Saturday, April 26, 2008

France’s President Sarkozy’s Humble Approach (“Bling Bling”, etc)

Excerpt - The message was simple: There is no alternative to reforms, and please be patient until success materializes. "I take my work seriously," Sarkozy said to justify his actions. "But there is a lot to do and the expectations are great and there are still another four years." His implication was that it is also a citizen's duty to stay calm. And then came his modest mea culpa. "Undoubtedly I have made mistakes, but one can't change a country without there being problems here and there," he said regretfully. "I do what I can."

This admission was long overdue. After just 11 and a half months, the president has pretty much gambled away the popularity that led to his triumphant election victory in May 2007. The candidate who presented himself to the French people as a tenacious doer, a visionary, who awakened expectations of a "new France," has experienced an almost grotesque crash in support in recent months.

The people's love affair with their president lasted up until his divorce from ex-wife Cecilia. Sarkozy then annoyed his supporters with his blatant desire to hang out with VIPs and celebrities, and his flashy taste in Rolex watches and Ray Bans. This taste for luxury soon earned him a name guaranteed to damage a reputation: "President Bling Bling."

A Presidential Comeback in Four Acts More by Stefan Simons in Paris, SPIEGEL INTERNATIONAL

Saturday, April 19, 2008

About the "Transatlantic Daily" (International Stuff)


For a period of approx. three years, we’re running the multicultural blog INTERNATIONAL STUFF - “transatlantic daily” - on a regular day-to-day schedule.*

While my main correspondent M.K. - aka "e-glob" (a US lawyer) - resides in Washington (DC), I stay currently in Germany’s Rhine-Main area (Wiesbaden, Mainz, Frankfurt). Formerly I had resided - among other international locations - in France [Paris] and in the USA [Dallas-Fort Worth (Texas), San Francisco (California), Manhattan (New York)].

At the Haplif Navigation Center (lower part of the page) a selection of topics of the International Stuff blogs may be clicked. They were split into two parts: 1,320 and 1,580 posts (17 authors), totalling 2,900 entries.**

Further blog background (historic): Success of the blog INTERNATIONAL STUFF [Google Groups & Usenet]



* Renamed INTERNATIONAL TOPICS as of June 16 2009.

** In the meantime we had (additionally) 450 posts within another contextual thread (Apr 18 - Oct 21 2008).


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Muslims in Germany -- Life in a Parallel Society

In Germany, Islam is often equated with fundamentalism and fanaticism, a perception that imposes a heavy burden on the country's 3 million Muslims. Their relationship to Western society is divided between integration and sometimes self-imposed exclusion… SPIEGEL INTERNATIONAL / 6 photos / 12 graphics

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Contradictory US Voters -- The Two Americas

American voters are a contradictory bunch: They say they want social welfare, but don't want to pay for it. They claim they are left-leaning, but vote for center-right candidates. Only candidates who can appeal to both sides stand a chance. …

One option is to listen to the candidates and their advisors malign each other. When it comes to name-calling, the worst labels that have been tossed around to date have been "monster" (an epithet that was applied to Hillary Clinton) and "Judas" (the word that was used to describe Bill Richardson, who was appointed US ambassador to the United Nations by Bill Clinton but who endorsed Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination). As spring temperatures rise, the level of civility is apparently falling.

The second option is to listen to the people, to the way they express their views through the lens of opinion polls. In recent weeks, tens of thousands of US citizens of both genders and of all races, age groups and income classes have been polled to gauge their mood and political preferences.

The results say that America is divided, but not just into North and South, black and white, poor and rich. The two Americas appearing on the pollsters' radar screens coexist in the political brain of every voter. The findings are clear: the desires of American citizens contradict their fundamental convictions. … By Gabor Steingart in Washington, Spiegel International

Friday, April 4, 2008

NATO - Putin vs. Bush in the Battle of the Legacies

Bucharest has been a hugely important summit for Nato

President Putin was the first winner from the Nato summit in Bucharest, and he wasn't even there. The Nato-Russia Council begins only today, but Putin, who has played the Western alliance with obsessive skill in his last months as President, ensured that relations with Russia dominated the earlier gathering.

For him and George W. Bush, Bucharest was a battle of the legacies, and on points Putin won. The summit failed to give a date for Ukraine and Georgia to join, which Bush had forthrightly declared it should, but which Germany and France blocked, partly to avoid antagonising Russia. Gordon Brown yesterday said that “no one outside a Nato meeting could influence it”, but Russia's threats and courtship seem to have done just that.

The summit did make an unequivocal declaration that “these countries will become members of Nato”, which is powerful rhetoric, but remains vulnerable to members' doubts, whether or not because of Russian pressure behind the scenes. Putin did lose one important point, however: Nato committed itself to hosting the US missile defence bases in the Czech Republic and Poland... Bronwen Maddox. The Times - online