German foreign minister says Navalny should be released immediately

BERLIN (Reuters) - Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny should be released immediately, Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday.

“Russia is bound by its own constitution and by international obligations to the principle of the rule of law and to the protection of civil rights,” Maas said in a statement. “These principles must, of course, be applied to Alexei Navalny as well. He should be released immediately.”

German minister says COVID curbs should be eased for vaccinated people

BERLIN (Reuters) - People who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 should be allowed to go to restaurants and cinemas earlier than others, a German minister said, contradicting other cabinet members who have so far opposed special freedoms for those inoculated.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the state had massively restricted people’s basic rights in order to contain infections and avoid overwhelming hospitals.

“It has not yet been conclusively clarified to what extent vaccinated people can infect others,” Maas told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

Germany: Centrist Laschet picked to lead Merkel's divided CDU party

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s Christian Democrats elected Armin Laschet as chairman on Saturday, aiming to unify their divided party behind a centrist who they hope can succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor when she steps down after federal elections in September.

Laschet, premier of Germany’s most populous state and the self-styled Merkel continuity candidate, won a runoff ballot of party delegates against arch-conservative Friedrich Merz.

Germany: Euro zone bank damage from pandemic limited so far, ECB's Enria says

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Euro zone banks have suffered some damage so far from the coronavirus pandemic, but that could change once official support measures are lifted, the European Central Bank’s top supervisor said on Friday.

Even though the euro zone economy was severely curtailed, banks saw their bad loans fall in the third quarter of last year, thanks to unprecedented government guarantees and moratoria as well as support from the ECB itself.

Germany: ECB's Lagarde pushes back on gloomy forecasts, sticks to recovery outlook

(Reuters) - European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde pushed back against pessimism on Wednesday, predicting an economic rebound as COVID-19 uncertainty subsides and saying that Europe has all the tools needed to overcome the crisis.

Even with much of the 19-member euro area in lockdown, Lagarde continued to forecast a recovery, provided that economic restrictions can be lifted from the second quarter and the bloc can overcome a “laborious” start to vaccinations.

Promising new antibodies against novel coronavirus found

Bonn, Jan 13 (PTI) Scientists have identified and further developed novel antibody fragments from llamas and alpacas that can be used against the SARS CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19.

These "nanobodies" identified by an international team led by the University of Bonn in Germany are smaller than classic antibodies.

They can penetrate the tissue better and can be produced in larger quantities.

U.S. Capitol siege heralds tougher social media curbs, says EU commissioner

BERLIN (Reuters) - The storming of the U.S. Capitol will herald an era of tougher social media regulation, European Union Commissioner Thierry Breton said, comparing the violence with the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that led to a global crackdown on terrorism.

“Just as 9/11 marked a paradigm shift for global security, 20 years later we are witnessing a before-and-after in the role of digital platforms in our democracy,” the Commissioner for the Internal Market wrote in a column for Politico.

German parliament boosts security after U.S. Capitol riots: newspaper

BERLIN (Reuters) - Security has been stepped up at Germany’s Bundestag (lower house of parliament) after the storming of the Capitol in Washington by rioters last week, Bundestag President Wolfgang Schaeuble has told lawmakers, Bild am Sonntag weekly reported.

“Berlin state police have arranged for a reinforcement of their forces around the Reichstag building,” it quoted Schaueble as saying in a letter to lawmakers.

Virus collides with politics as German election year starts

BERLIN (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic is colliding with politics as Germany embarks on its vaccination drive and one of the most unpredictable election years in the country’s post-World War II history.

After months of relatively harmonious pandemic management, fingers are being pointed as the center-left junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government takes aim at what it says has been a chaotic start to vaccinating the population.

Economic impact of Brexit lessened by EU-UK deal: study

BERLIN, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- The free trade deal agreed by the UK and the European Union (EU) on Christmas Eve would significantly lessen the negative economic impact of Brexit, according to a study published by Germany's Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) on Tuesday.

"The agreement on a comprehensive agreement between the EU and the UK without tariffs and without quotas is a good signal for the economy in Germany, the EU and the UK," said Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier in a statement.

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