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GA English on Sunday: News in Brief from Bonn and the Region

GA English on Sunday : News in Brief from Bonn and the Region

A potential explosive nail device was found in a train in Cologne but was not found to be dangerous, employees are still disappointed at the closure of the Bonn branch of Karstadt on 17 October, a drugdealer in Bonn received six kilos of marijuana delivered by parcel post, and there is justifiable disappointment in Beuel regarding the lack of progress from the city about the S13 extension – here is our news in brief on Sunday.

The all-clear is given after a potential explosive device was found in a train in Cologne

Cologne. A homemade bomb was found in a parked train in Cologne during the night to Saturday, but the police announced on Saturday afternoon that there was no danger from the explosive device after specialists had examined the bomb. The Cologne police gave the all-clear after finding a suspicious object in a train parked on the siding at the Cologne-Deutzerfeld station.

A cleaner had discovered the suspicious object in the regional train that had previously travelled from Gummersbach to Cologne. The police immediately called in specialists from the federal police. According to the analysis of the specialists from the LKA NRW, the suspicious object contained nails and a small amount of black powder, among other things. However, the explosive device was not ignitable and posed no danger.

The experts assume that even if the nails had been ignited by an ignition source, they would only have been propelled a few centimetres and a danger to people and property would therefore have been extremely unlikely.

It is still unclear whether this was an unsuccessful terrorist attack, or whether the background was a threat or blackmail. It could be that the explosive device was only deposited at the terminal station in the evening, in order to detonate it with symbolic power on Saturday, the Day of German Unity, the "Bild" newspaper reported.

According to the authorities, the Deutzerfeld area was initially cordoned off by riot police. Federal police specialists had brought the disarmed object into a secured area in the early morning hours, and the explosive device was investigated thoroughly.

On Saturday afternoon, the search of 27 trains at the "Deutzer Feld" depot and an uncoupled train section in Gummersbach continued. In addition to emergency forces, more than 20 explosive detection dogs from North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and the Federal Police were deployed for this purpose.

Initially, the "Bild" newspaper reported on Saturday, citing the police, that the find was an "unconventional explosive and incendiary device", which had been found in a cardboard box. The box had been x-rayed by special forces. The device was then rendered harmless on site.

The Cologne police have started investigations. The regional train concerned had left Gummersbach for Cologne on Friday. Anyone who observed anything suspicious is asked to report to the police urgently.

(Original text, Michael Wrobel)

Employees still disappointed at the closure of the Bonn branch of Karstadt on 17 October

Bonn. Karstadt in Bonn will close on October 17 and some employees are angry and disappointed. "I don't care about anything now," says one woman. Meanwhile, according to the landlord of the property, talks are underway with prospective tenants.

Paul Dederich, who has been working in the Bonn department store on Poststrasse for more than 44 years, said "Karstadt has now become a junk store. "What else is there to do," says another worker, Mrs. Schäfer: "I don't care about anything now," she says. It is tragic, she says, above all to experience the employees' existential fears as deputy works council chairwoman. Only a few of the predominantly younger colleagues had already found a new job; "maybe ten," she estimates. These include Mrs. Müller, who is 26. She began her training at Karstadt eight years ago. She will now start work in an office and is not worried about her future, but what she will miss is the "family" feeling of how people stick together. Dederich also speaks of the "family", which has become increasingly important to him over the years.

It had "quite shaken all colleagues" that even the offer of a 50 per cent reduction in rent by the city as lessor, and Aachener Grundvermögen as landlord for the store, had not led to its continued existence. The third and fourth floors have already been cordoned off with white-red tape. The English consulting firm Gordon Brothers has been in charge of the sell-out since July 20. With signs such as, "We're closing – everything must go", the clearance sale began, which the employees at the cash registers are particular reluctant to remember. "It was hell," says one of them. "If Bonn had shopped like that before, none of this would have happened," she adds disappointedly. Slowly, the floors and shelves are thinning out. Only the discount signs are getting bigger and bigger. There is now a 70 per cent discount not only on Easter, Christmas and carnival articles.

"I just find it very sad" says customer Beate Weule from Alfter. On the other hand, toilet attendant Akuele Tseri from Togo faces the approaching closure with unbroken optimistic laughter. She is happy to have met many nice people among Karstadt customers in the three years in which she has been responsible for keeping the toilets on the fourth floor clean.

