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Body found in search for missing USS John S. McCain sailors

The remains of some missing Navy sailors have been found in a compartment of the USS John S. McCain, a US commander has said. Ten sailors went missing after the destroyer collided with an oil tanker off Singapore. One body and other human remains were uncovered during a search for 10 sailors who went missing on a US destroyer collision, the commander of the US Pacific Fleet announced on Tuesday. "Divers were able to locate some remains in those sealed compartments during their search today," US Admiral Scott Swift told reporters in Singapore. He added that it was "premature to say how many and what the status of recovery of those bodies is." Read more: USS John S. McCain - Why maritime regulations are crucial to avoid collisions Malaysian navy crews participating in a three-nation air and sea search for the sailors had also found a body, Swift confirmed. He said the body found by the Malaysians would have to be identified to "determine whether it's one of the missing sailors or not." "We will continue the search and rescue operations until the probability of discovering sailors is exhausted," Swift added. Five other sailors were injured when the USS John S. McCain collided with a Liberian-flagged oil tanker early on Monday in busy shipping lanes around the Strait of Singapore. The crash tore a huge hole in the warship's hull, flooding the vessel with water. Read more: US Navy vessel collides with ship off Singapore US Navy launches investigation It was the second fatal collision in two months after the USS Fitzgerald collided with a cargo ship off Japan in June, killing seven sailors. Swift also announced a fleet-wide global investigation will take place following the latest deadly crash, saying that the crashes "cannot be viewed in isolation. Read more: US Navy fires commanders over deadly collision He said the US Navy would conduct the probe "to find out if there is a common cause ... and if so, how do we solve that." The oil tanker involved in Monday's collision sustained some damage but no crew were injured, the Singapore government said.

The remains of some missing Navy sailors have been found in a compartment of the USS John S. McCain, a US commander has said. Ten sailors went missing after the destroyer collided with an oil tanker off Singapore. One body and other human remains were uncovered during a search for 10 sailors who went missing on a US destroyer collision, ... Read More »

25 years after Rostock-Lichtenhagen: ‘Don’t dwell on the past, learn from it’

