Germany and France’s new COVID-19 lockdown measures are less stringent than those implemented in April and May, but will still hurt their already struggling economies. Similar action elsewhere in the eurozone would lead to a slower recovery across the currency area and open the door to social unrest, as well as long-term financial instability. Germany and France have announced nationwide lockdown measures in a bid to slow the rate of COVID-19 infection in their countries and prevent their hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. They are also trying to reduce infections during November so that restrictions on movement can be relaxed ahead of Christmas. While Berlin and Paris said their measures were time-limited, an extension was possible given the high number of infections in both countries. …
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Germany’s rebuke comes amid an overwhelming wave of anti-government protests in Thailand. On Monday night, thousands of protesters gathered in front of the German embassy in Bangkok, where they give you a letter to the German ambassador who urged his government to revoke the residency status of the king and declare him persona non grata. It cited what it described as the forced disappearance of opposition members from German soil – and it was supported by a public petition signed by more than 210,000 people.
It is worth remembering that all of this took place in a country where there were harsh punishments against anyone who dared criticize the king.
A week ago, I had a long chat with Frithjof Schmidt, member of the German parliament for the Green Party. A few weeks ago, he called on the government to carry out an official investigation into the status of the king in Germany – in particular, whether Vajiralongkorn had violated German sovereignty by exercising royal authority during his stay. Schmidt told me that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was investigating the case and that the government could move quickly if it decided the king’s actions were inappropriate.
Thai activists in Germany have offered to provide evidence that Vajiralongkorn has been running government business from German soil. They plan to hand over a series of Royal Gazettes to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which verifies that Vajiralongkorn approved, supported and ratified official documents during his stay in Germany.
Apart from violating German sovereignty, the activity also raises the question of whether documents signed in a foreign land are valid under Thai law.
Schmidt told me that, regardless of his status, Vajiralongkorn is prohibited from engaging in any political activity in Germany.
The political crisis in Thailand has spiraled out of control as the focus has shifted to monarchy. After the 2014 military coup, the European Union penalty that ruler of the junta, including a freeze on bilateral trade negotiations with Thailand. Incidentally, Germany currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union. The controversy surrounding Vajiralongkorn’s stay in Germany adds a new twist to Thailand-EU relations. Schmidt, a member of the German parliament, told me that the EU will hold trade talks as long as the military blocks democratization. If the government decides to use force against the protesters, said Schmidt, Germany will ask the European Union to impose new sanctions on Thailand.
Meanwhile, in Bangkok, protests escalated rapidly even though there were no core leaders, most of whom were detained. Despite growing calls for monarchy reform, Vajiralongkorn has remained silent, signaling his humiliation – apart from being briefly on 23 October. when he’s caught on camera praised a royalist who publicly opposed the protesters.
Inside parliament, the opposition party started a special session to attack Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. They demanded his resignation. The simultaneous attacks, one against the monarchy in the streets and the other against the government in parliament, put enormous pressure on the old institution. The situation intensified as hardline royalists, dressed in yellow, took to the streets to defend the monarchy, often by force. Bloody clashes occurred in a number of locations.
This situation harks back to tragic days in 1976, when students at Thammasat University were killed by the cruel monarchs. The difference this time around is that Thai society is much better informed about the role of the monarchy in politics, including the extent to which it has long been involved in politics. Another difference is the importance of international actors. While the United States has sided with monarchies in the past, Germany has grown increasingly critical of the monarch.
The protesters want a constitutional monarchy. If that wish is thwarted, Thailand could head in a more radical direction. When protest leader Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul was arrested recently, he said, “If our ten points are thrown away, then I will only sue for one.” What he meant was: If the current demonstrators’ demands for reform are ignored, they will ask Thailand to become a full republic.
SonoScape Medical Corporation support extends further into the community. Recently, a group of 10,000 class N95 masks arrived German and donated to BNG (“Berufsverband Niedergelassener Gastroenterologen”, Professional Association of Resident Gastroenterologists). Always committed, SonoScape stands side by side with patients and doctors, to provide the best accessible patient care solutions, and together to face the uncertainties ahead.
Collaboration between SonoScape and doctors at German don’t stop here. Since the pandemic, webinars have become the most adopted medium of communication. The fast and urgent trend of digitization continues to climb, now CME points can be accredited through online participation. On two different occasions in the past month, SonoScape supports BNG in broadcasting live broadcasts in German, launching a series of training sessions where participants can also earn credits. The four lecturers are devoted professors, either affiliated with prestigious German universities or senior leadership at BNG.
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Amazon’s “brandgating” practice excludes other retailers when manufacturers like Apple sell their devices for a service that is being investigated by the German Federal Cartel Office.
