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German interior ministers set to debate NPD ban

Germany’s interior ministers have begun debating several initiatives related to combating the far-right scene in the country. All 16 states recently submitted a new bid to ban a neo-Nazi political party.

Interior ministers of Germany's 16 states gathered Wednesday in Osnabrück, Lower Saxony for an annual fall meeting. The politicians are debating their recent bid to ban the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD).

The bid was officially submitted Tuesday in Germany's Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe. This latest attempt was launched by every state and is supported by Chancellor Angela Merkel's government, although it has chosen not to launch its own case with the court. The last unsuccessful attempt to ban the party was made in 2003.

The 268-page document submitted to the court claims that the NPD follows the same "racial biological" ideology spread by the Nazis in the 1930s and 40s. It also claims the party is seeking to undermine the democratic principles of the current German state.

There is however, no consensus about the chances of success for this attempt to ban the NPD.

A press conference about the meeting is scheduled for 1300 GMT.

New app to bust neo-Nazis

The ministers will also debate a new software that, if approved, could help police identify people listening to banned far-right music.

Saxony police spokeswoman Kathlen Zink said the new "Digital Audio Fingerprint" software, unveiled by German police on Tuesday, will help officers analyze seized recordings and Internet radio stations for the music.

In Germany, certain extremist music is banned for public sale or performance. However, the far-right scene still regularly attempts to evade the regulations during concerts with the aim of recruiting young people. The new software can also determine if the music played at such concerts matches the banned songs.

The software has been likened to the popular smartphone app "Shazam" that can tell users what music they're listening to based on a short sample, leading many to refer to the new German software as "Nazi-Shazam."

The latest efforts to clamp down on the neo-Nazi scene in Germany gained momentum after allegations emerged two years ago that members of the far-right National Socialist Underground killed nine immigrant small businessmen and a police woman between 2000 and 2007.

hc/ccp (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)