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Apr 23, 2015

On 100th anniversary, German president condemns Turkish ‘genocide’ against Armenians

BERLIN (Reuters) – German President Joachim Gauck on Thursday condemned the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces a century ago as “genocide”, a term that the Berlin government had long rejected.

Gauck used the word in a speech to mark the 100th anniversary of what most Western scholars and two dozen governments regard as a genocide against an Armenian population that flourished in what is now modern Turkey. Turkey vehemently denies the charge.

Apr 22, 2015

Germany abandoning rifle after accuracy questioned

BERLIN, April 22 (Reuters) – German Defence Minister Ursula
von der Leyen said on Wednesday an assault rifle, that tests
suggest does not shoot straight in warm temperatures, will not
be used in the future, after weeks of controversy about the
weapon in use since the 1990s.

The G36 assault rifle has been the focus of a parliamentary
inquiry – and jokes by TV talk show hosts – amid reports that it
is inaccurate when temperatures rise above 30 degrees Celsius
(86 degrees Fahrenheit) or when it heats up through constant
firing.

Apr 22, 2015

German rail strike spreads to passenger trains

BERLIN, April 22 (Reuters) – Businesses and millions of
commuters faced delays and disruptions in Germany on Wednesday
after 3,000 train drivers walked off the job to back their
claims for higher pay and negotiating rights.

Hundreds of commuter and long-distance trains were cancelled
when the small but powerful GDL union expanded a 66-hour strike
to passenger routes on Wednesday after freight trains stopped on
Tuesday.

Apr 20, 2015

Germany, defying Turkey, to call 1915 Armenian massacre ‘genocide’

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German government backed away on Monday from a steadfast refusal to use the term “genocide” to describe the massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces 100 years ago after rebellious members of parliament forced its hand.

In a major reversal in Turkey’s top trading partner in the European Union and home to millions of Turks, Germany joins other nations and institutions including France, the European parliament and Pope Francis in using the term condemned by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

Apr 17, 2015

Merkel to tackle refugee surge as tensions in Germany grow

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German government will hold a crisis meeting to address a surge of refugees amid an upturn in attacks against shelters and complaints from local authorities about a lack of funding to house them, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said on Friday.

The announcement by Steffen Seibert of a top-level meeting in her office on May 8 with state and government leaders came on the heels of an opinion poll showing 58 percent believe there is a climate of hostility toward foreigners in Germany.

Apr 16, 2015

Germany restores “Arbeit macht frei” gate after Nazi original stolen

BERLIN, April 16 (Reuters) – A German blacksmith who
painstakingly rebuilt an iron gate at the Dachau concentration
camp bearing the notorious “Arbeit macht frei” (work sets you
free) slogan said on Thursday he hoped no one would notice his
work was a replica.

Michael Poitner said he was honoured to win the contract to
reconstruct the 1.87 metre-high, 108-kg gate, which was stolen
last year from the memorial site at Dachau, the first Nazi
concentration camp, set up in 1933.

Apr 13, 2015

Tribute to late “German Sinatra” is surprise Berlin hit

BERLIN, April 13 (Reuters) – A German musical celebrating 20
of the top hits from pop star Udo Juergens has become the show
to see in Berlin after the German-speaking world’s answer to
Frank Sinatra died at the age of 80 late last year.

The musical “Ich war noch niemals in New York” (I’ve never
been in New York) takes its title from one of Juergens’s easy
listening “Schlager” (hit songs) and has been filling the
1,600-capacity Theater des Westens since its March 25 premiere.

Apr 13, 2015

Germany’s Guenter Grass, author of ‘The Tin Drum,’ dies at 87

BERLIN (Reuters) – German novelist Guenter Grass, the Nobel Prize-winning author of “The Tin Drum”, an epic treatment of the Nazi era, died on Monday at the age of 87, his publishers said.

A broad-shouldered man with a drooping mustache, Grass spurned the German tradition of keeping a cool intellectual distance, insisting that a writer’s duty was to be at the frontline of moral and political debate.

Apr 10, 2015

Arson in German town shows anti-immigrant mood running high

TROEGLITZ, Germany (Reuters) – The sleepy town of Troeglitz in eastern Germnay had planned to welcome foreign refugees and asylum-seekers to a newly-renovated shelter.

But an arson attack by suspected neo-Nazis destroyed much of the building – and placed Troeglitz in the frontline of a conflict as right-wing groups renew anti-immigrant protests.

Apr 1, 2015

Germans remain split on Bismarck’s legacy 200 years after birth

BERLIN (Reuters) – Two hundred years after Otto von Bismarck was born, Germans are still struggling with the legacy of their first leader: was he a war-mongering villain, or a benevolent hero who united Germany in 1871 and created the world’s first welfare state?

Their diametrically opposed views reflect forces that still tug on Berlin as it grapples with leading but not dominating in Europe. German President Joachim Gauck and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble both alluded to that conflict on Wednesday when they spoke at a ceremony in Berlin marking Bismarck’s 200th birthday.

    • 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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