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Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘Spiegel’

Die Bahn kommt – in China wirklich

Posted by hkarner - 15. Dezember 2019

In Rekordzeit hat China sein Schnellzugnetz ausgebaut, heute verfügt das Land über mehr Gleiskilometer als der Rest der Welt zusammen. Viele Menschen steigen vom Flugzeug um. Noch ist die CO2-Ersparnis gering, doch das soll sich ändern.

Von Georg Fahrion, Peking, Spiegel.de

An einem Dezembertag schließen sich auf dem Shanghaier Bahnhof um 11.59 Uhr die Zugtüren, um Punkt zwölf rollt der G12 nach Peking los. In nur viereinhalb Stunden wird der Zug 1318 Kilometer zurücklegen, eine Distanz wie von der Ostsee zum Mittelmeer. Während der Fahrt reißt das WLAN kein einziges Mal ab.

Bequeme Sitze, großzügige Beinfreiheit, und acht Minuten nach Abfahrt beginnt der Bordservice: Eine Stewardess überreicht jedem Fahrgast ein Getränk, Cracker und Wasabi-Erbsen. Wenig später feudelt eine Frau in schwarzer Dienstmädchenuniform den tadellos sauberen Boden im Großraumwaggon. Um 12.22 Uhr zeigt ein Display an, dass die Höchstgeschwindigkeit erreicht ist: 339 km/h. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Germany Is Shirking Its EU Responsibilities

Posted by hkarner - 24. November 2019

Date: 23-11-2019
Source: DER SPIEGEL by Dirk Kurbjuweit

Germany used to be passionately pro-European, with the EU facilitating the country’s postwar return to the international community. These days? Not so much. And Berlin’s passivity is becoming dangerous.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

If the Germans were once the most committed, most passionate Europeans, they are today among the most half-hearted. Despite spending decades after World War II as the greatest beneficiary of the European idea, slowly shedding its pariah status, Germany is now extremely focused on its own interests. Even worse, though, is the fact that German politicians are no longer paying much attention to Europe at all. They are simply letting things take their course, playing catch up or just standing by and watching what happens next. It’s as if they are unable to recognize what is at stake.

A battle is underway in Europe and the U.S. for the future of liberal democracy. In the U.S., that fight is primarily focused on Donald Trump. In Europe, the situation is more multifaceted and less obvious, but no less dangerous. And as the strongest economy on the Continent, Germany should be on the front lines of that fight. Instead, the country is doing nothing to carry its weight, hunkering down in the middle of Europe seemingly with no idea what to do. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Macron Plays Fox in the EU Hen House

Posted by hkarner - 17. November 2019

Date: 16-11-2019
Source: DER SPIEGEL

French President Emmanuel Macron has a grand foreign policy vision for Europe and he has been energetically pushing it forward. In the process, though, he has angered Germany and other European Union allies.

French President Emmanuel Macron

With a microphone in his right hand, his left shoved casually into his pocket, French President Emmanuel Macron was standing on the stage inside a former slaughterhouse in Paris, turning from side to side to address his entire audience. And it was quite an audience. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres was there, as was future European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other leading politicians.

It was Tuesday morning of this week and Macron was holding the opening address at the Paris Peace Forum, a two-day event aiming to bring together some of the major actors on the world stage. It’s an invention of the French government, a typically ambitious Macron project.

Macron spoke for 22 minutes about hegemony and colonialism, about World War I and the fall of the Berlin Wall. In closing, he quoted the recently deceased Hungarian philosopher Ágnes Heller, who said, in Macron’s telling, that more than ever, a certain amount of heroism is needed to provide answers to the present. Looking away in cowardice, remaining stuck in old habits and doing nothing, Macron continued, is not an option for all those who have been handed a political mandate by the electorate.

