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Mar 23, 2015

In skeptical Berlin, Merkel to hear Greek PM’s reform plans in person

BERLIN/ATHENS (Reuters) – Germany’s Angela Merkel does not expect talks on Monday with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to resolve his differences with the euro zone over Greece’s bailout but she does want to hear from him in person about his reform plans, an aide said.

The German chancellor and Greek leader have played down expectations that he would use his first official visit to Berlin to present a brand new list of reform proposals which he promised European Union leaders at a summit last week.

Mar 22, 2015

Greek leader to face scepticism, criticism on first Berlin visit

BERLIN (Reuters) – Angela Merkel and Alexis Tsipras have sought to play down the drama of the Greek leader’s first official visit to Berlin on Monday, but open scepticism among the Chancellor’s allies has spawned media portrayals of a western-style showdown.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, German media have cast Greece’s leftist prime minister as the outlaw and the conservative German Chancellor as a sheriff fighting to keep the euro zone together.

Mar 19, 2015

Greek finance minister, taken in by German satire, seeks apology

BERLIN (Reuters) – Greece’s finance minister appeared on Thursday to have fallen for an elaborate hoax that spurred him to demand an apology from German TV show over a video of him making a rude gesture.

Yanis Varoufakis, a political lightning rod in Germany because of his bitter dispute with his German counterpart over bailout conditions for Greece, acted after a rival German television channel said that the video had been faked.

Mar 19, 2015

EU to tell Greece time, patience running out

BRUSSELS/BERLIN (Reuters) – Euro zone leaders will tell Greece on Thursday that time and patience are running out for its leftist-led government to implement agreed reforms to avert a looming cash crunch that could force it out of the single currency.

Greece has been kept from bankruptcy by two international bailouts but now risks running out of money within weeks if it does not receive more funds. Greek banks reported the largest deposit withdrawals since Feb. 20, a sign savers are worried about the outlook for the country’s finances and institutions.

Mar 18, 2015

U.S. wants Assad out, Germany says talks with him may be necessary

ISTANBUL/BERLIN (Reuters) – The United States still wants a negotiated political settlement in Syria that excludes President Bashar al-Assad, according to a senior U.S. envoy, but Washington’s close ally Germany said talks with the Damascus government might still be necessary.

As German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier hosted talks of the coalition against Islamic State on Wednesday which included the U.S. special envoy John Allen, the pair appeared to contradict each other on how to handle Assad’s government.

Mar 16, 2015

Did Greek minister Varoufakis show Germany the “Stinkefinger”?

BERLIN, March 16 (Reuters) – Greek Finance Minister Yanis
Varoufakis tangled yet again with Berlin on Monday after German
television aired a 2013 video purportedly showing him making a
rude gesture toward Europe’s economic powerhouse.

Varoufakis denied brandishing his middle finger – known in
Germany as the “Stinkefinger” – during a lecture in Croatia
where he said Greece should have defaulted in 2010 rather than
accept a multi-billion euro bailout package.

Mar 13, 2015
via FaithWorld

German court overturns ban on headscarves for Muslim women teachers


(A woman holds a placard reading “Religious freedom applies to Muslim women too” during a memorial event for a Muslim woman murdered in Dresden, that was held at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin July 17, 2009. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch)

Muslim women teachers can wear headscarves as long as it does not cause disruption in school, Germany’s top court said in a ruling that overturns an earlier ban and may fuel debate about what some nationalist groups see as creeping “Islamization”.

Mar 13, 2015

Muslim women teachers can wear headscarves, German court rules

BERLIN (Reuters) – Muslim women teachers in Germany can wear headscarves in class as long as it does not cause disruption in the school, Germany’s top court said on Friday in a ruling that may fuel debate about what some nationalist groups see as creeping “Islamisation”.

The Constitutional Court reversed its own initial 2003 ban on headscarves for teachers, which had led some German states to forbid Muslim headscarves in schools while permitting the use of Christian symbols such as crucifixes and nuns’ habits.

Mar 10, 2015

Germany’s Merkel narrowly avoided bigger revolt on Greece: sources

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel narrowly averted a far bigger rebellion last month on Greece’s bailout extension among her conservatives, many more of whom would have voted ‘Nein’ but for her finance minister’s powers of persuasion, lawmakers said.

Germany’s parliament voted on Feb. 27 to extend Greece’s bailout by four months, but a record number of conservative dissenters were not convinced that Athens would deliver the economic reforms it has promised.

Mar 6, 2015

Pressure to arm Kiev could increase despite risks: top U.S. diplomat

BERLIN (Reuters) – The second-highest ranking U.S. diplomat warned on Friday that pressure to arm Ukraine would increase if aggression from pro-Russian separatists persisted, even though Moscow would easily be able to send more weapons into the country than the West.

Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken told German radio (DLF) the United States was already working on supplying Kiev with non-lethal equipment, including $130 million worth of protective vests, night-vision goggles and other equipment.

    • About Stephen

      "I moved to Berlin to run our German political, economic and general news file in 2010 after nearly four years as chief correspondent in Rome covering Berlusconi, the L'Aquila earthquake, G8 summit and Vatican. I was Nordic and Baltic bureau chief for 3-1/2 years and bureau chief of southern Latin America, based in Buenos Aires, for eight years including the Argentine collapse in 2001/2002. My first assignments for Reuters were in Spain, Portugal and our HQ in London. Before Reuters I worked for the Financial Times Group."
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