Germany

7:23am

Fri November 16, 2012
The Two-Way

East German Political Prisoners Made Some Of Its Products, IKEA Admits

Denis Charlet AFP/Getty Images

News outlets in German and Sweden have been reporting for the past year that some of the products made in past decades for Swedish furniture giant IKEA were produced by political prisoners in Cold War-era East Germany.

Today, IKEA conceded that the reports are true and that some of its "representatives" were aware of what was happening.

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7:55am

Wed November 14, 2012
Europe

In Berlin, A Boar Of A Story

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 8:29 am

Some 3,000 wild boars are estimated to roam Germany's capital. This 2008 picture provided by the Berlin Forestry Commission shows a sow and her offspring that decided to make their home outside an apartment building. Recently, a wild boar attacked and injured four people in a Berlin neighborhood.
Thorsten Wiehle Berlin Forestry Commission

"PIGS" are a hot topic in Germany's capital.

Attend any press briefing about how German Chancellor Angela Merkel is going to solve the European debt crisis, and you're likely to hear that acronym, which stands for "Portugal, Ireland (or Italy), Greece and Spain."

But recently, pigs of an altogether different variety made headlines in Berlin.

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3:30pm

Mon November 12, 2012
Europe

A German City With Debt Problems Of Its Own

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 6:31 pm

The main street in Oberhausen — Germany's most indebted city — is dotted with vacancies. Despite its economic woes, Oberhausen, like other western German cities, must make "reunification" payments to the former communist East. The payments help explain German voters' reluctance to bail out Greece and other eurozone countries.
Patrik Stollarz AFP/Getty Images

Germany, the economic engine of Europe, has been a key player in bailing out the Continent's most troubled economies.

Yet there are places in the former West Germany — like Oberhausen — that are struggling with their own debt problems, even as they pay hefty sums to revitalize former East German cities with transfers known as "Solidarity Pact" payments.

Borrowing To Stay Afloat — And Pay Out

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4:29am

Sun October 21, 2012
NPR Story

Basketball's Top Scorer Is Not In The NBA

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 6:03 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Some people travel a long ways to find a job, even professional basketball players. Brooklyn native Everage Richardson is playing hoops in a tiny town in Germany's Harz Mountains. Reporter Connor Donevan has his story.

CONNOR DONEVAN, BYLINE: When Everage Richardson finished his college basketball career, he was looking for somewhere to play. Somewhere turned out to be Elbingerode Germany, for the Bodfeld Baskets, a town and a team he knew next to nothing about.

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12:58pm

Tue October 9, 2012
Europe

German Catholics' Path To Heaven Comes With Taxes

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 9:02 pm

Bavarian bishops walk in a procession to the Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers near Bad Staffelstein, Germany, in May. A decree by the German bishops' conference warns that German Catholics who do not pay a state church tax will be denied sacraments.
Daniel Karmann EPA/Landov

Germany's bishops have a clear message for the country's 25 million Catholics: The road to heaven requires more than faith and good intentions; it requires tax payments, too.

Last month, German bishops warned that if members of the Catholic Church don't pay the country's church tax, they'll be denied the sacraments — including baptisms, weddings and funerals.

In increasingly secular Europe, Germany is one of the few countries where the state collects a special levy from tax-registered believers and hands it over to three organized faiths.

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