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A victim of Russian expansionism and European bumbling Print E-mail

Mourning all over Europe: Flowers for the dead protesters from Maidan Square at the Ukrainian consulate in Berlin.
Mourning all over Europe: Flowers for the dead protesters from Maidan Square at the Ukrainian consulate in Berlin.

Moscow’s annexation of Crimea is illegal but the EU is also responsible for Ukraine’s plight

By Günter Verheugen

April 4, 2014

Let me make this clear right at the start: The incorporation of Crimea into the Russian Federation was a brazen annexation. No matter about the precedents or dubious justifications, it is and will remain a serious violation of international law.

Western leaders content themselves with this assessment and are now trying to outdo one another in their pugnacious posturing towards Russia. That is the easy and comfortable thing to do, for it distracts attention from the questions of how things ever got to this point, and whether we – the EU and its member states – are partly responsible.

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Anyone for fracking? Print E-mail

Would Russia use gas supplies as a lever against Europe in the dispute over Ukraine?
Would Russia use gas supplies as a lever against Europe in the dispute over Ukraine?

European energy policy is drifting back to nuclear and fossil fuels

By Hannes Koch

April 4, 2014

When Jeffrey Sachs, professor of economics at New York’s Columbia University, visited Berlin recently, he praised Germany’s commitment to renewable resources: “Germany is going in the right direction, other countries should follow.” Renewable energies instead of coal, gas, and oil – that was the right way to go about reducing emissions of gases harmful to the environment, said Sachs, who is working on a sustainable world development program for the United Nations.

Yet people like Sachs are currently on the defensive. The German commitment to renewables may be mainstream, but European policymakers nowadays are more skeptical of replacing nuclear and fossil fuels with green power than they were a few years ago. The crisis in Ukraine is contributing to this shift. When the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Berlin in late March, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe would have to reduce its enormous dependency on Russian gas. “Energy policy as a whole will be reconsidered,” she said.

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Hollywood on the Neisse Print E-mail

The famous letters on the hillside: Görlitz city authorities commissioned the ironic photo montage to play on the city’s new-found popularity as a film location. The spectacular art nouveau department store in the city center was used by director Wes Anderson for his film Grand Budapest Hotel.
The famous letters on the hillside: Görlitz city authorities commissioned the ironic photo montage to play on the city’s new-found popularity as a film location. The spectacular art nouveau department store in the city center was used by director Wes Anderson for his film Grand Budapest Hotel.

Görlitz, the location for the movie “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” is popular with filmmakers from all over the world. A ray of hope for the economically stricken town

By Björn Rosen

April 4, 2014

Looking to do a bit of celebrity spotting in Germany? Then you should head for the nation’s most easterly town: Görlitz, population 56,000, lies 200 kilometers (125 miles) to the south of Berlin, directly on the Polish border, and appears to be a rather sleepy place. But it has played host to half of Hollywood. Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Kate Winslet, Jackie Chan, Quentin Tarantino, to name but a few – they’ve all made films here.

Three films almost entirely or at least partially shot in Görlitz have recently graced movie screens: Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which opened the Berlinale film festival last February, “The Monuments Men” by George Clooney as well as “The Book Thief,” the movie version of the eponymous bestseller by Australian writer Markus Zusak.

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