In Brief: Rampage driver admitted to psychiatric hospital after Berlin highway crashes injure six

The public prosecutor’s office described the incident as a rampage targeting motorcyclists that left at least six people injured, three of them critically.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

 

 

By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson and William Glucroft

Updated on Thursday, August 20 at 9:00 a.m.

A 30-year-old Baghdad-born driver will face attempted murder charges after causing several crashes on the A100 freeway in Berlin Tuesday night.

The public prosecutor’s office described it as a rampage targeting motorcyclists that left at least six people injured, three of them critically.

The suspect is identified as Sarmad A. of Reinickendorf and he had allegedly threatened the police in the past. He’s temporarily being held in a psychiatric facility, according to prosecutors.

Officials say after causing the crashes, the suspect stopped on the highway and put a box on the top of his car, claiming it contained explosives. But police later only found tools inside.

Martin Steltner, a spokesman for the prosecutor, told reporters on Wednesday that besides suspecting a radical Islamist motive for the attack, investigators are checking whether the suspect has mental health issues.

***

German Labor Minister Hubertus Heil said he’s open to formally shortening the work week to save jobs.

Heil told Funke Media Group that reducing hours – as well as pay — could be a “suitable measure” to get through the crisis.

The idea was first floated by IG Metall, a major union for Germany’s metalworkers. Proponents say a four-day work week could stop companies from slashing jobs due to the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic.

But just how much reduced hours would impact pay is a sticking point, which unions say they will be bringing up in wage negotiations later this year.

***

Finland is reintroducing restrictions next Monday on travelers coming from Germany and several other European countries because of their climbing coronavirus numbers.

Border controls will be reestablished and a 14-day quarantine may be required.

Finland has one of the lowest new infection rates in Europe.

Meanwhile, Germany’s COVID-19 cases are climbing, with more than 1,700 new infections reported as of early Thursday — the highest number since the end of April.

This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.

Whether it’s our coverage of the coronavirus, rent freezes or more light-hearted subjects like Berlin’s pandas, you can count us for factual and informative content. We are the go-to source for the English-as-a-common-language community in Berlin and beyond. The pandemic will challenge us to find new ways of doing reporting, but we will continue to bring you the programming you love and news you can trust. We are a listener-funded public radio station, driven by donors like you. So please consider donating today to keep us on air, online and in your community.