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Floods drive climate to the heart of the German election campaign

With just over two months to go until polling day, the devastating floods that swept through western Germany this week have catapulted climate change to the heart of the German election campaign.

Most of Germany’s political parties agreed that global warming was to blame for a catastrophe that left 103 people dead and visited destruction on towns and villages across two of the country’s most populous states.

That could prove of huge benefit to the Greens, who even before this week were set to make big gains in the September poll. Their strongest suit — a focus on climate change and on mobilising all the state’s resources to prevent it — has suddenly acquired a massive new urgency.

So far, they have studiously refrained from saying “told you so”. Robert Habeck, the party’s co-leader, did not visit the areas affected by the floods, telling Germany’s Spiegel magazine that “rubbernecking politicians just get in the way in such situations”.

“It’s forbidden to really campaign on a day like today,” he said on Thursday when the full extent of the damage emerged.

Floods in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler: most of Germany’s political parties agreed that global warming was to blame © Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

But it is clear that the new focus on the dangers of freak weather events and their links to a warming planet could deliver an important boost to the Greens’ candidate for chancellor, Annalena Baerbock. They could also distract attention from the mistakes that have so far beset her campaign.

The 40-year-old MP has been on the ropes recently over inaccuracies in her CV, alleged plagiarism in a book she published last month and delays in reporting extra party income to parliament.

“She definitely will be able to score points now with the [Greens’] competence in environmental and climate issues,” Karl-Rudolf Korte, a political scientist at the University of Duisburg-Essen told German TV. “It gives her a. whole new way to mobilise voters.”

Government spokeswoman Martina Fietz made clear that the authorities see climate change as the chief cause of the floods. “In principle, global warming leads to an increase in so-called extreme weather events like heatwaves, heavy rains and storms,” she said. In Germany, the average temperature had already risen by two degrees since records began, she said.

On the other hand, the new focus on climate could prove tricky for Armin Laschet, candidate for chancellor from the centre-right CDU/CSU. As governor of the North Rhine-Westphalia, home to some of Germany’s biggest companies, he strongly opposes parts of the Green agenda, saying they could endanger the country’s status as an industrial powerhouse.

Armin Laschet, candidate for chancellor from the centre-right CDU/CSU, opposes some of the Green agenda © Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty

On Thursday, he was caught on the back foot, losing patience with a TV interviewer when she asked him if Germany now needed to act more aggressively to stem the climate crisis. “Excuse me young lady, you don’t change your policies just because of a day like today,” he said.

Yet even he was insistent that Germany must now pick up the pace on climate. “We must move more quickly down the path towards carbon neutrality,” he said on Friday.

Laschet was also able to score an important point over his two rivals, Baerbock and Olaf Scholz, the finance minister and Social Democratic candidate for chancellor. They were on holiday when the floods struck: he was not, and he went quickly to visit some of the worst-affected areas.

Laschet promised compensation to those left homeless, expressed sympathy for the victims and their families and thanked the emergency services, in speeches that seemed calculated to show him as an effective crisis manager and “Landesvater”, or father of the nation.

Laschet could gain politically from the new sense of insecurity ushered in by the floods, Korte said. “We will have to expect new crises,” he said, “and we will have most trust in the people or parties who have the best ideas for protecting us from what may come.” That could benefit the CDU/CSU, which has governed Germany for 50 of the past 70 years, and harm Baerbock, who has no government experience.

Rubble following heavy rainfalls in Schuld. © Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

If the floods end up having an impact on Germany’s election campaign, it won’t be the first time. Experts say the severe flooding of the river Elbe in August 2002 influenced the outcome of elections in that year and ensured victory for the Social Democratic chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

He rushed to the scene, donning rubber boots, wading through the mud, and later promising huge amounts of aid to the worst-hit areas. By contrast his rival Edmund Stoiber, candidate for the CDU/CSU, did not break off his holiday on the North Sea island of Juist and ended up losing.

“I didn’t want to campaign with this natural catastrophe,” Stoiber said later — though he ended up visiting the flooded areas anyway.

The weather has also influenced politics in more recent years. The long dry spell that Germany experienced in 2018, with little rain and fields and forests turning brown in the baking sun, boosted the popularity of the Greens and fired their relentless rise in the polls: by November 2018 they were at 22 per cent, up from 8.9 per cent in the 2017 Bundestag election.

