Looking for examples of true leadership in a crisis? From Iceland to Taiwan and from Germany to New Zealand, women are stepping up to show the world how to manage a messy patch for our human family. Add in Finland, Iceland and Denmark, and this pandemic is revealing that women have what it takes when the heat rises in our Houses of State. Many will say these are small countries, or islands, or other exceptions. But Germany is large and leading, and the UK is an island with very different outcomes. These leaders are gifting us an attractive alternative way of wielding power. What are they teaching us?
Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, stood up early and calmly told her countrymen that this was a serious bug that would infect up to 70% of the population. “It’s serious,” she said, “take it seriously.” She did, so they did too. Testing began right from the get go. Germany jumped right over the phases of denial, anger and disingenuousness we’ve seen elsewhere. The country’s numbers are far below its European neighbours, and there are signs they may be able to start loosening restrictions relatively soon.
Among the first and the fastest moves was Tsai Ing-wen’s in Taiwan. Back in January, at the first sign of a new illness, she introduced 124 measures to block the spread, without having to resort to the lockdowns that have become common elsewhere. She is now sending 10 million face masks to the US and Europe. Ing-wen managed what CNN has called “among the world’s best” responses, keeping the epidemic under control, still reporting only six deaths.
Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand was early to lockdown and crystal clear on the maximum level of alert she was putting the country under – and why. She imposed self-isolation on people entering New Zealand astonishingly early, when there were just 6 cases in the whole country, and banned foreigners entirely from entering soon after. Clarity and decisiveness are saving New Zealand from the storm. As of mid-April they have suffered only four deaths, and where other countries talk of lifting restrictions, Ardern is adding to them, making all returning New Zealanders quarantine in designated locations for 14 days.
Iceland, under the leadership of Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, is offering free coronavirus testing to all its citizens, and will become a key case study in the true spread and fatality rates of Covid-19. Most countries have limited testing to people with active symptoms. Iceland is going whole hog. In proportion to its population the country has already screened five times as many people as South Korea has, and instituted a thorough tracking system that means they haven’t had to lockdown… or shut schools.
Sanna Marin became the world’s youngest head of state when she was elected last December in Finland. It took a millennial leader to spearhead using social media influencers as key agents in battling the coronavirus crisis. Recognising that not everyone reads the press, they are inviting influencers of any age to spread fact-based information on managing the pandemic.
Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, had the innovative idea of using television to talk directly to her country’s children. She was building on the short, 3-minute press conference that Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen had held a couple of days earlier. Solberg held a dedicated press conference where no adults were allowed. She responded to kids’ questions from across the country, taking time to explain why it was OK to feel scared. The originality and obviousness of the idea takes one’s breath away. How many other simple, humane innovations would more female leadership unleash?
Generally, the empathy and care which all of these female leaders have communicated seems to come from an alternate universe than the one we have gotten used to. It’s like their arms are coming out of their videos to hold you close in a heart-felt and loving embrace. Who knew leaders could sound like this? Now we do.
Now, compare these leaders and stories with the strongmen using the crisis to accelerate a terrifying trifecta of authoritarianism: blame-“others”, capture-the-judiciary, demonize-the-journalists, and blanket their country in I-will-never-retire darkness (Trump, Bolsonaro, Obrador, Modi, Duterte, Orban, Putin, Netanyahu…).
There have been years of research timidly suggesting that women’s leadership styles might be different and beneficial. Instead, too many political organisations and companies are still working to get women to behave more like men if they want to lead or succeed. Yet these national leaders are case study sightings of the seven leadership traits men may want to learn from women.
It’s time we recognised it – and elected more of it.
Experts confirmed the bottle was jettisoned as part of a German oceanographic experiment in 1886
A Perth family has found the world’s oldest known message in a bottle, almost 132 years after it was thrown into the sea, Australian experts say. Tonya Illman picked up the bottle while going for a walk around sand dunes on a remote beach in West Australia. Her husband Kym Illman told the BBC they found some paper in the bottle but had “no idea” what it was until they took it home and dried it in the oven.
