Displaying items by tag: Germany
World: Cardinals want bishops prosecuted
German Cardinal Gerhard Müller and American Cardinal Raymond Burke want the Vatican to put Germany's Roman Catholic bishops on trial for abandoning church doctrine and approving Church blessings of same-sex unions and weddings between divorced Catholics. Cardinal Mueller wants all German bishops who voted to bless same-sex unions to be held to account, tried, sentenced and then removed from their office if they are not accepting the Catholic doctrine. Cardinal Burke has publicly clashed with Pope Francis before and is seen as the leader of the church's conservative wing. He wants sanctions against the German bishops under the Code of Canon Law. British Anglican Chaplain to the late Queen Elizabeth, Gavin Ashenden, said it isn’t just German Catholic bishops who are revising church doctrine; there was an issue of lack of faith across Europe. Polish and Nordic archbishops are also challenging Germany’s path. See
Germany: Defence minister resigns after blunders
Christine Lambrecht was widely criticised for failing to improve Germany's notoriously ill-equipped armed forces despite the provision of €100bn (£88bn) for that task following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. She was mocked for announcing Germany was supporting Ukraine by sending 5,000 military helmets and has resigned following a series of blunders. Ms Lambrecht was due to meet other defence ministers from Ukraine's western allies at the American military base in Ramstein to discuss further support for Ukraine. Berlin is under rising pressure to send Ukraine Leopard 2 tanks - which Ukraine considers vital to defeat Russia - or at least approve their delivery from countries such as Poland. Warsaw signalled its intention to supply the battle tanks but requires permission from the country of manufacture. Germany’s Vice Chancellor recently said his country would not stand in the way of other nations sending Leopards.
Germany: 2023 prayer needs
There is a shortage of skilled workers in the hotel industry, maintenance and repair, health and safety services, day care centres and schools. Nationwide there are 100,000 child care and 40,000 teacher positions vacant. There are many causes: higher birth-rate, immigration, increase in all-day care services, increasing requirements for social inclusion and language training, and inadequate preparation for the large number of workers from the 1960s baby-boom generation who will retire in the 2020s. Teachers, trainers, educators and carers, under stress due to heavy workloads, are taking time off due to illness. Germany’s education system needs a fundamental overhaul to equip children for life in the coming decades. Many of the teaching methods and educational materials are antiquated and no longer suitable to give children a healthy identity, self-confidence, assertiveness, team spirit, joy and resilience for the demands of the current world.
Germany: struggling with influx of refugees
One million Ukrainians have fled to Germany since Russia's invasion. On the outskirts of Berlin, almost 1,000 people sleep in giant heated tents on a former airport runway. The German capital is struggling to house Ukraine's refugees properly. As winter deepens and Russia continues attacking Ukraine's energy infrastructure, authorities are hastily preparing more emergency shelters in anticipation of up to 10,000 more Ukrainians. Germany initially extended a warm welcome, but there are now growing concerns about how best to accommodate such a large number of people. Around 100 Ukrainians arrive every day at the main refugee reception centre in the airport terminal. Workers in brightly coloured tabards lead them to departure halls filled with trestle tables offering food, medical aid and a bed for a ‘temporary’ stay. But many will stay in bunks in shared cubicles or tents for longer than a few days. Permanent accommodation is getting harder to find.
Germany and Europe: infrastructure protection
Attacks on Nord Stream gas pipelines, on Poland’s Druzhba pipeline (the most important oil pipeline from Russia to Western Europe), on submarine cables in France and the north Atlantic, and on the German railway show the need for increased protection of critical infrastructure. Loss of energy has extreme and immediate consequences for homes and industry. Three of the four Nord Stream pipelines, damaged by saltwater infiltration, are probably no longer usable. There have already been cyber-attacks on wind farms, and access to coal-fired power plants is being blocked by extremists. Most recently Russia damaged 1/3rd of Ukraine’s power plants. Germany has allowed a Chinese shipping company to enter the port of Hamburg, giving China access to sensitive European maritime traffic information.
Nord Stream pipelines: alleged sabotage
On 29 September a fourth leak was found on the Nord Stream gas pipelines, amid sabotage allegations that the two underwater pipelines running from Russia to Germany had been damaged by explosions recorded in the Baltic Sea. Russia and the West have traded blame over the mysterious leaks. The sea surface is bubbling up as gas escapes. While the pipelines were not operational during the alleged sabotage, they still contained natural gas. The incident raises fears of an environmental disaster. According to experts, the leaking methane will be the biggest burst of the potent greenhouse gas on record. ‘Whoever ordered this should be prosecuted for war crimes and go to jail’, said a university climate scientist.
Russia: gas pipeline to EU still closed
Russia's gas pipeline to Europe did not reopen, as promised, on 3 September. Gazprom said it could close indefinitely. This is no coincidence. Russia's state-controlled gas giant announced the indefinite halt to gas flows through Europe’s key energy artery hours after leading western finance ministers escalated sanctions on Russian oil. Gazprom's official reason is that an oil leak has been found and the pipeline cannot work without German imports of technology, which are now subject to sanctions. Many believe this is an attempt to blackmail Europe over supplies. This is a very serious development. Even during the height of the Cold War, Russia kept supplies of its gas flowing into Europe. However, this cut-off - and the pointed attempt by Gazprom to blame the German energy giant Siemens for the malfunction - is the culmination of decades of dysfunction in the energy relationship between the two countries.
Germany: Rhine drying up
Swathes of the Rhine riverbed are exposed, while a few commercial vessels slowly navigate the channel of water that is left in one of Europe's great working rivers. Industry relies on barges to fetch and carry raw materials and finished products to and from the power plants and factories that line the riverbank. Germany’s main industry lobby group has warned that factories may have to limit production or halt it completely because plunging water levels on the river are making it harder to transport cargo. The water is already too low to allow some of the larger vessels through. Others have reduced their cargo to lighten the load so that they sit higher in the water. Experts warn that the low water could significantly damage Germany's economy.
Germany: permanent gas pipeline cut?
Russian natural gas supplies to Germany have been halted for annual maintenance work. But the German economy minister warned that EU countries must be prepared for gas shipments not resuming, believing Russia is using gas ‘as a weapon’ in response to EU sanctions. Supplies to five European countries have already been cut over their refusal to comply with new payment schemes. Stopping supplying Germany could tip the country into a major recession. Entire industries rely on gas, and most German homes use it for heating. The head of the International Energy Agency has warned that Russia may cut off gas supplies to Europe entirely and that Europe needs to prepare now.
Germany: Gang plans civil war conditions
German police have detained four people accused of plotting to create ‘civil war conditions’ and eventually overthrow democracy. United Patriots are part of Citizens of the Reich. They reject the German state as illegal. They intended attacking substations and power lines to destroy Germany’s energy infrastructure and cause long-lasting nationwide power failures. A number of high-profile people were also targeted as potential kidnap victims. One of the targets said, ‘There are forces that intended to destabilise the state and democracy. They are a small minority but are highly dangerous.’ The movement has an estimated 19,000 members who also spread racism and misinformation. (See) They were arrested on April 13 police also seized numerous guns including Kalashnikov, gold bars and cash in euros and foreign currency totalling £16,600. They went before a judge on April 14. A fifth suspect remains at large. Investigators have identified 12 people also connected to the group, which used the Telegram messaging app to communicate.