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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.

Nov 27, 2013

Merkel and SPD clinch coalition deal two months after vote

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) reached a deal early on Wednesday on forming a “grand coalition” after wrangling through the night, meaning she should be able to form a government by Christmas.

Two months after Merkel’s landslide election victory and a month after negotiations began, Germany’s two biggest political forces clinched a deal at about 5 a.m. (0400 GMT) that both sides said they could live with.

Nov 26, 2013

Merkel, SPD narrow differences before final coalition push

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) narrowed differences on several contentious policy issues on Tuesday as marathon talks to hammer out agreement on a “grand coalition” got underway.

The latest draft coalition deal showed the SPD had given into demands from Merkel’s Bavarian allies to introduce a motorway toll for foreign cars. However they extracted a pledge from the conservatives to end discrimination against homosexual couples in areas like adoption rights.

Nov 26, 2013

Merkel, SPD ready for all-night showdown on German coalition

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leader of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) will meet late on Tuesday to try to hammer out a “grand coalition” agreement in a decisive round of negotiations expected to last until far beyond midnight.

The final scheduled round of talks between Merkel’s conservatives and the SPD begins at 7:30 p.m. (1830 GMT). They have a long list of unresolved issues to sort out that subordinates failed to agree on during a month of negotiations.

Nov 20, 2013

Nazi-looted art hoarder may get some works back, prosecutor says

BERLIN (Reuters) – A German prosecutor investigating a billion-dollar art hoard found in a Munich apartment called for some of the works to be returned to their reclusive owner while experts examine if others were stolen or extorted by the Nazis.

Reinhard Nemetz, state prosecutor in the Bavarian city of Augsburg, said late on Tuesday that pieces from the stash of more than 1,400 paintings and drawings that clearly belong to Cornelius Gurlitt should be given back as soon as possible.

    • 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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