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A World War II hero returns to Germany to solve a mystery -- and meet an enemy - CNN

Saturday, December 8, 2018

It was March 6, 1945, and Smoyer was part of the Allies' last push into Nazi Germany. The lanky 19-year-old with a mop of curly hair was part of a tank crew that had crawled into the German city of Cologne for what would become the US Army's biggest house-to-house fight in Europe. The Germans called it "Endkampf," the final battle for their homeland."Gentlemen, I give you Cologne," Smoyer's commander announced over the radio. "Let's knock the hell out of it!" Smoyer didn't need any added motivation. Before he entered the shattered city, he'd received word that his cousin and his wife's brother had both been killed in the war. Those bastards are going to pay, he vowed. Now he intended to fulfill his promise. His M26 Pershing tank had just been engaged in a shootout with a German tank at a sprawling intersection in the town's center. But then the enemy tank ducked behind a building. Smoyer searched for it, scanning a hellish urban landscape of rubble, sagging streetcar cables and collapsed buildings. "Staff car!" someone yelled over the radio. A black Opel streaked into the intersection. With orders to shoot anything that moved, Smoyer pressed the trigger. Bullets and tracers f...https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/10/us/ww2-reunion-us-german-veterans/index.html

A Pope Francis gargoyle now watches over Cologne cathedral - National Catholic Reporter

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Paris It took about a week for visitors to the massive Catholic cathedral in Cologne, Germany, to notice a small addition to its ornate Gothic entrance a carved stone figure of Pope Francis leaning forward like a gargoyle. The new gargoyle is smiling and there's no water spouting out of his mouth, so it doesn't resemble the ghoulish medieval drains jutting out from famous old cathedrals around Europe. Instead, the figure is a small decoration, like many other little statues in nooks and crannies all around the building. Germany's largest Gothic church, which dominates the skyline of the fun-loving city along the Rhine River, has a tradition of carving surprising statues and symbols to adorn its architecture. On its roof, a vast space not visible from the large square down below, statues of John F. Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev, Charles de Gaulle and Harold Macmillan huddle in a summit meeting. Another group of statues shows a parade for Carnival, the boisterous street party the city throws every year just before Lent. The stone carv...https://www.ncronline.org/news/world/pope-francis-gargoyle-now-watches-over-cologne-cathedral

Protests planned as Erdogan opens mega mosque in Cologne

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Protests planned as Erdogan opens mega mosque in Cologne © John MacDougall, AFP Demonstrators hold placards reading ‘Stop German support for Erdogan‘ on the sidelines of a state visit by the Turkish president in Berlin, on September 28, 2018. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to open one of Europes largest mosques in Cologne on Saturday as he wraps up a controversial visit to Germany, with police deploying in force amid planned protests. The inauguration will be the closing event of s three-day , aimed at repairing frayed ties with Berlin after two years of tensions. In talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, both leaders signalled their interest in a cautious rapprochement, but Merkel stressed that « deep differences » remained on civil rights and other issues. Some 10,000 Erdogan critics are expected to take to the streets in Cologne, protesting everything from Turkeys record on human rights and press freedom to its treatment of minority Kurds. Erdogan supporters meanwhile will gath...https://hawthorncaller.com/protests-planned-as-erdogan-opens-mega-mosque-in-cologne/

German City Braces For Protests as Erdogan Opens Mega Mosque

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Cologne (Germany): Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to open one of Europe's largest mosques in Cologne on Saturday as he wraps up a controversial visit to Germany, with police deploying in force amid planned protests. The inauguration will be the closing event of his three-day state visit, aimed at repairing frayed ties with Berlin after two years of tensions.After talks with Angela Merkel on Friday, both leaders signalled their interest in a cautious rapprochement, but the German chancellor stressed that "deep differences" remained on civil rights and other issues. -- Some 10,000 Erdogan critics are expected to take to the streets in Cologne, protesting everything from Turkey's record on human rights and press freedom to its treatment of minority Kurds. About 300 people had gathered on the bank of the Rhine early Saturday. They held banners proclaiming "Erdogan not welcome" and shouted slogans such as "International solidarity" and "Away with fascism".Cansu, a 30-...https://www.news18.com/news/world/german-city-braces-for-protests-as-erdogan-opens-mega-mosque-1893241.html

