Erik's Feed
Apr 29, 2012

Greeks old and young united in disdain for ruling parties

MARATHON, Greece (Reuters) – Georgios Pasayannis was a Greek civil servant for 40 years, and the 73-year-old pensioner voted faithfully for New Democracy throughout, confident his future was safe in the hands of the conservative party.

Now he says he will never cast his ballot again for “those crooks” or their coalition partners, the centre-left PASOK party, since they cut his 1,500 euro per month pension by a third while pushing through tax increases.

Apr 28, 2012

Suicides have Greeks on edge before election

ATHENS, April 28 (Reuters) – On Monday, a 38-year-old
geology lecturer hanged himself from a lamp post in Athens and
on the same day a 35-year-old priest jumped to his death off his
balcony in northern Greece. On Wednesday, a 23-year-old student
shot himself in the head.

In a country that has had one of the lowest suicide rates in
the world, a surge in the number of suicides in the wake of an
economic crisis has shocked and gripped the Mediterranean nation
- and its media – before a May 6 election.

Apr 25, 2012

FEATURE: Greek anger keeps German tourists away

CORINTH, Greece (Reuters) – German tourists are in short supply in Greece these days, frightened away by reports of visceral anti-German sentiment in some places, fears of being stranded by strikes and television images of fiery anti-austerity riots.

Who in their right mind, after all, would want to go on holiday to a place where they might be called a Nazi?

Apr 25, 2012

Greek anger keeps German tourists away

CORINTH, Greece, April 24 (Reuters) – German tourists are in
short supply in Greece these days, frightened away by reports of
visceral anti-German sentiment in some places, fears of being
stranded by strikes and television images of fiery
anti-austerity riots.

Who in their right mind, after all, would want to go on
holiday to a place where they might be called a Nazi?

Apr 16, 2012

German ship suspected of arms smuggle turns transponder on

BERLIN/KIEV (Reuters) – A German shipping company ordered its vessel Atlantic Cruiser to turn its transponder back on Monday after the ship suspected of smuggling Iranian arms to Syria switched off the tracking system because its crew feared attack, the firm said on Monday.

The W. Bockstiegel shipping company also said in a statement it had no information about any weapons on board the ship which was originally destined for Syria. Sending weapons to Syria would be in violation of a European Union arms embargo.

Apr 2, 2012

Honecker’s widow belittles Berlin Wall victims

BERLIN (Reuters) – Erich Honecker’s widow Margot has belittled the 136 people killed while trying to escape over the Berlin Wall during the Cold War, calling them stupid in an interview with German television aired on Monday evening.

Known as the “Purple Witch” in Communist East Germany for her tinted hair and hardline stance, Margot Honecker, 84, served alongside her dictator husband as minister for education. She was hated and feared by many East Germans.

Apr 1, 2012

Merkel faces German coalition row over childcare cash

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces a row in her centre-right coalition over plans for payments to parents who keep their pre-school children at home, after a group of influential lawmakers said the money should be spent instead on daycare centres.

The Bavarian-based Christian Social Union (CSU), a coalition party traditionally close to the Roman Catholic church, is insisting that parents of stay-at-home toddlers be paid 150 euros a month.

Mar 31, 2012

Switzerland seeks arrest of German tax collectors

BERLIN, March 31 (Reuters) – Switzerland has issued arrest
warrants for three German civil servants it has accused of
industrial espionage by purchasing the bank details of German
tax evaders, the finance ministry in North Rhine-Westphalia
(NRW) state said on Saturday.

In the latest chapter of an ugly dispute over tax evasion
that has strained ties between Germany and its southern
neighbour, a spokeswoman for the NRW finance ministry confirmed
a report about the warrants due to appear in Sunday’s Bild am
Sonntag newspaper.

Mar 20, 2012

Merkel faces rout in key state as ally hedges bets

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives risk a bruising defeat in a May election in Germany’s most populous state because the man leading her campaign there, Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen, refuses to risk his cabinet post.

Conservative party leaders and coalition allies have publicly urged Roettgen to give up his cabinet job and commit himself to leading Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) even in opposition in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW).

Feb 29, 2012

German minister slammed, played Sudoku in Greek debate

BERLIN, Feb 29 (Reuters) – German Finance Minister
Wolfgang Schaeuble was criticised on Wednesday for playing
Sudoku on a small computer during a crucial parliamentary debate
on Greece, becoming a lightning rod for the growing opposition
in Germany to the latest bailout.

His spokesman defended Schaeuble against charges of
arrogance for playing the numbers puzzle while on the government
bench during the debate, saying he had worked tirelessly for 10
straight days on behalf of German interests.

    • 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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