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Female Bundeswehr soldiers abused and forced to pole-dance A new report details the humiliation and harrassment at a southern German army base. New recruits had to strip down and go through cruel hazing rituals. Germanyʼs defense minister has condemned the actions as repulsive. The Staufer barracks in Pfullendorf, a small town in southern Germany, are a special operations training center for the Bundeswehr, Germanyʼs army. But the gruesome events that have taken place there have absolutely nothing to do with regular soldier training. A new report by the German defense ministry recounts the humiliating steps a female trainee had to go through as part of a sadistic "entrance exam." Nicole E said she was forced by her superiors to pole-dance in the common room of the barracks. In addition to the pole, the likes of which are usually a staple in strip clubs and not Bundeswehr training centers, the lounge also had a bar stocked with hard liquor.

Serial dog thief on the loose in Munich A golden retriever has been reunited with his family after being kidnapped and sold on Ebay to an unsuspecting dog lover. Unidentified livestock professionals are also stealing cows in eastern Germany. The floppy-eared, seven-year-old Luca was returned to his grateful family six days after disappearing near Theodor-Heuss-Platz in east Munich, the local German paper "Merkur" reported on Tuesday. The dogʼs return marked a happy ending to one of a series of dog abductions that has plagued the region for over a year and which police attribute to a single individual who remains at large. Lucaʼs family notified the local police and the Munich animal shelter when Luca failed to return home hours after giving his owner the slip on Friday, February 3."He usually makes his own way home" if he runs off after something to eat or in pursuit of a female dog, Lucaʼs owner Ewa R. told Merkur. "But this time we waited in vain. We were desperate."

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France warns Russia against meddling in presidential election The attacks are seen as a boon to right-wing candidates who support closer ties to Moscow

A French warning to Russia not to interfere in elections comes after cyberattacks against pro-European candidate Emmanuel Macron.

Siemens banks on Mexico for business The German industrial conglomerate has announced a multi-million euro investment in Mexico, saying it is one of the ʼmost interesting marketsʼ despite recent anti-Mexican rhetoric by the new US president Donald Trump. After talks with Mexicoʼs Economics Minister Ildefonso Guarjardo on Tuesday, Siemens chief executive (CEO) Joe Kaeser said his company would invest $200 million (189 million euros) in the Central American country over the next ten years, creating about 1,000 jobs. The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding for the delivery of oil sector equipment to be

sold by Siemens to state-owned Mexican company Pemex. Last year, Mexico began to deregulate its oil industry allowing foreign companies to invest. "[With the investment] we underscore our commitment to Mexico," CEO Kaeser said, adding that the country could "count on Siemens." Mexico has been under pressure from the Trump administration who blames the country for de-industrializing America by attracting US companies by offering low wages and poor working standards. Washington has vowed to curb massive imports from the country by slapping a border tax on products made in Mexico.

Stars of the silver screen descend on London as ʼLa La Landʼ wins Best Film BAFTA Following its Golden Globes success, the musical throwback to the 1950s dominated the BAFTA awards with five gongs, including Best Film. Casey Affleck and Emma Stone picked up the Best Actor and Best Actress awards. The romantic musical "La La Land" dominated the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) on Sunday evening, winning five prizes including Best Picture. Its co-star Emma Stone took home the Best Actress award and Damien Chazelle won Best Director. It also picked up gongs for Best Cinematography and Best Original Music. However, the movieʼs male lead, Ryan Gosling,

couldnʼt take home the Best Actor award. That honor went to Casey Affleck for his role in the drama "Manchester by the Sea." The BAFTAs are often seen as an indicator for who will win big at the Hollywood Academy Awards, held two weeks later. "La La Land," a throwback to the heyday of Hollywood musicals, leads the Oscars race with a record-tying 14 nominations. It also scooped a record six Golden Globes in January. Other major winners on Sunday evening were Dev Patel, who won the award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "Lion," which charts the real-life story of an Indian boy adopted by an Australian couple.

Indonesia cracks down on condom sales on Valentineʼs Day Restrictions on Valentineʼs Day come amid concern over the growing influence of hardline Islam. Local authorities in parts of Indonesia said Valentineʼs Day is against cultural norms. Authorities in parts of Indonesia on Tuesday cracked down on condom sales and banned students from celebrating Valentineʼs Day, saying the romantic holiday encourages unmarried sex and is against cultural norms in the worldʼs most populous Muslim country. Police in the city of Makassar on Sulawesi Island raided supermarkets and seized condoms as part of an operation to warn against selling contraceptives to teenagers and unmarried people. "These raids were done after we received reports from residents that the minimarts were selling condoms in an unregulated way, especially on Valentineʼs Day," Makassar police official Jufri was quoted as saying in a media report.

