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Nobel prize winning author Gunter Grass dies aged 87

German novelist Gunter Grass, the Nobel Prize-winning author of works such as The Tin Drum, has died at the age of 87, a foundation in his name said.

Nobel Prize in Literature Gunter Grass. Credit: Wolfgang Langenstrassen/DPA/Press Association Images

For many, Grass was the voice of a German generation that came of age in World War Two and bore the burden of their parents' guilt for the atrocities of the Nazis.

Grass, with his trademark drooping moustache, was born the Baltic port of Danzig, now Gdansk in Poland, in 1927 and much of his fiction was set in the city.

Germany team to wear armbands in memory of victims

Germany will wear black armbands and observe a minute's silence before their friendly clash with Australia on Wednesday night in memory of the victims of the plane crash in the French Alps.

Head coach Joachim Löw speaks to the players in training on Tuesday. Credit: PA

Around half the victims are believed to be German and national Football Association president Wolfgang Niersbach confirmed the team would honour them against the Asian Cup champions at the Fritz-Walter-Stadion in Kaiserslautern.

Niersbach said in a short statement on the governing body's website: "It is the one clear thought which overshadows everything else.

"We owe it to the victims and their families that the football family share in their grief."

Commercial team manager Oliver Bierhoff added: "We are deeply saddened and stunned. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims."


Protesters clash with riot police at new ECB HQ opening

Thousands of anti-capitalist protesters from across the continent have clashed with police in Germany ahead of the official opening of the European Central Bank's new headquarters in Frankfurt.

Police cars have been set alight Credit: Reuters

More than 10,000 members of protest group Blockupy were expected to descend on the city, with reports of rocks being thrown at riot officers and police cars set on fire.

Blockupy states that it holds the Bank responsible for "austerity and poverty" in parts of Europe, and said it wanted to prevent staff from going to work as well as disrupting plans for the opening ceremony.

Blockupy says it holds the European Central Bank responsible for 'austerity and poverty' across the continent Credit: Reuters
Thousands of protesters have clashed with police Credit: Reuters

German parliament approves Greece bailout extension

The German parliament has approved a deal to extend Greece's financial bailout by four months.

A total of 542 MPs within the 631-seat chamber voted in favour of approving the extension.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party has overwhelmingly backed the extension of Greece's bailout despite dissension from within their ranks and in the German press. Credit: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

The approval came after Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble - a sceptic of Athens - promised Greece would not be allowed to "blackmail" its European partners.

The vote in the Bundestag was the only major hurdle for the four-month exension for the most heavily indebted country in the euro zone.


German carnival called off due to 'threat of Islamist attack'

Braunschweig in northern Germany. Credit: Google Maps

A carnival parade in northern Germany has been cancelled at short notice due to a concrete threat of an Islamist attack, police said today.

The event had been due to take place this afternoon in Braunschweig.

"Reliable state security sources have made it known that a concrete threat of attack with an Islamist background exists," authorities in Braunschweig said in a statement.

Hamburg Airport closed amid strike chaos

Police were forced to close the entrances to Hamburg Airport in Germany as a strike by security staff sparked chaos.

An estimated 40,000 passengers were affected as around a quarter of flights were cancelled and many more hit by long delays.

Delays and long queues are also reported at Stuttgart and Hannover airports due to staff also taking part in the action.

The strike is due to last all day, and comes as unions demand higher pay.

A spokeswoman for Hamburg airport, which has now reopened again, described the situation as "catastrophic", according to German news agency dpa.

German anti-Islam group plan first UK protest in Newcastle

A German group which protests against the perceived "Islamification of the West" is planning its first UK rally at the end of the month.

Last month 25,000 people joined a demonstration in the streets of Dresden in support of Pegida.

upporters of anti-immigration movement Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) hold flags during a demonstration in Dresden Credit: Reuters

The group, known by its German acronym which translates as Patriotic Europeans Against The Islamisation Of The West, is planning an event in Newcastle on Saturday 28th February.

A Facebook post attributed to the group said: "Pegida UK is holding its first rally in Newcastle. All are welcome to attend. lets show the Islamists we show no fear."

Opponents have plans to hold a counter-demonstration, claiming the group is supported by members of the far right.

Northumbria Police said it had not been contacted by the organisers.

Talks to try for 'a peaceful settlement' in Ukraine

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande will meet Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko in Kiev today and Vladimir Putin in Moscow tomorrow to discuss how to stop the violence in eastern Ukraine.

Members of the separatist self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic drive armoured vehicles in the Donetsk region. Credit: Reuters

"In view of the escalating violence in recent days, the chancellor and President Hollande are intensifying their efforts, which have been going on for months, for a peaceful settlement to the conflict in eastern Ukraine," Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

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