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Celebrity mag fires reporters over planned sex sting

German celebrity weekly Bunte said Friday it has fired two employees for reportedly seeking to get hold of photos and videos of a top politician taking drugs and engaging in sex parties.

Celebrity mag fires reporters over planned sex sting
Bunte specializes in celebrity gossip Photo: DPA

Bunte’s chief editors have put a stop to research that was still in the planning phase because they saw the danger that journalistic standards would not be upheld,” the magazine said in a statement. “Both employees have left the company. The chief editor stressed that the research never developed beyond the planning stage and that therefore nobody suffered any harm,” it said.

One of those clearing his desk at the magazine, which is owned by German media firm Burda, is the chief political editor, while the other is a female reporter, according to online media industry newsletter Meedia.

Both were in contact with an informant offering the material over several months without informing their superiors. They failed to check their source’s identity and approved a 2,000-euro ($2,850) payment, Meedia said.

“I am shocked that two colleagues showed so little instinct and caution,” Meedia quoted the magazine’s chief editor Patricia Riekel as saying.

The news comes as Britain is being rocked by an illegal phone hacking at the News of the World newspaper, which was abruptly closed down on July 7 by owner Rupert Murdoch.

AFP/kdj

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CRIME

101-year-old former Nazi guard pleads innocent in German trial

A 101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard on Monday once again denied being complicit in war crimes during the Holocaust as his trial drew to a close in Germany.

101-year-old former Nazi guard pleads innocent in German trial

Josef Schütz, the oldest person so far to face trial over Nazi crimes during World War II, is accused of involvement in the murders of 3,518 prisoners at the Sachsenhausen camp in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, between 1942 and 1945.

The pensioner, who now lives in Brandenburg state, has pleaded innocent throughout the trial, saying he did “absolutely nothing” and was not aware of the gruesome crimes being carried out at the camp.

“I don’t know why I am here,” he said again at the close of the proceedings, his voice wavering.

Dressed in a grey shirt and pyjama bottoms and sitting in a wheelchair, Schütz insisted he had had nothing to do with the atrocities and was “telling the truth”.

READ ALSO: Ex-Nazi death camp secretary who fled trial to face court in Germany

Prosecutors say he “knowingly and willingly” participated in the crimes as a guard at the camp and are seeking to punish him with five years behind bars.

But Schütz’s lawyer, Stefan Waterkamp, said that since there were no photographs of him wearing an SS uniform, the case was based on “hints” of his possible involvement.

“As early as 1973, investigators had information about him but did not pursue him. At the time, witnesses could have been heard but now they are all dead or no longer able to speak,” Waterkamp said.

Former Nazi guard

The 101-year-old former Nazi guard covers his face at the Neuruppin courthouse. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

It would be a mistake for the court to try to “make up for the mistakes of a previous generation of judges”, the lawyer said.

Antoine Grumbach, 80, whose father died in Sachsenhausen, told AFP Schuetz “does not want to remember”, calling it “a form of defence”.

The trial was not just about “putting a centenarian in prison”, he said. It had also produced evidence that Sachsenhausen was an “experimental extermination camp”.

“All the cruellest methods were invented there and then exported,” Grumbach said.

READ ALSO: Trials of aging Nazis a ‘reminder for the present’, says German prosecutor

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