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CRIME

German ski bus bursts into flames in Austria

A bus filled with German ski tourists in Austria caught on fire early Saturday morning, injuring at least four passengers.

German ski bus bursts into flames in Austria
Photo: DPA

The fully-loaded bus was carrying a group of 16 to 21 year-olds from Düsseldorf and nearby towns when it caught fire near the Austrian town of Bischofshofen, about 50 kilometres outside of Salzburg.

The fire started after the bus came across a rear-end collision involving other vehicles on the highway. The bus avoided the collision, but somehow burst into flames shortly afterward, according to police.

The skiers were able to exit the bus safely, but four passengers were treated for smoke inhalation at a nearby hospital. Three people were also injured, two seriously, in the rear-end collision.

Millions of Germans travel to Austria every year to ski. This winter has seen record snowfalls throughout the Alps, with a correspondingly high level of avalanche danger.

CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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