Experts have confirmed it is an authentic message from a German ship. The note in the bottle, which was dated 12 June 1886, was jettisoned from the German ship Paula, as part of an experiment into ocean and shipping routes by the German Naval Observatory.
Previously, the Guinness world record for the oldest message in a bottle was 108 years, between it being sent and found.
‘Rolled up cigarette’
The Illman family were driving through a beach north of Wedge Island on 21 January when the car became bogged down in the sand, and Mrs Illman and her friend decided to go for a walk. “Tonya saw a whole lot of rubbish on the ground, and thought she’d help pick up some rubbish,” Mr Illman told the BBC. She found and picked up the bottle, thinking it would be nice for her bookshelf, he added.
Mr Illman said his wife passed the bottle “to our son’s girlfriend, who saw what she thought was a rolled-up cigarette, and tipped it out with the sand”. “Tonya tried to untie the string around the paper, but it was rather fragile, so we took it home and put it in the oven for five minutes to dry up the moisture. “Then we unrolled it and saw printed writing. We could not see the hand written ink at that point, but saw a printed message that asked the reader to contact the German consulate when they found the note.”
Later, they also noticed faint handwriting on the note, with a date of 12 June 1886 and the name of the ship, Paula. When they saw the date they thought it was “too far-fetched” to be real, Mr Illman said – but they researched the bottle online and took it to experts at the Western Australian Museum.
Dr Ross Anderson, Assistant Curator Maritime Archaeology at the WA Museum, confirmed the find was authentic after consulting with colleagues from Germany and the Netherlands.
“Incredibly, an archival search in Germany found Paula’s original Meteorological Journal and there was an entry for 12 June 1886 made by the captain, recording a drift bottle having been thrown overboard. The date and the coordinates correspond exactly with those on the bottle message,” Dr Anderson said. The handwriting on the journal, and the message in the bottle, also matched, he added.
The bottle was jettisoned in the south-eastern Indian Ocean while the ship was travelling from Cardiff in Wales to Indonesia, and probably washed up on the Australian coast within 12 months, where it was buried under the sand, he wrote in his report.
Thousands of bottles were thrown overboard during the 69-year German experiment but to date only 662 messages – and no bottles – had been returned. The last bottle with a note to be found was in Denmark in 1934.
The bottle found on Wedge Island was found “mostly exposed without any form of cork or closure, and was about a quarter full of damp sand”, and the bottle appeared to have lain “buried or mostly buried”, partially filled with damp sand, Dr Anderson added.
Sand dunes in the area are quite mobile during storm events and heavy rain, so the bottle could have been subject to “cyclical periods of exposure” which could have led to the cork in the bottle drying out and becoming dislodged, “while the tightly rolled paper along with a quantity of sand remained inside preserved”.
“The narrow 7mm bore of the bottle opening and thick glass would have assisted to buffer and preserve the paper from the effects of full exposure to the elements, providing a protective microenvironment favourable to the paper’s long-term preservation,” the report added.
Germany’s Green Belt is one of Europe’s most unique open spaces: a once heavily militarized stretch of the Iron Curtain that’s now a natural wonderland filled with a variety of threatened animal species.
by Matt Hickman
Although the Berlin Wall came crashing down on Nov. 9, 1989, there’s another important milestone for a reunified Germany that was ushered in this month. As of Feb. 5, 2018, the heavily fortified concrete barrier that divided the German capital beginning in 1961 has now been down longer than it was up: 28 years, two months and 27 days.
That being said, it’s sometimes easy to forget that the physical and ideological divide between East and West wasn’t just limited to a famous 90-some-mile wall in Berlin.
