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Luxembourger triumphs in German office chair race

Luxembourger Pierre Feller beat out the homegrown talent to win the downhill speed discipline at the third German office chair championships in the town of Bad König-Zell in Hesse on Saturday.

Luxembourger triumphs in German office chair race
Photo: DPA

Feller set a new course record for his win by covering the 200-metre downhill stretch in just 26.95 seconds, reaching speeds of up to 35 kph (22 mph).

“His lying-down technique was sensational!” gushed organizer René Karg of Feller’s winning run, before pointing out the strict regulations in place for the third championship of its kind: the chairs are allowed to be fitted with inline-skate wheels and handles, but no kind of motorized aid is permitted.

“We check each chair in advance,” said Karg.

Racing in pairs and equipped with helmets and kneepads, the 58 participants then launch themselves onto the course head-first from a ramp.

This year’s racers mainly came from areas around Cologne, Stuttgart and Luxembourg, with the second and third places won by local speed demons Andreas Ripper and Finn-Jan Rucktäschel.

The design prize was won by Heiko Winter, also a local resident, who was dressed as a cowboy and had fitted his chair with a horse’s head and a saddle.

DPA/DAPD/bk

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POLICE

Ex-police officer and wife arrested over far-right letters in Germany

Prosecutors said Monday they arrested a former police officer and his wife who they suspect of having sent threatening emails to politicians and other public figures across Germany, signing them off with a neo-Nazi reference.

Ex-police officer and wife arrested over far-right letters in Germany
A police officer in Kassel, Hesse in 2019. Photo: DPA

A 63-year-old former officer who already has a police record over previous far-right crimes and his wife, 55, were detained on Friday in the Bavarian town Landshut in the case that has sparked a row over right-wing extremism within German law enforcement.

“Both are suspected of sending several emails with insulting, hate inciting, threatening content to parliamentarians and various other addressees,” said Frankfurt prosecutors in a statement.

READ ALSO: Hesse police face claims of links with far-right scene

The unnamed suspects have since been released as prosecutors said they did not have sufficient evidence as yet to remand them in custody.

But investigators were combing through data carriers seized from the suspects.

The anonymous messages were all signed “NSU 2.0”, a reference to the German neo-Nazi cell National Socialist Underground that committed a string of racist murders in the 2000s.

The so-called “NSU 2.0” affair has already claimed the scalp of police chief Udo Münch of the state of Hesse, who resigned after it emerged that police computers were used in the search for details about a far-left politician who subsequently received one of the threatening letters.

Germany's defence minister last month ordered the partial dissolution of the elite KSK commando force over right-wing extremism.

While right-wing extremism was once thought to plague mostly eastern states, Hesse was shaken last year by the murder of pro-migrant politician Walter Luebcke, allegedly at the hands of a neo-Nazi.

It was also in the Hessian city of Hanau that a man gunned down nine people of foreign origin in February this year.

READ ALSO: What is Germany doing to combat the far-right after Hanau attacks?

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