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More than 10,000 people who arrived in Germany as refugees since 2015 have mastered the language sufficiently to enrol at a German university. More than half of those who came are in work and pay taxes. Among refugee children and teenagers, more than 80% say they have a strong sense of belonging to their German schools and feel liked by their peers.
The AfD, meanwhile, never reached the point “when it will be the country’s second-largest party”, as historian Niall Ferguson predicted in February 2018. The party has established a steady presence in local parliaments across Germany, especially in the states of the formerly socialist east. But at federal level the AfD has dropped to fourth in the polls, down from its third place and 12.6% at elections in 2017, and has been stricken with infighting since immigration has dropped off the top of the political agenda.
The spectre of jihadist terrorism, which some feared the refugee crisis would usher into the heart of central Europe, has faded from view in recent years. After a spate of seven attacks with an Islamist motive in Germany in 2016, culminating with a truck driven into a Berlin Christmas market that December, the country has seen no further attacks for the last three years.
Germany’s Federal Office of Criminal Investigations records a rise of criminal offences, including violent crime, in the years between 2014 and 2016, linking the trend to the influx of migration. The percentage of asylum seekers found guilty of such crimes also doubled in the same period. However, the majority of these offences were within the refugee shelters where new arrivals were initially housed. By 2017, when Trump claimed that “crime in Germany is way up” because it had taken in “all of those illegals”, the number of overall recorded crimes was decreasing. Last year, crime in Germany sank to an 18-year low.
Turnout at the close of voting Monday indicated that some regions saw nearly 60%-75% of eligible voters cast ballots, including those who voted from home or hospitals because they were sick with *********-19 or quarantining. An army of volunteers, wearing head-to-toe protective equipment, made house calls to ensure that even *****-affected Italians could vote.
Those who made it to polling centers had to follow strict protocols on wearing face masks and social distancing, with the elderly given precedence in lines and hand sanitizer stations ubiquitous.
As fierce combat between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces stretched into a fourth day, the presence of Syrians on the ground – believed to be contractors working for Turkish security companies – signalled a new frontier for Ankara’s increasingly assertive foreign policy.
Turkish intervention in a dispute that foreign powers have traditionally sought to restrain was a dangerous new factor that threatened to make the fighting there longer and bloodier, analysts said.
So far there are more than 100 confirmed deaths among civilians and Armenian combatants killed in action. Azerbaijan does not release data on its military losses, but these can be assumed to be at least as high.
The fighting appears to be driven by an attempt by Azerbaijani forces to recapture swathes of territories occupied by Armenian forces in the Karabakh war after the Soviet Union collapsed. Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Azeris were displaced from these areas in 1992-4.