www.german-foreign-policy.com – World does not need a new Greater Germany – the last one ended up spilling the blood of millions

German Speaking Cooperation

For decades, ministers of the German speaking countries have been holding exclusive meetings along the lines of their respective sectors. Regular meetings of the ministers of the economy of (West) Germany, Austria, and Switzerland have been taking place since 1976. This year, the minister from Liechtenstein has, for the first time, been included. The ministers for the environment of these four countries have been holding joint annual sessions since 1984. The meetings have been extended to include other sectors, over the past decade. The leaders of the four countries have been meeting annually since 2004. In 2012, the German foreign minister participated, for the first time, in the formerly tripartite meetings, organized since 2006 by Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. In the meantime, Luxemburg has been included in some areas of this cooperation. The finance ministers of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Luxemburg have been holding joint annual meetings since 2010. This year, a quadripartite meeting of the health ministers is planned, for the first time – with Luxemburg, but without Liechtenstein.

“Unitary Cultural Realm”

Berlin has been particularly insisting on an alleged special bond between German-speaking countries. The German Ministry for Environment, for example, declared after the 2006 “quadripartite meeting” of environment ministers from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein that the participating ministers see a “particular advantage” in the “exchange of ideas within a culturally unitary European realm.”[1] “The common language” make the “meetings particularly stimulating and productive” concluded German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, following the meeting of the finance ministers of the German speaking countries in March of this year.[2] Regarding last Friday’s “quadripartite meeting” of the German speaking foreign ministers, Foreign Minister Westerwelle declared: “Our affinity is not only based on our mother language but also on our location in the heart of Europe.”[3] The German speaking countries also form an “extraordinarily strong economic realm.” Cooperation should be intensified, as declared by the health ministers of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxemburg following their meeting in late May. “The exchange laid the foundation for the four countries’ systematic cooperation in the area of health,” it was said in Luxemburg.[4]

via www.german-foreign-policy.com.

Motorola Moto X: Voice commands, wood casings – Dallas Business Journal

Don’t do evil to Google does not include cutting down forests to cover its new phone and use illegally obtained rosewood from Madagascar too?

Moto X will be available with a variety of cover options, including those made of wood — bamboo, teak, eboy and rosewood.

via Motorola Moto X: Voice commands, wood casings – Dallas Business Journal.

SNAP Benefits Will Be Cut for All Participants in November 2013 — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The upcoming cuts to SNAP benefits will be significant and will have far-reaching impacts on low-income individuals and families.  They will likely increase hardship for the more than 47 million Americans who rely upon SNAP to meet their basic nutritional needs.  With Congress unlikely to act to mitigate the cuts, states need to begin planning for the reduction to ensure that clients and the many organizations and SNAP stakeholders who work with them are aware of the upcoming change and its effects.

via SNAP Benefits Will Be Cut for All Participants in November 2013 — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Off the Charts Blog | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities | Benefit Cut Coming for All SNAP Recipients

We’ve highlighted some of the safety net’s successes this week, including the positive effects of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps) in lifting people — particularly children — out of poverty.  Despite these successes, all SNAP participants face a serious benefit cut on November 1, when the 2009 Recovery Act’s temporary benefit boost ends.

The U.S. Agriculture Department announced the size of those cuts today.  For a family of three, the cut will be $29 a month — or $319 over the remaining 11 months of the fiscal year (see chart).  Our revised paper details the cuts, including the estimated effect in each state.

via Off the Charts Blog | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities | Benefit Cut Coming for All SNAP Recipients.

Secret Minutes: Chancellor Kohl Wanted Half of Turks Out of Germany – SPIEGEL ONLINE

{Deja vu – everyone complains loudest about immigrants when jobs are tight but little or nothing when times are jumping and immigrants work at all sorts of construction and personal service jobs.}

After the second oil crisis in the early 1980s, the German economy began to slump at rates not seen since World War II. In 1982, 1.8 million people were unemployed — six times as many as in 1973.

Many German citizens began to see immigrants as burdens on the social welfare system and competitors for jobs that were rightfully theirs.

via Secret Minutes: Chancellor Kohl Wanted Half of Turks Out of Germany – SPIEGEL ONLINE.

Shanghai man arrested for unhooking woman’s bra on subway: Shanghaiist

The man was one of 19 suspects whom metro police have detained for harassing women since they launched a campaign against sexual harassment in June, according to a press release from the Shanghai metro police. Police said they see more sexual harassment cases in the summer due to the hot weather.

