Sebastian Kurz (VP) wants to deliver a hopeful speech to the battered nation at the ceremony for “75 years of the Second Republic” on Monday and, above all, encourage those who went bankrupt because of the corona crisis.
The 75th anniversary of Austria’s declaration of independence and the associated establishment of the Second Republic will be celebrated on the coming Monday. Due to the corona crisis, the planned ceremony will take place in a reduced form this year. Following a long-standing tradition, this day also begins in 2020 with the wreath-laying ceremony of the Federal Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and the Minister of Defense at the castle gate – this time Sebastian Kurz (VP), Werner Kogler (Greens) and turquoise Claudia Tanner have to do with fewer soldiers of the guard and guard music to take.
New speech on the state of the nation
The ceremony from the Federal Chancellery will be broadcast on ORF from 11:00 a.m. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz will address the population in a 15-minute speech from the Chancellor’s Office. Some details from this speech leaked to the nation on Saturday evening. Sebastian Kurz said it was an anniversary in the middle of a time of crisis “Today”– According to information. Austria “had many successes and wonderful moments, but also always faced challenges and crises together”.
“Will master this crisis”
A few weeks ago, if he had to issue drastic warnings (“We will all know someone who died of Corona”) about the virus, the head of government will now be positive. The Chancellor would like to say “hope and optimism” to the people against the background of the current crisis management, as opposed to the Chancellery “Today” called. Austria will “open a new chapter” at the start of the 76th year of the Second Republic and will also overcome this crisis through “cohesion, hard work and joint efforts”.
“Abandonment demanded a lot from us”
After the phase of “renunciation, deprivation and loneliness that demanded a lot”, according to Sebastian Kurz, “our way back now begins – with gradual upswing in social life and the economy”. For the Federal Chancellor in the coming months it will be a matter of “quickly bringing people back into short-time work and unemployment into full employment” and “helping everyone who has been completely deprived of their economic existence by the virus overnight.” In short: “Companies and their employees now need our full support.”
For this, the government will “work harder” to “make the comeback for Austria together”, Sebastian Kurz wants to tell people in his speech on the state of the nation on Monday, it says.
That millionaire, whose corona pool party recently attracted attention, has already celebrated with ex-Foreign Minister Kneissl and Putin.
People come together to celebrate. However, given the still high risk of coronavirus, this is not currently desirable. A round of Austrian millionaires in Styria recently whistled. They demonstratively celebrated a pool party in the time of Corona. The Graz public prosecutor is now investigating several suspects.
In the meantime, new backgrounds about the group have come to light. The Ober-Partytiger celebrated in 2018 as a guest at the wedding of the then Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl. There he caused a sensation with a very special gift, “which even caught the eye of Russian President Vladimir Putin,” reports the “Krone”.
However, this is of no use to him after his media-effective pool drink. “The public prosecutor’s office in Graz initiated an investigation on its own initiative. The criminal police were commissioned to investigate the matter,” spokesman Hansjörg Bacher confirmed. Investigations are being carried out against four persons known by name and other unknowns.
Long-standing disputes are said to have led to a murder in Kronstorf (Linz-Land district). It was probably about the fact that the homestead has no heirs.
The mother (81) was in the clinch with the son (46), who lived with her at the large farmstead in Kronstorf and who ran it after the death of her father 19 years ago, for years. There was a lot of controversy about family planning: the 81-year-old wanted an heir for the farm, but the 46-year-old had not found a woman.
The man was also confessed to the police questioning. The mother’s body is now to be autopsied. The man was taken to the Garsten Prison after the questioning and after consultation with the Steyr public prosecutor’s office. Is being investigated for murder.
Tourism wants to welcome guests to Austria again in summer at the latest. A package of measures was presented to show how this could work.
It is not yet clear when and if a summer season can start in domestic tourism, but plans are already being made. One thing is clear: there will be strict restrictions for the guests. Nothing is official, but a border opening for guests – for example from Germany – is currently being discussed.
