Heavy snow snarls travel in northern Europe
Cars drive in Tuesday morning traffic on the N118 road around Paris during a heavy snow storm on France.
March 12th, 2013
09:13 AM ET

Heavy snow snarls travel in northern Europe

Today isn't the easiest day for travel in northern Europe.

Swaths of the region are in the grip of snow, ice and high winds Tuesday, causing serious disruption to road, rail and air travelers.

High-speed train operator Eurostar, which runs services linking Paris, Brussels and London, among other destinations, warned of serious disruption and urged passengers to stay at home.

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German education minister loses Ph.D. over plagiarized thesis
February 6th, 2013
03:23 AM ET

German education minister loses Ph.D. over plagiarized thesis

Her doctoral thesis dealt with how we form our conscience. Turns out she plagiarized chunks of it.

A university stripped Germany's education minister of her Ph.D. on Tuesday, after a blogger caught the plagiarism and spent months vigilantly presenting the evidence to the public.

Annette Schavan is the second minister in conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet who has this embarrassing distinction.

Former defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg stepped down in May 2011, after large passages of his dissertation were found to have been directly copied from other sources.

At the time, Schavan sharply criticized Guttenberg publicly for his shortcomings, according to German media reports.

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Filed under: Education • Germany • Social media • Technology • World • World Update
December 14th, 2012
10:05 AM ET

Germany to join U.S. in deploying Patriot missiles to Turkey

The German parliament approved Friday the deployment of German Patriot anti-aircraft missiles to Turkey, with 461 Bundestag deputies voting in favor of the deployment, 86 against and eight abstentions.

The decision followed an earlier announcement that the United States intends to deploy 400 troops and two Patriot air-defense missile batteries to Turkey in the coming weeks to defend against potential threats from Syria.

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Fire kills 14 at workshop for disabled in Germany
Firefighters stand in front of house with a workshop for handicapped people in Titisee- Neustadt on November 26, 2012.
November 26th, 2012
11:47 AM ET

Fire kills 14 at workshop for disabled in Germany

A fire at a workshop in southwestern Germany killed 14 people on Monday, according to a Freiburg police spokesman.

Karl-Heinz Schmid said several other people were injured at the Caritas workshop for the handicapped in the town of Titisee-Neustadt.

Firefighters were still in the middle of "a big operation," he said.

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Interpol issues wanted notice for ‘Whale Wars’ star
Paul Watson, seen here speaking to reporters in Berlin in May, skipped bail last month.
August 9th, 2012
12:51 PM ET

Interpol issues wanted notice for ‘Whale Wars’ star

Interpol has issued an international wanted notice for conservationist and “Whale Wars” TV star Paul Watson, days after he skipped bail in Germany as Costa Rica tried to have him extradited.

Watson was arrested at Germany’s Frankfurt airport on May 13 on an arrest warrant issued by Costa Rica, which accuses him of endangering a fishing vessel off the coast of Guatemala in 2002.

He posted roughly $302,000 bail and was ordered to remain in Germany as it considered Costa Rica’s extradition request, but he stopped reporting to authorities on July 22, a German court said. Watson left Germany and forfeited his bail, according to his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which isn’t revealing his location.

“Following confirmation from German authorities that Paul Watson had failed to satisfy the bail conditions established by the German courts and had fled the country, Costa Rican authorities renewed their request” for Interpol to issue an international wanted notice for Watson, which Interpol did Tuesday, Interpol said.

Costa Rican authorities allege that Watson whose attempts to disrupt Japanese whalers at sea gained him fame on Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars” TV show and his crew aboard Sea Shepherd’s Ocean Warrior ship endangered a Costa Rican fishing vessel during a confrontation off Guatemala’s coast.

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Filed under: Costa Rica • Courts • Crime • Environment • Germany • Justice • Nature
4 dead in German standoff
Policemen stand in the area where a gunman had taken people hostage on July 4, 2012.
July 4th, 2012
07:52 AM ET

4 dead in German standoff

A gunman fired shots and held people hostage Wednesday in southern Germany in a standoff that left four people dead, police said.

The gunman was facing eviction, and the hostages included a bailiff who came to remove the man from his flat in the city of Karlsruhe.

Police stormed the flat shortly after noon because it was on fire, said Karlsruhe police spokesman Juergen Schoefer. They found four bodies inside.

