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CuriosityCat: Ukraine: Angela Merkel and the Sleepwalkers

With all the huffing and puffing going on around Crimea, Ukraine, and Putin’s metamorphosis into Hitler, it’s a pleasure to read that Germany’s Merkel is trying to learn from the past:

In contrast to the posturing and empty rhetoric in London and Washington is the calm voice of Germany’s Angela Merkel. We hear that she and her foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, have been reading Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers, an analysis of the countdown to the Great War. Steinmeier invited Clark to Berlin to debate the topic. Imagine a British politician reading such a book, let alone acting on it.

(Read more…)

drive-by planet: Double standards, threats and false claims in run-up to March 16 referendum in Crimea

The referendum in Crimea scheduled for March 16 has been declared invalid by US secretary of state John Kerry who also issued warnings of serious consequences if Russia “annexes” Crimea.  He promised that sanctions against Russia would “get ugly fast.” This was echoed by Germany’s Angela Merkel who has made dark references to “massive political and economic harm” to Russia. British PM Cameron got in on the act with warnings of “consequences.”

A UN resolution declaring the upcoming referendum in Crimea invalid has been vetoed by Russia. Vitaly Churkin, Russian envoy at the UN, said: “The philosophy (Read more…)

LeDaro: Germans and their fascination with nudity

The shy Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel may not like to tell you but even she enjoys it. NBC News gets to the bottom of Germany’s love affair  with nudity.

“Lately, however, nudism has been getting some additional exposure with the circulation of a photo purporting to show a young Angela Merkel and a couple of friends out for waterside stroll in the buff.”I once stumbled upon a nude beach somewhere in Quebec. I kept my swimsuit on but the scenery was not so bad.:)

CuriosityCat: Chancellor Merkel plumps for the domino theory over the ballast theory

Merkel and dominoes …

One of the fascinating things about high level crises like the eurozone one, is the role played by the men and women who have the power or lack the power to influence events. And the key person in the past five years or so is a woman some nicknamed The Iron Lady – Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. Der Spiegel has a fascinating article describing her practical approach to the eurozine crisis, which includes this:

For months, Merkel wavered over whether or not Greece should remain in the euro zone. As recently as summer, she couldn’t decide

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Chancellor Merkel plumps for the domino theory over the ballast theory

drive-by planet: Eurozone austerity: the ‘hope’ candidate

. . . → Read More: drive-by planet: Eurozone austerity: the ‘hope’ candidate

CuriosityCat: Anglo-Franco-German ménage à trois: A Federal Europe or a confederation of Nation States?

The European Union

A struggle for the future of Europe is being waged right now by the politicians of the EU. 

Most of the fighting is being done by the leaders of France, Germany and Britain (the Big Three of Europe), with the other medium sized states putting the boot in every now and then but largely shouting encouragement from the sidelines. The big battle that is shaping up is over the contours of the future Europe. Germany: A tighter Union or Else: And the issue has been framed as a choice between two stark contracts: a move towards . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Anglo-Franco-German ménage à trois: A Federal Europe or a confederation of Nation States?

CuriosityCat: Eurozone: Move over politicians, here come the German Judges!

It’s not just the politicians who make decisions about how to rescue the foundering Euro: a Constitutional Court in Germany also has a say on the most important decisions: Germany’s Constitutional Court

Germany’s top court has rejected calls to block the permanent eurozone rescue fund – the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) – and the European fiscal treaty. Leader Angela Merkel called it “a good day”, while markets rallied in relief. But the Constitutional Court imposed conditions including a cap on Germany’s contribution, which it said could only be overruled by the German parliament. Another Hitler? The Role of the Constitutional . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Eurozone: Move over politicians, here come the German Judges!

CuriosityCat: Eurozone: The coming New Deal

Thank heavens for democracy! 

In a world taken to the brink of financial implosion because of lax regulations of financial institutions, incompetence of regulatory authorities, pure greed on the part of the stakeholders in our investment banking industries (banks, merchant banks, regulatory agencies, regulatory authorities, lawyers, auditors and the like) and politicians effectively bought by the financial industry (in the USA especially, and to a slightly lesser extent in the UK), and a reluctance by politicians to buck the system and institute proper reforms, the voters in France and Greece have taken a stand. They have said No to . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Eurozone: The coming New Deal

the reeves report: Saving Solar Power in Germany

German Solar Park.

