German Town Bans Circumcision

A case centered around a 4-year-old Muslim boy who developed medical complications after he was circumcised has prompted a court to ban the procedure on young boys in Cologne, Germany, ruling yesterday that the child’s “fundamental right to bodily integrity” trumped their parents’ right to religious freedom.

The judge decided that religious freedom “would not be unduly impaired” because men could decide to have the procedure later in life.

Religious leaders disagree. The Central Council of Jews in Germany decried it as “an unprecedented and dramatic intrusion” on religious communities. “In every country in the world is this religious right respected,” its president said. The ruling is only binding for that specific court’s jurisdiction, but it might discourage doctors across Germany from performing circumcisions. One German law professor hopes so. “Hopefully a discussion will begin,” he says, “about how much religiously motivated violence against children a society is ready to tolerate.”

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Euro 2012 semifinals: Germany vs. Italy

The Euro 2012 semifinals conclude on Thursday with a match between tournament-favorite Germany and Italy, with the Germans as -120 favorites and Italy at +340 on WagerWeb.com.

The Germans have been dominant thus far, the only team with a perfect nine points in group play and then dominating Greece 4-2 in the quarterfinals. Star Mario Gomez is tied for the tournament lead with three goals – he only entered the Greece match as an 80th-minute substitute. The Germans are looking for their eighth finals berth and fourth title – they are the only country with three.

Germany central midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger will be available to play vs. Italy. Schweinsteiger has complained of a lingering ankle injury and had raised doubts about his fitness. But coach Joachim Low said Tuesday all of his players will be ready to face Italy in Warsaw, including Schweinsteiger.

The Bayern Munich player has started all four matches and made some uncharacteristic bad passes in the quarterfinal against Greece. Low, who has tinkered with his lineup and changed the three-man forward line in the 4-2 win over Greece, did not rule out another reshuffle.

Low’s side has won a record 15 successive competitive games, breaking the 14-match international record previously held by Spain (2010-11), France (2002-04) and the Netherlands (2008-2010). The Germans appear to be improving all the time, with a high-tempo passing game based on the driving midfield trio of Sami Khedira, Schweinsteiger and Mesut Ozil.

Italy, meanwhile, advanced with a thrilling 4-2 shootout win over England in the quarterfinals in the only match of this tournament that ended scoreless. Italy only has won twice in four matches of this tournament, drawing the other two. Italy has won just one of their last seven games in regulation time. That victory, over the Republic of Ireland in group play, ended a national-record run of six games without a victory in major final tournaments for the Azzurri.

Germany may have won five of their six UEFA European Championship semifinals, but they have never beaten Italy in a competitive match. The Azzurri have won four of those seven contests, including the 2006 FIFA World Cup semifinal held in Germany, and the 1982 World Cup final. Italy have also progressed from two of their three UEFA European Championship semifinals, but have yet to score a goal in any of those games.

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Euro 2012 quarterfinals betting: Germany vs. Greece

Friday’s quarterfinal match at Euro 2012 looks to be a major mismatch as tournament favorite Germany faces the longest shot of the eight teams remaining, Greece. The Germans are big +330 favorites on WagerWeb.com with Greece at +900.

Greece wasn’t even supposed to be here but shocked Russia 1-0 last Saturday in Group A to finish runner-up in that group. Germany won Group B and was the only team with a perfect nine points in group play. The Germans are bidding to win a fourth European title and having won their three pool matches against Holland, Portugal and Denmark, plus all 10 qualifiers en route to the quarters.

Germany is at full strength for this match. Defender Jerome Boateng is available after serving a one-match ban and is set to take over from Lars Bender at right-back, in what is likely to be the only change to the side that beat Denmark 2-1 on Sunday.

Greece coach Fernando Santos will be without captain Giorgos Karagounis and Jose Holebas, who are both suspended, while goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias is unlikely to recover from his hamstring injury in time. Sotiris Ninis could be drafted in to replace Karagounis, or, alternatively, Santos may opt for the more experienced Giorgos Fotakis.

