Wednesday, January 7, 2009

First '09 Wednesday

In the headlines:
  • Natural gas pipelines from Russia to the rest of Europe through the Ukraine enable the latter to snub the former's demand for payment and contracts for natural gas delivery by filching from the transit pipelines what was supposed to go to Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, etc.
  • Most of western Europe is cold and snow covered.
  • Many Palestinians are dying in the Gaza Strip because of a few idiotic Palestinians blindly firing rockets at Israel which responds with typically over-reactive, if necessary, massive bombardment to protect the lives of Israelis and stop radical Hamas. Daniel Barenboim of the Staatsoper Berlin, with his Israeli-Palestinian youth orchestra Divan, is one of the few these days to stress the obvious: these people MUST live together. As he puts it: it is their blessing or their curse; which is up to them to decide.
  • Knut likes the weather in Berlin these days.
  • Adolf Merckle, a German billionaire, has killed himself as a result of speculation losses in the course of the financial crisis, relevant only because this loss (of life and money) affects his gigantic corporate empire of pharmaceutical and building material firms.
  • Europe wonders why Obama is saying nothing about the current Israel-Gaza Strip conflict; a few recall that he is not yet president.
  • The governing CDU-CSU-SPD coalition in Germany is nearing agreement on a second economic recovery package of some €50 billion, mostly with infrastructure investment measures and some tax relief and social insurance payment reductions, coupled however with a legal requirement to avoid deficit spending under normal economic conditions.
  • The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra will hold two concerts in the Berlin Staatsoper next Monday to replace the concerts for the opening of this year's tour scheduled in Cairo and Katar, but canceled because of the current situation in Gaza. Daniel Barenboim conducts. The first is already sold out.
  • Putin is visiting Berlin next week for the first time as Premier.
  • Tourists continue to flock to Berlin, setting another record last year, and I for one seem to encounter hardly anyone else on the 100 or 200 buses in the city.
  • Most shops here are offering sales with huge discounts on almost everything.
I suggest smiles, negotiations, recognition of common humanity, more cultural activities, refraint from violence as good means to ensure a good year.

No comments:

Post a Comment