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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
A Deutsche Bahn ICE train travels along a railway line in the Hanover region. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Julian Stratenschulte

Deutsche Bahn continues wage negotiations with GDL train drivers' union, Chancellor Scholz heckled at Leipzig Book Fair, bus strikes in Hamburg, and more news from around Germany on Thursday.


Deutsche Bahn sees wage negotiations with GDL 'on the right track'

Deutsche Bahn expects the ongoing wage negotiations with the German Train Drivers' Union (GDL) to be finalised in the coming days.

"The wage negotiations between DB and GDL are making good progress, but they have not yet been finalised," the company announced on Wednesday in response to an inquiry from DPA.

"DB and GDL are working in a focused manner and want to reach an agreement in the coming days. It goes without saying that there will be no strikes during this time."

No details on the status of negotiations were initially released.

Following regular strikes in Germany led by GDL, it was announced last weekend that both parties were talking to each other again. Both sides expressed confidence that they would find a compromise this time.

READ ALSO: Easter travel: Are German train strikes set to end?

Pro-Palestinian protestors heckle Scholz at Leipzig Book Fair

Pro-Palestinian protesters heckled and interrupted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday as he tried to give a speech at the opening of the Leipzig Book Fair.

Several loud cries could be heard as Scholz began his speech at Germany's second-largest book fair after Frankfurt.

The Leipziger Volkszeitung newspaper said the protesters appeared to be pro-Palestinian activists and one person could be heard calling, "It's not a humanitarian disaster, it's a genocide".

Scholz stopped his speech to address the protesters, telling them: "Stop shouting, that's enough."

"The power of the word brings us all together here in Leipzig, not the power of shouting," he added, to loud applause.

A man could later be heard calling on the audience to protest against arms deliveries to Israel.


Bus warning strike starts in Hamburg

Since 3 am Thursday, there have been no buses from the Hamburg-Holstein public transport company (VHH). Trade union Verdi called on around 2,500 employees to take part in a 72-hour warning strike for better wages and working conditions.

According to the company, there will be no replacement services on most routes.

Passengers will have to prepare for "massive restrictions on all 170 bus routes" until 3 am on Sunday morning, the VHH announced on Wednesday. The night buses operated by VHH are also affected.

The strike could affect commuters in areas surrounding Hamburg, which are primarily served by VHH, the hardest.

German federal prosecutors to probe army audio leak

German federal prosecutors have opened an investigation into how a secret army conversation on the Ukraine war was wiretapped and ended up on Russian social media, a spokeswoman told AFP.

A recording of the talks between four high-ranking air force officers was posted on Telegram by the head of Russia's state-backed RT channel on March 1st, causing serious embarrassment for Berlin.

In the 38-minute clip, the officers could be heard discussing the possible use by Ukrainian forces of German-made Taurus missiles and their potential impact.

The GBA federal prosecution service will investigate who was behind the wiretap and look into possible "spy activity", the spokeswoman said.

The meeting was held on WebEx, a popular public platform for audio and video meetings, with additional security buffers built in.

READ ALSO: 'Very serious': What we know about leaked German audio recording


Berlin summons Iran ambassador over 2022 synagogue plot

Germany on Wednesday said it had summoned the Iranian ambassador over an attempted arson attack on a synagogue in 2022 that Berlin believes was planned with the help of Tehran.

A German-Iranian national was in December sentenced to two years and nine months in prison over the plot to attack a synagogue in the western German city of Bochum.

The 36-year-old, identified only as Babak J., had planned to target the synagogue but ended up throwing an incendiary device at an adjacent school building. No one was injured.

In handing down the verdict, the Düsseldorf court said the attack had been planned with the help of "Iranian state agencies".

The foreign ministry on Wednesday said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that it had summoned the Iranian envoy after receiving a written justification of the judgement.

With reporting by AFP.


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