Upper Austrian Tourism Councilor Markus Achleitner already has plans in his pocket about how a summer season could work, the “Oberösterreichische Nachrichten” reports. In planning with other regional councils for tourism, it is conceivable to open swimming pools at fixed intervals for loungers. However, guests would have to act “with common sense”.
No more buffet?
As with the cash register in the supermarket, the reception desks in hotels could be given plexiglass protection. But the buffet is not looking good: breakfast, lunch and dinner would have to be served so that no groups can form at a buffet. In the case of cable cars and the like, individual transportation must take place; only one person or family may enter a cabin.
A solution with one-way regulations should even be possible for zoos so that visitors cannot get in the way on the paths. As Achleitner says, the main problem for most tourism companies is the entrance and exit area. He suggests that they have to be increasingly regulated via barriers and turnstiles, “as is already the case in thermal baths or cable cars”.
It is hoped that businesses and hotels will be able to open again in mid-May. The government plans to announce its plans for this next week.
14 people are accommodated in the home in Imst. A resident was diagnosed with corona during a health exam.
A resident of a refugee home in Imst in Tyrol has tested positive for the corona virus. The man had been admitted to the Zams hospital for other medical reasons, where, as usual, a corona test was carried out automatically, which was positive, the country said in a broadcast on Friday evening. The man was isolated in the hospital.
The refugee’s course of illness was very mild, he had no symptoms typical of the coronavirus, it said. A total of 44 people are accommodated in the home.
“On the part of BH Imst, all residents of the home were tested by a mobile screening team,” said Raimund Waldner, district captain of Imst. The results were expected for the weekend.
Cordoned off at home
It was also ordered that residents should not be allowed to leave the refugee home until further notice. The area of the home was secured in such a way that residents had the opportunity to go outdoors without being in touch with outsiders. Strangers were no longer allowed to enter the property for the time being. The building is cleaned and disinfected.
According to the state, one of the residents had already been transferred to the refugee home in Telfs last weekend. For safety reasons, a screening by the medical officer was also arranged for him, his two roommates and the home manager there.
A British medical doctor predicts that up to 50,000 cancer patients could die from corona if they were not treated early enough.
British oncologist Karol Sikora makes a grim forecast: Because cancer investigations have been suspended in British clinics because of the corona pandemic, up to 50,000 people could die of cancer in the future if they were not treated in time.
Sikora, who works at Rutherford Health, is concerned that 2,300 cancer cases per week are currently undetected. “If this goes on for six months, I suspect there will be at least 50,000 cancer deaths in the coming years. That’s a daunting number,” the doctor told The Sun.
Do not neglect other diseases
“We usually diagnose about 30,000 people with cancer every month. But in April, there are probably less than 5,000. The reason for this is very simple: People have not been examined at all.”
The doctor warns against not neglecting other diseases in the corona crisis. Millions of lives are at risk, says Sikora. He even speaks of “the next public health disaster in the UK”.
The first trial against two alleged torturers of the Assad regime begins in Koblenz. The indictment is based on testimony from victim witnesses.
The co-plaintiffs speak to the press after the first day of the trial in the Koblenz courthouse Photo: Thomas Frey / dpa
KOBLENZtaz | Jasper Klinger stands in front of a huge window, behind it trees in fresh green and a sky with no clouds to be seen. The spring sun, you can tell from these mornings, will bring a warm day. But when Klinger begins to speak, the chill spreads indoors in the hall where Klinger is standing in front of the window. Klinger is a senior prosecutor at the federal prosecutor’s office and is now starting to read out an indictment that has never existed before. Not in Germany and not worldwide.
“I’m accusing,” says Klinger now, and then he talks about crimes against humanity, 58-fold murder and torture in at least 4,000 cases, rape and sexual assault. For the first time, alleged torturers from the regime of Syria’s ruler Bashar al-Assad have to answer in court. Here in hall 128, Koblenz Higher Regional Court, State Protection Senate.
