Erik's Feed
Aug 28, 2015

Facebook must obey German law even if free speech curtailed: minister

BERLIN (Reuters) – Facebook will have to abide by German laws banning racist sentiment even if it might be allowed in the United States under freedom of speech, Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in an interview with Reuters.

Maas, who has accused Facebook (FB.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) of doing too little to thwart racist and hate posts on its social media platform, said that Germany has zero tolerance for such expression and expects the U.S.-based company to be more vigilant.

Aug 28, 2015

Despite record surplus, Germany ignores calls to spend more

BERLIN, Aug 28 (Reuters) – Germany posted a record-breaking
21 billion euro surplus in the first half of 2015 but has turned
a deaf ear to criticism from home and abroad that it should cut
taxes or raise public spending to help alleviate pressures in
the euro zone.

Despite calls from its European Union (EU) partners and the
United States to ramp up spending on infrastructure after years
of neglect, the government said it will stick to its austerity
course and goal of achieving sustainable balanced budgets.

Aug 21, 2015

German birth rate grows, but population shrinks

BERLIN, Aug 21 (Reuters) – Germany’s birth rate rose last
year to its highest level in 12 years, helped by years of
economic growth and government support, but not enough to offset
the death rate, and its overall population continued to decline.

Births rose by 4.8 percent in 2014 and climbed above the
700,000-threshold for the first time since 2004 to 714,966, the
statistics office said on Friday.

Aug 20, 2015

As refugee crisis worsens, Merkel and Hollande want EU to move faster

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany and France will press the European Union to move faster and with more unity to deal with the worsening refugee crisis, amid complaints from Germany that it is shouldering too big a burden.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande will meet in Berlin on Monday to discuss how to speed up relief for thousands of migrants, many of whom risk dangerous sea voyages to reach southern Europe before making their way across the continent.

Aug 19, 2015

Germany expects refugee numbers to quadruple to record 800,000

BERLIN (Reuters) – The number of asylum-seekers and refugees to Germany will quadruple to a record 800,000 this year compared with last, more than twice as many as the 300,000 new arrivals forecast in January, the government said on Wednesday.

Germany, which has become a magnet for refugees fleeing war, violence and poverty in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, has criticized European Union partners for not doing more as 218,221 people arrived seeking asylum in the first six months alone.

Aug 6, 2015

Beyond the ugly headlines, Germans open hearts, homes for refugees

KERPEN-MANHEIM, Germany (Reuters) – Arson attacks and unruly protests against the 450,000 refugees crowding into Germany this year have dominated the headlines as the country struggles to cope with a record-breaking influx of asylum-seekers fleeing war, violence and famine.

But there is another story in Germany that is getting far less attention:

The millions of Germans who are opening their hearts and homes to help the tired, poor and huddled masses from the Middle East, Asia and Africa find shelter and perhaps a new life in a country that won’t stop trying to atone for its Nazi past.

Aug 1, 2015

Merkel to run for fourth term in 2017: Der Spiegel

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has governed Germany since 2005, has decided to run for a fourth term and has started planning her 2017 re-election campaign, Der Spiegel news magazine said on Saturday in an unsourced report.

Peter Tauber, secretary general of Merkel’s Christian Democrat (CDU) party and effectively its campaign manager, declined to comment directly when asked by Reuters about the report.

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.

    • 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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