Posts Tagged ‘ Angela Merkel ’

Realpolitik: Big Boy Games, Big Boy Rules

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Today we learned of a fracture in the western alliance system as French and German leaders head off to Russia for peace talks on the Ukrainian crisis. This is a desperate and misguided attempt to reach a resolution, which in all likelihood is going to fail. The inescapable fact is that Russia is an aggressive state with a belligerent leader, who has thus far only played the realpolitik game. Already torn up is the German-brokered ceasefire from late 2014, not to mention treaties from the nineties which guaranteed Ukrainian border integrity. Without anyone effectively challenging Putin, there is no reason to believe that he will sit down and settle a political solution. The famed strongman of world politics will only back down and make terms when the alternative for him, continued belligerence, is the worse option.

One can only wonder where Angela Merkel’s reputation as the Iron Lady of Europe came from. So far she has only continually reiterated her country’s unwillingness to fight or supply arms to the Ukrainians as well as opposing proposals for new stationing of NATO troops in Eastern European countries. This stance is undoubtedly popular in a Germany which is still dealing with war guilt towards Russia and is more sceptical of its relationship with the United States. Merkel has also previously been praised for her understanding of Russia, having grown up in East Germany and for her fluent Russian. However her understanding had an obvious blind spot in the Crimea crisis. German-backed energy deals with Russia were no hindrance to the illegal annexation of Crimea and invasion of East Ukraine. Europe has effectively been caught with its pants down. Continue reading

A Year in Brief: Part Two

sineadandmiley

Part two of NIB’s yearly round-up because 2013 was just too good! (Read part one here).

Dublin’s new bridge, crossing the Liffey at Marlborough Street and connecting Luas lines on each side of the river, was on the lookout for a name. A list of 85 possibilities was suggested by the public which was then shortlisted by Dublin City Council to 17. Some suggestions in a comments thread on The Times website included: Bosco Bridge; Daniel Day Luas Bridge (nice); Da Plain People O’Ireland Bridge; Jedward Bridge; and NIB favourite, the Feckin’ Bridge. Continue reading

News In Brief-Kilkenny Man’s Hitler Cake Courts Controversy

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There are monkeys loose in Belfast. Actual monkeys, running about, acting the maggot. They escaped from Belfast Zoo and have since been blamed for trouble in the Holy Lands, excessive drinking, late night parties and defecating in the street. (For those that don’t know the Holy Lands are a notoriously student populated part of the city. You’ve probably seen the area on the news when the lads have set light to a car.) Still, if you can’t beat ’em join ’em is what Martin McGuinness and First Minister Peter Robinson are reported to have said in a joint statement.

VAT on hurleys is to remain the same at 23% despite ash dieback affecting the trees they’re made from. We’ll be forced to make sliotars from spuds and our sticks from ham sandwiches! It’s not really a joke though, despite the issue being brought to the attention of a certain Noo-Nar man it was rejected as VAT can only be reduced in very “limited cases”, like if you’re a multi-billion dollar technology company. The trees may be dying off but soon it’ll be the hurley makers business dying back. Continue reading

Obama Denies Monitoring Merkel’s Phone

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German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has summoned the US ambassador to Germany to discuss information obtained by German authorities that the US may have monitored Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.

However these claims have been denied by US President Barack Obama, who received a phone call from Merkel yesterday as she demanded immediate clarification and told him if such surveillance had taken place it amounted to a “grave breach of trust”.

Germany have since summoned the US ambassador John B Emerson to Berlin. Continue reading

Floods Continue To Ravage Central Europe

 

Over 600 people have been evacuated from the German city of Dresden as floodwater continues to threaten parts of southern Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic, having already killed at least 12 people.

The level of the River Elbe in the historic German city is not expected to peak until Thursday morning and evacuations are continuing . Continue reading

News in Brief-Family Feud “A Bit Of Craic”

fighting-kidsDublin’s new bridge, crossing the Liffey at Marlborough Street and connecting Luas lines on each side of the river, is looking for a name. A list of 85 possibilities were suggested by the general public which has been short listed by Dublin Council to 17. Word of advice to Dublin City Council: don’t ask the public to decide things like this. They will take the piss. Some suggestions in a comments thread on The Times website included: Bosco Bridge; Daniel Day Luas Bridge (nice); Da Plain People O’Ireland Bridge; Jedward Bridge; and NIB favourite, the Feckin’ Bridge.

This year’s Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival is going gay. ’The Outing’ aims to offer gay and lesbian participants a matchmaking service to rival it’s straight counterpart with drag shows and ceilìs combined. Music, dancing and matchmaking will be overseen by Panti, ’Drag High-Queen of Ireland’ (who knew we were a monarchy?), at a price of €199 per person, sharing. Obviously they’re confident about meeting Mr or Mrs Right in Clare. Continue reading

News in Brief-Noonan Hops To Mexico As Mock Up Merkel Flag Rakes In A Fortune

Michael Noonan has been in Mexico to talk about the eurozone crisis at the G20 summit with other world leaders. Why Mexico? Well, why not? Obviously the minister has not heard of Skype, or email, or the telephone, letters, carrier pigeons, smoke signals! No wonder we’re in such financial trouble. The Minister is also attending the Eurogroup and the EcoFin (not to be confused with Eurovision) meetings in Luxembourg on our behalf. There is one way Mr Noonan could have saved some cash – on his flights – Ryanair must fly to Mexico by know, don’t they? Sorry I mean Ryanaerlingus.

 
 Michael O’Leary is once again trying to take over the airline, and the WORLD! Although it may not be as, plane sailing, as he would hope. Aer Lingus have deemed his offer of €649million euro as, undervaluing the company and the worth of the seventy percent of shares they do not own, but once you add on taxes and charges, admin fees and insurance, that figure could be closer to €700million, bargain!
 
      The “Angela Merkel Thinks We’re at Work” Tricolour as seen at the Euros and on the internet has been auctioned off for charity. The Tricolour was bought by Antrim-based Glendun Group and Iris RD, who submitted a joint bid totalling €15,800. All the money raised will go to Oscar Knox (3), a Belfast boy with neuroblastoma, a cancer that develops from nerve tissue.
 
      Oscar became popular online with his own flag that read, “My Ma Thinks I’ll Be in Bed Early” during the matches. If anyone watched last nights match between Germany and Greece they would have spotted Angela herself in business attire, cheering on her team. I thought she was at work . . .
 
      Spirit Radio, a Christian radio station based in Dublin and broadcasting across Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford has claimed an 11% share of the national radio listenership. The station, which is not part of the Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) claims that two independent surveys have confirmed 11% of over 15 year olds listen to Spirit for fifteen minutes or more each week, in comparison 2FM only received JNLR results of 8%. When asked if he believed Spirit has a bigger listenership than RTE’s second station, chief executive Rob Clarke said it was “not possible to make a direct comparison” across results. You’ve just got to have faith.
 
      MAGNETS! Aaarrgghhhh! Sorry I didn’t mean to scare you I just saw a magnet. Parents are being warned of the increasing danger of MAGNETS! After two cases of children swallowing them in the UK within the last eighteen months. In both cases the children had to have surgery to remove the magnets, leading to health officials publishing a letter of warning in medical journal, The Lancet.
 
       In the letter Dr Anil Thomas George from Queen’s Medical Centre at Nottingham University Hospital, wrote, “Parents should be warned of the risk of magnet ingestion, particularly in small children. We believe that improvement in public awareness about this risk will be key in preventing such incidents”. The letter also warned of the increased availability of cheap magnetic toys, hinting the accidental ingestion of magnetic elements will become more common.