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CRIME

Baden-Württemberg to ban nighttime alcohol sales

As of March, Baden-Württemberg will become the first state in Germany to institute a ban on retail alcohol sales between the hours of 10 pm and 5 am, the state Interior Ministry announced on Friday.

Baden-Württemberg to ban nighttime alcohol sales
Photo: DPA

The ban on the purchase of booze at petrol stations, kiosks or supermarkets comes in an effort to prevent an increasing number of alcohol-fuelled crimes in the southwestern state.

“We must put an end to the nightly alcohol binges, aggression and violence,” Baden-Württemberg Interior Minister Heribert Rech said, adding that drinking in public areas frequently leads to fighting in the streets.

Bars, restaurants, and airport terminals are excluded from the ban, and communities will also have the right to suspend it for festivals and markets if they wish.

The state-wide ban comes after a Freiburg court overturned a city ban on public alcohol consumption in July 2009. The southern university city, along with many other German cities, instituted the ban to prevent violence and crime.

Heidelberg, Magdeburg and some parts of Berlin have also cracked down on public drinking in the last two years with varying degrees of success. The bans are part of a broader attempt to curb excessive underage drinking.

But Germany’s federal drug commissioner Mechthild Dyckmans has been hesitant to approve of Baden-Württemberg’s alcohol ban initiative, voicing fears that young people would simply stock up on alcohol to skirt the new rule.

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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