Alexandra's Feed
Mar 14, 2014

EU working from list of 120-130 names for Russia sanctions

BRUSSELS/BERLIN (Reuters) – The European Union has drawn up a list of 120-130 Russians who could be hit with travel bans and asset freezes for their actions over Crimea, European diplomats said on Friday, but the final register of names will only be decided on Sunday.

The five-page list, including senior figures in Russia’s military and political establishment, was drawn up with the assistance of EU diplomats with experience in Moscow, officials told Reuters. It is now being reviewed in Brussels.

Mar 12, 2014

German Catholic bishops pick pope aide as new leader

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Catholic bishops elected Munich Cardinal Reinhard Marx their new leader on Wednesday, picking a close associate of Pope Francis already working on Vatican reform to also guide them at home.

Marx’s election in Germany, one of the richest and most influential national churches in the 1.2-billion-strong Roman Catholic world, enhanced his status among the men the pope has called on to help him revitalize the Catholic Church.

Feb 17, 2014

German foreign minister tries new tone to court Russia

MOSCOW (Reuters) – While others in Europe debate how best to contain Vladimir Putin, Germany’s foreign minister is on a mission to revive damaged ties with Moscow with a combination of public flattery and behind-the-scenes diplomacy.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s Social Democrats (SPD), junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new coalition, enjoy better chemistry with Russia’s leaders than her previous center-right government and he hopes this can open channels on Syria and Ukraine and help Brussels and Moscow to see eye-to-eye.

Feb 16, 2014

Asian films win big as Chinese thriller takes top Berlin prize

BERLIN (Reuters) – Asian films were big winners at the Berlin International Film Festival on Saturday, led by gritty Chinese thriller “Bai Ri Yan Huo” (Black Coal, Thin Ice) about an overweight detective pursuing a serial killer which took the top Golden Bear prize.

Liao Fan, who said he put on 20 kg (44 lb) and drank more alcohol to play the role of detective Zhang Zili, was named Best Actor.

Feb 15, 2014

Chinese thriller “Black Coal, Thin Ice” wins Best Film in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) – The gritty Chinese thriller “Bai Ri Yan Huo” (Black Coal, Thin Ice), which features an overweight detective on the trail of a serial killer, won the Golden Bear for best film on Saturday at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Liao Fan, who played detective Zhang Zili, was named Best Actor, while Haru Kuroki won Best Actress for her portrayal of a housemaid in the Japanese film “Chiisai Ouchi” (The Little House).

Feb 14, 2014

Russia accuses EU of seeking “sphere of influence” in Ukraine

MOSCOW, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Russia accused the European Union
on Friday of seeking to create a “sphere of influence” on its
borders by pressing Ukraine to choose closer ties with the
Western bloc at the expense of relations with Moscow.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sharpened Russian allegations
of Western interference in its neighbour’s turbulent affairs at
a joint news conference after talks with his German counterpart,
Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Feb 13, 2014

Modern take on Abraham’s sacrifice dissects Turkish village life

BERLIN, Feb 13 (Reuters) – After years focusing on his
visual arts career, Turkey’s Kutlug Ataman has returned to
feature filmmaking with a touching portrait of the pressures and
hypocrisy of village life in his northeastern Anatolian
homeland.

‘Kuzu’ (The Lamb) uses the occasion of the circumcision of a
young boy, Mert, to explore relations in his desperately poor
family, and how his parents behave under the weight of the
social expectation to roast a lamb for a celebration feast.

Feb 9, 2014

Filipino film highlights dangerous power of social media

BERLIN, Feb 9 (Reuters) – A gay 15-year-old’s heartbreak and
obsession with the social media make for a gripping tale of how
the Internet can drive fragile minds into a dangerous world, in
the Filipino film “Unfriend” shown at the Berlin film festival.

Director Joselito Altarejos takes viewers on a nightmarish
journey with the film’s hero David, who is jilted by his lover
just before Christmas, and turns to the screens of his mobile
phone, iPad and computer in a desperate attempt to prolong his
connection to the 17-year-old Jonathan.

Feb 2, 2014

Iran says nuclear talks failure would be “disaster”

MUNICH, Feb 2 (Reuters) – Iran’s foreign minister held rare
private talks with his U.S. counterpart on Sunday and said it
would be a “disaster” if Tehran did not turn a provisional
agreement to defuse a decade-old dispute over its nuclear
programme into a permanent deal.

In a sign of the thawing climate between the Islamic
Republic and the West, Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif said he had
held bilateral talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, as
well as with other ministers from the six powers negotiating
with Tehran, during a three-day security conference in Munich.

Feb 2, 2014

U.S. and Iran meet to discuss final nuclear accord

MUNICH, Feb 2 (Reuters) – The foreign ministers of the
United States and Iran held rare private talks in Germany on
Sunday to discuss the next stage in efforts to reach a
definitive agreement to end a decade-old dispute over Iran’s
nuclear programme.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign
Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met on the sidelines of the Munich
Security Conference to talk about nuclear negotiations between
six world powers and Iran that will resume in Vienna on Feb. 18.