When you “can do something out of the Effeff,” in German, my online wiktionaries say, that means you have it down pat, can do it blindfolded, know it backwards and forwards.
When you “can do something out of the Effeff,” in German, my online wiktionaries say, that means you have it down pat, can do it blindfolded, know it backwards and forwards.
Biggest economic court case ever.
Earlier this month, an arbitration court at The Hague decided that when the Russian government said the oil company Yukos owed $27 billion in unpaid taxes and then broke the company up and auctioned it off, they did this to eliminate oligarch Michail Chodorowskij’s political challenge to Vladimir Putin and to benefit state-controlled companies, such as Rosneft.
The arbitration court awarded Yukos shareholders $51.6 billion (plus $64 million in attorneys’ and court fees).
Prior to this, the biggest award to investors in arbitration was $2.5 billion.
(Dare GRISS ta VEE OUGHT shofts prote sess dare YAY molls geff IRRED VOOR da.)
In German, fiction is Fiktion but nonfiction is Sachbücher.
(ZAW chh bew chh ah.)
Criminal investigation archeologist!
The Roman-German Central Museum in Mainz employs at least one justice archeologist, who is documenting and seeking legal fixes for illegal excavations in e.g. Spain and southern Italy. The job includes finding and notifying relevant offices in national and extra-national governments when stolen ancient objects are up for auction around the world, as well as providing evidence and analysis of objects of questionable provenance and of their probable origins.
(Crim een AWL ah chh æ oh LO! gah.)
Industrial heritage site.
The Völklinger Hütte or Völklinger Ironworks in the German Saarland was the first site to be placed on UNESCO’s list of industrial heritage sites, in 1994.
The Hütte’s de.wikipedia article said the factory is located conveniently near the Völklinger train station for rail tourists who want to see the current ancient Egypt exhibit. A partnering Italian museum set up millennia-old Egyptian sarcophagi etc. in glass cases between the smelters. 19th-century German archeology was made possible by 19th-century German industrialization, the curators said.
(Inn douce TREE dengk mall.)
The problem-plagued nuclear power plant in Cattenom, France.
Luxembourg and the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Saarland have been urging that Cattenom be taken offline for safety reasons for years.
After a malfunction this week, one of Cattenom’s four reactors was powered down. In May 2014 there was an accident in which ten employees were irradiated. In July 2013 a transformer caught fire.
Der Spiegel reported that Cattenom has had >700 “incidents” in recent years.
Minutes before a concert in Salzburg, Austria, Daniel Barenboim recorded an appeal for peace that was sent to ZDF heute journal to broadcast on the evening news on 23 Jul 2014.
|How many people have been killed.||Wie viele Menschen sind getötet worden.|
|How much cruelty.||Wie viele Grausamkeit.|
|And everyone’s right.||Und jeder hat recht.|
|It’s inhuman, what’s happening over there.||Es ist ja unmenschlich, was dort passiert.|
|Because there’s only one possibility: that is the future, and the future means, no military solution.||Weil es gibt nur eine Möglichkeit: das ist die Zukunft, und die Zukunft heisst, keine militärische Lösung.|
|This is not a conflict that can be solved by a military action.||Es ist nicht ein Konflikt, der durch eine militärische Aktion gelöst sein kann.|
|It’s a conflict between two peoples, who are deeply convinced that each has the right to live on the same tiny piece of land. That they may live there, and that they must live there.||Es ist ein Konflikt zwischen zwei Völkern, die zutiefst überzeugt sind, das Recht zu haben, auf das gleiche, kleine Stückchen Land leben zu dürfen. Und zu müssen.|
|Without the other group.||Ohne die anderen.|
|And that! That’s what we have to change.||Und das! Das müssen wir ändern.|
|A cease-fire is absolutely necessary. Long overdue, even.||Waffenstillstand ist absolut notwendig. Sogar, viel zu spät.|
|But it’s not enough.||Aber es reicht nicht.|
|We have to bring the parties together, so they can talk with each other, and so they understand first and foremost: that there is no military solution.||Wir müssen die Parteien zusammen bringen, dass sie miteinander sprechen, und dass sie als erstes das verstehen: dass es keine militärische Lösung gibt.|
|And then the rest of the world must provide real support for this.||Und dann muss der Rest der Welt das wirklich unterstützen.|
|Then, it will be very simple, and it can be solved.||Dann, wird es sehr einfach sein, und es kann gelöst sein.|
Hamburg’s “Transparency Law,” requiring the administration to publish all its documents with the exception of e.g. personal data and business secrets. The compulsory publication will go online in October 2014 in a central “information register.”
