Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Jörg Haider dies in car crash

by jandsm Sat Oct 11th, 2008 at 06:30:51 AM EST

Austria's right wing extremist Jörg Haider died in a car crash tonight [Friday evening]. Haider, who poisoned the waters of German speaking politics for more than two decades, crashed his car himself.

Here is the BBC report:

Austrian far-right politician Joerg Haider has been killed in a road accident, police say. Mr Haider suffered severe head and chest injuries after his car came off the road in Carinthia, his political base. Police investigating the crash said he had been driving alone. The 58-year-old was leader of the Alliance for Austria's Future, and was known for his anti-immigration and anti-EU policies. (...)

"For us this is the end of the world," the deputy leader of Mr Haider's Alliance for Austria's Future, Stefan Petzner, told Austrian news agency, APA.

Haider made right wing extremism successful and was a defining figure of Austria's second republic. It will be interesting to see whether others, like HC Strache of the FPÖ will be able to fill the gap he leaves behind.

Promoted by DoDo

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Randy Pausch, R.I.P.

by jandsm Sat Jul 26th, 2008 at 04:29:34 PM EST

For those of you, who haven't seen the "Last Lecture" yet, take the opportunity of a weekend to learn this beautiful lesson.

Professor Pausch died today, at the age of 47, but his speech on "how to achieve your childhood dreams" remains with us for the ages.

Here is the LINK

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Obama in Berlin

by jandsm Tue Jul 22nd, 2008 at 07:57:20 AM EST

Apparently, Barack Obama will hold a campaign rally in the German capital Berlin. As most of you know, there was a debate on whether he should be allowed to give a speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate right on the newly finished Pariser Platz. Charles Krauthammer, as BarbinMd correctly pointed out, turned the Brandenburg Gate into a holy shrine, which "you earn".

Well, as a German, let me point out: it is a holy shrine. Which is why they had it wrapped for 4 years with T-mobile advertisment only to have it reopened by Bill Clinton in front of 200,000 celebrating Berlin citizens. But anyway, anybody who has lived to see the Berlin Wall, anybody who has been to West Berlin while is was an island of hope in an ocean of oppression, knows what it means to be able to walk through it and why it was there that on the night of November 9th, 1989 people stormed the Wall. And it was not because of Ronald Reagan, whose speech is not part of the collective German memory.

Promoted by afew

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Fighting the "New AIDS"

by jandsm Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 09:45:53 AM EST

AIDS remains a dangerous pandemic around the globe. The image of AIDS is defined by massive media coverage on the suffering in the states of sub-saharan Africa. The rates of infection in the so-called Third World are devastating and can make one speechless in the face of such a wholesale destruction of the social fabric of the affected nations.

Still, AIDS is not a purely African problem. But what is the face of European AIDS? What are winning strategies against it, and if it did, how did it change?

This diary is based on the experience of two years of work on the board of the Lower Saxon AIDS-Hilfe - the state-wide association of local and regional agencies working on AIDS prevention and counseling. I just want to give you some perspectives on it. I think that the question of health is one of the important issues for every generation.

Diary rescue by Migeru

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Kosovo declares independence

by jandsm Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 06:11:05 AM EST

Here in Hannover [on Sunday night], Albanians are driving with cars and flags trough the city. It is pretty loud. Even though I am not sure whether independence is a wise idea. Let's just hope we are not seeing the first sights of the next Balkan war.

  short diary, but interesting discussion below, on a topic I fear we're going to be talking a lot in the coming months... -- Jérôme

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Fröhliche Weihnachten!

by jandsm Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 06:43:47 AM EST

I am leaving Hannover to a remote place without internet connection aka my parents house. I am actually proud of myself, I actually managed to get all my presents together a week early - though christmas shouldn't be about the commercial thing only. Yet, I like that this is a point where I have the feeling of giving something back. Don't know how it is about you, but with all this talk about the changing concept of family in western culture and post-modernist influences into our daily life, I still believe christmas is a wonderful tradition of coming together. I always use it as a time of reflection and of coming together with my family.

And what a year it has been. I do not know what it was to you, but I had personally and polically an intense year... I did not blog a lot, but I have been reading this blog on a daily basis and I just want to thank you for the inspiration this community can spark on its good moments.

Some blogs are only an echo-chamber, this here is more like the original sound. With this, I wish you - whatever you may believe in, a merry christmas and as we say in German: "einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr".

All the best.

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Iran replaces dollar with euro

by jandsm Thu Dec 21st, 2006 at 04:34:17 AM EST

I am not an economist, but this seems to me a significant event with respect to the future development of the Euro as a reserve currency. Additionally the move by the Iranian government will also apply to the country's oil contracts.

From Al Jazeera:

The Iranian central bank is to convert the state's foreign dollar assets into euros and use the euro for foreign transactions.

"The government has ordered the central bank to replace the dollar with the euro to limit the problems of the executive organs in commercial transactions," Gholam Hossein Elham, a government spokesman, said on
Monday. [...]

