In Brief: Police raid sites in Berlin and elsewhere on suspicion of plans for serious act of violence

Martin Steltner, spokesman for the Berlin public prosecutor's office, said several Chechen suspects from the “Islamist scene” are suspected of staking out potential targets for an attack, including a synagogue and shopping mall.

Photo by kat wilcox from Pexels

 

 

On Tuesday, police officers raided sites in Berlin and three other German states for evidence connected to the planning of a serious act of violence.

In a statement, Berlin authorities said they confiscated money, weapons, and data storage devices in the raid.

Martin Steltner, spokesman for the Berlin public prosecutor’s office, said several Chechen suspects from the “Islamist scene” are suspected of staking out potential targets for an attack, including a synagogue and shopping mall.

Investigators say they have not found evidence of an acute danger of an attack.

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Over the next decade, Germany’s federal government and the Deutsche Bahn will be investing 86 billion euros into maintaining and modernizing the German rail network.

The deal was made official on Tuesday with the contract signed in Berlin by Germany’s Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer, Deutsche Bahn’s CEO Richard Lutz and Deutsche Bahn’s Board Member of Infrastructure Ronald Pofalla.

“The bottom line is, everything is now in place to make the railway more robust and reliable and to increase capacity,” said Pofalla.

However, some critics say the 86 billion euro investment will not be enough.

In a statement, Greens politician and speaker for train policy Matthias Gastel called the signing of the new agreement “ceremonial” and “little more than an emergency operation to avert the imminent collapse of the German rail network.”

Gastel also said the Grand Coalition was responsible for a “backlog amounting to over 50 billion euros” and he predicted it would take 15 to 20 years to overcome.

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Berlin police have unearthed new information related to ongoing investigations into a series of attacks that happened in Neukölln.

The attacks, including property damage and death threats, are said to have been committed by alleged right-wing extremists, mostly in late 2016 and mid-2017.

Der Tagesspiegel reports that an “enemy list” was found after a data storage device belonging to a suspect was successfully decrypted.

A politician from Die Linke and a member of Berlin’s parliament, Anne Helm, was informed by officials that she was on that list, as was personal information including her home address.

According to reporting from Der Tagesspiegel, there are more than 60 open investigations into the series of attacks, including 14 arson cases.

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The state of Berlin ended 2019 with a financial surplus of 1.6 billion euros.

It’s the fourth year in a row where the state’s surplus has been in the billions.

Berlin Finance Senator Matthias Kollatz called the figure an “exceptionally good result” and said it shows the budget policy is solid.

However, according to recent figures, Berlin’s state debt is still close to 54 billion euros.

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