For most of the past winter, Germany’s 1.1 million solar power systems that crisscross the country have sat relatively idle. Overcast skies and a relative lack of sunshine has meant the powerful solar-generating system has produced little energy, forcing Germany to import electricity from nuclear power plants in neighbouring France and the Czech Republic.

Public discontent at the high cost of electricity and increasingly shaky support from the coalition government headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel are threatening to undermine German advances in solar-power generation. Merkel has long touted the sector’s “opportunities for exports, development, technology and

. . . → Read More: the reeves report: Saving Solar Power in Germany

CuriosityCat: The Eurocrisis – A Gallic snub, No Haircuts & More Stability Funds

What a dramatic few days we have just lived through!  The grandest experiment in modern history – the European Union – has weathered a major threat to its existence, with 27 governments gathering in Brussels, and 26 agreeing on a roadmap for future stability and closer fiscal union. And the one country that is half-in and half-out of the Union smacking down its veto to prevent a full treaty incorporating terms the other 26 have agreed upon, and walking off in a huff, hoping it has protected its major industry. Cameron’s fight to save the City’s role: David Cameron . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: The Eurocrisis – A Gallic snub, No Haircuts & More Stability Funds

CuriosityCat: UK’s Cameron needs to take a lesson from The Gambler

Lissen up, David: Click here!

And listen especially hard when Kenny Rogers has this to say: And the night got deathly quiet, and his face lost all expression.Said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.

You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em,Know when to walk away and know when to run…

Ev’ry gambler knows that the secret to survivin’Is knowin’ what to throw away and knowing what to keep.

Because you lost big in the wee hours of last night. Perhaps you missed . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: UK’s Cameron needs to take a lesson from The Gambler

CuriosityCat: David ‘Two-Speed’ Cameron and the EuroCop

Chancellor Merkel’s glacial crawl towards the creation of an all-powerful EuroCop with powers to veto the budgets of Eurozone nations is beginning to make Prime Minister Cameron a bit nervous.  Cameron is on the outside, looking in, but is itching to give advice to the 17 European Union members of the Eurozone about how to manage their affairs.

But Merkel wants budgetary discipline uber alles: No comments from the peanut gallery …

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Europe is working towards setting up a “fiscal union”, in a bid to resolve the eurozone’s debt crisis. She told the Bundestag . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: David ‘Two-Speed’ Cameron and the EuroCop

CuriosityCat: Will Germany pay more for helping save the Euro than it paid for losing the War?

The figures seem to show it would, according to Landon Thomas in The New York Times: This Lady ain’t for stampeding …

Bernard Connolly, a longtime critic of European policies, estimates that it would cost Germany, as the main surplus country in the euro zone, about 7 percent of its gross domestic product a year to transfer sufficient funds to bail out the deficit countries, including France. That amount, he has argued, would far surpass the $400 billion World War I reparation bill forced upon Germany by the victorious Allied powers — the final payment of which Germany made just last . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Will Germany pay more for helping save the Euro than it paid for losing the War?

CuriosityCat: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bypassing tactic on its way to success

David Cameron wants a pound of flesh in return for the UK agreeing to changes to the EU Treaty to bring on closer fiscal union in the Eurozone. Pushed by the Euroskeptics in his party, he has to pander to them by trying to change the deal and repatriate more power to the UK government. The Chancellor with the bypass

But Merkel is focused on trying to remedy the problems caused by governments in the 17 member Eurozone borrowing too much, having bloated governments, with too few vigorous private sector businesses, and lax tax gathering arms. To avoid being held . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bypassing tactic on its way to success

CuriosityCat: Angela Merkel tosses Cameron a bone and presses on with Little EU amendments

David Cameron rubbed his hands in glee a few weeks ago when Angela Merkel insisted that the European Union treaty be amended as part of her agreement to save weaker countries from bankruptcy.

Because amendments require 100% approval by all members, Cameron thought that he could bargain with the Iron Chancellor and claw back rights for Britain as the price for his agreement to her changes. But Merkel is made of sterner stuff. She simply tossed him a bone (which some of his own party say is pretty nigh worthless), and pressed on with the idea of having amendments affect . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Angela Merkel tosses Cameron a bone and presses on with Little EU amendments