Tag Archives: International news

A no-deal Brexit would be a bad example | Instant News

BERLIN (AP) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that Britain and the EU will set a bad example if they fail to reach an agreement on their future relationship, but once again insisted that the EU does not want a deal at any price.

Britain left the European Union on January 31, but remained part of the bloc’s economic arms during the 11-month transition as the two sides try to negotiate a new free trade deal that will take effect January 1. slipped past mid-November set as the deadline for reaching a deal if UK and EU lawmakers want to be approved by the end of the year.

Britain has angered the European Union with a bill that violates part of the legally binding withdrawal agreement that allowed Britain to exit the bloc in January. The Internal Market Bill gives Britain the power to waive parts of the treaty dealing with Northern Irish trade.

“Regardless, I hope we will still come to a contractual solution,” Merkel said at a virtual meeting of members of parliament’s European affairs committee. “We, the UK and the member states of the European Union, are countries based on the same values, and that would not be a good example for the world if we didn’t end up making a deal.”

Germany currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, although Brexit talks are essentially a matter of the European Commission’s executive and its chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.

Merkel reiterated that the agreement, although very desirable, is not an absolute must-have.

“We’ve made it clear that we don’t need a deal at any price,” he said. “We want it, but otherwise we will take the necessary action – in any case, the deal is in everyone’s interest.”

If there is no deal, New Year’s Day will bring about major disruptions, with overnight tariffs and other barriers to UK-EU trade. That will hurt both sides, but the burden will fall heaviest on Britain, which has nearly half of its trade with the EU.

“The calls for emergency action from several member states are now getting louder,” Merkel said. “I will wait as long as possible with this – we must focus all our strength on the final phase of negotiations.”


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German police investigate the mystery of the missing giant phallus statue | Instant News

BERLIN (AP) – Police in southern Germany have opened an investigation into the disappearance of a large wooden phallus statue from a mountain slope that appeared without explanation several years ago.

The local newspaper Allgaeuer Zeitung reported on Monday that the 2-meter (nearly 7-foot) high statue appeared to have been cut down over the weekend, with only a pile of sawdust left on the 1,738 meters (5,702 feet) high Gruenten mountain.

Male genitalia have gained celebrity status in recent years as a destination for climbers, and have even appeared on Google Maps, which are classified as “cultural monuments.” According to local stories, it was made as a joke birthday gift for a young man whose family did not appreciate the gift and the 200 kilogram (440 pound) statue was transported up the mountain and left there.

The German news agency dpa reported that police in the Bavarian city of Kempten were investigating the disappearances, although it was not clear whether a crime had been committed.


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New Zealand’s Mahuta brings a new outlook on foreign affairs | Instant News

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Diplomats wanted to remain neutral, but Nanaia Mahuta left the veil peeling slightly when the winner was announced in the US election by tweeting a smiling face emoji.

Mahuta, the first indigenous Maori woman to be appointed New Zealand’s foreign minister, held back a real-life smile when asked about it.

“Look, all I can say is there were some encouraging signs in the speeches,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press. She said the victory speech by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris “inspired many women around the world.”

Mahuta, 50, is a surprising choice for the role, despite being a respected player in Parliament for nearly half his life, since he was first elected in 1996 at the age of 26.He is part of the most diverse group of MPs ever appointed to top role in the cabinet after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won a second term in a landslide victory last month.

Mahuta said he was pleased to be selected and promised to bring a new perspective in foreign affairs.

He didn’t have to wait long for his first bickering moment. New Zealand has long been wary of criticizing China, its biggest trading partner.

But Mahuta last week took steps to join Australia, Canada, Britain and the US in condemning China for imposing new rules to disqualify legislators in Hong Kong.

China reacted angrily.

“Be careful not to be glanced at,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in response, referring to the “Five Eyes” military alliance between the five countries.

Mahuta said he had spoken with Ardern before deciding to sign the statement and felt it was a natural progression to “dial up the dial up” and join another country. He said he thought relations with China were mature enough to withstand such disagreements.

However, it will be a challenge for Mahuta to find the right balance to strike with an increasingly assertive China and an aggressive US. For now, Mahuta said he intends to focus on building relationships with New Zealand’s closest island neighbor in the Pacific, even if the Coronavirus prevents him from traveling there in person.

“This could be Zoom’s diplomacy period,” he said.

People all over the world are curious about Mahuta’s moko kauae, or sacred face tattoo, which he got four years ago to celebrate his legacy, ancestry, and connection with Papatuanuku, or Mother Earth.

The most common question is, does it hurt? she laughed.

The answer? Not really, because his mind went to a different place.

She said that wearing a moko made her more aware “of how you want to be, how you treat other people. So it’s almost like a compass. “

Thirty years ago, before there was a revival of Maori culture in New Zealand, facial tattoos tended to be associated with gang members. Mahuta said he still found negative reactions against him in parts of the country, but today most people recognize him as an affirmation of culture.

Mahuta is the daughter of the late Sir Robert Mahuta, a key figure in the Tainui tribe who helped settle innovative financial claims with the government over land taken during colonialism.

