A 23-year-old German woman died while canyoning in the Swiss Alps on Sunday, newspapers reported. She is thought to have drowned after heavy rain created treacherous conditions.

The unnamed woman was canyoning near the Swiss town of St Gallen, the Bild daily reported. The sport has gained in popularity over recent years and involves abseiling, climbing, jumping into water and swimming in mountain rivers.

Despite heavy rainfall, a group of tourists set off from the town for a day in the mountains. But water levels in the river they were to hike along had risen dramatically and was running extremely fast.

When the group were deep in a ravine a surge of water suddenly filled the valley, sweeping two women to their deaths. One of whom was the 24-year-old group leader, from Belgium.

Others managed to climb to safety and were rescued by a helicopter. Three of the five saved were taken to hospital and treated for injuries.

Mountain rescue teams began searching for the two missing women and continued into the night. Bad weather made the hunt difficult, but at around 11pm they found the bodies of the women.

“It had rained a lot on Sunday afternoon in the area, but how exactly the incident happened is still being investigated,” a police spokesman from the St Gallen area told Swiss paper Blick.

The Local/jcw


The financial crisis can't touch them - Germany's richest just keep getting richer. Top earners' salaries are up, but the bottom 40 percent of full-time employees are earning less after wages were adjusted for inflation.

The richest ten percent of German households have more than half of the total assets, the report said - taken to include real estate, investments, land or claims from company pensions. And the poorest fifty percent of households have just barely one percent of the net wealth.

The net wealth of German households has doubled in the past two decades, from €4.6 billion to more than €10 billion.

Süddeutsche Zeitung said the report also showed that there was still a wealth gap between people in former eastern Germany and western Germany. West German households had an average net wealth of €132,000, east German households just €55,000.

Private citizens may be getting richer, but the report showed the state was getting poorer. The Labour Department report claimed that net assets of the German state fell by more than €800 billion between early 1992 and early 2012.

It also noted that as part of the rescue efforts during the financial crisis there was "an observable shift of private assets and liabilities in state budgets."

The report defended the increase in non-traditional employment, including part-time work, and temporary or contract positions, saying these jobs were not created at the expense of normal working conditions.

But the Ministry of Labour did note that: "hourly wages which are insufficient to secure the livelihood of a single person who is working full-time, exacerbates the risk of poverty and weaken social cohesion."

The Local/sh

Explosives experts in Germany have detonated the remains of a 250kg World War Two bomb in central Munich. The dapd news agency cited a police spokesman as saying the bomb was successfully destroyed on Tuesday evening (local time).

Still, burning debris caused fires in several nearby buildings that had been evacuated after the bomb was discovered on Monday in the Schwabing district.

Efforts to defuse the bomb failed and experts decided to pack it with explosives and detonate it rather than risk an uncontrolled explosion.

Allied airplanes dropped millions of tonnes of ordnance on Germany during World War Two in an effort to cripple the Nazi war machine.

Tens of thousands of unexploded bombs are believed still to be lying in the ground in Germany.

Source: Dapd News

A man who broke into a Berlin primary school and raped an eight-year-old girl after threatening her with a knife and locking her in the toilet was jailed for more than six years on Friday.

He was convicted of rape, serious sexual assault and grievous bodily harm. The girl he attacked was attending the school where he had also been a pupil.The 30-year-old admitted the attack on the first day of the trial, and even his own lawyers said he had committed an outrageous crime. He said he had drunk a lot of alcohol the night before, and taken cocaine, something Judge Iris Berger said had somewhat reduced his accountability, since it had increased his aggression. He had grabbed the girl randomly and pulled her into the toilet, threatening her with a knife before raping her and even biting her face. “This aggression is like a red thread through your life,” she told the man, jailing him for six and a half years.Prosecutor Andrea Läpping said he had behaved in a “brutal and ruthless fashion” towards one of the weakest members of society. “He was aware of what he was doing,” she said. The man, who has not been identified, told the court he was ashamed of what he had done. He was arrested nearly four weeks after the March 1 attack, which prompted parents to launch security patrols at the school.

DPA/The Local/hc

Do you have an opinion.

Steel managers who were fixing prices and dividing up the railway track market took Deutsche Bahn employees to brothels after talking business over dinner, spending more than €71,000 on “entertaining” over five years.

Court documents seen by the Handelsblatt newspaper show that a former manager of a Voestalpine subsidiary spent €71,276 between 2005 and 2009 on his “track friends”. Much of the money was spent in the Berlin brothel “Bel Ami”, the paper said.

While Voestalpine confirmed the existence of the 35 bills paid by the manager, it stressed these had nothing to do with the railway track cartel.

Yet a former manager who was at the price- and market-share-fixing meetings told the Handelsblatt that employees from Voestalpine and ThyssenKrupp had met colleagues from Deutsche Bahn several times. They had discussed prices over dinner, and then gone to the brothel.

ThyssenKrupp was fined €103 million in July, while Vossloh and Voestalpine were fined €13 million and €8.5 million respectively. All admitted to fixing prices and sharing out the market for railway tracks.

The steel managers are only the latest to have been caught spending company money on prostitutes.

Insurance firm Ergo repeatedly sent top-selling agents on trips involving paid-for sex, including one well-documented three-day weekend in Budapest.

The Local/hc

The tax office in the western German town of Siegen was delighted to receive a letter on Monday from an anonymous citizen plagued with guilt over unpaid tax from eight years ago. He or she enclosed €2,000 in cash

"Dear tax office," the neatly type-written letter began. "In the calendar year 2004 I unjustifiably declared advertising expenses that I was not entitled to.

"Because of that I paid a sum of €2,000 too little in taxes and interest up until now," he or she continued. "Since my conscience has been plaguing me for some time, I'd like to settle my guilt today and am enclosing the sum of €2,000 in cash in this letter."

The letter ended, "With friendly greetings, a repentant taxpayer."

It was addressed personally to the office's head official Günter Michel, who was very pleased with the "donation" of four used €500 notes, the WAZ newspaper group reported.

"It's an absolute one-off," tax office spokesman Heiko Müller told The Local. "We're just putting the money into the system for the benefit of all taxpayers as we have no idea where it's from."

The only similar occasion that Müller could recall was in 1997, when someone sent the office 20,000 Deutschmarks anonymously - though without an accompanying letter.

But Müller pointed out that though this donor might have an easier conscience, he might live to regret his actions. "It would have been cleverer to declare himself and then pay," he said. Should the tax evasion be uncovered in the future, the unknown donor will be forced to pay again.

The Local/bk

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