Germany: 25 People Injured in Explosion

German police officials are reporting that at least 25 people have been injured after an explosion ripped through a building in the city of Wuppertal.

"It can currently not be ruled out that there are still other people in the building. The rescue efforts are ongoing," the police release said.

Police reports say the area where the explosion took place has been evacuated, however, the cause of the blast remains unknown and is being investigated.

Fires broke out in several sections of the housing unit resulting in the structure collapsing which made it difficult for firefighters to extinguish the blaze.

Emergency services were tasked with attempting to stabilize the building to prevent it from falling down. Several persons managed to escape the ill-fated structure without aid while others were assisted by rescue service.

  • Published in World

Superb Mexico stun defending champions Germany at FIFA World Cup

Mexico produced an excellent all-around display to stun defending champions Germany at the FIFA World Cup today as Brazil were also held to a draw by Switzerland.

A 1-0 defeat at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow was the worst possible start for the Germans in their attempt to become the first winners of two successive World Cups since Brazil in 1962.

Mexico started the better and combined well-organised defence with devastating speed on the counter-attack.

Javier Hernandez broke the German defence wide open with a pass that enabled Hirving Lozano to cut inside and fire home after 35 minutes. 

Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa then brilliantly tipped a Toni Kroos free-kick onto the bar and that was the closest the European side came to drawing level.

Germany launched wave after wave of attacks but never really looked like scoring.

"We showed we have a bright future and I am very satisfied with what we did," said Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio.

"We played with bravery when it was needed and also defended with all of our hearts."

Germany will still hope to progress in a group also containing Sweden and South Korea, but second place could mean a tantalising last-16 tie with Group E favourites, Brazil. 

A Philippe Coutinho wonder goal put Brazil in front against Switzerland ©Getty Images
A Philippe Coutinho wonder goal put Brazil in front against Switzerland ©Getty Images

The Brazilians, however, could only draw 1-1 with Switzerland despite a Philippe Coutinho wonder goal at the Rostov Arena.

Coutinho defied the laws of physics to bend the ball into the top corner from the left side of the penalty area.

Brazil were good for the lead and, at one stage, looked as if they would run riot.

But Switzerland stood firm and hung on until half-time.

They were soon level thereafter as Steven Zuber capitalised on some poor defending to head home from a corner kick.

Neymar missed a point blank header and substitute Roberto Firmino also saw a header beaten away as Brazil proved unable to make the decisive breakthrough.

Serbia had a moment of brilliance from captain Aleksandar Kolarov to thank for a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica elsewhere in Group E at the Cosmos Arena in Samara.

Defender Kolarov curled the ball home from 25 yards after brilliantly bending the ball around the Costa Rica defence.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas was left clutching thin air in the game's one moment of class.

A superb strike from Aleksandar Kolarov gave Serbia victory over Costa Rica ©Getty Images
A superb strike from Aleksandar Kolarov gave Serbia victory over Costa Rica ©Getty Images

Serbia were the better side, but their midfielder Nemanja Matic was involved in an ugly confrontation with a Costa Rica coach in injury time as the Manchester United player tried to get the ball back when it went out of play.

Sweden will play South Korea tomorrow at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in the second match in Group F.

Two matches are also scheduled in Group G.

Belgium will play Panama at Sochi's Fisht Olympic Stadium before Tunisia and 1966 World Cup winners England meet at the Volgograd Arena.

  • Published in Sports

Cuba Promotes in Germany Investments in Foods

A delegation of the Cuban Food Industry Ministry is promoting a set of opportunities for investments in foods in Germany, diplomatic sources said here Thursday.

Yanoski Calderín González, Cuban Vice Minister in the sector, is heading a Cuban group taking part in the 2018 Foottech International Foods and Beverages Fair in the German city of Cologne from March 20 to 23.

Calderin Gonzalez met Germany's expert German Jeub -general director for Policies with the European Union (EU), International Cooperation and Fishing- at the host building of the German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture.

At the meeting Calderin and Jeub exchanged information on the Cuban National Economic and Social Development of Cuba until 2030 for the food production sector and other bilateral interesting topics.

Calderin and the Cuban delegation formed by Jesus Rodriguez Mendoza, first vice president of the Cuban Food Industry Entrepreneur Group, and Raul Castañedo Avila, director of Cuban company Alimpex met other German officials, visited factories and had meetings with German food production companies.

  • Published in Cuba

Portuguese, German athletes win Havana Triathlon

Portugal's Alexandre Nobre won the 2018 Havana International Triathlon with a time of 1:50:23, trailed by his teammate and compatriot Manuel Arraiolos.

In the women's division, Germany's Anabel Knoll won, with Cuba's Leslie Amat coming in second and Brazil's Vittoria Lopes in third.

The annual competition, which takes place under the auspices of the International Triathlon Federation and awards points for the world ranking, began with the 1,500-meter swimming competition at the Marina Hemingway, west of the capital.

At the start, Nobre and Arraiolos were not in the lead, but managed to catch up in the 40-kilometer bike ride through the city and along Havana's emblematic seaside promenade.

