One body found in Cologne archive rubble

Early Sunday morning, rescuers retrieved one corpse from the rubble of the Cologne historical archive that collapsed Tuesday. The search continues for a second man believed to buried in as much as four metres of debris.

One body found in Cologne archive rubble
Photo: DPA

Complicating efforts is the extreme instability of the site, the Cologne fire department said on Sunday. Several neighbouring buildings are in danger of collapse and rainfall expected on Sunday could make the rubble even more unstable.

Rescue services are building an emergency roof over the site to prevent more moisture from seeping into the debris, which also contains priceless artefacts detailing the city’s long history.

Authorities said the body would be identified later today at a morgue in Cologne. The two young men are thought to have died in the accident, when their apartments in neighbouring buildings also collapsed with the archive. One of the men is believed to be a 17 year-old baker’s apprentice, the other a 23-year-old design student.

There is speculation the construction of a subway tunnel in front of the archive building may have contributed to its collapse. The site reportedly had repeated problems with groundwater leaking into the tunnel, which could have weakened the building’s foundations.


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.

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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. 

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