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Jews, Muslims slam German circumcision ruling as assault on religion
A German court has sparked a furor by ruling that religious-based circumcisions are not in a child's best interests.
June 27th, 2012
02:15 PM ET

Jews, Muslims slam German circumcision ruling as assault on religion

Jews and Muslims are joining forces in outrage over a German court's decision that could prohibit parents from having their children circumcised for religious reasons. The court deemed the oft-religious procedure an act of "bodily harm" to children, according to German media reports.

The Tuesday ruling says doctors who perform the procedure for religious reasons could be charged with committing bodily injury, sparking a debate that pits parents' religious freedom against a child's right to self-determination. The court essentially ruled that circumcision is not in a child's best interests, according to the German newspaper Der Spiegel.

"The body of the child is irreparably and permanently changed by a circumcision," the court said. "This change contravenes the interests of the child to decide later on his religious beliefs."

While the ruling is expected to influence other courts, it is not legally binding, Der Spiegel noted.

The procedure, which is relatively common in the United States (roughly six in 10 newborn boys are circumcised), is not so prevalent in Europe. In Germany, only 11% of boys are circumcised, according to 2007 figures. However, many of Germany's 4 million Muslims and its 100,000 Jews consider circumcision a religious rite.

The case began in Cologne in 2010 after a doctor performed a circumcision on a 4-year-old Muslim boy. His parents took him to a hospital two days later because he was bleeding heavily, the Medical Daily website reported. When prosecutors learned of the emergency room visit, they brought criminal charges against the doctor.

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Germany fined after soccer fans display neo-Nazi symbols
Germany fans celebrate during the Euro 2012 Group B match against Denmark in Lviv on June 17.
June 26th, 2012
09:19 AM ET

Germany fined after soccer fans display neo-Nazi symbols

European football's governing body fined Germany's national soccer body €25,000 ($31,000) Tuesday over what witnesses say was the display of neo-Nazi symbols by German fans at a Euro 2012 match.

The "improper conduct of supporters" occurred when Germany played Denmark in the Ukrainian city of Lviv on June 17, UEFA said.

The anti-discrimination organization FARE stated on its official Twitter page: "FARE can confirm that one of our observers reported a neo-Nazi banner in the German section at the match v. Denmark in Lviv on Sunday."

German newspaper Taz also highlighted the wearing of neo-Nazi symbols by fans.

After the game, UEFA said it was investigating "the setting-off of fireworks and the improper conduct of supporters (display of inappropriate banners and symbols, and inappropriate chanting)."

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Report: Canada dismemberment suspect arrested in Germany
Luka Rocco Magnotta
June 4th, 2012
10:56 AM ET

Report: Canada dismemberment suspect arrested in Germany

Investigators in Berlin have detained a man whom they believe to be Luka Rocco Magnotta, a porn actor wanted in Canada for killing and dismembering someone and mailing body parts to political parties, a spokesman for the police in Berlin, Guido Busch, said Monday.

Authorities detained him after someone in an internet cafe told them she thought she recognized a customer in the cafe as the suspect, Busch said. The suspect offered no resistance when police took him into custody.

Magnotta is wanted on charges of first-degree murder in connection with the killing of 33-year-old Jun Lin, a Concordia University student from China, and threatening, among others, Canada's prime minister after mailing him a severed foot.

The case began last week when a package addressed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrived at his majority Conservative Party headquarters, and a hand was later found at a post office addressed to the minority Liberal Party, authorities said.

Authorities quickly traced the address on the packages to the Montreal apartment of Magnotta, where they discovered a torso in a suitcase in a trash bin.

And the crime, Montreal police say, was captured on a graphic video posted to the Web. It features a man - who authorities believe is Magnotta - killing another man, dismembering the corpse and performing sexual acts.

"We believe he filmed himself," LaFreniere said last week. "It's gross. ... This is a very deranged person. He is looking for attention, and he got it, but not in a positive way."

Not all the body parts have been recovered, and LaFreniere said forensic evidence and DNA were used to identify the victim as Jun.

Authorities believe Magnotta killed Jun on May 24 or May 25, posted the video, and on May 26 fled the country by plane to Europe.

That prompted Interpol, the global police agency, to alert authorities in 190 countries.

