BERLIN (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would not be “so stupid” as to use chemical weapons close to Damascus, the leader of the country’s largest Kurdish group said.
Saleh Muslim, head of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), said he doubted the Syrian president would resort to using such weapons when he felt he had the upper hand in the country’s civil war.
BERLIN, Aug 26 (Reuters) – Philipp Roesler, the young leader
of Germany’s Free Democrats (FDP), looked like a dead man
walking at the start of the year, until he took a major risk
that turned his and his party’s fortunes around.
His party, which shares power with Angela Merkel’s
conservatives, was in freefall, and rivals were planning a
putsch, fearful the FDP would be booted out of government in a
September election with Roesler at the helm.
BERLIN/LONDON (Reuters) – Germany and Britain led growth among Europe’s heavyweight economies from April through June as both enjoyed their fastest rates of expansion in more than a year, data showed on Friday.
Although recession still haunts many of Europe’s major economies, like Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, analysts said the German and British data showed that at least two of the region’s major economic engines are moving into a higher gear.
BERLIN, Aug 23 (Reuters) – Broad-based domestic demand drove
the strongest German quarterly expansion in more than a year
between April and June, fuelling optimism Europe’s largest
economy will outperform in 2013 and support the nascent euro
Details released on Friday showed a construction flurry
after the harsh winter, firms’ strong appetite for machines and
equipment and healthy private consumption all underpinned a 0.7
percent quarterly rise in gross domestic product (GDP)
BERLIN (Reuters) – German security forces shamefully neglected the threat of the far right and their bungled investigations and prejudice enabled a neo-Nazi cell blamed for nine racist murders to go undetected for more than a decade, a parliamentary committee has concluded.
The stinging report came after a 19-month inquiry into the National Socialist Underground (NSU), whose chance discovery in late 2011 scandalized Germany and forced authorities to recognize the far-right fringe was more brutal and organized than previously thought.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany will become the first European country to recognise indeterminate sex by allowing babies born with no clear gender-determining anatomy to be put on the birth register without a “male” or “female” classification.
The new regulation, which takes effect from November 1, stems from a study by the German Ethics Council into intersexuality that concluded that the rights of intersex individuals against irreversible medical interventions should be better protected.
BERLIN (Reuters) – NATO is at its most cohesive yet, its new commander said, but must ensure that spending cuts do not erode the power of an alliance facing tasks as diverse as a new training mission in Afghanistan and protecting Turkey’s border with Syria.
Many European countries have slashed defense spending since the 2008 financial crisis. Apart from the United States, Greece, Britain and Estonia, no member has met NATO’s goal of spending 2 percent of economic output on defense.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Proposals to create vast marine sanctuaries to protect Antarctic wildlife from fishing and other human activity failed on Tuesday due to opposition from Russia, environmental observers said.
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), a 25-member inter-governmental body, was considering two proposals to designate large tracts of ocean off-limits for almost all activities aside from scientific exploration.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Michelle Obama and her daughters threaded roses through the narrow slots of a Berlin Wall memorial on Wednesday, honoring those who died trying to cross the Cold War barrier at a site which holds special poignancy in the once divided city.
Accompanied by Angela Merkel’s husband Joachim Sauer, who like the German leader hails from the former East Germany, President Barack Obama’s family toured the Bernauer Strasse memorial where desperate residents of East Berlin once tried to jump from their windows into the western half of the city.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Peer Steinbrueck, the main opposition challenger to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, choked up during an interview on Sunday when he was asked about what motivated him to carry on despite all the pressure and criticism of his campaign.
In an extraordinary display of emotion from a man known for his abrasive style, Steinbrueck struggled to find words, and sighed heavily. As his eyes welled up, the audience at the event by his Social Democrat (SPD) party stood up and applauded.