Germany

The right-wing parties in the European Union elections won in the U.K., France, and Italy as the nationalists who intend to chip away at E.U. power upped their share, The New York Times reported.

About one-quarter of the 751-seat EU will be controlled by populists, up from 20% a year ago, according to the report.

Among the most notable of the right-wing victories:

  • The National Rally party of Marine Le Pen in France, defeating Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche 24-22.5%, according to reports: “A vote for France, and for the people,” Le Pen said, per the Times.
  • Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which wants the U.K. to leave the EU without a deal, was in first place, with 32% of the vote, according to Bloomberg.
  • Matteo Salvini, an anti-immigrant populist, saw his League come in first at 30%, per exit polls, AP reported.

The story in Germany was a bit different as the Greens did well, finishing second (20.5% of the vote) to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Union bloc (28.9%), according to CNBC.

Source: NewsMax Politics

FILE PHOTO: A logo of German energy utility company Uniper SE
FILE PHOTO: A logo of German energy utility company Uniper SE is pictured in Duesseldorf, Germany, March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen/File Photo

May 26, 2019

By Christoph Steitz

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Uniper’s chairman on Sunday said talks with major shareholder Fortum to resolve a dispute between the two companies were on hold after two of the German utility’s board members resigned.

Fortum and Uniper have been at loggerheads since the Finnish state-owned utility tried to take over the German group in 2017, a deal that Uniper’s management opposed due to concerns it might get broken up.

Fortum, which has a 49.99% stake in Uniper, has claimed that Uniper’s board actively tried to block its planned takeover, which Uniper denies.

The resignation of Uniper’s Chief Operating Officer Eckhardt Ruemmler and Chief Commercial Officer Keith Martin came in response to Fortum’s move last week to postpone a shareholder vote to endorse Uniper’s management for the past two years.

“We must and want to work with our major shareholder in a trusting relationship. This trust has lost its foundation. Talks had been on a good path. In my view a major chance has been blown,” Uniper Supervisory Board Chairman Bernhard Reutersberg told Reuters.

He said that talks with Fortum were on hold for now.

“I expect a clear signal from Fortum on how they think talks can be continued in light of the current developments.”

Uniper said Ruemmler and Martin — which had led cooperation talks with Fortum since February — had asked the group’s chairman to terminate their contracts at the end of Nov. 30, 2019.

Russian regulators have barred Fortum from increasing its stake in Uniper because of a water-testing license owned by the German firm’s Russian business Unipro. Uniper has so far held on to the license, effectively blocking a takeover.

Reutersberg said that external and internal experts had found no evidence that Uniper management violated any laws in its dealings in Russia, adding there were no findings that support Fortum’s claims.

Fortum Chief Executive Pekka Lundmark said in a statement delaying the discharge vote on Uniper’s management had been a result of the lack of transparency on management conduct during and after the takeover bid, not a sign of mistrust in management as a whole.

He said it was now Fortum’s goal to establish a dialogue with Uniper’s incoming Chief Executive Andreas Schierenbeck and Chief Financial Officer Sascha Bibert, which will both start their jobs on June 1.

“We are confident that together we can make a joint vision reality,” Lundmark said.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz. Editing by Jane Merriman)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A logo of German energy utility company Uniper SE
FILE PHOTO: A logo of German energy utility company Uniper SE is pictured in Duesseldorf, Germany, March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen/File Photo

May 26, 2019

By Christoph Steitz

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Uniper’s chairman on Sunday said talks with major shareholder Fortum to resolve a dispute between the two companies were on hold after two of the German utility’s board members resigned.

Fortum and Uniper have been at loggerheads since the Finnish state-owned utility tried to take over the German group in 2017, a deal that Uniper’s management opposed due to concerns it might get broken up.

Fortum, which has a 49.99% stake in Uniper, has claimed that Uniper’s board actively tried to block its planned takeover, which Uniper denies.

The resignation of Uniper’s Chief Operating Officer Eckhardt Ruemmler and Chief Commercial Officer Keith Martin came in response to Fortum’s move last week to postpone a shareholder vote to endorse Uniper’s management for the past two years.

