(Correction: An early version of this post included a reference to a "Polish death camp." It should have said "a Nazi death camp in Poland." CNN regrets the error.)
German prosecutors have reopened hundreds of investigations into suspected Nazi death camp guards, according to the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Los Angeles-based Jewish human rights organization founded by a camp survivor.
"Though this is late in the game, and those who would be targeted are very old, this is tremendously important," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper. "This signals that there is a new generation of prosecutors who want to take a fresh and serious look, and it means that the larger German bureaucratic machine is paying attention to the importance of finding these criminals."
Germany is making a move now because of an unusual and opportune precedent established by the May 2011 conviction of John Demjanjuk, a guard at a death camp, Cooper explained. There was no direct evidence tying Demjanjuk to crimes, but prosecutors won a conviction on more than 28,000 counts of accessory to murder by demonstrating that he worked at the camp where deaths occurred.
Demjanjuk was deported from the United States in 2009 to stand trial in Germany, appearing in court wearing dark eyeglasses and a baseball hat. Demjanjuk has filed an appeal of his conviction. Because of his age and the unlikely flight risk he posed, he was freed but returned to prison in May, prompting German prison officials to search for a short-term nursing home for him.
Pope Benedict XVI arrived at Berlin's Tegel airport Thursday morning.
About 6,000 police officers are securing the visit, authorities told CNN.
"Even though this journey is an official visit which will reinforce the good relations existing between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Holy See, I have not come here primarily to pursue particular political or economic goals, but rather to meet people and to speak about God," the pope said during a speech at Bellevue Castle.FULL STORY
Call it "The Bath of the 70-foot Woman." Or "Two Tons of Mermaid."
The real name of the massive woman in a Hamburg, Germany, lake is actually "Die Badende" ("The Bather"), and she's an ad for British beauty brand Soap & Glory.
"We launched Soap & Glory in Germany last year, and we've been looking for a way to say, 'Thank you!' to everyone for embracing our products, and making us a real success there. At Soap & Glory, we consider it our calling to bring more beauty to the world, and have fun doing it – 'Die Badende' does exactly that," the brand's founder, Marcia Kilgore, said in a news release.
"Die Badende" is the work of art creator Oliver Voss. It's almost 13 feet high, 67 feet long and weighs two tons.
The sculpture is made from a steel cage covered with Styrofoam almost a foot thick, which is then covered by a layer of special filler sealed with a polyester resin.
It will spend 10 days in Hamburg's Inner Alster Lake.
Apparently, "Die Badende" is as modest as "she" is massive. Soap & Glory promises a crane will be standing by with a supersize towel when "Die Badende" is ready to come out of the water.
A 10-year-old girl in Hanover, Germany, told neighbors and police that a scissors-wielding man had tried to kidnap her and cut off her hair Tuesday, but that wasn't quite true.
In fact, it wasn't true at all, the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper reported.
After police spent several hours searching the girl's neighborhood for the perpetrator and guarding her house against his return, the girl admitted she had made the whole thing up.
The real story, the paper reported, was that the girl and her younger brother had found a pair of scissors in their basement and haphazardly cut off each other's hair. Realizing their parents would be upset, she told the kidnap story to a neighbor, who called police.
However, the police became skeptical when the girl's story changed after a couple of hours. She at first said the man had entered the house and confronted her; she later said she had run into him outside, and he followed her into the house, intent on stealing her hair.
The newspaper didn't say whether the girl would face any punishment from police - or her parents.
Chess was originally brought to Europe via Spain from the Arab world. Now, a Canadian veteran is sending Chess sets back to the Middle East – with kings modeled after President Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden.
Jeff Train, who had been in the Canadian military until 1989, was working as a military contractor in Afghanistan when he noticed soldiers buying chess sets from local vendors. Train said he was concerned those vendors, in transporting their wares from Pakistan, were actually aiding the enemy.
“They have to drive through Taliban country and they have to pay the toll,” Train said. “So basically the soldiers were funding the insurgency.”
Train, 48, who lives in the Philippines, said he wanted to develop an alternative product for soldiers, one that would document the history they have lived. In 2009, he began making and selling sets of Canadian and American soldiers that played opposite Taliban chessmen under the company name Hobby Leisure Manufacturing. Then he began getting requests from soldiers from other countries and now manufactures British, Finnish, Norwegian, German and Australian soldiers as well. He also makes a set of Iraqi soldiers that fight Americans.
As Americans anticipate Obama’s impending announcement of troop withdrawals, Train is thinking ahead to how the soldiers will remember and represent their experiences in the Middle East. He said he wants them to be able to use the game to demonstrate actual events of the past decade.
“When a soldier gets older, he can sit down with his kids and his wife, who really don’t understand what’s going on, use the board and say, ‘The world went to war against this guy and these people,’ ” Train said.
An Australian blimp pilot killed in a crash of his airship was being hailed as a hero Tuesday for saving the lives of three other people aboard the doomed craft.
