“Wenn das Angebot erst einmal in dieser Breite vorhanden ist, dann wird die Nachfrage sich einstellen”

“When supply is available in this [amplitude/latitude], then the demand will adjust,” transport minister Peter Ramsauer (C.S.U.) said at the May 2013 electromobility summit in Berlin, explaining how supply was going to drive demand for electric cars in Germany. Though his government certainly wanted more electric cars on German roads, they said they would continue not giving individual consumers subventions or tax rebates for purchasing the expensive but environmentally friendly vehicles. Only ~7000 electric cars were registered in Germany (pop. ~80 million). Electric car prices in Germany were considered high by consumers and everyone—government, car makers and consumers—agreed there weren’t many models to choose from. Auto manufacturers at the government-hosted electromobility conference said on 27 May 2013 they hoped to increase the electric car models for sale in Germany to ~15 by 2015.

Update on 26 Nov 2013: Norway is promoting electric cars more than any other country in the world, with free downtown parking, free downtown recharging, no taxes on purchases of new electric automobiles (omitting 25% V.A.T., import fees and tariffs, import customs charges), no highway tolls and permission to drive in bus lanes. Rich in oil and water, Norway has been selling the oil internationally and using the water to create free electricity for electric cars at home, to meet the country’s 2017 carbon emissions reduction goals. The ~5 million Norwegians own about 14,000 electric cars, which have become the most popular vehicles people are applying to register there, unseating the Volkswagen Golf.

(Ven   doss   ON geh boat   eahst   moll   inn   dee zah   BR-R-R-IGHT ah   foah hond en   issed,   don   vee ahd   dee   NOCHH fr-r-rog ah   zichh   eye n shtell en.)

Dopingjäger

“Doping hunters.”

The Deutscher Fussball-Bund [“German Soccer Association”] and new Nationaler Antidoping-Agentur [“National Anti-doping Agency”] compromised on 500 anti-doping tests in professional German soccer in the coming season. That is 500 tests total for apparently all Bundesliga, second Liga and Junior teams, as well as the “A” national team. This averages out to fewer than two blood tests this year per each of the 36 professional teams, according to ZDF heute journal and Stern.de. There will be 75 blood and urine tests and 425 tests of urine only. A Dopingjäger pharmacologist criticized the numbers as insufficient and the current negotiation process as “pure cow trading* and nothing more.” He also said the new agreement includes a 15% reduction in urine tests. Canada’s C.B.C. reported that any anti-doping blood tests at all would be a new thing in the Bundesliga.

Statistics provided on the D.F.B. website at the time of the August 2013 announcement said the association had six million members.

* Cow trading means horse trading.

(DOPE ingk YAY gah.)

Rhabarberbarbarabarbarbarenbartbarbierbierbar

The bar where the barber who trims the beards of the barbarians who frequent the bar of Barbara who’s famous for her rhubarb cake drinks his after-work beer.

(Ra BA ba BA bar ah ba BAR en baht ba BEER beer ba.)

Verjährungsfrist verlängern

Extending the statute of limitations period.

At the Fourth World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg in November 2013, the World Anti-Doping Agency (W.A.D.A.) agreed to increase the ban on athletes caught doping from two years to four years, increase the statute of limitations for using illegal performance-enhancing drugs from eight years to ten years, and increase the world anti-doping agency’s power versus sport associations and country-level athletics organizations. Athletics support staff, wrote MiamiHerald.com, such as trainers, coaches and officials, “were not subject to the same anti-doping rules as athletes” but that has now been changed. W.A.D.A. and the International Cycling Union said they will also be creating an inquiry commission to investigate bicycling’s lethally performance-enhanced history. These changes will go into effect 01 Jan 2015, in time for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

MiamiHerald.com reported drugs testing in sport is starting to focus more on intelligence gathering, “as a complement to” traditional urine and blood sampling, and that such “investigation” is how the evidence was acquired for the recent BALCO, Operation Puerto and Lance Armstrong discoveries. At least Bundesliga soccer has not been fully participating in effective anti-doping sampling regimens, taking few samples and discarding them early.

In October 2013, ARD tagesschau.de broadcast an interesting report on the assignation of guilts in a German cyclist’s doping trial. If the cycling team’s managers knew about doping on the team, the judges decided, then after cyclists get caught doping their managers can’t sue them for violation of the team’s official rules.

“This first criminal trial against a doping sinner shows that with the existing criminal laws it could be difficult in principle to achieve a deterrent effect on professional athletes. For a long time now people have been discussing the introduction of a specific paragraph about athletic cheating, making it a crime to ‘distort competition’ [Wettbewerbsverzerrung], as occurs during doping.”
–Frank Bräutigam, excellent legal correspondent for ARD tagesschau.de

A pundit complained that if the cyclist had been found guilty, the verdict would have had far-reaching negative effects such as not punishing team doctors for doping while punishing athletes caught doing it, even though the athletes probably aren’t aware of the full spectrum of harmful side effects and the team doctors are.

(Fair YAIR oongs frissed   fair LENG airn.)

Berlin-Hohenschönhausen-Ausstellung

Permanent exhibit in the former Stasi interrogation prison at Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, where 40,000 East Germans were held prisoner. Includes photos of the prisoners, descriptions of how they were treated (torture, solitary, permanent surveillance, silent shoes on the guards, and prisoner uniforms deliberately issued in the wrong sizes, in “a system designed to break people”), evidence found of prisoners’ courage and good humor (bronx cheers and Latin vocabulary exercises written on napkins using coffee as ink). Also, as director Hubertus Knabe pointed out, the museum has added a new section with information about the Stasi prison’s guards. “What kind of people worked here? How did they live? How were they held together ideologically and brought in line? You can find that out here too.”

(Bear LYNN   ho! en shin HOW’S en   ow! ss shtell OONG.)

Detekteien

Private detective agencies. A Spiegel.de article dated 2008 said this was an unregulated and unsupervised but burgeoning security industry in Germany, sometimes employing former Stasi cooperators. The authors estimated there were ~1500 private detective companies in Germany in 2008 and about a dozen key world players, including the New York-based Kroll and London-based Control Risks. Many of these companies earned game-changing amounts of money in Iraq after the second U.S. invasion. They could be hired via law firms protected by attorney-client privilege, and subcontract jobs to other firms, obscuring cause-and-effect. A new C.E.O. of Control Risks said they were also hiring journalists to spy on other journalists.

A Detektei called Network Deutschland was “involved” in the German rail company Deutsche Bahn’s data privacy scandal when it was caught spying on its employees in 2009, leading to the retirement of C.E.O. Hartmut Mehdorn. Network Deutschland was also involved in the former-monopoly phone company Deutsche Telekom’s so-called “Telekom data scandal,” which is confusing but included T-mobile’s years of archiving communications data of members of its own supervisory boards, such as the head of the German trade union association Deutsche Gewerkschaftsbund. T-mobile was especially interested in any phone interactions with journalists. Deutsche Telekom was also accused of using private detectives to spy on journalists in other ways.

The 2013 Snowden revelations might provide some insight into the means private detective companies could have used to access these communications and banking data. Online ads and tech articles seem to be indicating that powerful N.S.A.-type tools are now trickling down into the regular economy, being sold to smaller and smaller entities.

N.B.: How early did the notoriously technophilic and well-funded U.S. National Football League know about some of these capabilities?

An English-language Spiegel.de article dated 2008 speculated about the separate huge data hoards controlled by the national rail (Deutsche Bahn), national airline (Lufthansa), post office (Deutsche Post) and phone company (Deutsche Telekom), all companies found to have made questionable investigations and hired detective agencies. The magazine couldn’t show that they had combined their data in 2008 though; they also only connected up e.g. that Deutsche Bahn and Deutsche Telekom hired the same detective agency but Lufthansa and (Telekom?) investigated the same journalist (Tasso Enzweiler from Financial Times Deutschland, which folded in 2012). The Spiegel article wanted to but could not show that the four big corporations also investigated each other, but it reminded us they were well positioned to investigate each other and anyone else in Germany. The Spiegel.de article didn’t want to feed conspiracy theorists but hoped the German government wasn’t asking these companies for access to their sensitive customer data. All four used to be state-owned and the German government still held large stakes in Deutsche Bahn and Deutsche Telekom.

(Day tect EYE en.)

Wettbewerbsvorteile

Competition advantages.

The E.U. Commission said they are going to file complaints with the European Court of Justice against Deutsche Bahn, the German rail system, and Deutsche Post, the German post office, for competition violations.

Deutsche Bahn is accused of an unclear accounting system without “eindeutig geregelt,” unambiguously regulated, procedures for keeping separate money for the rails network and and for traffic [“Schienennetz und Verkehr“]; E.U. law requires separation between the ownership and operation of rails networks. The Commission said money paid by D.B.’s competitors to use its rail networks might have been “alienated from its purpose” for improper “cross-subventions.” Also, taxpayers’ money which the government must contribute to the maintenance of the rails network infrastructure might have been diverted into Deutsche Bahn’s passenger and freight traffic. Such redirection might have enabled the company to establish unfair advantages over its competitors, thus the complaint from the E.U. competition authority, though the E.U. transportation commissioner Siim Kallas (libertarianesque Estonian Reform Party) who approved the C.S.U.’s car toll on foreigners entering Bavaria also said he wants new legislation to create more competition between European railroad companies. Generally, the German government is accused of not having adequately blocked D.B. from such repurposing and unclear accounting, and if the court agrees it appears Germany may be fined.

At issue for the Post is old government aid payments for which, the E.U. said, the German government did not adequately require reimbursement. The Deutsche Post paid back ~300 million euros plus interest of the 500 million to 1000 million euros the E.U. accused it in 2012 of receiving improperly in the form of high regulated postage prices and “Zuschüsse” [grants, subsidies, subventions, extra payments, benefits] to bureaucrats’ pension plans. Calculating how much the Post had improperly received was left to German authorities.

Süddeutsche.de reported the E.U. had allowed the Post’s unusual subventions in 2012 in principle but felt they were too high. There was also disagreement about how many divisions of the Post were involved: Germany argued only Postal Services should have to pay back the subventions, while the E.U. said Postal Services and Business Customers.

(VET bev airbz FOR tie leh.)

Sittenpolizei

“Morals police.”

For over thirty years, professional and amateur morals police in Iran have beaten women who appeared outside the home in clothing the morals police felt was inappropriate.

Now, new president Rouhani has said, women will no longer be arrested for appearing unveiled in public.

“Good manners [Sittsamkeit] is more than just wearing the hijab. The way the guardians understand modesty awakens contradictions in our society. It has negative consequences, contradicts the teachings of Islam and is unconstitutional.” —Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Iran’s chief of police, General Ismail Ahmadi-Moghaddam, “confirmed that women’s clothing will no longer be a law enforcement matter,” Süddeutsche.de reported, adding that the general was concerned about the bad reputation Iran’s police had accrued from this since 26 organizations had been tasked with the “Gaschte Erschad project,” he said, with millions budgeted for their work.

Update on 22 Nov 2013: A leader in the dreaded Basij militias, Sardar Naghdi, said at Friday prayers at the University of Teheran, where hardcore defenders of the 1979 Revolution governments have been meeting, that Facebook, YouTube and Google are instruments the U.S. has been using to subjugate Iran. He said this because President Rouhani’s government was considering allowing internet-based social networks in the country again.

(ZITT en pole eats eye.)

Staatliche Umerziehungslager erübrigen

Making government re-education camps unnecessary, surplus to requirements, superfluous.

As part of the exciting reform package announced on 15 Nov 2013, China will be eliminating labor camps from its criminal justice system! No time schedule was mentioned though.

Other reforms that were announced, translated from Spiegel.de:

  • Further loosening of the one-child rule.
  • Opening the financial sector to include “smaller and medium-sized banks” in future.
  • More market-driven pricing. “Prices set by the state are to be limited to public institutions and services, be transparent and by checked by the public.”
  • More transparent currency exchange policy.
  • More entrepreneurship that is private, including more private investment and not ruling out foreign private investment.

N.B.: On 19 Nov 2013 Daimler announced it would be the first international auto manufacturer to invest directly in a state-owned Chinese auto manufacturing company, buying 12% of its Chinese co-manufacturing partner, a cars subsidiary of Beijing Automobile Investment Company Limited. The 625-million-euro deal took nearly a year to negotiate. Daimler will get two seats on the supervisory board [Aufsichtsrat] of the Chinese company.

  • Introduction of a standardized and transparent budget and tax system. Reform and simplification of value-added tax (a sales tax). Consumption taxes [Verbrauchssteuer] to be expanded to high-electricity-consumption industries, environmentally unfriendly industries and luxury goods.
  • Land reform, including relaxing limitations on dealing with land in collective ownership (this could be good, could be bad!).
  • Better systems for fighting corruption, on all levels.

Spiegel.de wrote that German industry and economics leaders welcomed these changes, expecting good results from them and from other reforms such as improvements in social welfare services.

Update on 28 Dec 2013: China implemented the announced reforms.

(SHTOT lichh eh   OOM eah TSEE oongs LOG eah   er-r-r ÜÜ brig en.)

Erichs Lampenladen

Erich Honecker’s lampe shoppe.

Nickname of the Palast der Republik in the former East Berlin, which had many moderne chandeliers under its ceilings.

From a wonderful website featuring timelines, videos and other explanations and evidence to help Berlin tourists celebrate 24 years of the fall of the Wall and to help everyone remember what things were like in the walled city between 1961 and 1989.

(Air ichhhhhh z   LOMP en LOD en.)

Phantomtor

Ghost goal.

A hearing was held after a Hoffenheim vs. Bayer Leverkusen soccer match in which Leverkusen headed the ball through a single broken strand of the side net, much harder than a normal goal, and the referee mistakenly said it counted. The Deutscher Fussballbund’s tribunal decided to let Hoffenheim’s loss stand. They said the ref made a “facts decision” [Tatsachenentscheidung]. D.F.B. officials regretted that no one is happy about this.

ZDF heute journal’s Marietta Slomka: “When is a goal not a goal? When it’s still a goal.”

(Fun TOME tor.)

L.K.W.-Maut

Truck toll.

Germany has a relatively new national toll on trucks. On 06 Nov 2013 it became known that interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (C.S.U.) had wanted to use data collected during the collection of that toll “to fight crime” but has supposedly been stopped from doing so.

Wikipedia said the toll was introduced in 2005 and is collected automatically by Toll Collect using G.S.M. and G.P.S. and on-board units on registered trucks or by toll tickets sold by off-ramp terminals.

(LOST croft VOG en   m OW! T.)

P.K.W.-Maut

Car toll.

The C.D.U.’s Bavarian state sister party made a strange campaign promise for the Sept. 2013 election that they would levy a toll on foreign drivers entering Bavaria. It seemed this would be illegal in the E.U., in addition to unethical. The C.S.U. said the country of Austria was doing it, so why couldn’t the state of Bavaria? During the sole televised debate between the two biggest parties’ candidates—in Germany’s deliberately foreshortened campaign, kept brief by electoral laws—Angela Merkel quietly said “no” to the foreigner toll. Horst Seehofer (C.S.U.) swore his party wouldn’t sign a new federal coalition agreement with the C.D.U. without it.

The C.S.U. was re-elected in Bavaria and might be able to rule alone there with no coalition partner (they’ve been in charge in Bavaria since 1946).

In a surprise move, after the German elections a decision was announced from the E.U. transport commissioner Siim Kallas (libertarianesque Estonian Reform Party) indicating Brussels might allow such a state tax on foreigners! In the E.U.! Though they backtracked afterward, it still appeared the P.K.W.-Maut might be allowable were Bavaria to make all drivers entering the state pay a toll and then selectively refund it via the annual tax paid by car owners. That method would miss refunds to numerous deserving Bavarians—electric cars and other environmentally friendly cars already get car tax refunds for example—and the C.S.U. was scratching their heads about how to announce that those car owners wouldn’t be taxed like a foreigner. German consumer protection advocates and apparently a study by the country’s equivalent of A.A.A. (A.D.A.C., the General German Automobilclub) said the proposed toll’s stated intended benefit for infrastructure construction was disingenuous because it would create more administration costs than revenue; if this is true it makes the toll appear more racist. The toll would also irritate non-Bavarian Germans, many of whom were already looking askance at the Bavarian conservative politicians’ attempt to stoke up Ausländerfeindlichkeit, hatred of foreigners, and surf it to power.

Thomas Oppermann (S.P.D.) pointed out that, in the grosse Koalition negotiations to form the new government, the C.D.U. had firmly refused the S.P.D.’s campaign promise to inflict new taxes on the rich yet it would allow this new tax on people who aren’t wealthy.

Investigating the issue in more detail, on 07 Nov 2013 ZDF heute journal interviewed a traffic-expert pundit professor who estimated Germany needed ~7 billion euros more per year to fix its road infrastructure, i.e. more than doubling their current expenditures. He particularly used the example of bridges.

Reporting on 07 Nov 2013 seemed to indicate the debate had expanded to include introducing car tolls on all German autobahns, perhaps merely responsible political debating about any potential reforms or perhaps what it might take to weasel in the Bavarian foreigner disincentive under current rules. The numbers are still unclear, with the C.S.U.-led federal transportation ministry estimating much higher revenues from new car tolls than others estimated. ZDF listed approximate annual numbers from countries who’ve already introduced an autobahn car toll:

Austria. Car toll: 390 million euros, truck toll: 1,100 million euros; 800 million euros spent on annual road construction and maintenance. About half the car toll revenues come from foreign drivers. The Austrian car toll is about 80 euros/year, for residents and foreigners alike.

Switzerland. Car toll: 300 million euros, truck toll: 1,250 million euros; 1,250 million euros spent on annual road construction and maintenance. About 1/3 of the car toll revenues come from foreign drivers. The Swiss car toll is about 33 euros/year for residents and foreigners alike.

Germany. Truck toll: 4,600 million euros; ~5,000 million euros spent on annual road construction and maintenance. Estimates for revenues from an autobahn car toll vary between 350 and 700 million annually (the low number is from the A.D.A.C. drivers’ association and the high number is from the C.S.U.-led transportation ministry).

Austria and Switzerland said they spent 7% to 12% of the autobahn car toll revenues on its administrative costs. In Germany administrative costs could be much higher because of the C.S.U.’s plan to return the money to Bavarian drivers by offsetting it from their car tax. The toll might thus merely bring a bad reputation, highly-public permission for anti-foreigner sentiment and at most a few hundred million euros to fix a budget gap of billions.

Update on 11 Nov 2013: The two parties agreed to temporarily stop discussing a new car toll in their grosse Koalition negotiations.

Update on 27 Nov 2013: Austria and Holland threatened to sue Germany before the European Court of Justice if Germany implements the C.S.U.’s car toll on foreign drivers. The negotiated grosse Koalition agreement presented on Wed. 27 Nov 2013 said yes to the toll if it violated no E.U. rules and negatively impacted no German drivers.

Update on 01 Dec 2013: Protesters walked carrying signs on the Bavarian and Austrian sides of the Inntal A12 autobahn, demonstrating against car tolls. Austria had announced it would create a new checkpoint there to verify that drivers had paid its car toll, probably in reaction to Bavarian politicians’ insistence on an anti-foreigner car toll. People living on both sides of the border fear cars will start filling up local roads trying to avoid the highway tolls. Strolling on the autobahn with friends and neighbors looked rather pleasant, and the Bavarian and Austrian mountains there are so beautiful.

(Pair ZOH! nen croft vog EN   m OW! t.)

Gedenksteine

Memory stones, thoughts stones.

Cobblestone-shaped brass squares set discreetly but firmly in the sidewalks in front of houses where the Nazis took people away. The little metal markers list the names, sometimes with more information. You can see these house-by-house memorials all over Germany now. On the 75th anniversary of Reichspogromnacht, the German news showed schoolkids in Berlin polishing the brass Gedenksteine and talking about what happened.

The flat little metal cobblestones are nicknamed “Stolpersteine” because you figuratively stumble across them as you’re walking around the towns.

(Geh DANE k sht EYE neh.)

Parteiengesetz

“Political parties law,” which defines some German election rules.

An Armistice Day article in Spiegel.de on the continuance of the neonazi-legacy N.P.D. party’s temporary loss of government political party financing due to “chaotic bookkeeping” mentioned some interesting aspects of German public financing of political parties and the parties’ reporting obligations. Under the Parteiengesetz, the German government gives all parties that receive at least 0.5% of the vote in Bundestag or European Union elections, and/or 1% in state elections, 85 eurocents for each vote received in E.U., Bundestag and German state parliamentary elections. That is reduced to 70 eurocents per vote >4 million votes. “Also, for each euro a party receives as a membership fee or donation, up to 3300 euros, the government pays another 38 eurocents.”

This money is paid to the parties in quarterly installments.

Spiegel.de said the N.P.D.’s financial trials began in 2007 when a Thuringian N.P.D. official named Golkowski was caught using fake donation receipts in order to get more matching funds from the government. This may have been going on since the 1990’s. The error was compounded by the so-called “chaotic bookkeeping” in that year’s year-end reporting that should have been glass-clear in order to avoid more trouble but in which party treasurer Köster apparently misplaced almost 900,000 euros by using the wrong tables at one point. As per the Parteiengesetz, the N.P.D. had to return the inappropriately obtained donation-matching funds (almost 900,000 euros) and pay a fine double that amount. Accordingly, the Bundestag announced the N.P.D. would be fined 2.5 million euros for the malfeasance, but in December 2012 the supreme constitution court in Karlsruhe, the Bundesverfassungsgericht, reduced the fine to 1.27 million euros because, they said, the Bundestag had overlooked the fact that the radical right-wing party had provided “coherent/conclusive explanations” [“schlüssig erläutert“] of some of the points they were accused of. In May 2013, in response to the N.P.D.’s accelerated appeal to the supreme constitutional court, the Bundesverfassungsgericht said the government would have to pay the N.P.D.’s 15 May 2013 and 15 Aug 2013 quarterly payments “in advance” until a final court decision in the main hearing on the fine’s legality; this financed the party until at least the 22 Sep 2013 Bundestag election.

On 11 Nov 2013, the Bundesverfassungsgericht announced that the neonazi party’s fine would not be cancelled more yet and their 15 Nov 2013 payment can now be stopped. Although the N.P.D. had filed an accelerated appeal to the nation’s highest court, the Bundesverfassungsgericht said the party had not exhausted its relevant appeals in Berlin. The N.P.D. said they need this money now more than ever, with the E.U. Parliament election coming up.

Spiegel.de’s chart shows government contributions to the N.P.D. from 2003 to 2011. Red bar numbers represent government contributions in millions of euros. Beige bar numbers are government funding’s percentage of total N.P.D. income that year.

(Pot EYE en gezz ETZ.)

Mögliche inspektionsziele in Iran

German reporting showed “possible inspection targets in Iran,” first on a map, then with satellite images and finally with ground-level photos taken in the plant or perhaps of similar equipment. This was part of ZDF heute journal’s 08 Nov 2013 coverage of the exciting meeting between Iranian diplomats and other countries’ diplomats in Geneva.

Reporter Luten Leinhos’s helpful map featured six areas of nuclear interest in central Iran and two on the coast. He described half of them for viewers:

Natans: biggest nuclear fuel plant, with centrifuges producing up to 3.5% enriched uranium for the Bushehr nuclear reactor but also uranium up to 20% enriched for research purposes; Teheran could offer to stop the 20% enrichment.

Arak: “a heavy-water reactor that produces plutonium as a byproduct, as it were.” Arak isn’t up and running yet. Iran said it may now allow 24-hour video monitoring in the Arak reactor.

Fordo: bunkered up, only satellite photos available; long kept secret. Teheran could offer to let in inspectors and video monitoring.

Parchin: military research complex, absolutely sealed off. Were nuclear tests simulated there?

Update on 11 Nov 2013: Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency agreed on a road map for inspecting Iranian nuclear sites.

Update on 24 Nov 2013: Küsschen, Umarmung und Schulterklopfen [ceremonious little kisses on the cheek, hugs and clapping one another on the shoulder]. An agreement was reached among foreign ministers from Iran and the U.N. veto-power countries to reduce some economic sanctions against Iran, reduce some nuclear development projects in Iran for now, and to pause Iran’s nuclear weapons program for six months while further arrangements and controls are negotiated and agreed on.

Update on 09 Feb 2014: The International Atomic Energy Agency quietly published a heartwarming announcement: “of the six initial practical measures that were agreed three months ago[,] Iran has taken the initial practical measures that were foreseen.

“Iran and the Agency reached agreement on seven practical measures to be implemented by Iran by 15 May 2014.

“The agreed measures are:

  • “Providing mutually agreed relevant information and managed access to the Saghand mine in Yazd;
  • “Providing mutually agreed relevant information and managed access to the Ardakan concentration plant;
  • “Submission of an updated Design Information Questionnaire (DIQ) for the IR-40 Reactor;
  • “Taking steps to agree with the Agency on the conclusion of a Safeguards Approach for the IR-40 Reactor;
  • “Providing mutually agreed relevant information and arranging for a technical visit to Lashkar Ab’ad Laser Centre;
  • “Providing information on source material, which has not reached the composition and purity suitable for fuel fabrication or for being isotopically enriched, including imports of such material and on Iran’s extraction of uranium from phosphates; and
  • “Providing information and explanations for the Agency to assess Iran’s stated need or application for the development of Exploding Bridge Wire detonators.”

Update on 17 Apr 2014: Diplomats announced that according to a report by the I.A.E.A. Iran continues to “precisely follow” the agreement reached in November 2013. “Everything is proceeding as planned.” Iran has diluted or converted to uranium oxide 75% of its original 200 kg of highly enriched uranium. The other 50 kg are to be converted or diluted by 20 Jul 2014, and in return western countries will loosen economic sanctions against Iran.

Update on 20 May 2014: I.A.E.A. said they met with Iranian officials to confirm the “good progress made on the seven practical measures that were agreed three months ago.” Five new practical measures have now been agreed (to be done between now and 25 Aug 2014):

  • “Exchanging information with the Agency with respect to the allegations related to the initiation of high explosives, including the conduct of large scale high explosives experimentation in Iran.
  • “Providing mutually agreed relevant information and explanations related to studies made and/or papers published in Iran in relation to neutron transport and associated modelling and calculations and their alleged application to compressed materials.
  • “Providing mutually agreed information and arranging a technical visit to a centrifuge research and development centre.
  • “Providing mutually agreed information and managed access to centrifuge assembly workshops, centrifuge rotor production workshops and storage facilities.
  • “Concluding the safeguards approach for the IR-40 reactor.”

(MIG lichh ah   inz peck tea OWNS TSEAL eh   inn   ee RON.)

Staubsaugen

“Dust sucking.” Starting September 2014, no household appliances can be sold in the E.U. that use >1600 W. In September 2017 that limit will be lowered to 900 W.

This is aimed at vacuum cleaners.

Effective Sept. 1, 2014, household appliances will also have to be labeled with simple symbols showing their power consumption, ranging from a green A for low electricity use to a red G for egregious.

The “Ecodesign Regulation” created exceptions for the following types of industrial-type vacuum cleaners, which sound funnier in German than in English:

Nasssauger, Saugroboter, akkubetriebene Staubsauger, Industriestaubsauger und Bohnermaschinen.”

“Wet suckers, sucking robots, battery-driven dust suckers, industrial dust suckers and Bohner machines.”

E.U. officials said vacuum cleaner manufacturers were consulted in advance, most models >1600 W have been sorted out already, and it’s not the size of their Watts, it’s how well they suck dust that counts.

(Sht OW! bzz OW! g en.)

Luftbrücke

Air bridge.

On 12 Nov 2013 German news reported that military and civilian aid is starting to get to the stricken Philippines islands of Leyte and Samar by flying in to the western island of Cebu and then ferrying goods and people back and forth by air in a Luftbrücke, like what was used to supply West Berlin during the Cold War.

Arriving donations and doctors are bottlenecked in Manila by the typhoon’s destruction of the eastern islands’ transport infrastructure complicated by post-superstorm monsoon rains.

(LOOFT br-r-rick ah.)

“Wir müssen aufhören, alles schön zu reden.”

“We must stop talking everything beautiful,” just one of the moving statements made by Filipino negotiator Naderev Saño at the World Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, on 11 Nov 2013, after the biggest typhoon devastated many islands of the Philippines.

Mr. Saño said he will not eat during the global warming summit, “in solidarity with my countrymen who are struggling to find food back home and with my brother who has not had food for the last three days.”

The goal of this year’s global warming summit is to work out an agreement that will be passed in 2015 in Paris and come into effect in 2020, replacing the Kyoto Protocol. 194 countries are participating. Many people say the 2015 agreement as it currently stands will be too little too late to save low-lying areas, such as the beautiful city of Miami, an oceanside city only six feet above sea level.

Meanwhile, another typhoon devastated coastal regions of Somalia.

(Vir   MISS en   OW! f her en   all ess   SHIN   tsoo   RAY den.)

Betriebsrat

Workers’ council, a committee elected by employees that is involved in management of German workplaces.

Spiegel.de reported on 11 Nov 2013 that Microsoft was not renewing the leases for its offices in Hamburg, Böblingen and Bad Homburg, where ~500 of the company’s ~2700 Germany-based employees work. These workers were to be dispersed into telecommuting as “Homeoffice-Mitarbeiter.”

