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Today in Germany: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday

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Today in Germany: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
On Wednesday and Thursday, Mainz is seeing springlike weather of 10C. February saw very mild temperatures in all of Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Andreas Arnold

February temperatures 6.6C higher than average, police find grenade in Berlin flat of former RAF terrorist Daniela Klette, and more news from around Germany on Thursday.


Climate change brought mild and warm February weather

Germany's average temperature in February 2024 was an unprecedented 6.6 degrees Celsius above the value of the internationally valid reference period from 1961 to 1990 (0.4C). 

The unusually high temperatures felt this month would be more typical for mid-April, and came often with mild, cloudy nights.

The lowest temperature this February, recorded on the 24th in Oberstdorf, Allgäu, was -5.2C, which which is only in the moderate frost range. Many places, especially in the west of the Bunderepublik, remained frost-free throughout the month.

The maximum temperature for the month, at 18.8C, was recorded on February 16th in Rosenheim, Upper Bavaria.

The month was marked by above average precipitation overall, but very little snowfall -- much to the chagrin of snow sports enthusiasts.

Despite the mild weather, sunshine was in short supply. With an average of 54 hours of sun across Germany in February, the country was lacking about 20 hours of sunlight compared to 1991 to 2020 levels.

Local public transport strikes around Germany

In many states and cities, local public transport - meaning trams, busses and the U-Bahn - are coming to a standstill on Thursday and Friday as part of a week-long strike action calling for better pay and working conditions.

This is the second time this month that public transportation workers have stopped work across Germany, following strikes that took place on February 2nd. That's in addition to a number of regional transit strikes throughout the month as well.

READ ALSO: Where are public transport strikes taking place this week in Germany?

Police find grenade in home of RAF terrorist Daniela Klette following arrest

Following the arrest of former RAF terrorist Daniela Klette, police retrieved a grenade and other potentially dangerous objects from her flat in Berlin-Kreuzberg.

The operation, for which the seven-storey block of flats had been cleared late on Wednesday afternoon, lasted many hours until early Thursday morning.

"The measures taken by our emergency services in Sebastianstrasse in Kreuzberg have been completed," the police wrote on the online platform X (formerly Twitter). "Residents can return to their homes."

The police first removed a grenade in the evening, and in the early morning another potentially dangerous object was carried out of the house and loaded into a special vehicle around 1:30 am Thursday.

Klette, 65, was part of a long-sought trio from the radical anti-capitalist group Baader-Meinhof also known as the Red Army Faction (RAF), which carried out several bombings, kidnappings and killings that traumatised Germany in the 1970s and 1980s.


German police clear second suspect of Baader-Meinhof link

German police said Wednesday they had released a man suspected of being a far-left fugitive after authorities found he was not one of two Baader-Meinhof gang members still on the run after 30 years.

READ ALSO: Fugitive far-left militant wanted for decades arrested in Berlin

Authorities carried out "extensive investigative measures to establish the identity" of the arrested man, Hanover police said in a statement Wednesday.

"There is no doubt that it is not one of the two still-fugitive criminals," they said.

The man was released while police continued to search for the remaining Baader-Meinhof suspects, Ernst-Volker Staub and Burkhard Garweg.

A third suspect was arrested in Berlin on Wednesday, although it was not clear whether he was one of the two wanted men, the Hannoversche Allgemeine daily reported. Hanover police refused to comment on the reports.

Handouts of RAF criminals Germany

undated handouts from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) show mugshots (top) and age simulations (bottom) of Burkhard Garweg (l-r), Ernst-Volker Wilhelm Staub and Daniela Klette from the notorious Red Army Faction (RAF). Photo: picture alliance / dpa | BKA

German navy reportedly almost shoots down US drone in Red Sea

A German naval frigate sent to protect commercial ships in the Red Sea nearly shot down a US drone by mistake, German media reported Wednesday.

The German defence ministry confirmed a drone incident involving an allied nation occurred on Monday, without naming the country.

The "Hesse" frigate opened fire after efforts to identify an unknown drone "were unsuccessful", Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said during a visit to the German town of Oberviechtach, adding however that the target was "not hit".

The drone later turned out to be a "reconnaissance drone", he said.

According to Der Spiegel weekly, the frigate fired two missiles at the drone but both crashed into the sea because of "a technical defect". Spiegel, without citing its sources, said the drone that was nearly downed was a US Reaper.


Habeck's plans for under sea CO2 storage brought criticism

Economics Minister Robert Habeck's plans for the storage of carbon dioxide under the North Sea, as announced on Monday, have sparked criticism.

According to Habeck's plans, climate-damaging CO2 from the cement industry, for example, could be stored underground, under the North Sea in the future. The German government has agreed in principle on a storage strategy and presented it earlier this week. 

"We have renewables for climate protection in energy production," said the climate policy spokeswoman of the SPD parliamentary group, Nina Scheer, to the Süddeutsche Zeitung. This does not require CO2 storage, which is also called CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage).

The Left Party's top candidate for the European elections, Carola Rackete, also said in the Augsburger Allgemeine: "Habeck wants to turn the North Sea into a huge CO2 repository and import masses of fracked gas."

READ ALSO: Will US climate plans affect German gas supply?


Expert Klaus Wallmann from the Geomar Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel emphasized that the potential of the technology is limited.

"We're talking about about five percent of current emissions in Germany," Wallmann told the newspapers of Mediengruppe Bayern. "We have to avoid more than 90 percent in other ways. For example, by saving energy and switching to renewable energies."


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