Predating the Berlin Wall by 16 years and located nearly 100 miles east, the Inner German Border was the true physical manifestation of the Iron Curtain: a 870-mile frontier that ran the entire length of the divided country from the Baltic Sea in the north to the former Czechoslovakia in the south. On one side of this 650-foot-wide strip of land stood the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and on the other — just beyond an extensive network of dog runs, minefields, concrete watchtowers, bunkers, booby traps and forbidding electrified barbed wire fences — stood the German Democratic Republic (GDR), a communist dictatorship that remained firmly in the grasp of the Soviet Union until the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc.
Remnants of the “Death Strip” that once severed Germany still exist — so called because hundreds of East Germans perished while attempting to flee the GDR for less totalitarian pastures. Many of the old watchtowers, fortifications and short stretches of fence have been preserved. Here, history, no matter how painful, hasn’t been paved over and replaced with shopping malls and tract housing. And as such, the scars of a divided Germany remain. But what unusual and beautiful scars they are.
Almost the entirety of the Inner German Border has been reclaimed by Mother Nature as part of a sprawling wildlife reserve and outdoor recreation area known as Das Grüne Band — the Green Belt. Encompassing large swaths of undisturbed countryside and farmland in addition to the border zone, in some ways the Green Belt — often described as a “living monument to reunification” and a “memory landscape” — remains a no man’s land given that a wide variety of plants and animals, many rare and endangered, positively rule.
Germany’s Green Belt isn’t entirely continuous. However, most of this exclusion zone-turned-wildlife haven remains in a near-natural state.
From ‘death zone into a lifeline’
Rich in biodiversity and largely unhampered by 21st century human development, the Green Belt is a project of German environmental group Bund Naturschutz (BUND) that dates back to 1989. However, work had begun on the non-fortified western side of the border zone much earlier after conservationists noticed that this woeful place was also a wildlife magnet. “The division of Germany was a travesty that robbed people of their freedom, but a positive side effect was the way the sealed border allowed nature to flourish,” Eckhard Selz, a park ranger hailing from the former East Germany, explained to the Guardian in 2009.
In a 2017 NBC News profile, conservationist Kai Frobel, considered by many to be the father of the Green Belt, explained that “nature essentially has been given a 40-year holiday” in the erstwhile border area, which itself has been transformed from a “death zone into a lifeline.”
“When we grew up in this area, we all thought that this monster of a border line had been built for eternity,” 58-year-old Frobel says of his teenage years spent as a budding conservationist hailing from Colburg, a Bavarian town located on the western side of the border but largely surrounded by the GDR. “No one, really no one, believed in German reunification at the time.”
When the Iron Curtain collapsed, Frobel and his fellow conservationists, including many from the former East Germany, rushed to protect and preserve the border zone. The worry was that the largely untouched area would give way to roads, housing and massive commercial farming operations — a “brown belt,” if you will. Vital wildlife habitats just recently discovered would be lost.
With governmental backing, the Green Belt became the first German nature conservation project to involve parties from both sides of a nation that had just been fused back together. Decades later, an impressive 87 percent of the Green Belt, which passes through nine of Germany’s 16 states, remains in an undeveloped or near-natural state. While there are some gaps in this unusually elongated wildlife refuge, BUND is continually working to restore them and prevent other sections from giving way to development.
“You will find no other place in Germany with the richness of habitats and species that the Green Belt provides,” Frobel tells NBC News.
A Cold War era concrete watchtower still stands along the eastern section of what was once the notorious Inner German Border.
The one upside of a nation-dividing no man’s land
In October of last year, Frobel, along with Inge Sielman and Hubert Weiger, were awarded the German government’s top environmental prize for their tireless work preserving and protecting the old Inner German Border and environs. (The trio received a combined 245,00 euros or roughly $284,300.)
As Deutsche Welle explains, the Green Belt’s dual function as a historical site and wildlife refuge is more vital today than ever. Many animals, forced to seek out new habitats due to encroaching development in outlying areas of the German countryside, are flocking to the protected area in record numbers.
“The Green Belt is now home to countless natural wonders that have been crowded out in other areas,” German President Frank-Walter Steinmeir explained at October’s Germany Environmental Prize ceremony, held in the city of Brunswick.