“We must and want to work with our major shareholder in a trusting relationship. This trust has lost its foundation. Talks had been on a good path. In my view a major chance has been blown,” Uniper Supervisory Board Chairman Bernhard Reutersberg told Reuters.

He said that talks with Fortum were on hold for now.

“I expect a clear signal from Fortum on how they think talks can be continued in light of the current developments.”

Uniper said Ruemmler and Martin — which had led cooperation talks with Fortum since February — had asked the group’s chairman to terminate their contracts at the end of Nov. 30, 2019.

Russian regulators have barred Fortum from increasing its stake in Uniper because of a water-testing license owned by the German firm’s Russian business Unipro. Uniper has so far held on to the license, effectively blocking a takeover.

Reutersberg said that external and internal experts had found no evidence that Uniper management violated any laws in its dealings in Russia, adding there were no findings that support Fortum’s claims.

Fortum Chief Executive Pekka Lundmark said in a statement delaying the discharge vote on Uniper’s management had been a result of the lack of transparency on management conduct during and after the takeover bid, not a sign of mistrust in management as a whole.

He said it was now Fortum’s goal to establish a dialogue with Uniper’s incoming Chief Executive Andreas Schierenbeck and Chief Financial Officer Sascha Bibert, which will both start their jobs on June 1.

“We are confident that together we can make a joint vision reality,” Lundmark said.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz. Editing by Jane Merriman)

Source: OANN

The Supreme Court of Utah upheld a six-month suspension without pay for a municipal judge who disparaged President Donald Trump on social media and during official judicial proceedings.

Taylorsville Justice Court Judge Michael Kwan undermined public confidence in the courts by intervening in the political process, the state Supreme Court concluded.

“Fulfillment of judicial duties does not come without personal sacrifice of some opportunities and privileges available to the public at large,” Utah Supreme Court Justice John Pearce wrote in an opinion upholding the sanctions against Kwan. “And as a person the public entrusts to decide issues with the utmost fairness, independence, and impartiality, a judge must at times set aside the power of his or her voice.”

The state Judicial Conduct Commission (JCC) brought formal charges against Kwan after the judge disparaged the president on social networks and in his own courtroom during official proceedings. In one social media post, for example, Kwan suggested that congressional Republicans were comparable to the rubber-stamp parliament of Nazi Germany.

“Welcome to the beginning of the fascist takeover,” Kwan wrote. “We need to be diligent in questioning congressional Republicans if they are going to be the American Reichstag and refuse to stand up for the Constitution, refuse to uphold their oath of office, and enable the tyrants to consolidate their power.”

On another occasion, the judge dismissed a defendant’s contention that he would pay off overdue court fines with his tax rebate, saying that Trump will only give tax cuts to the wealthy.

The JCC concluded that Kwan’s internet posts and statements in court were “prejudicial to the administration of justice” and suspended the judge without pay for six months.

The state Supreme Court reviewed those findings. Kwan said his social media commentary is protected First Amendment speech. The court rejected Kwan’s argument, saying state precedent provides that judges cannot raise their first constitutional challenge to a JCC rule in a disciplinary proceeding. However, Pearce seemed to acknowledge that precedent is problematic and could be revisited in a future case.

According to Pearce’s opinion, the JCC and the Utah bar association have sanctioned Kwan in the past for inappropriate political commentary and misuse of judicial authority, to include imposing jail sentences in absentia and assessing excessive fines. On one occasion, the state Supreme Court publicly reprimanded Kwan for serving as president of a nonprofit that took policy positions and criticized candidates for public office.


Source: InfoWars

The Supreme Court of Utah upheld a six-month suspension without pay for a municipal judge who disparaged President Donald Trump on social media and during official judicial proceedings.

Taylorsville Justice Court Judge Michael Kwan undermined public confidence in the courts by intervening in the political process, the state Supreme Court concluded.

“Fulfillment of judicial duties does not come without personal sacrifice of some opportunities and privileges available to the public at large,” Utah Supreme Court Justice John Pearce wrote in an opinion upholding the sanctions against Kwan. “And as a person the public entrusts to decide issues with the utmost fairness, independence, and impartiality, a judge must at times set aside the power of his or her voice.”

