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22. Juli 2024 um 19:55

Chancellor Scholz Opens 25th World AIDS Conference in Munich

The 25th World AIDS Conference has begun in Munich, Germany, with thousands of experts from various fields coming together to discuss the fight against the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. Chancellor Olaf Scholz will deliver a speech during the opening event. The conference, organized by the International Aids Society, includes participants from the scientific, healthcare, political, and media sectors, as well as affected individuals and donors. It is being held both in-person and virtually, with a total of approximately 18,000 attendees from around the world. The United Nations is calling for increased engagement in the fight against HIV/AIDS, highlighting the need to address high infection rates among at-risk groups and the lack of access to treatment for undocumented individuals. Despite a decline in new infections, the AIDS pandemic is not yet under control, particularly in Eastern and Southern Africa, where it remains most prevalent. Stigmatization and discrimination continue to hinder treatment efforts. The goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 is still far from being achieved, with improvements needed in terms of access to medication and reducing new infections in certain regions. Only about half of HIV-infected individuals in Eastern Europe and Central Asia are currently receiving treatment.
22. Juli 2024 um 14:59

Battery manufacturer Varta seeks financial restructuring and potential investment from Porsche

Varta, a struggling battery manufacturer, is taking measures to avoid insolvency by implementing a financial restructuring plan. This plan includes pushing out existing shareholders and asking creditors to forego their claims. Porsche, the sports car manufacturer, is considering becoming a new shareholder. Varta's debt is close to 500 million euros, and its stock price has plummeted from nearly 200 euros to around 2 euros. The company has been unable to make necessary investments, resulting in missed revenue opportunities. Alongside household batteries, Varta also produces batteries for automobiles and energy storage. However, the construction of a factory for large lithium-ion batteries has been put on hold. Porsche's involvement is contingent on the audit of Varta's financial situation. The Volkswagen subsidiary intends to sell more than 80% fully electric vehicles by 2030, and participating in Varta's financial restructuring would help them secure key technology in Germany. Large creditors are skeptical of the proposed plan, as it excludes them from a capital increase and potential involvement in the company, raising concerns about fair treatment. Varta's goal is to preserve itself as a technology pioneer in Europe and maintain nearly 4,000 jobs.
22. Juli 2024 um 14:59

Survey: Scholz's Support among SPD Members Low

Only a third of SPD members support Olaf Scholz as the party's chancellor candidate, according to a survey. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius and Co-Party Chairman Lars Klingbeil are also mentioned as possible candidates. Many members doubt that the SPD will be the strongest party in 2025 if CDU leader Friedrich Merz becomes the chancellor candidate. Around half of the respondents expect the SPD to receive between 15 and 25 percent of the votes in the upcoming election. Only 55 percent of SPD members are satisfied with Scholz's work, while Klingbeil enjoys the support of 79 percent. In East Germany, skepticism is particularly high at 71 percent. Pistorius denied rumors of his own ambitions for a chancellor candidacy. The survey was conducted by Forsa and included 1001 SPD members.
22. Juli 2024 um 09:00

New HIV Infections Decline Globally, But Challenges Remain

According to a UN report, global new HIV infections have declined, but have risen in eastern Europe, central Asia, the Middle East, and north Africa. Marginalized groups such as sex workers, transgender women, and gay men face discriminatory laws that limit their access to care. Despite progress, young women in sub-Saharan Africa remain vulnerable. While new long-acting HIV treatments are available in wealthy countries, they are not yet accessible in developing nations. Achieving the goal of ending AIDS by 2030 requires protecting human rights, addressing the debt crisis, increasing aid, expanding access to new treatments, and reducing inequalities. Challenges that remain include the criminalization of high-risk populations, stigma and discrimination, and limited access to resources.
21. Juli 2024 um 23:55

Hundreds of Thousands Expected at Christopher Street Day in Cologne

This year, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to gather in Cologne for the Christopher Street Day (CSD) celebration. The city anticipates around 60,000 participants and approximately one million spectators. More than 200 groups will be taking part in the demonstration, both on foot and on floats, with the theme of 'For Human Rights. Many. Together. Strong.' The CSD parade in Cologne, which advocates for equal rights for LGBTQ+ individuals, is one of the largest events of its kind in Germany. It is organized annually by the Cologne Pride association. The origins of CSD date back to the police raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York City's Christopher Street on June 28, 1969, which sparked days of intense clashes between activists and law enforcement. This year's event in Cologne was attended by over 1.4 million people, with 250 floats and groups participating in the demonstration. Despite initial threats, the CSD proceeded peacefully, and people celebrated joyfully.
21. Juli 2024 um 23:55

Green Party Leader Lang Keeps Chancellor Candidacy Open, Prioritizes Young Voters' Needs

Green Party leader Lang remains open to the possibility of nominating a candidate for chancellor, emphasizing the importance of addressing young voters' interests. Despite low poll numbers, the party aims to have a single figure lead them into the election campaign. Lang attributes the Green Party's losses among young voters and the AfD's gains to neglecting young people's concerns after the pandemic and the Ukraine conflict. Highlighting the Greens' reliability in supporting Ursula von der Leyen's re-election, Lang stresses the urgency of refocusing on the youth's needs, especially in education policy. Looking ahead to 2025, Lang envisions a Green chancellorship, with Robert Habeck emerging as a potential candidate. The decision on the chancellor candidacy is expected in 2023, with discussions around Habeck, while Baerbock opts not to run again. The Green Party's strategy to have one leader at the forefront of the election campaign aims to enhance trust and clarity among voters.
21. Juli 2024 um 14:59

Baerbock Defends Deployment of US Long-Range Weapons in Germany

Foreign Minister Baerbock supports the deployment of US long-range weapons in Germany to deter Russia and protect Baltic allies against Putin's aggressive arsenal expansion. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine underscores the importance of maintaining peace in Europe. While SPD's Mützenich raises concerns about escalation risks, he acknowledges NATO's existing deterrence capabilities without new weapon systems. The planned deployment includes Tomahawk cruise missiles, SM-6 air defense missiles, and cutting-edge hypersonic weapons. Additionally, the German government aims to accelerate the construction of new arms factories to bolster national defense, emphasizing the need for stronger leadership in Europe amidst growing threats.
20. Juli 2024 um 19:55

Belarus proposes 'solutions' for German sentenced to death

The government in Belarus is reportedly proposing 'solutions' in the case of a German man sentenced to death in the country. The man, who was convicted on charges of terrorism and mercenary activity, has been in custody since November 2023. The process is related to the Kastus-Kalinouski Regiment, a Belarusian volunteer group fighting against Russia. The international human rights organization Wjasna brought attention to the case, which has been partly held behind closed doors. The German Foreign Office and the embassy in Minsk are providing support to the man, with consular access granted. Belarus is the only European country that still carries out the death penalty, and executions are not made public nor are bodies handed to families. Belarus is a close ally of Russia.
20. Juli 2024 um 19:55

Commemoration of Resistance against Hitler on the 80th Anniversary of the Assassination Attempt

On the 80th anniversary of the failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler, the leaders of the state and government will pay tribute to the resistance fighters against Nazi rule. A commemoration ceremony will take place in the courtyard of the Berlin Bendlerblock, where Chancellor Olaf Scholz will deliver a speech and lay a wreath with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. In the afternoon, around 400 recruits of the Bundeswehr will take their solemn oath in the Bendlerblock. Chancellor Scholz will emphasize the threat to democracy, while Defense Minister Boris Pistorius will give the oath speech. The Bendlerblock, now the location of the Ministry of Defense, was where Hitler assassin Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and other conspirators were executed after the coup attempt in 1944. On this anniversary, Chancellor Scholz calls for the protection of democracy and highlights Germany's responsibility in the Ukraine conflict. The event also includes a discussion with descendants of the Hitler assassins, Alfred von Hofacker and Annette von Schlabrendorff, who reflect on the day's significance for their country and families.
20. Juli 2024 um 14:59

Germany's Historical Responsibility: Support for Ukraine and Preparing for a Second Trump Term

Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz justifies Germany's support for Ukraine by invoking the country's historical responsibility in light of the failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler 80 years ago. Scholz condemns Russia's war against Ukraine and emphasizes the need to protect democracy against extremism. Meanwhile, Green European politician Anton Hofreiter rejects concerns about the deployment of US missiles in Germany, stating that it could contribute to more security. On the other hand, SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich opposes the delivery of cruise missiles to Ukraine, emphasizing that Germany is already providing arms, financial, and humanitarian aid. Russian state propaganda reacts with satisfaction to the death of Ukrainian politician Iryna Farion, while a Russian drone attack disrupts the power and water supply in the Poltava region of Ukraine. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken believes Ukraine is on its way to self-sufficiency militarily and highlights the commitment of over 20 countries to provide support even if the US withdraws. As the possibility of a second Trump term looms, Germany needs to prepare for potential challenges in defense and trade, particularly with respect to rising tariffs and gas prices. It is crucial for Germany to strengthen its defense capabilities and work towards a united and strong European Union to effectively address these challenges.
20. Juli 2024 um 14:59

Global IT Outage Paralyzes Air Travel and Causes Chaos Worldwide

Global IT Outage Paralyzes Air Travel and Causes Chaos Worldwide
A global IT outage, caused by a bug in a CrowdStrike update, has resulted in widespread disruption to air travel, rail traffic, and broadcasting in numerous countries. Major airports such as Berlin's BER and Sydney's airport experienced shutdowns, while airlines like Delta, United, and American Airlines suspended operations. The impact also extended to hospitals and media outlets. The outage affected countries including Australia, Singapore, the USA, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, India, and Indonesia. The magnitude of the disruption was unprecedented, according to cybersecurity experts. CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm responsible for the flawed update, has since found a solution. While the situation is slowly improving, there are still delays and cancellations at some airports, and passengers are advised to check their flight status. The outage highlights the vulnerability of global technological infrastructure and the need for businesses to have contingency plans and diversify their cloud services. It serves as a reminder that even routine software updates can have significant consequences.
20. Juli 2024 um 14:59

Pistorius Insists on Change in Financial Policy - Reprimand from Mützenich

Pistorius Insists on Change in Financial Policy - Reprimand from Mützenich
Bundesverteidigungsminister Boris Pistorius criticizes the compromise of around 53 billion euros for next year's defense budget and instead demands around 58 billion euros. He questions the financial policy course of the traffic light coalition and wants more money for the Bundeswehr to ensure the security of Germany in the face of the threat from Russia. SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich rejects Pistorius' proposal as the defense budget is increasing and the debt brake should be adhered to. Mützenich continues to emphasize the possibility of declaring an emergency situation. Despite the cabinet's decision on the budget, Pistorius will continue to fight for more money for the Bundeswehr in the parliamentary process in September. The final decision is scheduled for the end of the year. Mützenich criticizes the planned deployment of Tomahawk missiles and hypersonic weapons in Germany, warns of the risk of escalation, and calls for arms control and the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons that could be dropped by Bundeswehr aircraft. He emphasizes the need to improve defense capability in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
20. Juli 2024 um 09:00

The Brief – No time for a honeymoon period this summer

European leaders face a packed summer of summits, with key challenges including maintaining EU unity on Ukraine support, addressing Trump 2.0 and US isolationism, reining in Viktor Orbán's controversial diplomacy, and facing rocky EU-China ties under Ursula von der Leyen's hawkish leadership. Von der Leyen is focused on de-risking from Beijing and bolstering ties with Indo-Pacific allies. However, obstacles such as the American presidential election and member states' resistance to economic security strategy may hinder her plans. The EU's most powerful members face political vulnerability, leaving a power void for the European Commission to fill. The appointment of a college of commissioners and the upcoming vote on permanent duties on Chinese-made electric vehicles will shape the EU-China relationship for the next five years. Europe's shift to the right under von der Leyen's re-election consolidates anti-immigration policies and poses challenges for progressive forces.
19. Juli 2024 um 23:55

Mismanagement of Corona Emergency Aid Funds by Federal Government

The Federal Government overpaid 5 billion euros in corona emergency aid, with 3.46 billion euros already returned. The Federal Court of Auditors criticized vague eligibility criteria. Thousands of lawsuits emerged in NRW and BW. A total of 13.6 billion euros were swiftly distributed to micro-enterprises and self-employed individuals by the federal states. Additionally, a mask company won a case against the government, resulting in a payment of nearly 86 million euros, possibly signaling significant costs for the Health Ministry and raising pressure on former Health Minister Jens Spahn. Moreover, in a separate case, the government was ordered to pay 85.6 million euros to a mask supplier due to delays in accepting FFP2 and OP masks. The verdict is subject to appeal. Another mask supplier in Cologne succeeded in a lawsuit against the government, leading to a payment order of 85.6 million euros and highlighting a total of around 100 cases with a combined value of 2.3 billion euros.
19. Juli 2024 um 23:55

FDP's Kubicki Criticizes Merz and Plans to Run Again Despite Announced Withdrawal

FDP's Kubicki Criticizes Merz and Plans to Run Again Despite Announced Withdrawal
Friedrich Merz criticizes FDP for lack of support for von der Leyen's re-election, while Wolfgang Kubicki wishes Merz a 'good journey into the abyss' with the Greens. Kubicki, despite previously announcing his withdrawal, plans to run again in the upcoming Bundestag elections due to FDP's low poll numbers and the problematic situation in the traffic light coalition. The 72-year-old FDP vice-chairman and Bundestag vice-president aims to lead the FDP with party leader Christian Lindner towards a double-digit voter approval. Kubicki criticizes the Ampel-Koalition and sees FDP's situation as challenging because of the Ukraine conflict. While ruling out a ministerial position, he considers the fight for freedom rights as his last battle in this legislative period. Additionally, Klaus von Dohnanyi, a 96-year-old former Social Democrat politician, supports Sahra Wagenknecht and her new alliance. Von Dohnanyi criticizes Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Ukraine policy and the SPD for giving up on peace policy. He sees the conflict as a proxy war against Russia on behalf of the US and calls for a diplomatic solution considering Russian security interests. Despite his disappointment with the SPD, von Dohnanyi does not plan to leave the party.
19. Juli 2024 um 19:55

Adidas revises campaign with Bella Hadid after criticism

Adidas has removed model Bella Hadid from its ad campaign for SL72 shoes after facing criticism from Israel. The campaign, which referenced the 1972 Munich Olympics attack where 11 Israelis were killed, received backlash due to Hadid's previous anti-Israel statements. Adidas stated that the campaign aimed to unite diverse partners but did not provide specifics on the changes made. This is not the first time Adidas has faced controversy with celebrity partners. The company ended its partnership with Kanye West in 2022 over his antisemitic comments. Adidas has a troubled history as its founder, Adolf Dassler, was a member of the Nazi party and manufactured weapons during World War II. The sports apparel industry has become increasingly competitive, with brands relying on collaborations with influential figures. Nike, for example, has faced declining sales and competition from up-and-coming brands like On. Adidas has since revised the campaign and removed the posts related to it.
19. Juli 2024 um 19:55

Germany's Defense Budget Does Not Match its Promises

Germany's Defense Budget Does Not Match its Promises
Despite Chancellor Olaf Scholz's promise to step up militarily, Germany's proposed 2025 defense budget shows only a modest increase. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, who sought a larger increase, was given only 1.2 billion euros more. Pressure from allies, due to Russia's war in Ukraine and Donald Trump's momentum, has caused Germany to face criticism for not fulfilling its NATO promises. The budget also proposes cutting military aid to Ukraine by half in 2025, drawing further criticism. Finance Minister Christian Lindner suggests Ukraine can rely on a fund backed by frozen Russian assets. Concerns arise that Germany lacks the will to overcome its historical reluctance to take a military lead.
19. Juli 2024 um 14:59

EU and Serbia conclude agreement on lithium mining

Serbia and the EU have reached a deal on lithium extraction in the Jadar Valley, aiming to establish a value chain for e-mobility. Serbia plans to build a battery factory with support from Mercedes, Stellantis, KfW, and EBRD. The mined lithium will cover 17% of European demand. However, the mining project is controversial due to environmental concerns. China had also expressed interest in mining lithium in Serbia. In 2022, the Constitutional Court overturned the halt to the lithium project, despite protests. The project has sparked mass demonstrations in Serbia, with the opposition accusing President Vucic of undermining democracy and having close ties to Russia. Chancellor Scholz has promised Serbia the establishment of a battery factory as well.
19. Juli 2024 um 13:28

Dismal strawberry and asparagus harvest due to heavy rain and reduced cultivation

