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Germany in Brief

Harley-Davidson celebrates centennial in Hamburg, terror trial continues in Düsseldorf and German politicians call for longer working week.


Harley-Davidson: A chrome fantasy in Hamburg

Harley-Davidson celebrates 100th anniversary in Hamburg

American motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson brought its 100-year anniversary road show to Hamburg on Friday for the start of a three-day celebration in the port city. Organizers are expecting up to 25,000 bikers and more than 200,000 visitors during the festivities, which mark the last station of Harley-Davidson's world tour. It took more than 100 shipping containers to transport the Harley collection to Hamburg, which includes the company's first motorcycle, built in 1903, and Elvis Presley's custom-built Harley among others. The bikes will be featured in a parade through the city center on Sunday.

Düsseldorf terror trial continues

Testimony continued Friday in the trial of a suspected terrorist Shadi Mohd Mustafa Abdallah in Düsseldorf. Though the 26-year-old is being tried on charges of passport forgery and membership in a terrorist organization, officials are using his case to draw greater attention to the workings of an al Tawhid terrorist cell in Germany with links to al Qaeda. Experts from Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office said ties between the German cell and al Qaeda were deeper than officials initially thought. In testimony Friday, the experts said the leader of the al Tawhid group, Abu Mossab Al Zarqawi, was a leading figure in al Qaeda, who had connections to the Hizbollah and Hamas and had spent time in one of Osama bin Laden's terrorism training camps.

Politicians call for longer working week

A growing number of German politicians are calling for an extension of the work week across Germany to 40 hours. Currently, eastern Germans work an average of 38-hours a week and western Germans an average of 35 hours. The group, led by members of the conservative Christian Democratic Union and the neo-liberal Free Democratic Party, believes longer working hours will increase productivity and help Germany out of its worst economic slump in years. "Even in the west we need to return to the 40-hour work week," Dieter Althaus, the Christian Democratic premier of the state of Thuringia, told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper. Brandenburg's Social Democratic premier, Matthias Platzeck, also supported such calls, saying that people in the west should increase their working hours to match those in the east. Recently, IG Metall, Germany's metalworkers and engineering union went on strike in eastern Germany over its demand for a 35-hour workweek. But the strike failed, opening the door for the discussion about increasing hours in the west.

Police convicted of prisoner's death

A Cologne court on Friday issued suspended sentences to six local police officers convicted of beating up a man while in their custody. The 31-year-old died two weeks after the May 2002 incident. The public prosecutor sought prison sentences of two and a half years for the officers. The defense sought the acquittal of five of the officers, but a sixth admitted to the beating in an "absolutely extreme situation." As late as Thursday, the officers, aged 25-40, maintained their innocence. But the judge said there was sufficient evidence of the beating, which caused the mentally-ill prisoner to have a breakdown and go into a coma.

Compiled by DW staff with wire material.