Global News Journal

Merkel fights back with drop-dead argument

September 15, 2010

GERMANY-FINANCIAL/TAXChancellor Angela Merkel and the leader of the opposition Social Democrats squared off in one of the more riveting debates in parliament seen in ages on Wednesday, treating their respective camps to some fiery rhetoric that may galvanize support and help each side recover from steady erosions in opinion polls.
After SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel threw down the gauntlet and spent 40 highly entertaining minutes ripping into Merkel and her centre-right government, the chancellor rose to the challenge — spending the next 40 minutes with a spirited defence of the performance since taking power 10 months ago and attacking the centre-left opposition for such things as putting Germany’s long-term energy security at risk with “ideologically driven energy policies.”
Merkel, who may well face off against Gabriel in the next federal election due in 2013, whipped out a drop-dead argument that will probably make it difficult for anyone from either the SPD or from inside her own somewhat disenchanted conservative party to knock her out of office: unemployment has fallen by nearly two million to about three million since she took office in 2005.

from Africa News blog:

Nigeria on the brink? Of what?

September 15, 2010

NIGERIA-ELECTION/Former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell sparked a furore when he suggested in Foreign Affairs magazine  that elections due in Nigeria in January could trigger a conflict between Muslim north and Christian south or even precipitate a coup.

from Environment Forum:

Attack survivors at UN: Save the sharks!

September 13, 2010

THAILAND/Jaws needs help.

Nine shark-attack survivors from five countries headed for the United Nations in New York City to plead the case for shark preservation. U.N. member countries could take this issue up this week as part of an annual resolution on sustainable fisheries. They'll also be reviewing the Millennium Development Goals -- a long-range set of global targets that includes stemming the loss of biodiversity, including sharks.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan, India and the value of democracy

September 12, 2010

gilani kayaniOf the many comments I heard in Pakistan, one question particularly flummoxed me. Was democracy really the right system for South Asia?  It came, unsurprisingly, from someone sympathetic to the military, and was couched in a comparison between Pakistan and India.

German banker bows out after stirring race, religion debate

September 10, 2010

A German central banker, Thilo Sarrazin, whose outspoken comments on race and religion sparked a fierce national debate unexpectedly quit the Bundesbank board on Thursday evening, sparing Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Christian Wulff and Bundesbank President Axel Weber a messy legal and political battle.

from Andrew Marshall:

Risks to watch in Asia: Country guides

By Andrew MacGregor Marshall
September 9, 2010

For Reuters analysis of risks to watch in Asian countries, kept updated in real time and with graphics and video, click on the links below.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Giving a voice to Pakistan’s flood victims

September 8, 2010

charpoyIf you were to give the flood victims in Pakistan a voice, they would tell you that they need seeds to replant the crops destroyed by the water and enough emergency relief to tide them through the winter. After that the land, newly fertilised by the floods, could yield bumper crops in the years ahead.

from Tales from the Trail:

State Dept: church Koran burning plan”un-American”

September 7, 2010

There have been lots of angry words over plans by an obscure Florida pastor to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

EU delivers its own “State of the Union” address

September 7, 2010

The European Union talks frequently about wanting to be a bigger player in the world, about making its political influence match its economic weight and the need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States.

from Tales from the Trail:

Mideast peace veterans and handshake diplomacy

September 2, 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly referred to them as "veterans" of the Middle East peace process.