Labor advocates accused the company was doing this to outflank efforts by the Betriebsrat workers’ councils at those locations to negotiate resolutions to Microsoft’s overtime situation, with workers regularly putting in 50 to 60 hours per week in a country that usually has a work week <40 hours, said overtime “being neither off-celebrated [with time] nor offset [with money].” Celebration is a synonym for time spent not working, in German.

Labor advocates also alleged that Microsoft’s plans to rent conference rooms for future meetings with clients was an attempt to ensure there were never more than four of its employees gathered together in one place at a time because, they said, German law requires Betriebsrat representation for workplaces with five employees or more.

(Beh TREEBZ rah t.)

Rundfunk-Staatsvertrag

“Broadcaster’s treaty,” also short for the name of a law, the Staatsvertrag für Rundfunk und Telemedien or German Interstate Treaty on Broadcasting and Telemedia.

The broadcasting treaty regulating one of Germany’s two big public broadcasters, ZDF, is being reviewed by the supreme Constitutional Court [Verfassungsgericht] in Karlsruhe after a political fight in 2009 about firing ZDF’s editor-in-chief. Germany’s other big public broadcaster, ARD, reported that the case’s core question is whether governments and political parties have too much influence in ZDF’s current setup. The states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Hamburg brought the lawsuit to the supreme Constitutional Court in the form of a complaint about who’s on two boards that control ZDF.

“I believe that we have, step by step, walked ourselves into too much dominance by the government-influenced members of the Administrative Council [Verwaltungsrat] and Television Council [Fernsehrat].” –Kurt Beck (S.P.D.) former Rhineland-Palatinate governor and chair of the ZDF Administrative Council [Verwaltungsrat] who, after trying and failing to make legislative changes, co-brought the suit.

Former Hessian governor Roland Koch (C.D.U.) led the 2009 fight in the Administrative Council [Verwaltungsrat] to not renew ZDF editor-in-chief Nikolaus Brender’s contract.

The ZDF Administrative Council [Verwaltungsrat] has 14 members, of whom five represent German states and one represents the federal government. The remaining eight Administrative Council members are selected by the 77-member ZDF Television Council [Fernsehrat]. That board is supposed to “set guidelines for ZDF shows and advise directors about programming questions” and to consist of 77 people from societally important groups, namely

1 person from each of the German states signing the Staatsvertrag, 3 people sent by the federal government, 12 people sent by the political parties proportionate to their proportions in the Bundestag, 2 sent by the Protestant church, 2 sent by the Catholic church, 1 from the Central Council of Jews in Germany, 1 from the German association of unions [Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund], 1 from the association of service job unions ver.di [Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft e.V.], 1 from the bureaucrats’ union [Deutscher Beamtenbund], 2 from the federal association of employers’ unions [Bundesvereinigung Deutscher Arbeitgeberverbände], 1 from the national chambers of commerce association [Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag], 1 from the German agriculture central committee [Zentralausschuss der Deutschen Landwirtschaft], 1 from the central association of German craftsmen [Zentralverband des Deutschen Handwerks], 2 from the association of German newspaper publishers [Bundesverbandes Deutscher Zeitungsverleger], 1 from the German journalists’ association [Deutschen Journalistenverbandes e.V.], 1 from the media section of the service jobs union ver.di, 4 from the Free Welfare Associations [Freie Wohlfahrtsverbände] (and that should be 1 from the German Protestant church’s Diakonie Werk, 1 from the German Catholic church’s Deutscher Caritasverband e.V. umbrella association of charities, 1 from the German Red Cross, 1 from the central committee of the German workers’ welfare group Deutsche Arbeiterwohlfahrt e.V.), 1 from the German cities’ council [Deutscher Städtetag], 1 from the German association of cities and communities [Deutscher Städte- und Gemeindebund], 1 from the German counties’ council [Deutscher Landkreistag], 1 from the German sports association [Deutscher Sportbund], 1 from Europaunion Deutschland e.V., 1 from the German association for the environment and protecting nature [Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e.V.], 1 from the German nature protection association [Naturschutzbund Deutschland], 1 from the association of displaced persons [Bund der Vertriebenen], 1 from the coalition of victims of Stalinism [Vereinigung der Opfer des Stalinismus] and 16 from education, science, the arts, culture, the film economy, the free professions, family work, child protection, youth employment, consumer protection and animal protection.

Yet ARD tagesschau.de legal correspondent Frank Bräutigam’s chart broke these 77 members down into only three main groups: 45.4% board members from governments/political parties, 27.3% from unions, 20.8% from professional groups. The current judicial review will be casting a sharp eye on the complaint that the 27.3% unions and 20.8% professional groups are also nominated by the political parties. In fact, said ZDF heute journal, a considerable portion of them are selected by state governors, adding that informally the television council actually breaks down into two large groups: the C.D.U.’s allies and the S.P.D.’s allies. Usually, said people defending the current system, the duopoly controlling the ZDF television council is balanced enough to prevent the appearance of violation of the German Constitution, which guarantees freedom of reporting in broadcasting and film (Grundgesetz, Art. 5).

ZDF heute journal said the supreme court cannot change the Staatsvertrag but can define criteria limiting it.

ARD tagesschau.de calmly concluded their report by noting that the German supreme court in Karlsruhe has been issuing decisions that help define Germany’s media landscape for decades now. A verdict is expected in 2014.

Update on 25 Mar 2014: The court issued its verdict, invalidating the ZDF charter because it allows too much political influence to be taken. Germany’s public broadcasters must not become state broadcasters, said the judges. In future, the 44% of ZDF’s board members who are politicians or “part of government or close to government” must be reduced to 33%, and political parties must stop exerting “determining influence” on the naming of the other board members (who are supposed to be “far from government” but were in part being named by e.g. state governors).

Germany’s public broadcasters must also remain available to the public and not be allowed to wither by being restricted to obsolescing technology.

The judges demanded a cultural change at German public broadcasters, to become more of what they were always intended to be, said Süddeutsche.de: an institution for the entire society, reflecting diversity and variety in that society. Freedom of broadcasting as it is guaranteed in the German constitution is based on ensuring variety of content that cannot be achieved via a free market alone, the judges said. One judge’s minority opinion said these measures were too lenient, that 33% was still too high, and he called for emancipation of the public broadcasters from government entirely.

(ROOND FOONK shtots fair TROG.)

L.I.B.O.R.-Klagen

L.I.B.O.R. lawsuits.

The U.S. company Fannie Mae has filed complaints seeking about half a billion euros in damages from multiple banks around the world for L.I.B.O.R. benchmark interest rate manipulation. Deutsche Bank is one of the defendants.

Update on 01 Nov 2013: ZDF heute journal financial correspondent Frank Bethmann said the many banks found to have participated in L.I.B.O.R. manipulation have been fined about 2.7 billion euros total by the world’s bank oversight authorities alone so far. Now more and more company lawsuits keep “fluttering in,” making them possibly the costlier threat. He said Deutsche Bank had now set aside 4.1 billion euros for legal fees. “But that shirt could prove too short as well, particularly in the U.S.A.”

Update on 06 Nov 2013: FAZ.net reported that insiders told Reuters news agency that before 2014 the E.U. competition commissioner wants to fine six banks a total of 1.5 billion euros for L.I.B.O.R. benchmark manipulation, including Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland (R.B.S.), the Dutch Rabobank (“genossenschaftlich” bank meaning it started life as a mutual?), and the “broker” I.C.A.P. The Swiss bank U.B.S. will be excused from this fine—said to be the largest bank fine in E.U. history—because they were the first to testify. These six banks admitted this particular wrongdoing and as a result the E.U. said it will reduce those fines by 10%.

