Berlin - Germany increases border patrols along migrant ‘smuggling routes’ to Poland and Czech Republic

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany, with a population of over 3.7 million residents. Located in the northeastern part of the country, Berlin is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city that is home to numerous historic landmarks, world-class museums, and a thriving artistic and cultural scene.


The history of Berlin can be traced back to the 13th century when it was founded as a trading town on the banks of the River Spree. Over the years, the city grew in importance and became the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Berlin played a key role in shaping modern German history, as the birthplace of the German Empire in 1871 and the center of political power under the Nazi regime in the 1930s and 1940s.

Following the end of World War II, Berlin became the focal point of the Cold War, as the city was divided into East and West by the construction of the infamous Berlin Wall. The fall of the wall in 1989 marked a turning point in German history, paving the way for reunification and the reestablishment of Berlin as the capital of a unified Germany.

Landmarks and attractions

Today, Berlin is renowned for its rich history, stunning architecture, and world-class museums and attractions. Some of the city’s most popular landmarks and attractions include:

Brandenburg Gate: The most famous monument in Berlin, this iconic landmark was built in the late 18th century and has since become a symbol of Germany’s reunification.

Reichstag: This historic building is home to Germany’s parliament and offers stunning views of the city from its glass dome.

Checkpoint Charlie: Once the most famous border crossing between East and West Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie is now a popular tourist attraction and museum.

Berlin Wall Memorial: Located along the former border between East and West Berlin, this memorial site commemorates the victims of the wall and offers a glimpse into the daily lives of those living in divided Germany.

Museum Island: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to some of Berlin’s most renowned museums, including the Pergamonmuseum, Alte Nationalgalerie, Bode Museum, Neues Museum, and Altes Museum.

Parks and green spaces

In addition to its stunning architecture and historic landmarks, Berlin is also known for its beautiful parks and green spaces. The city is home to over 2,500 public parks and gardens, including:

Tiergarten: One of the largest parks in Berlin, Tiergarten is a popular spot for picnics, walking, and jogging.

Volkspark Friedrichshain: This park offers stunning views of the city and is home to a variety of attractions, including a swimming pool, open-air theater, and children’s playground.

Grunewald Forest: Known as Berlin’s “green lung,” Grunewald Forest is a massive nature reserve that offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and scenic views of the Havel River.

Culture and entertainment

Berlin is also renowned for its vibrant cultural scene, offering a wide range of entertainment and cultural events throughout the year. Some of the city’s most popular cultural attractions include:

Berlin Philharmonic: Considered one of the best orchestras in the world, the Berlin Philharmonic performs regularly at the Philharmonie concert hall in central Berlin.

Berlinale: One of the largest and most prestigious film festivals in the world, the Berlinale attracts filmmakers and movie lovers from around the globe.

Pergamonmuseum: This museum is home to some of the world’s most impressive ancient artifacts, including the stunning Pergamon Altar.


Berlin is also known for its vibrant nightlife, with countless bars, nightclubs, and music venues scattered throughout the city. Some of the city’s most popular nightlife spots include:

Berghain: Widely considered one of the best nightclubs in the world, Berghain is a techno institution that attracts partygoers from around the globe.

Watergate: This upscale nightclub offers stunning views of the Spree River and features world-class DJs and live music.

Kreuzberg: This trendy neighborhood is home to some of the city’s best bars, restaurants, and live music venues, offering a diverse and exciting nightlife scene.


Berlin is a city rich in history, culture, and entertainment, offering something for every type of traveler. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s stunning architecture, diving into its rich cultural scene, or simply enjoying its vibrant nightlife, Berlin is a destination that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

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Ukraine war clouds picture for China’s central and eastern European trade expo

South China Morning Post

23-05-14 12:00

China is hoping to strengthen trade and economic ties with central and eastern European countries (CEEC) at the China-CEEC Expo & International Consumer Goods Fair in Ningbo. However, some countries remain wary of China due to mounting trade and political challenges from Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Lithuania withdrew from a previous framework agreement, as it brought "almost no benefits”. Additionally, Estonia and Latvia quit the mechanism last year. China started blocking Lithuanian goods after the Baltic country was seen to be forging closer ties with Taipei, leading to a trade showdown with the EU. Some analysts suggest China has a "no limits partnership" with Russia, causing CEE countries to view China affairs through a security lens. Despite these challenges, China's foreign direct investment in central and eastern Europe grew by 148% in Q1 2022, with areas including automotive parts, home appliances and pharmaceutical goods attracting "strong investment interest".
Ger­many’s Scholz vows to sup­port Ukraine ‘as long as need­ed’