Tranquil, sobering and biologically diverse, the Green Belt is popular amongst hikers, cyclists, birders and history buffs alike.
In total, conservationists believe the Green Belt to be home to upwards of 1,200 plant and animal species that are endangered or near-extinct in Germany, including the lady’s slipper orchid, the Eurasian otter, wildcats and the European tree frog. The Green Belt also hosts a large number of rare and threatened birds such as the black stork.
“We discovered that over 90 percent of the bird species that were rare or highly endangered in Bavaria — such as the whinchat, the corn bunting and the European nightjar — could be found in the Green Belt. It became a final retreat for many species, and it still is today,” Frobel tells Deutsche Welle.
One less rare species found in growing abundance throughout the Green Zone are tourists. Germany has long touted the region as a sustainable “soft” tourism hotspot, particularly in recent years. Laced with hiking trails and dotted with nature viewing areas along with a fair number of memorials, museums, quaint villages and a handful of crumbling leftovers from the Cold War era, the Green Zone passes through already tourism-friendly nature regions including the Franconian and Thuringian forests, the Harz Mountains and the verdant floodplain of the river Elbe.
In addition to local conservation groups, a number of local tourism authorities are working alongside BUND to promote the natural splendors of the once inaccessible border region. “Numerous cycling and hiking trails along the Green Belt connect special points of experience and information,” reads the Green Belt tourism page. “You can see cranes and northern geese from observation ramparts, conquer castles and palaces, descend into diminutive mining pits, climb border towers, dart along old border trails in the dark, or be inspired by works of art.”
With informative signs guiding the way and pointing out important sights, the Green Belt is described as a ‘memory landscape.
A model for something much bigger
Of course, Germany wasn’t the only country cracked by the Iron Curtain.
For nearly four decades, the entire European continent was split between East and West with little movement between the two sides. And much like the heralded conservation area that’s flourishing in a once-divided Deutschland, the European Green Belt Initiative aims to protect biodiversity along the line of former Iron Curtain but on a much more ambitious scale.
Stretching from the Barents Sea on the Russian/Norwegian border and along the Baltic coast before cutting through the heart of Central Europe and terminating at the Adriatic and Black seas, the 7,500-mile European Green Belt links 24 individual countries through a winding necklace of national parks, nature preserves and other protected areas.
As in Germany, many of these European border regions were largely restricted/avoided during their existence. And so, wildlife moved in and flourished in relative solitude.
“Unwittingly, the once-divided Europe encouraged the conservation and development of valuable habitats. The border area served as a retreat for many endangered species,” explains the European Green Belt website.
Founded in 2003 and very much modeled on the work of BUND in Germany, the European Green Belt Initiative is a burgeoning grassroots movement comprised of around 150 governmental and non-governmental conservation organizations hailing from a diverse number of countries.
And in addition to inspiring a band of protected wilderness that bisects the European continent, the many successes of Germany’s Green Belt have also inspired South Korean officials to reach out to Frobel and his colleagues and discuss ways that the Korean Demilitarized Zone could some day (emphasis on some day) be transformed into a protected wildlife area.
“Conservationists are already preparing a so-called Green Belt Korea, and are in close consultation with us,” Frobel told Deutsche Welle in a 2017 interview with Deutsch Welle. He points out that the Korean Demilitarized Zone, home to “a well-preserved biodiverse habitat,” is the “only region in the world that can be compared with Germany before 1989.”
“They are using Germany’s Green Belt as its model for when reunification comes — even though the situation doesn’t look too good at the moment,” says Frobel.
Hitler’s charisma, demagoguery, and ability to mobilize Germany behind him have been much written about and discussed. His failed attempt to fight a war on two fronts, and making the same mistake as Napoleon—invading Russia, have also been topics exhausted by scholars and armchair historians alike. But new revelations, such as the fact that the Fuhrer had a micropenis, are changing completely how we view the Second World War.
