Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
The German election campaign has so far lacked the riveting debates and explosive issues to which voters were treated in previous battles for power, perhaps because Chancellor Angela Merkel and her rival, Vice-Chancellor Frank-Walter Steinmeier, have worked together in the same “grand coalition” government for the past four years and neither party seems especially eager to rock the boat.
Filling the void have been several somewhat bizarre little scandals that each side has tried to use to tarnish the other, taking pot shots without resorting to full firepower. They are, after all, partners in power.
First there was Ulla Schmidt, the Social Democratic health minister whose questionable use of her official car on holiday in Spain came to light only after the car was stolen. Merkel’s Christian Democrats and opposition parties have done all they can to turn the “Dienstwagenaffaere” into a campaign issue — an example of a minister out of touch with voters for taking full advantage of government privileges — even though Schmidt insists she has done nothing wrong.
Now Merkel, the CDU chancellor, is facing criticism from the SPD and opposition parties for throwing a controversial dinner party at the chancellery (at the taxpayers’ expense) last year for Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann to mark his 60th birthday. “She told me at the time she would like to do something for me,” Ackermann told German TV in a profile of Merkel last week. “She said I should invite 30 or friends I’d like to spend an evening with to the chancellery.”
from Global Investing:
It's not often that economists turn their attention to military hardware, but Deutsche Bank has done just that in its latest world outlook. The subject is aircraft carriers and what it sees as the strange desire among a number of countries to build them.
Russia has suggested it may build up to six carriers, DB notes, while China plans one and Britain and France three between them. Like the true economists they are, DB first questions the need, saying such boats are vulnerable, make no sense for coastal defence and are for projecting offensive power over long distances. Then comes the cost: