Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Germany

Newsline: Attack kills 90 near diplomatic area in Afghanistan

A huge suicide bomb ripped through a secure area of Kabul at the height of the Wednesday morning rush hour, killing at least 90 people and wounding 400, Afghan officials said. The blast, which came a few days into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, was one of the deadliest to hit the Afghan capital in recent years. The bomb exploded in the diplomatic quarter near the German Embassy and the Afghan presidential palace. The streets were packed with commuters, women shopping and children going to school and the blast appears likely to result in a high civilian death toll.

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/31/asia/kabul-explosion-hits-diplomatic-area/

Newsline: Germany’s government shuts down North Korean embassy property

The German government will shut down a Berlin hostel after it emerged that the site is North Korean embassy property and had been leased in violation of UN rules. Located downtown next to the gated North Korean embassy, Cityhostel Berlin offers dorm beds for as little as 16 euros ($17) a night. But it came under scrutiny after German media reported that the North Korean embassy was not just the hostel’s neighbour but also owner of the prime real estate. Rented out since 2004, the property fetches Pyongyang some 38,000 euros per month in rent, public broadcaster ARD said. Foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer cited a UN Security Council resolution that requires member states to only allow “North Korean foreign representations to carry out diplomatic and consular activities”. “Any kind of commercial activity on the site of the embassy or in relation to the embassy is prohibited,” he said. “Cityhostel in Berlin constitutes neither a diplomatic nor consular activity of a North Korean foreign representation,” said Schaefer, adding that the government will move to “shut down the financial source to the North Korean regime as quickly as possible”. Over the past 11 years, the Security Council has imposed six sets of sanctions on Pyongyang — two adopted last year — to significantly ramp up pressure and deny the North Korean regime the hard currency revenue needed for its rocket and atomic programmes. But UN sanctions experts have repeatedly told the council the measures have had little impact because they have been poorly implemented.

http://www.dw.com/en/berlin-hostel-over-nkorea-link-will-be-closed/a-38794049

Newsline: German Prosecutors Disclose Plan to Attack Russian Embassy

Dresden State Prosecutor”s Office unveiled a terror attack plan against Russian embassy in Berlin, organized by a Moroccan asylum seeker. The 25-year-old Moroccan suspect was arrested last Saturday at a refugee center in the Saxon town of Borsdorf (eastern region of Germany). As stated by the court spokesman, Steve Schulze-Reinhold, for the time being, the examining magistrate did not issue pre-trial custody against the suspect. The investigations state that a ‘potential target’ of the suspect was the Russian legation, an emblematic building located a few meters from the iconic gate of Brandenburg (former entrance to Berlin) and from other diplomatic missions such as the British, French and US embassies. Local authorities are investigating the Moroccan suspect for the alleged crime of ‘preparing an act of serious violence to jeopardize Germany’s security.’

http://plenglish.com/index.php?o=rn&id=11587&SEO=german-prosecutors-disclose-plan-to-attack-russian-embassy

Newsline: Chinese Embassy demands apology from German T-shirt retailer

The Chinese Embassy in Berlin demanded today that a German online retailer stop selling a line of T-shirts with slogans it says are insulting to China. The offerings from retailer Spreadshirt.de include T-shirts with slogans like “Save a dog, Eat a Chinese,” ”Save a shark, Eat a Chinese,” and an image of two faux Chinese alphabet characters having sex, with the caption “Now I understand Chinese.” The embassy said in a statement that it has complained to the German government and is seeking an apology, an explanation and for the offending shirts to be pulled. However, the head of the Leipzig-based company, Philip Rooke, said he planned to keep the disputed designs available for purchase. “We do not judge or censor designs based on their phrasing, social or political leanings,” he said in a written statement.

http://www.india.com/news/agencies/chinese-embassy-demands-apology-from-german-t-shirt-retailer-2-1913684/

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.

http://www.metronews.ca/news/world/2017/02/08/germany-slams-ukraine-lawmaker-s-stunt-at-embassy-in-kyiv.html

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.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asia/438250/hostages-arrive-at-german-embassy-after-philippine-ordeal

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.

http://www.lusakatimes.com/2014/10/16/former-diplomat-found-case-answer-sex-allegations/