This week marks 25 years since the worst right-wing violence in Germany since the Second World War. Some locals fear being stigmatized, but there are still lessons to be learned. DW's Kate Brady reports. "It never had to reach that point," says Frau Kosfelder, clutching her shopping bag on the way to the supermarket. "The politicians failed us that summer." The 77-year-old pensioner was among the German residents of the so-called "Sunflower house" apartment block who witnessed the escalation of right-wing violence between August 22 and 26, 1992. Read more: Rostock-Lichtenhagen riots revealed 'the dark side of humanity' The apartments were subjected to the worst right-wing violence in Germany since the Second World War. Alongside the German residents lived Vietnamese contract workers, who had been hired by former East Germany, as well as refugees at an asylum seeker reception center. On August 22, 1992, around 2,000 people gathered in from the apartment blocks and began throwing stones. The violence escalated on the second day, however, when hundreds of well-known right-wing extremists traveled from across Germany to support the rioters. The building was attacked with fire bombs as bystanders looked on, many of them chanting right-wing slogans such as "Germany for the Germans! Foreigners out!" By the third night, police retreated after coming under attack. It wasn't until the early hours of August 26, that authorities finally brought the situation under control with water cannon. Today the apartment blocks have been extensively renovated, the sunflower mosaic on the side of the building clear to see from the highway. A far cry from the images which were sent around the world 25 years ago of blackened stonework, Molotow cocktails and smashed windows. Opportunistic extremists In the days leading up to the violence, the number of Romani refugees camping in front of the apartments had increased significantly, with many of them camping out in front of the reception center. Read more: Why the rule of law burned down in Rostock-Lichtenhagen "It was such a hot summer," Frau Kosfelder remembers. "Imagine: Mattresses everywhere on the green, dirty diapers, trash. I don't doubt for a second that the mayor drove by and saw this every day. But did the politicians do anything? No." The lack of action from authorities enabled right-wing extremists to take advantage of a burning point, Kosfelder says. "These people look for violence. And they found their opportunity." Twenty-five years on, the pensioner says politicians and authorities still have a lot to learn. "The problems still aren't addressed in good time. Just look at the violence at the football last week. Many of these Ultras are already known to police. Why hasn't any action been taken to prevent this violence from happening?" Read more: German Cup - Unruly fans at Rostock vs. Hertha Herr Ströber who owns a business on the estate watched the riots of 1992 unfold on television. He believes a repeat could still be possible. "The main problem is our justice system," Ströber says. There needs to be a crackdown on these right-wing groups. "A lot of these extremists claim that they're badly done by and say that migrants get everything for free. But I usually ask them: 'And how much tax have you paid in your life? How many years have you received social welfare?' People who need it are more than entitled to it. But there are plenty of people who abuse the system, and that goes for Germans as much as some migrants," he adds. Matthias Siems from the association "Bunt statt Braun" ("Colorful instead of brown," a reference to Nazi Brownshirts), however, says that a repeat of August 1992 is unlikely, with many Germans now taking more responsibility in their local communities. In German, "brown" makes reference to the far-right. "People are more active in civil society," Siems says. "After German reunification, there weren't any citizen initiatives. Many clubs and associations had closed down." Right-wing extremism in eastern Germany Siems admits, however, that right-wing extremism remains an issue, particularly in eastern Germany. Read more: Study links far-right extremism and eastern German mentality "We have a problem here that you can't compare with anywhere in western Germany. There's still work to be done and that starts with projects in schools. There are still prejudices and false opinions. But such a pogrom as we saw in 1992 wouldn't happen again." But the number of right-wing extremist attacks is on the rise in Germany. Last year saw more than 22,000 such cases, nationwide - an increase of almost 6,000 over five years. Fears of stigmatization As part of the events commemorating the 25-year anniversary of the attack, five new memorials are being unveiled this week at a total cost of 50,000 euros ($59,000). Lichtenhagen residents Herr Ströber and Frau Kosfelder say they appreciate the need to remember the events but both believe the money could be better spent elsewhere in the infrastructure of Rostock. Some critics have also complained that the memorials stigmatize the district of Lichtenhagen, says regional Social Democrat MP, Ralf Mucha. 'Don't dwell on the past, learn from it' Wolfgang Richter, however, says it's imperative that people are reminded about the summer in Rostock-Lichtenhagen, 25 years ago. As commissioner for Rostock-Lichtenhagen's foreigners office at the time, Richter experienced the violence first hand and helped dozens of Vietnamese residents to safety by climbing across the roof of the 10-story building. "There's rarely a day when I drive along here on the highway and manage to look up at the building," he says. But despite the difficult memories, history must be prevented from repeating itself, Richter adds: "Today there is a generation which knows nothing of these events. It's important that they know about what happened here. That doesn't mean dwelling on the past, but instead learning from it."

This week marks 25 years since the worst right-wing violence in Germany since the Second World War. Some locals fear being stigmatized, but there are still lessons to be learned. DW’s Kate Brady reports. “It never had to reach that point,” says Frau Kosfelder, clutching her shopping bag on the way to the supermarket. “The politicians failed us that summer.” ... Read More »

Australian military tolerated child sex abuse, inquiry finds

Senior military staff tolerated initiation rites - including physical and sexual abuse - among junior recruits, a royal commission inquiry has said. Those who reported abuse were told it was a "rite of passage." The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Tuesday published its findings that Australia's military had enabled sexual abuse of teens for decades. The inquiry investigated reports of abuse that took place at two former Australian military training bases in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Survivors who testified said they were 15 or 16 years old at the navy and army bases when the abuse took place. Teens were subjected to practices that included a junior recruit being held down while boot polish was forcibly smeared on his genital or anal area. Read more: German soldiers sue over dismissal for 'sadistic sexual' practices and hazing Others testified that they were forced to perform sexual acts on other recruits or senior staff members. Junior navy recruits testified that "they made, or attempted to make, reports about incidents of abuse to staff and that they were not believed." Senior staff also told them that the abuse was "a rite of passage" or they did not take any action on the reports. Sexual grooming of cadets The Australian Defense Force's (ADF) cadet program, which admits children as young as 13, was also investigated. A total of 154 incidents of abuse were recorded at the cadet program since 2001, the report said. Read more: Female Bundeswehr soldiers abused and forced to pole-dance The ADF cadet training manuals falsely stated that the age of consent was 14, the report said. They noted that it is actually over 16 in Australia, depending on the jurisdiction. The false information increased the risk of child sex abuse, the inquiry found. Survivor testimony also showed that both boy and girl cadets were groomed by much older instructors and sexually abused. The Royal Commission on child sexual abuse has held hearings for more than three years into abuse at churches, schools and government agencies. The commission is expected to deliver its final list of recommendations to the government in December.