The two accused sit on the other side of the hall. Anwar R., 57, glasses, gray mustache. The main defendant keeps himself upright, even when the camera teams are allowed to film before the trial begins, he does not hide. Eyad A., the 43-year-old co-accused, completely hid himself in his hood because because he is the only one involved in the trial to wear a mask, you don’t see much of him, even when he has to take off his headgear. Eyad A. is on trial here for aiding and abetting crimes against humanity, but he’s a little fish compared to Anwar R.
According to Federal Attorney Klinger, both of the accused belonged to the Syrian General Secret Service and were part of the notorious division 251, which was responsible for security in Damascus and the surrounding area. When there was increased criticism of the Assad regime in Syria in 2011, the Syrian secret services and the military had acted increasingly brutally against actual or alleged opposition figures. A large number of these ended up in prisons operated by secret services and military police across the country. “In the detention facilities, the inmates were tortured consistently in a massive manner,” says the federal prosecutor. Anwar R., Klinger continues reading from the indictment, headed the investigation department in section 251, including an attached prison, which is called “al-Khatib” and is located in the center of Damascus.
The defendant Eyad A. hides his face under a hood Photo: Thomas Lohnes / reuters
What Klinger and his colleague are reading out is difficult to bear. They list 24 individual cases of victims of torture, numbered one after the other. According to the indictment, all of them have been beaten, with hoses, cables, sticks, belts, some even with metal pipes, often on the soles of their feet, which are particularly sensitive, or in the genitals. Many received electric shocks. Some were forced into car tires and then beaten, others strapped to a chair, the back of which was bent so far that the back stretched out. Prisoners were hung from the ceiling with their hands so that only the tips of their toes touch the floor. A woman was then grabbed by the breasts and between the legs, a man was inserted a stick in the anus. And they all heard the cries of the other tortured.
Inhumane and degrading conditions also prevailed in al-Khatib, the accusation continues: inedible food, refused personal hygiene, no medical care, only one toilet a day. The cells are said to have been so crowded that there was no place to sit down or even lie down, some of the prisoners had to sleep while standing.
Anwar R. was in charge of the interrogators and was the military superior of the prison staff, the indictment continues. In the period between April 29, 2011 and September 7, 2012, at least 4,000 prisoners were tortured during the entire duration of the detention, and at least 58 people, Klinger says, died during this time from the consequences of the abuse. Anwar R. divided the officers and monitored their deployment. During the entire period of the crime, he was aware of the extent of the torture, including the fact that prisoners had died as a result of the massive violence.
Six men and their lawyers sit in room 128 between the accused and the accused, six men who have survived this agony in al-Khatib. You testified at the federal prosecutor’s office and appear as a co-plaintiff in the process. Now they are just a few meters away from their alleged former tormentor and hear not only about their own fate, but also that of many others. “It is terrible to hear all of this,” says Ferras Fayyad, one of them, later when the first day of the trial is over. But the process is very important, not only for him, but for all victims. “We want the truth to be exposed here about the systematic torture in Syria that is still going on today,” said Hussein Ghree, another co-plaintiff.
“We have heard 24 stories about 24 people, the worst mistreatment under the most inhumane conditions,” emphasizes lawyer Patrick Kroker, who, together with a colleague, represents Ghree and other co-plaintiffs. “It was hard to bear even for us.” But it was all the more important, “that the two accused must listen to these allegations in detail – story by story of 24 people who represent many, many more.” Kroker is a Syria expert at the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in Berlin, which has worked with Syrian lawyers, witnesses and survivors for years. The center has filed several criminal charges for systematic torture in Syria since 2016 – not only in Germany but also in other European countries.
The main accused Anwar R. Photo: Thomas Lohnes / reuters
War crimes committed by the Syrian regime have so far remained unpunished. Because of the Russian veto in the World Security Council, they cannot be brought before the international criminal court in The Hague or before a special tribunal. At present, only persecution under international criminal law remains at the national level.
This is possible in Germany because the so-called world law principle has been anchored in the German International Criminal Law since 2002. Since then, the judiciary has been able to prosecute crimes against humanity even when the perpetrators and victims are not German. The proceedings against Anwar R. and his co-defendants are not the only ones. Around 20 investigations against former Syrian regime officials have been initiated since 2014. The most prominent case is Jamil Hassan, the former head of Syrian Air Force intelligence, against whom the Federal Court of Justice issued an international arrest warrant in 2018.
