Berlin, Sep 1 (AP/UNB) — Nine people have been injured in a blaze at an oil refinery in Bavaria, and another 1,800 people living close by were temporarily evacuated.
Police said the fire spread quickly after a loud detonation was heard early Saturday in the southern German town of Vohburg an der Donau. A huge smoke cloud could be seen miles away.
Residents were evacuated because of possibly toxic fumes. Air tests later showed it was safe for people to return to their homes.
The German news agency dpa reported all nine injured were Bayernoil refinery employees. It said some 400 fire fighters and police were on the ground to help extinguish the fire.
Authorities said the cause of the explosion was not known.
The Hague, Aug 30 (AP/UNB) — A Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker canceled a planned Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest Thursday following death threats and concerns other people could be put at risk.
"To avoid the risk of victims of Islamic violence, I have decided not to let the cartoon contest go ahead," far-right opposition politician Geert Wilders said in a written statement.
Wilders, who for years has lived under round-the-clock protection because of death threats sparked by his fierce anti-Islam rhetoric, said he does not want others endangered by the contest he planned for November.
The planned contest sparked angry protests in Pakistan and a death threat this week from a 26-year-old man, reportedly a Pakistani, who was arrested Tuesday in The Hague.
Physical depictions of the prophet are forbidden in Islam and deeply offensive to Muslims.
"It's not just about me," Wilders said in the statement. Strong opponents of the event "see not only me, but the entire Netherlands as a target."
The contest was to have been held at the tightly guarded offices of his Party for Freedom in the Dutch parliament building.
Earlier Thursday, a Dutch judge extended by two weeks the detention of the man who allegedly threatened to attack Wilders.
Prosecutors said in a statement that an investigating judge ordered the suspect held while he is investigated on charges of making a terrorist threat, making preparations for a terrorist murder and incitement.
The Dutch government had been at pains to distance itself from the contest.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte last week questioned Wilders' motive for organizing the contest.
"His aim is not to have a debate about Islam. His aim is to be provocative," the prime minister said.
However, Rutte added that people in the Netherlands have far-reaching freedom of speech rights and the government did not intend to seek the contest's cancellation.
In a clear indication of the anger Wilders had generated, thousands of hard-line Islamists marched toward Pakistan's capital Thursday in protest.
Some 10,000 supporters of the Tehreek-i-Labaik group, which helped Imran Khan to become prime minister following last month's national elections, set out on the march Wednesday, calling on Khan to cut diplomatic ties with the Netherlands.
Chemnitz, Aug 30 (AP/UNB) — Hundreds of people protested and expressed disdain for politicians in east Germany on Thursday as a regional governor visited a city where the fatal stabbing of a German citizen sparked violent clashes over immigration.
Saxony state Gov. Michael Kretschmer held a town hall meeting in Chemnitz under the watch of tight police security as about 500 people demonstrated outside.
Many of the protesters refused to talk to the media, but the ones who did said they felt abandoned by politicians and were angry at the crimes committed by migrants.
At the site where the 35-year-old man was wounded in an altercation with migrants over the weekend, a message placed among the flowers and candles read: "Take away their knives or we'll take away your elected offices."
Authorities denied online rumors that the victim was protecting a woman from harassment when he was stabbed, saying there was no evidence this had been the case.
The slaying has become a rallying point for far-right groups in Germany. At least 18 people were injured Monday when their supporters, mobilized from surrounding areas and further afield, clashed with counter-protesters in Chemnitz.
The public display, which included neo-Nazis hurling abuse and bottles as police struggled to keep the groups apart, has raised fresh concerns about the threat posed by far-right extremists in Germany.
Green party lawmaker Claudia Roth told German news agency dpa that "organized far-right extremists" appeared to be using public anger over the killing for their ends. Footage showing numerous protesters performing the stiff-armed Nazi salute was evidence of their extremist ideology, Roth said.
Public displays of the salute, the Nazi swastika and other efforts to glorify Adolf Hitler's National Socialist regime are forbidden in Germany and can result in fines or prison sentences.
Saxony state has long been a hotbed of anti-migrant sentiment. It is home to the group Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, or PEGIDA, and a stronghold of the far-right Alternative for Germany party, which received almost a quarter of the vote in the state last year.
There have been regular attacks against migrants over the years in Saxony, especially since the influx of more than a million refugees to Germany in 2015 and 2016. While the share of foreigners in Saxony remains below the national average, concern among the population about migrants committing crimes is particularly high.
Chemnitz prosecutors said a 22-year-old Iraqi and a 23-year-old Syrian were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in connection with Sunday's killing.
Kretschmer, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, faces a state election next year. Adding to the pressure on him, opposition parties have called for an investigation into alleged collusion between Saxony police and far-right extremists after the arrest warrants for the two suspects were leaked on social media.
Later Thursday, Saxony's state justice department said it suspended a prison guard for leaking the copy of an arrest warrant for one of the suspects.
Meanwhile, daily newspaper Die Welt reported that the Iraqi suspect had applied for asylum in Bulgaria before coming to Germany. Under European Union policy, he should have been deported back to the eastern European country. The newspaper said German authorities did not follow through on returning him to Bulgaria.
Authorities in Saxony have requested the help of federal police to prevent further outbursts of violence in coming days. The regional police department came under suspicion this week after a man at a far-right protest was filmed harassing journalists.
Police subsequently held the reporters for 45 minutes — ostensibly to check their identities — preventing them from covering the demonstration. It later emerged that the protester was a civilian employee of Saxony's criminal police department.
On Thursday, the state police department said that after talks with the man and his lawyer, the man would resign next week, dpa reported.
In a separate incident, police said Thursday that a 20-year-old Syrian man was hospitalized after he was attacked in the northern city of Wismar by three German-speaking men shouting anti-migrant slurs.
He was released after treatment for a fractured nose and bruises to his face and upper body.
The co-leader of Alternative for Germany, which placed third in last year's national election, said he understood the public anger over the German man's death.
Alexander Gauland told Die Welt in an interview published Wednesday that "when such a killing occurs, it's normal for people to snap."
Sofia, Aug 31 (AP/UNB) — Three Bulgarian ministers have resigned in the aftermath of a bus crash that killed 17 people and injured several others.
Prime Minister Boyko Borissov called Friday for the resignations of his interior, transport and regional development ministers over the crash, and Valentin Radev, Ivaylo Moskovki and Nikolay Nankov later agreed they would take political responsibility and resign.
The resignations of the three men, who had been nominated for the posts by Borissov's center-right GERB party, require approval by Parliament to take effect.
The crash last Saturday saw a tourist bus overturn and fall off the highway, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Sofia, the capital. Thirteen people died at the scene, including a 13-year-old boy, and four others died in the hospital. The crash's cause is under investigation.
London, Aug 31 (AP/UNB) — Cambridge University says economist James Mirrlees, the co-winner of the 1996 Nobel prize in economics, has died. He was 82.
Mirrlees, who died Wednesday, studied public economics, or the role of the public sector in the market economy.
He examined devising an optimal income tax regime balancing efficiency and equity. He shared the Nobel with William Vickrey of Columbia University.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon paid tribute to Mirrlees for service to the council of economic advisers, saying he had "a way of conveying the essence of any economic issue in a manner which was clear, thoughtful and accessible."
He is survived by his widow, Patricia, daughters Catriona and Fiona from his first marriage to Gill who died in 1993, stepson Rory and four grandchildren.