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The trial involving a man accused of extortion and raping a young woman who was on a camping trip with her boyfriend began in a Bonn regional court on Monday.
The 31-year-old asylum seeker from Ghana allegedly threatened the 23-year-old woman with a branch saw and raped her in front of her boyfriend in April.

According to the prosecution, he cut the couple's tent with the saw and demanded they give him their valuables before raping the young woman, the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reported.

The young couple from Baden-Württemberg were camping in the Siegaue nature reserve north of the former German capital of Bonn in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The 26-year-old man had been afraid to intervene but afterwards managed to call the police.

A nationwide manhunt then took place as the perpetrator had fled, running off into the night in the direction of the Rhine river.

Police had also distributed facial composite images of the man. Five days later, a passerby who noticed a resemblance between the images and the man alerted the police who then made an arrest.

On the first day of the trial, the defendant denied the crime. He described in detail how he grew up in Ghana as the son of a rich plantation owner.

The man - whose hands and feet were bound in the courtroom - did not follow the advice of his two lawyers on making use of his right to stay silent.
"I don't understand why I should remain silent when I don't know anything about the case," the defendant said.

According to SZ, the case caused controversy when it was later discovered that the young man's emergency call was initially considered a joke by a respondent at the control centre in Bonn.

The trial at the regional court in Bonn is expected to last eight days.

About 1,400 Air Berlin workers may soon be out of a job, some as early as the end of this month, according to a union paper obtained by AFP on Saturday.

Many of the cuts would hit the bankrupt airline's ground personnel and administration staff, whose contracts could end by the end of the month or in February 2018.

According to the document, Air Berlin could also soon stop operating, with only its subsidiary Niki continuing to fly. The German airline triggered bankruptcy proceedings in August after losing a cash lifeline from its biggest shareholder Etihad Airways. Lufthansa has emerged as the leading bidder for Air Berlin's assets, including valuable landing and takeoff slots at German airports.

The group has already bought or holds an option to buy some 20 Air Berlin aircraft that were leased to its low-cost Eurowings airline in recent months. Air Berlin has some 8,600 employees, including part-time workers, according to DPA news agency.

Lufthansa has said it plans to hire up to 3,000 people for the expansion of Eurowings, anticipating an accelerated hiring process for Air Berlin workers.

But it does not guarantee them employment. Air Berlin chief executive Thomas Winkelmann said in September that up to 80 percent of workers could find work with Lufthansa and British EasyJet, the remaining bidders for parts of the stricken business.

EasyJet has given him no information on whether it plans to recruit Air Berlin employees. Negotiations with the two airlines are due to conclude on October 12th. Unions have criticised management for not keeping them informed of the progress of discussions.

In late September, one of Germany's most powerful unions Verdi urged Air Berlin and its potential buyers to establish a "bailout" for employees. Verdi also urged the creation of a "transfer company" that would prepare laid-off workers for new employment by providing them professional assistance, qualification and job placement.

Technical details around winding up the carrier are to be thrashed out in the coming weeks and any final deal will need to be approved by European regulators.

Source: THE LOCAL

Die Linke (the Left Party) managed to improve their share of the vote marginally in the national election at the end of September. But dispute over refugee policies is leading to civil war inside the party.

While the number of refugees arriving in Germany has long since dropped to a trickle, the mass arrivals in 2015 and 2016 are still reverberating through German politics. That can be seen in the coalition talks, set to kick off formally, negotiations are set to turn on the disputed notion of an “upper limit” on asylum applications. It can also be seen in a bitter fight currently taking place within Die Linke.

One might think that the party which sits on the far left of the Bundestag (German parliament) would find it easy to speak with one voice on refugees. Their young, urban supporters loudly call for open borders under the slogan “kein Mensch ist illegal” (no human is illegal), and Die Linke have railed against deporting asylum seekers to Afghanistan. It’s far from so simple, though. In the national election on September 24th, Die Linke won their second largest ever share of the vote at 9.2 percent, but a clear border cut Die Linke’s vote between former east and west Germany.

At first glance Die Linke - the successor to the east German communist party - are still a party of the east. In most east German states they won between 15 and 20 percent of the vote. In the former west they were languishing on between 5 and 7 percent.

But there is a more interesting pattern underneath. In every single constituency in western Germany Die Linke improved their vote share, while in every east German constituency they lost votes. To make matters worse, they lost their votes predominantly to the Alternative for Germany (AfD), the far-right party that has made hay by denouncing the government’s refugee policies.