Then in May 2019 they garnered 20.5 per cent in elections to the European Parliament — their best national result to date.

Though no one wants to make political hay out of a crisis, there will be some in the Greens privately hoping the impact of the 2018 heatwave could find an echo in the aftermath of the summer floods of 2021.

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This post originally posted here International homepage

EU can’t accept that! Brexit triggers chaos for German fishermen – risk spat with Norway

Brexit: Sandell hits out at ‘disgraceful’ lack of Norway deal

And Germany’s fishing industry has branded Norway “self-serving” – while appealing to Brussels to intervene, with one expert saying: “You cannot accept this.” The UK’s departure has prompted Oslo to unilaterally cut the EU’s fishing quota for cod and is aiming to do likewise with mackerel in a move which Norway’s Fiskeribladet website estimates could be worth an additional £100million.

Concerns over the knock-on effect their approach will have were outlined in a statement issued by the German Fisheries Association yesterday.

This warned: “Because the fish stock to be distributed is not growing, someone has to foot the bill for the self-serving behaviour of the Norwegians.

“It cannot be that the EU will accept that.”

Germany Angela Merkel

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel (Image: GETTY)

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Image: GETTY)

The statement warned: “Since the total catches do not increase in the context of sustainable management, this would result in a permanent reduction in the EU’s fishing opportunities.”

The GFA fears an escalation by the end of August at the latest “because the EU fishermen from Germany, Spain, Portugal, France and Poland would by then have exhausted the quota that Norway still wants to grant them”, the GFA explained.

It added: “If the EU does not defend the legitimate rights of EU citizens in this situation, there is a risk of permanent losses of fishing rights with a total value of several hundred million euros per year.”

There is even a risk of ships from all five EU countries mentioned above being barred from Norway waters.

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Norway Arctic

Norway boats fish for cod in the Arctic (Image: GETTY)

Speaking last year, the country’s Fisheries Minister, Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, said: “If we do not get a deal by January 1, we will not open Norway’s economic fishing zones to vessels from the EU and Britain.

“Neither can we expect Norwegian vessels to get access to their (the EU’s and Britain’s) zones before a deal is in place.”

Such a ban has not yet transpired – but remains a possibility.

Germany’s fishing industry employs 40,000 people and lands more than over 1.2 million metric tons of fish annually.

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Kirkella, moored up in Hull (Image: UK Fisheries)

Erna Solberg

Erna Solberg, Norway’s PM (Image: GETTY)

Chancellor Angela Merkel is a member of the Bundestag for Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, one of the German regions most heavily reliant on fishing.

The failure to strike a post-Brexit fishing deal with Norway – which has never been a member of the EU – also has serious implications for the UK fishing industry.

Kirkella, a distant water trawler belonging to Hull-based UK Fisheries, is currently tied up in port because it is not currently permitted to operate in Norwegian waters.

Speaking in April, CEO Jane Sandell said: “This is a very black day for Britain.

European fisheries mapped

European fisheries mapped (Image: Express)

“George Eustice owes our crews and the Humberside region an explanation as to why Defra was unable even to maintain the rights we have had to fish in Norwegian waters for decades, never mind land the boasts of a ‘Brexit Bonus’, which has turned to disaster.

“In consequence, there will be no British-caught Arctic cod sold through chippies for our national dish – it will all be imported from the Norwegians, who will continue to sell their fish products to the UK tariff-free while we are excluded from these waters.

“Quite simply, this is a disgrace and a national embarrassment.

“The UK wanted to be an independent coastal state, but the only beneficiaries of Brexit will turn out to be a handful of Scottish pelagic fishing barons.

Fishing boats Germany

Fishing boats in Northern Germany (Image: GETTY)

“Everyone else – including much of the UK domestic fleet and the people who work in it, will lose out.”

Jeremy Percy, chairman of the New Under Tens Fisherman’s Association (NUFTA), told Express.co.uk at the time: “‘Dog’s breakfast’ sums it up really.

“The whole EU Exit with regard to fisheries has been a complete debacle from beginning to end.

“Our negotiators have yet to secure a long term deal with the EU on quotas or with Norway.”

(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg)

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: World Feed

Margaret Thatcher quote about ‘German money’ has been manipulated

at many Facebook social networking sitecontributions Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is accused of a quote. “The problem with EU socialism is that at some point the German money is going to run out,” she said.