The Germans have never lost to Greece, winning five matches and drawing three. Germany is 4-0 all-time in quarterfinals matches in this tournament and all four times eventually advanced to the final.

German striker Mario Gomez is joint-top scorer of the tournament with three goals along with Russia’s Alan Dzagoev and Mario Mandzukic of Croatia. Germany allowed just two goals in its three group play matches.

Greece has scored just once in each of its last eight games, winning just twice during that stretch. Greece’s only quarterfinal appearance at a major tournament was a 1-0 triumph over France at Euro 2004, a competition the Greeks shockingly went on to win.

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Luka Magnotta Extradited Back To Canada

Luka Magnotta, the Canadian porn actor suspected in the killing and dismemberment of a Chinese student, is on his way back to Canada via military transport from Germany, where he was arrested this month.

Magnotta did not fight his extradition. He is suspected of killing Jun Lin and sending body parts to Canadian political parties and schools. The head is still missing.

Investigators say Magnotta posted a video online showing him having sex with the dismembered corpse.

“The Government of Canada thanks the Government of Germany for their swift and decisive action in this matter,” Nicholson said in the statement. Nicholson said they would have no further comment.

Magnotta was caught reading stories about himself at an Internet cafe in Berlin earlier this month after he spent a few days partying in Paris.

Lin’s torso was found last month in a suitcase at a garbage dump in Montreal outside Magnotta’s apartment building.

The case first emerged when a package containing a severed foot was opened at Canada’s ruling Conservative Party headquarters on May 29. That same day, a hand was discovered at a postal facility, addressed to the Liberal Party of Canada.

About a week later, a foot and hand were found mailed to two schools in Vancouver. Police said notes were included in most of the packages but declined to say what they said.

Magnotta is wanted for first-degree murder, defiling a corpse, threatening the prime minister and using the mail system for delivering “obscene, indecent, immoral or scurrilous” material.

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“Forest Boy” A Scam, Facing Fraud Charges

“Forest Boy”, the mysterious teenager who showed up in Berlin last year with “no idea” who he was, has been identified as Robin Van Helsum, a 20-year-old from the Netherlands who had been reported missing by his family days before his appearance in Germany.

Authorities identified Van Helsum—who had claimed to be a 17-year-old named Ray who had spent the last five years living in a forest—after releasing the first photograph of him; friends recognized it. “He has admitted that he is a fraud,” an officer tells the Telegraph.

Van Helsum admitted that he actually ran away from his home town and arrived in Berlin via train, wanting “a new life,” the officer says. “He didn’t go anywhere near a forest.” German authorities apparently always had doubts about his story, but attempts to identify him via DNA tests, linguistic studies, and Interpol inquiries failed. He may face fraud charges, since he received “money, clothes, housing, and education” to the tune of nearly $8,000 per month from Germany.

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Euro 2012 preview: Germany

Germany reached the final at Euro 2008 and the semifinals at the World Cup two years later, and they should be getting better. Bastian Schweinsteiger has become the heart of the team, but Thomas Mueller, Mario Gomez and Mesut Oezil are the ones most likely to provide the goals

The Germans are the second favorites to Spain at WagerWeb.com and say they are more than willing to on Spain, which it lost to in the World Cup semifinals in South Africa.

“The Spaniards have a strong team, but we’ve gotten closer. We’ve gotten better,” Oezil said. “Our goal is to win the title.”

To do that, Germany first has to get out of the toughest group of the tournament, Group B, having been drawn with the Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark — all four of which are ranked in the top 10 by FIFA.

Few teams rolled over their qualifying group the way Germany did, going 10-0. In the process, they hit 31 goals and conceded just seven over the 10 games. Belgium appeared to be the only team of consistently putting up a fight, including Germany’s closest win, a mere 1-0 victory back in its first qualifying game on Sept. 3, 2010.

