Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Stolen limo a nightmare for Merkel challenger Steinmeier

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Having your car worth 93,000 euros ($132,000) stolen while you’re on holiday in Spain is bad enough.

But if you’re a German government minister whose party is already facing an uphill battle just two months before a federal election, it’s even worse.

All that misfortune can turn into a veritable nightmare when the German electorate only learns about your private use of the luxury government car on holiday as an unintentional consequence of the theft.

With a dearth of news during the summer doldrums, German media have pounced upon the revelation that Health Minister Ulla Schmidt’s Mercedes was stolen in Spain last week. They’re asking why on earth did the Social Democrat (SPD) minister need her armoured limo and its chauffeur in the Spanish resort – click for story here. The chauffeur drove the car 2,300 km from Berlin to Alicante while Schmidt flew there.

Nuclear heats up German election campaign

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A technical fault at a German nuclear power station has thrown a spotlight on one of the few issues that divide the two main parties before September’s election — atomic energy.

But the anti-nuclear Social Democrats (SPD), who have shared power with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives since 2005, may be disappointed if they had hoped to win votes from it.

Indonesia’s election: faster, better … boring?

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By Sara Webb

It takes India weeks to complete an election and it never passes without flashes of violence.

But the much younger democracy of Indonesia voted calmly for their president on Wednesday and got the voting over in five hours with a good indication of the result — a second term for the reformist ex-general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono — out just a couple of hours later.

Angela Merkel gets her own comic book

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By Jacob Comenetz

Less than three months before Germany’s election, Chancellor Angela Merkel has become the unlikely subject of a new comic book.

Journalist Miriam Hollstein teamed up with political cartoonist Heiko Sakurai to tell the story, with pictures and speech bubbles, of  ”How Angie became our chancellor”, as the 64-page book is subtitled.

Will Germany tamper with election law before vote?

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Should Germany change its election law just a few months before September’s parliamentary vote? That’s the question that has been weighing on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s right-left coalition.

But fears that Germany might end up “smelling like a banana republic”, as Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper columnist Kurt Kister wrote, or be mentioned in the same breath as Iran if it ends up tampering with the law so close to the Sept. 27 ballot has helped kill the intriguing idea for the time being. There is also a tacit angst running through Merkel’s conservative CDU and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, that they could end up throwing away a possible victory once again (a 21-point lead melted to 1-point win in 2005) for their preferred centre-right coalition with the Free Democrats by changing the law now.

Back to the future in Malaysia with Anwar sodomy trial II

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By Barani Krishnan

A decade ago, Malaysia’s former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim was on trial for sodomy and corruption in a trial that exposed the seamy side of Malaysian justice and the anxieties of a young country grappling with a crushing financial crisis and civil unrest.

Anwar is Malaysia’s best known political figure, courted in the U.S. and Europe and probably the only man who can topple the government that has led this Southeast Asian country for the past 51 years.

from Africa News blog:

Overdose of trouble in West Africa

That political stability is vital for investment and development goes without saying, but it seems as though too much instability can be bad for criminal enterprises too.

The cocaine cartels that used West Africa, and Guinea-Bissau in particular, as a conduit to Europe were long accused of worsening the chaos in one of the region’s poorest and most troubled states by buying off some factions of the security forces and political leaders.

Wealthy businessman takes on Argentina’s Kirchner in mid-term vote

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A wealthy businessman and critic of President Cristina Fernandez is spending millions of dollars in his own money to win the biggest race in Argentina’s upcoming mid-term elections.

Polls show Francisco de Narvaez, who leads a congressional ticket for a dissident faction of the ruling Peronist party, in a close race against Fernandez’s husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, who is widely seen as the government’s top political and economic strategist.

Should voting be compulsory in European Parliament election?

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As people across the European Union vote in a European
Parliament election
, is it perhaps time to consider making voting in each country compulsory by law?

The build-up to the election has been dominated by talk of voter apathy and how low the turnout will be at the polls. This has drowned out discussion of policies and how to bring about changes in government.

Is “baron from Bavaria” a liability for Merkel?

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Germany’s 37-year-old economy minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, could become a liability for Chancellor Angela Merkel in September’s election thanks to his open criticism of the government’s 11th-hour rescue of carmaker Opel.

Guttenberg, a rising star in Merkel’s conservative camp, had argued for an Opel insolvency in the days preceding the deal.

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