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Thousands of bikers protest against German noise reduction initiative

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Thousands of bikers protest against German noise reduction initiative


At least 19,000 bikers rallied in German cities on Saturday to protest a motorcycle noise reduction initiative from the upper house of parliament, with the turnout far exceeding organisers’ expectations.

Some 8,000 bikers drove through the southern city of Stuttgart, causing significant disruption to traffic, the Police said.

In Munich, where permission to hold the demonstration had not been granted, more than 6,000 bikers showed up, while around 5,000 participated in a rally in the city of Friedrichshafen.

Other cities where smaller protests took place included Wiesbaden, Schwerin and Dresden.

The bikers were expressing their anger over an initiative by Germany’s 16 states, which are represented in the Bundesrat parliamentary house, to limit the noise made by motorcycles to no louder than the sound of a truck or lawnmower.

The initiative also included a proposal for motorcycle driving bans on Sundays and holidays.

Transport Minister, Andreas Scheuer, sided with the bikers on Saturday, saying the current rules were sufficient.

He would not implement the demands of the Bundesrat, the conservative politician added.

Scores of cities, towns and municipalities across Germany have united in an effort to reduce noise pollution from motorcycles.

“Most ride properly, but quite a few use the road to speed up and down,’’ Matthias Weckbach, the mayor of the village of Bodman-Ludwigshafen, said, adding that some bikers organised races through residential areas.

“The noise of the motorcycles and highly motorised vehicles is heard all over town.

“Residents cannot find peace,’’ he said.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

Babatunde Abdulfatah: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Foreign

UK immigration to EU bloc nations up 30% since Brexit, naturalisations jump – Research

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The number of UK nationals, who have acquired citizenship in European Union (EU) nations has jumped by 30 per cent since the Brexit referendum in 2016, a research has found.


The yearly average of UK citizens moving to any of the other 27 EU nations from 2008-2015 was nearly 57,000, while that same figure from 2016-2018 showed an average of over 73,000 annual migrations, the research by the Berlin Social Science Center, published on Monday, claimed.

This data does not account for the UK citizens who had been residing in EU nations but decided to register after the referendum, The Guardian reported.

That number grew by some 500 percent according to figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat.

Spain was the most popular destination for UK expatriates, with over 21,000 registrations in the two years following the Brexit vote, compared to an average annual number of 2,300 prior, the paper found.

France and Germany also saw a big jump in the number of UK nationals putting themselves on the path to citizenship.

About half of the 120,000 UK nationals in Germany are expected to have dual citizenship by the end of the year.

The authors of the study were unambiguous about the impact that Brexit had on decisions to migrate.

Because the Brexit negotiations between London and Brussels look likely to restrict employment and residency rights UK citizens had enjoyed, cosmopolitan and mobile Britons prefer to maintain access to a larger pool of employment opportunities and services.

The contentious 2016 Brexit referendum was followed by years of political crisis and a polarised public sphere in the UK.

After multiple delays, the UK finally exited the bloc in January 2020.

A transition period will run to the end of this year, during which time the two sides must reach deals in a host of fields.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Economy

Dollar slips after political wrangling slows rally

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A dollar rebound faltered on Tuesday as political wrangling over a United States relief plan and the gloomy outlook weighed on the currency.


After its worst month in a decade in July, the greenback started August on a firm note as some investors trimmed their short positions.

That only carried it so far, and the dollar edged down 0.2 per cent on Tuesday against a basket of currencies.

The euro – which gained five per cent at the dollar’s expense in July – inched up on the day, last up 0.2 per cent at $1.17875.

“I think the eurozone recovery will be a lot faster than the United States recovery and that growth differential will continue to drive higher,’’ Marshall Gittler, FX analyst at BDSwiss, said in a note.

The Aussie dollar edged ahead nearly 0.3 per cent after the central bank delivered no surprises by holding policy steady.

Australia’s central bank predicted the economic recovery will be uneven as the country’s second biggest state Victoria locks down to fight a resurgence of the virus.

Despite a slowdown in new United States virus cases and encouraging factory data, investors are reserving judgment on whether a United States economy with 30 million people out of work can really lead the world’s recovery.

Talks on a potential further economic relief package are ongoing, though top Democrats in the United States Congress and White House negotiators on Monday said they had made progress.

“We’re still in a situation where the market wants to believe the recovery is on track but is still worried about the COVID situation,’’ said Bank of Singapore FX analyst, Moh Siong Sim.

“The fiscal wrangling in the United States is the next key test for risk sentiment and if they manage to get a deal – which seems likely – that could be supportive of risk sentiment.’’