Hamburg passed this law in 2012 after an initiative by Mehr Demokratie!, the Chaos Computer Club and Transparency International.
So far the city-state’s government has held 120 training seminars to tell 1700 officials what the new law will mean.
One trainer began his sessions with an 1838 quote from Prussia’s interior minister, Gustav von Rochow.
“It is not fitting for subjects (…) to apply the standards of their own limited insight to the head of state’s actions and to presume in their bigheaded arrogance to make a public judgment about the lawfulness of said actions.”
(Tronce paw RENTS geh zetts.)
“The biggest and most important tax conference ever held in Germany,” which will be in Berlin in October 2014 to sign, seal and deliver the new international agreement for the automatic exchange of tax data, after it is approved by the G20 finance ministers in September 2014.
67 countries and legal regions are on board; 40 want to implement the new O.E.C.D standard in 2017. Countries implementing the standard include Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, the Bermuda Islands and the Caymans.
This achievement was accomplished by pressure from the U.S., whose “Fatca” law required banks outside the U.S. to provide tax information about customers who had to pay tax in the U.S. The U.S. negotiated this in bilateral agreements. Then five E.U. countries said if the U.S. could do it, the E.U. should as well.
“The task of automatically exchanging the many billion data that could be relevant for the financial authorities across borders is considered extremely complex. It has already been decided that all sorts of income will have to be reported, including interest, dividends, income from insurance contracts but also capital gains [from sales]. Banks will be involved but also brokers, investment funds and insurers. This will cover the accounts held by natural persons and by trusts and foundations and the natural persons who control them. Finally, guidelines on implementation and specific details on the safe transfer of data were worked out.” —Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
(Dee GRISS ta oont bed OY tend sta SHTOY ah cone fah RENTS inn DEUTSCH lonned, dee ess yay geg GAY ben hot.)
Reliability verification procedure.
This month the responsible federal bureaux apparently stopped processing Sig Sauer’s applications for weapons export permits while investigations continue into how Sig’s guns were found in Colombia and Kazakhstan despite export permits that said “United States.”
(Tsoo fair LESS ichh kites PROO foongz fair FAR en.)
A “spying spiral,” falling into an espionage arms race. Süddeutsche Zeitung echoed Chancellor Merkel when they wrote, on 10 Jul 2014,
“Despite everything: Permanently spying on each other is wasteful.
“Intelligence agencies are always insatiable. They take as much money, personnel and technology as they can get. Whether this really makes the world a safer place is hard to prove. Of course there are threats, such as international terrorism, against which Germany must effectively defend itself. Including by working with the U.S.A. The energy spent on permanently spying on each other in addition to all that is wasted energy.”
On 16 Jul 2014, Chancellor Merkel’s spokesperson said it again:
“It seems to the Chancellor, and surely to the entire federal government as well, that it’s not sensible for everyone to be spying on everyone, as if we were still in the Cold War. Especially not among friends and allies.”
(SHPAY shpee RAH lah.)
“Manipulation of public opinion, calumny campaigns and reality distortion… rigging online polls and altering view counts for websites.”
How Spiegel.de described some of G.C.H.Q.’s “weaponized capabilities” from a July 2012 list that Glenn Greenwald published on Bastille Day, 2014.
(Mon EEP eula SEE OWN dare if ent lichh en MINE oong, ROOF moahd comp ON yen, ray all lee TATES faired SERR oong.)
what Spiegel.de called the two World-Cup Snowden revelations in its “Eleven Things That Happened While You Were Watching Soccer” article:
Used as sources.
On Sunday, 13 Jul 2014, it was revealed that the C.I.A. had used more than a dozen German government employees in four ministries “as sources.” Also that there had been hacking attacks on the phones on members of the Bundestag’s N.S.A. investigation committee.
Although the Bundestag is in its summer recess, its N.S.A. investigation committee met on 15 Jul 2014. The heads of all three German intelligence agencies attended. Most of the meeting was secret.
