A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘germany

[LINK] “How Berlin’s Muslims Are Tackling Jihad”

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Bloomberg’s Donna Abu-Nasr looks at the various strategies used by Muslims in Berlin to prevent disaffected young people from going off to join ISIS. Engagement, it seems, is key.

Security services say it’s crucial that imams and Muslim families help combat extremism in a way they can’t, even if that means they are blamed inside their communities for selling out – while at the same time confronted by growing animosity toward Islam in their adopted homelands.

“If I had to learn about Islam from the movies and the media, I would be afraid of myself,” said Mohammed Matar, 25, a university student who attends the Dar Assalam Mosque. “They see over there people claiming to speak for Islam. They see Muslims here and they lump us all together.”

From the bombing of London a decade ago to the slaughter at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January, home-grown militants have long been on the radar of security forces. The rise of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq means it takes more to combat the extremism at its root.
[. . .]

So far more than 650 Germans have traveled to Syria, according to a senior German security official. They’re among an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 European Muslims, many with Arab immigrant backgrounds, who have exchanged life in a stable country for a place where dissenters are killed.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 20, 2015 at 10:47 pm

[LINK] “German Tourists Cool on Greece as ATMs at Risk of Crunch”

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Bloomberg’s Marcus Bensasson notes one consequence of Greece’s ill-planned leap under Syriza: Declining tourist numbers, particularly from Germany.

Greece’s standoff with creditors is threatening the surge in tourism that helped drag the country out of a six-year slump in 2014.

A strong start to the year has tailed off in recent months with potential visitors deterred by the risk of being caught up in a cash crunch. Bookings from Germany were 0.7 percent higher than last year at the end of the first quarter after jumping 12 percent in January, prompting the Greek tourist lobby to consider ditching its forecast for a record number of visitors this year.

“We’re seeing a slowdown in some markets, particularly in Germany,” Andreas Andreadis, president of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, or SETE, said in a telephone interview last week. “We’ve been losing ground in the last few months, we’re losing momentum, as long as the big picture remains unclear.”

Greece’s economy fell back into recession in the first quarter as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s attempt to win better terms from the country’s creditors squeezed financing and deterred investment. The contraction raises the pressure on Tsipras to reach a deal, while also forcing deeper budget cuts to meet the conditions for aid.

The crisis has left Greece’s banking system hanging on the thread of emergency liquidity support from the European Central Bank, and raised the prospect capital controls may be imposed. Such an outcome could limit the amount of cash that visitors could withdraw from ATM machines.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 20, 2015 at 10:44 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • At Acts of Minor Treason, Andrew Barton is very unhappy with the misuse of the Hugo Award.
  • Anthropology.net notes that DNA has been retrieved from an ancient and mostly fossilized Neanderthal fossil.
  • Centauri Dreams examines the early history of the Milky Way Galaxy.
  • Crooked Timber looks at the controversies over religious liberty.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze considers how extraterrestrial life can be detected through disequilibria in exoplanet atmosphere and notes the recent Alpha Centauri B study.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that by 2018 a laser will be deployed on a drone.
  • Geocurrents shares slides from a recent lecture on Yemen.
  • Language Hat examines the Yiddish word “khnyok”.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the Republican race.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the unpopularity of political jobs among young Americans.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes SpaceX’s problem with retrieving the first stages of its rockets.
  • Torontoist looks at beekeeping in Toronto.
  • Towleroad notes a Kickstarter fundraiser for Emil Cohen’s photos of queer life in Providence.
  • Transit Toronto notes the expansion of free WiFi throughout the subway system.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that divorce papers can be served via Facebook if it is the most practical alternative.
  • Window on Eurasia fears a summertime Russian attack on Ukraine, notes Russian fears of rebellion at home, and looks at Russian Internet censorship.
  • The World’s Gideon Rachman wonders if the Greek demand for Second World War reparations will bring the Eurozone crisis to a head.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes the essential lack of difference on government spending between Labour and the Tories and looks at flawed computer databases.

[DM] “On cat islands and the wider potential of rewilding”

I have a post up at Demography Matters where I suggest that the cat island can point us towards the future rewilding of the depopulating rural world.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 5, 2015 at 3:59 am

[LINK] “Greece-Russia Overtures Seen as Sideshow by Merkel, Hollande”

Arne Delfs, Patrick Donahue and Mark Deen, writing for Bloomberg, suggests that Greece’s public flirtations with Russia are being taken as a sign of lack of seriousness by its Eurozone partners.

Germany and France view Greece’s overtures toward Russia as a sideshow and won’t be drawn into a debate on the matter, three government officials said.

That strategy stems from Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande’s belief that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ talks with President Vladimir Putin are not likely to yield significant aid — especially given Russia’s own economic woes — and are more political theater than any real geopolitical shift, said the officials, who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations.