Al Jazeera

23-05-14 11:57

Germany will support Ukraine as long as it is necessary, according to Chancellor Olaf Scholz. During Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to Berlin – his first since the beginning of the Russian invasion in February last year – Scholz said that Germany will stand with its Ukrainian partners to hold Russia accountable for its “misdeeds”. Germany announced a military aid package of €2.7bn ($3bn), which is its largest since the start of the war between Russia and Ukraine and includes tanks, armoured personnel carriers and reconnaissance drones. The German announcement comes amid speculation that Ukraine might try to capture areas in Russia in order to use as bargaining chips in possible peace negotiations.
Ukraine updates: Russia hits hometown of Eurovision duo

Deutsche Welle

23-05-14 10:54

Russia launched cruise missiles and Iranian-made kamikaze drones at Ukrainian targets overnight, with drones and missiles launched from aircraft and Black Sea warships, according to the Ukrainian Air Force. Most of the 25 drones launched were of the Iranian Shahed-136/131 type, and three cruise missiles were fired. Ukrainian defences shot down all the drones and missiles, apart from two rockets that hit the city of Ternopil. Russian has increased the number of missile and drone attacks this month, with Ukraine attributing the spike to Moscow's fear of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Syria invited to Arab League meeting, despite war crimes

Deutsche Welle

23-05-14 10:50

Syria will attend the upcoming meeting of the Arab League, hosted by Saudi Arabia on May 19, following a decision made in Cairo earlier this month to allow the country back into the 22-member group. Syria was suspended from the body in 2011 after its peaceful revolution turned into war. The decision comes as Arab League members start to rebuild connections with the authoritarian Assad regime, in the hope of diminishing Iran’s influence. But human rights groups and Syrian civil society organizations have accused the organization of welcoming back a government that has committed numerous human rights abuses and war crimes, including the use of chemical weapons. The Syrian Network for Human Rights claims that between December 2012 and November 2022, the Syrian government carried out 217 chemical weapons attacks on its opponents, killing at least 1,500 people, among them 205 children and 250 women, and injuring a further 12,000 people. The country’s drug trade, including the production of the highly addictive Captagon, is thought to be worth between $3bn and $5bn.
LIVE — Ukraine's Zelenskyy thanks Germany for support

Deutsche Welle

23-05-14 10:47

The German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has pledged ongoing support to Ukraine as it seeks to repel Russian attacks, following a meeting with Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in Berlin. A new aid package worth €2.7bn included 30 of Germany’s Leopard tanks, fighting vehicles, reconnaissance drones and air defence systems, along with a commitment for over €15bn in humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine over the last five years. Ukraine continues to push for longer term goals, including joining European structures and transatlantic alliances such as NATO. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy will be awarded the prestigious Charlemagne Prize on 13 February.
In European Tour, Zelensky Reaps Billions More in Promised Military Aid

NY Times

23-05-15 23:00

Germany has pledged to give Ukraine a nearly $3 billion package of weapons, as well as making less concrete promises of additional weapons from France and Italy. The United States remains by far the largest supplier of weapons to Ukraine but support for Ukraine in the US is likely to come under pressure. US white house officials have said privately that they remain confident they have bipartisan support in Congress to continue helping Ukraine in the near term. The European Union package of aid includes long-range missiles, attack drones and tanks, and other armoured vehicles, which will fulfill many but not all the demands for weapons that Ukraine has said it needs for a counteroffensive. Military analysts have said the European reinforcements make it highly likely that Ukrainian troops forces will soon strike back at Russian forces that control the country’s south. The European Union's show of support for Ukraine underscores that the war is in a pivotal phase, with Ukrainian forces massing for a counteroffensive that could set the terms for any future negotiation with Russia.
Where next? Vermont shrinks housing program for homeless people as advocates raise alarm

