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German women Affairs minister says companies ignoring quotas

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Company

Her remarks was published on Friday in the business daily Handelsblatt for International Women’s Day.

Giffey said that 81 per cent of companies subject to the quota had either provided no information or answered with “zero” to the question how many women were in management positions.

She called for greater pressure to attain the government target of at least 30-per-cent female representation in supervisory positions.

“That means appropriate sanctions that have more than symbolic character,’’ Giffey said, alleging that many companies were showing little initiative in placing women in executive positions.

Since the start of 2016, the 100 largest companies listed in Germany on the stock exchange must have 30 per cent women on their supervisory boards.

No target has been set for management boards.

The legislation requires other companies to set their own targets, and it is these companies that Giffey is aiming at, with fines imposed on companies not complying.

“Purely male clubs are no longer fit for the times,’’ she said.

A survey conducted by accountants Ernst & Young found that only around 17.1 per cent of the members of boards of management were women, up slightly from 16.3 per cent a year previously.

Sport

Chelsea set to sign Germany forward Werner

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Chelsea have agreed a deal in principle to sign Germany striker Timo Werner from Bundesliga club RB Leipzig, Sky Sports said on Thursday.

The report added that Werner has a 55 million euro ($62.45 million) release clause which expires on June 15 and that Premier League club Chelsea had offered the 24-year-old a contract worth 200,000 pounds per week.

Werner is second-top scorer in the Bundesliga this season with 25 goals, four behind Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.

He has made 29 appearances for Germany, scoring 11 times.


Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

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Economic institutes, industry welcome Germany’s stimulus package

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The economic stimulus package presented by the German government includes numerous “right impulses” to fight the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) said on Thursday.

The package, worth 130 billion euros (146 billion U.S. dollars) for the years 2020 and 2021, was presented by Chancellor Angela Merkel late on Wednesday after a two-day government session in Berlin.

The single biggest measure is the reduction of the value-added tax (VAT) from 19 percent to 16 percent until the end of this year, which would cost around 20 billion euros, according to the government.

“The temporary reduction in VAT is a courageous attempt to support consumption, even if it is not clear whether and how much of this reduction will be passed on to consumers,” commented Marcel Fratzscher, president of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW).

“Support of private consumer spending and corporate liquidity, each with a good one percentage point of economic output before the end of this year, will significantly mitigate the recession,” stressed Dieter Kempf, president of the Federation of German Industries (BDI).

Furthermore, the German government has agreed on a child bonus for families, which would entitle parents to receive a one-off payment of 300 euros per child.

Although the child bonus would help families, “it will not be able to compensate for the lack in opening day-care centers for children and schools, which would be much more important for many parents,” added Fratzscher.

Another key element of the economic stimulus package is to promote innovation, especially in view of climate protection and digitization, according to the government.

“The planned increased promotion of new technologies in key areas, such as mobility and climate protection, is constructive,” said Kempf. “These are strong sectors that will be further strengthened” by the economic stimulus package.

The Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel) noted that the German government’s measures — including the liquidation of social security reserves but excluding credit programs, the economic stabilization fund as well as aid programs by the European Union — now amounted to 350 billion euros.

“While such a strong, short-acting stimulus in a crisis is in principle the right strategy, the question now arises whether the sum total of all aid packages does not already result in an overdose of state aid,” said IfW Kiel President Gabriel Felbermayr. (1 euro = 1.13 U.S. dollars)

(XINHUA)

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Club receive trophy for German handball title in empty arena

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THW Kiel received the trophy for another German handball title in a ceremony behind closed doors —- with players and staff wearing face masks, white gloves and keeping a distance.

The 2019/2020 season was suspended in March because of the coronavirus pandemic and then abandoned on April 21 with eight matchdays left, and leaders Kiel declared champions.

Kiel received the trophy, handed over a little earlier from dethroned regional rivals Flasburg-Handewitt, in a small ceremony in their normally bustling 10,000-seat arena.

“You can’t compare the emotions, but it is still a good day for the club,” Kiel managing director Viktor Szilagyi said.

Kiel received the trophy from league president Uwe Schwenker who expressed hope that fans would be allowed back to matches in the foreseeable future.
OLAL

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi (NAN)
)

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Germany unveils 130-billion-euro stimulus package to boost virus-hit economy

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Germany has agreed on an economic stimulus package worth 130 billion euros (146 billion U.S. dollars) to mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel said late Wednesday.

