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

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Today in Germany: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
Illustration photo of trains in Germany. (Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP)

Train Drivers' Union pauses strikes to negotiate, climate protesters change strategy, grilling season starts in Thuringia and more news from around Germany.


German train drivers union halts strikes to negotiate

Germany rail operator Deutsche Bahn and the GDL Train Drivers' Union announced that they had returned to the negotiating table on Saturday after a wave of strikes demanding better pay and fewer working hours. 

The talks were "intensive and constructive" and taking place in "small committees and behind closed doors", a statement said.

Both sides agreed they were "confident in being able to announce a result next week".

The news is also relevant because Easter school holidays already begin in some states on Monday. Transport Minister Volker Wissing had previously called on unions in the aviation and railway sectors to keep an Easter truce.

"It is important that a solution is found now," said the FDP politician on Saturday at his party's conference in Rhineland-Palatinate.

READ ALSO: 'We need an Easter truce': How strikes have sparked a bitter row in Germany

Climate protesters change strategy

The climate activist group Letzte Generation (Last Generation) protested in 10 cities across Germany over the weekend, though with a slight change of tactics. 

Deutsche Welle reports that the groups’ new ‘civil disobedience’ strategy did not include gluing themselves to roads and pavements, as climate protestors in Germany and around the world have done in recent years, but continued to block streets and disrupt traffic nonetheless.

The group also targeted a liquefied natural gas terminal on the island of Rügen. In Berlin on Saturday, around 130 activists turned out, with similar numbers showing up in Munich and Regensburg.

Letzte Generation announced a shift in protesting tactics in late-January, moving away from glue protests. The group had previously glued themselves to airport runways in Berlin, Hamburg and Düsseldorf, and sprayed the Brandenburg Gate with orange paint.

Activists from the organisation "Last Generation" block the road near the venue of the German Industry Day (TDI) of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) in Berlin.

Activists from the organisation "Last Generation" blocked the road near the venue of the German Industry Day (TDI) on June 19th, 2023 in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

German Chancellor Scholz calls for Gaza deal with 'longer-lasting ceasefire'

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday called for a deal to free hostages held in war-ravaged Gaza accompanied by a "longer-lasting ceasefire", as warring parties geared up for more talks.

"We need a hostage deal with a longer-lasting ceasefire," Scholz said during a joint press appearance in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"We understand the hostage families who say after more than five months, 'The time has come for a comprehensive hostage deal for saving those who are still captive.'

Scholz's visit came the same day Israeli officials were set to meet to discuss the "mandate" of a negotiations team expected to participate in a new round of talks in Qatar aimed at securing a new truce between Israel and Hamas.


Yulia Navalnaya votes in Russian elections from Berlin embassy

Alexei Navalny's widow and close allies joined long lines of voters outside Russian embassies in foreign capitals on Sunday, as many protested what they called a stage-managed election set to extend President Vladimir Putin's rule.

Navalny, Putin's most prominent critic, died suddenly in an Arctic prison last month, and his supporters had called for Russians to turn up at polling stations at midday Sunday in a "Noon Against Putin" protest, in what is now seen as the opposition leader's last wish.    

The three-day polls are taking place as Moscow's war against Ukraine stretches into its third year, with all prominent Kremlin critics in jail, in exile or dead.

Russians formed long lines outside Moscow's embassies in Paris, Berlin, the Hague and elsewhere. Some voters held anti-Kremlin signs or were dressed in blue and white -- the colour of the Russian opposition -- while others sang protest songs and waved Ukrainian flags.

In Berlin, Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny's widow, who has vowed to continue his cause, received flowers from supporters and chatted with fellow voters in the long line outside the Russian embassy.


Bratwurst tradition honoured as BBQ season kicks off

The east German state of Thuringia is celebrating its bratwurst tradition: this year marks its 620th anniversary, said Uwe Keith, Managing Director of the Thuringian and Eichsfeld Sausage Origin Association, at the opening of the barbecue season in Erfurt on Saturday.

The first recorded mention of the specialty was at th Arnstadt monastery on January 20th 1404. Since 2004, Thuringian bratwurst has also been protected by the EU as a regional speciality.

Thousands of guests came to the "Rostkultur" - the public barbecue with the Bratwurst King and Queen on the cathedral square in the state capital. Sausages and other specialities sizzled on more than 20 charcoal grills.

Sausage production is also an economic factor in Thuringia. Around 40,000 tonnes of Thuringian bratwurst are produced every year, said Keith. More than 70 producers are certified. Only they are authorised to call their sausages Thuringian and sell them under this name throughout Germany and Europe

READ ALSO: Grilling in Germany: What you need to know about the Bratwurst


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