The quote is wrong. Indeed, Thatcher said: “[Sozialistischen Regierungen] Others’ money always runs out.” She didn’t talk about Germany or the European Union in this context. According to research by CORRECTIV.Faktencheck, the real quote comes from an interview that Thatcher gave in 1976.

The wrong quote is being traded Since years In different online versions. In 2018 I participated today President The CDU-WerteunionMax Otti on Twitter. Since mid-July 2020, it has been posted again by thousands of people on Facebook.

The false quote from Margaret Thatcher on Facebook has been published in various versions (Source: Facebook Search / Screenshot: CORRECTIV.Faktencheck)

Thatcher did not talk about Germany or the European Union

We have translated Thatcher’s alleged quote into English (“The problem with EU socialism is that it’s going to run out of German money”) and into google search engine as well as Search engine quotes Metager I entered. Neither research provided any evidence that the citation actually existed.

We also have an online database of Margaret Thatcher Foundation I looked up the quote that posted all of Thatcher’s political statements online. The search only produces a hit – And here the term “German” appears in a completely different context: Thatcher remembered him Page 19 of the linked document West German Trade Federation. There is no talk of money from Germany or “EU socialism”.

“You always run out of other people’s money,” Thatcher said of socialist governments.

The News Verification Editors France Press agency The Margaret Thatcher Foundation asked if the quote about Germany was known there. Foundation director Chris Collins wrote in an email on July 13: “Margaret Thatcher didn’t say those exact words, but once upon a time something very similar is now being circulated in various forms. Something like, ‘The problem with socialists is always to run out of other people’s money.’”

In fact, there is a similar quote from Thatcher on the foundation’s website. The quote “The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money”, which is attributed to Thatcher in the “Blog World” (i.e. on the Internet), supposedly came from an interview on February 5, 1976 with the television station The Times TV.

The a copy the same as orgenal According to the interview, Thatcher said opposition leader to Conservative Party On the British government at the time: “I think they caused the greatest financial mess of any government in this country for a very long time, and socialist governments have traditionally wreaked financial chaos. They always run out of other people’s money.”

Editors: Matthias Bau, Alice Ashtermann

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This post originally posted here United Kingdom News

French, Italian and German newspapers stir the Brexit pot as ‘Europe cheers on Azzurri’

French, Italian and German newspapers stir the Brexit pot as 'Europe cheers on Azzurri'

In coverage before and after the match, outlets in France, Italy and Germany were quick to put the boot in. The daily La Stampa sought to stir the Brexit pot, as it claimed the EU wanted the Azzurri to win on Sunday on account of the UK’s departure from the bloc. The paper suggested Presidents of the European Commission and the European Council were among some of the big hitters in Brussels cheering on the Italians.

It also added: “Europe Cheers on Italy.”

French paper L’Equipe published a report suggesting 69 per cent of French fans would be supporting Italy.

The Three Lions were cruelly denied their second major trophy on Sunday, succumbing to defeat against Roberto Mancini’s steely side.

The game went to penalties after finishing 1-1 after extra-time in a pulsating contest.

The Italians held their nerve, as they won a dramatic penalty shootout 3-2, leaving Gareth Southgate and his players distraught.

However, there was not much sympathy from Germany’s top tabloid, Bild Zeitung.

Its top story had a photo of Kalvin Phillips trying to console a disconsolate Bukayo Saka, after his decisive miss.

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The first line of its headline was written in small letters and said: “Italy beat England.”

Then the second line ran in bold letters: “OF COURSE ON PENALTIES.”

Meanwhile, Italian fans couldn’t resist crowing on social media “It’s coming to Rome”, in reference to England’s unofficial anthem.

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German press go berserk at Gareth Southgate’s wartime comment ‘Too many Churchill movies’

German press go berserk at Gareth Southgate's wartime comment 'Too many Churchill movies'

“He was rightly voted the greatest Brit of all time on a TV show a few years ago. As a reminder, Mister Southgate: Churchill’s enemies were Hitler and Goring – not Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer.

“Hardly any of the spectators at the round of 16 at Wembley Stadium saw the end of the war 76 years ago.