A 47-page dossier reveals that the rise of Nazi Germany was fueled by drug use. Hitler himself was taking 74 separate drugs, including a powerful opioid, and what we would consider today methamphetamine (crystal meth). The US military report, developed over the course of the war, outlines a number of different substances ingested by the Fuhrer including morphine, barbiturates, tranquilizers, and even bull’s semen.
The bull’s semen was supposed to restore the Fuhrer’s libido in to keep up with his much younger girlfriend, and to make him appear energetic and masculine before the populace. The other drugs were to help alleviate a range of issues from stomach cramps to perhaps, what some historians believe were the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
German writer Norman Ohler covers drug use in Nazi Germany in his new book, The Total Rush (Der Totale Rausch). In America, its entitled Blitzed. The book was a huge success in Germany and has since been translated into 18 languages. According to Ohler, though drugs played a pivotal role, historians overlooked it due to little interest in Hitler’s personal physician, Dr. Theodor Morell.
Injections of bull semen supposedly helped Hitler keep up with girlfriend Eva Braun, pictured here.
Ohler’s friend Alexander Kramer, who owns a vast collection of books and memorabilia from the war period and earlier, was the first to tell Ohler about the role narcotics played. Ohler said he knew immediately it would be the subject of his next book. Though he is not an historian, Third Reich expert Hans Mommsen, now deceased, aided the author in his quest. Ohler spent years in archives to piece the story together.
It all begins during the Weimar Republic, and the rise of Hitler. His inner circle lionized him, portraying him as a superior man in mind and body, who never ate meat, never touched drugs or alcohol, or even women. In 1933 when he rose to power, all intoxicating drugs were banned. Addicts were soon executed by the state or sent off to the camps.
Dr. Fritz Hauschild in Berlin developed what was first known in Germany as methyl-amphetamine. In 1937 the company he worked for expressed the hopes of using it to become a rival of Coca Cola. By 1938, the drug became pervasive and available without a prescription. Soon, almost everyone in Germany was using the drug, known as Pervitin, to boost confidence, energy, and attitude.
As ubiquitously as coffee today, it was regarded in much the same way. Housewives ate Pervitin-laced chocolates which allow them to get housework done in a jiffy and even helped them lose weight. Though health and fitness were upheld as a supreme cultural value, the populace and their leader were all in actuality, smashed on drugs.
It was Dr. Otto Ranke, the director of the Institute for General and Defense Physiology, who decided Pervitin was a good way to help soldiers avoid exhaustion. It allowed them to remain awake for long periods, march for miles, and fight in terrifying conditions fearlessly. Before invading France in 1940, Nazi soldiers were instructed to take tablets of Pervitin throughout the day and night. The invasion of Poland was also fueled by meth.
Although Ohler said his mentor told him never to rely on just one cause, the author says the blitzkrieg was utterly dependent on Pervitin. Otherwise, Hitler’s forces could have never swept through Europe as quickly as they did. Records indicate that 35 million tablets were distributed in 1940 over a span of four months, to fuel the western offensive. The idea was to turn ordinary men into superhuman machines.
There is still argument today over whether or not certain drugs improve or impede a soldier’s performance. The side effects of Pervitin were irrational behavior, hallucinations, and enraged outbursts. The Nazis weren’t alone. Many other armies used amphetamines to fight off fatigue. Dexedrine was used by the British and Americans, while the Japanese had their own form of speed.
As the war raged on, Hitler began relying on his doctor more and more, whom was distrusted and loathed by the rest of his inner circle. Dr. Morell meanwhile relied on the Fuhrer for his position. In 1941 Hitler came down with a terrible illness. Though Morell had been famous for vitamin injections, it was clear that these were not going to cut it.
Animal hormones and a series of medications were attempted. Finally, the physician settled on Eukodal, a wonder drug which we would call Oxycodone today. Soon, one of the world’s most famous villains was receiving several injections of Eukodal per day, and combining them with a host of other drugs, including cocaine, which had been prescribed to help with an ear condition endured on the eastern front. The drug cocktail, particularly Eukodal, made Hitler feel invincible, even when it became clear, by 1944, that Germany was losing. His generals frantically appealed to him to change tactics. But Eukodal made him feel powerful, euphoric, and in control, and so he decide to plod along, undeterred.
