Category Archives: Germany

Women urged to ditch low-cut gowns and heels at film festival

German actor Anna Brüggemann launches #NobodysDoll in push for equality on Berlin red carpet

Female actors attending this year’s Berlin film festival are being encouraged to ditch high heels and tight gowns in favour of comfortable clothes in a campaign to bring equal rights to the red carpet.

Under the Twitter hashtag #NobodysDoll, German actor Anna Brüggemann has said she wishes to challenge the “patriarchal gaze” women habitually face at film festivals and award ceremonies, and to inspire actors to wear what they want instead.

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Source: gad

Europe’s future now rests on who owns the story of its past | Natalie Nougayrède

Europe’s angst has brought a frenzy of fragmentation. We must evaluate our common past, get to grips with it, and build on it

Europe seems awash with historical hang-ups. And they are important ones. They may define the continent’s future as much as the outcome of Germany’s current political convulsions, or the state of Italy’s banks, or whether Brexit Britain manages to cobble a transition deal. Large crowds of Greek people recently protested against the use of the name Macedonia by the neighbouring former Yugoslav republic.

In Paris, there is intense debate about whether the writer Charles Maurras, a leading intellectual figure of French early 20th-century ultranationalism and antisemitism and a prominent supporter of the Vichy regime, should be listed among the names to be officially “commemorated” this year (he was born in 1868). Poland’s new law aimed at curtailing any discussion of the role some Poles played in the Holocaust led to a spat with Israel and the US. In Germany, where the far-right AfD holds 94 seats in the Bundestag, a local Berlin politician (of Palestinian family background) last month called for newly arrived migrants to be sent on mandatory visits to concentration camp memorials to assist their “integration courses”.

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Source: gad

Judith Kerr, 94, worries about adults, not kids, using gadgets

Children’s author says children reading was once frowned on just as their use of devices is now

If a tiger did ever come to tea, many adults would miss it because they were too busy staring at their phones, the children’s author Judith Kerr fears. The 94-year-old writer and illustrator was on Tuesday joined by Benedict Cumberbatch to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her classic story, The Tiger Who Came to Tea.

Kerr was asked if she was concerned about children being too obsessed with technology. She said she was more worried about the adults. “I sometimes feel there might be a tiger rushing along the road and no one would see it except me,” she said. People who stare at their phones are missing out “because the world is quite interesting”.

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Source: gad

Facebook personal data use and privacy settings ruled illegal by German court

Firm to appeal decision by Berlin regional court which upholds complaints that users not given informed consent

Facebook’s default privacy settings and use of personal data are against German consumer law, according to a judgement handed down by a Berlin regional court.

The court found that Facebook collects and uses personal data without providing enough information to its members for them to render meaningful consent. The federation of German consumer organisations (VZBV), which brought the suit, argued that Facebook opted users in to features which it should not have.

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Source: gadt

‘I wanted to channel the anger’: Europe's fearless political playwrights

They’ve stormed the Reichstag, turned terrorism into absurd comedy and asked their audiences for answers. Meet five theatre-makers grappling with crises across the continent.

By Daniel Boffey, Constanze Letsch, Philip Oltermann, Helena Smith and Kit Gillet

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Source: gad

Angela Merkel defends 'painful' compromises that kept her in power

German chancellor denies her authority is on the wane after concessions made to coalition partner

Angela Merkel has defended “painful” concessions she made to the Social Democrats (SPD) to win a fourth term as German chancellor and said criticism from conservatives was not a sign her authority was waning.

Asked whether she was planning to groom a successor to lead the Christian Democrats (CDU) in the next election, Merkel said she wanted a younger generation from her party to fill ministerial posts in a renewed coalition with the SPD.

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Source: gad

Schulz abandons German foreign minister ambitions

SPD leader will not take up post after agreeing coalition deal with Angela Merkel’s party

Martin Schulz, the leader of Germany’s Social Democratic party, has announced that he will not take up a ministerial post in the next coalition government, despite gaining key roles for his party from Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union.

Schulz, who was rumoured to be heading for the foreign ministry after agreeing a coalition deal with the CDU on Wednesday, said in a statement that he feared the upcoming SPD membership vote, which is required to approve a renewed “grand coalition”, could be “endangered by the discussion surrounding my person”.

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Source: gad

Poland can’t lay its Holocaust ghosts to rest by censoring free speech | Jonathan Freedland

The Polish government is wrong to ban discussion of the nation’s role in the Nazi slaughter of the Jews. It needs to face the demons of the past

History is complicated enough without getting the police involved. But in Poland debates about the darkest event of the 20th century could soon spill over from the seminar room and editorial pages and into the courts, even the prison cells. That’s because a new law, awaiting the president’s signature, would impose a fine or up to three years in jail for anyone found guilty of blaming “the Polish nation” for the Holocaust.

It’s an obvious, nationalistic move by the hard-right Law and Justice party, which rules Poland. But it raises tricky questions, not only about that country but about how to best to safeguard the truth, a question that has become increasingly vexed – even urgent.

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Source: gad

VW suspends media chief amid scandal over fume tests on monkeys

Move follows report carmaker used animals to demonstrate diesel emissions technology

The carmaker Volkswagen has suspended its head of external relations and sustainability after admitting that he had known about experiments in which monkeys were locked in small chambers and exposed to diesel exhaust.

Thomas Steg, a former government spokesman who worked for German chancellor Angela Merkel and her predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, is the first person to be relieved of his duties as VW said it was “drawing the consequences” of the scandal, which has rocked both the government and industry.

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Source: gad

Could this be our Momentum moment in Germany? | Steve Hudson

Our grassroots initiative, NoGroKo, has gathered thousands of supporters in days, giving us the most precious resource: hope

After living in Germany for over 20 years, I joined the Social Democrats (the SPD) in early 2017. Martin Schulz, the party leader, had just taken the unprecedented step of criticising the infamous “Agenda 2010” welfare cuts of the last SPD chancellor, Gerhard Schröder.

The Agenda, as it is known, is to the SPD what Iraq was to New Labour. In squeezing pensions, slashing benefits and pushing millions into low-paid, precarious employment, the SPD abandoned its electorate. The electorate responded in kind: since Schröder’s first election victory, in 1998, the party has lost more than half its support – plummeting from more than 20 million voters to 9.5 million in 2017. Most of all, it cemented the SPD’s reputation as a party of pushovers, too open to the siren overtures of lobbyists: indicating left in elections, turning right in office.

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Source: gad