Germany says it will outlaw the morphing of passport photos, in which pictures of two people are digitally combined, making it possible to assign multiple identities to a single document.
Morphing can trick artificial intelligence used at passport control into recognising different individuals.
The government on Wednesday backed a law requiring people to either have their photo taken at a passport office or, if they use a photographer, have it submitted in digital form over a secure connection, spokesman Steffen Seibert said.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics found that it is possible to morph photos of the faces of different people who are not even related.
A certain degree of similarity is sufficient, such as the eyes being aligned.
Such manipulation of photos is typically invisible to the human eye, the researchers found.
German prosecutors investigate hospital where virus outbreak occurred
German prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into a hospital near Berlin that suffered from a severe coronavirus outbreak in March.
The prosecutor’s office in the city of Potsdam said that the top doctors and then-executive leadership of the Ernst von Bergmann hospital were being investigated for negligent homicide and negligent bodily harm.
The hospital was linked to a coronavirus outbreak in March in which several dozen people died of COVID-19.
While local flare-ups have occurred, Germany has mostly kept the number of new infections in check even out of lockdown.
Health authorities on Monday morning announced 192 new cases of coronavirus had been recorded since the day before.
It brings the total number of infections in Germany since the outbreak’s beginning to 186,461 according to Germany’s infectious disease body, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).
The death toll rose by 4 during the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 8,791.
A further 400 patients had recovered, bringing the total number of patients who have overcome the virus to 172,600, according to the RKI.
The RKI noted that daily figures may be amended after quality checks.
The reproduction rate, which measures the disease’s ability to spread, sat above the critical value of 1, to 1.05 on Monday, meaning each infected person is spreading the virus to around one other. The day before, it was at 1.02.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)https://nnn.ng/german-prosecutors-investigate-hospital-where-virus-outbreak-occurred/
Dutch deliver 4,000 salted herrings to German hospital as thank you
The Dutch government delivered 4,000 young salted herrings to staff at a German hospital on Monday as a thank you for taking in Dutch COVID-19 patients over recent weeks.
A Dutch delegation made the presentation – while observing social distancing and hygiene rules – to the Muenster University Hospital.
From the start of April, Germany took in 58 Dutch patients, treating them in various intensive care units. Of these, 49 were treated in the state of North Rhine Westphalia, where the hospital is located.
Nine of the patients did not survive, while the remainder have returned home.
“We are not only neighbours, but also friends,” North Rhine Westphalia Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann said on welcoming the delegation. “And among friends, you help each other when in need.”
Matjes are young herrings which have matured in brine for five days and are commonly enjoyed as a sandwich or in other dishes along the North Sea coast.
The first barrel of Dutch matjes heralds the new season at the beginning of June and is usually ceremoniously auctioned off for charity.
But this year, all traditional matjes festivals and markets had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)https://nnn.ng/dutch-deliver-4000-salted-herrings-to-german-hospital-as-thank-you/
German gov’t to buy 300-mln-euro stake in vaccine developer CureVac
The German government intends to invest 300 million euros (338 million United States dollars) in local biotechnology company CureVac, the country’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy announced here on Monday.
The investment aims to support the further development of the German company and its projects in the pipeline, according to a joint statement by CureVac and the ministry. CureVac is currently developing a coronavirus vaccine.
“CureVac’s technology has the potential to develop disruptive new vaccines and therapeutic modalities that are accessible for many people and available via the market,” said Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier.
The investment would be made via the German state-owned development bank (KfW), which would then hold a stake of around 23 percent in CureVac. The investment would not mean that the German government would influence CureVac’s corporate policy decisions.
Dietmar Hopp, controlling shareholder of CureVac and co-founder of the investment company dievini Hopp BioTech holding, was pleased that “the importance of biotechnology is also recognized by the government and that this key industry will now receive support beyond early research.”
In March, German media reported that United States President Donald Trump had attempted to lure scientists from CureVac to the United States with large financial contributions. However, CureVac rejected “allegations about offers for acquisition of the company or its technology.”
According to Altmaier, the government’s investment in CureVac is a “first and important implementation” of the comprehensive economic stimulus package that was presented two weeks ago.
The German stimulus package worth 130 billion euros to mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic includes a temporarily reduction of the value-added tax (VAT), a one-time 300-euro bonus per child as well as promotion of domestic production of key pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.
“With this package, we aim to secure more independence in the entire production process of medical substances and vaccines,” stressed Altmaier, adding that the investment in CureVac was a first step in this direction. (1 euro = 1.13 United States dollars)
Workforce in German manufacturing sector down 1.8 pct in April
The number of employees in Germany’s important manufacturing sector declined by 1.8 percent in April year-on-year, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) announced on Monday.
By the end of April, 5.6 million people worked in Germany’s manufacturing companies with 50 or more employees, about 105,000 less than a year ago, according to the provisional results by Destatis.
German manufacturers of rubber and plastic products, in particular, recorded a strong decline of 4.2 percent in employees year-on-year.
Manufacturers of chemicals and chemical products, however, recorded a 1.5 percent growth in their workforce year-on-year.
According to Destatis, the total number of hours worked in April decreased by 16.9 percent year-on-year while total wages of the manufacturing sector amounted to 23.3 billion euros (26.2 billion United States dollars), 12.3 percent less than in April 2019.
“The effects of the COVID-19 crisis were evident in terms of hours worked in almost all sectors of the economy. The increase in short-time working was clearly noticeable here,” Destatis noted.