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Feb 19, 2012

Former rights activist Gauck to become German president

BERLIN (Reuters) – Joachim Gauck, a former anti-Communist human rights activist in East Germany who is set to become the next German president, is a moral authority to be reckoned with.

Gauck, who has been called Germany’s answer to Nelson Mandela, was one of a number of Protestant pastors who helped bring down the communist East German regime, setting the stage for the fall of the Berlin Wall and reunification in 1990.

Feb 19, 2012

Merkel backs opposition’s choice for president

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel bowed to pressure on Sunday and agreed to back popular opposition candidate Joachim Gauck to become president, averting a political fight that might have distracted her government from solving the euro zone crisis.

Merkel confirmed her support for Gauck at a press conference in the Chancellery with leaders of the other major German parties. The announcement paves the way for the 72-year old protestant pastor and former East German rights activist to be confirmed in the post by Germany’s Federal Assembly in the coming weeks.

Feb 17, 2012

German state prosecutors want to end president immunity

BERLIN (Reuters) – German state prosecutors have asked the Bundestag to end the legal immunity of President Christiaan Wulff whom they suspect of accepting undue privileges, in an escalating scandal that could hurt Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Wullf has come embroiled over the past two months in a scandal over money, power and political favours that could cost him his job and damage Merkel who installed him in the largely ceremonial office in 2010.

Feb 16, 2012

Hungarian film shines light on Roma persecution

BERLIN, Feb 16 (Reuters) – A non-professional cast of
Roma actors portray a family struggling to survive in “Just the
Wind”, a gritty drama inspired by real-life attacks against
Hungary’s Roma community which premieres on Thursday at the
Berlin Film Festival.

The film, by Hungarian director Bence Fliegauf, depicts a
family living in a shack in a wood where several other Roma
families have already been gunned down.

Feb 15, 2012

German GDP drops, France edges up, periphery deep in gloom

BERLIN/PARIS, Feb 15 (Reuters) – Germany’s economy
contracted slightly in the last three months of the year while
France eked out an anaemic level of growth, suggesting the euro
zone may succumb to a mild recession with its high debtors still
deep in the mire.

German gross domestic product contracted 0.2 percent in the
fourth quarter, a slowdown from upwardly revised 0.6 percent
growth in the July-September period, data showed on Wednesday.

Feb 14, 2012

German economy pulls away from European pack

BERLIN (Reuters) – German analyst and investor sentiment leapt to its highest level in 10 months in February, reinforcing signs that Europe’s largest economy is returning to growth as the rest of the euro zone faces a mild recession.

The ZEW think tank’s monthly poll of economic sentiment jumped for the third month in a row, to its highest level since April 2011, smashing expectations and sending the euro to a session high against the dollar.

Feb 12, 2012

Victims and hostages bond in Philippine kidnap film

BERLIN, Feb 12 (Reuters) – Boundaries between
kidnappers and hostages are blurred in Philippine drama
“Captive”, which stars French actress Isabelle Huppert and
premiered at the Berlin film festival on Sunday.

Directed by Filipino Brillante Mendoza and shot with a
hand-held camera, the film is loosely based on real life events
and tells the story of a group of holiday makers and
missionaries kidnapped in the Philippines by an al Qaeda-linked
rebel group.

Feb 11, 2012

Spanish thriller dredges up dark childhood secret

BERLIN (Reuters) – Spanish psychological thriller “Dictado” (Childish Games), depicting a man spooked by a little girl who revives a dark secret from his childhood, had viewers also on edge at its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday.

When Daniel’s childhood friend commits suicide, he takes the man’s seven-year-old daughter into his care. But some of the girl’s simplest actions put him on edge as they recall ominous childhood memories.

Feb 10, 2012

Senegalese film celebrates last day of life

BERLIN, Feb 10 (Reuters) – “Tey”, a Senegalese modern
fairy-tale which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival on
Friday, depicts a young man who wakes up inexplicably knowing
today is the last day of his life.

“Tey”, meaning “today” in the Wolof language, is one of
three films in the competition set in Africa, which festival
director Dieter Kosslick has described as “an almost forgotten
continent in film”.

Feb 8, 2012

Insight: The dark side of Germany’s jobs miracle

STRALSUND, Germany (Reuters) – Anja has been scrubbing floors and washing dishes for two euros an hour over the past six years. She is bewildered when she sees newspapers hailing Germany’s “job miracle.”

“My company exploited me,” says the 50-year-old, sitting in the kitchen of her small flat in the eastern German town of Stralsund. “If I could find something else, I’d be long gone.”

    • About Sarah

      "Sarah covers economic and political news from Argentina as part of the Reuters Latin America reporting team. The focus this year is on a shift in policy ahead of key elections in late 2015 and signs of a slowdown in an economy marked by one of the world’s highest inflation rates. Sarah moved to Buenos Aires in 2014 from Berlin, where she reported on Europe’s largest economy for five years during the euro zone debt crisis. She joined Reuters as a graduate trainee in the London HQ in 2007 and has also done assignments in Frankfurt and Vienna. ..."
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