Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
Two years ago Sigmar Gabriel came into the Reuters office in Berlin for an interview about climate change, the environment, renewable energy policies and the state of his Social Democrats.
The burly minister, who was elected leader of Germany’s struggling centre-left SPD party on Friday, had clearly lost weight on his summer holiday that had just ended so, while my colleagues were still streaming into the conference room, I asked: “You’ve lost some weight, haven’t you?”
Gabriel smiled briefly. Colleagues later told me they were horrified that I had asked him about his weight. It was merely an attempt to break the ice. There was, after all, another German political leader a few years ago who was once even heavier and lost more than 50 kg with an intensive jogging and diet programme that began one summer: Joschka Fischer of the Greens.
“Yeah, I did,” Gabriel said. “I got some exercise on my holiday. But I won’t be able to keep it off if people keep putting things like this in front of me like you’ve done here,” he added with a laugh as he munched on some cookies.
Sunday’s federal election threw Germany’s Greens into a state of disarray — should they celebrate their best result ever or mourn the fact they failed to prevent a centre-right coalition and languished in fifth place?
Having traded in their woolly sweaters, jeans and sandals for dapper suits and shiny shoes, Germany’s Greens are ready for business, claiming that to be the “party that truly knows its economics”.
The world’s most successful environmental party is eager to get back into power at the federal election on Sept. 27 after a first stint in coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD) from 1998 to 2005.
Dark smoke covered the Athens sky over the weekend, its thick plumes rising over the Acropolis and rekindling memories of the huge, deadly fires of 2007 that nearly cost Greece’s ruling conservatives their re-election.
For Athenians glued to TV pictures of frantic residents trying to battle flames reaching their backyards with buckets and garden houses, it was much more than a dramatic struggle to rescue property.