Senior military staff tolerated initiation rites – including physical and sexual abuse – among junior recruits, a royal commission inquiry has said. Those who reported abuse were told it was a “rite of passage.” The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Tuesday published its findings that Australia’s military had enabled sexual abuse of teens for decades. ... Read More »

US-South Korea military drills – an unnecessary provocation?

Amid serious tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the US and South Korea have begun their joint military exercises. For Pyongyang, the drills are a prelude to invading North Korea. Fabian Kretschmer reports from Seoul. On Monday, South Korea and the US began their much-anticipated joint military exercises. The maneuvers, named theUlchi Freedom Guardian, largely consist of computer simulations inside a bunker facility located south of Seoul. According to the South Korean newspaper Joongang Ilbo, the following scenario, among others, is being tested during the exercise: In a potential military operation, how to carry out a preventive strike against the North Korean leadership. As expected, Pyongyang responded harshly to the drills. The Sunday edition of the Rodong Sinmun newspaper said the US-South Korea military exercises were a step towards nuclear war, and that they were similar to pouring "gasoline on fire." For the regime led by Kim Jong Un, the "defense exercises" are a preparation for invasion. History tells us that North Korea reacts harshly to US-South Korean exercises. Last year in August, after joint maneuvers, the North Korean military launched a missile from a submarine. A little later, the communist country conducted its fifth nuclear test. - Eyeing North Korea, US and Japan to boost military ties - Where did North Korea get its missile technology? Tense times The 11-day Ulchi Freedom Guardian drill involves 50,000 South Korean and 17,500 US troops. The question remains whether the US will deploy long-range nuclear bombers or atomic submarines to the Korean Peninsula during the drills. The military exercises always take place at the end of August, therefore they could be seen as a routine affair. But this time around the situation on the Korean Peninsula is extremely tense. In July, North Korea successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), after which US President Donald Trump threatened the North with dire consequences. Kim's threat to attack the US Pacific island of Guam further escalated the situation. But Daniel Pinkston, a military expert who teaches at Troy University in Seoul, says the US-South Korea drills will not push the region to a war. On the contrary, Pinkston believes the more prepared US and South Korean troops are the lower will be the threat from North Korea. "Most US troops in South Korea are stationed for only one year. It requires regular exercises to study the communication processes," he told DW. De-escalation calls In recent times, however, calls have been growing for the US and South Korea to suspend their military drills. In exchange for their suspension, China has suggested that North Korea should freeze its nuclear program. Pyongyang has already indicated its willingness to implement such a deal. Read: What is China's role in the North Korean crisis? Even a high-ranking US official has for the first time expressed views in favor of at least reducing the scale and scope of the military drills. According to Edward Markey, a Democrat Senator from Massachusetts, it was President Trump who provoked North Korea through his aggressive rhetoric. Now Trump should refrain from using war rhetoric while US troops conduct exercises with their South Korean counterparts, Markey added. German-Korean filmmaker, Cho Sung-hyun, also points to what she considers a double standard. "If the US engages in drills simulating an invasion of North Korea, it is not considered a provocation, but if North Korea reacts with missile tests and verbal attacks, it is deemed a threat to the whole world," Cho told DW.