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'Whale Wars' captain freed on bail from German jail
Activists put up a poster calling for a German court to free Sea Shepherd leader Paul Watson.
May 21st, 2012
11:02 AM ET

'Whale Wars' captain freed on bail from German jail

Controversial Sea Shepherd conservationist and "Whale Wars" star Paul Watson was released from a German jail on Monday after posting 250,000 euros ($318,000) bail in an extradition case from Costa Rica.

Watson, whose attempts to disrupt Japanese whalers at sea gained fame through Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars” TV show, was detained last weekend at the Frankfurt airport after Costa Rica issued an international request for his arrest.

Costa Rican authorities allege that Watson’s crew aboard Sea Shepherd’s Ocean Warrior ship endangered a Costa Rican fishing vessel during a confrontation off Guatemala’s coast in 2002, according to the Frankfurt court.

The court ruled Friday that Germany will consider the request and that Costa Rica will have 90 days to make its case. The German Ministry of Justice then will decide whether to extradite Watson.

Speaking outside the prison Monday, Watson defended what happened in the Costa Rica case.

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Bail set for 'Whale Wars' star in extradition fight
Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson faces charges in Costa Rica stemming from a sea confrontation in 2002.
May 18th, 2012
02:54 PM ET

Bail set for 'Whale Wars' star in extradition fight

The German justice system will entertain a Costa Rican request to extradite controversial Sea Shepherd conservationist and "Whale Wars" star Paul Watson, but he can post bail while the matter is considered, a Frankfurt court ruled Friday.

Bail for Watson who faces what his organization and attorney allege are politically motivated charges over a 2002 confrontation at sea with Costa Rican fishermen was set at 250,000 euro ($318,000), Frankfurt high regional court spokesman Ingo Nohre said.

Watson, 61, intends to post it Monday, his group said.

Watson, whose attempts to disrupt Japanese whalers at sea gained fame through Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars” TV show, was detained last weekend at the Frankfurt airport after Costa Rica issued an international request for this arrest.

Costa Rican authorities allege that Watson’s crew aboard Sea Shepherd’s Ocean Warrior ship endangered a Costa Rican fishing vessel during a confrontation off Guatemala’s coast, according to the Frankfurt court.

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Iranian rapper faces death threats, bounty over song
The bounty for the killing of rapper Shahin Najafi appear on the website shia-online.ir.
May 15th, 2012
01:16 PM ET

Iranian rapper faces death threats, bounty over song

An Iranian rapper is facing death threats and has a $100,000 bounty on his head for a song that some say insults an Islamic Shiite imam.

Shahin Najafi, who sings in Farsi and lives in Germany, told the German website Qantara that the song "Naghi" is not about a religious figure but about the state of society in Iran.

"The story with 'Naghi' was just a pretext," Najafi said in an interview with Qantara, which the German Foreign Office funds to promote dialogue with the Islamic world.

"For me it is more of an excuse to talk about completely different things. I criticize Iranian society in the song. It seems as though people are just concentrating on the word 'imam,' " Najafi is quoted as saying.

Religious figures in Iran see it differently.

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Gotta Watch: Rough plane landings
Some air travelers in Spain experienced windy skies and rough landings in Bilbao, Spain.
April 26th, 2012
10:17 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Rough plane landings

Imagine being aboard a commercial airliner as it violently bucks and bumps through rough winds. Or, the feeling of terror as you realize the aircraft you're on has to make an emergency landing. You've gotta watch how some pilots handled intense moments like these - all caught on camera.

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Wind whips jetliner across runway

Planes landing in Bilbao, Spain, fight to land straight while flying in 50-60 mph winds.

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iReporter relives near-plane crash

In 2008, iReporter Dave Gering shared his experience of riding on a plane that nearly crashed in Germany.

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'We're gonna be in the Hudson'

The FAA released audiotapes of the US Airways flight that crash-landed in the Hudson River.

February 8th, 2012
12:21 PM ET

Most Ukraine cold deaths alcohol-related, minister says

Alcohol has been involved in most of the deaths blamed on the extreme cold in Ukraine, the country worst affected by the icy temperatures gripping eastern Europe, the country's emergencies minister said Wednesday.

Nine out of 10 of the deaths reported have been alcohol-related, the country's Emergency Situations Minister Viktor Baloga said.

