Local news translated – May 3, 2024

Graphic by U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Office

Host Nation Update, May 3, 2024

Teenagers allegedly planned terrorist attack

Four young people from North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg arrested at Easter are said to have been planning an Islamist attack with bombs. This emerges from a confidential report from the NRW Ministry of the Interior to the state parliament. According to the document, the young people exchanged instructions on how to make explosives via chat, which were downloaded from a forum, a spokesperson for the NRW Ministry of the Interior explained on Friday at the request of the German Press Agency in Düsseldorf. In their more concrete attack plans, however, the youths then concentrated on Molotov cocktails and knives.  According to earlier statements by North Rhine-Westphalia’s Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU), the detainees are a 15-year-old from Düsseldorf, a 15-year-old from Lippstadt, a 16-year-old from Iserlohn and a 16-year-old from Ostfildern in Baden-Württemberg. According to terrorism investigators, they are said to have agreed to murder and manslaughter “in unity with the preparation of a serious act of violence endangering the state”.  According to Reul’s report to the state parliament, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution initially came across the 16-year-old from Iserlohn because she had viewed Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia propaganda material and wanted to travel to Syria. During a raid on Maundy Thursday, the youth’s cell phone and a knife were seized, as well as a machete from her brother’s room. Chats with the other suspected youths were found on the cell phone. According to the report, the chats were about planning an attack with bombs in Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Iserlohn or Stuttgart by the end of May. The 16-year-old had announced in the chats that she would also bring her brother’s machete to the attack. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, May 3, 2024)

Editor’s note: Always remain vigilant and pay close attention to your surroundings, whether on or off post, and regardless of whether you’re traveling or staying local. Report anything you find suspicious or questionable to the proper authorities. Ensure you report foreign trips to your chain-of-command as required and that you provide accurate contact information in case of emergency. Discuss contingency plans for emergency situations with all family members. Finally, enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and help the local embassy or consulate reach you if needed.

Balloons blossom in Ludwigsburg – Balloon world record now official

It has been official since May 1: The Guinness World Records Institute has completed the rigorous testing procedure and confirmed the world record of 81 balloons at the Balloon Bloom Festival. The festival has thus secured its entry in the Guinness Book of Records.  On March 22, more than 80 balloons had to float above the ground at the same time for at least five minutes. The aim was to break the record set in Asia with 66 balloons. The jubilation was correspondingly great when the redeeming figure of 81 balloons was finally announced. The idea for the attempt came from the event agency Eventstifter.  More than 90 pilots released the balloons made of silk, air and fire into the sky above the palace gardens in Ludwigsburg. With a volume of around 80 cubic meters of hot air, the envelope of the model balloons, which are up to eight meters high, is smaller than that of conventional hot air balloons. No one is transported in them. The model balloons are remote-controlled. (SN, May 3, 2024)

Heavy rain causes major damage – Southwest particularly affected

After numerous storm damage caused by thunderstorms and heavy rain on Thursday in some regions of western Germany, the situation eased again on Friday night (May 3).
The German Weather Service (DWD) in Offenbach lifted all storm warnings. However, in many places the damage caused by the masses of water had already been done. Roads were flooded, the first floor of a retirement home had to be evacuated and there were disruptions at airports and to rail traffic. In the Ahr valley, the masses of water brought back bad memories of the flood disaster of 2021, even if the storm was far less severe this time.  The DWD then gave the all-clear on Friday night: all severe weather warnings in Germany were lifted, even though heavy rain was still expected in the west at the start of the day. However, this should move westwards out of Germany in the morning.    According to the DWD, there could still be one or two heavy thunderstorms in the north-east. However, it will be a much calmer day compared to Thursday. Temperatures of up to 25 degrees are also expected. The weather in the southwest will initially remain cool and changeable. At the weekend, however, it could warm up to 21 degrees on the Rhine. (SN, May 3, 2024)

What’s going on in Stuttgart this weekend – Disney magic at the Schleyerhalle:  The Lion King

The “Disney in Concert” show takes you into the realm of “The Lion King”, the world of “Mulan” and many other fantasy worlds. It can be experienced this Saturday in the Schleyerhalle, starting at 8 pm. The Hollywood Sound Orchestra will provide the right emotional tones, and star soloists are also promised – and this can be predicted without any advertising: the best entertainment.

“A concert like an intoxication” is how the Berliner Morgenpost described the experience at the Tempodrom. Canadian pianist and singer Chilly Gonzales made sure of that. This Saturday, in a direct time duel with the Disney show in the Schleyerhalle, he will make sure you are spoiled for choice. Gonzales takes to the stage in the Liederhalle at 8 pm.

The Stuttgart run does not take place until July. You can already start for a good cause this Sunday – at 1 pm in Sonja Merz’s beer garden. And as part of a worldwide network. Globally, runners in the “Wings for Life World Run” start at the same time. There is no finish line – the participants run together from the virtual catcher car. You can register at Wings for Life World Run. 100 percent of the donations and entry fees go to spinal cord research.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, May 3, 2024)

Stuttgart-Vaihingen Spring Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday

For the 36th time, the center around the Vaihingen market square, the district town hall and the public open spaces in front of the SchwabenGalerie are once again transformed into a large exhibition and activity area for strolling, discovering, marveling, playing and enjoying.

Over 50 exhibitors will be on display with a wide range of products and services relating to automobiles, homes, gardens and ambience. As part of the mobility show, numerous local companies present the latest limousines, convertibles, SUVs, vans, scooters as well as accessories, services and clothing.

For families, the large play area around the town hall (Saturday after the weekly market) becomes a social meeting place. There are performances to marvel at on the pavilion stage, for example the live jazz breakfast performance on Sunday from 11 a.m. To refresh yourself, there are all sorts of delicacies and refreshments from the participating restaurateurs throughout the area.

The shops at Vaihinger Mitte are also open for shopping on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. for strolling and shopping.

The event times are Saturday, May 4 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sun. May 5 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Editor’s note: learn more about upcoming local festivals and special events in the Stuttgart Citizen’s Festivals in Focus article here.