German ministers decline Washington G7 summit invite: Der Spiegel
Berlin, July 9, 2020 (Reuters/NAN) Germany’s finance and foreign ministers declined an invitation to take part in a Washington gathering of ministers from the G7 group of large industrial countries, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Thursday.
German Chancellor Angela MerkelAccording to the magazine, Germany told the United States government that it would send state secretaries to the mini-summit, planned for July 29, instead of Olaf Scholz and Heiko Maas.
The magazine said other G7 countries had taken a similar decision.
Earlier, it was reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel had declined to take part in a national leaders’ level meeting in Washington, in what was widely interpreted as a snub to the administration of United States President Donald Trump.
The Finance and Foreign Ministries declined to comment on the report. (Reuters/NAN)
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
German state premier to support town affected by United States troop withdrawal
The premier of the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate has pledged support to one of the regions affected by the withdrawal of United States troops from Germany.
“Whatever happens (at the military base) in Spangdahlem in the end – and we hope it will be very little – the state will of course support the local council and municipalities with the necessary measures,” Malu Dreyer said on Monday during talks with local officials.
The main aim was to maintain the United States military base in Spangdahlem and for the United States announcement to be reversed, the minister said.
“We are fighting for the site,” Dreyer added.
In the past week, the United States announced it would transfer F-16 fighter jets stationed in the town in the west of Germany to Italy, affecting around half of the 4,000 soldiers living at the air base.
The United States airforce said the base in Spangdahlem would continue to operate despite the troop withdrawal, though plans are not final yet.
Around 11,000 people live at the air base, including relatives.
United States President Donald Trump has announced the United States would withdraw about 12,000 troops stationed in Germany.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Huge Berlin coronavirus protest sparks debate over right to assemble
Politicians from both sides of the political spectrum are reassessing Germany’s approach to protests during the pandemic, after thousands of people gathered in Berlin at the weekend at an event flouting hygiene measures.
The freedom to assemble is a “particularly important legal right,” Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht told the Monday edition of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.
However, she said that rules must be followed in order to limit coronavirus infections and so as not to endanger others.
“I have no understanding for demonstrators who arrogantly defy this,” Lambrecht, a member of the centre-left Social Democrats, was quoted as saying.
Armin Schuster, an expert for interior affairs in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), suggested banning mass demonstrations like the rally seen in Berlin altogether.
Police said up to 17,000 people took part in a march against coronavirus restrictions in the capital on Saturday, with a subsequent rally attracting a crowd of some 20,000.
Because many participants were not keeping the required distance from one another or wearing masks, police broke up the event in the early evening.
Schuster said it would be appropriate “to permit (such demonstrations) only under far stricter constraints or not at all,” in comments to the Rheinische Post newspaper.
His CDU colleague, Thorsten Frei, who is deputy head of the conservative party’s group in parliament, stressed that demonstrations should only be restricted in exceptional cases.
“But when the demonstrations themselves become a high risk, the state cannot stand by and watch,” he told the newspaper Die Welt.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Trump furious after Appeal Court overturns Boston bomber death penalty
United States President Donald Trump has flayed an appellate court ruling that overturned the death sentence given to the 2013 Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
In a tweet on Sunday, Trump said that hardly had anyone deserved the death penalty than Tsarnaev.
He said the government must push for the death penalty, adding that the country could not let the ruling stand.
“Rarely has anybody deserved the death penalty more than the Boston Bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
“The court agreed that this was one of the worst domestic terrorist attacks since the 9/11 atrocities.
“Yet the appellate court tossed out the death sentence. So many lives lost and ruined.
“The Federal Government must again seek the death penalty in a do-over of that chapter of the original trial.
“Our country cannot let the appellate decision stand. Also, it is ridiculous that this process is taking so long!,” the tweet read.
Three people died and hundreds of others were injured after Tsarnaev, 27, and his older brother, Tamerlan, detonated homemade bombs along the marathon’s route on April 15, 2013.
Tsarnaev was handed the death penalty in 2015 but he appealed the ruling in 2019 on the ground that the juniors were biased.
In its ruling on July 31, the First United States Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with him, and ordered a retrial of the case.
It said the trial judge should have excluded jurors, who had already concluded that Tsarnaev was guilty.
Prosecutors are now left with two options: to comply with the appellate court ruling or challenge it at the Supreme Court.
Edited By: Silas Nwoha (NAN)
Three dead in attack on Afghan jail, scores of prisoners flee
An attack, claimed by Islamic State on a jail compound in the Afghan city of Jalalabad, killed at least three persons and injured dozens.
The attack triggers heavy fighting, in which scores of prisoners escaped, an official said.
Sohrab Qaderi, a provincial council member, said a huge car bomb explosion was followed by at least two smaller blasts, outside the government-run prison, and that Police then fought attackers who had taken up positions nearby.
Islamic State’s Amaq news agency quoted a military source as saying its fighters had carried out Sunday’s attack but gave no further details.
There was no independent confirmation that the militant group was responsible.
“At least three people were dead and 25 injured in the ongoing clashes,’’ Qaderi said.
“More than 50 prisoner escaped and the death toll could rise, he added.
The assault happened on the third and final day of a ceasefire between the Afghan government and the Taliban, when hundreds of Taliban prisoners were released in an attempt to make a final push for intra-Afghan peace talks.
The Taliban was not responsible for the attack, a spokesman for the Islamist group said.
President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban have both indicated that long-delayed negotiations could begin immediately after the Eid al-Adha festival, which took place in Kabul on Thursday.
The Taliban says it has freed all 1,000 Afghan prisoners it had pledged to release in a deal with the United States.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)