75 Years After World War II Theft, a Painting Returns to Italy - The New York TimesTuesday, August 20, 2019
Mr. Maas, left, and Eike Schmidt, the director of the Uffizi Galleries on Friday.CreditBritta Pedersen/DPA, via Associated PressEfforts to find the work after the war had ground to a halt, until the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the soldier’s heirs made the first of several overtures to Italian officials, as well as a London auction house, to sell the painting back. When a lawyer for the family tried to negotiate a sale to the Uffizi last year, prosecutors in Florence initiated an investigation to determine whether the request could be construed as extortion.Pressure on the family was ratcheted up considerably in January, when Mr. Schmidt began an attention-grabbing media and online campaign demanding the painting’s return. He hung a black and white photo of the painting in its original spot, with the word “stolen” in various languages blazoned around the frame. “Eike ignited the final acceleration,” Mr. Moavero said.The painting was exhibited for the first time in Florence in 1824, when the Grand Duke Leopold II of Hapsburg-Lorraine bought it to hang alongside other still lifes for a newly created gallery in the Pitti Palace.It hung for over a century in the so-called Room of the Putti, and was moved when the palace was evacuated during World War II and its artworks were transferred for safekeeping to various villas near the city. “Vase of Flowers” disappeared from public records in 1944 when German soldiers shipped artwork northward, as the Allies advanced.Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli said Friday that Italy was involved in other negotiations to retrieve artifacts it claims belongs to Italy, including a bronze statue that is a centerpiece of the Getty Villa in Los Angeles. But in the case of “Vase of Flowers,” the negotiations had been particularly tricky, because the work had been in private hands, and Italy’s legal claims were inadmissible under German law. “It wasn’t so simple to get it back,” he said.After traveling from Germany with Mr. Maas and his entourage on Friday, the painting was solemnly unveiled at the ceremony in the grandiose Stucco Hall of the Pitti Palace.To celebrate its return, the painting has been hung in the so-called Music Room, and will later be returned to its original spot in the Room of the Putti.“A museum without its works of art is like a vase without flowers,” Mr. Maas said Friday. “We can’t say that the Uffizi was empty, but there was something missing, a void. Today we are here to fill that void.”Let's block ads! (Why?)...https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/19/arts/italy-looted-painting.html
Airbus launches pilot project for urban passenger aircraft in Germany - Xinhua | English.news.cn - XinhuaTuesday, August 20, 2019
BERLIN, March 11 (Xinhua) -- Europe's largest aerospace company Airbus has launched a testing project for an electrical-powered passenger aircraft drone in the German city of Ingolstadt on Monday.
The so-called City-Airbus, presented by Airbus as a life-sized demonstration model for the first time, is designed for urban transport and can carry four people over a distance of up to 50 km. The City-Airbus is set to be tested on the airfield in Manching near Ingolstadt starting in the middle of the year.
"Looks pretty cool, now it just has to fly," commented Germany's minister of transport Andreas Scheuer, during the presentation of the Airbus test project on Monday.
As part of the European research program Urban Air Mobility (UAM), several companies and institutes are researching and testing urban passenger drones in Ingoldstadt, including the technical university of Ingolstadt, the Fraunhofer research institute as well as Ingolstadt-based car manufacturer Audi.
Other German car manufactu...http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-03/12/c_137886838.htm
Berlin moves to greatly reduce ‘solidarity tax’ for eastern Germany - EuronewsTuesday, August 20, 2019
Scholz.What is the Soli tax?The solidarity surcharge was introduced in 1991, to help reconstruction of the east following the reunification of Germany in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall.The tax was originally supposed to be in place only for a limited time but became permanent in 1995.Initially, the solidarity rate was 7.5%, but since 1995 it has been 5.5%. In addition, the surcharge has been unlimited since 1995.Contrary to some assumptions, taxpayers in the west and east have to pay the tax.According to the Ministry of Finance, in 2018 the German state received €18.9 billion as a result.Criticism of the billAccording to the Ministry of Finance, single people with an annual gross income of up to €73,874 would not have to pay anything. From €109,451 gross annual wages, the full supplement would have to be paid.Accordingly, a family with two children and an annual income of €221,375 or more would have to pay the full solidarity surcharge. Families earning less than €151,990 gross would be exempt from the solidarity surcharge.If the draft is adopted, German citizens would then have to pay around €10 billion less in tax.Criticism comes from parties outside the coalition. Katja Kipping of Die Linke said that the CDU/CSU and SPD were making politics for the rich with their proposal.FDP General Secretary Linda Teuteberg wrote on Twitter: "The Soli is unconstitutional for everyone from 2020. So it must also be abolished for everyone. Our constitution also applies to those who in reality want tax increases, and there you have to choose the normal procedures and not the back door."Many citizens on social networks are also outraged by the fact that they still have to pay the solidarity surcharge. "The solidarity surcharge was introduced in 1991 for a limited period of one year. I believed that," wrote a user on Twitter.Let's block ads! (Why?)...https://www.euronews.com/2019/08/13/berlin-moves-to-greatly-reduce-solidarity-tax-for-eastern-germany
Berlin Heights Garden Club holding flower show - The Morning JournalTuesday, August 20, 2019
Berlin Heights Garden Club holding flower show The Morning JournalThe Berlin Heights Garden Club announced it will hold its annual flower show during the Berlin Heights Basket Festival.https://www.morningjournal.com/news/ohio/berlin-heights-garden-club-holding-flower-show/article_efc9c658-ad61-11e9-9b41-3b62c9468514.html