For some in Die Linke the answer to why they leaked 400,000 votes to the AfD is obvious. Sahra Wagenknecht, faction leader in the Bundestag and their most high-profile politician, has repeatedly warned that the party weren’t listening to voters’ concerns over refugees.

SEE ALSO: Will Merkel's concession on a refugee cap help her form a new government?

“I kept hearing during campaigning that people find what we are doing great but they won't vote for us because of our stance on refugees,” she said when analyzing the election defeat. Wagenknecht’s husband, Oskar Lafontaine, one of the party elders, described the party’s refugee stance as “mistaken.”

Only a minority of refugees manage to make it to Germany - more people would be helped when the billions spent on them in Germany were used “to fight illness and hunger in poor parts of the world,” he argued in a Facebook posted earlier this month.

Lafontaine then had a dig at the party's chair people, Katja Kipping and Bernd Riexinger, both advocates of a pro-refugee policy, by pointing out that they lost votes in their constituencies. 

For others in the party, Wagenknecht and Lafontaine are committing heresy. Former leader Gregor Gysi has threatened to quit the party if its adopts their position on asylum. Chairwoman Kipping flatly stated that “when we follow a course to the right on refugees we risk ruining the credibility of Die Linke.”

She argued instead that the election result should be seen as positive, as the party had won over “cosmopolitan, mobile, urban voters.”

Now some party colleagues are reportedly scheming to oust the telegenic and opinionated Wagenknecht out of the party leadership. Party chairman Riexinger recently confided to colleagues in a bar that “Sarah is hard to push out, you can’t just shoot her down,” according to Bild. He instead proposed constantly criticizing her until she left of her own accord. Riexinger has denied making the comment.

Others in the party argue that their losses in eastern Germany have less to do with the refugee crisis than the fact that they are now seen as part of the establishment.

“We need to take seriously the fact that unemployed people have voted for us in much smaller numbers,” said Dietmar Bartsch, Wagenknecht's co-leader in the Bundestag. “I’m not so sure that it was about the refugee crisis above all,” he said, adding that voters in his constituency in northeast Germany told him that “you don’t understand us anymore.”

As part of the government in three states, Die Linke are now seen as mainstream by people on the margins of society, Bartsch claimed. Things are set to come to a head at the upcoming party convention in Potsdam, when the new caucus leadership will be elected.

On Tuesday, Wagenknecht threatened to quit her leadership role, citing constant infighting as damaging for her health and accusing Kipping and Riexinger of "not being prepared to work fairly."

Whoever wins the power battle will likely determine how popular the party remain in the east, and how many voters they can expect to retain in the west.

With DPA

A German court has sentenced a migrant to eight and a half years for murdering his 15-year-old German ex-girlfriend.  Abdul D, believed to be Afghan, admitted stabbing Mia V in December in the south-western town of Kandel.

The case sparked national outrage and was seized upon by far-right groups as part of their anti-migrant campaign. Across the country in Chemnitz, 50,000 attended a concert against xenophobia and violence on Monday evening, as a counter protest to unrest there. The Chemnitz demonstrations began after a 35-year-old man was fatally stabbed on 26 August, and two men from Syria and Iraq were arrested.  Police in the eastern city have since struggled to manage the thousands of far-right and counter-protesters, whose clashes turned violent on occasions last week.
The hashtag #wirsindmehr concert, German for "there are more of us", was trending nationally on Monday evening as German punk and hip hop bands took to the stage in Chemnitz.

What happened to Mia?
Mia and Abdul D met at school and they dated for several months before she ended the relationship a few weeks before her death, prosecutors said. She was stabbed seven times with a kitchen knife outside a shop on 27 December. They believe her killer acted out of jealousy and revenge after Mia, a German citizen, broke up with him. She and her parents had previously gone to the police about her ex-boyfriend's harassing and threatening behaviour.

What do we know about the murderer?
His lawyer told reporters that he thought the Landau district court's decision was correct and that his client had "accepted" the sentence. The murder trial was held behind closed doors in a juvenile court, where prosecutors had sought a maximum term of 10 years.The accused said he was 15 at the time of the crime but an expert medical assessment ordered by prosecutors said that he was more likely to be between 17 and 20 years old. He arrived in Germany in April 2016 as an unaccompanied minor and had his request for asylum rejected in February 2017. At the time of the crime, he was living in a supervised group in the town of Neustadt and attending school in Kandel.

