Erik's Feed
Jul 30, 2015

Germany opens treason probe against news website

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany opened a treason investigation on Thursday into a news website that a broadcaster said had reported on plans to increase state surveillance of online communications.

German media said it was the first time in more than 50 years that journalists had faced treason charges, and some denounced the move as an attack on the freedom of the press.

Jul 30, 2015

A new star is born as Germany’s refugee crisis worsens

BERLIN (Reuters) – An 18-year-old aslyum-seeker from Gambia has given Germany’s refugee crisis an improbable new twist with a fairy-tale soccer performance — scoring four headline-grabbing goals in his first match as a second-half substitute for Werder Bremen.

Tensions are rising in Germany over the surging numbers of refugees, expected to more than double to a record 450,000 this year from 200,000 in 2014. An opinion poll on Thursday found support falling for the government’s pro-refugee policies.

Jul 28, 2015

Berlin hosting “Jewish Olympics” in stadium Hitler built

BERLIN, July 28 (Reuters) – Seven decades after Adolf Hitler sought to stop Jews from competing in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, more than 2,500 Jewish competitors will take part in the 14th European Maccabi Games from Wednesday at the same Olympic Stadium.

Germany, home to the world’s fast-growing Jewish population, is full of pride that the country responsible for the Holocaust in which 6 million Jews were killed will host the 10-day “Jewish Olympics”, with participants from 36 nations in 19 disciplines from athletics to basketball, soccer and squash.

Jul 24, 2015

Ominous rise in racism against refugees, Germany’s top filmmaker says

POTSDAM, Germany (Reuters) – Too many people in Germany are openly espousing fascist views about the half million refugees expected to arrive this year and more need to stand up and oppose racism, the country’s leading filmmaker said in an interview with Reuters.

Til Schweiger, an actor, director and producer who is best known internationally for his role in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds”, became a lightning rod for racist comments on social media this week after he endorsed a charity drive for refugees.

Jul 21, 2015

Germany struggles with surge in arson attacks against refugees

BERLIN (Reuters) – Hardly a day has passed this year in Germany without an attack on refugee shelters as the country struggles to cope with a record-breaking number of asylum-seekers fleeing wars and violence abroad.

A total of 150 arson or other attacks have been recorded in the first six months of 2015, damaging or destroying newly renovated shelters for the 450,000 asylum-seekers expected to reach Germany this year, according to government data.

Jun 27, 2015

Germany’s Gabriel open to Greek referendum with caveats

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on Saturday that a proposal from the Greek government for a referendum on austerity demands should not be dismissed out of hand, though it was vital that voters had a clear deal on which to vote.

In an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio, Gabriel said such a referendum would only make sense if voters in Greece got the chance to cast their ballots on the European Union’s offer for aid linked to reforms.

Jun 24, 2015

British queen charms Europe’s ‘summit queen’ on eve of EU negotiation

BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – On the eve of Britain’s bid to renegotiate its European Union membership, Queen Elizabeth charmed Germany’s Angela Merkel, Europe’s most powerful leader, who Prime Minister David Cameron hopes will help him strike an EU reform deal.

Cameron, who won an unexpectedly decisive victory in a national election last month, has promised to recast Britain’s relationship with the 28-member bloc and hold a referendum on membership by the end of 2017.

Jun 23, 2015

German bailout fatigue carries new risks for Merkel

BERLIN, June 23 (Reuters) – Wolfgang Bosbach is still an
outlier in the German parliament, one of the few members of
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives who openly defies her
by speaking out against aid for Greece.

But he is far less isolated than he was back in 2011 when
Merkel’s former chief of staff Ronald Pofalla reprimanded him
for his defiance on euro zone bailouts with the stinging jibe:
“I can’t stand the sight of your stupid face.”

Jun 22, 2015

East German hard currency maestro Schalck-Golodkowski dies

BERLIN (Reuters) – The man who persuaded a Cold War conservative leader in West Germany to save Communist East Germany from insolvency has died in Bavaria, where he fled just after the Berlin Wall came down.

In 1983, Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski convinced Bavarian state premier Franz Josef Strauss, an ardent anti-communist and former Defense Minister, to lend his nearly bankrupt country a billion of West Germany’s marks, prized as an enviably hard currency.

Jun 19, 2015

‘Grexit’ better for Athens and Europe, says editor of Germany’s Bild

BERLIN (Reuters) – Greece should leave the euro zone to save its own economy and to spare the rest of the Europe Union a lot of time, trouble and money, the editor of Germany’s influential newspaper Bild said in an interview with Reuters on Friday.

Kai Diekmann’s daily is read by some 12 million and has, more than any other newspaper, shaped public opinion in Germany, the biggest European contributor to the bailout programmes that have kept Greece afloat for the past five years.

    • 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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