The message Macron was trying to send by quoting the Hungarian intellectual was relatively clear. I, Emmanuel Macron, he seemed to be saying, did nothing more in my widely criticized interview with the Economist than take a fresh look at our crisis-ridden present and draw my own conclusions. Part of that exercise was casting doubt on NATO’s functionality and on the readiness of the Germans to work toward establishing a strong, sovereign Europe. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Von der Leyens erste Grundsatzrede: „Europa muss die Sprache der Macht lernen“

Posted by hkarner - 10. November 2019

Date: 09-11-2019
Source: SPIEGEL

Europas Partner müssen sich nach Ansicht der gewählten EU-Kommissionspräsidentin von der Leyen darauf einstellen, dass sich das Bündnis künftig härter, machtbewusster zeigen wird. Als Beispiel nannte sie China.

Ursula von der Leyen wird am 1.Dezember neue EU-Kommissionspräsidentin

Europa muss nach Auffassung der künftigen EU-Kommissionspräsidentin Ursula von der Leyen energischer in der Welt auftreten.

„Europa muss auch die Sprache der Macht lernen“, sagte sie in Berlin in einer Europa-Rede vor der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. „Das heißt zum einen, eigene Muskeln aufbauen, wo wir uns lange auf andere stützen konnten – zum Beispiel in der Sicherheitspolitik“, sagte die frühere deutsche Verteidigungsministerin. „Zum anderen die vorhandene Kraft gezielter einsetzen, wo es um europäische Interessen geht.“

„Wir können die Bedingungen beeinflussen, zu denen wir Geschäfte machen“

Als Beispiel nannte von der Leyen die Handelspolitik. China sei zwar ein wichtiger Handelspartner für Europa. Aber umgekehrt sei die EU Pekings größter Handelspartner. „Wir können die Bedingungen beeinflussen, zu denen wir Geschäfte machen“, sagte von der Leyen. Dies geschehe auch bereits. So freue man sich über jedes ausländische Unternehmen, das an Ausschreibungen in der EU teilnehme, sei es für den Bau von Autobahnen oder Stromtrassen. „Aber wir werden künftig stärker darauf achten, dass sich diese Unternehmen auch an unsere Standards halten, zum Beispiel was Arbeitsbedingungen und Umweltschutzvorschriften angeht.“ Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Will Tesla and Google Kill the German Car?

Posted by hkarner - 6. November 2019

Date: 05-11-2019
Source: DER SPIEGEL.

The End of an Era

Threatened by entrepreneurs in California and by Chinese upstarts, German automakers are urgently trying to find their place in a new world of robots and electric cars. BMW, Daimler, Audi and VW set the standards for a century but have now fallen behind.

Germany Faces the Electric Car

History will be written on Nov. 4 at the VW plant in Zwickau, Germany. Anyone lucky enough to recently visit the factory, which is sealed behind blue rolling doors, entered into a secret world, a hidden industrial laboratory to which only a few Volkswagen employees have access. In its „ghost run,“ or test operation, orange-colored robots run by highly complex programs and aided by humans and machines assembled eight electric model-ID.3 cars per day for testing purposes. Serial production is now set to begin on Nov. 4. Depending on how you see it, this marks either the beginning or the end of an era.

In the future, 1,500 electric Volkswagen cars are to roll off the assembly line at the plant in the eastern state of Saxony every day, a total of 330,000 vehicles every year, in what the company describes as the „largest and most efficient electric car factory in Europe.“ The designers of the new compact, C-class ID.3 want to make it a 21st century icon, just as the VW Beetle and VW Golf were in their heydays. That’s advertising language, of course, but even from a neutral perspective, it is difficult to overestimate the significance of what is happening: In Zwickau, Volkswagen is ringing the death knell for the combustion engine. By 2040, VW plans to cease manufacturing all cars that run on gasoline or diesel fuel. It’s the end of an era.

