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NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Thursday, August 31, 2006


Berlin, 31 August (AKI) - A proposal by Germany's tranpsort minister, Wolfgang Tiefensee, to recruit unemployed people to patrol railway stations for possible terrorism threats, has stirred controversy, with one parliamentarian, describing it as "hiring the jobless to fight al-Qaeda." Tiefensee's proposal came in the wake of recent attempted terrorist attacks in Germany - two supects, later arrested, were filmed by security cameras on 31 July at Cologne railway station and police later found two bombs on separate trains.

The transport minister, suggested last week that employing long-term job seekers in domestic anti-terror efforts might be a way to create much needed jobs and help passengers feel safer.

But the idea has drawn a raft of criticism from members of the government, the opposition and labour market experts.

Fighting terrorism "is not for amateurs, but for people who know what they are doing," Sebastian Edathy, from Tiefensee's own Social Democratic Party (SDP) said.

Wolfgang Bosbach a top member of the Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party agreed that security should be left to security officials.

The secretary general of the the opposition Free Democratic (FDP) party dismissed the proposal as "populist nonsense" while The Greens, another opposition party disparigingly described the proposed marshalls as "Tiefensee-Cops".

But the transport minister has defended his proposal saying it was "about making passengers feel safer, and not sending welfare recipients to fight terrorism or eve al-Qaeda."
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