Amid serious tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the US and South Korea have begun their joint military exercises. For Pyongyang, the drills are a prelude to invading North Korea. Fabian Kretschmer reports from Seoul. On Monday, South Korea and the US began their much-anticipated joint military exercises. The maneuvers, named theUlchi Freedom Guardian, largely consist of computer simulations inside a ... Read More »

Champions League: ‘A perfect time to write history’ – Hoffenheim confident of historic Anfield result against Liverpool

No German team has ever beaten Liverpool at Anfield. However, that is precisely what Hoffenheim will have to do if they are to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League for the first time. Liverpool came away from the first leg in Sinsheim last Tuesday with a 2-1 win thanks to a Trent Alexander-Arnold free kick and a Havard Nordtveit own-goal. Mark Uth's late strike gave Hoffenheim hope going into the second leg, but the German side will still have to score at least twice on Merseyside if they are to advance to the group stage of the Champions League for the first time in their short history. "We'll certainly put on a good show - I can promise you that," coach Julian Nagelsmann said. "The plan is to win 2-0. But we'd take a 3-0 win as well.” Jürgen Klopp's side are known for their aggressive pressing and attacking potency but the Reds' defense has been leaky of late, particularly from set pieces - a weakness Hoffenheim will be looking to exploit. "We're definitely capable of scoring two goals, that goes without question,” defender Kevin Vogt told Germany's mass-circulation newspaper "Bild." "We're going to throw everything at them. We know we can do it.” Nagelsmann's team certainly had their chances in the first leg. Andre Kramaric missed from the penalty spot, Sandro Wagner struck the outside of the post and Benjamin Hübner headed over the bar unmarked, but midfielder Kerem Demirbay looked at the positives. "We clearly play the better football," he said. "Whether that's enough to see us through in the end, we will see. We know we're not Liverpool but we can travel there with confidence." Anfield - not a happy hunting ground for German teams More illustrious names than Hoffenheim have come undone in Liverpool over the years, with the Reds having won 14 of 17 matches against German opposition at Anfield. 1860 Munich, Eintracht Frankfurt, Hamburg, Dynamo Dresden and Borussia Mönchengladbach have all suffered heavy defeats in England's northwest. Two years ago, Borussia Dortmund squandered a 4-2 aggregate lead in the final 30 minutes as Liverpool produced a stunning comeback to progress to the Europa League semifinal. So it would be a historic night if Hoffenheim were to reverse that trend and secure a money-spinning place in Europe's premier club competition. The financial difference between participation in the Champions League group stage and the Europa League is approximately 15 million euros ($17.6 million). "It's a perfect time to write history," Demirbay said.

No German team has ever beaten Liverpool at Anfield. However, that is precisely what Hoffenheim will have to do if they are to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League for the first time. Liverpool came away from the first leg in Sinsheim last Tuesday with a 2-1 win thanks to a Trent Alexander-Arnold free kick and a ... Read More »

Therese Johaug to miss Winter Olympics after CAS extends doping ban

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has extended the doping ban of Norwegian cross-country skier Therese Johaug. This means the 2010 Olympic gold medalist will miss the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea. The ruling handed down by the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Tuesday extends Therese Johaug's suspension from the original 13 to 18 months. Had the court not extended the ban, it would have expired in time for the seven-time world champion to compete at the Pyeonchang Winter Olympics next February. However, the international federation (FIS) deemed that suspension too short and appealed it to the CAS. "I'm completely broken. I was dreaming about the Olympics and I was told yesterday that it would not happen," a tearful Johaug told a news conference in Italy on Tuesday. "I cannot understand the punishment I got. I find it unfair." Johaug, who won gold in the 4x5-kilometer relay at the the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, tested positive for traces of the banned anabolic steroid clostebol during an out-of-competition drug test on September 16, 2016. She said she had ingested the steroid through a lip cream that the Norwegian team doctor had given her to treat burns she received during a training session at high altitude in Italy a few weeks earlier. Although the judges said they believed her explanation and precluded an attempt to cheat as the steroid doses in the lip balm are not enough to boost performance, they also said she deserved to be sanction due to carelessness. "Ms. Johaug failed to conduct a basic check of the packaging, which not only listed a prohibited substance as an ingredient but also included clear doping cautionary warning,” a CAS press release explained. Her suspension now runs April 18, 2018, weeks after the Olympics which begin on February 9. The way she could get the CAS ruling overturned would be to appeal case to the Swiss Supreme Court, but she is not expected to do so.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has extended the doping ban of Norwegian cross-country skier Therese Johaug. This means the 2010 Olympic gold medalist will miss the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea. The ruling handed down by the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Tuesday extends Therese Johaug’s suspension from the original 13 to 18 months. Had ... Read More »