This year's strawberry harvest in Germany is expected to be the worst in nearly 30 years, with a 24% decrease from the previous year and a 34% decrease from the average of the years 2018 to 2023. The decline in harvest is attributed to a significant reduction in cultivation area and the impact of heavy and prolonged rainfall, which led to crop losses due to fungal infections. Similarly, the asparagus harvest also suffered, with a 6% decrease compared to the previous year, primarily due to late frosts in May. The rising operating costs and inflation are driving up prices, resulting in reduced demand for the relatively expensive fruits and vegetables. As a response, producers are reducing their cultivation areas. The main strawberry-producing states are Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, and Baden-Württemberg, while the key asparagus-producing states are Niedersachsen, Brandenburg, and Nordrhein-Westfalen. This decline in harvest is a cause for concern as it is affecting both the supply and affordability of these popular crops.
19. Juli 2024 um 13:28

Heated Exchange Between Union and FDP over von der Leyen's Re-election

The re-election of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has sparked a heated exchange between the Union and the FDP. CDU leader Friedrich Merz criticized the FDP for not supporting von der Leyen's re-election, while FDP politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann defended the party's decision. Strack-Zimmermann accused von der Leyen of not addressing the FDP's concerns and criticized her team for trying to contact her during the vote. The FDP's decision angered the Union and the EPP, with both Merz and EPP leader Manfred Weber criticizing the party. Trust between the EPP and the FDP appears to be damaged, and there are threats of retaliation. Despite the FDP's opposition, von der Leyen was re-elected with a strong majority. The vote also highlighted divisions within other parties, with some Czech MEPs reluctantly supporting von der Leyen and Italy's Giorgia Meloni voting against her. Overall, the re-election of von der Leyen has caused tension and disagreement among political parties in Europe.
19. Juli 2024 um 09:00

Global IT Outage: Airports, Banks, and Shops Affected

Global IT Outage: Airports, Banks, and Shops Affected
A global IT disruption has resulted in airports, banks, and shops facing outages due to a technical malfunction and an update crashing Windows computers. The CrowdStrike service, which is meant to ensure system security, is believed to be involved. The Berlin-Brandenburg Airport is among those affected, with delays reported. Major US airlines have grounded flights, and media, financial, and telecoms sectors have also been impacted. The disruption has affected global cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike and Windows computers. Microsoft has resolved cloud service outages, and Australia's National Cyber Security Coordinator has stated that there is no evidence of a cyber security incident. Ryanair has warned of potential disruptions, and Spain has reported a computer incident at all its airports. The London Stock Exchange, broadcasters, and critical sectors have also been paralyzed by the widespread Windows outage. The recovery process is expected to be protracted, and businesses affected are encouraged to contact Tech.eu for coverage.
19. Juli 2024 um 08:06

Global IT Outage Disrupts Airlines, Banks, Media, Telecoms

Global IT Outage Disrupts Airlines, Banks, Media, Telecoms
A widespread IT outage has caused disruptions in airlines, banks, supermarkets, telecoms, and media outlets across multiple countries. Australia's National Cyber Security Coordinator is investigating a technical issue related to third-party software, but there is no evidence of a cyber attack. Airports in Australia are experiencing delays, and supermarkets and media outlets are also affected. The police in New South Wales have been made aware of the situation and are advising emergency calls. IT security firm Crowdstrike is aware of reports of Microsoft Windows crashes. The outage has led to blue screen errors on Windows PCs, impacting banks, airlines, and media globally. The issue has been linked to Falcon Sensor by Crowdstrike, and Microsoft 365 services have been affected. Australian broadcasters and the cyber security coordinator have confirmed that the problem is related to third-party software. The UK train operator and Melbourne Airport have also been affected. Sky News UK has gone off air, and presenter Jacquie Beltrao has reported issues. Earlier, US airlines were grounded due to a separate cloud outage. Various sectors, including banks, brokerage houses, and airlines, are facing widespread outages caused by Windows errors like the 'blue screen of death'. Some businesses, such as Australian energy company AGL, have blamed a CrowdStrike update for the issues. The global IT outage has affected airlines, banks, and other systems, with Aena, Iberia, and other organizations resorting to manual systems. The Berlin airport, BER, was forced to suspend operations due to the IT failure, while worldwide disruptions have been reported on major cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
19. Juli 2024 um 05:50

Netflix gains eight million new subscribers

Netflix has gained eight million new subscribers in the second quarter, surpassing expectations. The company now has a total of 277.7 million subscribers. Netflix also exceeded Wall Street's revenue expectations, reaching $9.56 billion. Additionally, the company reported a net profit of $2.15 billion. This growth comes as Netflix continues to crack down on password sharing, and it has seen increases in previous quarters as well. The streaming service plans to release new games, stream NFL games on Christmas 2024, redesign its interface, and provide more information about its content. The $6.99 monthly ad-supported service is responsible for four million of the new accounts. Netflix has also experienced notable growth in the Asia-Pacific region, adding 2.8 million new accounts, and closed the first half of the year with 17 million new accounts, its best first half since 2020.
18. Juli 2024 um 19:55

Lilium Delays Manned First Flight to 2025: German Flying Taxi Developer Faces Delivery Delays

German flying taxi developer Lilium is postponing the manned first flight of its flying taxi to 2025 due to delivery delays. Despite the setback, Lilium plans to deliver its first flying taxi in 2026. The company has received a major order from the state-owned Saudi Arabian airline Saudia, but a feasibility study and contract details are still pending. Lilium is currently awaiting certification from the European aviation safety authority. CEO Klaus Roewe confirms that customer deposits are crucial for Lilium to complete the development of its flying taxi. Lilium has a total of 106 firm orders and reservations, along with 76 options and letters of intent for about 600 eVTOL aircraft. The company's jets are designed to take off and land vertically but travel the distance with the help of wings, allowing for higher speed and efficiency. Saudia plans to use Lilium's jets to reduce regional travel times by 90%. Lilium and Saudia will be holding a press event for an important contract signing.
18. Juli 2024 um 19:55

Pistorius Vows to Secure More Funding for Soldiers

Verteidigungsminister Pistorius beim NATO Summit in Austin, 10. Juli 2024
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has pledged to continue fighting for a larger defense budget to meet the needs of the Bundeswehr. Pistorius expressed disappointment with the coalition's budget planning, emphasizing the urgent need for more funds. Despite the compromise reached by the government, Pistorius highlighted that the defense budget would need to increase in the coming years. He warned that Russia could potentially pose a threat to NATO territory and emphasized the need for the rapid modernization of the Bundeswehr. Pistorius also stressed the strategic importance of space for Germany's defense and advocated for increased presence in the space domain. However, the proposed defense budget for 2025 shows only a modest increase, raising concerns about Germany's ability to fulfill its NATO commitments. Critics argue that the budget cuts to military aid for Ukraine will hinder Germany's military role and question the government's resolve to take a stronger stance militarily.
18. Juli 2024 um 19:55

German Railway: Every Third Train Delayed

German railway operator Deutsche Bahn has significantly missed its punctuality target, with every third long-distance train being delayed. Strikes, construction sites, storms, and poor infrastructure have been identified as the main causes of the delays. To address this issue, the government plans to invest billions in rail rehabilitation, including the modernization of heavily used rail sections such as the Riedbahn between Frankfurt and Mannheim. However, Germany still lags behind other European countries in terms of investment in rail infrastructure. In the first half of 2022, only 62.7% of long-distance trains arrived on time, while the punctuality rate for passengers was 66.8%. The negative impact of extreme weather events, strikes, and infrastructure challenges has led to a wave of criticism from politicians. In an effort to improve punctuality, Deutsche Bahn is planning a comprehensive overhaul of its rail network.
18. Juli 2024 um 14:59

ECB decides to maintain key interest rates in the euro area

The European Central Bank (ECB) has decided to keep the interest rates unchanged in the euro area. Following a series of rate hikes in response to high inflation, the ECB made its first rate cut in June. However, with inflation still above the target of 2%, the central bank has opted for a pause in its monetary policy. The ECB expects inflation to remain high for some time. The decision comes amidst concerns over the weakening economy in the Eurozone, as several indicators and economic data have disappointed in recent months. The ECB's next steps will be closely watched, as many economists predict further rate cuts to achieve the inflation target. The central bank remains cautious and has not committed to a specific path for interest rates.
18. Juli 2024 um 14:59