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Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Foreign

S/Korea’s heavy rain leaves 13 dead, 13 missing for 4 days

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Heavy rain South Korea, which lasted for four straight days, has left 13 people dead and 13 others missing as of Tuesday, according to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters.


As of 10.30 a.m. local time, 13 people have been found dead and 13 others missing, with seven wounded because of the downpour that continued since Aug. 1 in the country’s central region, including Seoul and the metropolitan area.

A total of 1,025 people from 629 households were forced to evacuate their homes, including 555 residents in North Chungcheong province, 391 in Gyeonggi province surrounding Seoul, 70 in Gangwon province and nine in Seoul.

About 5,751 hectares of farmland were swamped or buried, while 2,958 cases of property damages were reported, including 1,483 private assets and 1,475 public facilities.

Houses, cattle shed, warehouses and agricultural plastic houses were flooded or engulfed by landslides, while roads, railways, bridges and water reservoirs were destroyed or damaged.

More than half of the damaged properties were restored, with over 25,000 police officers, firefighters, government officials and volunteers mobilised.

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Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Economy

Lobbying for Russian pipeline spikes in Washington

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As United States lawmakers plot to stop one of Moscow’s most important projects in Europe, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, lobbyists supporting it are busier than ever but disclosing few details of their work, according to government filings and current and former United States officials.


The pipeline linking Russian gas fields to Western Europe has become a lightning rod of contention in United States-Russia relations.

This is as the Trump administration concerned it would dangerously expanding the region’s energy dependence on Moscow but backers, including in Europe, saying the gas is needed.

United States President Donald Trump has already signed a sanctions bill that delayed construction on the $11 billion project, wholly-owned by Russia’s state-run Gazprom and headed by Alexei Miller, a long-time ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But lawmakers fearful the measures are not enough to prevent the pipeline’s completion are contemplating further action.

Nord Stream 2 AG has paid lobbyists at BGR Group, Roberti Global LLC, and Sweeney & Associates a combined $1.69 million during the first half of this year, according to Senate records.

That is more than double the amount during the same period a year ago, and more than all of 2018, the first full year the project lobbied in Washington.

But exactly who the lobbyists meet with is a mystery because they have not registered with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), a law passed in 1938 to limit the influence of Nazi Germany and Communist Russia in United States politics.

Under FARA, lobbyists must disclose every meeting with United States officials, along with the materials they distribute.

Instead, the Nord Stream 2 lobbyists have registered under the 1995 Lobbying Disclosure Act, a law that amended FARA by allowing lobbyists for foreign companies or individuals to report much less information as long as their work is not intended to benefit a foreign government.

Representatives for Nord Stream 2 and the lobbying companies did not respond to requests for comment.

But Nord Stream 2 has characterised itself as a commercial, not political, project.

A senior Trump administration official took issue with that, saying the lobbyists are seeking to further Moscow’s national interests.

“The fact that you’ve got people working for Gazprom, which is essentially the Russian state, you know to manipulate our processes … it’s crazy,’’ the official said, asking not to be named discussing the issue.

Danielle Nichols, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, which handles FARA registrations, said the department had no comment at this time.

Lobbyists for Nord Stream 2’s foreign opponents, by contrast, have registered under FARA.

Yorktown Solutions LLC, for example, which lobbies for Ukraine’s state-owned Naftogaz and its partner companies against the pipeline, is among them, according to FARA records.

Andriy Kobolyev, Naftogaz’s Chief Executive told Reuters in an email that company representatives travel to Washington about once a month to provide updates on the status of Nord Stream 2 and discuss how to stop the pipeline.

Nord Stream 2 will double the capacity of an existing line to Germany under the Baltic Sea to 110 billion cubic meters of gas per year, enough to supply 26 million households.

It would circumvent United States ally Ukraine, depriving it of potentially billions of dollars in transit fees, and compete with United States efforts to sell liquefied natural gas into Europe.

United States senators Ted Cruz, a Republican, and Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, are among the pipeline’s biggest opponents in Congress.

Both are pushing new sanctions measures that would target insurers of Gazprom vessels that would lay the last 100 miles (160 km) of pipe in Danish waters, where unexploded bombs from World War II lie in the pipeline’s path.

Neither senator responded to a request for comment.

Nord Stream 2 backers say Germany and other European countries need Russian gas and Germany has threatened retaliatory action if United States sanctions stop the project.

Austria’s OMV, German firms Uniper and Wintershall, Royal Dutch Shell and France’s Engie provide half the project’s long-term financing.

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Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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