“The English press, which used to like to get the old ghosts out of the box, has long since let it go. They last appeared at the European Championship in 1996, when the English superstar Paul Gascoigne was shown wearing a steel helmet. Next to the headline: ‘Caution, surrender’, ‘Caution, surrender’.

“After a storm of indignation in England, the world war is no longer a story in football. Since then, ‘wars’ have only been waged with towels on Mallorca.”

Archaeology breakthrough: Researchers unearthed ancient homes at German ‘Stonehenge’

Archaeology breakthrough: Researchers unearthed ancient homes at German 'Stonehenge'

The Bronze Age site lies 85 miles away from Germany’s capital in the village of Pömmelte, and since its restoration in 2016 has become a key tourist attraction. It is known for its wooden ringed structure, which researchers believe has ties to Wiltshire’s iconic Stonehenge site, and have even claimed may have been influenced after the people of Pömmelte visited the UK. University of Halle archaeologist Franziska Knoll described the site as the “largest early Bronze Age settlement we know of in central Europe”, noting how it “must have been a really significant place”.

Also known as Woodhenge, excavations at the area have been ongoing for the past three years, and conducted by archaeologists from the University of Halle, as well as the State Office for Monument Conservation and Archaeology.

During this work, researchers argue they have found evidence which shows dwellings on the site, including the unearthing of around 130 longhouses, Heritage Daily reported.

The 4,000-year-old settlement was believed to have been built by those who lived by the Bell Beaker culture, in around 2300 BC.

Out of the Bell Beakers came the Únětice culture, which then populated the site.

Experts speculate that it may have been used in astronomical rituals, a world away from the residential area it has now become.

After working on the site, archaeologists theorised that Pömmelte had been active for around 300 years – before it was abandoned after being burned down in 2050 BC.

Speaking earlier this year, Ms Knoll said: “We call it the German Stonehenge because the beginnings are the same.

“It’s got the same diameter, just a different orientation. They’re built by the same people.”

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Pömmelte was originally found in 1991, after laws changed in East Germany to allow aerial photography to be used.

The images allowed experts to search for any signs of ancient buildings, such as areas of land where soil is holding more moisture, leading to crops to grow taller and greener.

They showed rings of “postholes arranged in concentric circles where the Woodhenge once stood”.

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Author: Clive Hammond
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So bitter! German commentator hits out at England’s ‘joke penalty’ – ‘More like a dive!’

So bitter! German commentator hits out at England's 'joke penalty' - 'More like a dive!'

Johannes Mittermeier, FOCUS online editor, insisted the “VAR experiment has failed” after Raheem Sterling won a penalty that resulted in Harry Kane converting the winning goal in extra time to make it 2-1 at Wembley. Writing for the German website, Mr Mittermeier said: “A penalty kick, which many thought was ridiculous or even scandalous, helped England win against Denmark and get into the European Championship final.

“The fact that the video referee did not intervene because he did not want to, was not able to or was not allowed to, allows only one conclusion given the dimension of this decision: The VAR experiment has failed.”

The German commentator admitted England “deserves” its place in the final, saying the Three Lions were the “more dominant, better and dangerous team” in the semi-final.

But he condemned the semi-final being “decided in such an absurd way, by a highly controversial, highly complimentary, for many ridiculous or even scandalous foul penalty kick”.

Mr Mittermeier went as far as to say the VAR “failed at the most critical scene of the tournament”.

He said: “Common sense, colleagues!

“Sterling was simply not fouled. It was more like a dive. Period.

“Technical means must lead to a clarification of the situation – as an aid for the referee, not as an overly didactic corrective.”

Mr Mittermeier concluded by calling for VAR to be scrapped.

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Last night saw Gareth Southgate’s team secure victory sending them to their first major tournament final in more than half a century.

Prince William, Boris Johnson and David Beckham were among 60,000 supporters inside Wembley.

Denmark took an unlikely lead only to concede an own goal equaliser 10 minutes later.

Skipper Kane bundled home the rebound after his extra-time penalty had been saved.

England’s victory means the men’s team will play in their first major final since the 1966 World Cup, which they won.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.

