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CRIME

Two adults, nine-day-old infant die in Berlin apartment fire

A fire at an apartment building in Berlin's Neukölln district early on Saturday morning left three people dead and more than a dozen others injured. The fire started after a pram was reportedly set ablaze, according to a Berlin daily.

Two adults, nine-day-old infant die in Berlin apartment fire
Photo: DPA

Newspaper Der Tagesspiegel said the fire broke out in the stairwell of the building, where a stroller was allegedly torched after being doused in an accelerant.

The fire department said a man died from his injuries after jumping from the first upper story of the building on Sonnenallee. A woman and an infant were found dead on the same floor.

According to the daily Berliner Morgenpost, the baby was just nine days old.

Police said the victims were likely three family members. The fire reportedly began while residents were asleep.

Der Tagesspiegel said 20 others were taken to the hospital, some with signs of severe smoke inhalation.

A police spokesman described “dramatic scenes” at the site of the fire. Witnesses reported seeing panicked residents call for help from their open windows. Three people jumped from the building into an air rescue cushion set up by fire crews.

The blaze was brought under control at about 7 a.m. Two apartments were so severely damaged that they are no longer habitable. Sonnenallee, which is a major thoroughfare in the southern part of Berlin, was completely blocked off until midday Saturday.

The newspaper said the area around Sonnenallee has seen repeated arson attacks in recent years, involving prams set on fire in apartment hallways.

DPA/The Local/arp

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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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