Michael Nerandzic was trying to land a Goodyear blimp at an airfield in Reichelsheim, Germany, when his passengers, three journalists, smelled fuel and heard a loud noise from an engine, according to news reports, including one in the Daily Telegraph in Sydney, Australia.
Realizing the ship was in danger, Nerandzic lowered it to just two meters (6.5 feet) off the ground and told the journalists to jump, according to the news reports.
Lawmaker did send pics of himself: New York Rep. Anthony Weiner has admitted that he lied repeatedly over the past week and a half when he told reporters, colleagues and his friends that a hacker posted lewd photos of him to his Twitter account. Weiner apologized during a press conference on Monday and said that he has engaged in several inappropriate relationships with women he's met online. Listen to one woman talk about her involvement with him. Democratic observer James Carville says Weiner doesn't have a lot of fans in his own party. But the lawmaker said he will not resign and said it's up to voters to determine whether he continues in his job. Many are debating whether he violated any official House ethics rules. CNN's Wolf Blitzer told Piers Morgan on Monday that before Weiner confessed to lying, Blitzer "sort of believed" Weiner during an earlier interview when the congressman told the journalist he had no idea who had sent the image.
Obama economic adviser leaving - President Obama's top economic advisor Austan Goolsbee is leaving the White House. He is returning to his previous job at the University of Chicago. The president says Goolsbee helped steer the country out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Arizona wildfires - Firefighters are still battling fires that have scorched more than 230,000 acres, mostly in the Apache National Forest along the state's eastern border. Smoke is traveling into New Mexico and affecting air travel.
German chancellor at White House - President Obama is meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel today to discuss several issues including the European economic crisis. During her stay, Merkel will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom when she attends a state dinner at the White House on Tuesday night.
The outbreak of E. coli in Germany has killed several more people and sickened hundreds, authorities said Tuesday.
News reports citing local authorities reported 16 deaths linked to E. coli in some raw vegetables. CNN has confirmed at least 11 deaths.
As more people have died, the outbreak has shown itself to be spreading geographically as well. No longer contained in northern Germany, the outbreak has killed at least two people in the western part of the country.
The Robert Koch Institute, Germany's federal unit responsible for disease control and prevention, said 373 people have been confirmed sickened. But figures coming in from local authorities and hospitals made clear many more people are believed to be infected.
"Here in Hamburg we're pretty much at the epicenter," Jorg Debatin, medical director of the Hamburg Medical Center, told CNN. His hospital has 600 to 700 infected patients, Debatin said. About 20% to 30% of them develop hemolytic-uremic syndrome, or HUS, "a very severe complication," he said.
The hospital is especially concerned about 85 patients - 20 children and 65 adults - who may go into renal failure and develop neurologic symptoms, he said. While authorities worked to contain and respond to the outbreak, the specific cause remained unclear.
The European Food Safety Alert Network said EHEC, or enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, a strain of E. coli that causes hemorrhage in the intestines, was found in organic cucumbers originating from Spain, packaged in Germany, and distributed to countries including Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg and Spain.
But the source has not yet been pinpointed, authorities said.FULL STORY
John Demjanjuk was found guilty Thursday of involvement in tens of thousands of murders by a court in Germany, capping a 25-year international legal saga over whether he was a Nazi camp guard during World War II. He was sentenced to five years in prison.
German prosecutors accused the 91-year-old former Ohio auto worker of being a guard at the notorious Nazi death camp of Sobibor in Poland. His defense team argued that he was a prisoner of war who was forced to do what the Nazis wanted. FULL STORY
Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage on the battle over federal spending.
Today's programming highlights...
10:30 am ET - Pentagon briefing on Afghanistan - U.S. and German military officials will talk with reporters on current military operations in Afghanistan.
3:00 pm ET - Obama's Nevada town hall - President Obama pays a visit to the "Biggest Little City in the World" today, but it's all about business. He's in Reno, Nevada, for a town hall-style meeting to discuss relations between the government and the American public.
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Knut the polar bear, the star attraction at the Berlin Zoo who suddenly died March 19, drowned after falling into his swimming enclosure, investigators said Friday.
Knut had encephalitis, or severe inflammation of the brain, which caused the muscle spasms that led to his drowning, according to the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, the official German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.
A pathologist with the institute said the encephalitis would have killed Knut eventually if he had not drowned.
Knut became a cultural phenomenon when he made his public debut as a cuddly cub in 2007. His mother at the zoo had rejected him at birth, so a zookeeper raised him, including administering bottle feedings, until he got big enough to feed himself.
More than 600 zoo patrons, including many children, were watching Knut when he fell into the pool, and some screamed as they realized what was happening, reported Time.com, which features a photo gallery of Knut's public life.
Several dozen people demonstrated Saturday at the Berlin Zoo to object to plans to stuff Knut's hide for display in a museum, Monsters and Critics reported.
