Tuesday, February 27, 2024

28 Feb 2024: Four German News Stories

 1.  Just an odd feature off Focus yesterday....story over a bakery, which doesn't start production until 11 AM....instead of 2 AM standard (for the normal baker).  Worth a read.

The big issue facing German bakers presently...lack of personnel, and Gen-Z folks just don't have an interest in getting up at 1 AM....showing up at work at 2 AM.  So in the case of this guy....applicants are no problem.

2.  Macron of France had some talk yesterday....NATO troops might be deployed into the Ukraine.

99-percent BS.   There's a limit to how far things can go.

3.  The EU is setting up a anti-money-laundering headquarters....to  be based out of Frankfurt.  I would  imagine various mafia groups are already lining up their insiders to get jobs within the operation.

4.  Frankfurt Airport came out and admitted that they typically run around 5,000 mouse-traps on a regular basis.

Red Army Faction Arrest?

 Well....yes.

RAF terrorist Daniela Klette was arrested this afternoon, in the Hanover region.

Klette would be 65 years old, and been in hiding since the early 1980s....when being active in the RAF.

Hiding in plain sight?  More or less....she used a fake document to get the lease on this apartment she was renting.

A third generation element?  Well....this is the odd part of the RAF.....each generation came in....went through five to seven years, and appear to have burned out.  The third generation is the last group....before the RAF dissolved.

The general belief?  There are two male RAF members still on the 'hunt-list', and it's believed that Klette and the two....were quietly robbing grocery store operations over the past 20 years to pay for their lifestyle.

Little is said about 'how' they came upon her.....my humble guess is that the fraudulent paperwork for the apartment attracted some kind of attention.  

A big deal?  It'll be talked about a good bit tonight, and for the remainder of the week.  

Her crimes and charges?  Two bomb attacks  (early 1990s), and around a dozen grocery and bank-transit robberies.....enough to hand her 20 years.  My guess is that they will offer a simple deal....admit to everything....tell the whole story, and get a 8-year sentence.  The fact that she never murdered anyone?  That might be her saving grace.

This still being front-page thing with RAF?  If you are over 60....you remember the bulk of 1970s/1980s action.  If you are less than 30....you know next to nothing.

27 Feb 2024: Eight German News Stories

 1.  The EU wrote up some regulation....if you hand a transfer to a bank/Paypal (within Europe).....they have to complete it by the end of next business day.  I'll just go and predict virtually all of them double up the pricing on transfer of money within six months.

2.  Focus did a fairly decent introduction  to Gov Kristi Noem....of the state of South Dakota....highly chatted now to be the possible VP of Donald Trump.  First time I can recall her name being mentioned around Germany.

3.  Some chatter around the Bundestag to bring minimum wage to 14 Euro.  Probably won't occur this year.....but since 2025 is an election year....I'd give it a 75-percent chance of passing then.

4. Hungary approved Sweden's entry into NATO.  Last point  required.

5.  Bavaria (the state) is looking at state laws, and likely to pursue halting cannabis sales/use (at least within Bavaria).  Only state discussing this option.  Positive of this?  Illegal sales would still continue on in Bavaria.

6.  Chancellor Scholz said 'no' on the question of providing Taurus air-launched missiles to Ukraine.....saying it'd cross a line and make Germany a more-willing participant in the war.  

7.  The Tesla factor in Gr├╝nheide is threatened with a halt on production....accusation is....some type of unique water pollution going on.  If true?  They'd have to figure out what, then devise a 'fix'....meaning a minimum of a month or two of a shut-down.

8.  News opened up last night and talked of a freighter arriving in Hamburg with BYD E-cars.  So the BYD gimmick is that it's made in China....is the ultra-cheap models start off around $12k, and the more attractive E-car model is around 20,000 Euro.  Yeah, this up-tick is probably scaring VW and BMW a good bit.   Theres supposed to be a couple of these special freighters built....so the idea is that more E-cars will be delivered.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

26 Feb 2024: Five German News Stories

 1.  Starting From July.....if you are a landlord in Germany and offer up a cable TV connection to tenants....the law will evolve.  New interpretation?  You can't pass the cost to the renter.  Other than just raising the rent to cover this....it's hard to figure how this will change.

2.  In my local region of Eltville (along the river), there was a Sunday vote to occur....deciding among the residents if three areas overlooking the river....will be allow to have wind-generators.  Last vote (3 years ago) was solid 'NO'.  

Results from yesterday's votes?  57-percent voted to allow  the wind-generators.  

3. Interesting piece off N-TV news yesterday.....on E-car pricing.   Basically, there's hard times hitting dealers.  So what the news says....you can easily expect a 5,000 to 7,000 Euro discount, and if you really push it....even up to 10,000 Euro off.

Will this change the trend and get people all hyped-up to buy the cars?  I'd have doubts.

4.  Speech over the weekend by CDU's 'boss' (Merz)....the right-of-center party comment was that if farmers continue block traffic and burn tires in public....the CDU will withdraw support to the farming community.

Just an odd feeling here....he probably lost farmer votes.  It's not a big number but in some districts....it mattered.

5.  From the Sunday night public forum show....'Caren Miosga', they had a long discussion over AfD politics and the situation in Thuringia (they will have a state election in the fall, and AfD is figured to win).

Bodo Ramelow (Premier-President of Thuringia) gave a talk and the key quote was “The whole of Germany is scared of Thuringia.”

25 Feb 2024: 9 German News Stories

 1.  City of Marburg is to hold a vote (public situation).  Idea is to cut in half all car traffic within the city by 2035.  

What likely comes if it passes?  Most businesses in town will report decreases in revenue/customers, with city tax revenue seriously affected.  Trying to recover....they will find that even by dumping the traffic law....customers have found alternate places (outside of Marburg) to give their business to.  

But....this is the thing, you need to allow communities to experiment, and prove ideas are smart or harmful. 

2.  Growing your own cannabis legally (in Germany)?  From 1 April on....you can have up to three Cannabis plants in your house.  

If you have a fourth plant?  You are violating the law, and the cops can confiscate your plant.  Could you give the plant to a neighbor or friend (over 18)?  Yes.  

3.  Just an odd story out of Chemnitz.  Back on Friday....some German doctor was in a parking garage....having parked his car and going to the stairway.  Encounters two 'punks' (Iranian and Syrian kids....13 and 15)....with them demanding money.  Doctor says 'no' and moves to just advance....they end up pushing him down a stairway....fair amount of injuries.

It's safe to say he'll be on recuperation for a couple of weeks.  Cops got the two young gentlemen, but the most they will probably get is some young detention 'jail' for a year.  

4.  Someone added up the troop strength of Russia in Ukraine, and they say there's more Russian conscripts in the country.....than the first month of the war.  

5. Green Party talking up some idea of hundreds of billions of Euro for infrastructure projects for Germany in the future.  Where the money would come from?  Unknown.

6.  N-TV news had a piece.....suggesting the hyped-up trend of Germany E-Scooters has finally occurred, and on-the-street rentals will drop over the next year.

7.  Outgoing 'boss' of NATO (Stoltenberg) says within 2 years....Ukraine will be a member of NATO.  Mostly BS....I can see at least two members of NATO being problems to get this done.

8.  WELT piece: Germans pay 41-perent more for energy (power, natural  gas, oil) than before the 'war'.

9.   N-TV item this AM: Fentanyl has finally arrived in Germany and generally noted by the police.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

24 Feb 2024: Four German News Stories

 1.  Good piece out of Focus today: "Pawnbroker sarcastically: “I should actually be grateful to the government.”

Just a lot of turnover in pawnbroking in Germany over past year.  Fair number of Germans are barely making it.

2.  Cannabis law?  It passed yesterday.

Legalization will occur on 1 April.  Now if you ask the experts....no one expects cities to have the process ironed-out...licenses ready to issue, or even enough legit weed to sell.

If you were asking me on local stuff (Wiesbaden)...I doubt that any shop appears until mid-summer.  Frankfurt?  There might be two or three open by the end of April.

Now, if you ask....how many Germans smoke cannabis occasionally (at least once a month)?  The survey suggest in the 4-million range out of 84-million residents (gov't says this statistic).  If you ask the cannabis associations....they say it's closer to 9-percent....meaning 7.5-million.  

Explaining the difference?  I think the gov't number infers something about the number of police arrests/busts, and just a wild guess.  It will also differ in regions.  If you went to Offenbach (Frankfurt's neighborhood)....it's probably closer to 40-percent of people between age 18 and 45.  In a more rural area....it might be fewer than 3-percent.  

All a shock to some Germans?  This legalization has been discussed for over forty years.   In cities like Hamburg or Koln...if you held some referendrum....it would have passed a dozen years ago.

3.  WELT reports around 5,600 Ukrainians are on some suspect list for illegally getting social-help money.  Investigation business will probably consume tens of thousands of man-hours. Whether they recover the money?  I doubt it.  

4.  Someone asked Google Artificial Intelligence (AI) to show German Nazis....in a 'painting-like' situation.

It produced black Nazis.

The Google team is marginally explaining how this is possible (they say code is supposed to show 'diversity'), and Germans themselves are having a laugh over the production.  