As the Federal Cartel Office continues monitor disputes between Apple and Epic Games, its antitrust investigators also plan to focus on a deal between Apple and Amazon. Called “brandgating”, it concerns a practice that is alleged to prevent competition between smaller vendors.
“Brandgating agreements can help protect against piracy of products,” said the Federal Cartel Office in a statement seen by Bloomberg. “But these measures must be proportionate to be in line with antitrust rules and must not result in eliminating competition.”
Brandgating is when Amazon will remove independent resellers when the brand owner, in this case Apple, sells through the Amazon store. Amazon is Apple’s official reseller, and since early 2019, Amazon has blocked third-party companies from selling the same items.
Apple’s position is that it helps prevent counterfeiting, which it previously implied was a significant problem. “We work closely with Amazon to protect our customers from counterfeit products and provide confidence that they receive genuine Apple products out of the box,” said a spokesman.
“The safety of our customers is our top priority, and our team continues to work with law enforcement, retailers, and e-commerce sites around the world to remove counterfeit products from the market,” continued Apple.
This is not the first time that Apple and Amazon have been subject to German FTC surveillance. A similar investigation in early 2017 brought the two companies to an end exclusive audiobook deals.
In a separate case, Italian Authority has also investigated Apple and Amazon for excluding independent retailers. L’Autorit Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) – previously investigating Apple over “planned obsolescence“and battery slows down – even raided the offices of both companies in July.
“This investigation aims to ascertain whether Apple and Amazon have entered into a deal that limits competition,” AGCM said at the time (in translation). “[It is alleged that they] prohibits the sale of Apple and Beats-branded products by electronics retailers who do not participate in an authorized Apple program. “
Germany will once again close swimming pools for public use and halt amateur sports, starting Monday, November 2, as part of new lockdown measures to tackle a nationwide rise in coronavirus cases.
While professionals who train outside the national centers in Germany will continue to be able to train, as they have done for much of the pandemic, the latest setback will hit most sports: fitness competitors and age groups across the country.
“Given the extremely successful efforts to realize water sports in all its aspects through complex hygiene concepts and function well despite the pandemic, disappointment is understandable to everyone who now has to do it without heavy brakes. These restrictions hit people from young to old as well as their clubs very hard. This decision is exacerbating the problem at all levels, “he explained Uwe Brinkmann, Vice President of the German Swimming Association (DSV). “However, it is now important to tackle the challenge with team spirit and endure it, despite the calls for protest. Because so far sport has not been identified as a trigger for infection, but as an important part of social life, it cannot be separated from other events. “
Brinkmann said professional sports could continue in November but without spectators.
The German Swimming Federation (DSV) has 580,000 members, which is more than their American counterparts at USA Swimming.
Germany has canceled the 2020 German Swimming Championships scheduled to start Thursday in Berlin due to the ongoing pandemic, and last week postponed the start of the Bundesliga professional water polo league and the Supercup national water polo league.
Other new restrictions in Germany include closing bars and restaurants to visitors, and forcing professional athletes in all sports (including the expensive Bundesliga in football) to play in front of empty stadiums. The theater, gym and comic studio will also be closed.
The restrictions also limit the number of public gatherings, although supermarkets, shops, schools and child care centers will remain open, Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
“In a few weeks we will reach the limits of our health system,” Merkel said at a news conference. “It is very clear that we must act, and act now, to prevent a national health crisis.”
He said that while the restrictions were “burdensome” for a tired society, they were also “necessary” after German hospitals saw patient numbers double in the past 10 days. These restrictions are not as stringent as those seen at the start of the pandemic, although with winter weather regulation and reduced comfort to outdoor activities, they can become severe.
Coupled with the new restrictions, small and medium-sized businesses affected by the closure will be compensated for losses of up to 75 percent thanks to a financial assistance package worth up to 10 billion euros.
Germany recorded 16,202 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, a new record high. It is also more than double the peak of the country’s ‘first wave’ of around 7,000 daily cases at the end of March. As seen by the worldwide spike, deaths caused by COVID-19 have increased, but are still below the pandemic’s starting high. This trend is partly due to improvements in the treatment of viral diseases.
8 of the country’s top swimmers are currently in Budapest, Hungary participating in the International Swimming League season. The list includes Philip Heintz, Kathrin Demler, Ramon Klenz, Marius Kusch, Christian Diener, Jacob Heidtmann, Marco Koch, and Damian Wierling.
Other European countries have faced a similar setback with their sporting culture. Italy, for example, announced on Sunday the closure of many sports facilities. Giusy Cisale of SwimSwam Italy said that FIN, the national regulatory body there, has given permission for all members of the age category and all disciplines to continue training, an authority given to them by the federal government. However, these athletes have had a hard time finding facilities to train in, given the economy of keeping the pool open to fewer users than usual.