Why are there protests against migrants?
The case is among a number of high-profile crimes, said to involve asylum seekers, which have stoked anger against migrants, and put pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel over her liberal refugee policy. Regular demonstrations have been held in the town of Kandel, home to 9,000 people, by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in an attempt to bolster its anti-migrant campaign.

On Saturday, protests took place across Germany - some 350 people gathered in Kandel for a right-wing rally, while about 11,000 anti-migrant and counter-protesters faced off in Chemnitz, and almost 20,000 people gathered in Berlin and Hamburg in support of welcoming more migrants stranded on rescue ships in the Mediterranean.

The widow of the man killed in Chemnitz told local media: "Daniel would never have wanted it! Never!" She said her German-Cuban husband was neither right- nor left-wing and the protests in his name were "not about Daniel anymore". A German court has sentenced a migrant to eight and a half years for murdering his 15-year-old German ex-girlfriend.  Abdul D, believed to be Afghan, admitted stabbing Mia V in December in the south-western town of Kandel.

The widow of the man killed in Chemnitz told local media: "Daniel would never have wanted it! Never!" She said her German-Cuban husband was neither right- nor left-wing and the protests in his name were "not about Daniel anymore".
BBC

Teaching children to be aware and respectful of different cultures is more important than ever. Raising the next generation to navigate a culturally diverse world is the key to a more tolerant and integrated future.

Many school-aged children experience cultural diversity every day. Whether that’s classmates who have relocated with their families, friends from a different ethnic background, or even teachers who have moved to a new country for work -- people are more internationally mobile than ever, and it’s shaping societies everywhere.

Intercultural education teaches children to understand and accept people from different cultures and backgrounds. It encourages them to see diversity as a regular part of everyday life and sensitises them to the idea that we’ve all been formed by different cultural learnings and customs.

Attend an open day at a bilingual Phorms School and find out more about its approach to intercultural education

It also raises awareness of the cultural conditioning behind their own behaviour and beliefs -- something many of us aren’t typically aware of. Through intercultural education, children also learn to respect other people’s views and deal with each other in a constructive manner, something they will take with them through to adulthood.

At Phorms, a network of seven bilingual schools in Germany, intercultural education is a regular part of the school day. 

Many of its 769 staff members come from countries all over the world, including South Africa, the USA, Australia, and the UK -- it’s a truly international environment where kids are taught in both German and English from nursery school to the end of year 12.

Each teacher adheres to the state’s curriculum while bringing with them best practices gained throughout their international teaching experience. This means children are exposed to an amalgamation of teaching methods and cultural nuances every day.

Thembela Vischer, early childhood educator and kindergarten teacher at Phorms’ Josef-Schwarz-Schule, comes from South Africa and is just one of the many Phorms teachers that draws on her heritage to teach.

“We love singing and dancing in South Africa. Singing is in my blood, and I love teaching the kids English in a playful and intuitive way.”

She has also introduced a typically South African teaching technique that helps children improve their coordination. 

“In South Africa, we frequently use beads in the classroom; I’ve adopted this method to teach my pre-school class to recognise and create certain patterns, for example, and learn colours. Threading and sorting the pearls also improves their motor neurone skills.”

Thembela is not the only teacher utilizing techniques not traditionally applied in Europe. Phorms Frankfurt City’s Head of Primary School Nickolas Praulins uses methods he picked up in his native Australia. 

He has been particularly influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach, which he learned while working at a school in Melbourne. The concept relies on working with children’s strengths rather than against their weaknesses.

“I think this way of teaching is really fascinating,” he says. “It means children learn in the way they want to, not the way they have to.”

As part of its strong focus on intercultural education, Phorms also encourages children to embrace their own cultural and linguistic background, and celebrate each other’s.

Teaching assistant Julie Taricano, from the Phorms Campus München, believes this yields hugely positive results. “The teachers are all very different, but the children also bring a huge amount of diversity to the school,” she explains.

“Last month, for example, we celebrated International Mother Language Day at school, and in my class alone there was an array of different mother tongues, including Urdu, Japanese, French, and Spanish. We learn from and with each other every day.”

Despite their different backgrounds, Julie says the school has formed a tight-knit community. It’s proof that through intercultural education children are more accepting of each other’s differences and is a testament to the teaching method.