This set of fines is for the yen L.I.B.O.R. manipulation subscandal of the L.I.B.O.R. manipulation scandal. Deutsche Bank may be facing additional U.K. and U.S. fines for U.S. dollar L.I.B.O.R. manipulation.

Financial regulators around the world are also investigating more than a dozen banks for Eur.I.B.O.R. benchmark manipulation. On 06 Nov 2013 FAZ.net reported that insiders said the E.U. Commission was negotiating fines to half a dozen banks for that as well, including Deutsche Bank and possibly Royal Bank of Scotland and Société Générale. FAZ.net reported the U.K.’s Financial Times reported each of these six will have to pay up to 800 million euros for that set of fines. And that Bloomberg.com reported the British bank H.B.S.C. had withdrawn from those fine negotiations, giving up the proffered 10% fine rebate for admitting wrongdoing.

German Wikipedia said the Eur.I.B.O.R. is set on the basis of data submitted by 32 European “credit institutions,” minus the top 15% and bottom 15% outliers, to the “information agency” Thomson Reuters. The Eur.I.B.O.R. is then published by Reuters.

English Wikipedia said the Eur.I.B.O.R. was created by combining “domestic” benchmark rates, such as from Paris, Frankfurt and Helsinki, in 1999. It said there is still a separate Euro L.I.B.O.R. set in London, based on data from 16 banks.

(LEE boar CLOG en.)

Sich ein genaueres Bild machen

“To make yourself a more detailed/precise picture.” When German politicians are photographed flying over a flood or hurricane looking out the airplane window, they are “making themselves a picture” of the phenomenon.

In a more positive-sounding example, the troika put together from the E.U. Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund that audits the austerity measures of financially strapped member states’ governments before allowing them to borrow more money is now being audited itself by the E.U. Parliament. Particularly the M.E.P.’s from countries subject to the troika are examining their work in detail, with criticism and questions and reporting back to their home newspapers.

(ZICHH   eye n   geh n OW! air ess    BILLED   mochh en.)

Gerokreuz

Gero cross,” one of the most important pieces of medieval European art we can still look at today.

In the 900’s, Cologne’s Archbishop Gero traveled to sophisticated Istanbul, then Constantinopel and the capital of the Roman empire, to bring back a bride for the Ottonian heir to the Holy Roman Empire. Her name was Theophanu and she was the Byzantine emperor’s niece. Many artists accompanied the twelve-year-old bride back to central Europe, which was living rather quietly at the time.

Probably carved during the reign of Otto II and Theophanu, the large crucifix was called Gero’s after being placed over his sarcophagus. It’s considered a boundary artwork on the threshold between the interesting but comic book-like figures of the early Middle Ages and the more human depictions of later centuries; we have managed to recover so few similar images from that time and place though, making this relic especially unique and difficult to compare. The placement of the Gero cross and other religiously important artworks indoors and smaller churches outdoors at specific points on circles that are centerpointed at the main altar in the Cologne cathedral and have varying radii can be interpreted from mentions in texts, other surviving art and medieval theologians’ well-known obsessions with numbers and hierarchies.

The large wooden figure of Jesus on the Gero cross is a thousand years old, having survived major fires and e.g. rococo fashion trends. That’s a bit miraculous.

(GAY roe   CROY ts.)

Bahntunnel unter dem Bosporus

Rail tunnel under the Bosphorus strait, being called the Marmaray Connection.

A tunnel for trains opened between Europe and Turkey! ARD tagesschau.de said it was a joint Japanese-Turkish project that found many archeological treasures, including old ships from sunken armadas.

(BON toon ell   OON tah   dame   BOSS pore us.)

Beibehaltung

Retention.

April 2013: After it became known the chair of the supervisory board [Aufsichtsrat] of Germany’s richest and most successful soccer team, Bayern Munich, was under investigation for voluntarily reporting himself [Selbstanzeige] as having an insufficiently reported and taxed ~500 million euros in a Swiss bank account, there seem to remain some loose ends in his origin story for where the half billion came from*. Yet on 06 May 2013 Bayern Munich’s supervisory board voted not to accept Uli Hoeneß’s resignation as its head. Members of the supervisory board who supported Mr. Hoeneß at this meeting included: Herbert Hainer, C.E.O. of Adidas. Rupert Stadler, C.E.O. of Audi. Timotheus Höttges, chief of Finances and Controlling at top Bayern sponsor Deutsche Telekom. Martin Winterkorn, C.E.O. of Volkswagen. Edmund Stoiber (C.S.U.), former candidate for German chancellor in the C.D.U./C.S.U. party.

10 May 2013: Mr. Hoeneß is suing the responsible prosecutor’s office for being the source of the press’s discovery of the investigation into the mysterious half billion euros, in April 2013.

30 Jul 2013: Uli Hoeneß has been charged with alleged tax evasion. The Economic Crimes Chamber [Wirtschaftsstrafkammer] of the second Munich Landgericht [Münchener Landgericht II] must now decide whether it will allow the trial to proceed and whether to open the main trial. The decision is expected in late September 2013.

04 Aug 2013: The president of the German Soccer Association [Deutscher Fussballbund e.V., D.F.B.], Wolfgang Niersbach, declared his support for Uli Hoeneß.

07 Aug 2013: Stern.de report that an anonymous informant told the second state prosecutors office in Munich [Münchener Staatsanwaltschaft II] that Mr. Hoeneß’s untaxed millions are not limited to one account at the Swiss Vontobel bank (said by prosecutors to have contained 500 million Swiss francs but said by Mr. Hoeneß in April 2013 never to have exceeded around 15 to 20 million euros, tops). Stern.de reported the informant said Mr. Hoeneß’s Vontobel account had balances consistently [“durchgehend“] exceeding 500 million Swiss francs in years before 2008 and also supplied information about stock dealings and transactions involving numbered accounts at three other Swiss banks: Crédit Suisse, Julius Bär and the Zürcher Kantonalbank.

The whistleblower said Deutsche Telekom stock with which Mr. Hoeneß participated in so-called dividend stripping was also involved.

04 Nov 2013: Mr. Hoeneß will have to “answer before a court” after all, starting ~10 Mar 2014. Landgericht Munich II’s “Economic Chamber” [Wirtschaftskammer] announced it will allow trial of charges against him of tax evasion and providing inaccurate answers. His Selbstanzeige earlier this year “contained errors.”

Frank Bräutigam, ARD tagesschau.de’s excellent legal correspondent, said the trial will evaluate the correctness of the Selbstanzeige (timeliness, completeness and accuracy). If the court determines that the Selbstanzeige was not properly executed, next it must decide how much money was improperly handled and what penalties could be imposed.

The Bayern Munich football club’s supervisory board reconfirmed that they want to retain Mr. Hoeneß as president of the club.

14 Mar 2014: Uli Hoeneß’s trial for 3.5 million euros of tax evasion was this week. In the two weeks before the trial started on Monday, he apparently gave prosecutors 50,000, some said 70,000, pages of Vontobel bank account statements previously withheld. On Monday he surprised reporters by announcing he’d actually not paid 18 million euros tax, but this was the ultimate number, no more revelations. On Tuesday, an auditor testified that the amount was actually 27 million. He was found guilty of 28.5 million euros in tax evasion and sentenced to 3.5 years, which will probably be in an open prison. On Friday, he said he would not appeal. The prosecutors may still decide to appeal. Uli Hoeneß resigned as president of the FC Bayern Munich soccer club and chair of FC Bayern Munich Inc.’s supervisory board.

