Manager blasts French Schumacher story

On the one-year anniversary of Formula One racing great Michael Schumacher's skiing accident in France, his manager is warning that reports on Schumacher's health in a French newspaper are false.

Manager blasts French Schumacher story
Formula One champion Michael Schumacher skiing. Photo: DPA
Sabine Kehm, Schumacher's manager, told Bild that there was no way the information in Le Parisien was credible. 
Former Formula One driver Philippe Streiff told the French daily on Sunday that the German seven-time racing champion was "communicating with this eyes" and that while he's recognizing his family again, he still has "big problems with his memory." 
He added that physically, Schumacher was working on sitting up on his own. 
Streiff cited his friendship with Schumacher's doctor, Gérard Saillant as the source of this information. He also said he had contact with Corinna Schumacher, Michael's wife of nearly 20 years.
"The statements of Philippe Streiff can only make me wonder. He definitely does not have contact with Professor Saillant and definitely not with Corinna." 
Streiff also called Schumacher "my friend", saying that he worked with the Schumachers in 2010 when they founded the Brain and Spine Institute in Paris (ICM), where he also works.
Furthermore, Streiff lives in Grenoble, where Schumacher was first hospitalised after a freak skiing accident put him into a six-month-long coma. 
"I was there," Streiff told Le Parisien. 
Michael Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm. Photo: DPA
This only provoked further ire for Schumacher's spokesperson. 
"There is absolutely no contact with the Schumacher family. There has never been a friendship between Mr Streiff and Michael," Kehm said. 
It's been one year since the German Formula One ace suffered severe head injuries while skiing with this family in the French Alps.
After being in a coma for half a year, Schumacher is "making progress appropriate to the severity of his situation, but it will be a difficult and long process," Kehm said in November in an interview with broadcaster RTL. 
Schumi, as he is known in Germany, has been recovering in his home in Gland, Switzerland.
His family say they were "confident and hoping for the best" for his recovery. 

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Five of the best German April Fools’ pranks

Germany didn't quite live up to its reputation for humourlessness on April Fools' Day, with newspapers, businesses and even the police joining in the fun this year.

Five of the best German April Fools' pranks
No, the Justice Minister isn't campaigning for PETA. Photo: DPA

1. Actor Til Schweiger to anchor evening news

Til Schweiger. Photo: DPA

Public broadcaster ARD announced that actor Til Schweiger would read the news every night for a week. The most popular German news show Tagesschau has a reputation for serious, high quality news – making mumbling action star Schweiger a strange choice. The Hamburg hard man is best known for his starring role in the northerly port city’s edition of Tatort, Germany’s seminal TV cop drama produced by a different state’s public broadcaster each week.

Schweiger is also known for Facebook postings bedecked with far more exclamation marks than any German would usually use. ARD hinted that the appointment was a joke by noting that Schweiger would insist on the correct number of exclamation marks in the subtitles for the news broadcasts.

2. Amazon to deliver orders by pneumatic tube

Photo: Amazon

Maybe not only an April Fool but a potential visionary innovation came from Amazon Germany on Friday. They announced plans to deliver small packages using a network of pneumatic tubes from summer 2016.

The scheme was supposedly to be tested in Berlin and then rolled out to 16 different metropolitan areas across Germany. Sadly, the offer would only be open to members of the online retailer’s Prime next-day delivery scheme.

3. Justice Minister posing naked for PETA

Photo: PETA Deutschland

PETA Germany picked on Heiko Maas, Germany’s minister for justice, as the butt of their April Fool this year.

The international animal rights organization is well-known for its “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” campaign. So they Photoshopped the Justice Minister and actress Natalia Wörner into a fake campaign poster – claiming it was the pair’s “first public appearance as a couple” after their affair was revealed in the media recently.

4. No boobs for porn lovers

A typical scene from the Venus erotic fair in Berlin. Photo: DPA

While a steamy picture of a naked minister might be stoking the fires of April Fools-loving PETA fans, the Berliner Kurier newspaper cooled things down in their prank.

The tabloid announced that naked flesh would be banned from future versions of the Venus erotic industry show held in the capital every year and known for live shows from famous porn stars and other performers. The 20th anniversary edition would feature only erotic book readings rather than stripteases, the journalists joked – adding that organizers wanted to reduce the rates of catching cold among the women.

5. Burning rubber at the Brandenburg Gate

Formula E cars racing at Berlin's former Tempelhof Airport. Photo: DPA

Anyone who knows anything about Germans knows they love cars. So it wasn’t immediately obvious that the Berliner Zeitung’s joke about plans for a new Formula One race on the streets of the capital wasn’t true – all the more so since Berlin already hosts a Formula E (electric) race each year.

A mocked-up image showed German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel doing donuts on the Pariser Platz, site of the Brandenburg Gate. The supposed 5.85-kilometre course through Berlin is similar to the lengths of the actual races in Monaco and Melbourne. And they even considered the impact on residents: the F1 cars were allegedly to be equipped with silencers designed to limit the noise for complaint-prone Berliners.

BONUS: Federal Police train in Bavaria

We couldn’t resist including this little gem from the Federal Police in Bavaria, who claimed to be deploying their first ever police locomotive on rail lines this morning.