“There’s usually a strong sense of community in US schools. I’ve found it’s the same at Phorms.”

Source: THE LOCAL

"I don't care if they call us racist but things simply cannot carry on this way," said Paula Neubach at a far-right rally in the flashpoint German city of Chemnitz, rocked by anti-foreigner violence since late August.

Extremist groups and thousands of locals have taken to the streets since a fatal knife attack on a German man allegedly by asylum seekers, with many participants shouting anti-foreigner slurs and flashing the illegal Nazi salute.

Mobs have also assaulted reporters and police, sparking counter-racism demonstrations and prompting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to
declare that "hate in the streets" had no place in Germany and that vigilante justice would not be tolerated.

"It's normal to help people who have fled war in their country," said 55-year-old Sabine Sterben, standing near the rally late on Friday. The city in the former East Germany has been polarised over the question of migrants since Daniel Hille was stabbed to death on August 26. The 35-year-old carpenter was repeatedly knifed and his suspected attackers, according to police, are three Iraqi and Syrian asylum seekers.

READ ALSO: Domestic intelligence boss: 'no evidence that Chemnitz hunts took place'

The far-right has seized on the attack as further proof that crime and insecurity have soared since Merkel opened the borders to millions of asylum seekers three years ago after Europe's worst migration crisis since World War 2. They are also calling for a "peaceful revolution" to change what they call the "Merkel system" and held a rally in Chemnitz late Friday like in the past week.

'We are not Nazis!'

 "We are not Nazis!", said Daniel Reichelt, 55, who was one of the 2,000-odd people who turned up at Friday's demo. He brushed off the Nazi salutes in earlier rallies as a "mistake", adding: "There are bad people everywhere. "I've had enough of the social and economic inequalities" in the former Communist east, he said. "Salaries and pensions are still lower than the West and we don't have work."

Neubach came specially from Berlin to attend Friday's rally and laid flowers at a makeshift memorial where Hille was killed. "One cannot enter another country and kill people," she said. A few metres away stood an imposing statue of Karl Marx with his famous slogan "Workers of the world unite" written in four languages. Meanwhile, a counter-demonstration by the far-left took place nearby with police and barriers separating the two sides to pre-empt clashes that have broken out in the past.

East-West divide
Sabine Sterben said she could not understand how the city, formerly named Karl-Marx-Stadt, had changed so radically. "I never thought there would be so many extremists in my city," she said, adding: "It's really important to take a humanitarian position." The divide in Chemnitz is also playing out across the country and has even rocked Merkel's government with the conservative Interior Minister Horst Seehofer backing the right-wing rallies.

"We are not racist. I myself have Arab friends but crime has exploded since the migrants arrived," said Uchi Tuhlman, 43. Official figures however show that crime has actually declined during this period. "We just want to reclaim our city," said Tommy Scholz, 31. "We are just patriots, we don't want violence and we are fed up of keeping quiet." This tide of xenophobia does not surprise historian Klaus-Peter Sick, who specialises in the far-right. The former East Germany "was less open to the rest of the world and people encountered foreigners less," he said.

"East Germany has remained more German than the West," he said.

By AFP's David Courbet

The German chancellor Angela Merkel was at the Ghana embassy in Berlin to sign the Kofi Annan book of condolence. The late chief diplomat was the former United Nations Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

6
President of Germany Frank Walter Steinmeier

He died peacefully on Saturday, the 18th August 2018 in Switzerland after a short illness. His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were by his side during his last days. He was 80 years old.

2
 Angela Merkel in handshake with Ghana Embassy staffs

At the embassy to welcome the German chancellor was the Head of Chancery, Mr. Francis Danti Kotia, Mr. Kwadwo Addo; Minister /Head of Consular and Mr. Michael Nyaaba Assibi, Counsellor/Political & Diaspora.

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 Heiko Maas, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany

The Ghanaian born career diplomat until his death was the chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation and chair of The Elders, the group founded by Nelson Mandela. He was widely admired and an inspirational personality to young and old alike. The world lost a great personality, Africa and Ghana in particular lost a great son, he will be loved forever.

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 Left: Agbelessessy Emmanuel K. Middle: Angela Merkel. Right: Francis Kotia

Source: Media Kad International
Agbelessessy Emmanuel K
In cooperation with TopAfric Media Network 

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