Lüneburg Heath is in bloom again - Deutsche WelleTuesday, April 23, 2019
The current status of the blooming heath can be monitored and admired on the German-language Heideblüten-Barometer - a collection of photos which is regularly updated. ot/fm/sb (lueneburger-heide.de, NDR)
Germany crash studied for clues - Arkansas OnlineFriday, April 13, 2018
Adomeit said that all charges were dismissed.Authorities have identified the two victims killed by the van crash as a 51-year-old woman from Lueneburg county, 186 miles to the northeast, and a 65-year-old man from nearby Borken county. Their names were not released, as is customary in Germany.Early Sunday, all three bodies were taken from the crash scene in front of the well-known Kiepenkerl pub. The silver-grey van that crashed into the crowd was hauled away hours later, after explosives experts had thoroughly checked it.Inside the van, police found illegal firecrackers that were disguised as a fake bomb, a fake pistol and the real gun that the driver used to kill himself.Inside the apartment where the man was living, which was near the crash scene, police found more firecrackers and a "no-longer usable AK-47 machine gun." Police also found several gas bottles and canisters containing gasoline and bio-ethanol, but did not know yet why they were stored there."We are now focusing our investigations on getting a comprehensive picture of the perpetrator's behavior in the weeks [before the crash] to find out his motivation for this horrible act," Kuhlisch said in the statement.Officials said some of the 20 injured were still in life-threatening condition Sunday. They have not identified them, but Armin Laschet, the governor of North Rhine-Westphalia state said they included Dutch citizens."This was a horrible and sad day for the people of Muenster, all of Germany ... and also the people of The Netherlands, who were sitting here and became victims," he said as he toured the scene Sunday.At a hastily announced memorial put together by Catholics and Lutherans Sunday night, Muenster's Roman Catholic bishop urged mourners to try to understand the crash, with God's help.Bishop Felix Genn preached Sunday night at the city's famous Paulus Cathedral, where the 700 seats were packed. Rescue personnel, emergency doctors and firefighters were among those attending the service.Muenster is a popular tourist destination known for its medieval old town, which was rebuilt after destruction during World War II. The city was buzzing on Saturday -- one of the first warm spring days of the year -- and scores of people were sitting in the square outside the Kiepenkerl pub when the van driver struck."This cowardly and brutal crime has shocked all of us," said German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who placed flowers at the crash site Sunday.A Section on 04/09/2018...http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2018/apr/09/germany-crash-studied-for-clues-2018040/
Green party politician remains most popular head of federal state in Germany: poll - Xinhua | English.news.cn - XinhuaSunday, January 26, 2020
With an approval rate of 66 percent, Daniel Guenther, Minister President of Schleswig-Holstein, was the second most popular head of a federal state in Germany, followed by Stephan Weil of Lower Saxony who was ranked third with 60 percent.
At the bottom of the ranking was Berlin's governing mayor, Michael Mueller (SPD), whose work was only rated positively by 27 percent of people living in the German capital's federal state.
Following a big win in the European Parliament elections in May, where the Green party in Germany won 20.5 percent of votes and became second strongest political force, support for the Green party in Germany is at a historic high.
According to last week's Trendbarometer, the Greens would gain the same number of votes as the governing conservative union CDU/CSU if elections were to be held.
With regards to a first Green German chancellor, Winfried Kretschmann recently told the Funke Media Group that a German government led by the Greens would not involve a radical change of policy.
"Nobody needs to be afraid of a Green Chancellor. We are not trumps or Erdogans or Orbans who throw everything overboard," Kretschmann told the German newspapers.
The head of Baden-Wuerttemberg noted that he did not see "big differences" in alliances with the CDU/CSU and the SPD. "In socio-political issues, we make progress with the social democrats, in economic policy with the CDU/CSU".
The German European: how Ursula von der Leyen rose to become EU president - New StatesmanTuesday, August 20, 2019
Chancellor Angela Merkel, for one, is a fan. Merkel brought von der Leyen into her first cabinet in 2005, just two years after the latter became a minister in the state of Lower Saxony. In fact, for a while Merkel appeared to be grooming von der Leyen as her successor. (Merkel’s actual chosen successor and CDU party leader, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, will take over at the defence ministry.)
But von der Leyen never truly had enough allies in her own party to succeed Merkel in the Chancellery, perhaps because she was always something of an outsider, personally and ideologically. She joined the CDU at the relatively late age of 32 and spent years working as a doctor and taking care of her family before her rapid rise as a member of Merkel’s team.
That’s not to say von der Leyen is especially popular with Germany’s other major parties. All of the Social Democratic MEPs broke with their European colleagues to reject von der Leyen in the confirmation vote. The German SPD even distributed a letter in Brussels stating that she was an “inadequate and inappropriate candidate”. The Greens in Europe — the party is surging in Germany and could take over the Chancellery at the next election — also whipped to vote against von der Leyen, though their opposition is not all personal, but rather due to the fact that she is not a Spitzenkandidat (the lead candidate put forward by each parliamentary bloc in the European elections).
The German public are not fans either. According to the most recent SPON poll, 68 per cent are unsatisfied with her work as defence minister. Defence minister is a tough job, but that’s a strikingly poor number.
Nevertheless, many Germans are pleased that one of their countrymen — or rather women — will head the European Commission for the first time in 50 years. Putting a German face on the EU could improve the Commission’s messaging towards Europe’s biggest member state.
Berlin moves to greatly reduce ‘solidarity tax’ for eastern Germany - EuronewsTuesday, August 20, 2019
The bill, proposed by the finance minister from Angela Merkel’s CDU party, has been encouraged with support from the CDU’s coalition partner the SPD.The Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil, said: "It is absolutely time to noticeably reduce the burden on small and medium incomes by abolishing the solidarity surcharge."Weil also thinks it's good that 10% of Germans should continue to pay the solidarity surcharge. "Nobody would understand, however, if the highest incomes in Germany were now to be rewarded with tax gifts totalling around eleven billion euros. We'd better invest this money in education and climate protection."Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel, parliamentary party and state leader of the SPD in Hesse, also supports 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...https://www.euronews.com/2019/08/13/berlin-moves-to-greatly-reduce-solidarity-tax-for-eastern-germany
Germany’s Landesbanken still seeking clean bill of health - Financial TimesTuesday, April 23, 2019
One public sector bank yet to be given a clean bill of health is Hanover-based NordLB, a lender with €160bn in assets majority-owned by the German states of Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt with regional Sparkassen holding a minority stake of 35 per cent.The bank, weighed down by a vast portfolio of non-performing shipping loans, expects that it will be singled out as the weakest link in Germany’s banking system in the European Banking Authority’s stress test on Friday. “That would not be a surprise,” NordLB told the Financial Times. The lender has started to woo new investors in an attempt to raise fresh capital of about €3.5bn, with the state of Lower-Saxony standing ready to pitch in taxpayers’ money alongside external investors. Six potential bidders are conducting due diligence and have until November 28 to decide if they will table a binding offer. Among the suitors is Landesbank peer Helaba, as well as listed rival Commerzbank, private equity funds Cerberus and three other PE investors, said a person familiar with the process. “I am glad that we have different options and am open for several different scenarios,” Lower Saxony’s finance minister Reinhold Hilbers told the FT, adding that a deal with a different Landesbank as well as one with private investors was on the ca...https://www.ft.com/content/d7d380cc-dcdb-11e8-9f04-38d397e6661c