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CRIME

Drunken German cyclists could face driving ban

If you thought cycling home after the pub was a good idea, think again. A German court ruled on Wednesday that inebriated cyclists could forfeit their right to drive a car.

Drunken German cyclists could face driving ban
Maybe just get loaded at home instead. Photo: DPA

The country’s highest administrative court was ruling on the case of a man near Berlin whose licence was taken away after he was caught cycling with a blood-alcohol level four times the legal limit.

Medical tests found he was a heavy drinker and probably often in no state to cope with road hazards. The council appealed when a local court overruled the decision to revoke his licence.

Meanwhile other offences now look set to attract significantly stiffer sentences after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet approved a raft of new measures aimed at reducing road deaths. A government spokesman confirmed that drink drivers could from 2009 face fines of up to €3,000 ($4,720), double the current maximum, and a penalty of €2,000 for jumping a red light.

The tougher laws, which also include higher fines for speeding, still have to be approved by parliament.

No change is planned to the lack of speed limit on many parts of the Autobahn.

GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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