The state Judicial Conduct Commission (JCC) brought formal charges against Kwan after the judge disparaged the president on social networks and in his own courtroom during official proceedings. In one social media post, for example, Kwan suggested that congressional Republicans were comparable to the rubber-stamp parliament of Nazi Germany.

“Welcome to the beginning of the fascist takeover,” Kwan wrote. “We need to be diligent in questioning congressional Republicans if they are going to be the American Reichstag and refuse to stand up for the Constitution, refuse to uphold their oath of office, and enable the tyrants to consolidate their power.”

On another occasion, the judge dismissed a defendant’s contention that he would pay off overdue court fines with his tax rebate, saying that Trump will only give tax cuts to the wealthy.

The JCC concluded that Kwan’s internet posts and statements in court were “prejudicial to the administration of justice” and suspended the judge without pay for six months.

The state Supreme Court reviewed those findings. Kwan said his social media commentary is protected First Amendment speech. The court rejected Kwan’s argument, saying state precedent provides that judges cannot raise their first constitutional challenge to a JCC rule in a disciplinary proceeding. However, Pearce seemed to acknowledge that precedent is problematic and could be revisited in a future case.

According to Pearce’s opinion, the JCC and the Utah bar association have sanctioned Kwan in the past for inappropriate political commentary and misuse of judicial authority, to include imposing jail sentences in absentia and assessing excessive fines. On one occasion, the state Supreme Court publicly reprimanded Kwan for serving as president of a nonprofit that took policy positions and criticized candidates for public office.


Source: InfoWars

German Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann presents the annual 2018 report in Frankfurt
German Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann presents the annual 2018 report in Frankfurt, Germany, February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

May 26, 2019

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – European Central Bank policymaker and presidential hopeful Jens Weidmann said on Sunday he saw no need for the ECB to change its policy at present, despite a weaker euro zone economy.

The ECB’s Governing Council is due to meet on June 5-6 and decide on the terms of its third round of cheap loans to banks – one of several measures it has deployed to stimulate lending in the bloc.

“This isn’t a situation where prices are falling and we have to react now,” the head of Germany’s central bank told members of the public at the Bundesbank’s open days.

Weidmann added decreasing spare capacity in the economy, namely the extent to which labor, capital and other resources are used below their maximum level, would eventually push up prices.

These have been growing at a slower pace than the ECB’s target of “close, but below 2%” for years despite the central bank’s unprecedented stimulus measures.

Weidmann, a guardian of German economic orthodoxy who has often opposed the ECB’s easy policy, is one of the hot names in the race to replace Mario Draghi as President in November.

But he may face opposition from indebted countries in the bloc’s south, which favor lower interest rates.

“Surely it would be bad to give the impression that certain nationalities are fundamentally excluded from the ECB Presidency,” Weidmann said.

“That would be the opposite of what we want to achieve, which is acceptance.”

(Reporting By Frank Siebelt; Writing by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Source: OANN

German Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann presents the annual 2018 report in Frankfurt
German Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann presents the annual 2018 report in Frankfurt, Germany, February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

May 26, 2019

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – European Central Bank policymaker and presidential hopeful Jens Weidmann said on Sunday he saw no need for the ECB to change its policy at present, despite a weaker euro zone economy.

The ECB’s Governing Council is due to meet on June 5-6 and decide on the terms of its third round of cheap loans to banks – one of several measures it has deployed to stimulate lending in the bloc.

“This isn’t a situation where prices are falling and we have to react now,” the head of Germany’s central bank told members of the public at the Bundesbank’s open days.

Weidmann added decreasing spare capacity in the economy, namely the extent to which labor, capital and other resources are used below their maximum level, would eventually push up prices.

These have been growing at a slower pace than the ECB’s target of “close, but below 2%” for years despite the central bank’s unprecedented stimulus measures.

Weidmann, a guardian of German economic orthodoxy who has often opposed the ECB’s easy policy, is one of the hot names in the race to replace Mario Draghi as President in November.

But he may face opposition from indebted countries in the bloc’s south, which favor lower interest rates.

“Surely it would be bad to give the impression that certain nationalities are fundamentally excluded from the ECB Presidency,” Weidmann said.

