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Dec 15, 2013

Merkel to pick popular woman ally as defence minister

BERLIN, Dec 15 (Reuters) – Angela Merkel is expected to name
Ursula von der Leyen as her new defence minister when she
presents her cabinet list on Sunday, a surprise choice that
could vault the ambitious ally into the lead as the front runner
to succeed the chancellor.

Merkel, 59, will begin her third term on Tuesday – three
months after winning the September 22 election – after her
junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats, voted on
Saturday to join her in a “grand coalition”.

Dec 14, 2013

German SPD members vote to join Merkel despite misgivings

BERLIN, Dec 14 (Reuters) – Germany’s Social Democrats voted
overwhelmingly in favour of joining a “grand coalition” with
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives on Saturday, clearing
the way for a new right-left government that will take office on
Tuesday.

Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister
party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), won the Sept. 22
election but fell short of a majority. They needed a partner and
spent much of the last three months negotiating a coalition deal
with the arch rival SPD, which came a distant second.

Dec 14, 2013

German SPD counts votes on coalition with Merkel

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Social Democrats began counting 330,500 postal ballots on Saturday sent in from grassroots members who are deciding whether their party should join a coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.

The results of the referendum are expected to be announced between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. (1500-1700 GMT / 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST ) by SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel, who has fought an uphill battle to convince party members to back the deal with their arch rivals.

Dec 11, 2013

German state drops plans for reprint of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German state of Bavaria announced on Wednesday it had scrapped plans to publish a new academic reprint of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” with critical commentary when its legal power to ban the book expires in 2015.

The southern German state owns the copyright and has banned any republication. But the copyright expires at the end of 2015, 70 years after the author’s death. Bavaria had been planning to then publish a new edition with critical commentary from the Munich-based Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ).

Dec 9, 2013

Merkel’s conservatives back coalition deal despite doubts

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Christian Democrats (CDU) voted on Monday to approve a coalition with the arch-rival Social Democrats (SPD) after Chancellor Angela Merkel urged her conservatives to swallow some of their misgivings and back the deal.

Merkel won September’s election but fell short of a majority and struck an agreement on November 27 for a “grand coalition” with the centre-left SPD. All 474,000 SPD members are now voting on it in a postal ballot whose results are expected this weekend.

Dec 5, 2013

Hurricane-force winds wreak havoc in Britain, head to Europe

BERLIN/LONDON (Reuters) – Hurricane-force Storm Xaver blasted towards mainland Europe on Thursday after cutting transport and power in northern Britain and killing three people in what meteorologists warned could be the worst storm to hit the continent in years.

British authorities said the Thames Barrier, designed to protect London from flooding during exceptional tides, would shut on Thursday night and warned of “the most serious coastal tidal surge for over 60 years in England”. Prime Minister David Cameron called two emergency meetings to discuss strategy.

Dec 5, 2013

Hurricane-force winds hit Scotland, close in on Germany

BERLIN/LONDON Dec 5 (Reuters) – Hurricane-force winds
disrupted transport and power supplies in Scotland and
threatened coastal flooding in England as they closed in on
north Europe in what meteorologists said could be one of the
most powerful storms to hit the continent in years.

British authorities said the Thames Barrier, designed to
protect London from flooding during exceptional tides, would
shut on Thursday night and warned of “the most serious coastal
tidal surge for over 60 years in England”. Prime Minister David
Cameron called a meeting to discuss strategy.

Dec 5, 2013

Hurricane Xaver batters Scotland as Germany braces for storm

BERLIN/LONDON Dec 5 (Reuters) – Hurricane-force winds
disrupted transport and power supplies in Scotland and
threatened coastal flooding in England as they closed on
northern Europe in what meteorologists said could be one of the
most powerful storms to hit the continent in years.

British authorities announced the Thames Barrier, designed
to protect London from flooding during exceptional tides, would
close on Thursday night and warned of “the most serious coastal
tidal surge for over 60 years in England”. Prime Minister David
Cameron called a meeting to discuss strategy.

Dec 3, 2013

German states launch lonely bid to ban far-right NPD

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s 16 states launched a battle on Tuesday to ban the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) after the federal government failed spectacularly a decade ago to outlaw a party its critics say shows an affinity for Hitler’s Nazis.

Fearing another court defeat, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government opted not to formally back the petition to the Constitutional Court to ban the NPD, which the domestic intelligence service has called “racist, anti-Semitic and revisionist”.

Nov 28, 2013

SPD tries to overcome grassroots scepticism on Merkel deal

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Social Democrats began a do-or-die campaign on Thursday to persuade nearly half a million grassroots members, many skeptical about governing with conservative Angela Merkel again, to back the “grand coalition” in a ballot.

Germany has already waited two months since the election for a new government. After Merkel and the SPD finally agreed the terms of an alliance, it must now wait until mid-December while the SPD seeks endorsement in an unprecedented ballot.

    • 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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