The heads of the intelligence agencies praised their organizations for finding all these U.S. spies in the German government. The opposition said the spies were found accidentally and wondered how many more spies haven’t been found yet.
(Awls KVELL en ben OOTS t.)
How the awesome Univision commentators said “Schürrle” during their wonderful free webcast of la gran final de la Copa Mondial. That’s probably how the English commentators said it as well, but my search results showed no free English webcast.
Univision’s guys also thoroughly enjoyed saying “Schweinsteiger” and “Mertesäcker.”
Partido = match, pelota = ball, grito = the yelling of the crowd.
Respect for Argentina!
A July 12 headline in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
(Achtung four Awg en TEEN ian.)
A taz.de description of Donald Rumsfeld.
(Meal eat ERR feel ose OFF.)
“Ordering in,” what you do to important diplomats after an affront by their country. They can try to explain what was meant. You can express displeasure and show voters you are responding to an event that is important.
German media regularly report that this or that ambassador has been “ordered in,” e.g. to the Foreign Office, in response to such-and-such an event. But I think U.S. reporting of these matters only begins when diplomats are expelled from a country, which may be why it made sense to so many Americans when George W. Bush announced we were no longer going to talk to regimes we had serious differences of opinion with.
(EYE n beh SHTELL en.)
An a-capella song sung in a voice as bright and clear as a bell.
From Spiegel’s review of Dolly Parton’s concert in Cologne last week, describing how she sang “Little Sparrow.” They said she captivated the crowd with her openness to the world and self-irony.
“The bigger the hair, the closer to God.”
(Glaw ken HELLA ah cah PELLA.)
European register of companies, to prevent letterbox companies from obscuring who’s behind an enterprise.
The E.U. law mandating a new European companies register is being worked out in Brussels. Sven Giegold (Green party) said the current draft would only allow officials to view the register. Süddeutsche Zeitung confirmed it did not explicitly say everyone will be allowed to see the information. “Insiders said this was because publicly naming companies’ and foundations’ economically authorized persons would violate privacy.”
Sven Giegold said you don’t have to publish their names and addresses, but the public has a right to know who’s behind things. To prevent abuse of the companies register, there could be a register documenting the people who want to view the companies register.
An activist from a group called One said Africa loses 44 billion euros each year that are diverted and laundered through anonymous trusts and letterbox companies.
(Oy roe PAY ish ess oon ta NAE MON’S ray GISS ta.)
Arms exports report.
The Bundessicherheitsrat is a government board that meets secretly to approve German arms exports. Each deal must be separately approved as an exception to the Peace Clause in Germany’s constitution, yet so many are approved that Germany is the world’s #3 weapons exporter after the U.S.A. and Russia.
The permits issued by the Bundessicherheitsrat have been being published once each year in the annual arms exports report. The 2013 report was just published in June 2014, for example.
Reforms are under discussion. Critics of the current system say the report is being published too late and too infrequently. Now it was found that it’s too incomplete as well: The 2013 report did not mention a billion-euro deal to sell tanks, howitzers, mortars and masses of ammunition to Qatar that the previous coalition approved in March 2013.
Apparently it’s an accounting problem that happens to divide the reporting of these large arms deals up into the years of their partial deliveries, making them look smaller. It also happens to obscure when the Bundessicherheitsrat permitted these large deals.
(RISS toongs ex POT bear ICHH t.)
It was announced on July 4 that a U.S. spy was caught in the German foreign intelligence service (BND).
The federal prosecutors in Karlsruhe are investigating a 31-year-old BND employee for selling secret documents to an American contact man. The BND employee also offered his services to the Russians. It’s still not clear whether the person he thought was his American contact man was actually American and from a U.S. intelligence agency.
Update on 05 Jul 2014: Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, Verfassungsschutz, is responsible for protecting the country from foreign spies. Apparently when Verfassungsschutz started investigating this mole they asked the U.S. for help.
Update on 09 Jul 2014: Military Intelligence (MAD) may have found a second U.S. spy inside the Defense Ministry.
(M OW! L voorf.)
The “autocomplete trap.”
Goldman Sachs is suing Google to force deletion of an email containing confidential customer information that Goldman’s contractor’s employee accidentally sent to a gmail account. Goldman also wants to know who has had access to the information in the email.
(Ow! toe fair FOAL shtenned ee goongs FALL ah.)
