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German report German report
by Euro Reporter
2009-09-14 09:17:15
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25,000 march for more privacy from authorities

Around 25,000 people demonstrated against increasing monitoring and data gathering by authorities and companies on Saturday 12th in Berlin. Organisers of the demonstration, under the motto "Freedom rather than fear – stop the surveillance madness," said it was a success and should serve to show politicians how many people care about their privacy.

A coalition of 167 organisations - including political parties, trade unions, professional associations, capitalism critics Attac, and the Chaos Computer Club - had called on people to demonstrate against laws enabling some internet sites to be closed down and data to be held for no immediate reason. Head of the service industry trade union Verdi Frank Bsirske said at the rally that surveillance and spying had become reality for many workers because state, industry and employment world had become obsessed with control.

He named recent scandals at Lidl, Schlecker, Deutsche Telekom and Deutsche Bahn, where he said it had been demonstrated that in some upper echelons of business, there was no longer any sense of right and wrong.  State data protection representative from the state of Schleswig-Holstein, Thilo Weichert, told the crowd that the authorities must act more professionally when pursuing criminals using the internet.  “The population needs freedom of information and opinion, not total control,” he said.

Germany returning to old methods of control?


German ships breach Northeast Passage

Two German cargo ships are making their way through the Northeast Passage from Asia to Europe, writing maritime history, but also inadvertently delivering evidence of climate change and melting ice caps. This week the Beluga Group announced that its ships the Beluga Fraternity and the Beluga Foresight had completed the most difficult and dangerous part of the trip, completing the trip from South Korea, via Vladivostok to Novyy Port in the Siberian town of Yamburg.

The ships are carrying elements of a power plant, which will be unloaded in Yamburg before the vessels continue their journey via Murmansk into central Europe, ending up in Rotterdam, Holland.  “We are very proud and delighted to be the first western shipping company which has successfully transited the legendary Northeast Passage and delivered this sensitive cargo safely through this extraordinarily demanding sea area,” Niels Stolberg, CEO of Beluga Shipping in Bremen, said in a statement.

He received word from the ships captains Aleksander Antonov and Valeriy Durov that they had dropped anchor in Novyy after passing through the East Siberian Sea, the Sannikov Strait and the Vilkizki Strait – the latter stretch accompanied by a convoy of Russian ice-breakers.

Probably what they need is more than …ice breakers!


Recession set to cost everyone €3,000

The recession is going to cost each person in Germany around €3,000 according to the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). The DIW conducted an estimate on behalf of the Berlin daily paper Der Tagesspiegel, coming to the conclusion that it would take at least until 2011 for the economy to recover.

“The recession was extraordinarily steep, and would not have been nearly as bad if it was not for the financial crisis,” Stefan Kooths, economist at the DIW told the paper. A global collapse was triggered by the failure of US bank Lehman Brothers on September 15 last year, leading to a credit crunch as financing dried up and banks needed significant capital injections from governments and central banks to stay afloat.

But the global economy was already in a downturn before this even happened, said Kooths. “It would have probably only has been a mild recession without that,” he suggested, with the German economy managing weak growth during 2009 and a slight contraction during 2010. Now though, the government is predicting a reduction in gross domestic product of around six percent over this year. A slight improvement in the second quarter of the year prompted some to suggest the reduction could be around four percent. Many economists are predicting a slight uptick next year, although around €250 billion in productivity has been lost through the recession, the DIW said.

An expensive recession with costly bonuses!

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