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Aug 18, 2014

Ukraine, rebels accuse each other of attacking refugee bus convoy

KIEV/BERLIN (Reuters) – Ukraine accused pro-Russian rebels on Monday of hitting a refugee convoy of buses with rocket fire near the eastern city of Luhansk, killing people trapped in the burning vehicles, but the separatists denied responsibility.

Government forces kept up pressure on the separatists in fighting overnight into Monday, blockading or recapturing rebel-held positions after international talks failed to reach agreement on a ceasefire.

Jul 18, 2014

Merkel challenges Putin after Ukraine crash but wary on further sanctions

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Angela Merkel challenged Moscow’s attempt to pin the downing of a Malaysian airliner on Ukraine, pointing to Russia as a source of separatists’ weapons.

But she said it was too soon to talk about retaliatory measures.

The chancellor said there was evidence that the Malaysian Airlines (MASM.KL: Quote, Profile, Research) Boeing 777, which crashed into a field in Ukraine killing all 298 people on board, had been shot down.

Jul 18, 2014

Merkel says Ukraine truce needed, Russia needs to push for peace

BERLIN, July 18 (Reuters) – Moscow must take responsibility
for advancing a peace process in Ukraine, where a truce is
needed to allow an investigation into the crash of an airliner
close to the Russian border, German Chancellor Angela Merkel
said on Friday.

For the West, there was no alternative to seeking dialogue
with Putin over Ukraine, Merkel told a news conference in
Berlin, adding that it was too soon to make any decisions about
imposing tougher sanctions against Russia.

Jul 17, 2014

EU parliament chief rows back on UK candidate

BRUSSELS/BERLIN (Reuters) – The head of the European Parliament rowed back on Wednesday after saying the EU legislature might reject Britain’s nominee for the European Commission, Jonathan Hill, for “radically anti-European” views.

Martin Schulz told a news conference he had been answering a hypothetical question from a German radio interviewer who said that Hill, British Prime Minister David Cameron’s nominee for the EU executive, was an extreme Eurosceptic.

Jul 16, 2014

EU lawmakers may block UK’s Eurosceptic Commission nominee: Schulz

BERLIN (Reuters) – The head of the European Parliament said on Wednesday that the “radically anti-European” views of Jonathan Hill, British premier David Cameron’s nominee for the European Commission, might prevent him getting onto the EU’s executive body.

“I cannot imagine Hill, whose views – in as far as he’s got any – are radically anti-European, getting a majority in the European Parliament,” said the legislative body’s president, Martin Schulz, a Social Democrat from Germany.

Jul 6, 2014

Germany urges U.S. to explain suspected ‘double agent’ case

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German government wants a quick and clear explanation from Washington for U.S. intelligence’s apparent contact with a German man arrested last week on suspicion of being a double agent, the Interior Minister said in a newspaper interview.

“I expect everyone to cooperate promptly to clear up these allegations – with quick and clear comments from the United States as well,” Thomas de Maiziere told Bild newspaper, according to excerpts of its Monday edition.

Jul 6, 2014

German spy warns firms ‘easy prey’ to espionage as Merkel visits China

BERLIN, July 6 (Reuters) – A German intelligence chief
warned, as Chancellor Angela Merkel embarks on her latest visit
to China, that some firms in Europe’s biggest economy face a
growing threat from industrial espionage by Chinese government
agencies with huge resources.

“Many German Mittelstand companies are easy prey,”
Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the BfV domestic intelligence
agency, told a Sunday newspaper, referring to the small and
medium-sized family firms that are the backbone of the economy.

Jul 3, 2014

Berlin talks bring Russia and Ukraine closer to resuming ceasefire

BERLIN/KIEV (Reuters) – The foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine agreed in Berlin on Wednesday to hold three-way talks involving pro-Moscow rebels by Saturday to pave the way for a new ceasefire, despite continued fighting that Kiev says has now killed 200 of its troops.

“It is a clear commitment to a multilateral ceasefire,” said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier after talks with Russia’s Sergei Lavrov, Ukraine’s Pavlo Klimkin and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. Russia and Ukraine continued to blame each other for the violence that marred the 10-day ceasefire, which Kiev declared over on Monday before resuming its military offensive against separatists in the east, many of whom had ignored the truce.

Jul 2, 2014

Merkel warns Russia on sanctions ahead of Berlin talks on Ukraine

BERLIN/KIEV (Reuters) – Germany’s Angela Merkel warned Moscow ahead of talks on Ukraine on Wednesday that economic sanctions remained an option unless it backed peace efforts, as Ukrainian government forces pressed on with an offensive against pro-Russian rebels.

The Ukrainian, Russian, German and French foreign ministers were due to meet in Berlin at 4.30 p.m. (1430 GMT) to discuss restoring a 10-day ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, which the chancellor said had prompted “no significant reaction” from the separatists.

Jul 1, 2014

Boko Haram to hit Nigerian GDP again, investors resilient-minister

BERLIN, July 1 (Reuters) – Boko Haram’s insurgency will slow
Nigeria’s economy again this year, knocking half a percentage
point off growth like last year, the finance minister said on
Tuesday, adding that her 6.75 percent 2014 growth forecast took
this into account.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told Reuters that while the violence in
the northeast might put off some potential foreign investors,
those who were in Nigeria for the long term seemed to be holding
their nerve, as did portfolio investors in its government debt.

    • 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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