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 cards. Mr Hilbers str...https://www.ft.com/content/d7d380cc-dcdb-11e8-9f04-38d397e6661c
Far-right German politician starts a new party with a logo bearing a secret Nazi symbol - CNNSunday, March 3, 2019
The new party's logo includes a cornflower, which was also adopted as a secret symbol by Nazis in the 1930s.André Poggenburg, a former leading figure in the AfD in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt, resigned this week with an email sent to the leadership, in which he criticized the party's supposed move to the left. "Unfortunately, developments inside the AfD in the past weeks and months have shown, that this is no longer my true political home," he said in the email, which was seen by German news site Spiegel Online.His new party is called Aufbruch der deutschen Patrioten (Awakening of German Patriots), and Poggenburg has updated his social media profiles with party logos featuring a cornflower with a German flag. The flower was previously worn as a secret symbol identifying members of the then-illegal Nazi party in Austria in the 1930s. It was also the favorite flower of Kaiser Wilhelm -- the last German emperor and king of Prussia -- and came to be a symbol of pan-German nationalism in the 19th century.The flower was associated with German nationalism even before the emergence of the Nazi party, after far-right politician Georg von Schönerer encouraged his s...https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/11/europe/andre-poggenburg-afd-germany-far-right-scli-grm-intl/index.html
Germany may end coal use - Sunbury NewsSunday, March 3, 2019
These regions — in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony — should also get federal subsidies totaling 40 billion euros (45.6 billion dollars) in the next twenty years.
“New jobs will be created through structural measures in the coal mining regions,” Pofalla said. “We will keep up secure and affordable energy supply and the agreement will lead to sustainable climate protection in Germany.”
Germany is committed to an “energy transition” that involves replacing fossil fuels with renewable sources such as solar and wind power. While the country has made great strides in that direction — renewables beat coal for the first time last year — removing coal from the power equation entirely is a major challenge.
The reduction in coal will have to be compensated by an increase in renewable power sources and — at least in the interim — from burning more natural gas, which emits about half the amount of greenhouse gases as coal.
Greenpeace, which wants all coal plants shut down by 2030, welcomed that “Germany finally has a timetable how the country can become coal-free” but said the measures were not ambitious and fast enough.
“The speed is wrong,” said Martin Kaiser, the head of Greenpeace. “Exiting coal by the year 2038 only is inacceptable.”
The country’s environmental groups welcomed the commission’s recommendation that Hambach Forest in western Germany, an ancient woodland that became a flashpoint of anti-coal protests last year, should be saved.
Energy company RWE’s plans to cut down half of the Hambach Forest to expand a lignite strip mine had seen protesters camping out in the trees for months to block workers from cutting them.
An opinion poll released by public broadcaster ZDF found that 73 percent of Germans agree a quick exit from coal is very important. The telephone poll of 1,285 people, conducted Jan. 22-24, had a margin of error of about three percentage points.
This version corrects the commission’s suggested subsidy for affected regions to 40 billion euros, not 40 million euros.
Frank Jordans contributed reporting.
Trump’s push for new offshore drilling is likely to run aground in California
Updated January 27, 2019
Author: Charles Lester, Researcher, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz
Disclosure statement: Charles Lester served as the executive director of the California Coastal Commission from 2011 to 2016.
Partners: University of California provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
Fifty years ago, on January 28, 1969, a blowout from Union Oil’s Platform A spilled more than 3.2 million gallons of oil into the Santa Barbara Channel. The disaster was a seminal event that helped create the modern environmental movement, and it forever changed the political and legal landscape for offshore oil development in California. No new oil leases have been approved off the California coast since 1984.
Today a large majority of Californians believe that offshore oil development is not worth the risk. Opposition stands at 69 percent, including a majority of coastal Republicans.
The Trump administration is pushing to dramatically expand federal offshore oil and gas production, reigniting a battle 50-year battle with California over this issue. But based on my research and years of experience working with passionate Californians as the executive d...https://www.sunburynews.com/opinion/25027/germany-may-end-coal-use
Death of German fuels fears of far-right violence in Köthen - DW (English)Saturday, December 8, 2018
The mood in the suburban playground in Köthen on Monday morning was a mixture of sadness, tension and hostility toward the press. A small number of locals in the town in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt came by, some with flowers to add to those that had collected around a tree near an empty climbing frame. This was the spot where a fight broke out on Saturday between two Afghan men and Markus B., which resulted in the 22-year-old German's death in hospital. By the evening, the area was a hive of activity. Köthen's police force, reinforced from across Germany, had much to contend with, when three gatherings took place within a few hundred meters of each other. First, the church in the central square held a small memorial prayer for Markus B., though Pastor Martin Olejnicki also used a brief sermon to call for peace in the city on what promised to be a nervy evening. That sentiment was shared by Saxony-Anhalt State Premier Reiner Haseloff, who attended the service along with about a hundred Köthen residents, who lined up to light a candle for the dead man. Outside the church, Haseloff told reporters that "I hope it will be a peaceful evening tonight, and that th...https://www.dw.com/en/death-of-german-fuels-fears-of-far-right-violence-in-k%C3%B6then/a-45434251