GA English on Sunday News in brief from Bonn and the region

Bonn/Cologne · This Sunday’s news in brief includes stormy weather forecast for today, a preview of a meeting on the future of Bonn and an increase in the number of late trains in the region and drug-related deaths in NRW.

Storm warnings for Bonn and the region

On Sunday, the German Weather Service issued an official warning for strong to gale-force winds of up to 110 kilometers per hour for Bonn and the region. There is a danger of trees becoming uprooted and caution is advised as that there may be falling debris. Already on Saturday, a walnut tree fell in the backyard of a family living in Hennef. Shortly before, children had been celebrating a birthday there.

A tree also fell against an apartment building in Bonn-Tannenbusch. According to the German Weather Service, the wind is increasing from the southwest this morning. Thunderstorms are expected in the afternoon and evening. The warning is valid overnight until Monday. At night, the wind is expected to weaken to wind gusts between 50 and 75 kilometers per hour. In the coming days, the German Weather Service expects the weather to remain unstable and rather uncomfortable. Orig. text: Translation: ck

Meeting on the future of the region

BONN. Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan has invited some local officials and representatives from many levels of government, including European parliament, to discuss the future of Bonn and the region. The meetings will take place behind closed doors at the Old Town Hall on March 25. Participants will try to adopt a joint paper for talks with the federal government, with the goal of establishing a plan for steady development for the region instead of a continual reduction of ministerial posts in Bonn. The region should become more of an administrative hub for the German Federal Government and a center of excellence for science, sustainability, international affairs, development cooperation and IT security. Establishing "new national and international institutions" is proposed by the city, districts and states. "At the end of March, we want to finalize our negotiating positions in the working group," said Sridharan. He said he had already held preliminary talks on the matter with the German government. Orig. text: Andreas Baumann Translation: ck

Punctuality decreases for regional trains

COLOGNE. The punctuality of regional trains in the Cologne/Bonn area leaves much to be desired. In 2018, the regional express and regional trains and trams were less reliable than in the previous year. The information comes from punctuality statistics presented by the Rheinland Local Transportation Association (NVR) on Friday. On average, all trips were delayed by two minutes and 15 seconds. This is seven percent more than in 2017, when the average rate was two minutes and six seconds. In 2016 it was one minute and 50 seconds. The report blames the punctuality problems on increasing congestion of the entire network, aggravated by construction work on the right side of the Rhine. A fire on a Cologne-Frankfurt ICE train added to the problems, causing weeks of closure and diversions for long-distance trains. Orig. text: Dominik Pieper Translation: ck

More drug deaths in NRW

DÜSSELDORF. The number of drug-related deaths has risen significantly in North Rhine-Westphalia. Last year, 240 people died as a result of the consumption of illegal drugs, reported the NRW State Criminal Police Office in response to an inquiry from the German Press Agency. This was 18 percent or 37 deaths more than in the previous year, when 203 drug deaths were registered. The increase was due to a marked increase in deaths among long-term users. Until a few years ago, the number of drug-related deaths had fallen considerably, but it has increased since then. Ten years ago, in 2008, 380 drug deaths had been recorded nationwide. Between 2010 and 2015, their numbers had fallen by more than a third (36 per cent), but then the trend reversed itself. The statistics cover the use of prohibited substances such as heroin and cocaine. Deaths from alcohol and tobacco consumption are not counted. Orig. text: dpa Translation: ck

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