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Jan 31, 2014

Kerry asks Russia to pressure Syria on faster chemical arms removal

MUNICH (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry asked Russia’s foreign minister on Friday to put pressure on the Syrian government to accelerate the removal of chemical weapons, which Kerry said is not happening quickly enough.

Kerry met Russia’s Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference to discuss what Washington considered to be “unacceptable” progress in moving Syrian chemical weapons, said a senior U.S. State Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Jan 31, 2014

Ukraine opposition lobbies West for help against Yanukovich

MUNICH (Reuters) – The Ukrainian opposition urged Europe and the United States on Friday to go beyond vocal support for their fight for more democracy and demand a halt to violence they blame on President Viktor Yanukovich.

Opposition leaders met in Munich on Friday with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and were due to talk with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday.

Jan 29, 2014

Berlin and Washington still ‘far apart’ on NSA, Merkel says

BERLIN (Reuters) – Berlin and Washington are still “far apart” in their views on the U.S. National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance of Germany but they remain close allies, Chancellor Angela Merkel told parliament on Wednesday.

In the first major policy speech of her third term, the conservative leader said nobody doubted that domestic and allied foreign intelligence agencies helped to protect the German people from terrorism and crime.

Jan 16, 2014

From Tokyo to Texas, Berlin festival films dissect family life

BERLIN, Jan 16 (Reuters) – Portrayals of the difficulties of
family life in Tokyo around World War Two and in Texas in the
21st century lend a domestic tone to the Berlin Film Festival’s
competition this year.

The uncut “Nymphomaniac” by Denmark’s Lars von Trier and
George Clooney’s topical “The Monuments Men”, about art looted
by the Nazis, will probably grab more attention – for different
reasons – but both are being screened out of competition.

Jan 13, 2014

‘Superhobo’ flies to the rescue for Berlin’s down-and-outs

BERLIN, Jan 13 (Reuters) – He has rippling muscles, a cloak
and the standard-issue briefs, but “Superhobo” is not your
average comic-book hero: his torn bodysuit, shaggy beard and the
bottle of beer in his fist all tell of a hard life on the
streets.

“His muscles are firm but he has no fixed abode” proclaims
the slogan of “Superhobo” comic (“Superpenner” in the original
German), which hit the streets of Berlin on Monday in an attempt
to boost sales of a newspaper sold by down-and-outs.

Jan 10, 2014

German coalition partners clash on work-life balance

BERLIN, Jan 10 (Reuters) – Germany’s new Social Democrat
(SPD) family minister has angered Chancellor Angela Merkel’s
conservatives with a proposal to cut the working week for
parents of small children to 32 hours while guaranteeing them no
cut in pay.

“It’s always been tough to balance work and family life but
we must make it easier for families in Germany,” the minister,
Manuela Schwesig, told German TV on Friday. “Parents shouldn’t
be disadvantaged at work and politicians have to lead the way.”

Jan 6, 2014

Merkel in skiing accident as her new German coalition bickers

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel has broken her pelvis in a cross-country skiing accident, forcing her to call off some foreign visits and official appointments just when she needs to bed down her fractious new coalition government.

Merkel, 59, is using crutches after her accident in Switzerland over the Christmas holidays and will have to take it easy for the next three weeks, her spokesman said on Monday.

Jan 6, 2014

Merkel breaks pelvis as her new German coalition bickers

BERLIN, Jan 6 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel
has broken her pelvis in a cross-country skiing accident,
forcing her to call off some foreign visits and official
appointments just when she needs to bed down her fractious new
coalition government.

Merkel, 59, is using crutches after her accident in
Switzerland over the Christmas holidays and will have to take it
easy for the next three weeks, her spokesman said on Monday.

Dec 15, 2013

Wary of Roma, Europe cold-shoulders its new eastern workmates

BERLIN/BUCHAREST, Dec 15 (Reuters) – Mitko keeps a tidy
squat, a tartan blanket on the bed and his clothes stowed away.
Lit by candles, heated by a gas canister and padlocked when he
is out, it is the 39-year-old Roma’s haven inside an old
graffiti-covered ice factory in Berlin.

For many European Union politicians, Mitko and his
neighbours in the squalid Eisfabrik are a warning of what will
happen next year when Romania and Bulgaria get full access to
the job market – and welfare systems – of Europe.

Nov 28, 2013

SPD tries to overcome grassroots scepticism on Merkel deal

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Social Democrats began a do-or-die campaign on Thursday to persuade nearly half a million grassroots members, many skeptical about governing with conservative Angela Merkel again, to back the “grand coalition” in a ballot.

Germany has already waited two months since the election for a new government. After Merkel and the SPD finally agreed the terms of an alliance, it must now wait until mid-December while the SPD seeks endorsement in an unprecedented ballot.

    • 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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