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Germany

As Price Of Copper Soars, Thieves Swipe Church Bells

SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG(Germany)

Worldcrunch

GROSS RIDSENOW - The recent theft of a 600-kilogram, 500-year-old chapel bell (estimated value 20,000 euros) from a cemetery in Gross Ridsenow in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is one of an increasing number of bell thefts in Germany.

What attracts thieves to the bells is quick money, according to the Suddeutsche Zeitung. A bronze bell such as the one in Gross Ridsenow consists mainly of copper – and the value of that metal has gone up significantly. Ten years ago, a kilo of copper cost $1.65; now it costs almost five times as much – $8.10. Thieves have been stealing copper wherever they find it, from railroad or roof fixtures to copper wiring on construction sites, and they have now moved on to bells in chapels and churches.

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(Church of Reconciliation in Berlin - Thunderchild5)

In view of the trend, in Gross Ridsenow plans had been made to protect the 15th century bell but it was stolen before steps could be taken. Not long afterwards, pieces of the bell started appearing – the thieves had sold it for 1,600 euros to a scrap metal dealer who smashed it beyond repair into hundreds of pieces.

When the dealer heard about the stolen Gross Ridsenow bell, he contacted the police. His transaction with the four alleged thieves had been filmed by his security cameras – police are now searching for the men.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Paris-Berlin, Warsaw-Kyiv: Europe's Balance Of Power Will Never Be The Same

A new future is unfolding in real time, one that leaders in France, Germany and beyond could not have envisioned even a year ago.

Photo of Bundeswehr soldiers in Lest, Slovakia, with a training anti-tank missile and a G22 sniper rifle.

Bundeswehr soldiers in Lest, Slovakia, with a training anti-tank missile and a G22 sniper rifle.

Kay Nietfeld/dpa via ZUMA
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Quick question: do you know which country is on its way to having the largest army in Europe? The obvious answer would be France, the Continent's only nuclear power since the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, and a military that has been tested in multiple foreign operations in recent years.

But the answer is about to change: if we put aside the nuclear factor, Europe's leading military will soon be that of Poland.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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This is one more direct consequence Russia's invasion of Ukraine: a close neighbor of the conflict zone, Poland is investing massively in its defense. Last year, it concluded a huge arms purchase contract with South Korea: heavy combat tanks (four times more than France), artillery, fighter jets, for 15 billion euros.

Warsaw also signed a contract last month to purchase two observation satellites from France for 500 million euros.

This former country of the Warsaw Pact, today a leading NATO member, intends to be ever more consequential in European affairs. The investments in defense are one way of doing that. Yet this is not the only impact of the war in Ukraine.

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