The Toronto Star

23-05-15 22:05

Vermont is set to end its hotel housing for homeless people amid a lack of federal funding, a move which advocates warned will leave many people without options. There are roughly 1,800 households living free in hotels and motels, with a great many facing serious difficulties in transitioning to the streets. The lack of resources in Montpelier, Barre, and Berlin has made it harder to effectively meet the needs of people living without housing. Vermont unveiled an emergency housing plan during the pandemic, but it was never meant to be a long-term solution.
Ukraine cannot win on promises alone


23-05-15 22:00

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been meeting with heads of government in Germany, France, and the UK to seek out increased assistance for his war effort. As the conflict enters a critical phase, Kyiv is preparing for a counter-offensive, but Zelensky has played down expectations of an imminent mass advance, stating that it is likely to be a sequence of manoeuvres. It is essential that Ukraine launches the counter-offensive from a position of strength with as much of the promised weaponry from NATO delivered as possible. However, the greatest unknown is Russia's air power. The Kremlin has thus far failed to use its air power effectively above Ukrainian-held territory, but without more fighters and bombers, Ukraine may struggle to hold their positions. The biggest immediate issue is whether to expedite Ukraine's membership of NATO, to which Germany in particular remains opposed.
Ukraine hails first gains in six months as Zelenskyy secures drones from U.K.

Japan Times

23-05-16 03:45

Ukraine announces its first significant advances against Russian aggression in six months in the battle for Bakhmut, the longest-lasting conflict of the war. Ukraine plans to launch a counteroffensive to recapture the sixth of Ukraine's territories that Moscow claims to have annexed and says it will utilize new tanks and armored vehicles sent by Western countries. During his visit to London, President Zelenskyy received pledges of new long-range drones and fighter jets from Britain, and in his tour of Paris, Zelenskyy secured further significant military upholding from France. The Kremlin has dismissed these weapons' additions and has vowed to continue its "special military operation".
Zelensky’s Europe ‘love fest’ points to worries over another Trump presidency

South China Morning Post

23-05-16 03:44

As Russia's war on Ukraine enters a potentially decisive phase, Ukraine is concerned the US may no longer be its ally, having been its chief supporter since the beginning of the conflict. Former President Donald Trump has caused some nervousness among Europe's capitals by refusing to express hopes for a Ukrainian victory, creating uncertainty for Ukraine regarding Joe Biden's administration's pledge of full-throated support. Ukrainian President Zelensky recently went on a three-day four-country tour visiting Western European capitals, focused on both arms supply and political support for the country. While in Europe, Zelensky received strategic aid for the escalating war between Ukraine and Russia, but failed to secure assurances of immediate delivery of fighter jets or a nod from NATO to its long-standing application to join the influential military alliance.
Germany: 5 sentenced to prison for 100-million-euro jewelry heist

The Toronto Star

23-05-16 08:56

Five men have been convicted and sentenced to prison over the theft of 21 18th-century jewels from the Green Vault Museum in Dresden in 2019. They were given sentences of between four years and four months to six years and three months and were convicted of various crimes, including particularly aggravated arson in combination with dangerous bodily injury and theft with weapons. The five men set fire to a car in a nearby garage to cut off power to the street lamps outside the museum.
Deutsche Bahn battles crisis amid €49 ticket launch

Deutsche Welle

23-05-16 08:38

Deutsche Bahn (DB), Germany's state-owned rail company, has been criticised for delays, losses and debt. DB trains were late one-third of the time last year and the company has also struggled in its freight and cargo business. Passengers have been affected by the poor service, including overcrowded trains and expensive tickets. DB is €30bn ($32.6bn) in debt and has battled industrial disputes. Its network is old and has needed investment in infrastructure for some time. The company has reduced its railway network by around 20% since 1994 and reduced the number of railroad switches. Network capacity is now a problem with trains running at nearly full capacity. While criticism of DB has increased, the German government has pledged to invest €45bn in DB by 2027. The hope is to revitalise and retrofit the network and achieve climate neutrality by 2045. A recently launched €49 monthly ticket covering all transport networks across Germany's regions also aims to persuade people to use public transport.
Five men convicted of audacious Dresden jewel heist


