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Germany, France to sign deals for next-generation combat jet system

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The contracts for the system are due to be signed on Monday at an air show in Le Bourget, France, the German Defence Ministry said on Friday.

The signing will be attended by German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her French counterpart Florence Parly.

Calls have grown louder for years that Germany and France should pull together for major defence projects, not only because of the costs but also to remain strategically independent and to be able to produce weapon systems themselves.

“In an increasingly uncertain world, it is therefore important that we take precautions together,’’ von der Leyen said.

The FCAS, composed of both manned and unmanned weapons systems, is expected to be operation-ready beginning in 2040.

The system will allow fighter jets to be accompanied by drones and launcher systems.

Technical experts estimated that the development of the system would cost around 9 billion dollars.

For the procurement and operation of the system, a sum of 100 million euros was given.

Von der Leyen and Parly want to sign a framework agreement that will define the project’s organisation and management structures.

A so-called first implementation agreement is also to be signed, under which Germany will contribute a concept study by the end of 2021 that will cost 65 million euros.

 

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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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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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Germany reports 342 new COVID-19 cases, total now at 182,370

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New COVID-19 infections in Germany remained under last week’s average as the number of confirmed cases increased by 342 within one day to 182,370, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced on Wednesday.

Over the course of last week, an average of 457 daily cases had been recorded by the RKI, the federal government agency for disease control and prevention.

According to the RKI, the number of deaths from the new coronavirus in Germany increased by 29 to 8,551 by Tuesday. The case fatality rate in Germany was unchanged at 4.7 percent.

The number of people currently infected with COVID-19 in Germany continued to fall to around 15,000 by Tuesday as the estimated number of people who had already recovered increased by around 800 within one day to 167,300, the RKI noted.

The 4-day average reproduction rate (R-number) of COVID-19 in Germany once again fell below one and decreased to 0.89, according to the RKI daily situation report for Tuesday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the RKI had stressed numerous times that the R-number had to be below one in order to ease restrictions in Germany. An R-number below one indicates that one infected person is passing on the disease to less than one person on average.

Since new daily COVID-19 infections in Germany have fallen well below peak values, the RKI has been stressing that the R-number in Germany was “sensitive to short-term changes” as caused by a local cluster infection after family celebrations in the district of Goettingen.

On Tuesday, the city of Goettingen announced that 80 people so far tested positive for COVID-19. The city was planning to test an additional 700 contact persons and all schools in the city area would be closed as a preventive measure until the end of the week.

(XINHUA)

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Germany lifts travel warning for European countries from June 15

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Germany’s travel warnings for member states of the European Union (EU), Schengen associated states as well as for Britain would be lifted on June 15 and be replaced by individual travel advice, Foreign Office announced on Wednesday.

As entry restrictions by Norway and Spain would apply beyond June 15, the lifting of Germany’s travel warning for these two countries was delayed and would be adjusted later, according to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

There had been “intensive talks” with Germany’s European partners in recent weeks, Maas said after a government meeting on Wednesday. Across Europe, lockdown measures were being gradually lifted and hotels and restaurants were reopening.

In many places, the spread of COVID-19 was under control, Maas said, adding that this “positive development” had been taken into account. The decision to lift travel warnings to European countries would “awake great hopes and expectations.”

However, Maas stressed that travel warnings for certain countries or regions could be reactivated again. If more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within one week were recorded in a certain country or region, Germany’s Foreign Office would reevaluate the situation.

An emergency mechanism, which was reached between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany‘s states, uses the same benchmark for deciding whether the partial easing of COVID-19 restrictions has to be reverted.

“We must not lull ourselves into a false sense of security,” stressed Maas. “The pandemic is far from over and together we must prevent a resumption of tourism from leading to a second wave in Germany and elsewhere.”

(XINHUA)

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United States ambassador to Germany Grenell resigns

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The United States Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell has resigned from post and his deputy has temporarily filled in, local media Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA) reported on Tuesday.

Grenell confirmed his retreat late Monday on his Instagram account without indicating his next post.

It has been widely speculated that he may join United States President Donald Trump‘s re-election campaign, according to the DPA.

Grenell’s deputy Robin Quinville has become the chargee d’affaires until a new ambassador comes.

During his tenure of more than two years in Germany, Grenell was seen widely by German media as an aggressive, unconventional and even rude diplomat, as he zealously presented Trump’s policies in Germany and Europe.

Shortly after his appointment in May 2018, he directly warned German enterprises not to work with Iran, which was criticized for meddling in other country’s internal affairs.

He tweeted many controversial statements, following Trump’s rhetoric, including the accusation about Germany’s insufficient military and the threat to withdraw U.S. troops from Germany.

He has also long been finding things to pick at about the Nord Stream 2 project, which is designed to transport natural gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea.

Although German ministers have refrained from radical responses to Grenell, parliament members have often openly denounced his remarks, and some lawmakers even asked foreign ministry to declare him as “persona non grata” — an unwelcome or unacceptable person in diplomacy.

