Welcome to Monday, where vaccination success in Israel and England allow easing of lockdown restrictions, the Pope concludes his historic trip in Iraq and Meghan and Harry have their say. Die Welt also looks at how the German police are taking advantage of a "WhatsApp for gangsters' to arrest gang criminals.
• COVID-19 latest: Israel lifts lockdown, allowing cafes, restaurants and events halls to reopen thanks to a successful vaccination campaign, which has fully immunized nearly 40% of its population in just over two months. Children return to classrooms in England, after two months of home-schooling, as the UK is also performing well in vaccinating its population. Meanwhile, Japan's inoculation campaign is hampered by a lack of supply and a shortage of specialty syringes.
• Equatorial Guinea explosions: A series of accidental explosions at a military barracks in Equatorial Guinea killed at least 20 and wounded more than 600 others.
• Harry, Meghan & Oprah: Racism, suicidal thoughts and family rifts are among the headline takeaways from the much anticipated Oprah Winfrey interview of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, aka, Harry and Megan.
• Pope concludes historic Iraq trip: Pope Francis returned to Rome after a historic three-day trip to Iraq focused on interfaith dialogue, the nation's biblical roots and healing after years of war. Some criticized the trip for the risks it posed in spreading COVID-19 among the faithful.
• Niqab ban in Switzerland: Swiss voters narrowly approved a referendum banning face coverings in public, including the burqa and niqab.
• Dassault death: French politician and military aviation billionaire Olivier Dassault was killed yesterday in a helicopter crash.
• Game, set and Djokovic: Serbian tennis champion Novak Djokovic has broken Roger Federer's record for most weeks spent at the top of world tennis, with a grand total of 311 weeks.
British tabloid Daily Mail printed a second edition early this morning to feature the revelations of Oprah Winfrey's interview of Prince Harry and Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle aired in the U.S. The couple spoke about racism, their relationships with other members of the Royal family and how their mental health suffered.
Police decode EncroChat: the WhatsApp for organized crime
Decoded data from messaging services have given the authorities in Germany a new weapon in the fight against gang crime, as shown in the latest raid in Berlin. Criminal families are feeling increasingly uneasy, reports Sebastian Gubernator in German daily Die Welt.
A few years ago, it seemed to many observers that members of certain extended criminal families were untouchable. But in 2018, the Berlin Senate and police set out a five-point plan for combating gang crime. It included punishing smaller misdemeanors, seizing criminal assets, preventing money laundering, helping ex-gang members to build new lives and improving cooperation between different authorities. Politicians speak of a "strategy of a thousand cuts." The idea being that one little cut may not hurt, but many do.
So the police are now repeatedly storming apartment buildings, searching homes, taking away computers and arresting suspects. But there was something new about recent raids into houses of the Remmo clan, an Arab gang made up of one extended family. As senior public prosecutor Thorsten Cloidt explained, the arrests were the result of decoding data from messaging service EncroChat. The message records were sent to Berlin by the French authorities via the German Federal Office of Criminal Investigation. They raised urgent suspicions, which led to the arrest warrants.
With EncroChat, the criminals thought they were safe from police monitoring, so they communicated with each other freely. Police called this messaging service "WhatsApp for gangsters'. It has since shut down. Last year, Dutch and French security agencies intercepted more than 20 million private messages. Their infiltration of EncroChat's infrastructure sent "shockwaves through organized crime gangs across Europe", according to the authorities.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
Turkey breaks in dentist's office, ruffles feathers
There's an old joke that goes: "Why did the turkey go to the dentist's? To get its cavity filled…"
Well, one particular Californian wild turkey went for real last Wednesday with no plans for getting stuffed, nor having a laugh. The remarkably large and — as theSacramento Beejournalist ventures — "very confused" bird crashed through the window of the waiting room at an oral surgeon's office in Fair Oaks, just east of Sacramento, and proceeded to destroy much of the premises.
Fortunately there were no patients inside at the time, and the only member of staff on site promptly reported fowl play to the local animal control officers, who were able to subdue the bird, which will soon be released back into the wild.
As for why the turkey actually did crash the dentist's, a wildlife rescue worker told the Sacramento Bee that the "turkey may have seen its own reflection in the window and attacked it, confusing it for a romantic rival amid the mating season for the birds." Yet another reason to chicken out and postpone your dentist's visit a little longer.
➡️ Keep up with all the planet's police reports and plot twists on Worldcrunch.com
China's exports jumped 60.6% in January-February from a year earlier, the highest level in two decades, as global demand started to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Electronics and textile exports (including masks) contributed to the spike.
How cruel it is that this country, the cradle of civilization, should have been afflicted by so barbarous a blow.
— Pope Francis yesterday, on the final day of his historic visit to Iraq, spoke in Mosul, where thousands of people of multiple were killed and ancient places of worship were destroyed during the battle to defeat ISIS, which controlled the city between 2014 and 2017.