Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

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And we begin this hour in Berlin. This evening, a truck slammed into a crowded Christmas market there. It happened in the western part of the city in the heart of a shopping district.

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The German government has for the first time deported Afghan asylum seekers, sending 34 back to Kabul on a chartered flight last night. Hundreds of protesters — both Afghan and German — marched against the deportations at Frankfurt Airport where the flight departed.

The migrants' requests for asylum had been denied.

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We are following right now reports of an incident involving a shooter in a movie theater in Germany. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is in Berlin with the latest details for us. Soraya, what do we know at this point?

Maher Murad recently had a bad sore throat and decided to go see a doctor. But the 19-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker doesn't speak German. And the German physician he went to see at the shelter where he lives, just outside Hamburg, didn't speak Arabic.

This kind of language barrier is common, as officials struggle to provide services like medical care to Murad and others. More than a million asylum seekers have poured into Germany over the past 18 months. The newcomers are from around the world and few speak English, let alone German.

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U.S. and NATO officials will gather in a small town in Romania tomorrow to declare a new American base ready to intercept enemy missiles. It's part of the long-planned European defense system designed to protect the continent from Iranian ballistic missiles.

Is outer space a man's domain? You might think so in Germany, where the country's 11 astronauts have all been men. They also dominate mission control at the German Space Operations Center, although Katja Leuoth is helping to change that.

Five years ago, Leuoth became the center's first female flight director. Recently, a second woman was hired, she says. They and 10 male colleagues run the European portion of the International Space Station 24/7 from the compound in the small Bavarian town of Oberpfaffenhofen.

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Donald Trump wrote in his 1987 book, The Art of the Deal, that his grandfather came from Sweden. These days, the Republican presidential hopeful and real estate mogul embraces different paternal roots.

The teetotaler's grandfather actually comes from a medieval wine-making village called Kallstadt, in the southwestern German state of Rhineland Palatinate. Like many Americans of German descent, the Trumps apparently stopped referring to their German heritage during the World Wars.

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In the wake of Friday's coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris, the French people — and supporters around the world — have been grieving. More than 120 people died in explosions and gunfire when well-coordinated teams of assailants struck at least six sites across the city.

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Among the steady stream of asylum-seekers pouring into Germany every week, there are scores of children traveling on their own.

Over Labor Day weekend, 195 of them arrived in Munich, including 17-year-old Syrians Malaz and Wissam. NPR is identifying them only by their first names because they are minors dealing with difficult personal and legal situations.

Of the two boys, Malaz is the more outgoing. The hazel-eyed teen grabs Wissam's arm and with a big smile, says: "We are friends!"

In most European Union countries, it's fringe groups that drive anti-migrant sentiment. Not so in Hungary, where the government is busy stoking the fire.

Hungary is now the main gateway for asylum-seekers headed to northern Europe, with thousands arriving in the eastern European country every week. The prime minister, Viktor Orban, and his government are capitalizing on the crisis to bolster their increasingly right-wing platform.

Germany may be Europe's economic giant, but Berlin remains the lone major European capital without a proper airport. The mismanaged, roughly $6 billion project to build one became a national laughing stock that has dragged on for years.

Ground was broken on the airport in 2006 and the opening was delayed just shortly before the planned date in 2012. The airport's managers are now pledging that Germany's third-largest airport will open on the outskirts of Berlin before the end of 2017.

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