(XINHUA)

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Demand for labor in Germany continues to fall due to COVID-19 pandemic

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Due to economic restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for labor in Germany continued to fall as the country’s job index fell from 94 points in April to 91 points in May, Germany’s Federal Employment Agency (BA) announced on Tuesday.

The decline in labor demand slowed down after the monthly index had fallen by 19 points last month. “New job registrations have recovered from the strong fall in April,” BA noted.

However, with a minus of 38 points year-on-year, the job index in May was “considerably” below the previous year’s level and also remained below the reference level, according to BA.

“Staff requirements are lower than in the previous year in all industry sectors,” BA said. Almost half of the decline was due to the decreasing demand in temporary employment and the country’s manufacturing industry.

The hotel and restaurant industry was also affected by the coronavirus restrictions with 42 percent fewer jobs registered, according to BA. In transport and logistics, the number of registered jobs fell by a third.

(XINHUA)

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Table tennis latest sport in Germany to recommence

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Timo Boll first beat Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson and then fellow German Steffen Mengel to win a table tennis exhibition tournament in Dusseldorf, Germany on Tuesday.

Table tennis thus became the latest sport to recommence in Germany, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Boll, a seven-time European singles champion and three-time Olympic team event medallist, was the star of the two-day Dusseldorf Masters.

He featured alongside 16 players who all live or train in the western German city.

With all regular action and championships suspended or postponed, the Masters was the brainchild of German national team coach Joerg Rosskopf, a former doubles world champion.

He brought in the local Borussia Dusseldorf club who provided the facility and are five-time European champions, and the club’s foreign players were also invited to fill the ranks.

Local authorities approved their strict safety and hygiene concept with no spectators, no change of ends, no post-match handshakes, and a frequent change of balls which were all disinfected.

It follows similar small events in tennis in the country where the Bundesliga was the first major football league to resume action.

The basketball top flight is also to follow on the weekend.

“With this series, we are a pioneer for table tennis around the world,” Borussia Dusseldorf general manager Andreas Preuss said.

Rosskopf said that he wants to give his players some additional motivation as uncertainty remains when regular tournaments can be played again.

“The lads are physically fit. But to do nothing else but training is mentally too demanding in the long run,” Rosskopf said.

Boll said he was happy to play as it “was about time I got some adrenaline going again.”

The tournament in Dusseldorf continues every week for the next three months.

But players could change, although most of them are in the national team or play in or near the city.
OLAL

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi (NAN)
)

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Germany adds 213 new COVID-19 cases, total at 182,028

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New COVID-19 infections in Germany remained under last week’s average as the number of confirmed cases increased by 213 in a day to 182,028, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said Tuesday.

Last week, an average of 457 daily cases had been reported by the RKI, the federal government agency for disease control and prevention.

The RKI said the number of deaths from COVID-19 increased by 11 to 8,522 on Tuesday, the fatality rate remained at 4.7 percent.

The number of people currently infected with COVID-19 in Germany continued to fall to around 15,600 on Tuesday as the estimated number of recoveries increased by around 600 within one day to 166,400.

However, the 4-day average reproduction rate (R-number) of COVID-19 increased to 1.2, according to the RKI daily situation report on Monday. The R-number had already risen above one over the weekend.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the RKI had stressed numerous times that the R-number had to be below one in order ease restrictions in Germany. An R-number below one indicates that one infected person is passing on the disease to less than one person on average.

The RKI stressed the R-number in Germany was “sensitive to short-term changes,” including local outbreaks such as a cluster infection caused by family reunion near the city of Goettingen.

Merkel announced Saturday an economic stimulus package to help the German economy get back on track. Germany’s governing coalition is expected to decide on the details of the package on Tuesday.

(XINHUA)

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Denmark to allow travels to Germany, Norway, Iceland from June 15

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Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Friday announced the reopening of Denmark’s borders for reciprocal holiday travel arrangements to Germany, Norway, and Iceland from June 15.

However, the reopening came with a caveat; the Danish government does not recommend travel to countries beyond the three countries until Aug. 31.

Speaking at a press conference in the PM‘s Office, Frederiksen said this summer “many Danes will have to spend their holidays at home.”

Danes that choose not to heed the PM‘s advice and travel beyond the three countries will be subject to 14 days of self-quarantine upon their return.

The reciprocal nature of the border openings entails a number of restrictions on Germans, Icelanders and Norwegians, including documented evidence of stay and sample testing at the borders.

In addition, foreigners will be rejected entering if any clear signs of illness are shown.

As regards Sweden, the prime minister was not prepared to make a reciprocal open-border agreement, as the neighboring state has a high level of infections compared to Denmark, which had adopted a containment strategy.

“We are in different places in relation to COVID-19. We have a strong desire on the part of the Danish government to find a solution with our Swedish neighbors,” said Frederiksen.

After Aug. 31, the PM said, the government anticipated the reopening of borders with the other Schengen countries and the United Kingdom.

As of Friday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Denmark stood at 11,593, with 568 deaths, according to the latest official count.

(XINHUA)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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