Car sales in the EU: Hybrid vehicle sales rise - pure electric cars decline

The latest data from the European car market shows a rise in hybrid vehicle sales and a decline in pure electric cars, except in Belgium and Italy. Germany, the Netherlands, and France have seen declines in electric car sales. Gasoline and diesel engines remain stable in Germany but are declining in other countries. The market shares for fossil fuel drives are at 47.1%, electric cars at 14.4%, and hybrids at 29.5%. Price differences between combustion engine and electric models still exist, but transaction prices are converging. The decline in electric car sales can be attributed to factors such as reduced or discontinued subsidies and limited customer interest. The high prices of electric cars, concerns about range, charging infrastructure, and the possibility of changes to the ban on combustion engines by 2035 have also contributed to the decline. Despite these challenges, the overall car market in Europe has seen a 4.3% increase in new car registrations, driven by strong sales in Italy, Germany, and Spain.
18. Juli 2024 um 09:00

Construction Industry in Crisis: Lowest Level since 1995 for Land Purchases

Land purchases in Germany have reached a historic low, declining by 34% in the previous year. This sharp decrease in land turnover and sales turnover has raised concerns about a housing shortage, as experts from the Gewos Institute warn. The rising interest rates and high construction costs are the main reasons for this decline in land purchases. Even for emerging land, the figures are significantly decreasing. According to the real estate market analysis IMA, Gewos has been tracking land purchase contracts in independent cities and districts since 1982. The federal government had aimed to build 400,000 apartments annually, but in 2023, only 294,400 apartments are projected to be built, slightly less than in 2022. Sales have collapsed by 54% compared to the peak in 2021, while land and sales turnover have declined by 58% and 60% respectively. The decline in building permits will have a delayed effect, further exacerbating the situation. The decreasing trend in land purchases poses a significant challenge in the fight against the housing shortage. Experts stress that densification and expansion alone will not be sufficient to address this issue. The CEO of Vonovia anticipates further insolvencies in the real estate industry.
18. Juli 2024 um 09:00

Helga Schmid Considered as President of UN General Assembly

Helga Schmid, an experienced German diplomat, is set to become the President of the UN General Assembly in the 80th session. She enjoys high international reputation, was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit 1st Class, and was promoted by Joschka Fischer and Klaus Kinkel. As President, she would represent the UN member states and deliver one of the first speeches at the annual UN General Debate. Her election is considered certain, as Germany is running for this office for the first time. The role of the UN General Assembly President is often seen as ceremonial compared to the more powerful UN Security Council. If elected, Schmid would be the fifth woman to hold this position. The UN General Assembly has gained importance as a global barometer of sentiment in recent years.
17. Juli 2024 um 23:55

Federal Cabinet decides on draft budget for 2025 and financial planning

The Federal Cabinet has decided on the government's draft budget for 2025 and the medium-term financial planning until 2028. The budget includes record investments, a shift in the economy, tax relief, and improvements for families. However, there are cuts in development cooperation and humanitarian aid, as well as billion-dollar gaps in the budget. A supplementary budget for 2024 has also been approved. The budget prioritizes investments in security, education, infrastructure, and innovation. The Cabinet has also discussed various health policy topics proposed by the Federal Minister of Health. The budget will be sent to the Bundestag with 480.6 billion euros in expenses and 43.8 billion euros in new debt. The Cabinet has also approved a growth initiative and a supplementary budget for 2024 with higher expenses and new debt. The budget aims to provide tax relief of 23 billion euros and improvements for families. However, there are concerns about fairness, with cuts in development cooperation and inadequate defense funding. There are still some unanswered questions about the budget, and further clarifications will be made by the Cabinet in mid-August before it is forwarded to the Bundestag and Bundesrat for approval.
17. Juli 2024 um 23:55

Steinmeier pays tribute to Merkel's achievements on the occasion of her 70th birthday

Steinmeier pays tribute to Merkel's achievements on the occasion of her 70th birthday
Bundespräsident Frank-Walter Steinmeier praised Angela Merkel's achievements as she turns 70. He highlighted her role in shaping a united Germany and commended her resilience, sense of duty, and humanity. The SPD leader, Saskia Esken, admired Merkel's empathy and ability to seek common ground. However, Union parliamentary group deputy leader Jens Spahn criticized Merkel's handling of mass migration, her ties with Russia, and the decision to phase out nuclear power. A YouGov poll indicated that 61% of respondents believed Germany had worsened since Merkel's tenure, with 28% attributing it to the current government's policies. Merkel, the first female German chancellor, played a pivotal role in politics and became a role model for many.
17. Juli 2024 um 19:55

'Special Opponent': Schröder Congratulates Merkel on Her 70th Birthday

'Special Opponent': Schröder Congratulates Merkel on Her 70th Birthday
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has praised Angela Merkel as a 'special political opponent' on her 70th birthday. Schröder, who narrowly lost to Merkel in the 2005 federal election, commended her northern charm and ability for irony. Merkel's successor Olaf Scholz and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also wished her well. Merkel, who led the CDU from 2000 to 2018, is celebrating her birthday privately, focusing on the upcoming release of her memoirs. In retirement, she has engaged in various cultural activities, including lectures and fictional appearances. Merkel's legacy includes her leadership during the financial crisis, refugee crisis, and COVID-19 pandemic, as well as her diplomatic relations with world leaders such as Putin and Trump. Her memoirs, co-written with her adviser, will shed light on her decision-making process and personal experiences. Despite her retirement, Merkel remains a prominent figure in literature and TV, appearing in works by László Krasznahorkai, Vladimir Sorokin, and David Safier.
17. Juli 2024 um 19:55

ADAC's Acquisition of Galeria Travel Agencies: A Strategic Expansion

ADAC has purchased 70 Galeria travel agencies, bolstering its network to over 240 branches while acquiring the websites www.urlaub.de and www.galeria-reisen.de. The move comes as Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof sells off its travel businesses due to financial challenges. All 280 employees will be retained, with the Galeria outlets maintaining visibility but now under the ADAC brand. This acquisition follows Galeria's multiple insolvencies, leading to the consolidation of its core business. As part of the ownership shift, NRDC Equity Partners and BB Kapital SA have become the new owners, with employees receiving improved compensation but forgoing industry-wide wage agreements. ADAC's expansion into the travel sector signifies a strategic shift for Galeria, which will now focus on its department store operations while managing an outstanding 88 million euros subordinated loan.
17. Juli 2024 um 19:55

Defense Minister Pistorius Frustrated Over Budget Wrangling

Defense Minister Pistorius Frustrated Over Budget Wrangling
Defense Minister Pistorius, along with Inspector General Breuer, is disappointed with the proposed Bundeswehr budget increase of only 1.25 billion euros, significantly less than the demanded 6.7 billion euros. Finance Minister Lindner recognizes the urgent need for increased defense spending by 2027. Pistorius emphasizes that operational readiness, soldier equipment, ammunition procurement, spare parts, and digitization are top priorities. He warns of potential Russian attacks on NATO territories and pledges to continue advocating for a higher defense budget to address material gaps. The German government plans to reduce military aid to Ukraine from 7.48 billion euros in 2023 to 4 billion euros in 2025. The defense budget will increase by 1.3 billion euros, but Pistorius is pushing for an additional 6 billion euros. Lindner acknowledges the growing budget deficit and stresses the importance of growing the economy through structural reforms and business-friendliness. However, the projected budget gaps of 9 to 17 billion euros by 2028, along with increasing defense and welfare expenditures, pose financing challenges for Germany. Lindner remains committed to his approach and aims to lead by example in fiscal policy. The CDU-led state governments are open to easing debt regulations to accommodate greater investment volumes. Nevertheless, these short-term goals clash with the need for immediate revenue generation. The fate of Lindner's initiatives relies on the cooperation of the states. Integration into the labor market is crucial for reducing rising welfare costs, and Lindner highlights the importance of work and integration as a humanitarian obligation. However, the provision of childcare facilities falls under the purview of local and state governments, and Lindner acknowledges the need for improvement in this area.
17. Juli 2024 um 19:55

Growing Billion Dollar Gaps: Lindner Sees Money Running Out

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner has presented a federal budget that reveals growing billion-dollar gaps in Germany's finances. The budget for 2025, adopted by the Federal Cabinet, shows planned expenditures of 17 billion euros that are not yet covered by revenue or loans. Lindner aims to cover at least 8 billion euros of this gap by converting subsidies to the railway and Autobahn GmbH into loans and transferring surpluses from the state bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) from the gas price brake to the federal budget. However, there will still be a shortfall of 9 billion euros, which could potentially grow to 39 billion euros by 2028. This is due to the need to meet NATO defense spending targets and increasing social spending. Lindner's solution is to stimulate economic growth through structural reforms and business-friendly policies. The budget has received criticism for its reliance on tricks and the shifting of problems to the future. The finance minister's plans have faced opposition within the coalition government, with debates about the suspension of the debt brake and disagreements over funding priorities. The budget will now be reviewed by the Bundestag and Bundesrat.
17. Juli 2024 um 15:08

