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Germany

Germany in Brief

30 German bus passengers were killed when a train crashed into their vehicle in Hungary, German development minister urges focus on battle against poverty, investigator says several hundred terrorists in Germany.

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A collision between a train and a German tourist bus in Hungary left at least 30 people dead.

German tourists killed in collision

A German tourist bus was hit by a train in Hungary on Thursday morning, killing at least 30 passengers and injuring around 50. The number of dead could not yet be confirmed. The accident occurred near the town of Siofok near Lake Balaton, approximately 100 kilometers southwest of Budapest. The double-decker bus was stuck in a traffic jam and had stopped on a train-crossing, when the train crashed into it, ripping the vehicle in two. Most of the passengers came from northern Germany. None of the train passengers were hurt.

Development minister urges focus on fight against poverty

Germany’s Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul warned on Thursday that the war in Iraq should not divert attention from the battle against worldwide poverty. In a government paper on combating poverty, Wieczorek-Zeul said there was an "extreme danger" priorities on the international agenda could be scuttled. She called it a scandal that astronomical financial means for the Iraq war could be mobilized in an instant while money to fight poverty had to be begged for. Wieczorek-Zeul said that Germany contributed almost ten percent of the total international aid budget of $57 billion. Though the German government raised its development aid budget by $369 million this year to $5.359 billion, Wieczorek-Zeul said it still accounted for just 0.27 percent of GDP. The minister said despite Germany’s sluggish economy, the international aid budget had to be raised to 0.33 percent of GDP by 2006.

Investigator says Germany possible target for terrorist attacks

The director of Germany’s Federal Criminal Investigation Agency (BKA), Manfred Klink, has said that several hundred Islamic terrorists are operating in Germany. Speaking at a special conference in Cologne, Klink said that police and secret service officials were monitoring activities of about 200 suspected terrorists in the country. Klink said he estimated Germany was still a possible target for the worldwide network of religious fundamentalist terrorists, including Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network. Klink said one reason for that was the presence of German peacekeepers in Afghanistan that were a "big irritant" to the Muhajedeen, Islamic fighters. The head of the BKA said that close to 1,000 al-Qaeda fighters had fled abroad from Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban and some of them had managed to get into Germany. Klink said that 154 investigations into suspected terrorits were underway Germany.

Compiled with material from wire services.