“The size of the package will amount to 130 billion euros for the years 2020/2021, 120 billion of which will be spent by the federal government,” Merkel said during a news conference after coalition meetings over stimulus measures to boost the severely-hit economy.

“We have an economic stimulus package, a package for the future, and in addition, we’re now dealing with our responsibility for Europe and the international dimension,” she noted.

The comprehensive economic stimulus measures include billions in aid for struggling industries, additional funding to deal with unemployment and lost tax revenue, and a one-time 300-euro per child bonus.

Merkel said the main value-added tax (VAT) rate will be temporarily reduced from 19 percent to 16 percent for six months, starting from July 1. The usual VAT rate for hospitality of 7 percent will be reduced to 5 percent over the same period.

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said that an additional supplementary budget will need to be passed for the stimulus, without naming any figures.

The stimulus programme follows a 750-billion-euro rescue package agreed by the German government in late March to mitigate the damage of the pandemic.

(XINHUA)

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German sex offender named as murder suspect in Madeleine McCann case

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Murder

Wiesbaden (Germany), Jun 4, 2020  German Police

have said that a 43-year-old man, who has been convicted of multiple sexual offences, is a murder suspect in the case of Madeleine McCann, the British girl who went missing while on holiday with her parents in 2007.

The man is currently serving a lengthy prison sentence for another crime, said the Federal Police in the German city of Wiesbaden.

Madeleine, who was three years old at the time, vanished from her family’s holiday apartment in the Portuguese village of Praia da Luz in May 2007 while her parents were having dinner at a nearby restaurant.

The case made international headlines and, at one point, Portuguese Police made her parents the suspects.

The current suspect, who has served multiple jail sentences for child sex abuse, had lived in southern Portugal’s Algarve region between 1995 and 2007 at regular intervals, including in a house that was between Lagos and Praia da Luz for several years.

“Based on information available here, he had several odd jobs in the Lagos area during this time, including one in catering,’’ the Police said.

They added there was information suggesting he committed criminal offences, such as burglarising holiday flats, to earn his living.

German Federal Police in the state prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig is investigating the suspect, who has in the past, also been convicted of sexual offences involving children.

The Braunschweiger Zeitung newspaper said the suspect was convicted of rape last year.

After dropping the case in 2008, Portuguese officials had reopened the investigation in October 2013 due to the presence of new leads.

British Police, who have also been involved in the case, made a plea for more information on Wednesday in light of the new suspect.

They identified two vehicles – a Volkswagen camper van with a Portuguese licence plate and a British Jaguar with a German plate – as being connected with the man at the time of the incident.

They said the man in question had taken a phone call from a Portuguese number in the Praia da Luz region the night the girl disappeared.

The person, who made that call, was thought to be a key witness.

In a Metropolitan Police statement, Detective Chief Inspector, Mark Cranwell, who leads the Met investigation, said that “while this male is a suspect, we retain an open mind as to his involvement and this remains a missing person inquiry’’.

“Our job as detectives is to follow the evidence, maintain an open mind and establish what happened on that day in May 2007,’’ Cranwell added.

“Please contact us without delay so we can get answers for Madeleine’s family.’’

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

 
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Egypt FM holds phone talks with Russia, Germany FMs on regional issues

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Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry held separate phone talks on Wednesday with his Russian and German counterparts where they discussed regional issues of mutual concern, said the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.

In his talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and later with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Shoukry focused on the situation in the war-torn Libya and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, according to statements by Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez.

“Minister Shoukry stressed the necessity of supporting the UN efforts to reach a comprehensive political solution that would restore security and eliminate all aspects of terrorism in Libya,” Hafez said.

Both Egypt and Russia support Khalifa Haftar, head of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), in his conflict against the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) led by his rival Fayez al-Serraj.

Libya has been locked in a civil war since the ouster and killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The situation escalated in 2014, splitting power between two rival governments: the UN-backed GNA based in the capital Tripoli and another in the northeastern city of Tobruk allied with Haftar’s LNA.

The separate phone conversations also addressed efforts to revive the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis, urging for a comprehensive and just settlement based on the UN-proposed two-state solution and warning against Israeli plans to further annex occupied Palestinian lands.

