition on the apocalyptic prophecy.

The 78-page book, also known as the Codex Dresdensis, which has been in the eastern German town since 1739, is being exhibited for the next few months in the Book Museum of the Saxon State Library.The codex consists of 39 leaves made of bark, each around 20 centimetres long, encased in wooden lids and wrapped in jaguar hide. It is thought to have been written and illustrated in several phases the 13th century – when the high period of Mayan culture had already been dead for at least four centuries – by up to eight authors.

Despite the distance, researchers believe the book’s authors had access to and could easily read the old Mayan texts.

The codex is thought to have been sent to Europe in 1520 by Hernán Cortés, a Spanish conquistador who conquered the Aztec empire. He sent shiploads of treasure to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who kept the gold and left the books to rot in the archives.

According to a report in Die Welt daily, the codex was rediscovered 200 years later in the possession of Viennese citizen by Johann Christian Götze, court librarian at the royal library of Saxony in Dresden. He bought it, but it took two more generations before researchers began deciphering it.

read more at  

Germans ditch Afghan base after Koran burning

Escalating unrest following the burning of the Koran by US soldiers has forced Germany to give up one of its Afghanistan bases earlier than planned.

After 300 protesters massed outside the German Taloqan base in northern Afghanistan, the commander withdrew the 50 troops to the larger Kunduz base camp 70 kilometres away, abandoning the camp around a month ahead of schedule.

A Bundeswehr spokesman said the troops had taken all military vehicles with them, but it remained unclear whether the soldiers would return at a later date to complete the clear-out. The relatively small camp is said to be difficult to secure, since it is in the middle of the town of Taloqan, capital of the Takhar province, with a population of 200,000.

read more at            

Former East German human rights activist Joachim Gauck is set to become Germany’s new president

English: Joachim Gauck, 2011 Deutsch: Joachim ...

Germany’s government and the two major opposition parties say they will jointly nominate former East German human rights activist Joachim Gauck to be the country’s next president.

The decision comes after Christian Wulff, 52, quit as president on Friday following two months of allegations he received favours such as a favourable loan, and hotel stays from friends when he was state governor of Lower Saxony. He was Merkel’s candidate when elected less than two years ago, triumphing at that time over Gauck in a messy election.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday her centre-right coalition government and the centre-left opposition rallied behind Gauck, 72, who was initially proposed by the opposition Social Democrats and Greens. He is not a member of a political party.
Advertisement: Story continues below

“What moves me the most is that a man who was still born during the gloomy, dark war, who grew up and lived 50 years in a dictatorship … is now called to become the head of state,” Gauck said. “This is of course a very special day in my life.”

Opposition leader Sigmar Gabriel took a swipe at Merkel at their joint news conference at Berlin’s chancellery, saying, “It is now evident that all involved regret that Joachim Gauck failed to get elected (in 2010), therefore it is good that we now have him as joint candidate.”

When Wulff resigned, Merkel immediately said she would work with the Social Democrats and Greens to find a consensus candidate to succeed him.

Merkel who, like Gauck, grew up in then-communist East Germany or the GDR, said their life stories strongly connect them. “We have both spent a part of our life in the GDR and our dream of freedom has become true in 1989.”

The chancellor stressed that clergymen such as Gauck – a former Lutheran priest – were at the forefront of the protests that eventually brought down the Communist regime.

Greens’ leader Claudia Roth said: “Joachim Gauck is someone who is able to restore radiance to democracy.” She added that “Gauck will restore the respect for the office, will restore dignity” after the presidency became tainted by Wulff’s scandal.

While his name widely circulated as the opposition’s favourite, it wasn’t clear until late Sunday whether the governing coalition would rally behind the candidate.

“I’m coming right out of a plane, I was in a taxi when the chancellor called me. I haven’t even washed,” he said at the news conference.

He added he was still stunned by the nomination, unable to voice great joy, but “very late tonight, I will also be happy”.

Merkel’s coalition seemed shaken by the search for a new candidate as the junior partner, the Liberals, broke the government’s ranks earlier on Sunday by announcing that they would endorse the opposition’s Gauck.

“It appears to have been the case that the governing coalition almost broke up over the issue and that Miss Merkel therefore changed course,” the Social Democrat’s Gabriel told public broadcaster Phoenix. “But whatever, I believe it is a good decision.”

Germany’s head of state holds a largely ceremonial role. The incumbent typically uses his moral authority, standing above party politics, to influence debates in society and politics.

The new president will be elected by a special assembly next month, but with cross-party backing, the process should be a formality.

In the meantime, the speaker of parliament’s upper house, conservative Bavarian governor Horst Seehofer, has taken over the presidential duties on an interim basis, mostly signing legislation into law.

© 2012 AP