Police in Hong Kong found guilty of assaulting protestor Seven officers have been found guilty of causing bodily harm to social worker Kenneth Tsang, a prominent pro-democracy advocate. Footage of the attack sparked outrage around the world during 2014ʼs massive protests. Seven police officers in Hong Kong were found guilty on Tuesday of assaulting an activist during the territoryʼs 2014 pro-democracy demonstrations. The charges carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

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Council of Europe accuses Turkey of violating human rights The Council of Europe has accused Ankara of violating human rights by limiting free speech and influencing the judiciary. The human rights commissioner asked Erdoganʼs administration to lift the state of emergency. Nils Muiznieks, the human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe, on Wednesday called on Ankara to "urgently change course" by re-establishing judicial independence and securing citizensʼ right to free speech. "The space for democratic debate in Turkey has shrunk alarmingly following increased judicial harassment of large strata of society, including journalists, members of parliament, academics and ordinary citizens, and government action which has reduced pluralism and led to self-censorship," Muiznieks said in a statement. Muiznieks urged Ankara to revoke the current state of emergency, saying that an attempted coup and terror threats could not justify "an unprecedented infringement of media freedom" or "a clear disavowal of rule of law and due process." The human rights commissionerʼs 25-page report was based on visits to Turkey in April and September 2016.

German discounter Lidl speeds up US plans

Trumpʼs effect on tourism

German grocery stores chain Lidl has said it will enter the US market earlier than previously envisaged. Itʼs now planning to open its first stores there this summer. Its German archrival Aldi is already there.

Law courts are busily debating US President Donald Trumpʼs travel ban but so too is the tourism sector. Will it deter holidaymakers or will they continue traveling to the US despite the new leadership? President Donald Trumpʼs currently suspended travel ban for people from seven Muslim-majority countries is deterring tourism to the US - at least according to the latest report by a travel industry service. The analysis of booking data byForward Keys showed that, in the days following the January 27th executive order, bookings of trips to the US slumped by 6.5 percent compared to the same period a year ago. For western Europe it estimated a decline of 13.6 percent. The study evoked surprise among German tour operators such as Tui.

No-frills German supermarket chain Lidl announced Wednesday it would open its first stores in the US as early as this summer. Expansion details were made public as Wal-Mart and traditional grocery chains in the US already saw a stronger threat from German low-priced retailer Aldi with its more than 1,600 US stores. Lidl said the first 20 stores would be opening in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, where the company es-

tablished its first US headquarters in 2015. The retailer added it was aiming to open as many as 100 stores on the East Coast within a year, creating some 4,000 jobs on the ground. "We have landed in America and we are searching for talented, friendly and dynamic people to grow with us," Lidl said on its career website. "Weʼre bringing a brand-new fresh shopping experience to our American shoppers," it promised.

Are your Valentineʼs roses harming the planet? If one flower has become synonymous with Valentineʼs Day, itʼs the rose. The fragrant blooms are everywhere, from 24-hour gas stations to fancy florists. It is a busy time of year for the farms that dot the landscape surrounding Lake Naivasha. The towns and villages around Kenyaʼs second-largest freshwater lake are the heart of the countryʼs cut flower industry. The first farm was established there in 1982, and since

then, the industry has bloomed to 60 farms and 50,000 workers. Some liken the area in Africaʼs Great Rift Valley to the gold rush towns of Wild West California, to which speculators flocked to seek out their fortunes. Except that now, the treasure is flowers. During most of the 20th century, the Netherlands was the worldʼs largest grower of cut flowers. Although it still holds the top spot, accounting for some 10 percent of the market, other countries are catching up.

Lance Armstrong faces $100m lawsuit filed by US government The disgraced cyclist has paid out more than $10 million in damages after admitting to doping in 2013. Now a federal judge has cleared the way for the US government to pursue a $100 million lawsuit against Armstrong.

KávéBár Bazár 2017 at Tesla Budapest In 2017, KávéBár Bazár is happening between February 18-19 at Tesla Budapest. The Hungarian Latte Art Championship, the Hungarian Coffee in Good Spirits Championship, the Hungarian Sommelier Championship, the Hungarian Cocktail and Flair Championship, as well as exhibitors, lectures, and workshops await visitors at this exciting event. Watch out for coming weekend!

H-1056 Budapest, Só u. 6. Telephone: +36 1 577 0700 Fax: +36 1 577 0710 bhzinfo@zeinahotels.com www.boutiquehotelbudapest.com

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Venezuelan vice president in hot water over drug trafficking allegations The US has accused Venezuelan Vice President Tarek El Aissami of being a drug "kingpin." This is one of a series of allegations Washington has brought against the South American nation. Tobias Käufer reports from Bogota. Venezuelaʼs socialists see Tarek El Aissami as a future leader. The 42-year-old career politician has risen quickly up the party ranks to advance to the center of power. He was 33 years old when the revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez appointed him minister of the interior and granted him access to police and security services in the South American country. Just weeks ago, President Nicolas Maduro made him his deputy, sending a signal domestically and abroad that Venezuelaʼs crisis-ridden leader had chosen his successor. But now El Aissami of all people is under suspicion for drug trafficking - at least that is what Washington says. The United States governmentimposed sanctions against the politician and blacklisted him as an international drug trafficker. His assets in the US have been frozen, so no one can conduct business with him in the country without being penalized. Sources in Washington claim that El Aissami and his confidante, Samark Lopez Bello, have overseen international trafficking activities worth millions of dollars.


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