Late in the war, the factories that made Germany’s drugs were bombed out by the Allies. By early 1945, the Fuhrer was in a state of fevered withdrawal. According to Ohler, the world’s most infamous fascist spent his final days in his bunker, drowning in a hellish state of withdrawal.
Ohler doesn’t think Hitler’s personal physician purposely turned him into an addict, though it is possible. But it’s just as likely that the Fuhrer himself was the driving force, imbued with an addictive personality. Either way, in the fall of 1944, Hitler removed Morell. But by then, it was too late. The Fuhrer took his own life. Morell meanwhile died not too long after the war a sad and broken figure, discarded by history. Ohler portrays him as a tragic figure, a mere opportunist caught up in the forces of his time, while others see him as an out-and-out scoundrel. Regardless of his intentions, his methods seem to have contributed to the downfall of the Third Reich.
German police say they’ve arrested an 18-year-old man who was wanted for evading a prison sentence after he ventured out to play the newly launched “Pokemon Go” smartphone game with friends.
Police in Trier, on Germany’s western border, said the group’s “peculiar behavior” as they played the game in the city on Friday prompted officers to check their papers.
The 18-year-old initially gave a false identity but police quickly established that there was an arrest warrant out for him. He was detained and is now serving a six-month prison sentence he had previously avoided serving — police wouldn’t specify for what.
A German man has taken his grudges to the grave by telling his family they are banned from his funeral.
In a self-penned obituary in the Trierischer Volksfreund, a newspaper in Western Germany, Hubert Martini, 64, went to great lengths to let those he left behind what he thought of them.
In the death notice, he admits hurting people, but said it was a good thing and that he was an atheist until the end and therefore any religious symbolism was banned at his committal.
Roughly translated, Martini wrote: ‘I sign up herewith from life. I had a good life, but it was overshadowed by many diseases. The last one was unfortunately invincible. One last word – I was a convinced atheist, and there I stayed, so at the farewell ceremony there will be no mourning, no crosses and no other overt or covert religious symbols. As for flowers, if at all, please just bring yellow and orange lilies – without a strong odour. Forbid the other five children of my parents and their partners and offspring. I am to take part in this celebration. You are all discarded.’
It is unclear what made Martini want to have the last word, but the 64-year-old notes that in life ‘I have hurt some people – and that’s good.’
Local undertaker Martina Schmidt called the obituary ‘out of order – He wanted to settle scores and now the relatives have to live with that,’ she said.
HUBERT MARTINI’S OBITUARY, ROUGHLY TRANSLATED, IN FULL
I sign up herewith from life.
I had a good life, but it was overshadowed by many diseases. The last one was unfortunately invincible.
I’ve known and loved a wonderful woman, learned I have a good son that I fathered with her which gave me two great grandchildren..
Well, despite everything, a good life.
I would like to thank the few friends who were always on my path..
You will now assist also Hiltrud and Dirk and a special thanks so to Birgit and Hans and Eva.
Thanks also to my Turkish friend Mustafa – the insight into his family culture were not always painless for me.
My parts probably always remained alien.
But he was honest with me.
And openness and honesty have always been very important to me .
One last word – I was a convinced atheist, and there I stayed, so at the farewell ceremony on Saturday, July 2, 2016 in Ruheforst at 11am, there will be no mourning, no crosses and no other overt or covert religious symbols.
As for flowers, if at all, please just bring yellow and orange lilies – without a strong odour.
Forbid the other five children of my parents and their partners and offspring.
I am to take part in this celebration. You are all discarded.
Petra Pazsitka was living in the city of Braunschweig when she disappeared without a trace on July 26, 1984.
According to The Telegraph, who quoted an unnamed friend, Pazsitka was studying computer science and had just finished her thesis paper.
