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CRIME

Dead baby found in Weser river was murdered

A newborn found last week in the Weser river in northern Germany did not die of natural causes but was killed after being born, forensic tests have shown.

Dead baby found in Weser river was murdered
A file shot of the Weser river in North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo:DPA

Police and the prosecutors‘ office in Bad Oeynhausen in North Rhine-Westphalia reported on Friday that the infant girl’s cause of death was still not known, but that further tests would be done.

The body was found by a fisherman along the bank of the river and investigators believe the child was born between Monday and Thursday of last week. It is thought that she was thrown into the river in the town of Rinteln, Vlotho, Bad Oeynhausen or Porta Westfalica.

Thus far, investigators have no solid leads as to the identity of the mother. Police are looking for people who might know of a woman who was recently pregnant but who now does not have a newborn.

Germany has been plagued with a spate of gruesome infanticide cases in the last few years which have shocked the country. One woman who killed nine of her babies was sentenced to 15 years in prison in early April.

In May, a 44-year-old woman was arrested when her family found three dead babies in her freezer near Bonn.

WEATHER

Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

A stranded cargo ship caused traffic to be halted Wednesday at the Rhine river in western Germany after suffering a technical fault, authorities said, at a time when water transport was already ailing from a drought.

Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

The vessel is stuck at St. Goar and Oberwesel, in between the cities of Mainz and Koblenz, water police said, adding that they were expecting to clear the stricken ship within the day.

The machine damage came as water levels in the Rhine had dropped to critical points at several locations, including at nearby Kaub — a known bottleneck for shipping where the river runs narrow and shallow.

The gauge at Kaub stood at 34 cm (13 inches) on Wednesday, well below the 40-cm reference point.

While vessels are still able to navigate at low water levels, they are forced to reduce their loads to avoid the risk of running aground.

About four percent of freight is transported on waterways in Germany, including on the Rhine, which originates in Switzerland and runs through several countries including France and Germany before flowing into the sea in the Netherlands.

READ ALSO: How the Rhine’s low water levels are impacting Germany

Transport on the Rhine has gained significance in recent months because among cargo moved on the river is coal, now all the more necessary as Germany seeks to wean itself off Russian gas.

Germany’s biggest companies have already warned that major disruptions to river traffic could deal another blow to an economy already beset by logistical difficulties.

The 2018 drought, which saw the benchmark depth of the Rhine in Kaub drop to 25 cm in October, shrank German GDP by 0.2 percent that year, according to Deutsche Bank Research.

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