Erik's Feed
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.

Apr 13, 2015

Tribute to late “German Sinatra” is surprise Berlin hit

BERLIN, April 13 (Reuters) – A German musical celebrating 20
of the top hits from pop star Udo Juergens has become the show
to see in Berlin after the German-speaking world’s answer to
Frank Sinatra died at the age of 80 late last year.

The musical “Ich war noch niemals in New York” (I’ve never
been in New York) takes its title from one of Juergens’s easy
listening “Schlager” (hit songs) and has been filling the
1,600-capacity Theater des Westens since its March 25 premiere.

Apr 13, 2015

Germany’s Guenter Grass, author of ‘The Tin Drum,’ dies at 87

BERLIN (Reuters) – German novelist Guenter Grass, the Nobel Prize-winning author of “The Tin Drum”, an epic treatment of the Nazi era, died on Monday at the age of 87, his publishers said.

A broad-shouldered man with a drooping mustache, Grass spurned the German tradition of keeping a cool intellectual distance, insisting that a writer’s duty was to be at the frontline of moral and political debate.

Apr 10, 2015

Arson in German town shows anti-immigrant mood running high

TROEGLITZ, Germany (Reuters) – The sleepy town of Troeglitz in eastern Germnay had planned to welcome foreign refugees and asylum-seekers to a newly-renovated shelter.

But an arson attack by suspected neo-Nazis destroyed much of the building – and placed Troeglitz in the frontline of a conflict as right-wing groups renew anti-immigrant protests.

Apr 1, 2015

Germans remain split on Bismarck’s legacy 200 years after birth

BERLIN (Reuters) – Two hundred years after Otto von Bismarck was born, Germans are still struggling with the legacy of their first leader: was he a war-mongering villain, or a benevolent hero who united Germany in 1871 and created the world’s first welfare state?

Their diametrically opposed views reflect forces that still tug on Berlin as it grapples with leading but not dominating in Europe. German President Joachim Gauck and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble both alluded to that conflict on Wednesday when they spoke at a ceremony in Berlin marking Bismarck’s 200th birthday.

Mar 27, 2015

Germany passes road toll; critics say unfairly targets foreigners

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s parliament approved a motorway toll on Friday of up to 130 euros per year from 2016 that critics argue unfairly targets foreigners and may violate European Union laws.

A prolonged debate about the toll, which the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) had firmly rejected in the 2013 election campaign, exposed frictions in their grand coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.

Mar 23, 2015

Greek PM Tsipras to visit Germany’s Holocaust memorial

BERLIN (Reuters) – Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will visit Germany’s Holocaust memorial on Tuesday on the second day of his visit to the country that his radical leftist government has demanded pay World War Two reparations, his office said on Monday.

The announcement of the visit to the Berlin memorial to Jews murdered by the Nazi regime, an unusual move for a foreign leader, came after Tsipras told a news conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel that his government’s call for reparations from Germany is mainly a moral demand.

Mar 23, 2015

Tsipras, Merkel display goodwill, little sign of debt progress

BERLIN (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel put on a public display of mutual goodwill on Monday, appealing to Greeks and Germans to set aside recrimination and national stereotypes and work for a better European future.

Yet despite warm words on the new leftist premier’s first official visit to Berlin, it was unclear if they had narrowed differences on economic reforms Greece must implement to win urgently needed fresh cash from its creditors. The two leaders were due to discuss the reforms in greater depth over dinner.

Mar 7, 2015

Germany downplays report of rift with NATO over Breedlove comments

BERLIN/RIGA (Reuters) – German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier downplayed a magazine report on Saturday of tensions with NATO over hawkish comments about Ukraine made by the Western alliance’s supreme allied commander.

Der Spiegel news magazine said an official in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s offices had complained of Air Force General Philip Breedlove’s “dangerous propaganda” over Ukraine and that Steinmeier had talked to the NATO General Secretary about him.

    • 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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