Elham said that Iran's budget would in future be calculated in euros. "Until now the budget has been calculated according to revenues in dollars but this calculation will now change," he said. [...]

Elham implied that the move to the euro would also apply to Iran's oil revenues. "Foreign income sources and oil revenues will be calculated in euros and we will receive them in euros in order to put an end to our dependence on the dollar," Elham said.

A merry christmas and a happy new year! jan

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Germany's new unemployment numbers are looking good

by jandsm Fri Dec 1st, 2006 at 04:46:36 AM EST

The HAZ has the November numbers of the German job market: From October to November 2006, the number of unemployed persons shrank by around 100.000 compared to October and fell below the 4. Mio mark. This is a decrease by more than 500.000 compared to Nov. 2005.

In the German labour market, such a development is highly unlikely. Only twice in the last 12 years did the unemployment rate fall from October to November: 2005 (25.000) and 1994 (17.000).

The Spiegel and the Bild Zeitung also publish other great news: According to a study by Postbank research, the German Economy will grow by 3.4 percent in the last quarter compared to Oct.-Dec. 2005. This would put the German Economy ahead of the U.S. (2.9%), the U.K. (2.8%), Canada (2.5 %), Italy (2.4 %) and France (2.3%).

And now just a gut feeling from living here: I do not believe people are shopping more because of the VAT increase in January. It is not a big topic.

From the diaries - whataboutbob

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"The Germans to the Front!"

by jandsm Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 10:26:51 AM EST

On June 22, 1900 the British commander-in-chief Lord Seymour gave the straighforward order I use as a headline for this diary when he launched the attack on Fort Hsiku (or Hsi-cheng) during the so called Boxer Rebellion. For German turn of the century imperialists it was the moment of their greatest pride: they felt being recognized as equals by their role models, the British. Paintings were drawn and that strange cocky empire continued its cranky flag-waving descent towards the August 1914 madness - not without committing genocide against the Herero and killing another tens of thousands in the Maji Maji war in what is now Tanzania.

My question today is, are we back at the gates of Fort Hsiku already?

A great discussion in the comments - from the diaries ~ whataboutbob

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Mixed news from Serbia

by jandsm Mon Oct 30th, 2006 at 06:59:17 AM EST

In a referendum on suday, a majority of 51.5 % of Serbia's electorate voted in favor of a new constitution. With an overall participation of around 53 %of the electorate, it means that nearly everyone who went to the  ballot boxes supported it. And since a majority of the voters participated, it means the constution has been officially adopted.

So why should we care? The BBC has a short summary:

Among the constitution's 200 articles are guarantees for minority and human rights and the granting of a form of self-rule for the province of Vojvodina.

It also calls for the end of the death penalty - and a ban on human cloning.

Things are apparently moving in the right direction...but:

From the diaries - whataboutbob

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I won an election

by jandsm Mon Oct 2nd, 2006 at 10:18:44 AM EST

So far this year, I abstained from blogging most of the time. I did something better: I got myself elected to my first public office. And I still can't believe it...

I had been quite active on blogs after I watched Howard Dean's speech before the Democratic National Committee Winter meeting in February 2003 out of curiosity. Even though his words came out of a completely different political context, they shook me. It was the 5th year of red-green and Gerhard Schröder in Germany and I was a frustrated Social Democrat with a ten year membership record on all levels of the youth organization Jusos and on local to state-wide levels of the SPD.

I think following Dean's campaign closely was an act of political escapism and a good lesson. After he was brought down in a concerted attack of the other candidates and mainstream American media, I felt, I had to move on and had to do something new.

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Bush on Hitler: A view from Germany

by jandsm Fri Sep 1st, 2006 at 10:54:22 AM EST

For the record: I am a German citizen and history student and have been contributing at dailykos since November 2003. As far as I know, no member of my family was involved in war crimes or crimes against humanity. In fact, my grandfather was incarcarated by the Nazis in various prisons and concentration camps from 1933 to 1945. I am living in a city which was 85 percent destroyed at end of the war and just 30 km away from one of the most notorious concentration camps of the Hitler era: Bergen Belsen. I have been volunteering in memorial centers at concentration camps sites and I hate National Socialism as much as I am able to hate a polical movement.

I am sick and tired of the disgusting comments by president Bush and other members of administration trying to frame the 2006 election along the line: "are you for or against for or against fighting Hitler?".

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Fidel Castro: The End of an Era?

by jandsm Tue Aug 1st, 2006 at 02:20:16 AM EST

It may be just another normal surgery or it may the end of an era: Fidel Castro today handed power over 'temporarely' to his brother Raul.

From the BBC:

"Cuban leader Fidel Castro has undergone surgery and temporarily handed power to his brother Raul.

A statement written by the president and read on TV by his personal secretary said Mr Castro had suffered internal bleeding. The Cuban leader, who turns 80 next month, said a punishing schedule in recent weeks had affected his health.