Anwar R. claims to have undergone an amazing change of will shortly before Christmas 2012. He then fled to Jordan with his family and then advised the Syrian resistance. In summer 2014 he moved to Germany, applied for asylum and settled in the north of Berlin. But he felt persecuted and went to the police. He told the officials that he felt threatened by the Syrian and Russian secret services and also that he was part of the Syrian system. The Attorney General initiated an investigation. Anwar R. has been in custody since February last year.
So far he has not admitted his guilt. His lawyer announced on Thursday that R. would like to make a written statement, not only about himself, but also about the allegations. Possibly in the coming week. The process will continue on Friday.
Black and yellow pushed through the rapid opening of schools in North Rhine-Westphalia – despite massive protests.
The new normal in schools Photo: Jonas Güttler / dpa
BOCHUMtaz | Christiane Künhaupt, Vice Headmistress of the Elly-Heuss-Knapp vocational college in Düsseldorf, has had four days of stress and fear behind her. “I slept badly,” says the 52-year-old on the first day of the careful school openings in North Rhine-Westphalia. The college has 3,000 pupils, which offers 42 courses up to the Abitur. Around 500 were loaded on Thursday, for which exams are due in a few weeks. “75 to 80 percent of them are there,” Künhaupt estimates on Thursday morning – I would have expected less. “
Many young people have the same concerns as the deputy headmistress: How big is the risk of infection if school starts again after six and a half weeks of corona isolation and distance learning? Can distance rules be observed and infections avoided? “There was a lot of fear, especially in front of the subway,” says Künhaupt.
The vocational college has therefore made provisions. The college of teachers has decided to enter the school only with a mask. “We also train tailors, so we have a lot of sewing machines,” explains Katja Frech, teacher of German and design. The pupils sewed 360 masks for self-protection.
The college is thus suddenly a pioneer: On Wednesday, North Rhine-Westphalia’s black and yellow state government, under pressure from the public and virologists, announced a mask requirement, which should also apply to public buildings from next Monday. “In the late Wednesday afternoon, we suddenly received 2,000 masks,” says Vice-Head of School Künhaupt. On Tuesday, on the other hand, she assessed the situation as “catastrophic” – even soap dispensers and towel racks, a prerequisite for the hygiene rules advised by FDP state minister Yvonne Gebauer, were still missing.
Quickly return to normal
Gebauer and CDU Prime Minister Armin Laschet put the schools under massive time pressure. Laschet wants to get back to “responsible normality” as quickly as possible in the fight for the chancellor’s candidacy. And Gebauer follows her federal party leader Christian Lindner, who is drumming for a quick end to the corona restrictions. Neither of them wanted to know about the appointment of the country heads with Chancellor Angela Merkel to open the schools again on May 4th. Gebauer announced on Saturday evening via email that it would start again on Thursday.
Violent criticism came from the city day. The school authorities would need at least one week for corona protection standards, rumbled the CDU chairman of the NRW City Day, Thomas Hunsteger-Petermann.
But teacher associations and the opposition are also skeptical. There are calls for school boycott on the Internet. “Anger and frustration” prevail in schools due to the lack of health protection, says Maike Finnern, chairwoman of the GEW union. The SPD speaks of “poor preparation” – apparently not all schools are equipped with soap and disinfection.
“We risk increasing numbers of infections,” warns Sigrid Beer, spokeswoman for the Greens’ school policy in the state parliament. Therefore, Beer demands that degrees should be awarded on the basis of the previous average grades – after all, many teachers were also at risk.
“25 percent of our teachers will be absent due to health reasons,” estimates Christiane Künhaupt. She was “super happy” that the first day of school went well: “Everyone was very disciplined.”