23-05-16 08:27

Five members of a notorious criminal family network have been found guilty of stealing over £98m ($134m) worth of jewels from Germany’s Green Vault museum in 2019. The men face sentences of up to six years. CCTV footage showed the gang, who live in Berlin, wearing masks and wielding axes as they smashed glass display cases before spraying a foam fire extinguisher in the museum room to cover their tracks. Although items have been returned, several pieces including a rare diamond have not been recovered, and are unlikely to be.
German court hands sentences to Dresden Green Vault suspects

Deutsche Welle

23-05-16 08:17

Five members of Berlin's Remmo family were handed prison sentences of between four years and four months and six years and three months by a district court in Dresden after being found guilty of raiding one of Europe's largest collections of treasures. The 2019 theft from the Green Vault was one of the most shocking heists in German history. Some 4,300 diamonds and other precious stones were stolen from 21 jewellery items estimated to be worth around €113m ($122m) but viewed by many as priceless. The defendants conducted reconnaissance missions and caused considerable damage before escaping to Berlin with some of the haul.
Council of Europe leaders gather to show united face against Russia


23-05-16 13:06

The Council of Europe (CoE) summit, being held in Reykjavik, Iceland, has considered holding Russia legally responsible for the death and destruction caused by its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The summit, only the fourth in the CoE’s 70-year history, has seen the suspension of Russia’s membership as a direct result of the invasion. Attendees have discussed possible measures against Russia, including the creation of a dedicated tribunal to try leaders and commanders in The Hague, and the establishment of a register to record the damage caused by Russia.
Five men convicted over audacious £100m jewel heist in Germany

The Independent

23-05-16 12:53

The Dresden state court has sentenced five members of the 'Remmo Clan' criminal gang to between four years and three months for stealing jewels worth over €113m in a heist on Dresden's Green Vault Museum, one of the most spectacular thefts in Germany. Police have recovered many of the stolen jewels, including a diamond-encrusted sword, a breast star of the Polish Order of the White Eagle, and an ornate diamond headdress, but fears remain that other items may be lost forever. The five convicted men were also found guilty of arson, damage to property, and intentional arson.
5 men jailed over US$123 million jewellery heist from German museum

South China Morning Post

23-05-16 10:54

Members of the so-called "Remmo clan," an extended family known for ties to organized crime in Germany, were sentenced to up to six years in prison, after being found guilty of stealing from the Green Vault museum in Dresden in November 2019. The thieves stole US $123 million worth of jewels from the museum, one of Europe's oldest, in what local media have dubbed the biggest art heist in modern history. Although prosecutors were able to recover some, but not all, of the loot, many of the pieces were badly damaged, with some still missing.
German court convicts five men for $100 million jewel heist in 2019

Washington Post

23-05-16 10:05

Members of the Remmo clan have been sentenced to between four years and six years in prison for a daring $108m heist in 2019 which saw a break-in at Dresden’s Royal Palace’s Green Vault museum, on of Europe’s most notorious and daring jewel heists ever. Several missing valuable pieces are still to be recovered, including a breast star of the Polish Order of the White Eagle, a jewel-encrusted sword and an ornate headpiece covered in 4,300 diamonds. The case has seen six members of the clan arrested with a further 40 believed to have been involved and still at large. The Remmo gang is believed to be part of Berlin’s clannish organised crime scene that survives often by working in family groups. The sentence meted out to them is seen as relatively lenient, particularly given what it seen as the gang’s failure to cover its tracks – an electric saw that ultimately failed to penetrate the alarm-proof display case is seen by many to have been left behind deliberately as a red herring. Reactions to the sentencing suggest it might not discourage other crime families from getting involved in such criminality.
Five Ger­man gang mem­bers sen­tenced for Green Vault jew­el heist

Al Jazeera

23-05-16 16:45

Five members of the notorious “Remmo clan” extended family have been sentenced to up to six years in prison for stealing priceless 18th-century jewels from the Gruenes Gewoelbe, a Dresden museum once owned by Augustus the Strong. German police have recovered most of the $123m worth of stolen artefacts, including a breast star of the Polish Order of the White Eagle and an ornate diamond headdress. However, the court has been criticised for granting the defendants plea deals which allowed them to avoid naming their accomplices. A sixth family member was acquitted in the case, which has been dubbed the biggest art heist in modern history.