Germany arrests four Tajiks suspected of planning attack against U.S. bases

UNTV News   •   April 15, 2020   •   495

German police on Wednesday (April 15) arrested four suspected members of Islamic State, all from Tajikistan, believed to have been planning deadly attacks in Germany, including against unidentified U.S. installations, an official said.

Special forces in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia made the arrests near the cities of Essen and Duesseldorf and raided properties in the area.

Prosecutors suspect the four men, with a fifth who has been in detention for the last year, of being in contact with leading members of Islamic State in Afghanistan and Syria and of receiving instructions from them.

“There were concrete attack plans, such as against two U.S. air bases in Germany,” said North Rhine-Westphalia’s state interior minister Herbert Reul.

Prosecutors said in a written statement they believed the suspects had already carried out surveillance of their targets and were procuring weapons, ammunition and components for a bomb.

Prosecutors identified the suspects as Azizjon B., Muhammadali G., Farhodshoh K. and Sunatullokh K., in line with German privacy rules. The fifth man who is already in detention was identified as Ravsan B. (Reuters)

(Production: Stephane Nitschke, Michele Sani)

PH declares temporary import ban on pigs from Germany

Marje Pelayo   •   September 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Saturday (September 12) announced a temporary ban on the importation of domestic and wild pigs, pork products, and by-products from Germany.

In a press release, the agency explained that the ban was imposed after the confirmation of the first case of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Schenkendöbern, Spree-Neiße, Brandenburg, affecting wild boar, as confirmed by Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (National laboratory). 

The import ban followed a report submitted by chief veterinary officer, Dr. Dietrich Rassow of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Berlin, to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), on September 10, 2020. 

Likewise, Agriculture Secretary William Dar also issued an immediate suspension of the processing and evaluation of the application and issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) import clearance to domestic and wild pigs, pork products, and by-products from Germany.

Following the announcement of the temporary import ban, all shipments of pigs, pork, and pork products from Germany into the Philippines will be confiscated by all DA-Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) veterinary quarantine officers at all major ports of entry, the DA said.

Houses sealed off in Verl, Germany after meat factory virus outbreak

UNTV News   •   June 24, 2020

A residential area in the town of Verl was sealed off on Tuesday (June 23) and its residents put into compulsory quarantine after a coronavirus outbreak at a meatpacking plant nearby.

As a fence was set up surrounding the area, some residents were tested by medical staff outside their buildings while others watched from their windows and were handed toys and wet wipes by staff on the other side of the fence.

Verl mayor Michael Esken said it was the only solution he could come up with given that many plant employees live side by side with neighbours who work elsewhere, increasing the risk of contagion for the whole community.

Earlier, the premier of the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet said he was putting the entire Guetersloh district, where Verl is located, back into lockdown until June 30.

Guetersloh, with about 360,000 residents, is the first area in Germany to reintroduce a lockdown after the authorities began gradually lifting restrictive measures at the end of April.

Also on Tuesday, the head of the Robert Koch Institute for public health, Lothar Wieler, said local outbreaks had been a major factor behind a spike in the last few days in the coronavirus reproduction rate, currently estimated at 2.76.

A reproduction rate, or ‘R’, of 2.76 means that 100 people who have contracted the virus infect, on average, 276 others. (Reuters)

(Production: Erol Dogrudogan, Elena Gyldenkerne)

Germany struggles to impose local lockdowns as coronavirus infections spike

UNTV News   •   June 22, 2020

Authorities in Germany’s Goettingen have called on police to enforce quarantine measures following a rise in local coronavirus infections, which has caused the country’s virus reproduction rate to spike.

Tense situations in mass quarantine situations along with rising summer temperatures have seen tempers spike with police in Goettingen facing sometimes violent opposition to coronavirus measures.

A riot broke out at a block of flats on Saturday where around 700 people had been placed into quarantine.

Around 200 people tried to get out, but 500 people complied with quarantine rules.

In the ensuing fracas, eight police officers were injured after residents started to attack law enforcement officials.

“Recently the mood towards the measures and the law enforcers worsened as a result of a ring leader. A group started spreading resentment. Insults were made, there were attempted assaults and after the mentioned ring leader was taken into custody on June 19, things calmed down. Yesterday afternoon, however, things escalated again,” said Goettingen Chief of Police, Uwe Luehrig.

“The police, and I was able to see this with my own eyes on video, had bottles, stones, metal bars, planks of wood, household objects and fireworks thrown at them. This is what led to the aforementioned injuries. During the police deployment the police were forced to use measures like mild physical force but a lot of pepper spray was also used,” Luehrig said.

Low income residents of the housing estate, who are also not able to work, have complained of a lack of supplies with one man saying food brought to them was past its sell-by date.

Another resident complained of pain from the after-effects of the pepper spray.

City authorities have said they are fully funding translation and medical assistance and the delivery of care packages but admitted that things were still not running smoothly.

Germany’s reproduction rate of novel coronavirus infections jumped to 1.79, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for public health said on Saturday, far above the level needed to contain it over the longer term.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 687 to 189,822, data from the RKI showed on Sunday. (Reuters)

(Production: Annkathrin Weis, Timm Reichert, Tanya Wood)

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