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Parchment in the Fire: Merkel seeks Spanish support for unpopular austerity measures | In English | EL PAÍS

Merkel seeks Spanish support for unpopular austerity measures | In English | EL PAÍS.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel traveled to Spain on Sunday for a two-day trip aimed at securing Spanish support for her austerity policies, now under fire in the European Union.

In return, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is seeking Merkel’s help to place two of his officials in top European positions. Specifically, Rajoy wants former agriculture minister Miguel Arias Cañete to receive a relevant economic portfolio, and current economy minister Luis de Guindos to head the Eurogroup, or gathering of European finance chiefs.

Merkel is currently under (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: BREAKING: German TV Leaks CETA Trade Deal Text

by: Obert Madondo Follow @Obiemad | Published Wed, Aug 13, 2014

The finer details of the controversial and highly secretive Canada-EU trade deal, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), is now available to the Canadian and global publics for much-needed scrutiny.

Germany television show Tagesschau leaked the full text of the deal earlier today.

The full text is available at: http://www.tagesschau.de/wirtschaft/ceta-dokument-101.pdf

The Council of Canadians is one the leading critics of the CETA deal here in Canada. In a statement posted on the organization’s website earlier, the Council welcome the leak.

“Throughout the process, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how we should take Germany’s rightful concern over investor-state dispute settlement provisions as an opportunity to reevaluate what we expect to accomplish through trade and investment agreements such as CETA.

For further reading…- Peter Clark, Michael Geist and Scott Sinclair discuss Germany’s objections to new trade agreements with Canada and the U.S. in particular, while reminding us why we should be wary of handing undue power to the corporate sector as well. And Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder and Rhea Tamara Hoffmann discuss (PDF) Germany’s past experience with ISDS in detail.- Meanwhile, Patricia Ranald notes that (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Germany stands up for democracy

Finally, someone has said enough to the erosion of democracy brought about by “trade” agreements. From NAFTA to the proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union, these agreements have eroded the power of governments in favour of investors.

International agreements are, in themselves, a very good idea, one way of imposing orderly behaviour

Alberta Diary: On the centenary of Gavrilo Princip’s fateful shot in Sarajevo, let’s learn the right lessons from history

Gavrilo Princip under arrest. Below: Princip and the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Today is the centenary of the day Gavrilo Princip took his little Belgian pistol to Sarajevo and blew the heir presumptive to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire into history.

As is well known, not long after young Princip caused the demise of Franz Ferdinand, archduke of Austria-Este and royal prince of Hungary and Bohemia, not to mention inspiration for future indie musicians, things went rapidly downhill.

Someone somewhere rolled the dice to score a strategic point or two in the Balkans – one of which, it’s been (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Enough petulant propaganda, please: the hammer of D-Day crushed Hitler on the anvil of Russia

D-Day on Juno Beach: Canadians trudge ashore under a strange colorized sky. Below: The distinguished Canadian military historian, the late Reginald H. Roy.

It’s been 70 years today since our magnificent Canadian soldiers went ashore at Juno Beach in Normandy to play their part the grim and deadly task of sweeping Hitler and his odious empire out of Europe.

But Canadians need to remember, in the context of the present moment in history, that what the landings on June 6, 1944, by 156,000 Canadian, British, American and other Allied soldiers along the beaches of Normandy did was open a second (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Why only politics when we think of democracy?

Conversations about democracy tend to revolve overwhelmingly about politics and government. These topics are rightly at the centre of democratic dialogue as they are the overarching institutions of our society. But if we are to have a thoroughly democratic society, we cannot limit ourselves to democratic government. We need to consider all our institutions.

The workplace, for example, is to

LeDaro: Getting something off her chest

Lucky Putin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gets an eye-opening experience as he is confronted by a topless demonstrator with a message written on her back during a tour of the Hanover Fair in Hanover, Germany, on April 8. He was accompanied by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.NBC.

I think Putin is having fun and thinking bring on more.

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Obama’s NSA is the East German Stasi of our time

German leader flat out states that Obama’s government is little better than the East German Stasi.

“In an angry exchange with Barack Obama, Angela Merkel has compared the snooping practices of the US with those of the Stasi, the ubiquitous and all-powerful secret police of the communist dictatorship in East Germany, where she grew up.

