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Former US soldier helps traumatized veterans - Deutsche Welle

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Eugene, Oregon. "I had to pay off my student-loans." After a short training session at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, she was sent to Germany, first to Kitzingen and then to Würzburg. "Helping others always gave me a lot. So it made sense that I was assigned to help a military chaplain in his daily work." She planned trips and helped prepare prayer services. Kym liked it. Organizing memorial services On the third day of her deployment Kym meets Paul Timothy Sanchez. They get to know each other and eventually become a couple. He is the love of her life. Both are making their way up the career ladder. In her fifth year, Kym is put in charge of organizing memorial services for fallen soldiers. It is actually a job for two, but she does it alone: Kym is responsible for 29 battalions and organizes 187 memorial services in Germany. When a soldier stationed in Germany is killed, she speaks with the family, friends and comrades. Although rules are strict, she tries to make the memorial services as personal as possible. "I wanted to properly honor the fallen. Sometimes the routine of the military is pretty heartless." Sanchez joined the military to help pay off student loans She keeps a diary about each one. There are nights when she can't sleep because the dead speak to her, accusing her of not doing enough for their families and their children. Kym realizes that it is not good that her life is only filled with death. Yet no one wants to hear about it. "In the military you learn to keep your head down and keep going. Those that show emotions are weak. And those who confess to having fears or panic attacks are labelled losers." Kym and Paul decide to marry. She leaves the military, heads back to Fort Drum in New York, and takes a management job at the cosmetics company Estee Lauder. She says she can still feel the farewell hug that Paul gave her on the day after Thanksgiving back in 2006. He had to head back to Iraq. 45 days later her doorbell rang. "I knew Paul was dead." They had been married for 14 months. Loss of control Kym had a total breakdown. Paul was always able to help her keep the demons of her experiences in check. Now she loses control. "You can't breathe and you are gripped by a fear of death and loneliness. And at the same time you are ashamed because you can't get a better handle on things."   Sanchez: I need to have something beautiful on me Her arms and body are covered with tattoos of flowers, peacocks and brightly colored butterflies. "I need to have something beautiful on me. Something that makes me happy when I look at it. And it works," she says, as she brushes aside her blonde dreadlocks with red-colored ends. She laughs, but the laughter doesn't fill her eyes. It took almost six years before Kym, with the help of medication, was able to more or less function once again. "I never would have made it without the love of my mother and my family. You don't get anything from the government." Nor from the military, she says. "They use us for their game as long as we function. And when we are broken, we are on our own." It is difficult for traumatized persons to have intimacy, and relationships. In fact, even to live closely with others. There are a lot of days when Kym simply cannot go on past noon. Then the shadows of her past take control and she becomes exhausted. She has to lie down, and often just stays in bed until the next morning comes. "Then I get up, because I know that I am needed. And that my animals will be happy to see me. That is the...http://www.dw.com/en/former-us-soldier-helps-traumatized-veterans/a-36018085

Bavaria election: German conservatives lose their fizz

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Every autumn, lederhosen-clad drinkers crowd into vast tents festooned with dried hop flowers, to celebrate Bavaria's most intoxicating export. Waitresses bearing fistfuls of beer glasses squeeze between packed wooden benches. It's hard to make much out above the brass band music but, listen closely this year, and the talk is of politics. Just like Oktoberfest, Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative sister party is woven into the checked fabric of Bavarian culture. The Christian Social Union (CSU) has ruled Germany's richest state since 1957, sharing power just once in a coalition with the free-market FDP. And since then, every Bavarian prime minister has risen from its ranks. But now, swift as a reveller draining his tankard, support has ebbed away. The CSU is bracing itself for humiliating losses in today's Bavarian state election. The party is on course to lose the absolute majority its leaders once took for granted. This is likely to be an historic election which will define Bavaria's very identity, encapsulated in the word "Heimat" (homeland). "In this...https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-45835795

Bavarian Election Exit Poll: Merkel Allies See Huge Losses As Greens and Populists Surge