And what a momentous era it was. It lasted over 100 years, and was shaped in decisive ways by German inventors and engineers — courageous entrepreneurs, visionary designers and highly competent, skilled workers. During this era, German automobiles became the epitome of the highest quality workmanship around the world. A time when Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche and Audi, and the objects of global prestige they produced, became ambassadors for Germany. Their finely tuned engines were models for industrial excellence. German cars were considered „das Auto“ par excellence and Audi’s advertising slogan „Vorsprung durch Technik“ (Progress through technology) became one of the few German terms actually known in English. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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UN Survey Says Africa’s Best Are Emigrating

Posted by hkarner - 26. Oktober 2019

Date: 25-10-2019
Source: SPIEGEL

Many Europeans are apprehensive about migrants coming to the continent. The United Nations has surveyed some 3,000 immigrants from African countries about their personal histories and plans — and came to some astonishing conclusions.

Who are „the“ migrants from African countries who enter the European Union illegally? They are sometimes portrayed as a homogenous group — and many people bitterly complain about them to score political points.

But the vast majority are people who have left their homelands in search of a safer and better life in a foreign country. They are fleeing poverty, a lack of opportunities and a lack of social safety nets.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has devoted an extensive survey to this group and published the results under the title „Scaling Fences: Voices of Irregular African Migrants to Europe.“

Some 3,000 adults from 43 African countries were surveyed. The survey does not include those who said that they fled their homes because of war or political persecution. This reduced the sample group to those Africans who were looking for a better life in Europe, but were not allowed to do so because of European immigration laws. Researchers encountered them living in tent cities in the Spanish town of Lepe, where they toil away in greenhouses — but also in rental apartments with their partners and children in places like Madrid, Rome and Frankfurt.

The results show that some of the supposed certainties about African immigrants to Germany are true, while others are not — both in terms of their social backgrounds and reasons for emigrating.

Where do the immigrants come from?

Almost three-quarters (71 percent) of the surveyed immigrants come from the relatively prosperous and peaceful region of West Africa, primarily Nigeria and Senegal. In addition, most immigrants are better educated than their peers at home. Fifty-eight percent had regular jobs in their home countries or were pursuing an education before they left for Europe. And their earnings were higher than the national average.

They earned significantly more — 60 percent more — than their fellow citizens in their countries of origin, and thus were relatively well-off. Nevertheless, half of those who had a steady income say that it wasn’t enough to live on.

The vast majority of migrants were between 20 and 29 years old when they set off for Europe, and a quarter of them were married or in a committed relationship. Roughly one-third of the men and more than half of the women (58 percent) already had one or more children.

Based on all of these results, researchers came to the well-documented conclusion that migration is a step that only becomes possible when people experience economic and social improvements in their situation. As prosperity increases, it gives people the idea and the opportunity to embark on their journey.

What triggered their decision to leave — and what would have held them back?

A large proportion of the migrants who managed to scale Europe’s fences had jobs and a good education.

But the economic situation remained unbearable for many of them. Not surprisingly, 60 percent of respondents cited work and the ability to send money to their families back home as the most important reason for coming to Europe.

However, the researchers point out that this was almost never the only reason. Nearly all of them indicated two or more reasons — and the ranking of these influencing factors is interesting. The most commonly cited second reason — i.e. after the ability to earn money — was for 26 percent of the respondents the poor „governance/security context“ in their home countries.
Europe has instituted a wide range of border protection measures that make it difficult for African migrants to enter the continent. There are practically no legal means, aside from pursuing studies or landing an extremely well-paid job that is arranged in advance.

Consequently, over 1,000 people have drowned in 2019 while attempting to cross the Mediterranean on unseaworthy vessels. And many — some say even more than at sea — are dying of thirst in the Sahara, which migrants from almost every African country have to cross without the option of flying.

Virtually all migrants experienced a horrific journey. More than half were by no means naïve, and 56 percent said they had expected dangers during their journey. Nevertheless, more than half of the men and two-thirds of the women said that the perils of the trip to Europe were worse than expected.
This raised the following question: What would have dissuaded them from undertaking this arduous, expensive and dangerous journey?

