Erik's Feed
Nov 24, 2014

Swiss museum to accept part of Nazi loot art trove

BERLIN (Reuters) – A Swiss museum has reluctantly agreed to accept part of a billion-euro art bequest from the late Cornelius Gurlitt, a German recluse whose secret collection included masterpieces looted from their Jewish owners by the Nazis.

Christoph Schaeublin of the Bern Art Museum (KMB) announced in Berlin it would accept all artworks bequeathed by Gurlitt which experts had ascertained had not been stolen by the Nazis. Others would remain with German authorities while their provenance is checked.

Nov 19, 2014

Strife racks Germany’s Eurosceptic AfD despite popularity

BERLIN (Reuters) – A deputy to the leader of Germany’s upstart Eurosceptic party Alternative for Germany criticized him on Wednesday as a “control freak” bent on rooting out AfD members who disagree with him.

It was a further sign of turmoil in a party that has altered German politics, winning seats in the European Parliament in May and mandates in three German state assemblies – its first – with 10 percent or more of the vote two months ago.

Nov 19, 2014

Senior German politician under fire for plea to recognize Russian Crimea

BERLIN (Reuters) – A senior German politician drew criticism on Wednesday for suggesting the West should recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea to save face for President Vladimir Putin.

Former state premier Matthias Platzeck, chairman of the German-Russian Forum business lobby and erstwhile Social Democrat (SPD) chief, is the first high-ranking German to say the West should endorse the annexation as a way to help resolve the Ukraine crisis.

Nov 17, 2014

German World Cup documentary pulls in crowds despite bad reviews

BERLIN (Reuters) – A behind-the-scenes documentary film about Germany’s successful campaign to win the 2014 soccer World Cup in Brazil pulled in the crowds in Germany on its opening weekend, despite woeful reviews.

Critics assailed “Die Mannschaft” (The Team) as a sugar-coated, corporate PR-style production, a far cry from a more critical and stirring movie by independent filmmaker Soenke Wortmann about the 2006 World Cup, which Germany hosted.

Nov 16, 2014

Putin says he’s convinced solution to Ukraine crisis possible

BERLIN, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Russia President Vladimir Putin
said in a German television interview on Sunday that he is
convinced it should be possible to find a way to resolve the
crisis in Ukraine but added he was concerned about the threat of
ethnic cleansing.

In the 30-minute landmark interview broadcast to a prime
time audience, Putin defended Russia’s annexation of the Crimea
but also appealed to the hearts and minds of German viewers by
saying relations between the two nations had never been better
and saying it would be a shame to throw that away.

Nov 16, 2014

German economy minister rejects tougher sanctions on Russia

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday he does not believe tighter sanctions against Russia will help resolve the Ukraine crisis even though Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday the European Union is considering further sanctions.

Gabriel, Germany’s Vice Chancellor and the leader of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) that shares power with Merkel’s conservatives, told German TV network ARD that he did not believe sanctions will move Russia President Vladimir Putin.

Nov 16, 2014

Merkel tells German rock star: sorry we mangled your song

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel stunned a German rock star named Campino by calling to apologize for her conservative Christian Democrat (CDU) party’s mangling of his popular rock anthem “Tage wie diese” at their victory party after her 2013 re-election.

In excerpts from his autobiography published in Der Spiegel magazine on Sunday, the front man of German punk rock band Die Toten Hosen said he had previously complained about political parties misusing his song at campaign rallies but said he had nothing against people singing the song at celebrations.

Nov 15, 2014

Russia won’t allow Ukraine to ‘destroy’ opponents, says Putin

BERLIN (Reuters) – Russia will not allow the Ukraine government to “destroy” its political opponents and adversaries in east Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin told German television network ARD.

He accused Western media of biased reporting on Ukraine.

“The most important thing is that one does not have a one-sided view of the problem,” Putin said in a first brief excerpt of the interview that was broadcast on Saturday amid reports of Russian troops pouring into eastern Ukraine. The full interview will be broadcast on Sunday evening.

Nov 10, 2014

Germany celebrates 25th anniversary of fall of Berlin Wall

BERLIN (Reuters) – More than a million Germans and people from around the world on Sunday celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the event that more than any other marked the end of the Cold War.

A spectacular 15 kilometre-long string of 7,000 illuminated helium balloons traced the course of the barrier that once snaked through the city, slicing across streets, between families and even through graveyards.

Nov 9, 2014

Berlin Wall’s fall 25 years ago an epic blow to tyranny: Merkel

BERLIN (Reuters) – The fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago, heralding the end to the Cold War between East and West, showed the world “dreams can come true” and should inspire people trapped in tyranny everywhere, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday.

Festivities to mark the anniversary have drawn more than 100,000 Berliners and tourists to the center of the once-divided city. Many wandered along a 15-km (9-mile) former “death strip” where the Wall once stood, and 7,000 illuminated helium balloons were perched 3.6 meters (11.8 feet) high on poles – matching the height of the barrier built in 1961 by Communist East Germany.

    • About Erik

      "Erik Kirschbaum is based in Berlin. He has been covering politics, economics, entertainment and sport in Germany since 1989 from Frankfurt, Bonn and Berlin. He also has worked for Reuters in Vienna. Previously, he also worked for newspapers in Connecticut, Wisconsin and Nevada. He has also written two books."
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