It is the first time Mr Castro has relinquished any of his duties since he came to power in 1959.

Raul Castro, the defence minister, has long been designated as his successor should he become incapacitated."

It may be just temporarely but the timing - just two weeks before the 80th birthday - strikes me as not accidental. Would Castro's days in power end, it would mean the end to an extraordinary reign as the worlds last socialist leader.

I am not sure whether I wouls miss him. Being a socialist myself I always disliked polititians in uniform. Being a gay socialist, I always hated regimes that systematically persecute gays and lesbians. Being a German gay socialist, I want my island back.

Still, he is/was an extraordinary person. And Cuba achieved extraordinary things for a developing country on the fields of health care and education. But we'll have a long time to discuss it - but I have to go to work.

In any way, the sanctions must end,too.

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What a difference a year makes...

by jandsm Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 09:32:43 AM EST

In 2005 the world welcomed the peaceful so called Cedar Revolution. In response to the killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, the Lebanese political opposition and the Lebanese people took to the streets and after protests in which millions participated, drove the Syrian troops out of Lebanon.

It was hailed as a new start for the middle east. And even at such a difficult moment, as the Lebanon prepares for a full force ground invasion of her Southern territory, one should take a moment to remember these moments because the dynamics that led to the democratization of Lebanon may still be the best hope for a lasting peace in the Middle East.

All images from Cedarrevolution.net

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Top unbelievable workplace events 2005

by jandsm Fri Dec 23rd, 2005 at 04:01:17 AM EST

The American Consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas (sic!) published a funny report about workplace events in 2005. So next time you are trying to rescue a squirrel in your office, check your watch carefully.

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Imagine... (Not John Lennon related)

by jandsm Thu Dec 8th, 2005 at 11:08:50 AM EST

Imagine for a moment that an innocent U.S. American citizen...

...would be arrested without any court order in a country where he plans to spend his holidays.

...would be transferred to a German military base in Afghanistan, without any information for his relatives.

...would be beaten and tortured for 5 months on that base.

...then would be recognized as wrongly identified.

...would then be dropped off in the middle of nowhere on the Balkans (you can also imagine a random carribean country) at night.

Imagine further that the German ambassador would then visit the U.S. home secretary, confessing the mistake, but ask the U.S. government to keep it secret, while the poor innocent civilian is sueing, but can't get offical recognition of his story.

How do you think, the U.S. government and Congress would react?

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Brown was wrong: Britain's economic growth only 1.75% not 3.5%

by jandsm Mon Dec 5th, 2005 at 02:05:11 PM EST

In a surprising move, the British chancellor Gordon Brown annouced he got it comepletely wrong: Compared to a preojected 3.5 percent of growth, Britain only generated a mere 1.75 percent.

The Guardian sums it up:

Gordon Brown today blamed a "tough year" for forcing him to admit economic growth was only half what he predicted in March's budget - putting revised estimates in his pre-budget report down to rising oil prices and a flat housing market.

The chancellor scaled back the prediction he made in March for UK economic growth this year from between 3% and 3.5% to just 1.75%, calling 2005 "the toughest and most challenging year for the economy"

 Meanwhile Mr Brown's predicted deficit for 2005 - the "black hole" - was, at £10bn, nearly double the £5.7bn he forecast in March.

Sounds pretty much continental European, doesn't it?

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German unemployment figures beat expectations

by jandsm Thu Dec 1st, 2005 at 11:46:28 AM EST

from the diaries. Note that French unemployment also fell for the seventh consecutive month last month, the numbers also came out this morning. -- Jérôme

For the first time since 1994, the German unemployment fell in the month of November. Here is a summary of the numbers by Bloomberg:

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Shimon Peres leaves Labour Party, endorses Sharon

by jandsm Wed Nov 30th, 2005 at 01:21:34 PM EST

Shimon Peres has just left the Labour Party of Israel to join Ariel Sharon's new political organization.

I am just posting this because he made a very interesting suggestion. I quote from my memory of the press conference: "Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories should form an economic triangle, that should get a special status in the European Union."

This actually sounds interesting and worth a debate for me.

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A little less conversation, a little more action...

by jandsm Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 05:16:04 PM EST

From the front page ~ whataboutbob

2005 is coming to an end, I guess we will only see one politically motivated assassination, one natural disaster and maybe one or two major scientific revelations which we will forget immediatly. But: Are you pleased with your activism record this year? Did you do enough good deeds this year? Well, here are sume suggestions for those who are still in need to spend their extra-time for the good of mankind:

  • Support gay rights in Poland. The new nationalist-conservative extremist government in Poland is cracking down on gays and lesbians brutally. Now, the Polish gay community is calling for support. There were demonstrations in Warsaw, Berlin and in London. If you want to do something good: Stage a little event at your next Polish consulate.

  • Support Amnsty International's campaign for the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (RCFS) --> [here]

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