This Week in the News

The U.S. Senate approved a new stimulus package of some $838 billion, due to “defection” of three Republicans. Subsequent negotiations with the House reduced the amount to almost $790 billion. This is in addition to the announcement of another $1.5 trillion bank bailout plan, which caused stock prices and the dollar to fall. Observers feel that the bailout plan will actually exceed $2 trillion.

Critics are convinced that the entire stimulus is just the wrong way to go; and that President Obama’s stimulus package includes anti-religious and anti-health care measures. And while the Obama administration is trying to cope with the U.S. recession or–by now–depression, worldwide frustration and anger over the global economic crisis abounds–and fears emerge that some democracies and not only a few governmental heads will tumble and fall in the process. Especially German confidence in Angela Merkel’s leadership qualities is diminishing–even though she is trying to patch up matters with the Pope–and Bavaria’s controversial and unpredictable CSU leader Seehofer may be waiting in the wings. 

Germany is awakening to the fact that President Obama might not be good news for German interests–and it is becoming painfully aware that the USA is pushing Germany into a more militaristic leadership role in Europe.

While Australia is fighting its worst bushfire in 110 years, suspicions of arson have arisen–and the thought was discussed in the press whether al-Qaida terrorists could be behind this man-made disaster. Amnesty International accused Hamas of murder and brutal torture in the Gaza strip during and after Israel’s war, and the Israelis have elected a new leader. With either Netanyahu or Livni at the helm, Hamas and Iran will have to face a determined and uncompromising Israel.

Finally, the German Constitutional Court has begun to examine whether the European Lisbon Treaty is compatible with the German constitution. Europe is holding its breath for the Court’s decision on this critical issue.

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