German energy firm RWE investigates cyber attack

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

IT specialists to look into the matter. In the meanwhile, police in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia have continued with their clearance operations at a highly symbolic site for activists in the Hambach. Security authorities ordered protestors on Tuesday to remove flowers and candles commemorating a 27-year-old journalist who recently fell to his death in the forest, so that a nearby treehouse could be dismantled. The Hambach forest forms part of a property owned by German energy giant RWE which comprises the world's largest open pit brown coal mine. The company plans to cut down 100 out of a remaining 200 hectares of woodland from October 2018, a development which is vehemently resisted by activists who have moved into the threatened area and built treehouses and makeshift barriers there. A member of an activist group, known as "Operation Undergrowth" told the German press agency (dpa) earlier that some forest occupiers had by now already lived in Hambach for six years. The police operation, which was temporarily stalled following the fatal accident of the journalist, is one of the largest to be recorded in North Rhine-Westphalia to date and is supported by reinforcements from other German states. http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-09/25/c_137492052.htm

Protests planned as Erdogan opens mega mosque in Cologne

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Kurdish demonstrators marched with banners that showed likenesses of Erdogan shooting a journalist and devouring a peace dove. Mosque controversy Erdogans visit on Saturday takes him to North Rhine-Westphalia state, which is home to significant numbers of ethnic Turks, many who moved to Germany as so-called guest workers from the 1960s. Several anti-Erdogan demos are planned in Cologne on Saturday, including one under the banner Erdogan Not Welcome. They are expected to gather a few kilometres (miles) away from the neighbourhood of the mosque. The giant Cologne Central Mosque opened its doors in 2017 after eight years of construction and budget overruns. It can house more than a thousand worshippers. The sheer size of the building, designed to resemble a flower bud opening, and its two towering minarets has disgruntled some locals, triggering occasional protests. The Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institute for Religion (Ditib) that commissioned the glass and cement structure is itself not without controversy. The group runs hundreds of mosques across Germany, and its imams are paid by the Turkish state. Known for its close ties to Ankara, it has increasingly come under scrutiny with some of its members suspected of spying on Turkish dissidents living in Germany. German media recently reported that the domestic intelligence service was considering putting Ditib under surveillance. (AFP) ...https://hawthorncaller.com/protests-planned-as-erdogan-opens-mega-mosque-in-cologne/

Stillness and shock in Hambach Forest after journalist dies

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Hambach Forest. Despite efforts to revive him, the 27-year-old German citizen died after being flown out by helicopter. Following the accident, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia's interior minister, Herbert Reul, announced that police activities in the forest would be suspended for now. "We cannot just proceed as normal at least I can't," Reul said at a press conference Wednesday night. Whether the eviction will continue is not yet known. The journalist is understood to have fallen from the bridge leading off this treehouse Read more: Hambach Forest: Battleground for climate action 'Pure sunshine' Activists and members of the public have gathered in Beechtown, one of the treehouse villages. People lay flowers on a makeshift altar, hug each other, sit on the leaf-covered forest floor and converse in whispers. Activists and citizens took time to mourn and honor the dead journalist in Hambach Forest A yellow banner hangs between two trees: "We love you and we won't forget," it reads in red letters, just a few meters from where the journalist died. Meyn had been present at the protest in the forest for months. He was working on a documentary about the occupation, he told me when I met him last week in Hambach Forest. A fellow freelance journalist with no direct assignment, but clearly strongly motivated to document what was happening on the ground. Equipped with a 360-degree camera placed on his bicycle helmet, and a big smile. To those he met, he came across as a friendly, chatty guy. Indeed, he was a friend to many activists and...https://www.dw.com/en/stillness-and-shock-in-hambach-forest-after-journalist-dies/a-45579629

German City Braces For Protests as Erdogan Opens Mega Mosque

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Kurdish demonstrators marched with banners that showed likenesses of Erdogan shooting a journalist and devouring a peace dove.Erdogan's visit on Saturday takes him to North Rhine-Westphalia state, which is home to significant numbers of ethnic Turks, many who moved to Germany as so-called "guest workers" from the 1960s. The giant Cologne Central Mosque opened its doors in 2017 after eight years of construction and budget overruns. It can house more than a thousand worshippers.The size of the building, designed to resemble a flower bud opening, and its two towering minarets has disgruntled some locals, triggering occasional protests.The Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institute for Religion (Ditib) that commissioned the glass and cement structure is itself not without controversy.The group runs hundreds of mosques across Germany with imams paid by the Turkish state.Known for its close ties to Ankara, it has increasingly come under scrutiny with some of members suspected of spying on Turkish dissidents living in Germany. ...https://www.news18.com/news/world/german-city-braces-for-protests-as-erdogan-opens-mega-mosque-1893241.html