The German chancellor also told the US president that America’s National Security Agency cannot be trusted because of the volume of material it had allowed to leak to the whistleblower Edward Snowden, according to the New York Times.

Livid after learning from Der Spiegel magazine (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Germany’s Grand Coalition—a lesson for Canada?

Germany now has a government that represents a solid majority of the German people. With three-quarters of Social Democrat party members voting to join a coalition with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, the chancellor and her cabinet will now be sworn in.

In September’s national election, the Christian Democrats got 41.5 per cent of the vote and the Social Democrats 25.7 per cent. The Grosse

Parchment in the Fire: Merkel’s Victory, Everyone’s Loss: The Burden Of German Mercantilism On Europe

Merkel’s Victory, Everyone’s Loss: The Burden Of German Mercantilism On Europe.

John Weeks

The electoral victory of Angela Merkel brings bad news to the rest of Europe. Without doubt it means the continuation of the national economic policies that have all the other euro zone countries suffering from recession. While the Christian Democrats and their Bavarian allies narrowly missed an absolute majority, the probability that a coalition partner would moderate austerity polices is close to zero.

Filed under: Austerity, Capitalism, Crisis, Europe Tagged: Germany

Things Are Good: German Coal and Gas Power Plants Closing Due to Cheap Renewable Energy

Germany has been so effective in tranisitioning from unsustianble (econmically and environemntally) energy sources to renewable ones that it is uncompetitive to burn fossil fuels for power!

“Due to the continuing boom in solar energy, many power stations throughout the sector and across Europe are no longer profitable to operate,” RWE said in a statement.

“During the first half of 2013, the conventional power generation division’s operating result fell by almost two-thirds. The massive reduction in power station margins is a major factor in this development.”

On Tuesday, E.On said it had shut down or left idle 6,500 (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: How Germany Made a Killing on the Euro-Crisis

Europe’s fiscal crisis has hammered much of the E.U. from Ireland to Britain, Spain, Portugal, France and Greece.  Germany, however, has made out like a bandit.

The collapse of every nation around it made German debt much, much more attractive to investors looking for security.  So much more attractive that Germany saved 41-billion Euros in interest charges.  Sure, Germany put a lot of money into bailouts for countries like Greece but that totalled 599-million Euros to date.

0.6 billion they put out, 41-billion they saved.  That sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? 

PostArctica: Christo – Big Air Package

Big Air Package, an indoor installation for the Gasometer Oberhausen, Germany, was conceived in 2010 and is on view from March 16 to December 30, 2013. 90 meters high, with a diameter of 50 meters and a volume of 177,000 cubic meters, the work of art is the largest ever inflated envelope without a skeleton.

Below you will find downloadable, high-resolution photographs by Wolfgang Volz, images of preparatory drawings and collages by Christo and HD video footage for non-commercial editorial press usage in conjunction with Big Air Package. By using the images and/or video footage, you agree to be (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: PRISM: Prepared for Exposure

More details are out on PRISM, Tempora, and other illegal spying schemes by the NSA and friendly intelligence agencies, apparently even in Germany.

The NSA even has a special department for such cooperation, the Foreign Affairs Directorate, he says. He also exposes a noteworthy detail about how government decision-makers are protected by these programs. The partnerships are organized in a way so that authorities in other countries can “insulate their political leaders from the backlash” in the event it becomes public “how grievously they’re violating global privacy,” the former NSA employee says.

Interviewer [Jacob A. @ioerror]: Are German authorities or (Read more…)

mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: Ask General Kang: Can I Be More Charismatic?

Absolutely, it is easy for you to be more charismatic, though you will never be as appealing as I am. According to Professor Richard Wiseman (I’m not sure what he’s a professor of, but he’s British and his last name … Continue reading →

Things Are Good: Algae-Powered Building Opens This Week

Algae can be used for all sorts of wonderful things from cleaning up oil to producing energy. Architects in Hamburg have built a building that uses algae to power the complex and it opens this week. The building is meant to be a demonstration of cutting-edge sustainable architecture.

“Using bio-chemical processes in the façade of a building to create shade and energy is a really innovative concept.” says Arup’s research lead for Europe, Jan Wurm. “It might well become a sustainable solution for energy production in urban areas, so it is great to see it being tested in a (Read more…) scenario.”

