German man admits poisoning baby food

A 53-year-old German man admitted on Saturday to poisoning baby food and threatening to contaminate other products in stores across Europe, as part of a presumed blackmail plot, authorities said.

German man admits poisoning baby food

The arrest on Friday of the suspect – described as “mentally disturbed” – came after German police alerted the public earlier in the week, saying a blackmailer was demanding millions of euros in cash.

To press the demand, the suspect allegedly poisoned five baby food products and alerted police to the store where they were placed in the southern city of Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance.

Following information received from the public, police detained the man near Tubingen, about two hours drive away from the store.

“The presumed blackmailer has admitted the accusations… during his appearance before the Ravensburg court” and said he did not put any other poisoned products in supermarkets, German authorities said.

At a press conference earlier in the day, police and prosecutors said the man had refused to shed light on his motives but that evidence implicating him was discovered at his home.

It also appears the man, who has not been named, acted alone.

Local deputy chief of police Uwe Stuermer described the man as “eccentric” and mentally disturbed.

He was arrested after authorities released surveillance footage of the man, whom they earlier described as aged 55, wearing glasses and a white cap.

The baby food – which had been laced with ethylene glycol, a chemical found in anti-freeze and brake fluid – was found and removed.

But a nationwide appeal for information was launched on the suspect and a warning issued about the potential for other food contamination.


Russian opposition leader ‘can walk with a tremble’ after Berlin treatment

Russia's leading opposition politician Alexei Navalny announced on Saturday that he could now walk with a "tremble", and gave the first detailed account of his recovery nearly a month after being poisoned.

Russian opposition leader 'can walk with a tremble' after Berlin treatment
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny published a photograph of him walking down stairs. Photo: Instagram account of Alexey Navalney
The 44-year-old Kremlin critic posted a photo of himself walking downstairs on Instagram and described how earlier symptoms had included the inability to form words.
“Now I am a guy whose legs tremble when he takes the stairs,” he wrote, detailing moments of “despair” as doctors help him overcome the effects of the nerve agent Novichok.
This latest update on his progress came after posted to Instagram on Tuesday that he had spent a first day breathing unassisted.
The anti-corruption campaigner fell ill on a plane from Siberia to Moscow on August 20 and spent two days in a Russian hospital before being airlifted to Berlin's Charite hospital.
Navalny said in his update that during the initial days of his recovery, he had needed therapy to help him recover his speech as he struggled to form words.
He was still unable to use a phone, he added, meaning friends or family probably posted the messages for him.





Давайте расскажу, как идёт мое восстановление. Это уже ясная дорога, хоть и неблизкая. Все текущие проблемы вроде того, что телефон в моих руках бесполезен, как камень, а налить себе водички превращается в целый аттракцион, – сущая ерунда. Объясню. Совсем недавно я не узнавал людей и не понимал, как разговаривать. Каждое утро ко мне приходил доктор и говорил: Алексей, я принёс доску, давайте придумаем, какое на ней написать слово. Это приводило меня в отчаяние, потому что хоть я уже и понимал в целом, что хочет доктор, но не понимал, где брать слова. В каком месте головы они возникают? Где найти слово и как сделать так, чтобы оно что-то означало? Все это было решительно непонятно. Впрочем, как выразить своё отчаяние, я тоже не знал и поэтому просто молчал. И это я еще описываю поздний этап, который сам помню. Сейчас я парень, у которого дрожат ноги, когда он идёт по лестнице, но зато он думает: «о, это ж лестница! По ней поднимаются. Пожалуй, надо поискать лифт». А раньше бы просто тупо стоял и смотрел. Так что много проблем ещё предстоит решить, но потрясающие врачи университетской Берлинской клиники «Шарите» решили главную. Они превратили меня из «технически живого человека» в того, кто имеет все шансы снова стать Высшей Формой Существа Современного Общества, – человеком, который умеет быстро листать инстаграм и без размышлений понимает, где ставить лайки.

A post shared by Алексей Навальный (@navalny) on Sep 19, 2020 at 2:09am PDT

Long road to recovery
“Not long ago, I didn't recognise people and couldn't understand how to speak,” he said. “How to find a word and how to make it mean something? This was all totally incomprehensible.
“I didn't know how to express my despair either and so I was just silent.”
The nerve agent Novichok disrupts communication between the brain, the main organs and muscles, while doctors say it gradually clears from the body.
Navalny, who said that he did not remember the early stage of his recovery, thanked the “fantastic doctors” treating him at Charite hospital.
He now saw a “clear path, although not a short one” to recovery, he said.
An avid user of social media, Navalny said that he hoped soon to be “able to scroll through Instagram and add likes without thinking about it”.
Navalny's supporters and some European leaders have said that poisoning with Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, points to a state-ordered crime.
The revelations of nerve agent use have prompted calls for new sanctions against Russia and for Germany to abandon a near-completed project to carry Russian gas to Europe, Nord Stream 2.
Russia insists its medical tests did not detect any poison in Navalny's body. It says it lacks grounds for a criminal investigation, despite international calls for a transparent probe.
Navalny's aides said that German experts found traces of Novichok on a water bottle in his hotel room in the Siberian city of Tomsk.
Germany announced September 3 that medical tests from a military chemical weapons laboratory had found “unequivocal evidence” of the nerve agent.