Angela Merkel: Celebrating 70 Years and Acknowledging Her Political Legacy

Angela Merkel: Celebrating 70 Years and Acknowledging Her Political Legacy
As Angela Merkel celebrates her 70th birthday, she receives praise from politicians and colleagues for her impressive political career, including the reunification of Germany and the promotion of democracy in East Germany. While some criticize her decisions, Merkel's accomplishments in guiding Germany through various crises, such as the financial crisis, the refugee crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic, cannot be denied. She has left a lasting impact on Germany and Europe by providing stability and leadership. Merkel's ability to understand and empathize with others has been commended, with her talent for seeking common ground in negotiations and finding compromise. However, there are differing opinions on the state of Germany after Merkel's tenure, with a majority feeling that the country has deteriorated. Some attribute this decline to the policies of the current government under Olaf Scholz, while others blame external factors. Nevertheless, Merkel's legacy as a significant chancellor who steered Germany through unprecedented challenges remains undeniable. As she enters her retirement, Merkel chooses to focus on personal interests such as arts and culture, declining public events, and granting rare interviews. Her upcoming memoirs will provide insights into her decision-making process on crucial issues like Russia's war and energy security. Angela Merkel's tenure will be remembered as a time of significant change and stability for Germany and Europe.
17. Juli 2024 um 14:59

Cabinet approves growth package for the federal budget in 2025

The cabinet has approved the federal budget for 2025, which is now going to the Bundestag for approval. The growth package includes measures to boost the weak economy, such as improvements in depreciation, research allowance, and relief for energy-intensive companies. Overtime will be tax-free, electric company cars will receive tax benefits, and incentives will be provided for foreign skilled workers. The government aims to encourage people to work more by providing tax incentives for overtime and offering bonuses for expanding working hours. There are also plans to tighten regulations for recipients of basic income support. The budget is expected to be approved by the Bundestag at the end of November. Germany is only expecting a small growth this year. The growth initiative aims to strengthen the growth potential of the German economy, with the government hoping that the measures will lead to an additional growth of around half a percentage point next year. However, economists are skeptical about whether this target can be achieved. The budget also includes measures for bureaucracy reduction, planned investments, and adjustments to income tax rates.
17. Juli 2024 um 14:59

Ursula von der Leyen Faces Crucial Hurdle in EU Commission Leadership

Ursula von der Leyen, the first woman at the helm of the powerful European Commission, is seeking re-election. However, she faces challenges as she needs the support of various political groups in the European Parliament. Her party, the European People's Party (EPP), has a majority with the Socialists and Liberals, but there are many potential dissenters. Von der Leyen is reliant on the support of the Greens and right-wing parties, which is risky given her party's demands for a tougher migration policy and revisions to the Green Deal. The support of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was conditional on von der Leyen not forming alliances with parties to the right of the CDU/CSU. The biggest challenge in her new term will be cooperation with the United States, especially if Donald Trump is re-elected. Von der Leyen's previous term was marked by crisis management, including the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's attack on Ukraine. MEPs will have to decide if she can effectively address the challenges facing the EU, including the rise of the far right, environmental commitments, and demands for a stronger stance on migration.
17. Juli 2024 um 14:59

Cabinet decides on reform to relieve emergency services and hospitals

The German government has approved a reform to relieve emergency services and hospitals. The reform includes the creation of 'acute control centers' that will provide medical advice and direct individuals to the appropriate healthcare facility. These centers will be connected to the nationwide emergency number 112 and the telephone-based medical on-call service 116117. The reform also aims to establish 'integrated emergency centers' that will serve as central points of contact for emergencies, combining hospital emergency departments with medical practices and triage centers. The goal is to reduce unnecessary emergency visits and enhance patient care. The reform has been criticized by the Left Party, who argue that it fails to address the underfunding of emergency care in hospitals. The government emphasizes that the reform will ensure quick and quality care for patients, alleviate overcrowding in emergency departments, and improve patient management. The challenges in implementing the reform include a shortage of medical personnel and the need for better coordination between emergency services.
17. Juli 2024 um 14:59

Germany Bans 'Rightwing Extremist' Compact Magazine

The German government has banned the far-right Compact magazine, which is ideologically close to the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party. The ban has consequences for the AfD's election campaign in Brandenburg, with concerns that it may not hold legally and could lead to the resignation of the interior minister. Following the ban, the distribution of Compact products has been stopped by press wholesalers, train station bookshops, and eBay. In addition, YouTube has suspended two channels linked to Compact magazine, and the Compact website is no longer accessible. The ban was justified by the interior minister as a response to incitement of hatred and undermining of democracy, while the editor-in-chief called it an undemocratic infringement on press freedom. The press wholesalers have also called for the return of related publications. Furthermore, the interior ministry is investigating allegations of leaks regarding the raid on Compact magazine, which has been described by the interior minister as a central mouthpiece of the far-right extremist scene. The raid involved searches in multiple states, including offices, residences of employees, management, and shareholders, with press photographers present. Many authorities, such as state agencies, police authorities, and domestic intelligence agencies, were involved in the raid, and the ban order is expected to withstand judicial review.
17. Juli 2024 um 11:55

The European Parliament's Sanitary Cordon: Key Messages

The European Parliament has excluded extremist groups from vice-presidencies, applying a 'sanitary cordon'. The move has left parties such as Fidesz, National Rally, and Alternative for Germany without representation. In contrast, the European Conservatives and Reformists, including Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy, secured two vice-presidencies. Fabrice Leggeri, former director of Frontex, also failed to obtain a vice-presidency. Spanish MEPs Javi López and Esteban González Pons were elected as vice-presidents. Roberta Metsola was re-elected as President of the European Parliament, which could bode well for Ursula von der Leyen's confirmation as President of the European Commission. This coalition between the European People's Party, Socialists and Democrats, Liberals, and Greens has been crucial in curbing extremist groups. The 'cordon sanitaire' implemented by pro-European centre parties has effectively isolated the far-right Patriots for Europe group, who failed to secure any vice-president spots despite being the third largest group. The EU must maintain continuity and decisive leadership by keeping Ursula von der Leyen as Commission President, especially as the EU faces challenges from Putin, Xi, and internal populism.
17. Juli 2024 um 11:55

Single households and men particularly affected by over-indebtedness in 2023

In 2023, single households and men were particularly affected by over-indebtedness. Out of those seeking debt counseling, 51% lived in a single household, with an average debt of €29,738 - the overall average debt was €31,749. There were also differences between genders, with men being more frequently and heavily indebted than women. 61% of over-indebted single individuals were men, with an average debt of €31,792, while 39% were women with an average debt of €26,464. The main triggers for over-indebtedness in single households in the past year were illness, addiction, or accidents, affecting 24% of single individuals - this figure was 18% for all individuals seeking counseling. The loss of employment was also a common cause, affecting 19% of single households and 18% of all over-indebted individuals. The most common creditors for those seeking debt counseling were public entities, such as social security and job centers, followed by telecommunications companies, businesses, and online retailers.
17. Juli 2024 um 11:55

Verivox: Savings Rates Slightly Decreased - Little Movement in Construction Loans

The decision by the European Central Bank (ECB) to lower interest rates in June has led to a slight deterioration in savings rates. According to the comparison portal Verivox, banks paid an average of 1.69 percent for overnight deposits in mid-July, compared to 1.72 percent before the decision in early June. However, there has been little change in construction loan rates. At least 64 out of 765 banks surveyed by Verivox have lowered their savings rates since the ECB decision in June, while four banks have increased rates. Despite the lower rates, the interest rates on construction loans have remained stable, with a 10-year fixed rate at 3.71 percent. The ECB's monetary policy decisions indirectly influence the development of interest rates, while the rates for savings and loan products are affected directly. The next ECB rate decision is expected to maintain the current levels. Overall, savings rates have decreased slightly, while there has been little movement in construction loan rates.
17. Juli 2024 um 11:55

EU Court of Auditors Criticizes Unrealistic Goals in EU Commission's Hydrogen Strategy

