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

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Today in Germany: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
A coal-fired power plant in Lippendorf, Saxony. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jan Woitas

Coal fired power plants shut down, seat belt safely on coach busses debated, and more news from around Germany on Tuesday.


German football to change controversial kit number

The German Football Association (DFB) said Monday it would change the typeface used on its shirts after one of the kit numbers drew comparisons to a Nazi symbol.

The number four worn by national team players was said to bear a resemblance to the insignia of the Nazis' elite SS corps.

"The DFB checks the numbers 0-9 and then submits the numbers 1-26 to UEFA for review," the football association said in a statement.

"None of the parties involved saw any proximity to Nazi symbolism in the creation process," the DFB said. Nonetheless, the sporting body said it did not want to "provide a platform for discussion".

"Together with our partner 11teamsports, we will develop an alternative design for the number four and coordinate it with UEFA," the DFB said.

Kit provider Adidas removed shirt personalisation options for the German strip from its website on Monday afternoon, the German daily Bild reported.

Shirts with the number 44 were at the centre of the controversy, with the number set said to look most like the SS logo.

Germany shuts down several coal-fired power plants

Germany has come one step closer to phasing out coal. A total of seven lignite-fired power plant units in the Rhineland and Brandenburg were shut down, as confirmed by the energy companies RWE and Leag on Easter Sunday, with more to follow soon.

In addition, eight medium-sized and smaller hard coal plants with a total capacity of 1.3 gigawatts were taken off the grid, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Monday. These plants had been temporarily producing electricity again in order to reduce gas consumption over the past two years.

German Economics Minister Robert Habeck said he believes that Germany's energy supply is more independent than before the energy crisis and is secure even after the recent shutdowns of coal-fired power plants.

"Several coal-fired power plants that were still on the grid as a precautionary measure over the last two years are therefore now superfluous and can be taken off the grid for good," Habeck told DPA on Monday.


The prices for electricity and gas have fallen significantly and the expansion of renewable energies means that "the majority of electricity now comes from clean, climate-friendly sources," said Habeck.

READ ALSO: Germany's power supply secure 'even with earlier coal exit'

Germany debates how to enforce seat belt safely on busses following deadly crash

According to the Association of Central German Bus Companies, it is difficult to enforce the seat belt requirement on long-distance buses. The association's head Mario König told public broadcaster MDR on Tuesday that the drivers ask passengers at the start of the journey and after breaks to fasten their seat belts, and that there are signs at the seats. However, it is simply not feasible for bus drivers to carry out checks, he said.

Last Wednesday, a Flixbus coach crashed on the A9 motorway near Leipzig. Four women died and 30 people were injured. Pavel Steiner, head of the bus company Umbrella which operated the journey, said at the weekend that the four passengers would "still be alive" had they worn seat belts.

A spokesperson for the Dresden police added that it is more difficult to catch seatbelt offenders on the bus. Checks are usually carried out on sight as the bus passes by.


Technical possibilities are also limited. A sensor for unbuckled seat belts, as is often installed in modern cars, would theoretically be possible, but would raise the alarm every time a passenger went to the toilet.

Record low in alcohol poisoning among children and teenagers

The number of cases of binge drinking and coma drinking among children and adolescents in Germany has fallen massively, according to a health insurance study.

In 2022, alcohol poisoning among 12 to 18-year-olds reached a record low, according to the commercial health insurance company KKH. In that year, around 10,680 children and adolescents in this age group were treated in a clinic nationwide for acute alcohol poisoning - five percent fewer than in 2021 and 13 percent fewer than in 2020.

Compared to the pre-corona year 2019, when around 17,950 people were affected, the number even fell by 40.5 percent. This is the lowest level since the first survey in 2006.


Easter 'peace marches' take place around Germany

Thousands of people took to the streets at Easter marches in many German cities to demand disarmament, peace negotiations and a halt to arms deliveries to Ukraine, with a focus on Berlin. Around 3,500 participants gathered in the capital on Saturday.

This year's Easter marches centred on Russia's war in Ukraine, and the war in Gaza.

At the demonstrations, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and other top representatives of the government appealed for urgent understanding to continue supporting Ukraine militarily in its defence campaign - pointing out the importance to German security interests.

With reporting by DPA and AFP.


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