In view of European campaigns to deter migrants even before they leave, two answers are particularly intriguing: Neither more information about what life is actually like in Europe nor more knowledge about the dangers of traveling would have prevented migrants from setting off. In fact, in response to the question „What would have made you change your mind about coming to Europe?“ most respondents replied „nothing.“ The second most cited response was: „improved economic circumstances at home.“

This is also astonishing because life in Europe is extremely hard for African migrants who are forced to eke out a precarious existence as illegal immigrants. Despite the aspirations of most migrants to earn money and regularly send some of their earnings back home, only relatively few of them manage to enter the job market.
This is primarily because most are banned from working. Although the study also surveyed migrants who have been living in Germany for more than 10 years, the majority (64 percent) said they were not allowed to work in their host country. Those who do manage to find a job are often grossly overqualified. One-fifth of the men work as fruit and vegetable pickers, and more than a third of the women have cleaning-related jobs or serve as domestic helpers. And if they do manage to land a job, their average salary is below the minimum wage of their respective host countries.

An important motivating factor is to support their families back home, which an impressive 78 percent of working migrants manage to do — and they send on average almost as much money home as they previously earned in their home countries.

Even though the average wage of 1,020 dollars a month that was calculated by the study must sound luxurious to the relatives back home, this is of course not a lot of money at European prices. But the researchers also calculated that, when adjusted for purchasing power, low-income earners in Europe still earn much more money than they would in their countries of origin.

From a European perspective, the housing situation is alarming. Although it improves from year to year, depending on how long migrants have been living in Europe, the figures for those who arrived between 2005 and 2010 still reveal many precarious living situations.

On the positive side, almost two-thirds of the immigrants from this group have managed to get into a rental apartment, many of which are subsidized by the state. But, roughly a decade after their arrival, one in six still lives in a shelter or a camp. And more than one in 10 are homeless.

Racism in Europe almost invariably hits African immigrants hard, as they are readily recognizable as migrants. In the six months preceding the interviews, 13 percent were victims of a crime; in more than 50 percent of the cases this was verbal abuse, and in nearly 30 percent of the cases it was an actual physical assault.

It may come as a surprise given the hardships they face, but most respondents nevertheless prefer to live in Europe, at least in terms of their financial situation and personal security. Nearly all found that their lives were better in this respect than in Africa. However, they do encounter emotional and social difficulties, prompting one-third to say that life is worse in this respect in Europe than in their countries of origin.

Based on these responses, researchers concluded that Europe should urgently change its policies toward people from African countries. Those who managed to earn money and send it home said that they intended to return to Africa in the medium term. Some also stated that their illegal status actually prevented them from returning home, even if they wanted to go back to their home countries.

If it were easier to acquire an official status and find a job, the researchers argue, the chances of migrants returning would increase, thus paving the way for what’s known as „circular migration.“

By contrast, those who earn no money due to discrimination and an undocumented status try to remain in Europe — if possible forever.

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Europe Can No Longer Afford the Brexit Insanity

Posted by hkarner - 6. Oktober 2019

Date: 05-10-2019
Source: DER SPIEGEL
Subject: Let’s Make a Deal

Despite everything, it is time for the European Union to reach a deal with the United Kingdom on Brexit. Compromise is the only way out of this mess.

Boris Johnson: Get Brexit done.

It’s only natural that everyone is resisting the idea of reopening a Brexit agreement that has already been negotiated once and for all. Of once again seeking a compromise, which this time would mean making concessions to Boris Johnson, a British prime minister who has plunged his country into a national crisis, violated the law, deceived the queen and made a mockery of parliament. No one, of course, wants to hand him the triumph of actually leading the British out of the European Union. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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China Experiments with a New Kind of MegalopolisA

Posted by hkarner - 8. September 2019

Date: 07-09-2019
Source: DER SPIEGEL.

Beijing is building a megacity in the Pearl River Delta that it hopes will one day rival New York and Tokyo. This colossal urbanization project is a bold attempt at metropolitan integration — and perhaps also a plan by the Chinese leadership to keep Hong Kong under its thumb.

