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Germany in Brief

Harry Potter book surfaces in Berlin store before its official release; a German ornithologist saves a rare bird from extinction; T-Mobile threatens to drop sponsorship of Rolling Stones tour and more.


At least one German fan has gottenhold of the latest installment of the Harry Potter saga.

Harry Potter appears in Berlin supermarket

First editions of the new Harry Potter novel were sighted in Berlin on Friday, a day before the book is to be released worldwide. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was found in a corner of the supermarket Real in the Hellersdorf neighborhood of Berlin, the Berliner Zeitung newspaper reported. Real's corporate headquarters in Mönchengladbach said the book had ended up there due to a "series of unfortunate circumstances." It emphasized that only one book had made it to the Berlin store floor. Journalists from the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper claimed to have already gotten a copy from a local bookstore. Since the German translator has had to wait to get his hands on Joanne K. Rowling's fifth book, too, the German version will not be available until November.

Disputed Berlin-Munich train line to be built

Despite cost increases and delays, the high-speed rail line between Berlin and Munich will still be built, Deutsche Bahn CEO Helmut Mehdorn and Transport Minister Manfred Stolpe announced on Friday. The two men finalized an agreement to finance the important stretch of Germany's national railways between Erfurt and Halle that will cost €1.9 billion ($2.2 billion). Deutsche Bahn's Mehdorn said the first high-speed train would roll between Germany's two largest cities in 2017. The line will ferry passengers between the cities in about 3.5 hours -- half the time it currently takes. Six valley bridges and three tunnels will have to be built for the Erfurt-Halle stretch

German bird specialist saves rare bird

A German biologist has saved the malau or blue-crowned lorikeet from extinction in the Pacific islands. Ten years ago Dieter Rinke of the Brehm Fund for International Bird Conservation in Bonn moved some of the endangered birds chicks and eggs from their home on Niuafo'ou to the uninhabited island Fonualei, both in the Kingdom of Tonga. Since then the community has grown from 300 to 500 birds, the organization Birdlife International said on Friday in London. The malau has accepted its new home and now thrives both on Niuafo'ou and on Fonualei. After laying their eggs malaus lay them in warm volcanic earth -- whose temperature they test with their tongues -- to hatch.

Further ado about Rolling Stones' warm-up act

After the German radio station NDR 2 announced it would not promote the Rolling Stones concert pegged for August 8 in Hanover, the mobile phone company T-Mobile has also threatened to pull out as a sponsor if the controversial German band Böhse Onkelz appears as the opening band. A spokesman for T-Mobile confirmed the move and said that the company had significant reservations about having the group perform. Founded in 1979, the Böhse Onkelz -- loosely translated as the "Evil Uncles" -- were known for singing radical right-wing songs until the mid-1980s, when they disavowed the right-wing scene.

Compiled with material from wire services.