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Dec 9, 2014

German court drops probe of 89-year-old for French massacre

BERLIN (Reuters) – A German state court dropped all murder and other charges against an 89-year-old former Waffen SS soldier on Tuesday for any role in the slaughter of 642 people in a French village during World War Two due to a lack of evidence.

The state court in Cologne said the man, identified by German media as Werner Christukat, acknowledged being a 19-year-old soldier in the village at the time of the 1944 atrocity, in which 254 women and 207 children were among those killed.

Dec 5, 2014

German state elects reform communist leader in historic shift

BERLIN (Reuters) – The reform communist Left party took power in a German state on Friday for the first time since reunification, ending a quarter century of conservative rule in Thuringia and raising the chance of a left-wing threat to Angela Merkel in the next federal vote.

The Left, which traces its roots to the Socialist Unity Party (SED) that once ruled East Germany and built the Berlin Wall, will run the state southwest of Berlin with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens in a three-way coalition.

Dec 5, 2014

Communist comeback fears hang over German state vote

BERLIN (Reuters) – The Cold War has flared up again in Germany ahead of a tight and unpredictable state assembly vote on Friday in the eastern state of Thuringia, where the reform communist Left party is yearning to take control of a regional government for the first time.

The prospect of a Left politician leading a state coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens has unsettled Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and put strains on her grand coalition with the SPD over fears it could be a blueprint for a future left-wing alliance at the national level.

Nov 24, 2014

Swiss museum to accept part of Nazi loot art trove

BERLIN (Reuters) – A Swiss museum has reluctantly agreed to accept part of a billion-euro art bequest from the late Cornelius Gurlitt, a German recluse whose secret collection included masterpieces looted from their Jewish owners by the Nazis.

Christoph Schaeublin of the Bern Art Museum (KMB) announced in Berlin it would accept all artworks bequeathed by Gurlitt which experts had ascertained had not been stolen by the Nazis. Others would remain with German authorities while their provenance is checked.

Nov 19, 2014

Strife racks Germany’s Eurosceptic AfD despite popularity

BERLIN (Reuters) – A deputy to the leader of Germany’s upstart Eurosceptic party Alternative for Germany criticized him on Wednesday as a “control freak” bent on rooting out AfD members who disagree with him.

It was a further sign of turmoil in a party that has altered German politics, winning seats in the European Parliament in May and mandates in three German state assemblies – its first – with 10 percent or more of the vote two months ago.

Nov 19, 2014

Senior German politician under fire for plea to recognize Russian Crimea

BERLIN (Reuters) – A senior German politician drew criticism on Wednesday for suggesting the West should recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea to save face for President Vladimir Putin.

Former state premier Matthias Platzeck, chairman of the German-Russian Forum business lobby and erstwhile Social Democrat (SPD) chief, is the first high-ranking German to say the West should endorse the annexation as a way to help resolve the Ukraine crisis.

Nov 17, 2014

German World Cup documentary pulls in crowds despite bad reviews

BERLIN (Reuters) – A behind-the-scenes documentary film about Germany’s successful campaign to win the 2014 soccer World Cup in Brazil pulled in the crowds in Germany on its opening weekend, despite woeful reviews.

Critics assailed “Die Mannschaft” (The Team) as a sugar-coated, corporate PR-style production, a far cry from a more critical and stirring movie by independent filmmaker Soenke Wortmann about the 2006 World Cup, which Germany hosted.

Nov 16, 2014

Putin says he’s convinced solution to Ukraine crisis possible

BERLIN, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Russia President Vladimir Putin
said in a German television interview on Sunday that he is
convinced it should be possible to find a way to resolve the
crisis in Ukraine but added he was concerned about the threat of
ethnic cleansing.

In the 30-minute landmark interview broadcast to a prime
time audience, Putin defended Russia’s annexation of the Crimea
but also appealed to the hearts and minds of German viewers by
saying relations between the two nations had never been better
and saying it would be a shame to throw that away.

Nov 16, 2014

German economy minister rejects tougher sanctions on Russia

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday he does not believe tighter sanctions against Russia will help resolve the Ukraine crisis even though Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday the European Union is considering further sanctions.

Gabriel, Germany’s Vice Chancellor and the leader of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) that shares power with Merkel’s conservatives, told German TV network ARD that he did not believe sanctions will move Russia President Vladimir Putin.

Nov 16, 2014

Merkel tells German rock star: sorry we mangled your song

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel stunned a German rock star named Campino by calling to apologize for her conservative Christian Democrat (CDU) party’s mangling of his popular rock anthem “Tage wie diese” at their victory party after her 2013 re-election.

In excerpts from his autobiography published in Der Spiegel magazine on Sunday, the front man of German punk rock band Die Toten Hosen said he had previously complained about political parties misusing his song at campaign rallies but said he had nothing against people singing the song at celebrations.

    • 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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