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Questions over testimony of US witness in Nazi guard’s trial

Moshe Peter Loth, the 76-year-old American witness and co-plaintiff in the trial of a former prison ..

Moshe Peter Loth, the 76-year-old American witness and co-plaintiff in the trial of a former prison guard known as "Bruno D.," hit the headlines in November when he tearfully hugged the accused in court and said, "Watch, everyone, I will forgive him.""Bruno D." is standing trial in Hamburg accused of being an accessory to thousands of murders while serving in the SS as a guard between August 1944 and April 1945.Loth, who says he is a Holocaust survivor, claimed he and his Jewish mother were imprisoned at Stutthof concentration camp, in Nazi-occupied Poland, after his birth on September 2, 1943, according to his lawyer. He said he was the victim of medical experiments and had to live as an outcast even after the war, according to his lawyer. It was at the camp that a prison number was tattooed on his and his mother's arms, according to documents Loth submitted to the court, a spokesperson for the court told CNN. On Monday, Hamburg district court spokesperson Kai Wantzen told CNN that research by the presiding judge Anne Meier-Göring found ''prison numbers were only tattooed in Auschwitz [concentration camp] but not at Stutthof." The court — which has been reviewing Loth's documentation — therefore did not view Loth's testimony as ''particularly credible and plausible," Wantzen said. It is unclear whether Loth and his mother, Helene, were incarcerated at the camp together, the court added. On Monday, Loth withdrew from being part of the trial. He has not withdrawn his testimony, Wantzen added. Loth's lawyer, Salvatore Barba, declined to respond to numerous requests for comment from CNN in the past week, and instead referred CNN to his statement published by German news magazine Der Spiegel in December. Barba said in a statement on Monday that his mandate had ended "after my client himself withdrew from the co-lawsuit." Through his lawyers, Loth told German news magazine Der Spiegel, which first reported doubts about his testimony, that he "had spent his whole life searching for his true identity."Cracks began to emerge in Loth's account in December when Der Spiegel reported that Loth's family was not Jewish. The magazine said it had seen documents from the registry office in Dortmund and church register entries, as well as one other unspecified registry office, suggesting they were Protestant.CNN has not been able to independently verify Der Spiegel's reporting on the religion of Loth's family, and has reached out to the registry office in Dortmund. Der Spiegel reported that Loth's mother was imprisoned in the camp, citing records from Stutthof concentration camp. She was held for "education" for a short time in March 1943 and her inmate number was 20038, it reported. According to camp records seen by CNN, Helene Loth was released from the camp on April 1, 1943 — months before Loth was born in September 1943. Der Spiegel's investigation, as well as CNN's, found no evidence of Helene Loth's Jewish origin in Stutthof concentration camp's registry. Barba told Der Spiegel that Loth had been "seeking his true identity all his life" and often only had oral accounts to rely on. Many questions are "unfortunately not answered to this day," Barba told the magazine, adding that: "so far, he has found no reason to doubt these (oral) reports." The lawyer for Holocaust survivor Judith Meisel, who is one of 36 co-plaintiffRead More – Source



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Covid: Thousands protest in France against proposed new vaccine pass

A new draft law would in effect ban unvaccinated people from public life.

Demonstrators in the capital, Paris, held placards emblazoned with phrases like “no to vaccine passes”.

Interior Ministry officials said 34 people were arrested and some 10 police officers were injured after the protests turned violent in some places.

The bill, which passed its first reading in the lower house of France’s parliament on Thursday, would remove the option of showing a negative Covid-19 test to gain access to a host of public venues.

Instead, people would have to be fully vaccinated to visit a range of spaces, including bars and restaurants.

The government says it expects the new rules to come into force on 15 January, although the opposition-dominated Senate could delay the process.

But demonstrators on Saturday accused the government of trampling on their freedoms and treating citizens unequally.

Others targeted their anger at the president, Emmanuel Macron, over comments he made earlier this week in relation to unvaccinated citizens, telling Le Parisian newspaper that he wanted to “piss them off”.

