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from Photographers' Blog:

The Faces of Merkel

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By Thomas Peter

The Bundestag in Berlin, session 188. The plenum below the grand glass dome of the Reichstag building is buzzing with the voices of lawmakers who are to vote today on the ratification of Europe's permanent bailout mechanism.

News photographers pluck the occasional picture from among the crowd with a timid click of their cameras. But everyone is waiting for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A summit of EU leaders in Brussels has finished only hours earlier. A summit that Ms Merkel left as the defeated, after Spain and Italy cornered her into budging to their demand to use EU rescue fund money for the direct recapitalisation of banks, something that thus far had been a red rag for Germany.

How would Ms Merkel sell the outcome of the summit to the house? Curiosity is running high on the two tightly packed media balconies overlooking the floor. TV cameras and batteries of photographers' super-tele lenses are trained at the spot where Angela Merkel will appear any minute.

from Photographers' Blog:

Carnival in Germany, when everything is upside down

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By Kai Pfaffenbach

We Germans (at least most of us) seem to be well organized, diligent, reliable, politically correct and ready to help, even with our money. But there is one thing we Germans are prejudiced for – our lack of humor.

It looks like for that reason “Carnival” was invented.

Okay, that’s not true. About 600 years ago, people started big celebrations for the last days before Ash Wednesday and the end of the Christian period of fasting. To get better control of those festivities authorities “organized” Carnival. Over the years it became more and more popular to wear funny costumes.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

The stuff dream photos are made of…

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Hey, Blog Guy, I'm here! Do  you recognize me?

I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?

No, you dimwit. This isn't "A Christmas Carol." I'm the guy who sets up all those great fantasy photos for your readers, so I'm sorry to see it's going away.

Well, thanks for all your good work. You've pulled off pictures I would have thought impossible, especially the ones involving world leaders.

from Global News Journal:

Waiting for Europe’s “appropriate response”

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Will the euro zone finally act decisively?

Investors are hoping for something big from European leaders at the EU summit on Oct. 23 and of the Group of 20 on Nov. 3. But they also know the 17 nations of the euro have a habit of offering delayed, half-hearted rescues that have cost them credibility.

So there's been a lot of "urging" and "warning" in Brussels lately -- politicians and central bankers have all been demanding Europe act as international alarm grows that its sovereign debt problems may drag the world into recession. "Further delays are only aggravating the situation," said European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet on Tuesday in his last appearance at the European Parliament, before he hands over the post to Mario Draghi on Nov. 1.

from The Great Debate UK:

Another week, another E.U. bailout agreement

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By Mark Hillary. The opinions expressed are his own.

Once again German Chancellor Angela Merkel has had to dig deep to ensure that the euro zone can limp along for a little longer without any single nation defaulting.

And this story changes day by day. No sooner has Germany rescued the euro, Greece apologises and says they can’t meet the deficit targets – no more savings can possibly be achieved through austerity.

from The Great Debate UK:

Could Europe be on the cusp of a Lehman moment?

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By Kathleen Brooks. The opinions expressed are her own.

The euro zone debt crisis has now spread from the sovereigns - after the ECB came in and purchased Italian and Spanish debt – to the banking sector. Although the EU authorities put in place a short-selling ban, which has another week to run, the banking sector is back at the pre-ban levels or in some cases even lower.

Europe’s banks are by and large less capitalised than their U.S. peers. They are also exposed to Europe’s sovereign debt and European loan books. Even if a member state manages to avoid a default, growth is now slowing and we could be in line for another recession that would most likely increase bad debts and further erode banks’ profits.

from MacroScope:

Joint euro bonds: the inconvenient truth

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy kept a distance from the idea of a common sovereign euro zone bond on this week, with France hinting only that it could be a possibility in the very distant future.

But a Reuters poll shows a growing field of investors and economists say a common bond issuance would be the best -- and perhaps the only -- way of solving the debt crisis. In theory, it would allow highly indebted euro zone countries to regain access to commercial markets, while providing investors a safeguard through joint liability.

from FaithWorld:

Merkel: Germany doesn’t have “too much Islam” but “too little Christianity”

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merkel (Photo: Chancellor Angela Merkel in Karlsruhe, 15 Nov 2010/Kai Pfaffenbach)

Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans debating Muslim integration to stand up more for Christian values, saying Monday the country suffered not from "too much Islam" but "too little Christianity."

Addressing her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, she said she took the current public debate in Germany on Islam and immigration very seriously. As part of this debate, she said last month that multiculturalism there had utterly failed.

from FaithWorld:

The slow death of multiculturalism in Europe

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The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the authors’ alone. Ibrahim Kalin is senior advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. This article first appeared in Today's Zaman in Istanbul and is reprinted with its permission.

multiculti europeBy Ibrahim Kalin

Has multiculturalism run its course in Europe? If one takes a picture of certain European countries today and freezes it, that would be the logical conclusion.

from FaithWorld:

Germany holds inflamed debate on Islam and migration

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merkel JUGermany's inflamed public debate about Islam and integration risks serious overheating as politicians compete to make ever tougher statements criticizing Muslims immigrants they accuse of refusing to fit in here.

The escalating row, sparked off when a Bundesbank board member slammed Muslims as dim-witted welfare spongers, has mixed some social problems and some Muslim customs into a vision of Islam as a looming menace to German society.

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