Erik's Feed
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

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.

Apr 29, 2015

Close Merkel ally de Maiziere rejects charges he lied

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

The industrious but colorless Thomas de Maiziere, once tipped as a possible Merkel successor, is a key pillar in her right-left grand coalition government with strong appeal on the right wing of her Christian Democratic (CDU) party.

Apr 27, 2015

Germany says border guards will try to keep Russian bikers out

BERLIN (Reuters) – German border guards will try to stop members of an ultra-nationalist Russian motorcycle club from crossing the border in a biker parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two on May 9, government officials said on Monday.

Even though members of the “Night Wolves” may already have visas for Germany, they will be revoked at the border if members of the group, blacklisted in the United States for their participation in Russia’s annexation of Crimea, try to enter.

Apr 23, 2015

On 100th anniversary, German president condemns Turkish ‘genocide’ against Armenians

BERLIN (Reuters) – German President Joachim Gauck on Thursday condemned the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces a century ago as “genocide”, a term that the Berlin government had long rejected.

Gauck used the word in a speech to mark the 100th anniversary of what most Western scholars and two dozen governments regard as a genocide against an Armenian population that flourished in what is now modern Turkey. Turkey vehemently denies the charge.

Apr 22, 2015

Germany abandoning rifle after accuracy questioned

BERLIN, April 22 (Reuters) – German Defence Minister Ursula
von der Leyen said on Wednesday an assault rifle, that tests
suggest does not shoot straight in warm temperatures, will not
be used in the future, after weeks of controversy about the
weapon in use since the 1990s.

The G36 assault rifle has been the focus of a parliamentary
inquiry – and jokes by TV talk show hosts – amid reports that it
is inaccurate when temperatures rise above 30 degrees Celsius
(86 degrees Fahrenheit) or when it heats up through constant

Apr 22, 2015

German rail strike spreads to passenger trains

BERLIN, April 22 (Reuters) – Businesses and millions of
commuters faced delays and disruptions in Germany on Wednesday
after 3,000 train drivers walked off the job to back their
claims for higher pay and negotiating rights.

Hundreds of commuter and long-distance trains were cancelled
when the small but powerful GDL union expanded a 66-hour strike
to passenger routes on Wednesday after freight trains stopped on

Apr 20, 2015

Germany, defying Turkey, to call 1915 Armenian massacre ‘genocide’

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German government backed away on Monday from a steadfast refusal to use the term “genocide” to describe the massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces 100 years ago after rebellious members of parliament forced its hand.

In a major reversal in Turkey’s top trading partner in the European Union and home to millions of Turks, Germany joins other nations and institutions including France, the European parliament and Pope Francis in using the term condemned by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

Apr 17, 2015

Merkel to tackle refugee surge as tensions in Germany grow

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German government will hold a crisis meeting to address a surge of refugees amid an upturn in attacks against shelters and complaints from local authorities about a lack of funding to house them, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said on Friday.

The announcement by Steffen Seibert of a top-level meeting in her office on May 8 with state and government leaders came on the heels of an opinion poll showing 58 percent believe there is a climate of hostility toward foreigners in Germany.

Apr 16, 2015

Germany restores “Arbeit macht frei” gate after Nazi original stolen

BERLIN, April 16 (Reuters) – A German blacksmith who
painstakingly rebuilt an iron gate at the Dachau concentration
camp bearing the notorious “Arbeit macht frei” (work sets you
free) slogan said on Thursday he hoped no one would notice his
work was a replica.

Michael Poitner said he was honoured to win the contract to
reconstruct the 1.87 metre-high, 108-kg gate, which was stolen
last year from the memorial site at Dachau, the first Nazi
concentration camp, set up in 1933.

    • 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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