Sexual harassment includes behavior such as groping and taking photos up women’s skirts. To fight the problem, metro police have assigned more officers to stations where sexual harassment occurs more frequently, especially during rush hours, the press release said.

Harassment is a common problem on subway systems all over China. Last month, photos of a man repeatedly groping a woman in full sight of the rest of the carriage went viral, leading to the man’s arrest.

According to the Global Times, police urge women to shout for help if they are assaulted on the subway. They also called for other passengers to step in if they spot harassment taking place.

In Beijing, subway authorities recently called on women to “cover up” to avoid being assaulted, because it’s always easier to blame the victims. (groan!)

via Shanghai man arrested for unhooking woman’s bra on subway: Shanghaiist.

New plea for gun rights : SCOTUSblog Kids have right to buy guns! Not!

NRA wants 10-year olds to be able to buy any gun they want!?! The National Rifle Association and two individuals under the age of twenty-one have asked the Supreme Court to strike down a federal law that bans licensed gun dealers from selling handguns to minors.  A federal appeals court upheld that law, ruling that Congress was justified in believing that easy commercial access to pistols for teenagers leads to violent crime.

The new case, NRA v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (docket 13-137), raises one of the broadest challenges to a gun control law to reach the Court in the five years since the Second Amendment was interpreted to protect a personal right to have a gun, at least for self-defense.

Under a law that dates to 1968, Congress imposed a series of limitations on access to guns for anyone under the age of twenty-one.  The only restriction specifically at issue in the new case is a ban on purchasing a handgun from a federally licensed gun dealer, for anyone who is eighteen, nineteen, or twenty years old.

via New plea for gun rights : SCOTUSblog.

Treated sewage gets all-clear for drinking water from State Government | Perth Now

(Either a scene from a new version of films Soylent  Green, or Dune? Or this is the future and yuck – THIS IS THE FUTURE?)

Seven billion litres of treated sewage will be added to Perth’s drinking water supply every year, Water Minister Terry Redman said today.

The Sunday Times first reported the Water Corporation claimed the trial was a success – and the State Government would approve the scheme – in March.

Mr Redman said the $116 million project was an Australian-first and would “drought proof” Perth’s water supply.

“This is only the first stage of three stages to go from seven gigalitres up to 28 gigalitres,” he said.

“I’m very confident we can move towards potentially supplying 20 per cent of Perth’s drinking water supplies through this process.

via Treated sewage gets all-clear for drinking water from State Government | Perth Now.

Oops! Japanese minister Aso withdraws Nazi comment | News | DW.DE | 01.08.2013

{Nothing incomprehensible about this – Abe’s government marks the attempt to resurrect Imperialist and Militarist Japan without causing a stir until they could try to rebuild the empire they “won” through war in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s )

Aso’s speech to an ultra-conservative group meeting in Tokyo on Monday caused international consternation as he embraced the issue of constitutional change. “I don’t want to see this done in the midst of an uproar,” Aso had said. “Doing it quietly, just as in one day the Weimar constitution changed to the Nazi constitution, without anyone realizing it, why don’t we learn from that sort of tactic?”

The words caused a stir, both at home and abroad, with the opposition Social Democratic Party calling them “totally incomprehensible.”

via Japanese minister Aso withdraws Nazi comment | News | DW.DE | 01.08.2013.

Trying to kill Obamacare for the umpteenth time (H.R. 367) to amend chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, to provide that major rules of the executive branch shall have no force or effect unless a joint resolution of approval is enacted into law; providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 2009) to prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from enforcing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010; providing for proceedings during the period from August 3, 2013, through September 6, 2013; and providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 2879) to provide limitations on bonuses for Federal employees during sequestration, to provide for investigative leave requirements for members of the Senior Executive Service, to establish certain procedures for conducting in-person or telephonic interactions by Executive branch employees with individuals, and for other purposes. (H.Res. 322) – GovTrack.us

to prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from enforcing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010;

via Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 367) to amend chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, to provide that major rules of the executive branch shall have no force or effect unless a joint resolution of approval is enacted into law; providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 2009) to prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from enforcing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010; providing for proceedings during the period from August 3, 2013, through September 6, 2013; and providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 2879) to provide limitations on bonuses for Federal employees during sequestration, to provide for investigative leave requirements for members of the Senior Executive Service, to establish certain procedures for conducting in-person or telephonic interactions by Executive branch employees with individuals, and for other purposes. (H.Res. 322) – GovTrack.us.