German cabinet approves smoking ban

Approval is sought for smoking ban on public transport and in federal buildings.

    Vocal opposition to smoking in Germany has
    increased in recent years [AFP]

    Ulla Schmidt, Germany's health minister, said: "I think a lot of people can, literally, breathe easier now."


    Schmidt added that "so long as a sufficient number of rooms is available, special rooms can - but don't have to be - designated for smokers."


    Smoking rooms


    The ban would apply to buses, trains, stations, aircraft, federal courts, ministries and other government buildings.


    German efforts to ban smoking in all public places suffered a setback last December amid concerns over who is responsible for a possible ban - the federal government or the country's 16 states.


    Last Friday, state officials agreed in principle on a smoking ban in public buildings, including theatres and cinemas.


    However, the states left open the possibility of allowing separate smoking rooms in restaurants, and at least two regional governments would like to allow exemptions for bars.


    "We have done what we can at the federal level," Schmidt said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


     How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    Ninety-nine years since Balfour's "promise", Palestinians insist that their rights in Palestine cannot be dismissed.

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    In the rundown Pedion Areos Park, older men walk slowly by young asylum seekers before agreeing on a price for sex.

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    The story of a most-wanted fugitive and billionaire.