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CRIME

Squatter house associated with Bernd das Brot kidnapping burns

A squat house in Erfurt, associated with the kidnapping of talking TV bread loaf Bernd das Brot, burned down on Wednesday night, police reported.

Squatter house associated with Bernd das Brot kidnapping burns
Photo: DPA

None of the 30 young squatters were injured after police managed to bring everyone to safety in time. The fire was put out within an hour, but the entire building was destroyed.

Though they deny their involvement, police believe the squatters were part of the kidnapping of Bernd das Brot – a talking loaf of bread from a children’s TV show, who was recently found by children playing in the area.

About two weeks ago, leftist squatters reported via Youtube video that they had kidnapped a two-metre-tall likeness of the surly orange-brown tin loaf to protest their eviction from an occupied building in the eastern German city

He went missing from his post in front of the city hall building weeks ago and a letter from a group of squatters claiming responsibility for the abduction soon surfaced. Then the leftists followed up with a video of their doughy “hostage” complete with commentary sympathetic to the squatter’s plight in Bernd’s own deep voice.

The award-winning loaf of bread for Erfurt-based children TV channel Kinderkanal (Ki.Ka) is known for being irredeemably fatalistic as he endures countless hardships in life, such as having very short arms.

Negotiations between city authorities and squatters known as Team 129 A broke down weeks ago after the building occupants rejected an offer for alternative housing. Their eviction was postponed on Friday until February 15, according to the group’s website. Their squat wass to be converted into apartments and office space.

CRIME

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners

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