Mr. Hoeneß’s salary tended to be about 10 million euros per year. The Vontobel account never had more than 150 million euros in it at one time.

(BY beh HALT oong.)

* Mr. Hoeneß said he netted 500 million euros between 2000 and 2012 by compulsively playing the stock market starting with a 10-million-euro combination gift/loan in 2000 from a now-deceased friend, a former C.E.O. of Adidas.

Aufenthaltsgenehmigung vs. Aufenthaltserlaubnis

“Residency permit” vs. “residency permit.”

The names of the documents that are so important for noncitizens living in a German-speaking country have changed over time and space. Some are preliminary documents acquired in order to acquire the documents you need to acquire the main permit. Some are obsolete. Some have been Swiss or Austrian, or, perhaps one day, could be an official German-language translation of an E.U. residency document.

German<>English legal dictionaries list several other names of German-language residency permits:

Aufenthaltsbefugnis, Aufenthaltsberechtigung, Aufenthaltsbewilligung, Aufenthaltsgestattung; and Aufenthaltstitel has been an umbrella term for these docs since 2005 in Germany.

An Aufenthaltsduldung [“residency toleration”] is a temporary stay of deportation.

(Ow! fenned HALL ts geh NAME ee goong   vair seuss   ow! fenned HALL ts erroll OW! b niss.)

Festnahmeersuchen

Arrest request.

Edward Snowden cannot apply for German asylum before entering German territory. Members of the government could then issue him an Aufenthaltserlaubnis but it might not prevent his deportation to the U.S.A., because that country prudently filed a Festnahmeersuchen [“(intergovernmental) arrest request”] with Germany last summer. There are deportation agreements [Auslieferungsabkommen] between the E.U., Germany and the U.S.; to prevent deportation under those agreements an “obstacle reason” or estoppel [Hinderungsgrund] must be cited, “for example, that Germany considers the deed he is accused of to be a political crime,” said Frank Bräutigam, ARD law reporter, who added that the decision or “last word” lies with the Justice Ministry, of course in coordination with the entire cabinet. The Justice Ministry would have to make a clear statement that “Germany will not deport him.” Heribert Prantl wrote in Süddeutsche.de that the Interior Ministry is responsible for issuing Mr. Snowden’s Aufenthaltserlaubnis, but the courts and Justice Ministry are responsible for the more important question of deportation.

Bundestag member Petra Pau (Leftists; she appeared to do a great job in the parliamentary committee investigating the investigations of the neonazi serial killers) said on Nov. 1 that she could not recommend that Mr. Snowden travel to Germany under current circumstances, “because at the moment I see no one who can guarantee his safety.” Süddeutsche.de’s Heribert Prantl reminded his readers of the story of reformer Jan Hus in 1414 C.E., who received a letter of safe conduct, “sicheres Geleit,” from the Holy Roman Emperor yet was burned at the stake as a heretic.

ARD tagesschau.de showed residency-relevant paragraphs from what appeared to be a 2008 version of a residency law [Aufenthaltsgesetz, AufenthG]:

“565. Gesetz über den Aufenthalt, die Erwerbstätigkeit und die Integration von Ausländern im Bundesgebiet (Aufenthaltsgesetz, AufenthG). In der Fassung der Bekanntmachung vom 25 Feb 2008 (BGBl. I S. 162). […]” 565. Law on residency, employment and integration of foreigners in Federal German territory (Aufenthaltsgesetz, AufenthG). In the version promulgated 25 Feb 2008 (Federal Gazette I p. 162). […]
“Abschnitt 5. Auftenthalt aus völkerrechtlichen, humanitären oder politischen Gründen. Section 5. Residence due to reasons of international law [Völkerrecht, “peoples law”], humanitarian reasons or political reasons.
“§22 Aufnahme aus dem Ausland. (1) Einem Ausländer kann für die Aufnahme aus dem Ausland aus völkerrechtlichen oder dringenden humanitären Gründen eine Aufenthaltserlaubnis erteilt werden. (2) Eine Aufenthaltserlaubnis ist zu erteilen, wenn das Bundesministerium des Innern oder die von ihm bestimmte Stelle zur Wahrung politischer Interessen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland die Aufnahme erklärt hat. (3) Im Falle des Satzes 2 berechtigt die Aufenthaltserlaubnis zur Ausübung einer Erwerbstätigkeit.” §22 Admittance or acceptance from outside Germany. (1) An Aufenthaltserlaubnis can be issued to a foreigner for acceptance into Germany from abroad for international law reasons or urgent humanitarian reasons. (2) An Aufenthaltserlaubnis is to be issued when the Interior Ministry or the office they nominate has declared acceptance to protect political interests of the Federal Republic of Germany [emphasis of ARD tagesschau.de and ZDF heute journal]. (3) In the case of (2), the Aufenthaltserlaubnis shall include a work permit.

Another possibly fruitful area or “construction site” ARD tagesschau.de mentioned is the possibility that the federal prosecutor [Bundesanwalt] in Karlsruhe might use the Criminal Code [Strafgesetzbuch] to investigate certain individuals for spying on Germany.

“§99. Geheimdienstliche Agententätigkeit. §99. Secret service agent activity.
“(1) Wer (1) Whosoever
“1. für den Geheimdienst einer fremden Macht eine geheimdienstliche Tätigkeit gegen die Bundesrepublik Deutschland ausübt, die auf die Mitteilung oder Lieferung von Tatsachen, Gegenständen oder Erkenntnissen gerichtet ist, oder 1. performs a secret service activity against the Federal Republic of Germany for the intelligence service of a foreign power, said activity being directed toward the communication or delivery of facts, objects or knowledge, or
“2. gegenüber dem Geheimdienst einer fremden Macht oder einem seiner Mittelsmänner sich zu einer solchen Tätigkeit bereit erklärt, 2. declares himself or herself willing to perform such an activity to the intelligence service of a foreign power or one of their middlemen
“wird mit Freiheitsstrafe bis zu fünf Jahren oder mit Geldstrafe bestraft, wenn die Tat nicht in § 94 oder § 96 Abs. 1, in § 97a oder in § 97b in Verbindung mit § 94 oder § 96 Abs. 1 mit Strafe bedroht ist. will be punished with imprisonment [Freiheitsstrafe, “freedom punishment”] of up to five years or with a fine if the action is not punishable in accordance with §94 or §96 section 1, in accordance with §97a or in accordance with §97b in conjunction with §94 or §96 section 1.
“(2) In besonders schweren Fällen ist die Strafe Freiheitsstrafe von einem Jahr bis zu zehn Jahren. Ein besonders schwerer Fall liegt in der Regel vor, wenn der Täter Tatsachen, Gegenstände oder Erkenntnisse, die von einer amtlichen Stelle oder auf deren Veranlassung geheimgehalten werden, mitteilt oder liefert und wenn er […]” (2) In especially severe cases, the punishment shall be imprisonment from one year to up to ten years. An especially severe case is usually a case where the offender communicated or delivered facts, objects or knowledge kept secret by an official office or upon their order, or when the offender […]

und so weiter und so fort.

Tagesschau.de reported, “The federal prosecutor in Karlsruhe recently reconfirmed to ARD that relevant German authorities had been requested to send in their knowledge/ideas/facts [Erkenntnisse] regarding the bugging of the chancellor. No official preliminary investigative proceedings have been opened yet. Only after that happened would it be possible for Mr. Snowden to testify as a witness in criminal proceedings.”