The European Court of Auditors has criticized the unrealistic goals set by the EU Commission in its hydrogen strategy. The production and import targets for green hydrogen by 2030 are considered too ambitious and not realistic. The Commission's lack of a complete overview of the necessary investments and the differing ambitions of EU states have hindered progress. The report highlights problems in the value chain that threaten competitiveness and strategic dependencies. The EU needs to update its hydrogen strategy to address these challenges. Additionally, the Commission's funding for the hydrogen industry is scattered across multiple programs, making it difficult for companies to access the right resources. The EU's dependence on a few states for strategically important energy carriers is also a concern. Despite these criticisms, there are already numerous green hydrogen projects in operation in the EU, and some goals, such as sourcing 42% of hydrogen from renewable sources by 2030, are legally mandated. Hydrogen remains a key element in decarbonizing the energy industry.
17. Juli 2024 um 11:55

Plus Initiative for Growth: Federal Cabinet Puts 2025 Budget on Track

The Federal Cabinet has put the 2025 budget on track by adopting the draft and forwarding it to the Bundestag. The budget, which includes economic policy impulses to boost growth, has been a subject of controversy within the coalition. Finance Minister Christian Lindner sees this as the start of the economic transformation. The budget includes investments of 78 billion euros, a record level, and new loans of 43.8 billion euros. The government plans to spend more than 480 billion euros next year, with a focus on reviving the economy, maintaining social benefits, and addressing international security. However, there are still some ideas that are on shaky ground. The budget resolution in the Bundestag is scheduled for the end of November. The budget includes tricks such as optimistic economic forecasts, global expenditure reductions, and the conversion of subsidies into loans to meet the debt brake. There are concerns about the financing of a potential high supplementary budget. The opposition parties and the Bundestag will have a final say on the budget. The budget has also received criticism from the CDU for not being constitutionally sound and from the Left Party for not addressing future challenges adequately.
17. Juli 2024 um 09:04

Reflecting on Angela Merkel's 70th Birthday and Her Political Legacy

Reflecting on Angela Merkel's 70th Birthday and Her Political Legacy
As Angela Merkel celebrates her 70th birthday, her achievements as the former Chancellor of Germany are being honored by her peers and scrutinized by her critics. Current Chancellor Olaf Scholz praised Merkel's impressive political career, which began with the reunification of Germany and the triumph of democracy in the East. He highlighted their regular conversations and recent meeting at a reception hosted by the Federal President. Bundespräsident Frank-Walter Steinmeier also expressed his heartfelt congratulations, emphasizing Merkel's endurance, sense of duty, and humanity. However, within her own party, critical voices have emerged. Jens Spahn, the vice-leader of the Union faction, identified three significant mistakes during Merkel's chancellorship, including the handling of mass irregular migration, insufficiently adapting to Russia's actions, and the decision to support the nuclear phase-out. Meanwhile, a recent Yougov survey revealed that a majority of Germans believe that the country's conditions have deteriorated since Merkel stepped down, with some attributing this decline to the policies of the current government under Scholz. However, Merkel's crisis management skills continue to be highly regarded, with 55% of Germans considering her more crisis-proof than Scholz, according to a Forsa survey. As Merkel's political memoirs are set to be published in the fall, her legacy and the impact of her leadership will be further examined and debated.
17. Juli 2024 um 05:55

Gerhard Schröder praises Angela Merkel as 'special' political opponent

Gerhard Schröder praises Angela Merkel as 'special' political opponent
Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has praised Angela Merkel, his successor, as a 'special political opponent' on her 70th birthday. Schröder, who was defeated by Merkel in the 2005 race for the Chancellorship, commended her 'typical North German charm' and her 'ability to use irony'. Federal President Steinmeier also sees Merkel as a role model and a 'hallmark of our democracy'. Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder also paid their respects. However, there was a rift between Merkel and former CSU chairman Horst Seehofer during the migration crisis. CDU politician Jens Spahn criticized Merkel's approach to dealing with Putin's Russia and nuclear energy. Despite some criticism, the majority of Germans view the Merkel era positively, with many missing her leadership. The nuclear phaseout and suspension of compulsory military service are controversial topics, with support from AfD supporters and rejection from AfD sympathizers. Overall, Merkel is seen as a better crisis manager than Scholz.
17. Juli 2024 um 05:53

Challenges and Doubts Surrounding the 2025 Federal Budget

The Federal Cabinet has approved the draft budget for 2025 and the financial planning up to 2028, after long and difficult negotiations. The budget amounts to 480.6 billion euros, with an additional supplementary budget for 2024 and new borrowing of 43.8 billion euros. However, there are legal doubts and concerns raised by CDU politician Helge Braun, Chairman of the Budget Committee, regarding the budget's feasibility. He warns of potential budget freezes and cuts in funding programs, highlighting a significant gap of 17 billion euros. Finance Minister Christian Lindner's plans to plug these gaps with a shadow budget are met with skepticism. The draft budget also faces challenges from various ministries, such as Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, who is unhappy with the allocated budget increase, and Development Minister Svenja Schulze, who expresses dissatisfaction with her budget. The budget also raises questions about the future of child basic security and the need for adjustments in defense spending. The draft budget is heavily reliant on assumptions and hope, including revenue from a growth initiative and expected decreases in spending on citizen's income. However, uncertainties remain, as the budget has yet to pass the Bundestag and Bundesrat, and there are upcoming economic figures and tax estimates that could impact budget calculations. The final approval of the budget and financial planning is expected to be a challenging process, akin to a marathon, with the last meters potentially being the toughest.
17. Juli 2024 um 00:00

The Ban on Jürgen Elsässer's 'Compact' Magazine: A Blow to Right-Wing Extremism

Jürgen Elsässer's magazine 'Compact' has been banned by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, marking a significant blow to the right-wing extremist scene. Elsässer, a former leftist, has become a key player in the right-wing extremist movement, using 'Compact' as a platform to promote right-wing ideologies and conspiracy theories. The ban comes as a result of the magazine's incitement against Jews, people with a migration background, and parliamentary democracy. 'Compact' has been influential in drumming up support for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and has attracted a significant following, with reported circulation and YouTube subscribers in the tens of thousands. However, the ban does not come without risks, as it raises concerns about press freedom and the limits of free speech. Critics argue that while 'Compact' spreads hateful and extremist ideologies, a resilient rule of law must tolerate such publications. The success or failure of the ban will be crucial in determining the boundaries of press freedom and the level of tolerance for extremist viewpoints in German democracy.
16. Juli 2024 um 20:13

European Parliament Elects New Leadership Amidst Shifting Political Landscape

Today, the newly constituted European Parliament begins the process of electing its own leadership for the next five years. With a more conservative center and the rise of far-right factions, the 'Game of Thrones' for power in the EU is intensifying. The center alliance, consisting of the Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, and Liberals, holds a majority in the parliament and will play a crucial role in shaping decisions. However, there are divisions within the alliance, particularly regarding climate goals and EU debt. The influence of the Greens has weakened, as they are courted by some factions while kept at a distance by others. The far-right parties, including Fidesz and the National Rally, have formed new factions and are asserting their positions against the EU institutions. The newly elected members of the European Parliament have the power to appoint the leadership and potentially create a leadership chaos if Ursula von der Leyen does not receive the necessary votes for re-election as Commission President. The parliamentary landscape is also witnessing debates on key issues such as the end of combustion engines and stronger commitment to environmental protection. Overall, the European Parliament is navigating a shifting political landscape as it sets up a defense committee and confronts the challenges of the future.
16. Juli 2024 um 20:04

Saxony LKA's Historic Bitcoin Sale Generates 2.6 Billion Euros Amid Market Impact

The recent sale of 50,000 confiscated Bitcoins by the Saxony LKA has made headlines by bringing in a staggering 2.6 billion euros, marking a record sum in such transactions. The cryptocurrency, seized during investigations related to Movie2k.to, is now generating substantial proceeds, which are currently being held until the conclusion of the associated criminal proceedings. This emergency sale decision by the Dresden Public Prosecutor's Office aimed to prevent potential losses in Bitcoin value, which subsequently led to an oversupply of Bitcoin in the market, exerting pressure on prices. The surplus of large Bitcoin holdings within law enforcement agencies also played a role in influencing market sentiment. Interestingly, the mood in the crypto market seems intertwined with the US Federal Reserve's interest rate policies, impacting the appeal of crypto investments. Despite the significant earnings, it's crucial to note that the proceeds do not immediately contribute to the Free State of Saxony's state budget. The sale's impact on the market and the cautious approach of authorities, such as the North Rhine-Westphalia cybercrime public prosecutor's office, underscores the importance of following legal guidelines and avoiding speculative practices in handling confiscated assets.
16. Juli 2024 um 15:25