Merkel has signaled repeatedly she wants Greece to remain in the euro, partly to avoid a perception of European weakness as Russia challenges the continent’s post-Cold War order. While she and Hollande are closely watching what develops, they’re publicly shrugging off Tsipras’s trip to Moscow next week, while talks with European partners on Greece’s bailout stall.

“We were also in Moscow and we’re still members of the European Union and stand unified,” Merkel said during a joint press conference with Hollande in Berlin Tuesday. The two visited Putin at the Kremlin in February to hold discussions over the conflict in Ukraine.

Hollande’s government views Tsipras’ actions as a restlessness stemming from the stalemate with Greece’s creditors over releasing more money from a 240 billion-euro ($258 billion) bailout fund, one of the people said. Still, it’s troublesome that Tsipras’s government seems to lack a consistent strategic plan, the person said.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 2, 2015 at 7:53 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • The Big Picture looks at the uses of oil barrels around the world.
  • blogTO wonders if the Annex is ready for a condo boom.
  • Centauri Dreams features a guest post from Andrew Lepage noting how odd spectra on Mars were misidentified as proof of life.
  • Crooked Timber notes a student occupation of the University of Amsterdam’s headquarters.
  • Discover‘s The Crux makes a poor argument that space probe visits to Pluto and Ceres will lead to the redefinition of these worlds as planets.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze looks at an odd pulsating hot subdwarf B star with a brown dwarf.
  • The Dragon’s Tales suggests chemical mechanisms for life on Titan, and explains the differences in water plumes between Europa and Enceladus.
  • A Fistful of Euros notes political conflict in Germany.
  • Discover‘s Inkfist notes that birds from harsher climates are smarters.
  • Joe. My. God. shares Madonna’s critique of ageism.
  • Languages of the World examines the genesis of the English language.
  • Marginal Revolution notes Japanese funerals for robots, suggests Facebook usage makes people less happy, and notes family formation in Europe.
  • John Moyer examines punctuation.
  • Steve Munro maps out routes for a Scarborough subway.
  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at science on Pluto.
  • pollotenchegg maps the distribution of ethnically mixed households in Ukraine.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at how Panama successfully made use of price controls, and why.
  • Progressive Download’s John Farrell wonders what is the rush for three-parent IVF therapy.
  • Transit Toronto explains how old TTC tickets can be exchanged.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the importance of Belarus for the Baltic States, notes the newly-debatable borders of the former Soviet Union, suggests Tatarstan is unhappy with Russian federalism, and looks at the small grounds for Russian-Ukrainian hostilities.

[LINK] The Economist on the assimilated German-Americans

The Economist‘s article “The silent minority” explores how German-Americans, despite their numbers and former influence, are very highly assimilated, and how they became this way.

German-Americans are America’s largest single ethnic group (if you divide Hispanics into Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, etc). In 2013, according to the Census bureau, 46m Americans claimed German ancestry: more than the number who traced their roots to Ireland (33m) or England (25m). In whole swathes of the northern United States, German-Americans outnumber any other group (see map). Some 41% of the people in Wisconsin are of Teutonic stock.

Yet despite their numbers, they are barely visible. Everyone knows that Michael Dukakis is Greek-American, the Kennedy clan hail from Ireland and Mario Cuomo was an Italian-American. Fewer notice that John Boehner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Rand Paul, a senator from Kentucky with presidential ambitions, are of German origin.

Companies founded by German-Americans tend to play down their roots, too: think of Pfizer, Boeing, Steinway, Levi Strauss or Heinz. Buried somewhere on their websites may be a brief note that “Steinway & Sons was founded in 1853 by German immigrant Henry Engelhard Steinway in a Manhattan loft on Varick Street”. But firms that play up their Germanic history—as Kohler does, in a short film shown at the Waelderhaus—are rare.

German immigrants have flavoured American culture like cinnamon in an Apfelkuchen. They imported Christmas trees and Easter bunnies and gave America a taste for pretzels, hot dogs, bratwursts and sauerkraut. They built big Lutheran churches wherever they went. Germans in Wisconsin launched America’s first kindergarten and set up Turnvereine, or gymnastics clubs, in Milwaukee, Cincinnati and other cities.

After a failed revolution in Germany in 1848, disillusioned revolutionaries decamped to America and spread progressive ideas. “Germanism, socialism and beer makes Milwaukee different,” says John Gurda, a historian. Milwaukee is the only big American city that had Socialist mayors for several decades, of whom two, Emil Seidel and Frank Zeidler, were of German stock. As in so many other countries where Germans have settled, they have dominated the brewing trade. Beer barons such as Jacob Best, Joseph Schlitz, Frederick Pabst and Frederick Miller made Milwaukee the kind of city that more or less had to call its baseball team the Brewers.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 12, 2015 at 11:22 pm


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