Germany have been of the best sides to implement the 4-2-3-1 system in recent years under Joachim Löw. Their high-intensity, high-pressing game is perfect for the likes of Lukas Podolski and Muller, who play in close proximity to main striker Gomez. The FC Bayern hit-man seems to have shrugged off the threat of Miroslav Klose and has scored 49 goals in all competitions this season. Mesut Özil is the third part of the four-man attack but tends to drop a little deeper than either Müller or Podolski so he can receive the ball from midfield.

Injury, loss of form and the traumatic Champions League final defeat made it a difficult season for Bayern Munich’s midfield general Schweinsteiger, but “a new beginning” with the national team promises to bring out the best of him. Schweinsteiger, 27, dictates the rhythm and tempo of the team and can come up with useful shots from distance to boot.

Bayern Munich’s Champions League final defeat at the hands of Chelsea was hardly ideal preparation for the tournament. Can the eight Bayern players in Löw’s squad recover mentally? And how will a team full of players who are still chasing their first international trophy deal with the pressure that comes with being seen as a favorite alongside Spain?

If the Germans don’t win the trophy in Kiev on July 1, the 16-year streak will at least match the longest spell since won its first major title at the 1954 World Cup.

WagerWeb.com odds to win Euro 2012: +300

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (FC Bayern München), Tim Wiese (SV Werder Bremen), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96).

Defenders: Holger Badstuber (FC Bayern München), Jérôme Boateng (FC Bayern München), Benedikt Höwedes (FC Schalke 04), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund), Philipp Lahm (FC Bayern München), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal FC).

Midfielders: Lars Bender (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Toni Kroos (FC Bayern München), Thomas Müller (FC Bayern München), Mesut Özil (Real Madrid CF), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid CF), Marco Reus (VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach), André Schürrle (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Bastian Schweinsteiger (FC Bayern München), Mario Götze (Borussia Dortmund), İlkay Gündoğan (Borussia Dortmund).

Forwards: Miroslav Klose (S.S. Lazio), Mario Gomez (FC Bayern München), Lukas Podolski (1. FC Köln).

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Respected German hacking group claims new trojan virus knowingly released by German government

The Chaos Computer Club (CCC) a very well respected German group of hackers have released a report claiming that the German government has knowingly released a backdoor trojan and keylogger into the wild and it is intended as a way to spy on its citizens.

The German government hasn’t responded yet but the trojan, which has been examined by the CCC, is capable of siphoning off intimate data as well as providing methods for remote control of a computer infected with the trojan. As well there is a backdoor opening that will allow for uploading and running of other programs.

Due to this last one the trojan is open to being upgraded as newer versions are created and released. One of the features available in the current version of the trojan is the ability to turn the system microphone and webcam on or off remotely.

Additionally the trojan has been examined by security company F-Secure and they have found that the keylogger included in the trojan will target some specific applications like: MSN Messenger, Firefox, and Skype. F-Secure also found code that allows for the taking of screenshots and recording of audio, including any Skype calls.

F-Secure, unlike Chaos Computer Club, won’t come right out and say that the the German government is behind the trojan; and of course the German government isn’t saying anything at this point.

Story developing…

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Jan O., the German “cannibal killer”, gets life in prison

A 26-year-old German man dubbed the “cannibal killer” after he confessed to eating the flesh and drinking the blood of one of his teenage victims has been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Jan O., whose last name was withheld in accordance with German privacy laws, was convicted in Goettingen state court of two counts of murder Monday for the November slayings of a 14-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy.

During the trial the defendant confessed to licking blood from a wound of the girl and biting flesh from her neck. He killed the boy five days later.

DAPD news agency reports Presiding Judge Ralf Guenther says the murders showed an “almost unimaginable dimension of criminality.”

Defense attorney Markus Fischer says he’s considering an appeal.

(The Huffington Post)

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