AfD Saxony Fails in Application Against Right-Wing Extremist Classification

The Saxon branch of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has failed in its emergency application against being classified as a firmly right-wing extremist group. The Administrative Court in Dresden rejected the application, stating that there were sufficient indications that the party pursued efforts against human dignity and democracy. The classification is not yet final as the AfD can appeal to the Higher Administrative Court. The AfD's state associations in Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt are also considered firmly right-wing extremist. In Saxony, a state election is scheduled for September 1, where the AfD is polling at around 30 percent. The party has previously faced legal challenges against classification by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, with mixed results.
16. Juli 2024 um 15:21

Germany Bans 'Compact' Magazine: A Blow Against the 'New Right'

The German government has banned the far-right Compact magazine, accusing it of inciting hatred and undermining democracy. The magazine, known for its tabloid-style articles, has been published since 2010 and has a circulation of around 40,000 copies. It is ideologically close to the AfD party and is considered a central actor in the networking of the 'New Right'. The ban includes the sale of the magazine, its website, and symbols associated with it. Compact's editor, Jürgen Elsässer, has expressed outrage at the ban, calling it an 'attack on press freedom'. The ban does not directly impact the AfD, but it deprives the right-wing fringe of the party of a platform for disseminating its content. The ban on Compact raises questions about the balance between press freedom and the need to counter right-wing extremism in Germany. This ban, while relatively rare, highlights the government's commitment to protecting democracy and combating hate speech and extremist ideologies.
16. Juli 2024 um 15:20

Inherited and Gifted Wealth Reached New Highs in 2023

In 2023, inherited and gifted assets in Germany reached a record value of 121.5 billion euros, an increase of 19.8% compared to the previous year. However, the revenue from inheritance and gift tax only increased by 3.9%, as most transfers are within the tax-free allowances. Asset transfers through gifts increased significantly more than through inheritances and bequests. The increase in asset transfers through gifts can be attributed to the significant rise in transferred business assets. The assessed inheritance and gift tax increased by 3.9% to 11.8 billion euros, with the inheritance tax accounting for 7.7 billion euros and the gift tax accounting for 4.1 billion euros. The tax-free allowances for inheritance and gifts are graded according to the relationship between the recipient and the deceased or donor. The increase in inherited and gifted assets was driven by the growth of business assets, particularly in large acquisitions over 26 million euros. The DGB (German Trade Union Confederation) is advocating for a reform of the inheritance tax and the reintroduction of the wealth tax to generate revenue for investments in public infrastructure and job security.
16. Juli 2024 um 15:19

Furniture and Home Accessories Retailer Depot Files for Insolvency

Furniture and home accessories retailer Depot has filed for insolvency in order to restructure the company. The Gries Deco Company, the company behind the Depot store network, announced that they will undergo a protective shield procedure to facilitate the process. The goal is to align the company with the new market conditions. Two experienced protective shield experts, Sven Tischendorf and Alexander Höpfner, have been appointed to the management. The company operates more than 300 branches in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Despite the insolvency, the business will continue to operate as usual, and wage payments are secured until September. The company founder, Christian Gries, has taken over as CEO once again. The insolvency plan is expected to be available in 2023.
16. Juli 2024 um 15:11

Recovery in German Startup Investments Signals Optimism

German startups experienced a positive trend in investments during the first half of 2024, receiving a total of 3.4 billion euros, which is a 12% increase compared to the previous year. However, the number of deals declined by 19% to 367. Notably, smaller financing rounds saw a significant decrease, while larger deals saw an increase. Berlin emerged as the top investment location, with 1.1 billion euros flowing into the city, followed by North Rhine-Westphalia with 822 million euros. Startups focusing on digital future topics are attracting investors, but profitability remains a key factor for investment decisions. Despite the recovery in investments, obtaining initial funding for young startups is becoming increasingly challenging. The positive trend in investments indicates a potential trend reversal for the German startup scene, bringing optimism for the future.
16. Juli 2024 um 15:11

Legal Dispute Delays Nationwide Rollout of Payment Card for Refugees

The nationwide introduction of a payment card for refugees in Germany is facing delays due to a legal dispute surrounding the contract award process. Initially scheduled for a decision on July 15, the process has been hindered by a provider's legal challenge, potentially pushing the timeline back by several weeks. The payment card is designed to allow asylum seekers to make purchases while limiting cash withdrawals and international transfers, with the aim to deter migration. Critics raise concerns about the impracticality of the cashless system in some areas, like local markets and small shops, and see it as a form of harassment for the affected individuals. Despite the setback, the card has already been implemented in certain regions, with exceptions in Bavaria and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The dispute has caused a split among the federal states, as 14 states opted for a unified approach while others pursue independent strategies. Overall, the delay highlights the complexities and challenges involved in implementing such systems aimed at supporting refugees and managing financial transactions effectively.
16. Juli 2024 um 15:10

KKH: Sick leave on the rise in the first half of 2024

The sick leave statistics for the first half of 2024, as analyzed by the Kaufmännische Krankenkasse (KKH), have shown a continued surge to record levels. Across Germany, there were 210 cases of illness per one hundred employed members, with each member being on sick leave an average of two times. This marks a significant increase from the 204 cases recorded in the previous year. The rise in sick leave is primarily attributed to the persistently high number of respiratory diseases such as coughs, colds, and flu-like infections, which accounted for 70 cases per one hundred insured persons in the first half of 2024. This represents a notable escalation from 34 cases five years ago. Notably, respiratory infections constituted one-third of all reported illnesses during the period, amounting to 34%. The sickness rate remained constant at 6.5% in 2024 compared to a lower rate in 2019. The region with the highest sick leave rate was Saxony-Anhalt at 8.1%, while Baden-Württemberg had the lowest rate at 5.4%. The sectors most impacted by sick leave were the elderly care and nursing professions, with sickness rates of 10.9% and 9.5%, respectively. This data points to a 72% increase in sick leave since 2019, indicating a concerning trend in the health status of the workforce.
16. Juli 2024 um 09:13

Bitcoin spot ETFs see highest inflows in a month following dip under $60,000

Bitcoin spot ETFs see highest inflows in a month following dip under $60,000
Despite a 20% drawdown in Bitcoin's price over the last month, long-term holders have been accumulating the digital asset at high rates. Bitcoin spot ETFs have also seen significant inflows, reaching levels not seen since early June when Bitcoin was around $70,000. The price drop was likely driven by sell pressures from the Mt. Gox hack repayments and the German government's offloading of its Bitcoin stash. However, Bitcoin seems to have found support in the $55,000-$58,000 range, and investors are taking advantage of the cheaper prices, with ETF inflows rising and long-time holders buying more than they have in over a year.
16. Juli 2024 um 09:11

Germany Bans 'Compact' Magazine: Crackdown on Right-Wing Extremism

Germany's Federal Interior Minister, Nancy Faeser, has issued a ban on the right-wing extremist 'Compact' magazine, labeling it as a central mouthpiece of the right-wing extremist scene. The ban extends to Compact-Magazin GmbH and Conspect Film GmbH, with searches conducted in multiple states to secure assets and evidence. The magazine, led by editor-in-chief Jürgen Elsässer, has been accused of promoting hatred and violence against refugees, migrants, and democratic institutions. With a monthly circulation of 40,000 copies and a substantial online presence including Compact TV and an online shop, the publication's influence within the New Right scene is substantial. Raids were carried out in various locations, highlighting the magazine's anti-constitutional and combative stance. Jürgen Elsässer, the former leftist turned right-wing publisher, has been identified as a driving force behind 'Compact's' extremist narratives. The ban also encompasses the magazine's online channels, impacting over 400,000 subscribers who accessed content through platforms like iTunes. Faeser's decisive action reflects Germany's commitment to combating the spread of right-wing extremism and safeguarding democratic values in the face of incitement and radicalization.
16. Juli 2024 um 09:09

Reflecting on Angela Merkel's Chancellorship at 70: A Mix of Criticism and Praise

Reflecting on Angela Merkel's Chancellorship at 70: A Mix of Criticism and Praise
As Angela Merkel celebrates her 70th birthday, reflections on her tenure as Chancellor emerge with a mix of criticism and praise. Former Health Minister Jens Spahn offers a balanced assessment, criticizing aspects of her refugee policy, relations with Russia, and the nuclear energy phase-out, while acknowledging her reforms and economic successes. Merkel's era saw stability in the pension system, the introduction of a retirement age of 67, successful management of the financial crisis, increased research funding, and reduced youth unemployment. However, Spahn points out three significant mistakes during her leadership: irregular migration since 2015, handling of Putin's Russia, and the nuclear phase-out. SPD leader Saskia Esken praises Merkel's exceptional empathy and compromise skills, highlighting similarities in their paths to party leadership. Merkel's centrist competence and strategic positioning are credited with strengthening Germany and Europe, despite the mix of opinions on her legacy.
16. Juli 2024 um 09:07