She had gone to the dentist the last day she was seen, and had planned on going to visit her parents afterward. But she never made it there, sparking a huge manhunt, The Telegraph said.
Pazsitka’s disappearance initially stumped investigators, and her case was featured on a German true-crime show called Aktenzeichen XY.
Police suspected that her disappearance was connected to the case of a 14-year-old girl who had been raped and murdered near where Pazsitka vanished, NBC News reported, citing Joachim Grande, a spokesman for the police in Braunschweig.
However, a few years later there was a breakthrough in the case. A 19-year-old man identified as Günter K. confessed to killing the 14-year-old in 1985.
In 1987, he confessed to also killing Pazsitka – and authorities closed the case in 1989. The young woman’s body was never found.
But now, police said, Pazsitka’s “disappearance” appears to have been a carefully orchestrated plot to start a new life.
Pazsitka had been saving money for months before she vanished, and spent the next few decades living in different German cities, police said. She eventually settled in Düsseldorf, where she has been living for 11 years, according to The Telegraph, citing police.
She was able to evade notice because she never opened a bank account or had a social security card, a driver’s license, or a passport.
An official told NBC News the now–55-year-old paid for everything in cash and made money doing “illicit work.”
A woman claimed to be Pazsitka when she reported a burglary at her home and police arrived, according to NBC News.
When first asked who she was, the woman allegedly gave a fake name. But she then claimed to be Pazsitka.
She has remained mum on why she vanished, and said she wants no contact with the public or her living family members.
“We asked her if there was violence or sexual assault in the family, but she has clearly ruled that out,” an official said according to the The Telegraph.
According to NBC News, the woman’s brother and mother were “in shock and tears when they heard the news.”
It is unlikely the woman will face any charges – but if it is determined she is Pazsitka, she will have to be declared to be alive, The Telegraph reported.
2C-E was one of the hundreds of drugs synthesised by Alexander Shulgin, who was known as the ‘godfather of ecstasy’. Photograph: Scott Houston/Corbis
Police investigating a mass intoxication of a homeopathy conference in Germany with psychedelic drugs have said they still do not know nearly a week later whether it was an accident or an experiment gone wrong.
Emergency services called to the meeting in Handeloh, south of Hamburg, found a group of 29 alternative healers hallucinating, staggering around, groaning and rolling on the grass.
Police spokesman Lars Nicklesen said on Thursday that investigators believe a psychedelic drug was to blame but remain unsure of how or why it was taken. The delegates are now all out out of physical danger, he said, but there may yet be legal consequences for the healers in the course of the ongoing criminal investigation.
“We’re now questioning the delegates and awaiting the results of blood and urine tests,” he said. “We still don’t know if they took the drugs on purpose. The question is whether they want to talk about it; they have the right to remain silent.”
Nicklesen added that police suspect the group took 2C-E, known in Germany as Aquarust, a drug which heightens perceptions of colours and sounds and in higher doses triggers hallucinations, psychosis and severe cramps.
Germany’s health ministry banned the drug last year due to its highly addictive nature and unknown side effects.
The homeopaths’ meeting – billed as a “further education seminar” – was suspended shortly after it started when delegates began experiencing psychotic hallucinations, cramps, racing heartbeats and shortage of breath. One of them alerted the emergency services.
Alarmed by the sight of so many grown men and women rolling around on the floor, the first fire crews on the scene called for backup, triggering a major incident response. A total of 160 police, fire crews, and ambulance staff and a helicopter were involved in the four hour operation to treat the group.
“It was great that none of the people were in mortal danger in the end”, said fire service spokesman Matthias Köhlbrandt. “The leading emergency doctor at the scene believed they would all recover without lasting damage.”
Unsure of what they had taken, medical staff gave the homeopaths oxygen on site before transferring them to seven different nearby hospitals.
The Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper reported that in one clinic, the Asklepios in Harburg, hallucinating patients had to be strapped down to a bed to prevent them causing danger to others. “They were completely off their heads,” a spokesman for the clinic said.