At least 135 deaths have been reported in Ukraine in the past two weeks, but he suggested the actual number that can be blamed on the winter weather is somewhat lower, at 112.

Authorities in Ukraine have set up an emergency hospital to deal with people suffering from cold-related conditions, and distributed 3,000 emergency relief tents across the country, they said. The tents are heated, and people with nowhere else to go can get hot food and drinks.

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January 21st, 2012
03:55 AM ET

Pakistani police: 3 Germans arrested in raid

Three German citizens, including a German army colonel, were arrested in a police raid Saturday in the northern Pakistani city of Peshawar, authorities said.

Police official Mian Saeed said the three men had set up an office in the city without the permission of either the Pakistani or the German government.

He said police raided the office and asked the men to provide the necessary paperwork showing their legal status in the country. When they couldn't provide the paperwork, they were taken into custody, Saeed said.

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January 4th, 2012
06:16 PM ET

Los Angeles arson suspect charged with 37 counts

A German man arrested in Los Angeles early Monday after a string of 52 fires - mostly in parked cars - was charged Wednesday with 37 counts of arson, prosecutors said.

Harry Burkhart, 24, was due to appear in a Los Angeles court Wednesday in connection with one of the worst arson sprees in the city's history.

"After reviewing the available evidence, we filed 28 counts of arson of property and nine counts of arson of an inhabited structure," Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon. "The current charges relate to arson fires at 12 locations in Hollywood, West Hollywood and Sherman Oaks between December 30 and January 2."

No one was hurt in the fires, but property damage costs are likely to reach $3 million, authorities said. Burkhart is also under investigation for arson and fraud in his home country, a prosecution official in Germany said.

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Filed under: Arson • California • Crime • Germany • Justice • Los Angeles • Uncategorized
December 22nd, 2011
09:21 AM ET

Source: Patriot missiles found on ship are legal

Patriot missiles found on a ship bound for Asia were being sent legally, a source told CNN Thursday.

Finnish authorities had discovered and seized the shipment for investigation.

The weapons were being sent to South Korea, a customs official familiar with the case told CNN.

"The exporters had all necessary permissions, including an export authorization and a special authorization for the export of war weapons," the source said. "The ship departed from the German port of Emden."

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Filed under: Germany • South Korea • World Update
December 8th, 2011
06:47 AM ET

Bomb sent to German bank executive, officials say

A suspicious package sent to the chief executive of Deutsche Bank in Germany contained a functioning bomb, law enforcement officials in the state of Hesse announced Thursday.

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November 12th, 2011
05:40 PM ET

French, German leaders stress urgency with Greece's new prime minister

A day after being sworn in as Greece's new prime minister, Lucas Papademos talked Saturday with the leaders of France and Germany about efforts to address his nation's continuing economic woes - including negative ramifications if certain moves aren't made soon.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both congratulated Papademos on his ascension when they talked with him on Saturday afternoon, according to a statement from Sarkozy's office.

Sarkozy and Merkel then expressed an "urgent need" for Greece's new leader to ensure that his country adheres to its past commitments, including implementation of an Oct. 27 bailout package brokered between former Prime Minister George Papandreou and other European leaders.

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German satellite re-enters Earth's atmosphere
October 22nd, 2011
04:29 PM ET

German satellite re-enters Earth's atmosphere

[Updated 10:54 p.m. ET] A defunct satellite has entered the atmosphere, the German Aerospace Center reported Sunday morning.

"There is currently no confirmation if pieces of debris have reached Earth's surface," it said. Up to 30 pieces of space debris could hit land or water.

[Posted 4:29 p.m. ET] The earliest possible re-entry of a decommissioned German satellite into the Earth's atmosphere was pushed back to Saturday evening Eastern time, the German space agency's website said.

The agency originally had projected Saturday afternoon as the earliest re-entry for the satellite, which could include up to 30 individual pieces of debris.

As of 4 p.m. ET Saturday, the agency's latest prediction narrowed the re-entry to a six-hour window during Saturday night.

"The largest single fragment will probably be the telescope's mirror, which is very heat resistant and may weigh up to 1.7 tons," according to the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

The time and location of the Roentgen Satellite's (ROSAT) re-entry couldn't be forecast precisely, and officials estimated the fiery event to occur any time between 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday and 1:30 a.m. ET Sunday, the agency said.

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