AfD top candidate Alexander Gauland: Close Germany’s borders

Alexander Gauland, the top candidate for the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany, has told DW there should be a clear path for repatriating migrants. Accepting refugees is not in Germany's interest, he said. Alexander Gauland is the top candidate for Alternative for Germany (AfD) in September's general election. In an interview with DW Editor-in-Chief Ines Pohl and moderator Jaafar Abdul-Karim, he said that Germany and Europe's borders should be closed. The former, long-time member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) said it is wrong that people without papers can enter Germany. "These people shouldn't even be allowed into the country," he said. Ayslum seekers should be in asylum centers outside Germany, even outside Europe, where they can apply for asylum if they really qualify, he added. Those fleeing a war zone, such as Syria, are entitled to only limited asylum according to the Geneva Convention, he said. Gauland is running with Alice Weidel as right-wing populist party's top candidates for the Bundestag. Most migrants are arriving for economic reasons, and while people have a legitimate right to seek a better life, he said, it is equally legitimate for a state to deny them a place. "We have to take our own interests into account, and taking in masses of refugees is not in the interests of Germany," Gauland said, adding that Germany is "not the world's doormat." "It's all voluntary, nobody's forcing them to come from southern Africa to or through Libya," he said. "So anybody who comes through Libya of their own accord can also be sent back there." Refugees as campaign centerpiece The AfD has grown in popularity since the height of the refugee crisis in 2015. Germany's refugee policy is one of the party's core issues for the 2017 general election campaign. The party holds seats in 13 of the country's 16 state parliaments, and could enter the Bundestag for the first time in the general election on September 24. Polls suggest it may capture 8 percent of the vote. The threshold to hold seats is 5 percent. "Chancellor [Angela Merkel's] misguided refugee policy is a gift to the AfD," said Gauland, who quit the CDU in 2013 after more than four decades working for the party. Islam: No place in Germany The AfD stands in contrast to Germany's other parties not only on refugees, but also on the topic of Islam in Germany, which is home to around 5 million Muslims. "Islam as a cultural and religious entity has no place in Germany," Gauland said, underlining a stance contained in the AfD's party platform. "It disturbs me that Islam, with its Sharia law and certain provisions, is a religion that we can clearly say is not compatible with the Basic Law." Gauland went onto say that while the Basic Law, Germany's constitution, protects one's private beliefs, "what is not OK is to open a so-called back door to the gradual insertion of Islamic rules." When asked why he himself does not meet with Muslims, Gauland said: "I have no need to talk to Muslims in any official capacity. But if I have somebody at hand, then of course I'm ready to talk to them. That's not a problem." 'Russia will never give Crimea back' On foreign policy, the AfD opposes sanctions placed on Russia following its illegal annexation of Crimea. "Russia will never give Crimea back," he said. "I don't think sanctions will have any effect." Gauland opposes EU membership for Turkey, saying: "All payments in this regard should be stopped immediately." However, he said the AfD would like to see Turkey remain a part of NATO, "provided [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan refrains from neo-Ottoman policies." "During the Cold War, Turkey was always a sentry," he added. "I see no reason to exclude it from the alliance." Gauland is responsible for the AfD's foreign affairs "to a certain extent," he said. "But an anarchistic party doesn't have a real boss. And that's what we are." The AfD is well known for its regular infighting. The DW series interviewing each of the party's top candidates concludes by asking the candidates to pick one of their opponents to have as company on a deserted island. Gauland chose Sahra Wagenknecht, the top candidate for the Left party.

Alexander Gauland, the top candidate for the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany, has told DW there should be a clear path for repatriating migrants. Accepting refugees is not in Germany’s interest, he said. Alexander Gauland is the top candidate for Alternative for Germany (AfD) in September’s general election. In an interview with DW Editor-in-Chief Ines Pohl and moderator Jaafar Abdul-Karim, ... Read More »

