BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - Decisive sectors of the German elite are holding onto diesel technology, causing the automobile industry to fall significantly behind its foreign competitors, according to US and British observers, who see the German automobile industry soon confronting a "Tesla shock." Whereas, the demand for US electric automobiles is rapidly growing, in the long run, the demand for German diesel models is significantly sinking. In fact, the German government has been shielding German companies from innovation pressure, by imposing their interests, even abroad. Berlin has not only applied the brakes to the introduction of the EU's CO2 emission limits, but also to China's setting electric automobile quotas, to reduce pollutant emissions. In the current diesel scandal, Berlin continues to maintain its policy course. more…

BERLIN/DAMASCUS | | syrien

BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) - German companies are seeking to favorably position themselves for participation in Syria's post-war reconstruction. Following the Damascus International Fair, which closed yesterday, the director of the Middle East Department of the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) noted, the development in the country is being "closely observed" and "a series of cautious initial inquiries" are already being registered. The Damascus International Fair is one of the most traditional fairs in the region and was held again, for the first time, since the beginning of the war. Particularly companies from Russia, Iran and China have good prospects for participating in Syria's rebuilding. Since 2012, the German government has been eager to provide emergency aid and reconstruction. However, this aid was restricted to regions under insurgent control. Idlib Province, today controlled by the al-Qaeda offshoot al-Nusra (renamed Tahrir al-Sham) is one of those regions benefiting. more…

KABUL/BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | afghanistanrussische-foederation

KABUL/BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - In light of the new buildup of US troops in Afghanistan, experts are warning of a new proxy war between NATO and Russia at the Hindu Kush. As observers unanimously explain, Russia has been able to expand its influence in Afghanistan significantly over the past few years. Moreover, the dismal results of NATO's nearly 16 years of war have seriously damaged the West's reputation in that country. Moscow can now take advantage of this situation and enhance its prestige, according to reports. A former top US intelligence official considers that, Russian President Vladimir Putin sees Afghanistan as "one more hot spot, to exercise his influence" and depict Moscow "as the problem solver and peacemaker." If NATO and Russia ally with divergent forces at the Hindu Kush, it could develop into another proxy war, as in Syria. more…

BERLIN/WARSAW | | polen

BERLIN/WARSAW (Own report) - Polish government politicians' demands for comprehensive reparations for the devastation caused by the German occupation during World War II, have been unanimously turned down in Berlin. A German government spokesperson explained that Poland has long since renounced reparations; German media point to payments Germany - under massive international pressure - was unable to avoid in the 1990s. Warsaw, on the other hand, has reiterated that payments, they have received so far are in no relation to the immense damage the German Reich had inflicted on Poland since September 1, 1939. During World War II, six million Poles were killed, and material damage was estimated a few years ago in the mid-range triple-digit billions. The most recent reparations dispute between Berlin and Warsaw is occurring at a time, when geostrategic tensions between the two countries are intensifying. more…

BERLIN | | china

BERLIN (Own report) - According to a German military officer, China's economic activities in Greenland and Iceland could cause future wars. If the People's Republic should "establish" itself in the Arctic - as a "great power alien to the region" - this would "instigate military conflicts," according to a recent semi-official publication. To prove his point, the author, a reserve officer of the Bundeswehr, refers to China's mining investments in Greenland and Beijing's alleged plans to settle systematically Chinese specialists in the region. The "ethnic form of influence" expressed in this plan and the People's Republic's commitment to protect the "sovereign rights of the indigenous population" constitute a "declaration of war on the West," the author writes. With regard to Iceland, the officer particularly criticizes the construction of a harbor in the Northeast of the island state, which is allegedly financed by a Chinese company. If the People's Republic is thus creating a "regional central hub" for raw materials extracted from the Arctic, it would be in "favorable geopolitical starting blocks" vis-à-vis the "European Atlantic states," the author explains, speaking already of a "gradual Chinese land grab" at the polar circle. more…

TRIPOLI/BERLIN/ROME | | libyen

TRIPOLI/BERLIN/ROME (Own report) - A steadily increasing number of casualties in the North African desert and grave violations of international law are flanking the German government's efforts to cordon off the EU from African refugees. Berlin's attempts to seal the Libya-Niger border is forcing refugees to take routes that are more dangerous, causing increasing numbers of deaths in the Sahara. Since Italy and Libya's puppet government in Tripoli have begun to hamper maritime rescue operations off the Libyan coast, a rise in the number of casualties is also feared in the Mediterranean. At the same time, the German government is supporting the internment of refugees in Libyan detention camps, notorious for their brutal and even murderous treatment. "Humanitarian standards" need to be imposed on those camps, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says, and calls on the services of the United Nations' Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UNHCR. These activities combine to create a multiple anti-refugee system, including two rings of barriers along with a network of camps. more…