Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Austria’s Graf gets grief over “united Tyrol”

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Breaking into the summer holiday lull, Austrian politics has gotten into a lather over a far-right populist’s call for a referendum on whether a mainly German-speaking region of northern Italy should rejoin Austria.

No matter how far-fetched, his proposal raised a hue and cry by challenging the taboo of old unreconstructed nationalism in a country restlessly determined to live down its Nazi past.

South Tyrol – Alto Adige in Italian – is an autonomous, Alpine province of Italy bordering Austria. It was annexed by Italy from defeated Austria-Hungary at the end of World War One.

Italy granted increasing self-government to South Tyrol in the decades after World War Two, defusing separatist unrest by Austro-German speakers. It is now among Italy’s richest regions, with an open border to Austria thanks to EU integration.

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.

Arrivederci Angela! Merkel stops campaign for summer holiday

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Just imagine the outcry if Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain had suddenly gone off on their own separate two-week vacations to, say, Mexico, just two months before the November election? Irresponsible! Reckless! Shirkers! Those and as well as other unprintable terms might be among the comments hurled their way.

Yet as unfathomable as it may be for candidates in the United States or many other countries to take a long holiday break so close to an election, in Germany it is just as inconceivable for politicians to continue to campaign actively during the summer holiday season — even if the election is just around the corner. Begging for votes while their countrymen are relaxing on the beach is simply verboten for Germans.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Escaping history in India and Pakistan

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When France and Germany put years of enmity behind them after World War Two, they made a leap of faith in agreeing to entwine their economies so that war became impossible. With their economies now soldered by the euro, it can be easy to forget how deep their mutual distrust once ran - from the Napoleonic wars to the fall of Paris to Prussia in 1871, to the trenches of World War One and the Nazi occupation of France in World War Two.

As India and Pakistan begin yet another attempt to make peace, they face a similar challenge. Can they put aside years of distrust to build on a tentative thaw in relations?

Merkel man jumps ship

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The man who has been so eloquently selling Chancellor Angela Merkel and her policies to the German public as a government spokesman for the last 3 years, 9 months and two weeks has been furloughed.

But Thomas Steg’s voluntary departure in Berlin just 2 months and 2 weeks before the federal election has raised more than a few eyebrows — he is not leaving his post as deputy government spokesman to go off and write a book or study horticulture but rather he will be leading the election campaign communications efforts of the man who wants to knock Merkel out of office — SPD candidate Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

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.

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.

Germany’s Finance Minister takes aim at the City

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Has German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck finally said what many world leaders think but are afraid to say? That the British government won’t sign up to meaningful reform of financial markets because it is too worried about what it would mean for the country’s most famous cash cow, the City of London.

 

The City, which accounts for around 35 percent of global foreign exchange turnover, has been a popular target for critics of capitalism for years. But it has rarely been singled out so bluntly as a problem by one of Britain’s close allies.

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.

Is Germany at ‘war’ in Afghanistan? Defence Minister says ‘no’

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Germany’s defence minister gets his tongue in a twist every time he tries to explain why the German army is not in a “war” in Afghanistan, even though more and more German soldiers are coming home in coffins.

“If we were to speak of ‘war’ then we would only be focusing on the military aspect in the region and that would be a mistake,” Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said after three more German soldiers were killed on Tuesday, raising the total to 35.

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