Turkey asks Germany for extradition of top coup suspect

Ankara has formally requested that Berlin arrest and extradite a man suspected of playing a major role in last year's failed coup. The request follows reports suggesting the theology lecturer was spotted in Germany. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday that Turkey sent a diplomatic note to Germany, demanding the extradition of fugitive Adil Oksuz. Cavusoglu told broadcaster TRT Haber that Ankara sent the note following reports that Oksuz was seen in Germany. "If this person is there, we asked that he be located, taken into custody and returned to Turkey," the minister said. Oksuz, a theology academic, is accused of being a follower of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara says was behind last year's failed coup attempt. Turkish media reported that Oksuz has been seen in the German cities of Frankfurt and Ulm and was granted a temporary residence permit in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg. Turkey's most wanted The Turkish government says that Oksuz was a "civilian imam" for air force personnel who bombed parliament last July as part of efforts to topple the government. Oksuz was arrested at Akinci air base once the coup bid collapsed, but was released two days later by an alleged Gulenist judge. He has been on the run ever since and is one of Turkey's most wanted fugitives. Footage released after the failed coup showed Oksuz and his alleged assistant, businessman Kemal Batmaz, arriving at the main airport in Istanbul two days before the attempted putsch. Read more: Turkey's Erdogan wants uniforms for coup suspects in court Turkish authorities say the men were returning from a trip to the US where they allegedly met with Gulen, who denies involvement and has condemned the attempted putsch. He has been living in Pennsylvania in self-imposed exile since 1999. Batmaz remains in detention following his arrest immediately following the failed coup and is awaiting trial Over 50,000 people have been detained in a crackdown by Turkish authorities, with journalists and opposition figures targeted as well. Read more: Turkey seeks arrest of dozens of journalists The scale of the crackdown has soured relations between Turkey and Germany. Some of Turkey's allies have voiced concern that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be using the coup as a way to suppress dissent. Turkey also accuses Ankara of harboring suspects wanted for alleged ties to the coup as well as Kurdish militants.

Ankara has formally requested that Berlin arrest and extradite a man suspected of playing a major role in last year’s failed coup. The request follows reports suggesting the theology lecturer was spotted in Germany. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday that Turkey sent a diplomatic note to Germany, demanding the extradition of fugitive Adil Oksuz. Cavusoglu told broadcaster ... Read More »

France’s Emmanuel Macron: Mixed reviews for first 100 days

He is the youngest president in the history of the Fifth Republic, and is popular abroad. Yet Emmanuel Macron has earned mixed reviews at home in the first 100 days after his election. DW looks at his presidency so far. Popularity The electoral honeymoon is over. Now, 100 days after his election, people in France are much more critical of Emmanuel Macron. The French opinion research institute Ifop shows that that only 36 percent of voters in the country are satisfied with their president. That makes Macron worse off after his first 100 days than his unpopular predecessors, Nicolas Sarkozy (66 percent) and Francois Hollande (55 percent). This is alarming for Macron. Dissatisfaction has clearly grown in recent weeks, and the press have taken notice of his sinking approval rating. Apart from actual reforms, the 39-year-old president's personality, which comes across as authoritarian, has drawn criticism. Macron's public dispute with head of the French armed forces Pierre de Villiers, which resulted in the latter's resignation, did not make a good impression. New political culture Macron served as an advisor and minister of economic affairs under his predecessor Hollande. During his election campaign, however, Macron stressed he would dissociate himself from the French political class, an elite group that, in the opinion of many voters, uses the state for its own ends. Now, modesty and self-restraint have become the government's mantra. At the beginning of August, the National Assembly abolished many of its parliamentary privileges, including special conditions for pensions and unemployment insurance. Even the so-called parliamentary reserve, an old institution used to approve budgets for parliamentarians to implement in their respective constituencies at their own discretion, is now a thing of the past. The new law for the "moralization of politics" restrains more than just members of parliament in the National Assembly. Elected officials in other levels of government are no longer allowed to employ family members as parliamentary staff. The conservative opposition, however, intends to go through the Constitutional Council to stop the ban, as it supposedly violates anti-discriminatory principles. The judges will make their decision in September at the latest. Work in progress: Labor market reforms Parliamentary self-restraint implies that something has gotten out of control in Paris. But it is also supposed to make future cuts for citizens more bearable. The heart of the first round of reforms is a liberalized labor law. The government wants to withdraw its powers considerably and let unions and management make decisions. The loosened legislation is supposed to encourage job creation and curb the unemployment rates that have taken off in recent years. The details are still being negotiated, with a result expected by August 31, at the end of the summer holidays. The National Assembly has already cleared the way for the government to implement the liberalization without a parliamentary vote. Macron's plans to restructure pensions and unemployment insurance, however, will be postponed until 2018. Budget: Painful cuts After years of violating the rules, France wants to regain credibility in the EU. This was also one of Macron's major election campaign issues. But in order to meet the Maastricht criteria later this year, state spending will have to go down. Defense budget cuts are targeted, as are grants for France's regions and departments. But that is not enough, the government has also decided to slash social programs. A monthly 5 euro reduction of housing subsidies for people in need, to take effect in October, has unleashed a violent storm of protests - that certainly doesn't help the president's poor approval rating. Another unpopular measure is the increased social security contribution (CSG). This measure will hit retirees unfavorably, as they have no means of reducing their taxes. With an early retirement age of 62 years and large pensions when compared internationally, this part of society has been among the most privileged in France to date. Can Macron withstand the pressure from the street? Macron's predecessors wanted to implement reforms but pressure from the public and inner-party opponents ultimately stymied them. The current president is doing better in this regard. Moderate trade unions are involved in important reform projects, Macron's new but politically inexperienced La Republique en Marche is toeing the party line, and he has little to fear from the opposition. It will be interesting to see how many demonstrators the radical CGT union will draw when it organizes a nationwide protest day on September 12. The reaction to the relatively small, monthly 5 euro reduction of housing subsidies has already shown the government how quickly discontent can spread throughout the country. Pollsters have not given the all-clear signal yet: Almost two-thirds of the French public reject the labor market reform. That politicians have also had privileges taken away from them has not been enough to appease the people. A slim majority believes the "moralization of politics" is good. Security policy needs to be reformed The young president took over a country in a state of emergency, which has granted security forces special powers since November 2015. But Macron's government has extended it for the last time. On November 1, nearly two years after the attacks and bombings in Paris, the state of emergency will come to an end. However, a law extending some of the emergency expanded powers granted to the police, intelligence services and the judiciary is in the works. Europe Macron campaigned for France's own European finance minister and its own budget in the eurozone. Until Germany's September national election, however, nothing will happen in this area. There will probably be some movement when the new government in Berlin has been formed. The president's self-confidence on the Brussels stage and his dealings with the foreign heads of state and government are generally well received by the people.

