Archive for the 'Europe' Category

RIP: Alexander Solzhenitsyn

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Much can be said about Alexander Solzhenitsyn who died this weekend in Russia, and many will certainly do. With a courageous person like him having left us a few words by us might be allowed as well. He was…

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Foodfight: Berlin – Unterfriedrichshein vs. Ostkreuzberg

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After two years of a break the annual water / food fight between the two (former) Berlin “districts of Kreuzberg” and Friedrichshain was taken out again this weekend.

Almost a thousand combatants gathered around the “Oberbaumbruecke” that connects the two neighborhoods. The “battle” goes back to the 1990s when the Senate of Berlin in an administrative reform combined the two neighborhoods into one township/voting district most likely to block the left wing PDS party from getting a broader representation in government.

Within this battle only “weapons” like water, flour and everything that is wet, soft, splashy or slippery are allowed. According to that motto popular weapons included addle eggs, rotten vegetables or…

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Image: Where is Waldo with Obama

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Yesterday Sen. Barack Obama held a speech in Berlin and 200,000 were listening in enthusiastically.

For those who want to get an impression how 200,000 people look like from the viewpoint of the speaker we found an excellent shot at Flickr.

Note that the image only shows the front rows of…

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Rants’n Raves: Euro 2008 Football (soccer) championship

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Been sitting around this afternoon watching the semifinals of the Euro 2008 football championship via the Internet (there is no post on this site how to use a proxy to watch German TV from the US – go look somewhere else). Have to admit that I normally never watch football or golf or TV in general since they’ve replaced most of the interesting stuff with game shows, but today I made an exception.

So I’m sitting here nibbling on Lieber’s Kosher Winkies (that’s what my Deli had for sweets – not bad anyway, but full of artificial flavors) and watching parts of that game – the Germans win and there’s that big huha going on, everybody’s celebrating – besides the Turks of course – and dancing people anywhere as if they would have contributed to the result.

Then what would you expect German TV to do – interview some players, the coach, your grand uncle who knows everything about soccer – NO WAY!

They go straight ahead for some political schmoozing and…

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Nazi-Germany Anthem used at European Football championship

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One event currently has, during evenings, swept almost half of Europe’s population off the streets (the other half is most likely watching it in so called public viewing zones) – the European Football championship.

Now this Monday, Swiss TV who together with Austrian TV for the two hosting nations Austria and Switzerland is transmitting the TV footage from the games, had a bit of a problem staying up to date with changes in neighboring Germany during the last 60 years. To be more precise it turned back time to the 1940s of Nazi Germany.

When the two teams at the beginning of the match between Germany and Austria were singing their National Anthems, Swiss TV used the verse for the German Anthem in its sub titles that was sung until the fall of the Third Reich.

The TV station mentioned in their apology, that it all happened by mistake. Officially the incident was blamed on two junior members of the TV team that have “copied the wrong text from the Internet“. And while these sub titles…

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UK High Court rules to continue government corruption investigations

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It’s a stunning victory for the activist groups and in their today’s ruling the two UK High Court judges, with unusually harsh wording that in parts can only be described as scathing criticism of the Blair administration, have declared the stop of investigations by the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) into corruption within a GBP 43 Billion (USD 88 Billion) arms deal between UK’s BAE and Saudi Arabia as unlawful.

The decisions of the SFO and the UK Attorney General to drop the case were due to massive political pressure from PM Blair and his administration. The decision to drop the case two years ago also prompted the OECD to start an investigation into international corruption.

I guess (sadly) that no-one these days will be surprised anymore that the argument used by PM Blair to defend the interferences with the law was of course the general excuse / Catch-22 matters of national security“.

Nevertheless the judges today have stood up for the right of prosecutors to be independent and not subjected to political pressure.

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