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The Local · 29 Dec 2014, 08:00

Published: 29 Dec 2014 08:00 GMT+01:00

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1. The Bling Bishop

The Catholic Church in Germany had a tough February thanks to revelations about 'bling bishop' Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limberg, who used €31 million of Church funds to pay for a lavish home for himself.

2. Child Warriors, 13, leave Germany for jihad

In September German intelligence revealed that they had tracked at least 24 children who left the country to fight in Middle Eastern conflict zones. The youngest was just 13 ears old, while four girls travelled with a “romantic ideal of marrying a jihadist”.

3. Entire family struck by lightning

A whole family of five was struck by lightning near Chemnitz, Saxony, while gathering in their garden furniture during a storm in May. A grandmother, her daughter in daughter-in-law and two boy aged six and nine were taken to hospital.

4. Germany abandons hope of no-spy treaty

In January hopes of a bilateral treaty to protect German citizens and government agencies from spying by the American National Security Agency (NSA) fell through. Talks had begun after it emerged that the US spooks had been tapping Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone.

5. German football's sexiest women

British football is famous for its 'wives and girlfriends' (WAGs) who add to the glamour of the beautiful game – but Germany can boast just as many celebrity other halves to its national team.

6. German produces half of energy with solar power

On a few exceptionally sunny days in June, Germany produced half of the whole country's power from solar panels alone, giving a bright outlook for the government's policy of moving towards all-renewable electricity.

7. Merkel speaks out against net neutrality

At an industry-sponsored conference in early December, Chancellor Merkel said that there needed to be 'fast lanes' on the internet for special services - something many fear will stifle innovation and open the way for price gouging by internet companies.

8. Bremen UFO 'looked like a plane but was louder'

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A supposed UFO disrupted flights at Bremen airport in January, showing up on the airport's radar screens several times over the course of three hours. Policemen in a patrol car also spotted the object.

9. CIA tortured German it mistook for a terrorist

In December, the US Senate released a report into torture by the CIA begun in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. One German citizen, Khalid al-Masri, was abducted and taken illegally to Afghanistan after Macedonian border guards mistook him for a terrorist. He was beaten and tortured before the spies attempted to buy his silence with €14,500.

10. Merkel rebukes US and UK over spying

Chancellor Merkel gave a tough speech to the Bundestag in January warning Britain and the US, whose GCHQ and NSA spying agencies conduct massive surveillance of the world's communications, that they were headed down the wrong path. “The end result is not more security but less”, she said.

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The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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