Staff at the conference centre were unable to shed light on the mystery as they had all gone home at the time of the incident. “We’re absolutely shocked, we’ve only had good experiences in the past with the group,” a spokeswoman for the Tanzheimat Inzmühlen conference centre told the Hamburger Abendblatt.
The Association of German Healing Practitioners was quick to distance itself from the incident and emphasised that hallucinogenic drugs had no place in the study of homeopathy. “If I find out that one of our members took part [in what happened in Handeloh] then they will be excluded from the association,” Heinz Kropmanns, the association president, told NDR.
The drug 2C-E was one of hundreds synthesised by the American chemist Alexander Shulgin. The scientist, who died in 2014, and had become known as the godfather of ecstasy after he introduced MDMA to psychotherapists on the US west coast in the late 1970s.
Danish archaeologists doing a survey ahead of the construction of the Femern Belt link scheme, an immersed tunnel that will connect the German island of Fehmarn with the Danish island of Lolland, have found a 5,500-year old-ceramic vessel bearing the fingerprint of the artisan who made it.
The vessel is known with the name “funnel beaker,” a kind of ceramics which features a flat bottom with a funnel shaped neck. Such earthenware is characteristic of the Funnel Beaker Culture (4000 – 2800 B.C.), which represents the first farmers in Scandinavia and the north European plain.
It was found in pieces in a former fjord east of Rødby Havn, on the south coast of Lolland, Denmark.
“It is one of three beakers at the site, which originally was deposited whole probably containing some food or liquid presumably as part of some long forgotten ritual,” Line Marie Olesen, archaeologist at the Museum Lolland-Falster, told Discovery News.
At the same site Olesen and colleagues last year found a 5,500-year-old flint axe with the handle still attached. The axe was deliberately jammed into what used to be the seabed during the Stone Age.
As the beaker was brought to the Danish National Museum for conservation, experts noticed a fingerprint on the interior surface.
“It must have been left there while manufacturing the pot,” Olesen said.
According to Olesen, a lot of time and symbolism was put into the manufacture and decoration of the funnel beakers and associated pots.
“From the contexts in which they appear it is obvious that they played an important part in everyday life, be it ritual or profane,” she added.
“The fragile fingerprint, left unintentionally, is an anonymous, yet very personal signature, which somehow brings us a bit closer to the prehistoric people and their actions,” Olesen said.
Last year the same archaeological survey unearthed 5,000-year-old footprints left by people who attempted to save parts of their fishing system before it was flooded and covered in sand.
“An unknown persons gallery is gradually developing before our eyes, of the people who lived by Lolland’s southern coast at the time when agriculture was introduced some 6,000 years ago,” Anne-Lotte Sjørup Mathiesen of the Museum Lolland-Falster, said in a statement.
In the space of 24 hours last week, two spectacular rescue operations were carried out in southern Germany.
Both involved men who had become trapped deep inside cave-like structures, and a large team working to set them free. But if explorer Johann Westhauser is expected to soon tell the world how he got trapped inside Germany’s deepest cave, an anonymous exchange student might prefer to keep quiet about the story of how he got into a tight spot.
On Friday afternoon, a young American in Tübingen had to be rescued by 22 firefighters after getting trapped inside a giant sculpture of a vagina. The Chacán-Pi (Making Love) artwork by the Peruvian artist Fernando de la Jara has been outside Tübingen University’s institute for microbiology and virology since 2001 and had previously mainly attracted juvenile sniggers rather than adventurous explorers.
According to De la Jara, the 32-ton sculpture made out of red Veronese marble is meant to signify “the gateway to the world”.
Police confirmed that the firefighters turned midwives delivered the student “by hand and without the application of tools”.
The mayor of Tübingen told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that he struggled to imagine how the accident could have happened, “even when considering the most extreme adolescent fantasies. To reward such a masterly achievement with the use of 22 firefighters almost pains my soul.”
Thanks to Michael Moore for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.