Mahuta said that his father was his mentor and a tough assignor. But it was the students he met as university tutors who convinced him to get into politics, not his father.

“I thought if he succeeded, I would not get into politics, I would become a member of the tribe,” he said.

Lara Greaves, a politics lecturer at the University of Auckland, said Mahuta was very well prepared for the role because he had spent his entire life studying high-level cultural diplomacy in Maori society.

“I think this is a very positive step,” said Greaves.

He said the surprise at Mahuta’s appointment – including himself – likely reflected the dominance men still have internationally in foreign affairs.

Mahuta said he wanted to see more women involved.

“I am part of a small group of women who have now reached out and joined hands to say, there is much we can do together,” she said.

In his office, Mahuta displays various artifacts that have meaning to him – a basket of knowledge from the Pacific, a photo of the prime minister inviting his ancestors to parliament. And then he came to the village of the Silvanian Family around the corner.

“I have a 7 year old daughter who makes part of this office her own,” said Mahuta. “One of the things I learned when I was in Parliament is to make it family friendly.”


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Germany to compensate gay employees for discrimination | Instant News

BERLIN (AP) – Germany’s cabinet on Wednesday approved a bill that would compensate gay workers who experienced discrimination in the military before a policy change 20 years ago.

The decision was taken two months after Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer issue an apology for decades of discrimination. A study commissioned by his ministry documented “systematic discrimination” in the Bundeswehr – West Germany’s military and since 1990 Germany reunited – from 1955 to 2000.

The study said that “same-sex orientation was seen as a security risk in the Bundeswehr until the turn of the millennium and made a career as an officer or non-commissioned officer impossible.”

Kramp-Karrenbauer said soldiers affected would be “rehabilitated” under the new law.

The law estimates the repeal of military court rulings for consensual gay sex, with 3,000 euros ($ 3,560) in compensation paid for each of these judgments, but also for soldiers who are dismissed, denied promotion or deprived of responsibility. The Defense Ministry estimates about 1,000 people will apply, the dpa news agency reported.

“I know that we cannot compensate for the personal injustice they have suffered, but with the repeal of the verdict and the payment of compensation at once, we want to send signals – small signals – of compensation, to restore the dignity of these people who want nothing but to serve Germany. , “Said Kramp-Karrenbauer.

This is Germany’s latest move to tackle anti-gay discrimination in the past. In 2017, parliament voted to overturn the convictions of thousands of gay men under a law criminalizing male homosexuality that was enacted vigorously in post-World War II West Germany.

A federal court ruled in 1970 that homosexuality was no longer a disciplinary offense for soldiers unless there was a “service relationship,” said research released in September. It is interpreted strictly to initiate and gradually loosen up.

Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping ended official discrimination in 2000 after an officer who had been removed from his post as commander took his case to Germany’s highest court.

Scharping issued a paper stating that “homosexuality is not a basis for restrictions in terms of assignment or status and thus is not a criterion of suitability for examination separately.”

Kramp-Karrenbauer said the new law would also cover people who faced discrimination in the communist East German People’s Army, which he called “an important signal” in the year Germany marks 30 years of reunification.

This still requires parliamentary approval. Kramp-Karrenbauer told lawmakers he hoped for their support “so we can rehabilitate and compensate those affected next year.”

Laws criminalizing male homosexuality were introduced in the 19th century, strengthened under Nazi rule and maintained in that form by democratic West Germany, which punished some 50,000 men between 1949 and 1969. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969 but the law -The law has not been removed from the book. entirely until 1994.

MPs agree on compensation for convicted men. Payments are then made to people who are under investigation or taken into investigative custody but not convicted.


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The court overturned a ruling that Germany had to press the US on drones | Instant News

BERLIN (AP) – Germany’s highest administrative court has ruled that the country’s government cannot be forced to ensure that US drone attacks controlled through American military bases on German territory are in line with international law.

Wednesday’s decision by the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig overturned a last year’s verdict who hold the German government partly responsible for ensuring that such military operations comply with international law.

The ruling restores a lower court decision in 2015 which concluded that Germany was fulfilling its legal duty and in its right to balance it with “foreign and defense policy interests.”

The case is brought by human rights groups on behalf of three Yemeni plaintiffs who accuse their relatives of being killed in a US drone strike in 2012. They accuse the US air base in Ramstein, southern Germany, of playing a key role in the relay flights. controls the data used for armed drone strikes in Yemen.

Jennifer Gibson of the human rights group Reprieve said plaintiffs would continue to campaign against drone strikes.

“What we are talking about here is a covert murder program that kills many civilians every year,” said Gibson. “This is unsustainable, and apart from today’s decision, it is clearly against the law.”

Appealing the German government to last year’s verdict, the judge in Leipzig said Berlin could only be forced to take further action if “because of the number and circumstances of violations of international law that have occurred there should be further concrete hope. Actions illegal under international law would also be happen in the future. “

They also concluded that there was no direct connection to Germany in the case, arguing that the provision of technical relay capabilities was insufficient.

The judges noted that the German government had taken several steps to address this issue in its communications by asking for guarantees from Washington, thereby proving that Berlin had sought to ensure the plaintiffs’ rights were protected.


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