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COVID-19

German Chancellor Scholz tests positive for Covid after Gulf tour

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has tested positive for the coronavirus and is displaying mild symptoms after returning from a tour of the Gulf, his spokesman said Monday.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) visits Abu Dhabi.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) visits Abu Dhabi. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

The 64-year-old Social Democrat is isolating in his apartment in the chancellery, and will attend meetings online, spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said.

At the weekend, he visited Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar on a hunt for new energy sources after Russia cut gas supplies amid tensions over the Ukraine war.

He signed a deal Sunday for the UAE to supply natural gas and diesel to Germany.

READ ALSO: UAE to supply Germany with gas and diesel 

Meanwhile Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, also of the SPD, announced via Twitter on Monday that she had tested positive for Covid.

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POLITICS

Germany’s AfD bans scandal-hit lead candidate from EU election events

Germany's AfD party on Wednesday banned its leading candidate from appearing at EU election campaign events, after France's main far-right party announced a split with the Germans over a slew of scandals involving the politician.

Germany's AfD bans scandal-hit lead candidate from EU election events

After a crisis meeting with the AfD’s top brass, Maximilian Krah, who is being investigated for suspicious links to Russia and China, said he will also leave the party’s federal steering committee.

“The last thing that we need now is a debate about me. The AfD must keep its unity,” Krah told Welt newspaper.

“For this reason, I will not make any further campaign appearances and will step down as a member of the federal committee.”

The anti-immigration party has been battling to draw a line under a series of controversies over the last weeks that have sent its popularity ratings sliding.

READ ALSO: How spying scandal has rocked troubled German far-right party

Krah is at the centre of a deepening crisis after one of his aides in the European Parliament was arrested on suspicion of spying for China.

Krah and another AfD candidate for the EU elections, Petr Bystron, have also been forced to deny allegations they accepted money to spread pro-Russian positions on a Moscow-financed news website.

But German prosecutors have launched a preliminary investigation against Krah himself over reports of suspicious payments received from China and Russia.

The bad news for the AfD piled up further on Tuesday when France’s National Rally announced it “decided to no longer sit with” AfD deputies in the EU parliament.

The RN said it was going to create some distance from the AfD after Krah, in a weekend interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, said that someone who had been a member of the SS paramilitary force in Nazi Germany was “not automatically a criminal”.

The RN and AfD had been the key members of an EU parliament group called Identity and Democracy that also included several other European far-right parties.

READ ALSO: What’s at stake in Germany’s European election vote?

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