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Amélie Reichmuth

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Photo of German Army Leopard 2 A7V tanks
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Shame Of A Nation: History Will Judge Germany For Holding Back Tanks From Ukraine

A retired German general spells out in clear language what the choice is for Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and what the long-term consequences of half-hearted support for Kyiv as it battles for survival against the Russian invasion.

-OpEd-

BERLIN — The German television newscaster cheerfully predicted last Friday morning: “Today the German evasive maneuvers are ending...” And yet, the high-level meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group at the Ramstein military base, proved this prophecy completely wrong.

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The burning issue of Germany stalling and blocking the approval of battle tank deliveries to Ukraine continues to burn.

As intense as the international pressure was, Berlin has once again refused to make a commitment. Rhetoric about the difference between what one wants and what one can achieve, the endless counterarguments, the citing of numbers...none of it however, make them any more credible. In reality they are excuses, with which Chancellor Olaf Scholz shirks the responsibility which, after all, the great, prosperous Germany will not be able to escape.

[A Sunday evening comment by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock that Berlin "would not stand in the way" of other countries providing German-made Leopard tanks is only provisional, and still mentions nothing about Germany sending its own tanks.]

The final decisions are ultimately in the hands of Scholz, and one wonders if he is unable to be swayed from an idea he's committed to. Or perhaps he continues to listen to Angela Merkel’s former advisor, General Erich Vad, who said before authorizing the sending of tanks to Kyiv, it would first have to be clear whether the Russian forces should be driven out of Ukraine at all.

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Photo of Prince Harry and Prince William in military costumes during a Remembrance ceremony in London
Society

Prince Harry’s Drama Is Really About Birth Order — Like Royal Siblings Everywhere

Add up all the grievances aired by Prince Harry and you largely get the picture of a second son shut out from real royal power. The British monarchy is not the only one to be shaken by controversies from the non-heirs to the crown.

STOCKHOLM — Unless you live in a cave, you know that Prince Harry has been stirring the proverbial (royal) pot. After he and his wife Meghan Markle stepped back from their duties as senior members of the royal family in January 2020, it’s been one revelation after another, culminating with the publication of the Prince’s saucy memoir this week.

Without discounting the allegations of racism towards his wife, and other slights the pair may have endured, it doesn’t take a PhD in psychology or anthropology to see that the conflicts with Harry’s family — and within himself — may largely be driven by the fact that he’s not his older brother.

The fate of being the second-born son and largely shut out of succession to the throne is indeed written in the very title of his just released book: Spare.

The British monarchy, in this regard, is hardly alone, with no shortage of turbulence created by royal birth order around the world, and through the ages.

Just this month in Sweden, King Carl XVI Gustav created a controversy when an interview quoted him saying that the decision to allow women heirs to be included in the line of succession to the throne was “unfair.”

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Zelensky As Churchill, An Iconic 'V' For Victory Sign By Other Means
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Zelensky As Churchill, An Iconic 'V' For Victory Sign By Other Means

On his historic trip to Washington, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recalls Winston Churchill in multiple ways, including that we wouldn't have thought much of either one before war turned each into leaders of epic proportions. A view from Germany.

-Analysis-

It was a speech reflecting an impressive understanding of the American soul. A speech that leaves no doubt. The words and gestures Volodymyr Zelensky brought into the U.S. Congress recall Winston Churchill in 1941. And its effects will unfold before us.

During the winter of 1941, Winston Churchill traveled to Washington. It was not a safe journey; after all, the German Air Force was not sleeping, and American warships carrying weapons to Britain had been sunk by German submarines. Churchill arrived in Washington on December 26, according to the British tradition of "Boxing Day," when people visit each other and bring gifts.

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It was bitter cold. The British Prime Minister addressed both houses of Congress, House of Representatives and the Senate. Of course, a certain reputation had preceded him: Everyone knew that the rotund figure with the bulldog face also possessed a certain sense of humor. But they also knew compromise was not an option with so much at stake.

Churchill spoke during a unique moment of world history. The British had been at war for two years and living under German bombardment for nine months — but for the Americans, World War II was only three weeks old. The shock of the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7th was still fresh in their bones.

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Photo of a Swedish school
Society

What Sweden's Teacher Shortage Says About Privatizing Education

Sweden prides itself on being a knowledge economy, but its education system is at a breaking point because of a lack of teachers. The problem may trace back to the decision a generation ago to move to a free-choice voucher system.

STOCKHOLM — For tourists eager to explore the northern extremes of Sweden, Kiruna is a mandatory stop. The city is both the country’s northernmost municipality, right under the polar circle, and also the largest, covering an area similar in size to Slovenia and Wales.

Home to the world’s largest mine, Kiruna made international headlines a few years ago when the city started moving entire neighborhoods after the spreading of cracked formations caused by the mining activities.

But there is another disturbing reality behind the winter hinterland: the city shows, unlike any other, the growing teacher shortage Sweden is confronted with and all its consequences.

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Screenshot of a child wearing apparent blackface as part of a vintage "TV Christmas calendar" episode on Danish TV
Society

In Denmark, Beloved Christmas TV Special Cancelled For Blackface Scenes

The director of the 1997 episode complained that TV executives are being "too sensitive."

If there’s one thing Scandinavians take seriously, it’s Christmas. And over the past half-century, in addition to all the family and religious traditions, most Nordic countries share a passion for what's known as the "TV Christmas calendar": 24 nightly television episodes that air between Dec. 1 and Christmas Eve.

Originally, the programs were strictly aimed at children; but over the years, the stories evolved more towards family entertainment, with some Christmas calendars becoming classics that generations of Swedes, Danes, Norwegians and others have watched each year as national and family traditions in their own right.

But this year in Denmark, one vintage episode has been pulled from the air because of a blackface scene.

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Nordic 007: The Quiet Rise Of Russian Spies In Sweden
Geopolitics

Nordic 007: The Quiet Rise Of Russian Spies In Sweden

This week marks the opening of what's been described as the biggest Swedish espionage case since the end of the Cold War, as tensions rise in the face of the Russian war in Ukraine.

STOCKHOLM — “Disappear in Sweden,” “Prosecuted before questioning,” “Spy.”

These are a few examples of the 28 internet searches Payam Kia did shortly before being arrested in November 2021, according to Stockholm based daily Aftonbladet.

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Two months earlier, his older brother Peyman, a former employee of the Swedish armed forces and security services, had been arrested on charges of aggravated espionage. The two brothers, who lived together in Uppsala, about an hour north of Stockholm, had long been suspected of sharing classified information. But it was only on November 11 that prosecutors brought charges against them, after having gathered enough evidence to support what has been described as Sweden’s largest espionage case since the end of the Cold War.

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