In Brief: Germany partially withdrawing troops from Iraq amid security fears

Some German soldiers stationed in Iraq are being transferred to Kuwait and Jordan. Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have risen sharply after a U.S. airstrike killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on Friday.

 

 

The Bundeswehr has confirmed the partial withdrawal of German troops from Iraq for security reasons.

According to a press release, the soldiers are being transferred to Kuwait and Jordan. Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have risen sharply after a U.S. airstrike killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on Friday.

NPR’s Rachel Martin spoke to Norbert Röttgen, chairman of the German Parliament’s foreign relations committee about how European leaders are responding to the escalation of tensions.

“I think that this is what is now both in the interests of Washington, Tehran and the Europeans, that we calm down the tensions,” Röttgen said. “We clearly see now a war of words and I think we have to do everything to prevent a real and outright war.”

According to various reports, NATO is also moving troops from Iraq to elsewhere in the region.

On Sunday, Iraq’s parliament voted in favor of the government initiating the removal of all foreign troops from the country.

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Officers from two new police units are now on the job in Berlin.

A total of 65 police officers will focus on so-called crime “hot spots” in the city. The locations include Alexanderplatz, Kottbusser Tor, Goerlitzer Park, Warschauer Strasse and north Neukölln. By April of 2020, the unit is to be expanded to a 125 employees.

The other addition is an anti-terrorist department based at the State Criminal Police Office in Tempelhof.

In a statement announcing the launch of the new police forces, Berlin’s Senator of the Interior Andreas Geisel said Berlin should remain a safe city for everyone and the expansions are meant to ensure greater security.

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A new survey suggests more internet users in Germany are falling victim to cybercriminals.

According to a survey commissioned by the digital association Bitkom, a total of 55% of more than 1,000 surveyed users were affected by criminal incidents online last year. That’s an increase of five percentage points in comparison to 2018.

The most frequent complaint was related to malware found on smartphones or computers. One in four people surveyed said their personal data was given to third parties without consent. Nearly 20% of people said they had been cheated in business transactions.

Along with the survey results, Bitkom has released tips on how to improve internet security, including choosing different and complex passwords for each online platform and utilizing two-factor authentication when logging into accounts.

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According to results from a recent parliamentary inquiry, Berlin hospitals turned away pregnant women in 2018 because their delivery rooms were overloaded.

Information from Berlin’s department of health found pregnant women were turned away from delivery rooms nearly 400 times in 2018. Respondents say the women were referred to other clinics in the city.

Only eight of Berlin’s 19 birth clinics answered the parliamentary inquiry. The remaining hospitals either did not respond, said they could not provide information, or said they did not refer any women.

A total of almost 42,000 births were recorded in Berlin clinics in 2018.

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