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Author: Katie Harris
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: UK Feed

Outrageous! German newspaper removes Queen from national anthem in cheeky dig

Outrageous! German newspaper removes Queen from national anthem in cheeky dig

Ahead of the crunch Euro 2020 game versus Germany tonight, the country’s top-selling newspaper, Bild, has created new lyrics for the national anthem. In reference to England’s painful history against the German national team, the newspaper substituted the Queen for references to Gareth Southgate and Stuart Pearce’s penalty misses. The newspaper also included goalkeeper Manuel Neuer as it butchered the national anthem.

The new anthem reads: “Long live our Goalie-King, Neuer save penalties!

“Be our hero who holds all the shots. Send her home with tears.

“Neuer save penalties! Oh, our king in the goal. Kane’s knees are trembling in front of it.”

Poking fun at England’s previous tragedies, it adds: “Neuer save us all! We think of Waddle and Pearce, Southgate and its bitter tears.

“We drink a couple of German beers to it, may the new rule forever!”

In a sly dig at England, the paper also referenced how England have struggled to score while playing at Wembley.

England has lost all four knockout games against Germany since the 1966 World Cup.

Germany is also unbeaten in their last seven games at Wembley in what will be the 33rd meeting between the two rivals.

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Due to the Delta variant, the Chancellor wants to classify the UK as a country of concern.

Some EU countries, however, are resisting an all-out ban and instead want to maintain quarantine measures for Britons.

Commenting on the plans, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps issued a sly rebuke aimed at Germany’s vaccination programme.

He said: “Germany doesn’t have the same level of vaccinations as has happened in this country so they will be particularly concerned.

“Each country will have to come to their own decision.

“A country like Malta which has a very high level of vaccination hasn’t said the same thing.

“And other European countries will come to their own decisions and I respect that, that is for them to do.

“But it is different in each country and largely driven by levels of vaccination that they have managed to achieve in each country.”

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg. 

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Wurzburg horror attack: At least 3 dead after violent assault –police seal off German city

Wurzburg horror attack: At least 3 dead after violent assault –police seal off German city

Germany police conducted a “major operation” on Friday afternoon in the city located north of Bavaria. Police said people had been killed and injured during the incident, but did not disclose exact numbers.

German police said a suspect has been arrested after being shot by officers.

 German newspaper Bild reports three people were killed and six others injured.

 The force reassured the public there is no wider threat to safety.

The incident took place at around 5pm in the downtown region of Barbarossaplatz.

Lower Franconia police tweeted: “The attacker was overpowered after police used a firearm.

“There are no indications of a second suspect.

“There is NO danger to the population.”

Wurzburg has a population of around 130,000 and is located south east of Frankfurt.

This is a developing news story, more to follow.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

EU face humiliating backlash after wasting millions of euros on 'ineffective' German jab

EU face humiliating backlash after wasting millions of euros on 'ineffective' German jab

The European Union had “bet pretty big” on the Curevac vaccine, developed in Germany, and had even ordered more than 400million doses. It remains unclear what price the EU paid for these doses, but the German government admitted that it had invested more than £250million in developing the vaccine. Both Germany and the EU are facing questions over a waste of taxpayers money, amid concerns that the jab may not even secure approval from the European Medicines Agency.

German broadcaster DW’s host Ben Fajzullin said: “CureVac isn’t up to scratch. That’s the result of an interim analysis with 40,000 volunteers.”

Earlier in the year, Curevac chief executive Franz-Werner Haas had even told EU health chiefs that he expected a high efficacy return from the trials.

DW’s financial correspondent Chelsey Dulaney said: “At the beginning of the vaccine race, this was one of the most hyped-up companies out there.

“The Trump administration even tried to buy it off with a $ 1bn deal. There was a lot of interest in this vaccine.”

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She added: “But this is a spectacularly lower efficacy rate and it’s not even clear if they would get approval from medicines regulators like they say they are going to try.

“Europe had bet pretty big on this.”

CureVac’s chief financial officer Pierre Kemula insists the company had not given up on its coronavirus vaccine despite disappointing results from trials.

Chief executive Franz-Werner Haas added: “The results are sobering.

There has also been an ongoing dispute between the EU and AstraZeneca over vaccine supply.

French President Emmanuel Macron stirred up tensions after remarking that the AstraZeneca vaccine was only “quasi-effective”.

On Friday, the EU lost a legal battle in Brussels to force Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca to supply 120m doses of Covid-19 vaccine by the end of June.

The bloc also suffered from an initially slow vaccine rollout while the UK has raced ahead.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed