Sunday, May 28, 2017

German News: Bit and Pieces (Sun Evening)

Afghan youth fight.  The Austrian press (Krone.At) reported this incident from late in the week in Linz.  What you have are 30-odd teens....all Afghan in nature....who met up one morning to discuss some differences in status and lack of respect within the group.  A brawl occurred.....only involving Afghans, not Austrians. Cops arrive but most of the group have dispersed after getting in a few whacks.  Juvenile situation but it's a indicator of punks with time on their hands and no real occupation or job.  Note, this was not at night but in the mid-morning hours.

Russians in the midst of Germany:  Well, it's a Focus-piece which chats about this interesting item that the Germans (the cops and intelligence folks) believe 63 martial arts schools in Germany....are really Russian-intelligence (KGB) operations. Minimum of thirty German cities covered in this 'operation', and most have been in operation for years (not a recent thing).  The key phrase in this story is 'sleeper-cells'....which you have to be amused about because it seems to be such an open thing. Do the Russian authorities pay for the operation?  Well?  The story avoids suggesting that.  It appears to be some blame-like reporting, but it's hard to guess who started the story and if it is true to any degree.  A fake CIA story?  I have my doubts.  If you believe in the 63 martial arts school story, then what about the 300 Italian mafia pizzerias, the 150 Chinese-intelligence-run restaurants, and the three Chilean secret-intelligence-run steak houses?  Same possibility?

Free German TV at an end:  Well, for years, there's been this free deal where you just go and buy a satellite dish and a 30 to 100 Euro receiver, and you got both German public TV (already taxed on you) and German commercial TV.....FREE.  If you walked around, you'd generally say that 90-percent of houses in Germany will have a dish (not cable).  Well, the two parties in question are ready to go to the next version of delivery (enhanced and better, as they say)....but they want you to pay for the delivery.  So they set up a working group and are discussing the method of delivery and the cost factor.  My humble guess is that it'll require a special receiver, and a special chip with a code which has to be updated.  Cost?  Unknown, but I would speculate on a one-time fee (for the receiver and chip) of 100 Euro, and a yearly fee of 30 to 40 Euro.  Customer anger?  For the public-TV crowd, there's already a tax, so the public won't be receptive to this under-the-table rigged game.

German Army lacking anti-hacking skills:  Focus went and did a piece on this sensitive topic with the German Army.  For several years, the German Army has been mentioned along side the national effort on cyber warfare.  There's a center of operations, and some defensive capability.  Beyond that....nothing.  The Army admits this, but the issue is mostly due to the crowd of people that they recruit.  To be an offensive-like hacker, you need to be of a special character....which is typically NOT the type that you'd recruit to wear a uniform or be military in nature.  Hiring up contractors to be in this type environment?  The article hints that they've generally failed in this aspect.  My guess is that the hacker crowd quoted a yearly salary way beyond 70,000 Euro and the Bundeswehr just laughed.  Face the other fact.....if you lined up a hundred German hacker folks and presented this case of joining the German Army for six years....99-percent would grin and just walk away.

Focus update on political polling:  Focus updated the numbers....the SPD Party is now at 25-percent....pretty fall..  The CDU (Merkel's Party) is sitting at a very happy 38-percent.  And the FDP has moved up to almost 8-percent (even with the Greens).  At this point, with around 100 days to go, it would take an awful lot to collapse the CDU and bring any chance of beating Merkel.  Massive change since early January.

German youth and politics:  ARD wrote up an interesting article on this phenomenon of young Germans and the standard political parties.  They point out.....that the script that most of the parties used for decades....doesn't easily attract young voters.  One number stands out with the SPD.....large number of new members....17,000....mostly all under the age of thirty-five.  One might look at this and suggest that the old-guy leadership will have to find younger dynamic folks to put up for national positions and maybe even Chancellor.

Cherries and higher prices:  SWR put up a short article and talked about the early frost in the Pfalz, which messed up cherry production and has greatly increased cost.  Same issue with strawberries in Hessen.  If you go around and try to buy fresh fruit of any type from the local's 20-to-30 percent more expensive than normal.

Autobahn money story:  Last Saturday evening, down on A9 going into Bavaria....some German motorcyclist must have had his billfold fall out and 9,000 Euro flutter into the wind.  Cops got called, and were nice enough to shut down the autobahn for a while....letting the guy hunt for the money.  In the end, he was still missing 1,500 Euro.

Driving in German heat:  Germans are a bit fanatical about driving in summer weather.  This is a piece written by SWR on the dozen odd safety rules.  Like for example....the rule or suggestion flip-flops and's a safety concern and strongly suggested to wear actual shoes as the driver.  The expanding fuel tank situation is brought up.  And then there's that problem of watching for patches of autobahn highway that might heat-up in the summer and loosen.

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