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Push cash around, not people Print E-mail

A sub-Saharan migrant sits on top of a metallic fence that divides Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla,  April 3, 2014.  He was one of 27 refugees from North Africa who sat atop the 6-metre fence for more than seven hours in protest at their plight.
A sub-Saharan migrant sits on top of a metallic fence that divides Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla, April 3, 2014. He was one of 27 refugees from North Africa who sat atop the 6-metre fence for more than seven hours in protest at their plight.

Here’s what Europe needs to do for refugees

By Heribert Prantl

November 14, 2014

One of Germany’s best-known songs of the workers’ movement begins with the line “Awake, you damned upon Earth, forced ever to starve!” Written in 1871, it gives voice to the worker’s complaints of hunger, exploitation and misery. It even rhymes with its call to “the final fight” for “the human right.”

Depending on your politics, you listen to a ballad like that with a nostalgic smile or a disagreeable smirk. But both the nostalgia and the grin are quickly wiped away if you take the song out of its 19th-century context and place it squarely in the 21st century. The damned upon Earth today are the world’s refugees. They are fleeing civil war and torture, starvation and absolute poverty. Shut out in a world in which one-fifth of the population consumes four-fifths of the wealth, refugees long for a life which is at least a little better. They stand with their faces pressed against the windowpane, watching the world’s wealth being squandered on the other side.

The European Union is trying to prevent the crowd from gathering at the window. It is securing the borders with a network of radars and satellites; with helicopters and ships to push away the boats carrying refugees; with a border protection agency called Frontex; and with a great wall of laws. And in the few places where the misery of Africa physically meets Europe’s self-styled “area of freedom, security and justice” – in the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla – there are walls of barbed wire too.

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Renewables or Russia Print E-mail

How reliable is the flow of gas from Russia to Europe? A cluster of wells at the Bovanenkovo gas field,  the biggest gas-bearing field in that Polar peninsula.
How reliable is the flow of gas from Russia to Europe? A cluster of wells at the Bovanenkovo gas field, the biggest gas-bearing field in that Polar peninsula.

Europe needs to coordinate its energy policy but can’t even agree on the key targets of an overhaul

By Hannes Koch

November 14, 2014

Few had reckoned with the development: At the close of 2014, the price of petroleum is more or less at the same levels as ten years ago – at between $70 (€56) and $80 per barrel. Before the financial crisis, the barrel price was almost twice as high at $147. Now the global demand for oil is growing, but the price is going down.

Primarily this is because the supply of crude oil is increasing, mainly due to the increased use of fracking in the US, but more oil is also coming from Libya and Iraq. In order to shore up its market share against the competition, Saudi Arabia recently lowered its prices.

Motorists, homeowners and tenants are happy about falling energy costs. But businesses and politicians basing their strategies on rising energy costs are being thrown off-kilter. This is particularly the case for the European Union, which promotes the production of renewable wind and solar energy and underlines the importance of climate protection.

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‘The whole world is color!’ Print E-mail

An inexhaustible variety of pigments and colors: Georg and David Kremer (below) use the secrets of nature – stone, plants, wood and roots – to create paints in their workshop.
An inexhaustible variety of pigments and colors: Georg and David Kremer (below) use the secrets of nature – stone, plants, wood and roots – to create paints in their workshop.

A cottage industry in the Swabian Alb region is the first port of call for conservators and artists searching for rare pigments

By Christine Schulz-Reiss

November 14, 2014

What on earth were these colors made of? The conservator from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York pinned all her hopes on Georg Kremer as she led him into the room with the manger scenes by Italian painters in the 12th and 13th centuries. The landscapes behind the holy family with the ox and the donkey were all painted using the same mysterious yellow-green. But the German guest from distant Allgäu had to pass. Initially.

“Until a mineralogist friend of mine hit upon the decisive lead,” said Kremer, who is in his late 60s. In Arizona, more than 9,000 kilometers as the crow flies from his home in Aichstetten, the holder of a chemistry doctorate struck gold inside a volcano: Epidote is the name of the mineral from which the artists from Assisi, Siena and elsewhere gleaned their landscape hues – broken up, ground and pulverized into pigments. Kremer then went back to his pigment mill in a small village on the eastern edge of the state of Baden-Württemberg and repeated the exact same process to produce the color discovered centuries ago, before adding it to his product palette. He has in the meantime established that epidote can also be found in the region between Livorno, Pisa, Lucca and Florenz.

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Happy Birthday, Freedom! Print E-mail

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Let’s drink a toast, let’s have a party, let’s light 25 torches of freedom! 25 years ago on November 9, the Wall that imprisoned Berlin died, and freedom was reborn.
This is a birthday party in print. You’re invited!

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