Merkel calls for Germany BURKA BAN saying ‘the full veil is not appropriate here’ in astonishing U-turn
The German Chancellor made the announcement at a party conference having recently declared she will stand for re-election
GERMAN premier Angela Merkel called for a ban on the Burka for the first time as she launched a bid to remain in power with a dramatic shift.Sparking a standing ovation from her CDU Party, the German Chancellor threw her weight behind calls to outlaw the burqa and niqab wherever “possible”.
She said: “With us, the rule is: show your face, that’s why the full veil is not appropriate, it should be banned.”The CDU party wants to ban the full face veil in courts, schools and universities as well as in road traffic and during police checks.
A full ban as introduced in France is thought to be incompatible with Germany’s rules.
Ms Merkel’s blast marks a seismic change in tone from a politician lauded around the world for throwing opening the country’s borders to over a million refugees a year ago.
She has repeatedly criticised populist politicians playing to right-wing voters.
Tory Eurosceptics said it proved how “desperate” Ms Merkel is to secure a fourth-term in a crunch General Election next year – and how flexible she could be in Brexit talks.
Just last month Ms Merkel conceded next year’s German Election would be “more difficult” than any she has contested so far given the fallout from the migrant crisis.
After the speech, she was re-elected leader of the CDU party with a whopping 89.5 per cent majority.
Ms Merkel also ruled out a repeat of last year’s refugee wave, and insisted German law took precedence over “honour, tribal or family rules and over sharia law”.
In September, the Chancellor called for stricter guidelines on the burqa – while added that “diversity is the logical consequence of freedom”.
Tory backbencher Michael Tomlinson said it was a boost for Theresa May as it proved how “flexible” the German Chancellor can be.
He told the Sun: “Whatever you think of the German Chancellor’s new policy on Burqas, it’s a monumental change of direction.
“And it just shows how flexible our European friends and allies can be.
“One of our biggest failings is when we think that politicians abroad will always stand firm so we have to accommodate every desire. This just isn’t how the world works.
“And it isn’t how things have to be.”
She has moved to appease those concerned that her open immigration policies will drive voters to the far right
It marks a U-turn for CDU party leaders, who have previously expressed scepticism of a full ban despite growing calls for it among rank and file members.
Merkel has also stopped short of calling for a ban, saying only that she must find the right legal and political balance.
Party members have recently expressed hope it would encompass both the burka and the niqab, which shows slightly more of a woman’s face.
Germany saw about 890,000 asylum-seekers arrive last year, many after Merkel decided in September 2015 to let in migrants who were stuck in Hungary.
Numbers have since declined sharply, but Merkel's approach to the migrant crisis has provoked discord within her Christian Democratic Union, which has seen a string of poor state election results this year.
But despite the unpopularity of her decision, she was today re-elected as party leader after running unopposed and receiving 89.5 percent of votes.
"A situation like the one in the late summer of 2015 cannot, should not and must not be repeated," Merkel told party delegates. "That was and is our, and my, declared political aim," she said.
While Merkel has continued to insist that Germany will take in people in genuine need of protection, her government has moved to toughen asylum rules and declare several countries "safe" meaning people from there can't expect to get refuge in Germany.
Merkel was a driving force behind an agreement between the European Union and Turkey earlier this year to stem the flow of migrants.
It comes as the country reacts with horror at the murder of 19-year-old Maria Ladenburger - the daughter of a senior EU official.
An Afghan migrant has confessed to raping her and then drowning her in a river in the city of Freiburg, German police say.
The medical student was the daughter of Dr Clemens Ladenburger, a lawyer who assists the legal director of the European Commission.
A police chief yesterday blamed the murder on Germany's immigration policy and claimed it could have been prevented.
Rainer Wendt, the chairman of the German Police Workers Union (DPoIG), told Bild: "We wouldn’t have this victim, and so many others, if our country had been better prepared for the dangers that always go along with massive immigration."
5 Afghan teens in Sweden charged with raping Afghan boy
STOCKHOLM (AP) -- Swedish authorities on Tuesday charged five teenagers from Afghanistan with aggravated rape for allegedly dragging another Afghan boy into a forest, threatening him with a knife and raping him.
The alleged assault took place in October in a forested area in the city of Uppsala, north of Stockholm.
Prosecutor Johan Stromback told The Associated Press that the five suspects are 16 and 17 years old, while the boy they allegedly assaulted is under 15. Stromback said all arrived in Sweden as unaccompanied minors seeking asylum.
The accused were charged with aggravated rape of a minor, a crime in Sweden that is punishable by at least four years in prison for adults and juvenile detention for minors, he said. The indictment calls for all five to be expelled from Sweden and barred from returning after serving any sentences.
According to the indictment, the accused punched the alleged victim in the head, raped him and spat on him. It said the assault "was planned and lasted for at least an hour" and left the boy with bruises, scrapes and bite marks on his back.
The accused allegedly filmed parts of the assault and threatened to post clips on social media if the victim went to police.
The indictment says two suspects have acknowledged some allegations, but none has confessed to a criminal act.
Stefan Wallin, a defense lawyer representing one youth, said his client neither admits nor denies the charges.
"He has no recollection of the events because of alcohol intoxication," Wallin told the AP.
Defense lawyers for the others didn't immediately return requests for comment.