Arup led the design project, which also included work by Splitterwerks Architects from Austria and Germany’s SSC Strategic Scientific Consult. It was funded by the German government’s “Zukunft Bau” (“Future Construction”) subsidy, which looks to support innovation in the construction industry when it comes to renewable and . . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Algae-Powered Building Opens This Week

Eclectic Lip: Steven Chu’s “Time to Fix the Wiring” at four years

Former US Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s recent resignation — his farewell letter is here — is no doubt celebrated in the fuel cell quarters as passionately (or more so) than it is mourned in the rest of cleantech. Early in his term, Chu infamously argued (infamously, at least, to fuel cell enthusiasts) that fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV’s) needed four miracles for commercial success, namely:

most hydrogen comes from natural gas (so why not just use that as a fuel?) improvements in hydrogen storage were needed fuel cells needed to improve there was no distribution system in . . . → Read More: Eclectic Lip: Steven Chu’s “Time to Fix the Wiring” at four years

Eclectic Lip: Our Renewable Future part 1: clearing “myth”conceptions

With Obama talking the talk on climate action in his State of the Union address yesterday, now seems a good time to start compiling a planned set of blog entries about renewable energy. Many many others have done so online already (as evidenced by the fact I’m linking to them!) but I’d like to communicate my cautiously nascent optimism in my own words.

I’m growingly confident that I’ll live to see renewables dominate global electricity production, as dominantly as oil dominates global transport today, with immense and commensurate environmental benefits.

That moment won’t come a moment too soon, either,

. . . → Read More: Eclectic Lip: Our Renewable Future part 1: clearing “myth”conceptions

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- John Studzinski describes how a sense of social responsibility and a country-wide commitment to making jobs available have placed Germany in a better economic position than its European neighbours: Let me highlight some of the features unique to the Mittelstand model that I believe everyone should learn from – and imitate if they can. The first is what we might call the Mittelstand ethos – that business is a constructive enterprise that aims to be socially useful. Making a profit is not an end in itself: job creation, client satisfaction and product

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Walking Turcot Yards: The Trashcam Project

Here is a remarkable photography project using garbage dumpsters as pinhole cameras. The city of Hamburg has allowed it’s trash collectors to drill small holes into these portable bins that are loaded with large sheets of light sensitive paper. And the results are often quite stunning!

From their Flickr page -

Hamburg´s garbagemen portrait their city in the Trashcam Project – with their garbage containers. Standard 1.100 litre containers are transformed to giant pinhole cameras. With these cameras the binmen take pictures of their favourite places to show the beauty and the changes of the city they keep clean

. . . → Read More: Walking Turcot Yards: The Trashcam Project

Canadian ProgressiveCanadian Progressive: The Nobel Peace Prize is slipping into irrelevance

by Brian Lee Crowley | Troy Media | Macdonald Laurier Institute My mother could have told you why giving the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union would produce such a predictable and deserved outpouring of derision. An aspiring writer, she took a creative writing course. One of the assignments was to describe a single [...]

Bill Longstaff: What would Martin Luther say?

I was surprised to discover recently that governments in Europe collect taxes for churches and other religions. In Germany, for example, taxpayers pay between 8 and 9 per cent of their income tax to the religious community to which they belong. Religions may choose to collect the tax themselves, in which case they may demand that the government reveal the tax data of their members so they can

wRanter.com: Slicing through ignorant anti-circumcision rhetoric

FB.Event.subscribe(‘edge.create’, function(response) { _gaq.push(['_trackEvent','SocialSharing','Facebook - like button',unescape(String(response).replace(/\+/g, " "))]); }); Share this: Every once in a while, the subject of circumcising male newborns and boys rears its ugly head – no pun intended – and the discussion rarely takes long to veer into ethnocentrism, if not outright intolerance. With the best of intentions, and without realizing it, many people who object to the practice end [...]

Things Are Good: Germany’s Sustainable Energy Grid Keeps Improving

In May, Germany was able to supply 50% of their national energy consumption using renewable power sources. That was remarkable in itself given the size of Germany in both industrial and population size.

Now, it’s been announced that for the first half 2012 Germany produced 67.9 billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy which makes up a quarter of all energy production this far into the year.

Biomass, or material acquired from living organisms, accounted for 5.7 percent and solar technology for 5.3 percent.

Solar energy saw the biggest increase, up 47 percent from the previous year. Germany

. . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Germany’s Sustainable Energy Grid Keeps Improving