Organized Criminals Of Mohammed

Or “Warriors of Mohammed,” if you prefer.

Warrior

Get your motors running or something. Here come Al-Salam-313.

German police launch raids on Iraqi organized crime gang – Heavily armed police have carried out a series of coordinated raids on the homes of members of the “Al-Salam-313” group. The targets are suspected of people smuggling as well as dealing in narcotics…

The gang members are part of the Shiite denomination who believe that the hidden Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi will return to earth with 313 companions. The term Mahdi means Redeemer, which therefore means that he is regarded as similar to a messiah in Islam.

“This is why they refer to themselves as Muhammad’s companions or warriors.”

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Oh Great And Powerful Wahl-O-Mat…

Tell me who to vote for. But computer says no!

Wahl

It’s odd. Germans seem to really love this goofy computer program that tells them how to vote. Now they’re upset because a German court has shut it down (temporarily?) because smaller parties feel they are at a great disadvantage here (which they are anyway because they are smaller parties). The “Vote-O-Mat” only allows the user to select up to eight parties for comparison purposes and this hurts the really tiny and the really wacko ones.

And this before the big European elections next week! OMG who’s going to tell me who to vote for now?

Das Gericht begründete den Schritt damit, dass man auf der Seite seine politischen Auffassungen nur mit dem Programm von bis zu acht Parteien abgleichen könne. Das sei eine Benachteiligung kleinerer und unbekannterer Parteien.

The Race For Last Place

The Germans did their damnedest, as usual.

But not even after receiving Null Punkte (zero points) from the audience were they able to come in at very last place at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Nice effort though, girls. And congratulations to the UK!

Allenfalls mit Außenseiterchancen fuhr das Duo S!sters aus Deutschland zum ESC nach Tel Aviv. Tatsächlich erhielt es bei der Publikumsabstimmung die Höchststrafe.

Another Fifteen Years?

Whoah. This is getting heavy.

Life

German nurse who killed up to 100 patients faces another life sentence.

Thanks for the fake news there, CNN. There is no life sentence in Germany. They may call it that but that just means fifteen years. Just saying.

German prosecutors in the northwest city of Oldenburg are seeking a life sentence for Niels Hoegel, a former male nurse who is considered Germany’s deadliest postwar serial killer after allegedly killing as many as 100 patients…

Hoegel is accused of giving his victims various non-prescribed drugs, in an attempt to show off his resuscitation skills to colleagues and fight off boredom.

What Do You Want, A Cookie?

25-year-old German cookie heiress apologizes for downplaying her family’s history of using Nazi forced labor on the grounds that ‘we treated them well.’

Cookie

Verena Bahlsen, whose great-grandfather Hermann Bahlsen founded the eponymous company that produces the Leibniz brand of cookie, told Germany’s Bild newspaper last week that the company did nothing wrong when it employed dozens of forced laborers during World War II.

“This was before my time and we paid the forced laborers exactly as much as German workers and we treated them well,” Bahlsen said, as cited by Reuters. The German newspaper published the remarks on Tuesday.

Keksunternehmerin Verena Bahlsen bittet um Entschuldigung – und will dazulernen.

Well, Then He Shouldn’t Announce Tariffs, Right?

German auto sector could drop as much as 12% if Trump announces tariffs, analyst says.

Tariffs

Gee, I wonder if there is anything the Germans/Europeans could do to prevent that from happening? I dunno. How about like maybe lowering their tariffs? Just thinking out loud here, people.

Germany’s automotive sector could fall as much as 12% over “three bad trading days,” if President Donald Trump imposes tariffs on European car manufacturers, one analyst told CNBC.

Trump has until Friday midnight (Washington time) to decide whether to impose duties on car imports. This would likely hurt Germany, the EU’s traditional growth engine, given that it is one of the largest direct car exporters to the U.S.

“If indeed we get U.S. car tariffs on imports from the euro zone — not just their announcement, you could forget our economic forecasts completely. No chance of a sustained pick-up in activity throughout the second half as we expect.”

“Progress has been limited…”

Oh, I dunno. Depends upon how you look at it.

Progress

In 2011, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the country was turning away from nuclear energy in favor of a renewable future. Since then, however, progress has been limited. Berlin has wasted billions of euros and resistance is mounting…

But there’s been plenty of change here, although I wouldn’t call it progress. Lots of people can’t afford to pay their power bills in Germany – the country with the highest energy costs for consumers in Europe. Could there possibly be a connection to the “energy turnaround” here?

More than 340,000 electricity customers across Germany have their power cut off each year for failing to pay bills. A new proposal from one political party aims to change this.

Productivity?

What’s that? I live in Berlin.

Productivity

Asked which region in Europe has been the absolute worst at realizing its economic potential, most people probably wouldn’t name Berlin. The German capital isn’t just nice to live in, it’s throbbing with excitement; a startup is reportedly created here every 20 minutes, and if you leave for a night out, you risk not coming back for a week. But according to a study of the economic performance of European regions, Berlin is indeed the worst.

What is more important: productivity or a city’s peculiar, esoteric feel? Berlin is one of the places where this question is especially poignant.

Shame On Him!

Trump treats Germany like ‘America’s worst ally.’

Worst

Especially because, well, like, you know… They are.

North Korea, China, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela: America currently has disputes with a lot of countries. Europeans, meanwhile, have done quite well at keeping their heads down. A US-EU trade truce is still holding. And Nato’s 70th anniversary festivities in Washington came and went in early April without tweet fireworks from the president threatening US withdrawal.

There was one notable exception to this queasy peace, however: Germany.

At a think-tank event during the Nato celebrations, vice-president Mike Pence castigated Germany for its inadequate defence spending and for being a “captive of Russia”. A few weeks later, presidential daughter-in-law Lara Trump opined on Fox Business that Angela Merkel’s welcome of refugees in 2015 had been Germany’s “downfall” and “one of the worst things to ever happen” to the country.

Germany is, in fact, having a bit of a moment in the roiling imagination of the Trumpian nationalist right. It has been denounced as “selfish” and “America’s worst ally” by Ted Bromund, a scholar at the Heritage Foundation. Jakub Grygiel, until last year a member of the State Department’s policy planning staff, called it “a source of fear and resentment”. And Michael Anton, a former senior White House adviser for strategic communications, just published an essay on the “Trump Doctrine” which contends that the EU is “a fraud” and Germany “treats the EU as a front organisation”…

Like I said. All of this is outrageous. And, well, I dunno, like, how should I put it? True. It’s actually much worse than all of that but nobody wants to hear it so, shame on you, President Trump!

Well, It’s Not Like They Could Be Arrested

Drug dealers need a safe space, too. At least in Berlin they do.

Drug dealers in Berlin are to be given designated spaces in a city centre park to carry out transactions, leading to criticism that authorities have capitulated to criminal gangs.

For years there has been a heated debate about Görlitzer Park, a popular meeting point in the trendy southern Berlin district of Kreuzberg, which has been attracting an ever increasing number of drug dealers. Local people said they were reluctant to let children and pets roam free there.

After repeated attempts by police to clear the dealers failed, the park manager declared areas where they should be allowed to operate, identified by spray-painted pink boxes.

“This method has purely practical reasoning behind it. It’s not that we’re legalising the selling of drugs.”