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Archive for Germany

Newsline: Germany slams Ukraine lawmaker’s stunt at embassy in Kyiv

Germany’s Foreign Ministry has criticized a Ukrainian lawmaker who defaced a part of the Berlin Wall in the grounds of its Kyiv embassy. Oleksiy Honcharenko, a member of President Petro Poroshenko’s bloc, sprayed red paint on a fragment of the wall Wednesday after German ambassador Ernst Reichel suggested in an interview that local elections could be held in eastern Ukraine despite the presence of Russian troops in the region. Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said Honcharenko’s actions constituted “wholly inappropriate behaviour .” Schaefer said Germany considers a Ukraine a “close partner” and was the first country to establish diplomatic relations with Kyiv 25 years ago. He said Germany is working to host a meeting of foreign ministers from Ukraine and Russia next week. Germany has given parts of the wall to countries all round the world, and placed others at embassies and German institutions.


Newsline: Hostages arrive at German embassy after Philippine ordeal

Two Germans kidnapped by Islamic militants in the Philippines are safely back at their Manila embassy, officials said Saturday after a harrowing six-month ordeal in which they endured threats of beheading and seemingly routine cruelty. Officials said a private plane flew Stefan Okonek, in his 70s, and his partner Henrike Dielen, in her 50s, to Manila from the southern port of Zamboanga at dawn after the Abu Sayyaf gunmen released them late Friday. “With the release from captivity of the two German nationals, our security forces will continue efforts to stem the tide of criminality perpetrated by bandit elements,” President Benigno Aquino’s spokesman Herminio Coloma said in a statement. Germany’s foreign ministry and the Philippine military also confirmed the hostages had arrived at the embassy in Manila. The Abu Sayyaf had given the German government until Friday to pay a $5.6 million ransom and withdraw its support for US offensives against jihadists in Syria and Iraq. The group also threatened to behead one of the hostages unless the demands were met. Philippine authorities said the two hostages were snatched at sea in April as they sailed near the western Philippine island of Palawan.


Newsline: Former Zambian diplomat to Germany accused of engaging girls to practice prostitution

A former Zambian diplomat to Germany has been found with a case to answer for allegedly engaging girls to practice prostitution. Friday Nkamba, a former political secretary at the Zambian Embassy in Germany from 1994 to 2002, has since been put on his defence. Nkamba, of Emmasdale Township in Lusaka, is alleged to have between January 1, 2012 and October 29, 2013 procured five girls to become common prostitutes. The girls testified how Nkamba would allow them to stay in his house while doing prostitution in exchange for payments. They also testified how on other times the former diplomat would join them in bed and have sex with any one of them in full view of the other girls. Resident magistrate William Banda found Nkamba with a case to answer. The matter was adjourned to October 31 for mention and setting of a date when he would open his defence.


Newsline: Kenyan woman sues German Embassy over photo in tourism promotion

A Samburu woman is demanding compensation from the German Embassy over a photograph that was used to advertise Lake Turkana Festival. The 32-year-old woman, who filed a case in the High Court through her lawyer Ham Lagat, claims the picture was used without her consent. Worse still, she said her husband kicked her out of her home upon learning of the advertisement. Telaso Lepalat told the court the use of her photograph to advertise the event infringed on her private life and the right to make a choice as to whether she wanted her photo in the advert. She said the event dubbed Lake Turkana Festival and held in Loiyangalani, Marsabit County, was commercial in nature. The photograph is said to have been used in Habari Magazine, which is allegedly owned by the Embassy.


Newsline: Turkey summons Germany’s ambassador in Ankara

Turkey summoned Germany’s ambassador in Ankara after media reports that Berlin had identified Ankara as a top target of surveillance in a government document from 2009 and had been spying on Turkey for years. Germany’s foreign intelligence agency has been spying on Turkey for nearly four decades, Focus magazine said on Saturday in a report which could raise tensions further between the NATO allies. Focus magazine said the BND intelligence agency had been spying on Turkey since 1976 and that German government under the then Social Democrat chancellor Helmut Schmidt had expressly approved the step. A spokesman for the German government declined to comment on the report. The report is a further embarrassment for Angela Merkel’s government which faces accusations of hypocrisy because of its outrage over allegations of widespread surveillance by the United States on Germans, including the tapping of the chancellor’s phone.


Newsline: Sierra Leone Embassy in Germany steps up efforts to fight Ebola

As efforts to contain the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) continue to gain momentum and urgency, the Embassy of Sierra Leone in the Federal Republic of Germany has assembled compatriots and friends of Sierra Leone to map out strategies on how they could contribute to the fight against the deadly virus. With the death toll rising, Sierra Leoneans in Germany started mobilising resources, medical supplies and protective gears which could be used by medical workers and the general public in Sierra Leone.


Newsline: Serbia keeps investigating embassy torchings in Belgrade

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said that he expects the first results of the task force set up to establish all circumstances of the 2008 embassy torchings in Belgrade to be presented soon, noting that all information will be made public. The task force has been established to investigate all circumstances surrounding the torchings of the embassies in the most serious manner, Stefanovic said. On July 3, minister Stefanovic set up the task force to establish all circumstances related to the torching of the US and German embassies in Belgrade in 2008. The incidents took place following a protest against Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence that was staged under the motto “Kosovo is Serbia”, involving around 600,000 people from all parts of the country. The aim of the task force is to identify all individuals involved in the incidents and clarify the circumstances of the violent acts so that the organisers and attackers responsible for the torching of the two embassies can be legally prosecuted. The trial of 12 suspects for the February 21, 2008 torching of the embassies is underway before the High Court in Belgrade. Washington has said on several occasions that the US expects the Serbian government to identify and punish the perpetrators of the incidents, in which the US embassy in Belgrade was set on fire.