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CRIME

Kosovar cousins jailed for vicious Munich U-Bahn beating

Two cousins who beat a young man nearly to death at a Munich U-Bahn station 13 years ago were sentenced on Tuesday to five and seven years’ prison for the savage attack.

Kosovar cousins jailed for vicious Munich U-Bahn beating
Photo: DPA

The Munich regional court found the two men, who were aged 18 and 19 at the time of the attack, guilty of attempted murder, sentencing the younger man to seven years and his older cousin to five years’ jail.

Together with another man, who has already been sentenced, the pair knocked down a 23-year-old carpenter in July 1996 after he took them to task for smoking in the station, where it was forbidden.

The younger man then stabbed the victim with a knife 10 times in the upper body, including one thrust aimed right at the man’s heart, which was stopped only by his wallet.

The victim fell onto the train track and had to use his last strength to climb back onto the platform. He had to undergo several operations and was in a critical condition for weeks. He remains limited to 60 percent of normal movement.

Both the perpetrators sentenced Tuesday were Albanian Kosovars who had fled their homeland, where Albanians were facing persecution by Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic.

One was arrested in Switzerland in December 2008 and the other in autumn of 2009 in Italy.

The sentencing follows other high-profile attacks on Munich public transport that have caused deep public anguish in the Bavarian capital. Last October, Dominik Brunner, 50, was beaten to death after stepping in to protect a group of youths from a gang of older bullies who were demanding money.

And in December of 2007, two young men attacked and nearly killed a retired teacher after he also admonished them for smoking. They received 12 years and eight-and-a-half years’ prison respectively.

The court’s senior judge said the present case showed violence on Munich’s public transport was nothing new.

“The case shows that 13 years ago, there was violence in the U-Bahn, just as it makes headlines today,” the judge said.

The other attacker was given three years in a juvenile prison but was released after just one year.

In the trial against cousins, he refused to give testimony supporting the cousins’ claim they had been responding to the xenophobic aggression of the carpenter they attacked.

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TRANSPORT

How the Greens want to replace Germany’s €9 ticket deal

New proposals drafted by the Green Party have set out plans for two new cheap travel tickets in Germany as well as a shake-up of the country's travel zones. Here's what you need to know.

How the Greens want to replace Germany's €9 ticket deal

What’s going on?

Germany’s €9 travel deal has been hugely popular this summer, with an estimated 30 million or so passengers taking advantage of the offer in June alone. Now the last month of the three-month offer is underway, there are hopes that the ticket could be replaced by another deal that offers simple, affordable travel on a regional or national basis.

There have been a few ideas for this floating around, including a €365 annual ticket and a €69 monthly ticket pitched by German transport operators. Now the Green Party has weighed in with a concept paper setting out plans for two separate travel tickets to replace the €9 ticket. The paper was obtained by ARD Hauptstadtstudio on Friday. 

Why do they want two different tickets?

The first ticket would be a regional one costing just €29 a month and the second would be a €49 that, much like the €9 ticket, would be valid for the whole of Germany.

This would allow people who mainly stay in their local region to opt for the most cost-effective option while long-distance commuters or those who want to travel further afield could opt for the nationwide offer.

Presumably the ticket would once again be valid for local and regional transport only rather than long-distance trains like the ICE. 

To simplify the system even more, the Greens also want to introduce new travel zones for the regional monthly tickets.

READ ALSO: Has Germany’s €9 rail ticket been a success?

How would the travel zones change?

According to the paper, Germany would be divided into eight regional zones that would include the Berlin-Brandenburg area, the eastern German states of Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt and the northern states of Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania. 

The zones take passengers “statewide at a minimum”, the paper says, for example in the larger states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and North-Rhine Westphalia.

However, as the map below shows, states will also be clustered together to make larger regions.

One of the major draws of the €9 ticket has been the flat-rate system that allows passengers to travel anywhere in the country using the same ticket. This appears to be what the Greens are trying to replicate with their proposals. 

READ ALSO: What happens to Germany’s €9 ticket at the end of August?

How would this be financed? 

As you might expect, the Green Party is placing less eco-friendly forms of transport in the crosshairs as it looks for cash to fund the cheap tickets.

The first way to free up cash would be to end tax breaks for people with company cars. In addition, taxes on CO2 emissions would be increased. 

This would result in “additional revenues for the federal government and the states, which could flow seamlessly into the financing of cheap tickets”, the paper states. 

However, the Greens don’t set out how much money they think this would bring in or how much the discounted tickets would cost the state in total. 

Is this definitely going to happen?

At the moment, it seems that the Greens are the main voices in the coalition government pushing for a longer term travel deal – and they continue to face opposition from the pro-business FDP.

Unfortunately for the Green Party, the FDP happen to be heading up two crucial ministries that could both play a role in blocking a future offer: the Finance Ministry and the Transport Ministry. 

However, with four out of five people saying they want to see a successor to the €9 ticket in autumn, Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) is currently under pressure to come up with a replacement as soon as possible. 

A passenger sits on the platform a Berlin Hauptbahnhof

A passenger sits on the platform a Berlin Hauptbahnhof waiting for a train. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Joerg Carstensen

At a press conference a few weeks ago, he promised to discuss this with the state transport ministers after analysing how successful the ticket had been.

In particular, researchers will want to look at how many people ended up leaving the car at home and taking the bus or train instead.

Though the data on this is inconclusive at the moment, some studies have shown reduced congestion on the roads while the ticket was running.

In a survey of The Local’s readers conducted last month, 80 percent of respondents said they had used public transport more with the €9 ticket and 85 percent said they wanted to see a similar deal continue in the autumn.

Of the options on the table so far, a monthly €29 ticket was by far the most popular choice.

READ ALSO: ‘Affordable and simple’: What foreigners in Germany want to see after the €9 ticket

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