Criticism of cuts in development aid - concerns from various parties

Criticism continues to mount against the planned cuts in development aid and humanitarian assistance by the federal government. Aid organizations such as the World Hunger Aid and One express concerns about the negative impact these cuts will have on the people in the global South. The Europe Director of One warns that these budget plans will lead to the diminishment of Germany's influence in foreign and development policy, benefiting countries like Russia and China. Criticism also arises from within the Union, with calls for the government to take responsibility in foreign policy and avoid creating a vacuum. The cuts in the development budget, amounting to almost 30% or around three billion euros within a single electoral term, are seen as excessive and could lead to an increase in refugees coming to Germany. The Green Party and the SPD also voice their opposition to these government decisions. The budget draft for 2025, along with a supplementary budget for 2024 and medium-term financial planning up to 2028, will be decided by the cabinet on Wednesday. The planned cuts contradict the original coalition agreement and elicit concerns about the security of Germany and the EU. Aid organizations stress that spending on development aid directly contributes to the external security of the country.
16. Juli 2024 um 09:05

The Smartphone Dilemma: A Growing Concern for Users' Wellbeing

A recent survey conducted by Deloitte sheds light on the concerning trend of excessive smartphone usage among Germans, with 49% admitting to spending an unhealthy amount of time on their devices. This increase is particularly alarming among younger demographics, where a staggering 84% find themselves glued to their screens for extended periods. The negative repercussions of this behavior range from common issues like distraction and a constant dependency on the smartphone to more serious concerns such as headaches, sleep disturbances, and even physical pain. Despite 70% of respondents attempting to curb their usage, only a mere 3% can envision a life devoid of smartphones, showcasing the deep-rooted reliance on these devices. This escalating dilemma is further exacerbated by the fact that 48% of individuals have witnessed a surge in their smartphone usage over the past year. It is evident that the pervasive nature of smartphones in daily life calls for a reevaluation of habits and a more balanced approach to technology use to safeguard users' wellbeing.
15. Juli 2024 um 20:02

Federal Budget: Unveiling the Controversies and Challenges of the 2024 and 2025 Drafts

As the German government prepares to launch its budget for 2025, controversies and challenges surround the draft. Finance Minister Christian Lindner's alleged austerity measures have stirred tensions within the coalition, with accusations of broken promises and a billion-euro hole in the budget. A comparison of the figures reveals that most ministries are actually receiving more funding than originally planned, with Transport Minister Volker Wissing and Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger being the biggest winners. However, concerns remain about the financing gap and the viability of proposed measures. The draft budget aims to limit new borrowing and generate additional revenue through a growth package, but doubts persist about the adequacy of these solutions. With ongoing negotiations, the budget's fate hangs in the balance, reflecting the challenges faced by the traffic light coalition.
15. Juli 2024 um 20:00

Challenges Posed by 'Forever Chemicals' in Water Across Europe

A recent study conducted by the NGO Pesticide Action Network Europe has revealed alarming levels of 'forever chemical' PFAS in water sources across Europe, surpassing the limits set by future EU legislation. PFAS and its persistent breakdown product TFA were found in 94% of surface water and 63% of bottled water, raising concerns about water contamination. Despite guidelines issued by the European Food Safety Authority, the incorporation of these limits into the Drinking Water Directive remains inadequate, prompting a fragmented regulatory approach across EU states. The call for an immediate ban on PFAS pesticides and the establishment of an EU-wide limit for TFA highlights the urgency of addressing this environmental and health threat. As the presence of these eternal chemicals continues to impact aquatic life and potentially pose risks to human health, collaborative efforts among policymakers, water companies, and manufacturers are crucial to mitigate chemical pollution and safeguard water quality.
15. Juli 2024 um 15:14

Nancy Faeser Praises Emergency Services and the European Championship

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser expresses satisfaction with the European Championship, praising the emergency services for their role in ensuring a peaceful and successful tournament. The operation, which involved 22,000 police officers per day, resulted in over 8,300 illegal entries being registered, 1,112 arrest warrants executed, and over 100 hooligans prevented from entering. Faeser described it as the largest operation in the history of the Federal Police. The border controls, which were tightened for the tournament, are set to expire, but new controls are planned for the German-French border during the Olympics in Paris. While the FDP and Union parties are demanding an extension of the controls, Faeser criticizes this and highlights potential staff shortages for permanent controls. Despite some concerns about nationalism, the tournament was generally calm with only a few security incidents. The German team presented themselves as happy winners until the quarterfinals and then as brave losers after their defeat. The tournament provided a sense of community and Germany was seen as a good host. In the final, Spain emerged as the European football champion with a 2-1 victory against England.
15. Juli 2024 um 15:09

Bitcoin Spot ETFs See Inflows Following Dip Under $60,000

Bitcoin Spot ETFs See Inflows Following Dip Under $60,000
Despite a recent drop in Bitcoin's price and market jitters caused by factors such as the Mt. Gox hack repayments and the German government selling its Bitcoin stash, Bitcoin spot ETFs have seen significant inflows. Long-term holders are also accumulating the digital asset at high rates. The recent price drop has found support in the $55,000-$58,000 range, and investors are taking advantage of the cheaper prices. Analysts believe that the worst may be behind us and expect Bitcoin to rebound in the coming months. Institutional cash inflow is reshaping the cryptocurrency markets, leading to increased stability and demand for assets like Bitcoin. The market fundamentals of Bitcoin remain strong, preventing a significant drop below $40,000. Despite short-term fluctuations, experts predict that Bitcoin could reach $80,000 to $100,000 by the end of the year.
15. Juli 2024 um 15:08

Renovations and Closures: The Overhaul of Germany's Rail Network

Germany's state-owned railway company, Deutsche Bahn, is embarking on a major renovation project to improve the country's ailing train network. The plans include the renovation of 41 routes by 2031, with the aim of improving punctuality and reliability. However, there is disagreement among politicians about the extent of service cuts that should be made during the renovations. CDU leader Friedrich Merz calls for reductions, while the Greens argue for an expansion of services. Transport Minister Volker Wissing defends the project but criticizes the insufficient investments in the past. The Riedbahn, an important rail link, will be closed for five months as a pilot project for the renovations, costing 1.3 billion euros. Despite skepticism from the construction industry, Wissing promises that the renovations will be completed on time. The closures and construction sites will cause disruptions and changes in rail traffic throughout Germany, but the government hopes that these necessary improvements will lead to a more reliable and modern rail network in the future. Per capita investments in the rail network have been increasing, with a record value of 124 euros in 2021. However, concerns remain about the feasibility of the project and the lack of investment in climate-friendly transport. The closures and renovations will affect major routes such as the high-speed line between Cologne and Frankfurt, the Ruhr area, and the Berlin-Frankfurt route. The aim is to complete a comprehensive renewal of the rail network rather than relying on patchwork repairs. While the disruptions may inconvenience passengers in the short term, it is hoped that the long-term benefits of a more reliable and modern rail network will outweigh the temporary inconveniences.
15. Juli 2024 um 15:04

Sahra Wagenknecht and the Future of BSW Government Participation

Sahra Wagenknecht, chairwoman of the BSW (Bündnis Sahra Wagenknecht), expresses cautiousness and skepticism about her party's potential participation in state-level governments. She believes that there are risks involved, as people's expectations may not be met. However, she does not completely rule out government participation after the state elections in Brandenburg, Thuringia, and Saxony, but emphasizes the importance of substantial improvements for the people. CDU leader Friedrich Merz is open to cooperation with the BSW at the state level, but raises concerns about foreign and security policy, particularly regarding Wagenknecht's and the BSW's relationship with Russia. Wagenknecht sets conditions for government participation, including better education, no further hospital closures, reduced bureaucracy, and addressing the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. While Merz excludes cooperation at the federal level, he sees possibilities for collaboration in the states, such as in Thuringia, where the CDU state leader has shown willingness for cooperation. The BSW, a relatively new party, has achieved positive poll results, but Wagenknecht fears that government participation could disappoint voters. She believes that substantial improvements, like better pensions, may be difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, she remains open to the idea of government participation if certain conditions are met. The BSW's proximity to Russia continues to be a point of contention for some, including Merz. These statements from Wagenknecht come from an interview with the Funke Mediengruppe.
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