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May 8, 2015

Merkel’s approval ratings drop steeply in wake of spying scandal

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s popularity has dropped abruptly in the wake of an unfolding spying scandal and she has slipped from the top spot among Germany’s leading politicians, ARD television network said on Friday.

Merkel, under fire over reports the BND intelligence agency helped the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) spy on European targets with her office’s blessings, saw her approval rating fall five points to 70 percent in the Infratest Dimap poll.

May 7, 2015

Germany’s eurosceptic AfD party faces tough vote in Bremen

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s eurosceptic AfD party that has been siphoning votes from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives could be dealt a major setback in a regional election on Sunday if it fails to clear the five percent hurdle in the city-state of Bremen.

Germany’s final regional election of 2015 before a crowded vote calendar next year is also a key test for the recovering pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) — who are eager to return to parliament in 2017 as a potential coalition partner for Merkel.

May 6, 2015

German railway operator proposes mediator to resolve train strike

BERLIN, May 6 (Reuters) – German rail operator Deutsche Bahn
on Wednesday suggested appointing an independent
mediator to help resolve a dispute with the GDL train drivers’
union and stop a strike causing nationwide disruption.

Deutsche Bahn Chief Executive Ruediger Grube said he sent a
letter earlier in the day to the GDL union proposing Matthias
Platzeck, a former chairman of the Social Democrat party and
former Brandenburg state premier, to mediate.

May 5, 2015

German rail strike worsens amid calls for arbitration

BERLIN, May 5 (Reuters) – A railway strike set to last an
unprecedented seven days caused major disruption across Germany
on its first full day on Tuesday and pressure rose on the
government to intervene by pushing the two sides into
arbitration.

Economists warned that the strike, which began with freight
trains on Monday then spread to passenger trains on Tuesday,
could cost Europe’s biggest economy up to 750 million euros and
cut second-quarter economic growth by 0.1 percentage point.

May 4, 2015

Merkel defends German intelligence cooperation with NSA

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel defended Germany’s BND intelligence agency on Monday against accusations it illegally helped the United States spy on officials and firms in Europe.

In her first public comments on a scandal that has gripped Germany for weeks, Merkel said it was still unacceptable for friendly nations to spy on each other – a reference to her dismay over reports the NSA had tapped her cell phone up to 2013.

May 3, 2015

German prosecutors launch investigation of spying charges

BERLIN, May 3 (Reuters) – Germany’s top public prosecutor
will look into accusations that the country’s BND foreign
intelligence agency violated laws by helping the United States
spy on officials and firms in Europe, including Airbus group,
the federal prosecutors office said.

A spokesman for the prosecutors office confirmed weekend
media reports that an investigation had been launched as
opposition politicians demanded more information about the
unfolding scandal from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government.

May 2, 2015

Dangerous WW2 bombs still litter Germany’s landscape

BERLIN (Reuters) – The danger of unexploded World War Two aerial bombs lurking in the soil still haunts Germany 70 years after the war ended on May 8, 1945, exploding without warning or surfacing after frost.

More than 2,000 tonnes of live bombs and munitions are found each year in Germany, even under buildings. They are defused or detonated in controlled blasts but not before causing disruption, evacuations or sometimes even death.

May 2, 2015

Germans cannot turn backs on Nazi past, Merkel says

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany cannot simply draw a line under its Nazi past and must remain sensitive to the damage it caused to other countries including Greece, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, just ahead of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two.

Speaking in her weekly podcast, Merkel said she was looking forward to a May 10 memorial in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin. She and other leaders have said they will not attend Russia’s traditional May 9 military parade amid tensions with Moscow over its annexation of Crimea and fighting in Ukraine.

May 1, 2015

German president says Berlin should be open to Greek war reparations

BERLIN (Reuters) – German President Joachim Gauck expressed support on Friday for Athens’ demands for reparations for the Nazi occupation of Greece in World War Two, even though the government in Berlin has repeatedly rejected the claims.

Gauck, who has little real power in Germany but a penchant for defying convention, said in an interview to be published in Saturday’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that Germany should consider its historical responsibility to Greece.

Apr 29, 2015

Close Merkel ally rejects charges he lied in spy scandal

BERLIN, April 29 (Reuters) – Germany’s interior minister, a
close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, denied on Wednesday that
he lied to parliament about German intelligence cooperation with
U.S. spy agencies, but remained under fire over a string of
blunders.

The left-wing opposition and the media have assailed Thomas
de Maiziere over his record as chief of staff in 2005-09 and
whether he knew the German foreign intelligence agency (BND) was
helping U.S. agencies spy on European firms such as defence
manufacturer Airbus.

    • 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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