“Forming a grape,” meaning forming a cluster or bunch.
What crowds do in German.
Queues in Germany can take the form of a triangle, with the desired goal at the midpoint of the longest leg of the triangle. Old ladies also have their own rules, especially at the twice-weekly open-air markets.
(Eye na TROU ba BILL den.)
A breakfast festival feast full of art.
How an Englishman living in Berlin described German breakfasts, according to Frankfurter Rundschau’s excerpt from the German translation of his English book about German culture.
“At weekend breakfasts, every square centimeter of the table is covered by an enormous assortment of cheeses, cold cuts, fruit, jams, honey, spreads and other things.” Fresh rolls from the corner bakery! Well-made croissants. Ripe tomatoes, herbs from the balcony, good yogurt, a warm soft-boiled egg to carefully dismantle in an egg cup, sometimes smoked salmon and inexpensive caviar. Excellent coffee.
(FROO shtook olls KOONST foal ess FEST mall.)
Now that Swiss, Austrian and Liechtenstein banks are about to stop allowing anonymous accounts for foreign tax evaders, Bavarian police and customs officials have been catching more people trying to transport large amounts of cash. They are also suspicious of attempts to bring expensive boats into Germany across Lake Constance. Wristwatches can transport wealth out of Switzerland.
Police said they’re calling the Eurocity train between Munich and Zurich the “black money express.” Transporting large sums of cash in small quantities is “ant traffic.” They watch for wealthy-looking retirees who are behaving suspiciously.
(OM eye zen fair CARE.)
“Bundestag members’ diets,” but apparently this means their pay. In February 2014 the Bundestag discussed reforms to raise its members’ remuneration, changing it “to about that of a federal judge, with regular pay raises thereafter,” said ARD tagesschau.de. Their last raise was in 2013.
Update on 11 Feb 2014: Leftists and Green party members criticized the grosse Koalition’s plan to give Bundestag members a ~10% pay raise by the end of 2014, calling it “masslos und überzogen,” immoderate/self-indulgent/exorbitant and excessive. Gregor Gysi (Leftists) said it did not match or fit current trends in wages, pensions, and social welfare payments. At 19% of the Bundestag, the opposition will be unable to stop the bill, which looks like it will be proposed and passed in about one week.
The regular pay raises after the 10% bolus are to be linked to trends in the labor market, said the C.D.U./C.S.U. and S.P.D. proponents. Süddeutsche said this includes matching downward trends in German workers’ pay too, though those rarely happen.
The plan is to raise Bundestag members’ monthly salary from 8252 to 8667 euros on 01 Jul 2014 and then to 9082 euros on 01 Jan 2015.
“Masslos überzogen,” immoderately/self-indulgently/exorbitantly excessive, is what ZDF heute journal said the new interior minister Thomas de Maizière (C.D.U.) called the government workers’ unions’ concurrent negotiation demands for a pay raise of 3.5% and 100 euros more per month (ca. 7% total) for federal and county public sector employees, about 2.1 million people in Germany.
Update on 21 Feb 2014: The Bundestag passed its pay raise to itself. 115 no’s, 10 absentions. A C.D.U./C.S.U. politician arguing for the pay raise said it was “courageous.” Green party member Hans-Christian Ströbele said the haste with which the supermajority grosse Koalition whipped the pay raise through was an indication of their guilty conscience about it.
Update on 28 Jun 2014: It’s become known that Bundespräsident Gauck is not signing the Bundestag’s pay raise to itself yet. He said his jurists are still examining some questionable points in the changes. The Bundespräsident’s signature is the last hurdle before a new law can go into effect, but the signature can only be delayed or refused if there are constitutionality questions.
Update on 29 Jun 2014: A taz.de op-ed cited a 1975 decision by Germany’s supreme Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe that Bundestag members’ pay should not be linked to civil service pay [Beamtenbesoldung] and their pay raises should have to be approved publicly, i.e. in the plenum of the Bundestag. The process for giving themselves raises should be “transparent for the burghers and decided before the eyes of the public.”
Update on 11 Jul 2014: Bundespräsident Gauck signed the Bundestag raise package, including the automatic raises to come. The 01 July 2014 raise will be implemented retroactively.
(BOON dess tochhs ob geh ORD net en dee ATE en.)