“That would be the opposite of what we want to achieve, which is acceptance.”

(Reporting By Frank Siebelt; Writing by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Source: OANN

EPP final campaign event ahead of the EU election, in Munich
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during Manfred Weber’s, candidate of the European People’s Party (EPP) for the next European Commission President, final campaign event ahead of the EU election in Munich, Germany, May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

May 26, 2019

By Madeline Chambers

BERLIN (Reuters) – Voters in the northern state of Bremen look set to inflict a humiliating blow on Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) in an election on Sunday that could hasten the end of their loveless federal coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.

Polls in Germany’s smallest state, focused on the port city of the same name, are tight but indicate the SPD risks losing a stronghold it has ruled for 73 years. No other German state has been ruled by the same party for so long.

Elections to the European Parliament on the same day as Bremen’s parliamentary vote could pile further pressure on Merkel’s “grand coalition”, with both conservatives and SPD likely to suffer heavy losses.

First projections for both are due at 1800 CET (1600 GMT).

If the SPD loses Bremen to the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), pressure will mount on party leader Andrea Nahles to stand down or break with the federal coalition.

In a sign of growing unrest inside the SPD, German weekly Bild am Sonntag reported that former party leader Martin Schulz wants to replace Nahles as chief.

An SPD spokeswoman said that Nahles and Schulz were in regular discussions, declining to comment on the content of confidential talks.

Bremen has the highest jobless level of any German state. Most recent polls suggest there is scope for three outcomes in Bremen: a grand coalition of the SPD and CDU; a coalition of the CDU, Greens and the business-friendly FDP; or a coalition of SPD with the far-left Die Linke party and the Greens.

REVIEWING COALITION

Many among the SPD’s rank and file are fed up with serving as Merkel’s allies, a thankless role the party has fulfilled in 10 of the last 14 years and which has left the chancellor to steal the limelight, especially on the international stage.

The party reluctantly re-entered a Merkel-led coalition last year after slumping to its weakest level since 1933 in the 2017 federal election. It has since sunk even lower, polling at about 17 percent, more than 10 points behind the conservatives.

The party is due to review the coalition by the end of the year and pressure from members could grow to ditch it and instead reinvigorate its leftist roots in opposition.

Such a move could force a snap federal election, an unappealing option for both the SPD and conservative bloc, or possibly the formation of a different coalition which would be a tricky task.

Either of those scenarios could hasten Merkel’s exit, a subject of increasing speculation since she handed the CDU leadership to her protege Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer last year.

In Bremen, a new face for the CDU, IT businessman Carsten Meyer-Heder, senses a “mood for change”. Polls put him one point ahead of experienced SPD mayor Carsten Sieling, who is hoping voters will opt for a “safe pair of hands”.

(Additional reporting by Markus Wacket, Andreas Rinke and Christoph Steitz; Editing by David Holmes/Keith Weir)

Source: OANN

EPP final campaign event ahead of the EU election, in Munich
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during Manfred Weber’s, candidate of the European People’s Party (EPP) for the next European Commission President, final campaign event ahead of the EU election in Munich, Germany, May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

May 26, 2019

By Madeline Chambers

BERLIN (Reuters) – Voters in the northern state of Bremen look set to inflict a humiliating blow on Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) in an election on Sunday that could hasten the end of their loveless federal coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.

Polls in Germany’s smallest state, focused on the port city of the same name, are tight but indicate the SPD risks losing a stronghold it has ruled for 73 years. No other German state has been ruled by the same party for so long.

Elections to the European Parliament on the same day as Bremen’s parliamentary vote could pile further pressure on Merkel’s “grand coalition”, with both conservatives and SPD likely to suffer heavy losses.

First projections for both are due at 1800 CET (1600 GMT).

If the SPD loses Bremen to the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), pressure will mount on party leader Andrea Nahles to stand down or break with the federal coalition.

In a sign of growing unrest inside the SPD, German weekly Bild am Sonntag reported that former party leader Martin Schulz wants to replace Nahles as chief.

An SPD spokeswoman said that Nahles and Schulz were in regular discussions, declining to comment on the content of confidential talks.

