Would Numbers Lie?

News products can be that way. On the one hand the numbers tell us today that the mood in the German economy has picked up yet again and that German companies are looking ahead to 2015 with renewed confidence.

Positive

At the same time we read how Germany’s National Office for Statistics has determined that one in every five Germans is a victim of poverty.

A contradiction? Not necessarily, I guess. That’s why everybody’s kind of happy sort of around here these days. And that’s why I, for one, believe everything I read.

Die Stimmung in der deutschen Wirtschaft hat sich im Dezember erneut verbessert: Der Ifo-Index legte zum zweiten Mal zu.

The Fall Of The Berlin Mall Of Berlin

Jeepers. That didn’t take very long.

Mall of Berlin

This is not just any mall, mind you, but the hubristically named Mall of Berlin—the largest Germany’s capital has ever seen, including not only shops but (as yet unfinished) apartments and a hotel. And guess what? While it’s only been open since the autumn, the whole project is already bombing…

It’s not that Berlin’s government and developers don’t have the guts to take on major projects to transform the city. They just really suck at them.

The End Of An Aura

It’s amazing these sleeper trains have lasted as long as they have, if you stop and think about it.

Night Train

Saturday marked the end of the line for this Paris-Berlin sleeper, at any rate. Slow food might be able to make a stand here and there but it looks like slow travel is definitely out.

Deutsche Bahn, the German rail network which operates the sleeper said the service was incurring debts over €20 million a year and losing out to cheap bus connections and easyJet which offers a regular service between the two capitals. Along with the Paris-Berlin sleeper, overnight train services linking Berlin with Copenhagen and Amsterdam are also being axed.

The Bigger They Are…

Airbus Group NV (AIR) raised the prospect of discontinuing its A380 superjumbo as soon as 2018, the first admission that it may have misjudged the market for the double-decker after failing to find a single airline buyer this year.

A380

Bis heute hat Airbus Bestellungen für 318 Exemplare der A380 erhalten. Das ist nur gut ein Viertel des Bedarfs, den Airbus einst vorausgesagt hatte.

Günter Wallraff Foaming Around The Mouth Again

Still bitter about having lost his undercover job as a package deliverer I guess (he wasn’t used to actually having to work for a living) undercover undercover-journalist Günter “Undercover” Wallraff couldn’t help but have yet another fit about Amazon & Co. on German television last night.

Gunter Wallraff

Good timing or something. It’s strike season in Germany again (still?), as you know. Merry Christmas, Verdi!

But at least he didn’t just stop with Amazon, for once. Wallraff is also very, very angry at German consumers themselves for not purchasing their products where he wants them to (anywhere else but Amazon). Geez, he’s saying. It’s like if you just let people do whatever they want to do they’ll end up doing whatever it is they want to do. And where would that lead us to? That’s right, to where we are now.

His costumes really do rock, though. The one he was wearing last night (see above) was a little scary, though.

Wallraff kritisierte auch die Verbraucher: „Wir selber zerstören eigentlich gewachsene Struktur und wundern uns, irgendwann, dass das Leben so kalt und unpersönlich und trostlos geworden ist und Innenstädte veröden.“

Look Mom No Cables

Many of us who have ridden inside an elevator since its invention 160 years ago are accustomed to hearing its ominous hums and creaks, as well as stories of malfunctioning elevators that cause people to be stuck inside for hours. So, the idea of hopping into a cable-free elevator in a mid to high-rise building can sound both thrilling and nerve-wracking. That idea is soon to become a reality for global transportation manufacturer ThyssenKrupp, who is set out to test the first units of their cable-free MULTI elevator system once the testing tower in Rottweil, Germany is complete by the end of 2016.

Operating on a circular system, the elevators will be able to move vertically and horizontally in a loop at a speed of 5 m/s, powered by new linear motor technology similar to that of the Transrapid magnetic-levitation train. Passengers would have access to an elevator cabin every 15-30 seconds with a transfer stop every 50 meters.

Just Like The Duracell Bunny

Germany’s Energiewende (energy turnaround) just keeps on going.

Not only is the cost part still working: The cost of government subsidies for green energy is passed directly through to consumers. As a result, German households pay twice as much for electricity as their US counterparts.

Coal

The unreliability of renewables keeps on working, too: Berlin has little choice but to rely on electricity generation from dirty coal-fired power stations (evil nuclear power has been turned off here).

Which brings us to the next absurd turn of events.:  A striking example of the absurdity of this emerged this week with the publication of a letter from Germany’s vice-chancellor to the new Swedish centre-left government. Ms Merkel’s deputy warned of serious consequences for electricity supplies and jobs if Vattenfall, Sweden’s state-owned utility, ditched plans to expand two coal mines in Germany. While the Germans may need the dirty lignite these facilities produce, the Swedes are under pressure to scale back the mines because of popular concerns in Sweden about CO2 emissions.

Grand Opening For Klaus Wowereit International Airport Now Planned For 2018

Planning for the big party has run into a number of problems and cost-overruns that have made the postponement necessary, party planners announced today.

Wowereit

At least the party’s delay coincides with the latest delay for the completion of Berlin’s not-so-new-anymore-soon-to-be-new airport. The only problem here now is that the building permit runs out in 2016.

Party Klaus himself could not be reached for comment but is sure to attend the party if still alive, albeit no longer as mayor and El Architect Grande of Berlin.

“I leave voluntarily and I am proud of my contribution to the positive development of this city.”

It Takes Two Sanitary Gloves To Handle A Whopper

I can think of a lot of countries where Burger King might want to close down some of its franchises due to poor hygiene issues, but here in Germany?

Burger King

Pimp my burger! But wipe that Dreck off it first. And give me some French flies while you’re at it…

Die einstweilige Verfügung bedeute für den Franchisenehmer nicht die umgehende Schließung, erklärte der Sprecher. Yi-Ko müsse aber alle markenrechtlich geschützten Gegenstände von Burger King wie Schilder und Speisekarten entfernen, die Mitarbeiter müssten die Uniformen ablegen. „Wenn sie alles abnehmen, bleibt es ihnen überlassen, was sie mit dem Restaurant machen.“

Germany’s “Save Vlad’s Face” Movement Picking Up Steam

If you have ever had any doubts about just how deep of an understanding German Putin-Versteher (Putin understanders) have with the current Russian czar, you won’t have to look any further than here.

Platzeck

Former Brandenburg Minister President Matthias Platzeck (SPD) wants the West to resolve the Ukraine crisis by recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea. He’s clearly thought this through, too. Recognition is the highest form of flattery, you know. Or the second highest. I forget.

Well at least one of them finally had the decency to come out and just say it. Crimea, I mean criminy! It’s like pulling teeth with you people sometimes.

“The annexation of Crimea must be retroactively arranged under international law so that it’s acceptable for everyone.”

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