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LONDON OLYMPICS 2012

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Hamburg welcomes Olympians as heroes

Around 20,000 excited Hamburgers turned up to welcome Germany's Olympic athletes home on Wednesday morning. More than half of those who had competed in London came back to Germany on the MS Deutschland cruise ship.

Hamburg welcomes Olympians as heroes
Photo: DPA

Onlookers began gathering in the early hours at the Hamburg harbour to greet the ship, the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper reported. Many held banners with personal messages of congratulation while others went out on smaller boats to accompany the cruise ship on its approach to the harbour.

The athletes, as well as a number of their friends and families, had been on board for 36 hours and arrived back to a hero’s welcome from 10,000 people in the harbour and another 10,000 who lined the banks of the river in blazing sunshine.

Click for pictures of the MS Deutschland arriving in Hamburg

The athletes were ferried from the cruise ship into the centre of the city on small boats, reaching the City Hall where Hamburg’s mayor Olaf Scholz greeted them, calling them “our heroes”.

“It was an incredible atmosphere onboard, and what we saw in the harbour was crazy,” Olympic hockey medallist and Hamburg local Moritz Fürste told the paper, before breaking in a rousing rendition of Hamburg, meine Perle – a popular football song.

The boat trip home was, head of the German Olympic Sports Confederation Michael Vesper told the paper, “a reward for the athletes” – 25 of whom onboard were medal winners.

Germany finished the Games with 44 medals, sixth in the national medal table.

The Local/jcw

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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.

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