Bremen has the highest jobless level of any German state. Most recent polls suggest there is scope for three outcomes in Bremen: a grand coalition of the SPD and CDU; a coalition of the CDU, Greens and the business-friendly FDP; or a coalition of SPD with the far-left Die Linke party and the Greens.

REVIEWING COALITION

Many among the SPD’s rank and file are fed up with serving as Merkel’s allies, a thankless role the party has fulfilled in 10 of the last 14 years and which has left the chancellor to steal the limelight, especially on the international stage.

The party reluctantly re-entered a Merkel-led coalition last year after slumping to its weakest level since 1933 in the 2017 federal election. It has since sunk even lower, polling at about 17 percent, more than 10 points behind the conservatives.

The party is due to review the coalition by the end of the year and pressure from members could grow to ditch it and instead reinvigorate its leftist roots in opposition.

Such a move could force a snap federal election, an unappealing option for both the SPD and conservative bloc, or possibly the formation of a different coalition which would be a tricky task.

Either of those scenarios could hasten Merkel’s exit, a subject of increasing speculation since she handed the CDU leadership to her protege Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer last year.

In Bremen, a new face for the CDU, IT businessman Carsten Meyer-Heder, senses a “mood for change”. Polls put him one point ahead of experienced SPD mayor Carsten Sieling, who is hoping voters will opt for a “safe pair of hands”.

(Additional reporting by Markus Wacket, Andreas Rinke and Christoph Steitz; Editing by David Holmes/Keith Weir)

Source: OANN

NATO helicopters land at the Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan
NATO helicopters land at the Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan October 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

May 26, 2019

By Rupam Jain and Sabine Siebold

KABUL/BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany, a leading donor and member of the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan, has been talking with the Taliban and the Afghan government in an effort to restart peace talks to end 18 years of conflict, officials said.

While the Taliban have been talking with U.S. officials since October about a withdrawal of international troops, they have so far refused formal talks with the Western-backed government, which they dismiss as a “puppet” regime.

Berlin’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Markus Potzel, has visited Kabul for talks with the Afghan government and met Taliban officials in Doha at least twice this month.

“The current chance for a process towards a more peaceful Afghanistan should not be missed. If the friends of Afghanistan – and Germany is one of them – together can help in this effort, then we should do it,” Potzel said.

“In the end only the Afghans themselves, including the Taliban, can decide upon the future of their country.”

The chief U.S. negotiator in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, in March said that a draft agreement had been reached on a withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a commitment by the Taliban to cut ties with militant groups such as Al Qaeda.

But there has been no agreement yet on a ceasefire or a start to talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, both seen as key conditions for a settlement.

An Afghan delegation had been due to meet Taliban officials in the Qatari capital Doha last month to build the basis for possible negotiations, but the meeting was canceled at the last minute after a dispute over the number of participants.

“We realize that U.S.-Taliban talks will gain momentum only if the insurgent leaders start engaging with the Afghan representatives,” a senior German official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Sohail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha, said that Germany was one among several countries to have offered help to seek a peaceful resolutions. The European Union and Indonesia are among those to have offered help, another Taliban official said, declining to be named.

Discussions were held with Germany about an Afghan-Taliban meeting in Germany but no decision has been made, Shaheen told Reuters.

The moves come at a time when the Taliban controls or exercises influence over more than half of Afghanistan.

At least 3,804 civilians were killed in the war last year, according to a United Nations report, plus thousands of soldiers, police and Taliban militants.

The involvement of Germany, the second-largest donor and an influential member of the 39-member NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan, follows concern among several U.S. allies at being excluded from the talks.

Germany, which last year spent 23 billion euros ($25.76 billion) in integrating hundreds of thousands of refugees from countries including Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, also has pressing domestic reasons for promoting peace. Next year, parliament will have to approve the continued presence of 1,200 German troops in Afghanistan.

“Lawmakers will ask why they should extend the mandate again if there is no progress there whatsoever,” said Conrad Schetter, an Afghanistan at the Bonn International Center for Conversion, an independent think-tank.

($1 = 0.8927 euros)

(Additional reporting by Hamid Shalizi and Abdul Qadir Sediqi; Editing by David Goodman)

Source: OANN


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