Historically-speaking....they might have been one or two Africans in some position...wearing a German uniform....maybe in Libya/Tunisia...during WW II. 

Friday, February 23, 2024

23 Feb 2024: Nine German News Stories

 1.  Up until this week, Brandenburg region had a record  for rainfall established and sitting since 1948.  This week....the winter rainfall has been added up, and broke the old record.

Even in my region around Wiesbaden, if you count the massive snow in November...we are probably around 120-percent for winter rain/snow mix.   

However, I'll point this out....drought conditions for spring/summer of 2023?  There were around 21 weeks of almost zero rain  (one single storm in that period that dropped a quarter-inch of rainfall).  For about 3 months, I didn't have to mow the lawn.

2.  There had been a plan to contract out German soccer league (both the first and second league) games to a commercial operation, and they would sell the content beyond the German border.  Back in January, this was hyped-up and two companies were in the biding 'war'.  Amount being discussed?  1-billion Euro for the two leagues.

Well...both bidding companies have dropped out.  Varying reasons....some relate to fans not happy over the deal.  But if you gauge viewers in China.....which would have been a major part of this.....dismal economic conditions are in play as well.

It would appear....all of the clubs were hoping on the cash distribution....so it hurts.

3.  All this effort to pass cannabis legalization?  Well....both the FDP and CSU parties have said 'nein'.  So the Greens and SPD.....desperately need either the CDU or the AfD Party to step up and support the effort.

If this fails?  I'd say around 20-percent of the nation will be disturbed how they were led along for the past two years.

Big vote?  Friday afternoon at the Bundestag.

4.  Thursday storm warnings?  If you lived in the northern third of Germany....160 kph winds.

5.  Some meeting yesterday at the EU.....representatives of 73 big-name companies (17 different sectors) told the EU that if their Net Zero carbon plan proceeds...there will be a massive downturn of their companies (hint: jobs) to occur.  The word 'wipe-out' was uttered.

To be honest, I doubt if the EU on their Net Zero plan had ever considered industry or jobs when discussing Net Zero creation.  

6.  Just a weird story.

There was this professor with a German university  up in G├Âttingen (2 hours driving north of Frankfurt)....who got dragged into court.

Accusation?  Basically, he wanted doctoral students to allow him to beat them naked.   

Apparently, the doctoral students to some degree.....agreed,  then reported the incident.

Court heard the case. Agreed....totally illegal.  They gave the guy 18 months of a suspended sentence (two students involved).  

What the guy said in his defense....something to the effect that he was preparing the ladies for future employment.  

7.   Mercedes had a strategy where most all of its production would be E-car related.  Yesterday, they said....they had evolved....gas cars would get a higher priority.  Not direct, but I suspect they are figuring out that the bulk of Germans  just won't go to E-cars.

8.   The planned target of Germany's economic growth this year?  It was 1.3 percent.  They announced yesterday....at best, it will ONLY be 0.2 percent. 

9.  There is some build-up of consumer chatter in Germany....if you make any food that has even marginal alcohol in it....you need to have labeling  on the product.  

Thursday, February 22, 2024

My 'Luxury' Mercedes

 Around 1993, I was stationed at a base in Germany that was under a closure plan.  My boss....a Major....came up and offered this amazing deal.  For $120....I could get what was practically a new satellite dish/receiver unit and a car.

The Major's car was referred to in the shop as the 'beast'.

So he'd arrived about 15 months prior, and gotten this great apartment near the base, and the landlord asked if he needed car.  He drove the Major over to this farmhouse, and showed the 'beast'.  It came with a legendary story.

It was a complete deluxe Mercedes 450 executive car....fully loaded....leather seats....from 1978.

So, the car was originally his dad's car.  Two years into ownership....dad had some heart attack in some pub.  The car was driven back to the house, but his mother was a non-driver.  So it sat there in the yard for about a year.

Eventually, the landlord moved it to a barn, and there it sat until 1992. No prep....no wash of road-salt accumulation. Driver's side (front/rear)....affected by rust.

The two threw in a new battery and spark plugs....car cranked up, and the Major bought it 500 DMs ($250).    Body-wise?  It was in rough shape and should have failed the vehicle test (the Major talked the inspector into missing the problems).  I doubt that it had more than 50,000 km on it.  Interior?   Absolutely perfect.

So I bought the satellite/receiver unit and the car....for $120.  

For about a year, I was extremely proud of the 'beast'.  I bought a new panel/fender to replace the rusted ones, and the inspection guy had no issues.  Yeah, it was a V8 and burned a ton of gas weekly.  It was a car made for the autobahn.

Somewhere around the 18th month...the axel broke.  I thought I could find a mechanic who'd take it on as a project.....but they were all just saying to give it up.