However, what a regular lesson should look like from May 4th, is in the stars: Then, instead of 350, 2,000 students appear again. And the classes would also have to be divided to meet the corona distance rules, Künhaupt calculates. “I don’t know if we can do the massive extra work,” says the vice headmistress.
Germany appears to have the epidemic under control. Figures from other countries suggest that many more people die from Covid-19 than is known.
More deaths than would have been expected statistically: Transport of a Covid 19 victim to Spain Photo: Juan Medina / reuters
BERLINtaz | The numbers that the Robert Koch Institute published on Thursday sound good. The institute estimates that another around 3,800 people in Germany have recovered from a corona infection. All in all, the number rose to over 100,000 healthy people for the first time. In addition, the number of acutely infected continues to fall. It is now below 45,000, the lowest as at the end of March. In the course of April it had risen to around 65,000.
You can see that everything is still not good by looking at the death toll. According to the Robert Koch Institute, 215 people died of Covid-19 on Wednesday. A number that has been repeating itself day after day with swings up and down for a good week. In total, there are now more than 5,000 fatalities in Germany.
The term has emerged in recent days in the discussion of the effects of the coronavirus. Using statistical calculations, he describes how many people die more in a certain period of time than would normally have been expected based on the figures from previous years.
And these numbers are actually dramatic, like a research of the New York Times shows. Their graphic illustrations show that mortality has increased significantly in ten countries examined. The corona epidemic apparently leads to significantly more deaths there than previously known.
60 percent more victims in Spain
For Spain, for example, it was calculated that from March 9 to April 5, 19,700 more people died than would have been statistically expected. According to the country’s official data, only 12,400 Covid-19 deaths were reported during the same period. This suggests that there were actually 60 percent more corona victims who did not appear in the official count due to a lack of diagnosis.
The numbers for the city of New York, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus, are even more dramatic. Between mid-March and mid-April four times more people died there than usual for the season. The 13,240 Covid-19 dead officially named for this period would have to be said out loud New York Times add another 4,000. With such figures, the English technical term for mortality seems more than appropriate. It is called “excess deaths”.
Of course, as with statistics, you have to be careful with these numbers. So it is possible that at least some of the mortality cannot be explained by undiscovered Covid 19 cases, but also by side effects of the lockdown, such as the British Times recently suspected.
This could also invalidate the argument that critics of lockdown measures have given so far: the claim that the new corona virus does not kill more people than the usual flu.
So far, this argument has been supported by previous figures. So show about the curves of “European mortality monitoring” (Euromomo) that there was clearly visible over-mortality across Europe during the flu waves around the turn of 2016/2017 and in spring 2018. Using such statistics, it was calculated, for example, that the last two flu waves in Germany had caused over 20,000 deaths each, although only a maximum of 1,600 cases were confirmed by laboratory analyzes.
However, the fluctuations in the Euromomo curves of the past few weeks have risen so steeply that it is clear that Covid-19 has already exceeded the previous highs. The mortality rate is “very substantial,” wrote the Euromoma in its last bulletin. It mainly affects the over 65 year olds, but is also visible among the 15 to 64 year olds.
So far no effect visible in Germany
To date, there are no current figures on mortality for Germany. The Federal Statistical Office recently published a first Special evaluation of the first deaths in 2020. It states that “currently there are no indications of over-mortality from Covid-19”. However, only the numbers up to March 15 were evaluated for this analysis. Until then, there were only 12 confirmed corona deaths in Germany, according to the Robert Koch Institute. The epidemic could not yet have a statistically visible effect.
Current figures can be found – again at Euromomo – only for the federal states of Hesse and Berlin. So far, these curves show no increase. Why this is so can not be explained with absolute certainty. Perhaps Germany was simply lucky. It was probably also due to the comparatively early contact restrictions, which are now largely lifted.
The effects of these easing effects will only be reflected in the number of infected people in a week or two, and the number of fatalities is unlikely to change until mid-May at the earliest.
The virologist Drosten is already extremely worried about the high level of mortality in countries like Great Britain. “We were spared this primarily through early and widespread diagnostics,” Drosten tweeted. “Let’s not gamble away this lead.”