happening in germany
February 10, 2020

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the head of Germany's ruling Christian Democratic Union party and Chancellor Angela Merkel's designated successor to lead Germany, unexpectedly stepped down as party leader Monday and said she won't seek the chancellorship in next year's election. Kramp-Karrenbauer, a CDU moderate in Merkel's mold, will remain defense minister and stay on as party general secretary until the CDU choose her replacement this summer.

Kramp-Karrenbauer's departure is seen as tied to a fracture in the party thrown into relief in regional elections last week in the eastern state of Thuringia. Some local CDU lawmakers, bucking the national party, voted with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) to elect a far-left leader, who then resigned to rid his election of the stain of AfD involvement. Voting with extremist parties like the AfD is taboo in Germany, and any shift to the right in the CDU would alienate the party's junior coalition partner, the center-left Social Democrats.

Potential successors to Kramp-Karrenbauer include Health Minister Jens Spahn and North Rhine-Westphalia Gov. Armin Laschet, both seen as moderates. Also in the running is Friedrich Merz, a CDU veteran sidelined by Merkel before she became chancellor 15 years ago, who is positioning himself to the party's right. Merkel's spokesman said Kramp-Karrenbauer's departure did not have Merkel reconsidering her decision to not seek a fifth term. Peter Weber

August 22, 2016

In the wake of stabbing attacks and a shooting rampage last month, the German government is planning to tell citizens they should prepare themselves for a catastrophic event by having a stockpile of food and water, a German newspaper reports.

On Sunday, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung said the Interior Ministry has prepared a 69-page "Concept for Civil Defense" that states the "population will be obliged to hold an individual supply of food for 10 days" and have enough drinking water to last five days. This would be the first time Germany issues such an order since the end of the Cold War.

The paper says the report calls for Germans to "prepare appropriately for a development that could threaten our existence and cannot be categorically ruled out in the future," and says there needs to be a better plan in place to protect buildings and offer mental health support. An Interior Ministry spokesman said the cabinet will discuss the plan on Wednesday, but he would not share any other details. Catherine Garcia

January 1, 2016

German authorities shut down and evacuated Munich's main train stations on New Year's Eve after receiving a "very concrete" tip that Islamic State suicide bombers were planning a suicide bomb attack at a train station at midnight.

Police said Friday the stations are open again, and Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann told the Bavarian state broadcaster BR "the situation has eased a bit again" and authorities "have nothing concrete about a place or time." A police spokeswoman said the tip came from the French secret service, the BBC reports. Tensions have been high in Europe since the Nov. 13 terror attacks that killed 130 people in Paris. Brussels, Belgium, canceled its New Year's Eve fireworks over security concerns. Harold Maass

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