One protester, hospital administrator Virginie Houget, told the Reuters news agency that Mr Macron’s remarks were “the last straw”.

And in Paris, where some 18,000 people marched against the new law, demonstrators responded to his coarse language by chanting: “We’ll piss you off”.

TV images showed altercations between protesters and police turning violent in some places. In Montpellier officers used teargas during clashes with the demonstrators.

Turnout for the protests was estimated to be about four times higher than the last major demonstrations on 18 December, when some 25,500 people marched across the country.

But despite the vocal protests, opposition to the new measures is not widespread and recent polling suggests the vast majority of people back the vaccine pass.

France is one of the most highly vaccinated countries in Europe, with more than 90% of over-12s eligible for the shot fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, new coronavirus infections are rising rapidly across France as the new Omicron variant takes hold.

The country recorded more than 300,000 new cases for the second time in a week on Friday and admissions to intensive care wards are rising steadily, putting healthcare systems under strain.

Some hospitals have reported that some 85% of ICU patients are not vaccinated against Covid-19.

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Covid-19: ‘There is no choice between lives and livelihoods,’ OECD chief Gurría says

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:26

As European countries move into their second Covid-19 lockdowns of t..

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:26

As European countries move into their second Covid-19 lockdowns of the year, the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development backs measures seen by many as tough. Ángel Gurría tells FRANCE 24: "If you win the battle against the virus first, you will have less economic consequences." He adds that "there is no choice between lives and livelihoods; it's a false dilemma".

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Mexican economist Ángel Gurría has been Secretary-General of the OECD since 2006 – throughout the global financial crash and subsequent recovery.

With hopes now high for viable vaccines against Covid-19, he's telling world leaders that the solutions to health and economic crises must carry the elements of our solutions to the environmental crisis too: "The single most important inter-generational responsibility is with the planet. That means the recovery, where we are going to make investments that have an impact for the next 30, 40 years, must absolutely have the sustainability of the planet in mind".

On the recently announced Pfizer vaccine, Gurría says: "It is a game changer […] The possibility of a vaccine being close is of enormous consequence. We still have to wait for it to be finalised, approved and distributed in sufficient amounts that it can get everywhere, so we are calculating that we are going to spend most of 2021 still living with the virus. But it changes expectations; the whole mood has improved considerably since the announcement."

On the refusal of Donald Trump, leader of the OECD's biggest single funder, to concede defeat in the US presidential election, Gurría sounds an upbeat note: "I believe that we will have an orderly transition of power in the United States come 20th January 2021. I believe in the institutions in the United States, I believe that the political forces in the United States will eventually align."

Finally, as talks drag on over a new Brexit deal on the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom, Gurría says he still expects a deal to be struck: "I believe that the common interest will lead to a deal […] The impact in Europe is going to be limited to the trade with the UK. The impact in the UK is going to be very serious, not only because of the flows of trade and flows of investment, but also because the overall business mood will be affected. So I am still counting on a deal."

Produced by Mathilde Bénézet

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Attacks in France and Austria: Europe’s response to extremism

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:40Modified: 13/11/2020 – 17:42

TALKING EUROPE © FRANCE 24
This Friday..

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:40Modified: 13/11/2020 – 17:42

TALKING EUROPE
TALKING EUROPE © FRANCE 24

This Friday marks the fifth anniversary of the Paris terror attacks, in which 130 people were killed. The last few weeks have seen more bloodshed, with attacks in the Paris region, in Nice and in the Austrian capital Vienna. European leaders are looking for solutions: ways to stop hate being preached, broadcast and acted upon, while defending individual freedoms of speech and of conscience. In our debate we ask two leading members of the European Parliament, from France and from Austria, what they believe should be done.

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Produced by Yi Song and Perrine Desplats

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Our guests

  • Andreas SCHIEDER, Austrian MEP, Socialists & Democrats
  • Nathalie LOISEAU, French MEP, Renew Europe

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