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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.

Nov 15, 2014

Russia won’t allow Ukraine to ‘destroy’ opponents, says Putin

BERLIN (Reuters) – Russia will not allow the Ukraine government to “destroy” its political opponents and adversaries in east Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin told German television network ARD.

He accused Western media of biased reporting on Ukraine.

“The most important thing is that one does not have a one-sided view of the problem,” Putin said in a first brief excerpt of the interview that was broadcast on Saturday amid reports of Russian troops pouring into eastern Ukraine. The full interview will be broadcast on Sunday evening.

Nov 10, 2014

Germany celebrates 25th anniversary of fall of Berlin Wall

BERLIN (Reuters) – More than a million Germans and people from around the world on Sunday celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the event that more than any other marked the end of the Cold War.

A spectacular 15 kilometre-long string of 7,000 illuminated helium balloons traced the course of the barrier that once snaked through the city, slicing across streets, between families and even through graveyards.

Nov 9, 2014

Berlin Wall’s fall 25 years ago an epic blow to tyranny: Merkel

BERLIN (Reuters) – The fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago, heralding the end to the Cold War between East and West, showed the world “dreams can come true” and should inspire people trapped in tyranny everywhere, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday.

Festivities to mark the anniversary have drawn more than 100,000 Berliners and tourists to the center of the once-divided city. Many wandered along a 15-km (9-mile) former “death strip” where the Wall once stood, and 7,000 illuminated helium balloons were perched 3.6 meters (11.8 feet) high on poles – matching the height of the barrier built in 1961 by Communist East Germany.

Nov 9, 2014

Yearning for freedom brought down Berlin Wall, says Merkel

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday an irrepressible yearning for freedom brought the Berlin Wall tumbling down 25 years ago and called it a “miracle” that the Cold War barrier was breached without a shot being fired.

Speaking on the eve of Sunday’s celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s collapse, Merkel said Germany would always be grateful for the courage of East Germans who took to the streets to protest the Communist dictatorship.

Nov 8, 2014

Berlin Wall’s peaceful fall was a miracle, says Merkel

BERLIN (Reuters) – As Germany prepared for Sunday’s 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s collapse, Chancellor Angela Merkel called it a “miracle” that the Cold War barrier was breached without a shot being fired.

In a country with few cheerful anniversaries to celebrate after its belligerent 20th century history, Germans have latched onto memories of the peaceful East German revolution that brought down the Berlin Wall on a joyful Nov. 9, 1989.

Nov 5, 2014

East German officer who opened Berlin Wall wept moments later

BERLIN, Nov 5 (Reuters) – The East German lieutenant colonel
who gave the fateful order to throw open the Berlin Wall 25
years ago said he wept in silence a few moments later as hordes
of euphoric East Germans swept past him into West Berlin to get
their first taste of freedom.

Harald Jaeger said in an interview with Reuters that he
spent hours before his history-changing decision trying in vain
to get guidance from superiors on what to do about the 20,000
protesters at his border crossing clamouring to get out.

Nov 4, 2014

Hardline union leader is Germany’s new “villain”

BERLIN, Nov 4 (Reuters) – He is portrayed by media and even
some fellow trade unionists as a power hungry ego-maniac who
could bring Germany to a grinding halt; but Claus Weselsky
powers on undaunted, like the East German train driver he once
was.

Weselsky will take his small GDL train drivers’ union, with
just 20,000 members, out on a four-day strike starting Wednesday
that will idle some 196,000 workers at German national railways
Deutsche Bahn and disrupt travel for millions of passengers.

    • 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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