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German report German report
by Euro Reporter
2009-04-10 09:32:59
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Car scrapping bonus

The German cabinet agreed to extend the popular car-scrapping bonus Wednesday morning, earmarking a further €3.5 billion for the scheme. The bonus, which can be claimed until the end of the year, will also remain at €2,500, government sources said. The current scheme, whereby new car-buyers receive the bonus if they scrap a vehicle at least nine years old, was set to expire at the end of May, but its enormous success forced the government to reconsider. More than double the original €1.5 billion budget has already been applied for.

The current “cash for clunkers” scheme – as one newspaper dubbed it – would only have covered 600,000 applications. But with the new funding, the programme will total €5 billion and cover up to 2 million scrapped cars. Some 1.3 million claims have already been made for the bonus, which many believe is keeping the German auto industry afloat during the recession. The Abwrackprämie was part of the German government's second economic stimulus package, and seems to have been successful so far. German auto sales surged 40 percent in March from the same month a year earlier to 401,000 vehicles, though experts said it was partly owing to a greater number of business days this year. In February, the first full month the plan was effective, new car sales jumped by 21.5 percent in Germany, while falling elsewhere in the 16-nation eurozone.

The land of Audi and Mercedes found a way to stimulate … the economy into the next gear!!!


Berlin hands over pirates

The men will appear before a judge for a preliminary hearing on Thursday morning, Foreign Ministry spokesman Jens Ploetner told a regular briefing, after a German court issued arrest warrants. "Kenyan prosecutors agreed in principle to take in the seven suspected pirates," Ploetner said. The seven were picked up late last month by Greek and Spanish forces from a European anti-pirate unit off Somalia after they reportedly tried to capture a German oil tanker, the FGS Spessart, off the coast of Southern Yemen on March 29.

The group was then transferred to a German frigate, which arrived in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa with the men on Wednesday, Ploetner said. Kenyan police were on board the vessel to review the evidence against the suspects, he added. The case of the seven men has highlighted the legal complexities arising from incidents in international waters. A spokesman from the justice ministry in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein said that if the court had failed to issue the warrants, "the men would have had to be released" upon arrival in Kenya.

Germany was prompted to take action after Kenya refused to guarantee it would prosecute the suspects, leading German prosecutors to ask for warrants from the regional court in the state capital Kiel. The European Union's Atalanta flotilla, its first-ever naval operation, was launched in December with six warships and three surveillance planes to patrol pirate-infested seas near the Horn of Africa. The FGS Spessart was deployed as part of the Atalanta mission.  The justice ministry spokesman had said earlier that the pirates would not necessarily appear before a German court, noting that if Kenya opted to try the men, Germany would withdraw its own arrest warrants.

Piracy and punishment!


Two dead in a family shooting

Two people were killed in a shooting in a private home in the Bavarian town of Speichersdorf on Wednesday morning, the second apparent domestic tragedy in Bavaria in as many days. A police spokesman said authorities were alerted to the sound of gunshots in the home around 11:30 am. They arrived to find that a man had killed his wife and then himself in the incident, but the couple’s four children were not physically injured.

The children were taken to the hospital for observation. Police said the motive for the shooting remains unclear. This incident comes the day after a family argument turned into a shooting that caused two deaths at a regional court in the Bavarian city of Landshut.

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