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Video: Today's Top News at Noon in Berlin

Ex-Judge Criticizes Merkel’s Refugee Policy

A senior judge says Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy is against German law.

Hans-Jürgen Papier used to head Germany’s Constitutional Court, the nation’s highest judicial panel. In an exclusive interview with Handelsblatt, Mr. Papier said Ms. Merkel had lost control of Germany’s borders and her policies were undermining the integrity of the German state.

Hundreds of women were accosted in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, many of them by young refugees. Germany took in more than 1 million refugees last year, mostly Muslim men from Syria and Iraq. The Cologne attacks have caused an uproar in Germany and Ms. Merkel has promised to deport refugees convicted of crimes.

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Germany sending some migrants back to Austria

In a tightening of its open-door policy, Germany this month began to refuse entry and send some refugees back to Austria, according to Austrian police. A spokesman told French news agency AFP that Germany was now rejecting and sending back 200 refugees a day to its Alpine neighbor.

The heightened border scrutiny comes as Angela Merkel and her administration are coming under increasing criticism over its open-ended asylum program, which has let more than 1 million refugees into the country. Germany has apparently begun enforcing an E.U. law it had suspended last year that requires E.U. countries to deal with refugees at their point of entry. Most people Germany is rejecting come from Afghanistan, Morocco and Algeria. Germany may soon declare these countries to be “safe,’’ which would bar their residents from seeking asylum.

Berlin Pays Tribute to Bowie

Berliners on Monday paid tribute to British pop-rock legend David Bowie, who lived and recorded three albums in the German capital during the 1970s. Fans left candles and flowers outside Bowie’s old apartment in the Hauptstrasse, a busy street in the west Berlin’s Schöneberg neighborhood. On Friday, a former Bowie sound engineer plans to join fans at a memorial at Berlin’s Hansa music studio. Bowie performed his hit Heroes in the shadow of the Berlin wall in 1987, inspiring East Germans listening on the other side. In a tweet on Monday, the German Foreign Ministry thanked Bowie for helping bring down the Wall. Bowie died on Sunday at age 69 of cancer.

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Tal Rimon and Kristin Allen are editors at Handelsblatt Global Edition in Berlin. Narration: Kristin Allen To contact the authors: rimon@handelsblatt.com and k.allen@vhb.de

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