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Merkel’s softly-softly approach Print E-mail
Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Kiqiang inspect an honor guard during a welcoming ceremony for the German Chancellor in Beijing on July 7.
Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Kiqiang inspect an honor guard during a welcoming ceremony for the German Chancellor in Beijing on July 7.

Beijing appreciates the German chancellor’s discretion

By Felix Lee 

July 14, 2014

German Chancellor Angela Merkel finally managed to issue a clear statement on the last day of her three-day China trip: “Only an open and pluralistic society, which grants liberty to every individual, can create a successful future,” Merkel emphasized in her speech to a selected group of students at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Even if she did not directly criticize the current human rights situation in the People’s Republic, she spoke about the significance and benefits of freedom, the rule of law and freedom of expression. “Scientific and social progress thrive on the fact that people ask critical questions, look for a better argument and debate matters openly,” she stated.

She recalled the peaceful revolution in East Germany 25 years ago and how the fall of the Berlin Wall had paved the way for what she called an “open dialogue” between east and west. Her listeners did not miss her allusion to the authoritarian system in the People’s Republic, which crushed the democracy movement with force in the same year.

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Location, location, location Print E-mail
A luxury apartment in downtown Berlin – prices are rising along with standards.
A luxury apartment in downtown Berlin – prices are rising along with standards.

International demand for Berlin real estate is pricing locals out of the market

By Wolfgang Mulke 

July 14, 2014

Berliners often enjoy giving their elected officials a shot across the bow. They fired the latest one at a city-wide referendum in May. Voters in the German capital got to decide between two propositions on construction of new apartments. The municipal government planned to develop the periphery of the former Tempelhof Airport.

At 755 acres – currently used for jogging, barbecuing or flying kites of all sizes – Tempelhof Field is one of the world’s biggest urban spaces today, a little bigger even than New York’s Central Park. By initiating a referendum, which it then won by a large majority, a grass-roots initiative has managed to block the construction project, even though the Berlin housing market faces a dwindling supply in central areas and both rental and purchase prices for apartments are exploding.

The vote also demonstrates how much Berliners distrust their local government. Given the ongoing debacle surrounding the construction of Berlin’s new international airport, Berliners seemed disinclined to believe the pledges of Mayor Klaus Wowereit’s administration that the Tempelhof project would include affordable housing. In central Berlin there is practically no such social housing left. In terms of the city’s entire area, though, the supply of apartments is still adequate.

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Record role model Print E-mail
FIFA goal record holder Miroslav Klose (right) didn’t score in the final against Argentina. Mario Götze, brought on for Klose by coach Jogi Löw, rammed home the victory shot in extra time.
FIFA goal record holder Miroslav Klose (right) didn’t score in the final against Argentina. Mario Götze, brought on for Klose by coach Jogi Löw, rammed home the victory shot in extra time.

Miroslav Klose is now the top FIFA goal scorer and a mainstay of Germany’s World Cup success

By Sebastian Stier 

July 14, 2014

Brazil’s football idol Ronaldo sat in the commentator box staring ahead. Down below, on the pitch at the Belo Horizonte stadium, a man was celebrating who had just deprived Ronaldo of his record. Over the course of his career, Ronaldo scored 15 goals in World Cup competition, but Miroslav Klose was now celebrating his 16th. At this point, the Brazilians were facing double humiliation: Klose stole the goal record from their hero and helped the German team to beat Brazil 7:1. A historic result.

Miroslav Klose’s post-match comments speak volumes about him as a person. Klose could have overdone the jubilation or delivered grandiloquent speeches. He could have posted images of himself on the Internet via Twitter or Facebook, like his younger colleagues do. But Klose did nothing of the sort, he just said it was nice to hold the record. No more, and no less.

Mirsoslav Klose is so modest he actually no longer fits into the world of over-exuberant, over-hyped professional sports. Now 36-years old, he will probably end his career next summer, although many in Germany would like to see the striker playing for as long as possible. One of those people is Germany’s coach Joachim Löw. In the German game right now, there is no real successor to the forward in sight.

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