It was not until the 10-kilometer sprint that the Portuguese teammates separated from the rest of the competitors.

"It was a difficult race because of the hot weather, but we had trained well and came in strong to win the race. We made a great team effort and it has been very good," Nobre told the press later.

In third place was Canadian John Rasmussen.

Cuba's triathlon is a fairly new circuit, but it has become one of the most competitive in the region.

In this edition's men's elite category, 20 triathletes from 12 countries and regions participated, while in the women's race, nine competitors from six countries participated.

In all, more than 450 athletes from 35 countries and regions participated in the different races that took place over the weekend.

On the first day of the Havana Triathlon on Saturday, Cuba's Michel Gonzalez won the Ibero-American Middle Distance Championship for the second year in a row.

Gonzalez came in first with a time of 4:03:50, well ahead of his closest competitors, Mexican Leonardo Saucedo and Cuban Ramon Alberich (4:38:07).

  • Published in Sports

Six Cuban Judokas to attend Major Tournament in Germany

Six Cubans appear among the 546 judokas from 72 countries that will compete in the Grand Slam of Dusseldorf, Germany, scheduled for next February 23 to 25.

Kaliema Antomarchi (78 kg), Budapest 2017 world bronze medalist, stands out among the trio of Cuban women attending this event, second stop of the 2018 IJF World Tour.

Antomarchi currently appears 12th in the world ranking and will have major rivals in that contest, as Dutch Guusje Steenhuis, leader of the global list, along with Frenchwomen Audrey Tcheumeo (4th) and Madeleine Malonga (7th), Brazilian Mayra Aguiar (5th), Japanese Ruika Sato (14th), among others.
Melissa Hurtado (48 kg) and Maylin del Toro (63) are the other Cuban women registered in the German tournament, which will award 1,000 points to the winners of each division.

Meanwhile, the list of three men is headed by Jose Armenteros (100 kg), world runner-up in the edition of Chelyabinsk 2014, Russia, who now returns after recovering from an elbow injury.
Armenteros ranks 13th in his division and will also have tough opponents such as Georgian Varlam Liparteliani, second in world ranking.

Jorge Martinez (81 kg) and Andy Granda (+100) complete the Cuban men´s squad to this event.

The Dusseldorf 2018 Grand Slam will also be attended by other aces such as the multi- world and Olympic champion Frenchman Teddy Riner, as well as other Budapest 2017 world monarchs such as women Ai Shishime and Chizuru Arai, both from Japan, and French Clarisse Agbegnenou, among others.

  • Published in Sports

John Lennon’s diaries, iconic glasses among 100+ stolen items found in Berlin

Berlin police have recovered more than 100 personal items of the late Beatles star John Lennon. The priceless trove includes Lennon’s private diaries and handwritten lyrics. The items were stolen over a decade ago from Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono in New York.

The last diary entry written by Lennon on the day of his death on December 8, 1980 is among the much-sought after haul presented Tuesday. Other treasured pieces, which could fetch over €3 million at auction, include music sheets for the hit singles ‘Woman’ and ‘Just Like Starting Over.’ Two pairs of round spectacles, which formed part of Lennon’s iconic image, were also recovered by police.

Germany: Police display recovered John Lennon belongings in Berlin

The Deputy Head of Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office, Michael von Hagen, described the case as “extraordinary because of the music-historical background.” The investigators, he added, had been “very surprised” about the finds, which are “very interesting” for Lennon fans.

Police are certain the recovered items were stolen from Ono's New York home in 2006. Authorities believe it was taken over a period of time by a Turkish national who worked as her chauffeur in New York from 1995 to 2006 and who now lives in Turkey.

Following the theft, the objects were allegedly smuggled to Turkey and then to Berlin. By 2014, some 86 items ended up in the storage room of the Auctionata online auction house. Despite having it for years, the Berlin-based auctioneer never put the potential treasure trove up for sale.

Police said they became aware of the items when a bankruptcy administrator for Auctionata contacted them in July. Authorities confiscated the items from the auctioneers in July, but only this Monday managed to arrest the suspected 58-year-old dealer. Other items belonging to Lennon were found in his car.

@RT_com Pakistani school drops John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ over blasphemy law fears

Prior to the arrest, German investigators contacted Ono’s lawyer and flew to New York to show Lennon’s widow some items from the collection so she could identify the lot.

“She was very touchy, and it has become clear that she is attached to these items and of course she wants to get them back," public prosecutor, Susann Wettley was quoted by Spiegel as saying. However, authorities will not be able to release the items as long it is being used as "evidence" in the ongoing investigation.

  • Published in Culture

‘Merkel is on a destructive course, refuses to correct her policies’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s momentum is clearly downward, and she is going to be in an even weaker position if snap elections are called. She should step aside and recognize time has been called, political experts told RT.

After talks on forming a coalition government collapsed, Chancellor Angela Merkel was forced to seek advice from German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The president will now try to persuade the members of the failed coalition to rethink their decision and return to talks.