He is the youngest president in the history of the Fifth Republic, and is popular abroad. Yet Emmanuel Macron has earned mixed reviews at home in the first 100 days after his election. DW looks at his presidency so far. Popularity The electoral honeymoon is over. Now, 100 days after his election, people in France are much more critical of ... Read More »

UK to seek special customs deal after Brexit

The British government is hoping to secure an interim customs union with the EU right after Brexit. Businesses welcomed the news, but Europe is growing impatient with Britain's slow progress. According to a partial government document set to be published on Tuesday, the UK is hoping to minimize the strain on business and consumers when it leaves the EU in March 2019, and wants to secure the freest possible trade deal. The idea is to create a "time-limited" customs union while all the other necessary changes fall into place, in order to provide certainly for companies and investors. "Ministers will announce an intention to seek an 'interim' period with the EU of close association with the customs union that would allow for a smooth and orderly transfer to the new regime," said a government statement ahead of the publication of its proposals. While British businesses welcome the proposal, the EU warned that it would only negotiate trade deals after sufficient progress had been made on the UK's withdrawal from the bloc. The Confederation of British Industry also said that "the clock is ticking" and that it was counting on the government to give "companies the confidence to continue investing as quickly as possible." Read - UK to cap Brexit fee at 40 billion euros Brexit minister: The EU is 'quite cross' Brexit Minister David Davis told LBC Radio that a "long haggle" lay in store for Britain. According to Davis, chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier is "getting quite cross with us. He's saying 'You should make your proposal.'" Many EU officials have accused the British government of being ill-prepared for the first round of Brexit talks, and the issue of free trade is likely to increase Europe's irritation. Prime Minister May's government is hoping that its position paper to be published Tuesday, as well as a document to follow Wednesday on the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, will deescalate the tension.

The British government is hoping to secure an interim customs union with the EU right after Brexit. Businesses welcomed the news, but Europe is growing impatient with Britain’s slow progress. According to a partial government document set to be published on Tuesday, the UK is hoping to minimize the strain on business and consumers when it leaves the EU in ... Read More »

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