They also discussed chances for resuming Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, stressing that any relevant unilateral measures “would push the region towards further complication.”

The Egyptian minister also explained Egypt’s willingness to resume tripartite negotiations with Sudan and Ethiopia regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) that Ethiopia is building on their shared Nile River.

Over the past few years, tripartite talks on the rules of filling and operating Ethiopia’s grand hydropower dam have been fruitless, amid Egyptian concerns that the GERD construction would affect Egypt’s annual share of Nile water.

(XINHUA)

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German car industry maintains negative business assessment: ifo

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Germany’s automotive industry continued to assess the current business situation as worse than the financial crisis in 2009, according to a business survey published by ifo Institute on Wednesday.

The index for current business recovered slightly and stood at minus 84.4 points in May, according to ifo. During the financial crisis in 2009, the index had only fallen to minus 82.9 points.

However, business expectations of Germany’s automotive industry lightened up and were “no longer quite so pessimistic” as the expectation index rose from minus 44.4 points to minus 13.4 points, according to ifo.

“The industry is down in a dark cellar, and although it has managed to climb back up a few steps, there is still no sign of light,” said Klaus Wohlrabe, head of surveys at ifo.

The production index recorded a positive value of 22.7 points in May after falling to minus 41.5 points in April. “This means more companies reported that they wanted to expand their currently very low production,” ifo noted.

Germany’s largest car manufacturers Volkswagen as well as Daimler and BMW have already started to gradually ramp up production after a five-week shutdown in March and April due to COVID-19.

For the past two days, the German government has been discussing a comprehensive economic stimulus package, including purchase premiums for cars, to mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis.

Two weeks ago, the German Council of Economic Experts advised that the government should not be led, under the influence of individual sectors, to introduce a large number of sector-specific measures, such as a purchase premium for vehicles.

(XINHUA)

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Germany loses ground in patent-power ranking: study

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Germany lost some of its “patent power” in a global comparison as the international balance in innovation had shifted towards east Asia between 2000 and 2019, according to a study conducted by the German Bertelsmann Stiftung and published on Wednesday.

“While still the strongest European patent power, Germany is losing ground worldwide,” the study found. Although Germany still showed “impressive results” across nearly the entire bandwidth of technologies, its status as a leading technology nation was “increasingly challenged.”

In 2010, Germany had still been among the top three countries worldwide by patent numbers in 47 out of 58 considered technologies. By 2019, this had more than halved to 22, according to Bertelsmann.

South Korea and China in particular have “developed enormously in terms of patent quality in the last ten years,” the study noted. Especially China‘s strength in the field of nutrition would not come as a surprise in light of “growing prosperity and high population numbers” in the country.

In 2019, China was among the three countries with the largest numbers of top patents in 42 of the 58 technologies, according to the study. Almost 20 years ago, Chinese patents did not even reach a top five ranking in a single category.

The United States would remain the “greatest patent power in the medium term,” according to the study.

The 27 member states of the European Union (EU) were able to maintain top positions in the categories of wind energy and functional food. However, the study revealed that Europe was bound to fall behind in new developments, such as 5G or block chain.

“Europe needs a clear political commitment towards a common initiative. The competition lies not within the European countries or their respective organizations,” stressed Brigitte Mohn, member of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board.

(XINHUA)

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German jobless rate climbs to 6.1 pct in May

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The unemployment rate in Germany increased “strongly” in May by 0.3 percentage point to 6.1 percent compared to the previous month as a result of the coronavirus crisis, the country’s Federal Employment Agency (BA) said on Wednesday.

The number of unemployed people in Germany in May rose to around 2.8 million, according to the BA. Compared to the previous year, the number of unemployed people went up by 577,000.

“The labor market remains under heavy pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Detlef Scheele, head of the BA.

Scheele stressed that the BA‘s financial reserves of 26 billion euros (29.2 billion U.S. dollars) would probably not be enough to shoulder the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on Germany’s labor market.

According to BA, more than 10 million people in Germany were registered for short-time work in March and April. Preliminary BA figures showed that around two million employees received short-time work compensation in March.

“The use of short-time work in March was thus already well above the figures at the time of the 2008-2009 Great Recession,” the BA noted. The record before the coronavirus crisis was in May 2009, when 1.44 million people were on short-time work during the financial crisis.

(XINHUA)

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