A liver transplant patient turned up to her operation appointment at a German hospital with a bottle of vodka in her bag, a court has heard.

Germans confront painful past

Steve Crawshaw in Bonn finds a country divided over how to mark its `liberation' 50 years ago `Dresden, with its countless dead, has long been misused by those who never lea rn'

Dresden beats the cake cheats

The most famous of all was baked for August the Strong, Elector of Saxony, in 1730. It weighed two tonnes, and took 60 bakers to prepare. Eight horses transported it to the Elector's banquet, where it was sliced with a five-foot knife.

BOOK REVIEW / Of a monkey-faced melancholic: 'Umbrella' - Ferdinand Mount: Heinemann, 9.99 pounds

NOT MUCH has been remembered of Lord Aberdeen, 19th-century statesman, classical scholar, cousin of Byron and owner of a vast sweep of Scotland.

Obituary: Gottlob Frick

Gottlob Frick, opera singer: born Oelbronn, Wurtemberg 28 July 1906; died Pforzheim, Baden-Wurtemberg 18 August 1994.

Kohl allies face oblivion after election debacle

KLAUS KINKEL, the leader of the junior coalition party in Chancellor Helmut Kohl's government, yesterday acknowledged the 'bitter defeats' that his party had suffered in two regional east German elections on Sunday night, defeats that some in his party believe could be fatal.

German old left finds new strength

THE TWO most popular politicians in east Germany yesterday stormed to victory in state elections which saw a sharp rise in support for the region's former Communists.

Ossi and Wessi test the German water

BERLIN - The two giants of east German politics go to the polls tomorrow in regional elections which will provide one of the last tests of the national mood before next month's general election, writes Adrian Bridge.

Steam off to Colditz

If the Underground gets too much, switch to Saxony's narrow-gauge steam trains. On 23 September Moswin Tours (0533 719922) offers an eight-day escorted tour to all five lines in use in the east German province - plus a trip to Colditz Castle. The pounds 680 price includes Heathrow flights, half-board accommodation (pounds 100 single supplement) and the services of a 'railway consultant'.

Red and Green Saxony link worries SPD

GERMANY'S opposition Social Democrats (SPD) win a valuable political prize this week but some in the party have been reluctant to accept it - because it offers the SPD's opponents, the Christian Democrats, an electoral stick with which to beat them.

Old guard in Saxony comeback

BONN - The successors to the East German Communist Party, the PDS, emerged yesterday not just as the most obvious gainers in an election, but also as potential king-makers, for the first time since German unity in 1990, writes Steve Crawshaw.

Plea for unity from a failed candidate: The east-west split is still an issue, Steffan Heitmann tells Steve Crawshaw

Sitting in Dresden in near-obscurity once more is the spectre at the feast - the man who became the symbol of Chancellor Helmut Kohl's determination to get his way, against all the odds, and whose defeat as presidential candidate provided Mr Kohl with one of the worst humiliations in his 12 years as German leader. Steffan Heitmann, Justice Minister of the east German state of Saxony, is the man who Mr Kohl, the man who never loses, would dearly love to forget.

Germans await presidential vote

It has not been exactly an election campaign; and yet the candidates have been the subject of constant runners-and- riders speculation, and party political games, in recent months.

MUSIC / And not a heckler in earshot: Jan Smaczny reviews Turnage, Knussen and Bruckner in Birmingham

Feathers may have flown at Covent Garden over Birtwistle and poor Gawain, in Birmingham, however, contemporary music tends to foster happy consensus.

MUSIC / High romance: Anthony Payne on two great European orchestras at the Barbican Centre

The Barbican Centre's Great Orchestras of the World series brought two of Europe's finest to the Barbican Hall last week. The Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra has had a tradition of performing the German early and high Romantics ever since it was conducted by Mendelssohn and Brahms. It possesses a clear, bright sound and a unanimity of address to rhythm and texture which are uniquely suited to that repertory, and on Thursday night it gave beautifully poised and committed performances of pieces by Mendelssohn, Brahms and Schumann under its Kapellmeister Kurt Masur.
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