The department store group and its subsidiaries are now on the road to recovery. The Essen District Court has suspended the insolvency proceedings. However, the implementation of the reorganisation plans means the end not only for Karstadt in Bonn, but for more than 40 stores and thousands of employees have been laid off.

The Aachener Grundvermögen in Poststraße has apparently not yet signed any lease contracts with one or more potential successors. Spokeswoman Sonja Nees commented on the current status of negotiations with possible interested parties: "We are currently in intensive talks with prospective tenants for the property, as well as with Aldi and the drugstore dm. They operate stores in the basement. The property manager could not say anything about the future use of the property.

Verdi is stunned

According to Verdi, around 165 employees at Karstadt in Bonn are affected by the closure. Parts of the workforce will be able to join a transfer company; all others have received notice as of October 31. "For the employees from the closing houses, despite black figures, offered rent reductions, concessions of the city of Bonn and a great support of the customers by the management, it has been decided to close the store and to dismiss everyone into an uncertain future", announced union secretary Jana Zorn in response to questions from the GA. The takeover opportunities offered by the company in remaining stores left the services union stunned: Although there were employment opportunities in the neighbouring Kaufhof, only jobs in stores several hundred kilometres away were offered. Some Karstadt employees have since filed a lawsuit against Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof. According to Verdi information, conciliation hearings have already been negotiated in court. Further lawsuits will keep the courts busy for the next weeks and months.

(Original text, Stefan Hermes and Philipp Königs)

A drugdealer in Bonn received six kilos of marijuana delivered by parcel post

Bonn-Tannenbusch. On Friday, the Tannenbusch police investigation team had determined that a 29-year-old suspect was engaged in drug dealing from an apartment in Bonn-Tannenbusch where he was not registered. He had apparently given parts of the trade to a 28-year-old man in the north of Bonn. According to the report, this had resulted in "extensive, partly covert measures" by the Criminal Investigation Department 33, which specialises in drug-related crime, and the EC Tannenbusch.

According to the report, the 29-year-old had apparently set up his own mail-order business, which he used as a cover to inconspicuously have parcels sent to him from abroad. When he received a parcel from Spain last Thursday, he and his 44-year-old companion were arrested by officers of the civilian task force and KK 33. The two were taken into custody while detectives conducted searches in Bonn as well as in the Rhine-Erft district. The 28-year-old suspect was also found and arrested. Investigators found marijuana and cocaine in his apartment.

The 44-year-old was released from police custody on Thursday evening. Due to lack of grounds for arrest, the 28-year-old suspect was also released on Friday. The 29-year-old main suspect, on the other hand, was brought before a judge in the afternoon at the request of the Bonn public prosecutor's office for import smuggling, who ordered him to be remanded in custody.

(Original text, ga)

Justifiable disappointment in Beuel regarding the S13 extension

Vilich. The city of Bonn received the citizens' demands regarding the S13 expansion months ago, but at the citizens' meeting in Beuel, the impression was created that hardly anything is happening on the part of the city.

This contrasts enormously with the recent citizen meetings in Beuel. The previous week, the development of the Beuel-East neighbourhood was discussed in the Brückenforum, and last Thursday the topic was the traffic problems in Vilich. The amount of personnel, commitment to the cause and the setting of goals are not nearly comparable, and it is not surprising that the people of Vilich feel disadvantaged.

Either the city administration misjudged the seriousness of the situation in Vilich, or it was not well prepared. The city has had the citizens' demands in writing for months, in the form of citizens' motions. In these, the petitioners made many suggestions for the creation of a construction road, the elimination of parking chaos, traffic routing during the S13 construction period and the location of a sufficiently large parking garage, among other things. Why the administration did not take a stand on this at the meeting remains unclear.

But every cloud has a silver lining: The change of power in Beuel city hall is expected to result in new priorities and goals, especially in transport policy. The Greens will soon present their solutions for the traffic chaos in Vilich, and these will look different than they did under CDU leadership. This means that if the city had already developed a concept, it would probably have to start from scratch again, but that is only a small consolation for Vilich.

(Original text, Holger Willcke)

(Translations, John Chandler)