(FEST nom eh eah ZOO chh en.)

Sündenbock

“Sins goat,” i.e. scapegoat.

08 Mar 2013: In what may be an unusual choice for a sacrificial pawn, peasant or farmer, the controversial German executive Hartmut Mehdorn was named the new manager of the struggling Berlin-Brandenburg airport construction project. At his last gig, he was C.E.O. of Germany’s second-largest airline after Lufthansa but left suddenly, though not before suing the Berlin-Brandenburg airport construction project. In his gig before that he managed Deutsche Bahn for years and years (he finally had to leave that company in 2009 after they were found to be spying on their employees). Mr. Mehdorn is considered undiplomatic by people who don’t like him and a cost cutter by those who do. He doesn’t always manage to cut costs: as Green party members like to point out, another thing Mr. Mehdorn did at Deutsche Bahn was spend a decade pushing the unpopular and also possibly impossibly expensive Stuttgart 21 underground train station expansion project.

Former Frankfurt airport C.E.O. and engineer Wilhelm Bender was supposed to take over the beleaguered Berlin airport construction project and was rumored to have negotiated a per diem of 2500 or 4000 euros, but withdrew his name on 4 Mar 2013, citing contractual disagreements and his concerns about confidentiality.

Update on 21 Oct 2013: Still not finished, the new Berlin airport’s construction costs have been adjusted upward again, now estimated at about 5 billion euros (which would actually be a downward adjustment). No deadline for finishing is apparent. Siemens recently signed a contract to deliver a control system for the new smoke removal system that included 18 months just for programming the software.

Update on 24 Oct 2013: Spiegel.de provided some context on the mutual history of Hartmut Mehdorn and Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit (S.P.D.). Years after his 2009 departure from German Rail, Spiegel wrote, Berliners still suffered from Mr. Mehdorn’s misplaced I.P.O.-preparedness austerity measures as their poorly maintained trains, tracks and other rail equipment struggle to keep running in winter weather. In 2005, Mr. Wowereit apparently forced Mr. Mehdorn to build Deutsche Bahn headquarters in the capital city instead of in Hamburg where Mr. Mehdorn would have had more control, e.g. over port shipping.

The current airport construction site’s technology manager, engineer Horst Amann, who after fighting with Mr. Mehdorn since March 2013 was transferred to head the airport’s utilities subsidiary on 01 Nov 2013, criticized Mr. Mehdorn’s plan to open the new airport in stages, starting with perhaps 10 flights a day to perhaps test things. Mr. Amann said this is purely cosmetic and would interfere with construction.

Update on 20 Feb 2014: Hartmut Mehdorn announced in a letter to employees that the planned partial start of the new Berlin airport this summer will not be feasible.

Update on 28 Feb 2014: There still aren’t PLANS for the airport. One reason this became such a colossal sinkhole is because they started building before they finished designing all the systems. Siemens said it could go ahead and start construction of replacement system/s (not sure which) if only plans were available. Hartmut Mehdorn has already had a falling-out with the new technical manager who replaced Horst Amann; she quit. Pirate Party member Martin Delius said management board chief Hartmut Mehdorn needs a technical manager he can work with, who is allowed some autonomy and who is supported by the supervisory board.

Update on 04 Mar 2014: An analysis of Hartmut Mehdorn’s first year turning the Berlin airport construction project around said, “Other people are always responsible” for the problems that occur on Mr. Mehdorn’s watch.

Update on 11 Apr 2014: The Berlin airport construction project’s supervisory board [Aufsichtsrat] met today. Hartmut Mehdorn appeared accompanied by a lawyer, who was he said there to instruct the supervisory board about the responsibilities and rights of a board such as itself. “Mehdorn feels he has been pushed around. The supervisory board felt it has been inadequately informed.” ZDF heute journal’s report on the meeting went on to mention that a top airport employee, a construction specialist, sent a 21-page letter to the supervisory board to alert them that, in his opinion,

English translation German original
“[cut off] …in the context of the stagnating progress in the BER project the mood is worsening, including within the FBB company, and would draw your attention to ongoing still-existing and even increasing deficits in company culture, characterized by resistance to advice, increasing hierarchization, resignation and criticismlessness. In internal atmospheres as well, the decision-making process appears at times to be based on gut feelings and mercurial, even for strategic questions. Bad decisions in this atmosphere are not revised but are pushed through ‘decisively’ as evidence of leadership strength. The actions taken awaken the impression that at the moment it’s being determined by operative actionism/’immediatism’ without appropriate internal coordination and expertise, as well as by uncoordinated assignment of internal tasks. This situation continues to be [cut off] by a lack of personnel consequences…” “[cut off] im Kontext des stagnierenden BER-Projektfortschritts auch innerhalb der FBB die Stimmungslage weiter verschlechtert und verweist auf weiter bestehende und sogar zunehmende Defizite in der Unternehmenskultur, gekennzeichnet durch Beratungsresistenz, verstärkte Hierarchisierung, Resignation und Kritiklosigkeit. Auch in der Innenwahrnehmung erscheint die Entscheidungsfindung zuweilen auf Bauchgefühl beruhend und sprunghaft, selbst bei strategischen Fragen, Fehlentscheidungen werden nach dieser Wahrnehmung nicht revidiert sondern als Beleg von Führungsstärke ‘entschieden’ durchgesetzt. Das Handeln erweckt den Eindruck, dass es augenscheinlich durch operativem Aktionismus / ‘Sofortismus’ ohne angemessene interne Abstimmung und Sachkunde sowie die unkoordinierte parallele Erteilung interner Aufträge bestimmt ist. Diese Situation wird durch die weiterhin fehlenden personellen Konsequenzen für die [cut off]”

Mr. Mehdorn responded to the letter by firing its author, effective immediately.

Time: Hartmut Mehdorn estimated they might have an estimate of when construction will be complete at the end of 2014 at the earliest.
Money: Hartmut Mehdorn estimated the project will need another 1.1 billion euros, for a total of 5.4 billion euros.

(ZINNED en bawk.)

Ehrenwort

Word of honor.

In the inquiry into the C.D.U. party’s underreporting and/or underpayment of taxes on large donations e.g. from the arms dealer and lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber, former chancellor Helmut Kohl was asked where the money came from and said he couldn’t say because he’d given his “Ehrenwort” to some donors. And the matter of his criminal culpability was dropped. Some evidence went missing too.

Karlheinz Schreiber went to Canada where he got in trouble for making underreported donations to politicians.

(AIR en VORT.)

Der grosse Schweiger

“The great silence-maintainer.” No, not Til Schweiger.

This is said to be the nickname of oligarch Dmitrij Jewgenjewitsch Rybolowljew. Originally a cardiologist from Perm, then he sold medical therapy based on magnetism, went into investment, became the head of a private bank, bought a majority interest in Uralkali. He sold his Uralkali interest in 2010 for ~$5 billion. Bought up to 10% of the Bank of Cyprus (but the bank’s website only listed him as owning 5% after the Cypriot banking crisis in 2013). He bought a $100 million villa from Donald Trump in May 2010 and 2/3 of the Monegasque royal family’s French soccer club AS Monaco in late 2011.

Süddeutsche.de wrote “Mr Rybolovlev and his 24-year-old daughter Yekaterina tend to invest in status symbols”: billion-dollar divorce (his not hers), $88 million NYC apt., paintings collection, private jet, leasing a Mediterranean island from the Onassis heirs.

(Dare   GROSS ah   SHVYE gah.)

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