Apple set out plans to expand its engineering operation in Munich to include a facility focused on developing chips and software related to 5G and future wireless systems, writes Chris Donkin.
The creation of a European Silicon Design Centre in the German city, Apple noted, will add hundreds of new employees to its R&D operation in the region and comprise part of a €1 billion investment over three years to improve its facilities in the country.
Munich is already the US company’s largest engineering facility in Europe, with teams focused on power management technology, application processor SoCs, and analogue and mixed signal solutions used in its iPhones.
Its new unit will be housed in an already constructed 30,000 square-metre building with the company set to to start moving into the site in late 2022.
The company claimed its facility would become Europe’s “largest R&D site for mobile wireless semiconductors and software”.
Apple’s increased investment in its chip development facilities in Germany comes at a time when several European Union countries are actively trying to improve the region’s position in the semiconductor market to reduce dependency on imports from the US and Asia.
German vaccine seekers getting aggressive, doctors say
Germans desperate to be vaccinated against the coronavirus are becoming increasingly aggressive, doctors said on Wednesday (12 May), as frustration mounts after six months of lockdowns even though infection rates are now falling.
"The pressure on vaccination centres and doctors' practices is growing. People pushing for vaccination are becoming more demanding," Anke Richter-Scheer, the deputy head of the German association of family doctors, told the Funke media group.
As Germany extends priority for vaccines to more groups, it is becoming less comprehensible to many people why they should have to wait behind others, Richter-Scheer said.
People are showing up at doctors' practices and trying to get vaccines even though it is not their turn, with the mood getting more aggressive, she said.
Some people are also demanding their second shot early so they can go on holiday or profit from advantages such as shopping without needing a COVID-19 test.
Older patients who have been assigned AstraZeneca are also demanding a different vaccine.
After a sluggish start, Germany has been ramping up its vaccination campaign and has now given a first dose to a third of the population, with about 10% fully vaccinated.
It started by vaccinating its oldest citizens and has been gradually expanding shots to younger groups and other priority professions such as teachers, journalists and those working in critical infrastructure.
Several German states, including the capital city Berlin, announced plans on Tuesday planning to loosen coronavirus restrictions in coming days as the number of new infections keeps dropping nationwide. read more
On Wednesday, another 14,909 new cases were reported, bringing the total to 3,548,285, while the death toll rose by 268 to 85,380. However the seven-day incidence per 100,000 people dropped to 108 from 115 on Tuesday.
The government should give citizens clear guidelines on whether and where they can go on holiday by the end of May, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz told the Rheinische Post newspaper.
Holidays should be possible within Germany and in some other countries due to rising vaccinations and falling infections, he said. The northern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, popular with holidaymakers, will open up its tourism sector from June 14.
However, Germany's vaccine committee, known as STIKO, dampened expectations for a speedy approval for vaccination of children and adolescents.
Police and protesters clash during May Day rallies in Berlin
Around 30,000 protesters took to the streets during May Day rallies in Berlin on Saturday (1 May), police said, adding nearly 100 officers were injured when some of the demonstrations turned violent.
Police made around 354 arrests during the demonstrations, which they said were for physical assaults and trespassing.
"The violent riots that occurred is something that I very much regret," Berlin's head of police Barbara Slowik told local broadcaster rbb24.
Some of the injuries occurred after some demonstrators threw fireworks, bottles and rocks during protests over social inequality. About 5,600 police were deployed, and some responded with pepper spray.
The demonstrations were the second May Day protests since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Turnout was much higher than last year, even though social distancing requirements remain in place.
Protests hit other European capitals too, most notably Paris, where police made 46 arrests as garbage bins were set on fire and the windows of a bank branch were smashed. read more
In Berlin, police used water cannon to extinguish fires as protesters set ablaze waste bins, barricades and cars.
Demonstrations also took place in several other German cities, including Hamburg and Leipzig, despite Europe's largest economy grappling with a third wave of the pandemic.
On Sunday, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 16,290 to 3,416,822. Read more
German minister sees possible downward COVID-19 trend
The number of German coronavirus infections seems to be turning down, Health Minister Jens Spahn (pictured) said on Thursday (29 April), but the decline is not yet enough to be sure the third wave of the pandemic has been broken. "The figures must not only stagnate, they must go down," Spahn told a news conference, noting that the faster vaccination campaign was helping but there were still too many people being treated in intensive care wards.
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