Germany in Brief | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 04.07.2003
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Germany in Brief

Suspected terrorist says he planned attacks in Berlin and Düsseldorf; German can deposit law made simpler and Spanish media attacks German soccer manager for comments on Beckham.


Berlin's Jewish Museum was named as a target for a terrorist attack.

Islamic extremist admits to planning attacks in Germany

Shadi Moh’d Mustafa Abdalla, accused of planning terrorist attacks in Düsseldorf and Berlin, has admitted to his guilt during his trial. A former temporary bodyguard of Osama bin Laden, Abdalla told a Düsseldorf court Friday that targets included the Jewish Museum in Berlin and a Jewish-run discotheque in downtown Düsseldorf and that he planned the attacks between May 2001 and April 2002. Abdalla, who was arrested in April last year along with some of his colleagues after he ordered a gun and hand grenades through a middleman, stands accused of membership in the Al Tawhid terrorist organization, forging his passport and planning terrorist attacks. The 26-year-old Jordanian of Palestinian origin told the court he had undergone training in Afghanistan in making bombs and carrying out terrorist attacks and had concluded it a "hundred percent successfully."

Can deposit law to be made simpler

The German parliament on Friday approved of a changed packaging regulation pushed by Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin for the country’s controversial can deposit system. The aim is to simplify the deposit law, which came into effect in January this year and under which consumers have to pay a deposit of 25 cents on non-reusable bottles and cans. Trittin’s new changes apply across the board to all disposable packaging regardless of its content, which means that mixed alcoholic drinks, juice, coffee or sports drinks will also in future need a deposit if they are packaged in disposal cans and bottles made of glass or plastic. The exceptions are wine, milk, diet drinks and baby food as well as packaging regarded environmentally-friendly such as drink cartons. Head of the German Retailers Association Holger Wenzel however said the changes would have serious economic consequences and accused the parliament of "rushing it through." The changes still need approval by the Bundesrat or upper house of parliament in autumn.

Drug ring busted in police swoop

Police in North-Rhine Westphalia cracked a drug dealing network on Thursday after a massive raid in several cities including Cologne. There were several arrests. A police spokesman said Friday that the mastermind behind the operation was a 51-year-old Cologne native, who was sentenced to seven years of prison in the 1980s for financing an illegal laboratory making synthetic cocaine. The group stands accused of smuggling in several kilograms of cocaine from Holland into Germany for over a year. The cocaine was supposedly sold in Cologne, Düsseldorf and Dortmund in cafes and bars.

Spanish media lashes out at Bayern manager

The Spanish media launched a savage attack Friday on German soccer club Bayern Munich’s commercial manager Uli Hoeneß after his outspoken comments on David Beckham’s publicity-studded transfer to Real Madrid this week. "What’s wrong? Are you envious, or what?", said a headline in daily AS, while an editorial in Marca said, "it’s funny that Uli Hoeneß should attack Real Madrid, when one thinks of Bayern’s fiasco in the Champions League." Even Spanish television and radio channels took aim at Hoeneß. "Disrespectful, this Uli Hoeneß. He believe he’s the greatest," television Antena 3 jeered. Hoeneß on Thursday described Beckham’s transfer as a "farce." "This (transfer) is good for us. A farce like I've never seen. It shows you how not to do it," Hoeneß told the Sid sport news agency. "I split my sides laughing. In the long term it won't have any effect on the game."

Compiled by DW staff with wire reports