At night, when the sky clears, it’s not difficult to guess where the bridge leads. The clouds on the other side of the bay glow orange, illuminated by the city of Hong Kong, with its population of 7 million, just beyond the horizon. Another glow can be seen farther north: the high-tech boomtown of Shenzhen, with 13 million inhabitants. There is a third and fourth patch of light in the sky even beyond that: Dongguan, with 8 million people, and Guangzhou, population 15 million. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Salvinis „Italexit“-Drohung Der Mann, der den Euro zerstören könnte

Posted by hkarner - 15. August 2019

Matteo Salvini will italienischer Premierminister werden – im Wahlkampf kokettiert der Rechtspopulist mit dem Euro-Austritt. An den Finanzmärkten sorgt er damit für Entsetzen.

Von Hans-Jürgen Schlamp, Rom, Spiegel.de

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Matteo Salvini: Dogmen und Vorschriften aus Brüssel sind „nicht heilig“
Dienstag, 13.08.2019 19:22 Uhr

Es ist wieder so weit: Die nächste Italien-Krise rollt an. An der Mailänder Börse sind die Aktienkurse in den vergangenen Tagen kräftig gefallen, vor allem jene von italienischen Banken und von Unternehmen, die weitgehend auf den Inlandsmarkt ausgerichtet sind. Post, Telekom, Gas. Die Anleger sind hochnervös.

Der berühmte „Spread“ steigt wieder. Das heißt: Italiens Finanzminister Giovanni Tria muss derzeit für eine Schuldverschreibung mit zehnjähriger Laufzeit dem Käufer 1,7 Prozent Zinsen bieten. Deutschlands Finanzminister Olaf Scholz bekommt dagegen von jedem, der seine Staatsanleihen haben will, noch 0,6 Prozent Zinsen dazu. Geradezu verlockend für einen Finanzminister, aber Scholz will eigentlich gar keine neuen Schulden machen.

Der parteilose Kollege in Rom dagegen soll viele, sehr viele neue Kredite aufnehmen. So will es seine gerade auseinanderfliegende Regierung, vor allem der kleinere, aber weit durchsetzungsstärkere Partner, die rechte Lega von Matteo Salvini. Dabei gehört Italien längst zu den Ländern mit der weltweit höchsten Schuldenquote. Um fast 40 Prozent sind die Staatsschulden in den vergangenen zehn Jahren gestiegen, auf etwa 2,32 Billionen Euro im vorigen Jahr. Das entspricht 132 Prozent der jährlichen Wirtschaftskraft des Landes. Nur Griechenland ist in Europa noch schlimmer dran. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Lure of the West: Bosnia Feels the Pinch of Brain Drain to EU

Posted by hkarner - 8. August 2019

In Bosnia, thousands of people are learning German. With a lack of opportunity in their own country, talented young Bosnians are emigrating to what they hope will be a brighter future abroad. Entire towns have emptied out.

By Keno Verseck, spiegel.de
Young men learning German in the city of Jajce, Bosnia, as they prepare to move to a German-speaking country.

August 06, 2019 01:20 PM

This is the beginner’s course and most attendees barely speak any German yet, but they already know quite a few words that will be helpful to them later, like „diploma,“ „desired salary“ and „job application.“ Or they read sentences out loud, like: „Mr. Kindler would like to work in a garage as a mechanic.“

Josip Strkalj is sitting in the second row and concentrating on his class materials. The 24-year-old received his university degree in occupational safety engineering last year and is now eager to learn German. His goal is to emigrate to Germany, possibly as soon as just a few months from now. His girlfriend already lives there, in the city of Ulm. „No one pays attention to any rules in our country,“ he says. „I like Germany. I like that everything has its place and everything is predictable.“
Dragana Crnoja and her colleague Tarik Zjajo teach evening German classes for adults at the vocational school in Jajce, a town in central Bosnia. The classes, which take place several times a week, are extremely popular — because many from the town and the surrounding villages hope to emigrate to Germany or Austria. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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