"To put him in a stuffy museum room so he can catch dust for decades and be grabbed, fingered and stared at ... he doesn't deserve that," protester Uwe Voelkel, 53 said.
The U.S. military's European Command is ordering all U.S. troops in Europe not to wear their uniforms outside military installations, the newspaper Stars and Stripes reports.
The order comes three weeks after a gunman opened fire on a U.S. Air Force bus at Frankfurt, Germany's, main airport, killing two U.S. airmen. It also comes as U.S. forces in Europe help enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, which is across the Mediterranean Sea from Europe. That operation is led by U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany.
“The directive specifically forbids the wear of uniforms for travel between duty and domicile, short convenience stops, conduct of physical fitness, travel between installations, and off post messing,” the Stripes report quotes an order issued over Armed Forces Network - Europe as saying.
Dutch researchers found the wreck of a World War I German submarine in 2009 but kept the discovery secret until this week, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reported.
The crew of the research ship HNLMS Snellius hoped they'd found a Dutch submarine that disappeared in 1940, but the vessel turned out to be much older. A brass plate indicated the sub was the German U-106, which sank during World War I, the radio report said.
The announcement of the discovery was delayed while German officials confirmed the sub's identity and sought out relatives of crew members, according to the radio report.
A Dutch navy spokesman told Radio Netherlands the U-boat would not be raised but would be designated a war memorial.
A week after a gunman killed two U.S. service members aboard a bus at Germany's Frankfurt Airport, the U.S. military has stopped using blue American-style school buses to transport troops, the newspaper Stars and Stripes reports.
The distinctive buses were criticized as "obvious targets for terrorists," according to the Stripes report.
Frankfurt Airport officials told the newspaper the blue buses have not been seen at the facility since the shooting, which left two U.S. airmen dead and two wounded.
The man who shot and killed two American troops in Germany Wednesday was a recently radicalized Muslim whose aim was to kill American soldiers, a German official said Thursday.
The suspect seems to have been acting on his own, but had spent time on local radical Islamist websites, said Boris Rhein, interior minister of the German state of Hesse, where the shooting took place.
The 21-year-old man from Kosovo is in custody after two U.S. airmen were
killed and two others were wounded Wednesday in a shooting on a U.S. military bus at Frankfurt Airport, authorities said.
The suspect is named Arid Uka, from the northern town of Mitrovica,
Kosovo's interior minister, Bajram Rexhepi, told CNN, citing the U.S. Embassy in Pristina as his source.
Read about Wednesday's shootings that killed two U.S. Air Force airmen.
[Update 1:40 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama said Wednesday he was "saddened and outraged" by an attack in Germany that killed two Americans and wounded two others. "We will spare no effort in learning how this outrageous attack took place," Obama said, adding that American officials are working with German authorities to investigate.
[Update 11:19 a.m. ET] Two people were shot and killed Wednesday in an incident involving a U.S. military bus at Frankfurt Airport in Germany, a police spokesman said.
Another person is severely wounded, Juergen Linker told CNN, and one person is in custody.
A U.S. military official said initial reports were that two people had been killed, including the driver of the bus.
It is not clear if the driver was German or American, or military or civilian.
Two others are wounded, said the source, who is not authorized to speak publicly about the incident.
The ol' cut and run - An Oklahoma man is accused of stuffing a chainsaw down his pants and running. Well, waddling is likely a better word. The best part about this absurd story is the repeated use of the term "britches" and the infamous local news standby – the old camera man re-enactment routine.
Italian police supported by the European Police Agency arrested 26 people this week suspected of smuggling thousands of illegal immigrants from Afghanistan into Europe.
The smuggling network was responsible for transporting about 200 hundreds migrants a month since August 2008, according to a news release from Europol. Twenty percent of those moved through the network were children, the police agency said.
The migrants were first moved through Pakistan, Iran and Turkey into Greece, the agency said. From there, they went through Albania, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro or Bosnia into Rome for transport northward. Most went to the United Kingdom, Norway and Sweden. The migrants could spend from days to weeks in transit, depending upon circumstances.
Migrants paid anywhere from $4,600 to $6,600 for the trip. Money was moved through the system using the “hawala” money transfer network that operates outside of normal banking channels, Europol said.
Most of the 26 arrests were made in Italy, but others were taken into custody in France and Germany, Europol said.
Austrian officials plan to exhume a mass grave near a psychiatric hospital that could contain victims of the Nazis' so-called euthanasia program.
Officials in the western Austrian city of Hall told UPI that they will begin digging in March, when the ground thaws. The process could take two years.
The Irish Times reported that construction workers at the hospital, about 6 miles east of Innsbruck, found 220 decomposed bodies while they were excavating the site for a new building.
Though Christian Haring, a director at the hospital, which is still in operation, told the Times it was unclear whether all the bodies were of euthanasia victims, historian Oliver Seifert told UPI that the bodies were buried between 1942 and 1945.