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Christian Social Union (CSU) is projected to win the Bavarian election but the allies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel has seen huge losses in support while the Green Party has surged. An exit poll released by Infratest dimap shows the centre-right CSU as the winner of the election with 35.5 percent of the vote, which constitutes a massive 12.2 percent loss compared to the previous Bavarian election in 2013. The biggest winner of the race has been the Green Party, who look to have doubled their support compared to 2013 as the left-liberal Social Democrats (SPD) saw a total collapse, losing over 10 percent of their previous support. Germany (Bavarian state election), Infratest dimap exit poll: CSU-EPP: 35.5%GRÜNE-G/EFA: 18.5%FW-ALDE: 11.5%AfD-EFDD: 11%SPD-S&D: 10%FDP-ALDE: 5%LINKE-LEFT: 3.5%#ltwbayern #ltwby #ltwby18 #bayern #landtagswahl — Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) October 14, 2018 The populist, anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD), who are competing in the Bavarian regional elections for the first t...https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2018/10/14/bavarian-election-exit-poll-merkel-allies-see-huge-losses-as-greens-and-populists-surge/

Europe: Going with the flow on the Danube and the Rhine

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Bamberg.Nearby Nuremberg's name is written in its World War II and the post-war story; an unparalleled opportunity for visitors interested in all-too modern history. This is Bavaria and they brew beer, bake (more) pretzels and serve sausages. The specialities should be on the menu at Regensburg, which boasts Germany's oldest sausage kitchen, where one can find the best wurst. Passau is "the last city in Germany", where three rivers meet, and its baroque style is worth visiting in its own right. Many passers-through, however, will head for nearby Salzburg, home of Mozart, location for The Sound of Music, and the temptations of its chocolatiers. Another option — especially for those who want to add another country into their passports — is Cesky Krumlov, a tiny World Heritage city with a huge castle across the border in the Czech Republic. Back on the boat, the voyage continues along scenic stretches of the Danube to Linz, then Melk and its famous abbey. For many guests, a highlight is cycling to Durnstein, about 40km, through vineyards and flowers, charming villages and ruined castles. Now, three capital cities in three days — each with its unique history and its distinctive present — the starched grandeur of Vienna (Austria), quirky impudence of Bratislava (Slovakia), poignant glamour of Budapest (Hungary). To farewell Europe feeling like royalty, travellers can ride the Grand Empress steam train, evoking memories of the beautiful and tragic Elisabeth, 19th century Empress of Austria. Boarding at Budapest Station's royal waiting room, the short journey, in carriages from the early 1900s, treats guests to a traditional game lunch and a tour of the monarch's summer residence, Godollo Palace. Three rivers, six countries, more than 20 centuries of history, art, culture, food and wine, tours and activities: it sounds like a lot to cram into two weeks. But when you go with the relaxed flow of a European river cruise, time seems to go past slowly — if not stand still. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=12132000

Germany's Greens flourish while mainstream rivals flounder

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Greens have become a magnet for liberal-minded voters in the past year. The party appears poised for an unprecedented second-place finish in traditionally conservative Bavaria's state election on Sunday. It is polling strongly ahead in the election scheduled in neighboring Hesse two weeks later. The Greens have clear policies on central issues, including an emphasis on fighting climate change and a largely liberal approach to migration. The party also has a pragmatic approach and become a partner to parties from the center-right to the hard left in nine of Germany's 16 state governments. Nationally, some recent polls have shown them level with the Social Democrats, traditionally Germany's main center-left party. FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2018 file photo the new party leaders Robert Habeck, right, and Annalena Baerbock make their way on stage at the party convention of the Green party in Hannover, northern Germany. While other German mainstream parties flounder in polls and struggle to find an answer to a far-right challenge, the Greens have gone from strength to strength over the last year. (Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa via AP) FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2018 file photo bucket wheels dig for coal near the Hambach Forest near Dueren, Germany. While other German mainstream parties flounder in polls and str...https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-6268489/Germanys-Greens-flourish-mainstream-rivals-flounder.html