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Germany, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held talks by phone on Friday, discussing the importance of reaching an agreement on gas deliveries with Ukraine, the Kremlin has said.

Udo Ulfkotte, former editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest newspapers, has revealed that he was secretly on the payroll of the CIA and German secret service. He would spin news in a way that was positive for the United States and bad for its opponents. Ulfkotte says: "Most journalists from respected and big media organisations are closely connected to the German Marshall Fund, the Atlantik-Brücke or other so-called transatlantic organisations. They work on your ego, make you feel like you're important. And one day one of them will ask you 'Will you do me this favour'..."

Here are excerpts from his interview which originally appeared on the Russia Insider website. 

The attitude of Russians towards Germany, the United States and Ukraine has cooled during the last few years, while China, Belarus, Kazakhstan, India and Brazil are perceived in a more positive way, according to the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre.

For those who believe Britain should leave the EU, the latest report on economic growth by the International Monetary Fund may add weight to their argument. It revealed that the ‘economic powerhouses’ Germany and France are lagging behind Britain, whose growth is the highest of the G7 countries. VoR's Carmen Cracknell has more.

 

The idea that Germany is using its financial clout to influence the political shape of Europe has been criticised by the businessman and political economist Rodney Atkinson. He is particularly concerned that think-tanks in the US have received donations from Germany to promote the cause of German domination. VoR's Tim Ecott spoke to Mr Atkinson. 

German ex-chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a confidante of Russian President Vladimir Putin, today called for an end to spiralling sanctions between the EU and Russia over the Ukraine crisis. "The mutual sanctions hurt both sides immensely," said the former centre-left leader at a German-Russian business forum.

Germany, Russia, Merkel, EU, News, Sanctions, Gerhard Schroeder

Ambassadors of European Union countries agreed to keep in place a package of sanctions against Russia over the situation in eastern Ukraine, EU officials said today. EU ambassadors had noted some "encouraging developments" since the September 5 ceasefire was agreed, but other parts of the peace deal "will need to be properly implemented", said EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic.

German police on Monday investigated six private security guards accused of assaulting and humiliating asylum seekers in a refugee centre in ways that drew comparisons to violence against Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Police also questioned hundreds of fellow refugees after shocking photo and video footage emerged, including an image showing a security guard pinning a handcuffed Algerian man to the floor with his boot on the man's neck.

A solution must be found to the Ukraine crisis that does not hurt Russia and which the Ukrainian people must choose for themselves, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday. "I want to find a way that doesn't harm Russia," Merkel told German ARD public television in her traditional summer interview.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Kiev on Saturday to hold discussions with Ukrainian President Poroshenko over the crisis in his country. Merkel on Friday spoke to Russian President Putin baout possible paths to a ceasfire in eastern Ukraine. VoR's Tim Walklate reports.

The foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France made "some progress" during Sunday’s talks on the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday. The four discussed international efforts towards the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, the ministry said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his concern regarding the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine during a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as the two leaders sought ways to de-escalate tensions, the Kremlin’s press service said on Saturday.

Official Eurostat figures, released on Thursday, show that growth in the Eurozone has flat-lined in the second quarter of the year. France and Germany - the economic bloc's two biggest economies - both performed less well than expected. VoR's Simon Parker spoke to Christian Schulz, a senior economist at the German Berenberg bank

New figures show that German investor confidence is plunging to the lowest level since December 2012. Analysts suggest the drop is down to renewed tensions over Ukraine. VoR's Brendan Cole spoke to Jeremy Cook, from World First, a UK-based foreign exchange company.

The UK declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914, 100 years ago. The war broke out on July 28 that year when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. A series of services will be held across the UK, attended by senior royals and government officials. Individuals and companies are invited to join the Lights Out remembrance by switching off lights in buildings between 10pm and 11pm.

The German government is considering stepping up its counter-espionage activity against Britain and the United States in light of allegations of widespread surveillance in Germany by US agents. Robert Mudge, an editor at the German news agency Deutsche Welle, gave VoR the latest on the situation.

The British Prime Minister has again insisted that western countries should step up “with further hard-hitting economic sanctions” against Russia. Europe's major capitals, however, are wary of any radical steps and have accused the UK of hypocrisy.

The European Commission said on Wednesday that low-fare airline Ryanair must repay about €9.6 million in illegal state aid it received for its operations in several French regional airports. The Commission, the European Union's executive arm, said Ryanair would have to repay €868,000 in relation to rebates and marketing arrangements negotiated at Angouleme airport in central France.

New figures suggest UK’s economy will grow by just over three percent in 2014, making it the fastest growing major economy this year. But there will be reservations about what a rising GDP actually means for the majority of Britons. And although the forecast is better than many analysts had predicted, there are doubts about the long-term sustainability of any recovery. VoR’s Flora Neve has this report.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel turned 60 on July 17. Born Angela Dorothea Kasner in Hamburg, she grew up in a small town near East Berlin, where her father served as a Lutheran pastor. Merkel earned a doctorate in physics and worked as a researcher at a scientific academy in Berlin. Her political career began in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall. She became the first woman to lead the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the first post-reunification chancellor to hail from the former East Germany.

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