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Nov 17, 2013

Merkel and SPD coalition talks enter final make-or-break phase

BERLIN (Reuters) – Angela Merkel’s conservatives and Germany’s Social Democrats have forged a political marriage before and know each other’s ways, but as a new “big day” approaches, they are having to work hard to convince skeptical party members and the business world that they should give it another go.

Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and Bavarian allies were the clear winners in September’s election, taking 41.5 percent of the vote, but their former liberal partners in government lost all their seats, so the center-right still needs to form a coalition with the humiliated center-left.

Nov 17, 2013

German art hoarder denies paintings stolen, wants them back

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German recluse whose billion-dollar art hoard was seized by authorities has broken his silence to ask for the pictures back and to deny his father, an art dealer for Hitler, ever extorted any from Jewish owners.

In an interview with Der Spiegel, his first substantive comments since the mysterious trove was revealed two weeks ago, 80-year-old Cornelius Gurlitt recalled helping his father save some of the works from wartime Dresden and said the state had no right to impound treasures he called the love of his life.

Nov 15, 2013

Sense of dread as German SPD eyes new Merkel coalition

LEIPZIG, Germany, Nov 15 (Reuters) – If you want to know how
rank-and-file Social Democrats (SPD) regard the prospect of
another ‘grand coalition’ government under Chancellor Angela
Merkel, look for the red hedgehog.

Listening to speeches at a party congress in Leipzig from a
stand emblazoned with their cute logo, four members of the “Over
60s Working Club” from the northern town of Schortens summed up
grassroots sentiment in one word: scepticism.

Nov 14, 2013

Letta tells Germans that ‘lazy Italians’ cliche helps populists

LEIPZIG, Germany (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta warned on a visit to Germany on Thursday that stereotyping his compatriots as “lazy” or Germans as “selfish” would boost support for populists in next year’s European Parliament vote.

If the two countries are not careful, Letta told the party congress of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD), “the campaign for the European election risks being full of reciprocal prejudices – the ‘selfish Germans’ against the ‘lazy, idle Italians’”.

Nov 14, 2013

German SPD courts Left to pressure Merkel in coalition talks

LEIPZIG, Germany (Reuters) – Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) have buried a taboo from the Cold War on working with the far left to show Chancellor Angela Merkel – and their own supporters – that the party will be no pushover in talks about forming a new coalition government.

The center-left SPD suffered its second-worst election defeat of the post-World War two era in September and is now negotiating its conditions for helping to form a government with the conservatives by Christmas.

Nov 1, 2013

Snowden writes to Germans to seek support in spy row

BERLIN (Reuters) – Fugitive U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has told Germany he is counting on international support to stop Washington’s ‘persecution’ of him for revealing the scale of its worldwide phone and Internet surveillance.

In an open letter to a country at the center of the row over U.S. spying on allies, Snowden said his revelations had helped to “address formerly concealed abuses of the public trust”.

Oct 31, 2013
via FaithWorld

Mystery of Gestapo chief’s fate is solved … and it shocks German Jews


(A Star of David is pictured on a fence at Grosse Hamburger Strasse Jewish cemetery in Berlin, October 31, 2013. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch )

Gestapo chief Heinrich Müller, the most senior Nazi whose fate has until now remained unknown, died in Berlin in 1945 and, in a chilling twist for an organiser of the Holocaust, lies in a Jewish cemetery, a German historian says.

Oct 31, 2013

Mystery of Gestapo chief’s fate is ‘solved’, shocking German Jews

BERLIN (Reuters) – Gestapo chief Heinrich Mueller, the most senior Nazi whose fate has until now remained unknown, died in Berlin in 1945 and, in a chilling twist for an organizer of the Holocaust, lies in a Jewish cemetery, a German historian says.

Mueller, who ran the Gestapo secret police before and during World War Two, was last spotted in Adolf Hitler’s bunker in Berlin the day after the Nazi leader committed suicide in 1945.

Oct 30, 2013

Merkel, SPD agree to renew German push for transaction tax

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s next government will renew a push for a financial transactions tax, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) agreed at a second round of coalition talks on Wednesday.

With Merkel’s outgoing center-right government and the SPD having broadly agreed on EU policy during the euro zone crisis, the transactions tax provided an early opportunity to inject some momentum into their tricky coalition talks.

Oct 17, 2013

Indian firms perform best in BRICS: corruption watchdog

BERLIN (Reuters) – The anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International has admonished Chinese companies for their opaque business practices while praising Indian firms’ relatively high standards, in a survey of emerging market multinationals released on Thursday.

China got the lowest rating of the BRICS economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), whose companies made up three quarters of the total sample in the survey of 100 of the fastest-growing multinationals in 16 emerging economies. Indian firms performed the best.

    • 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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