RT talked to political experts about the uncertain future Merkel's currently facing.

RT: Merkel says she'd prefer a snap election to the formation of a minority government. Would that not be a retrograde step?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) speaks to media after the exploratory talks about forming a new coalition government collapsed in Berlin, Germany, November 20, 2017 © Hannibal Hanschke

Steven Meissner, independent political observer: It will be a step backward for her. I don’t think there is any chance that she will be able to make the 34 percent that she made in September. Her momentum is clearly down. The voting population will be fairly disappointed in the outcome of her negotiations. Her standing has been hurt. She is on the way out. I said this on the eve of the elections that her days are numbered, and it is becoming more and more apparent to other observers that her days are numbered. If they have to go through another election, I would guess a number something like 29 to 30 percent is all she will do. In other words, she is going to be in an even weaker position than she is right now. Ideally, the CDU before they go into another election should have a new candidate and start over with a fresh face, but they are not going to be able to do that very quickly.

RT: Why is she calling for the snap elections?

SM: She is between a rock and a hard place. Where is she going to go? This Jamaica coalition has basically not been doable. A minority government in Germany on a federal level has never been done. Nobody really thinks that that would work or would be stable. In other words, within a year or two, it would probably collapse anyway, and you would have elections. If she had any real honor as a leader, she would have stepped back on election night, and she didn’t. So I don’t expect her to step down now either… she could step back and say I’m giving it up to a new leader of the party, and he or she will go into the election with better chances than she will...

RT: Could you explain the situation with the possible snap elections in Germany? What does it mean? Is it a step back for Merkel?

Dr. Max Otte, professor for general and international business administration at the University of Applied Sciences, Worms: It was very surprising to me. So far, she has always clung to power. I thought she would have sought another negotiated solution, so this is a surprise. Everybody is putting this to FDP. In the end, the Jamaica coalition, comprised of Greens, FDP, CDU/CSU was a very unlikely and strange construct. That cannot work, and we can see that the country is in some turmoil here. This is indeed an unprecedented situation.

Migrants take selfies with German Chancellor Angela Merkel © Fabrizio Bensch

RT: The German president has called this an unprecedented situation in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany, and he is calling for fresh negotiations. How likely is it they will lead to anything new?

MO: The FDP is really for a change in the course. The FDP is maintaining its senses. I think it could have the power to bring the CDU back to its senses. It is unfortunate that the FDP was singled out as a culprit in this. I think they have a very sensible direction. We don’t know if there is going to be new elections, but if there are going to be new elections, I am pretty certain the FDP and probably also the AfD - the opposition party that came into a parliament with 13.6 percent of votes - will gain because there is quite silent and significant part of the population that wants a change in the immigration policy. I would be surprised if we had fresh elections, but Merkel has apparently stated that we are going to have them…

The Greens want this immigration policy to continue, and I think this is a big detriment for Germany, so the FDP had to walk out because there was no possibility of a consensus… Merkel is apparently closer to the Greens than to the FDP, which is really not surprising, but it’s a shame for the country. Why not form a minority government with the CDU/CSU being tolerated by the AfD and the other parties? That’s a very sensible option, but nobody talks about that. Everything is in the air, and we just have to wait and see how things develop.

RT: How likely is it that Merkel will win again if there are snap elections?

MO: I was surprised that she actually called for fresh elections because I think that she will lose further. I think she is past her prime and she should step aside. She hasn’t recognized the call of time. And sometime now or later the reality will hit her. I think she should resign, she has completely failed and this is the receipt for it.

  • Published in World

German bus inferno killed 18 in Bavaria, police say

Eighteen people are believed to have died when their tour bus crashed and burst into flames on the A9 motorway in southern Germany, police say.

The bus was in a collision with a lorry near Stammbach in north Bavaria.

Thirty people escaped the fire, two of whom are critically hurt. The bus was carrying German pensioners from Saxony.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said rescuers were delayed by "gawpers" driving slowly and by the intensity of the blaze.

It is not clear why the bus crashed - traffic was reportedly moving slowly at the time. Nor is it clear why flames engulfed the whole bus so quickly.

The lorry's trailer was also incinerated and the burnt-out wreck ended up a short distance ahead of the bus. The German news website Frankenpost reports that it was carrying mattresses and pillows.

The lorry driver was unharmed and told police the bus had crashed into his vehicle and burst into flames, it said.

There were 46 passengers and two drivers on the bus. One driver was among those killed. The passengers were men and women aged 41 to 81, from the Dresden area, heading to Lake Garda in Italy for a holiday.

Forensic teams have recovered the charred remains of 11 people so far.

Five rescue helicopters joined emergency workers at the scene.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was distressed by the accident and expressed sympathy for the injured and bereaved relatives.

She thanked the rescuers for looking after people "in an appalling situation".

A police spokesman told German news channel n-tv that there were good medical facilities in Bayreuth, not far from the scene. experts are examining the charred skeleton of the bus and human remains inside / Image copyright AFP crash scene - traffic has resumed now in one direction / AFP

  • Published in World
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