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Angela Merkel Tag

Chancellor Angela Merkel has finally reached a coalition deal with the Social Democrats (SPD) four months after her conservative bloc failed to win a majority in German elections. The deal forced Merkel to hand over key ministries and make painful concessions to her left-wing coalition partner. The details of the final agreement triggered criticism from both the media and the conservative bloc -- made up of Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU).

German authorities allowed a top Iranian cleric accused of mass murder to flee the country on Thursday. The decision came despite formal requests from leading exiled Iranian groups calling for the cleric to face justice. Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahroudi, the 69-year-old Mullah touted as the successor to Iran's all-powerful theocratic dictator Ali Khamenei, came to Germany for treatment at the clinic of an Iranian-German neurosurgeon when exiled Iranian dissidents referred him to German prosecutors, citing his record of running Islamic courts, where he presided over the killing of thousands of Iranians. The leading German tabloid Bild Zeitung ran the headline "Death Judge In Iran, Luxury Patient In Germany,"  covering Shahroudi's stay in the country.

Three months after Germans went to the polls, Chancellor Angela Merkel is making a last ditch effort to form an alliance with the left-wing Social Democrats (SPD), a move that could secure her a fourth term in office. Last month, Merkel's traditional ally, the center-right Free Democrats (FDP), abruptly walked out of the talks, citing irreconcilable differences over refugee policy and other key issues -- leaving a so-called 'grand coalition' with the SPD her only path to power.

Unregulated migration may be responsible for the rise in violent crimes in Germany, a study commissioned by the German government claims. The researchers used the state of Lower Saxony to examine the correlation between the refugee arrivals and violent crimes between 2014 and 2016, a period during which such crimes surged by 10.4 percent. More than 90 percent of these additional crimes were attributed to the newly arrived refugees.

A week after voting against Israel at the United Nations, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel is proposing an ambitious plan to strengthen relations with the Erdogan regime in Turkey. Gabriel, who also serves as Germany's Vice Chancellor, wants an EU-wide customs union with Turkey, a move aimed at bringing the Muslim-majority country 'as close as possible to the bloc', media reports claim. The German proposal will treat Turkey, presently run by the Islamist strongman Recep Erdoğan, at par with Britain after it leaves the EU at the end of the ongoing Brexit negotiations.  President Erdogan, who took office in 2003, has assumed authoritarian powers by amending the country's constitution following a controversial referendum in April this year.  Since then, Erdogan has been busy purging the opponents of his regime from the military, judiciary and civil services.

The European Union has launched disciplinary proceedings against Poland, accusing the county of breaching the EU's "core values" over a series of judicial reforms passed by the Polish parliament. The European Commission, the EU's executive body, triggered Article 7, also dubbed as the "Nuclear Option." The process could lead to economic sanctions and suspension of the country's voting rights within the EU's decision making bodies.

The city of Mülheim in northwestern Germany cancelled its official Hanukkah festivities, citing 'security concerns,' German newspaper Bild Zeitung reported. All the outdoor Hanukkah events due to take place in Mülheim and the adjoining region have also been cancelled, the head of the local Jewish community confirmed. The German state of North-Rhine Westphalia, where Mülheim is located, has seen an upsurge of antisemitic attacks in the recent years. In the nearby city of Bochum, the Jewish community leaders have urged Jews to stop wearing kippah, the traditional Jewish skullcap that identifies them as Jews, in public. Last month, the local broadcaster Radio Bochum reported that Jews “routinely faced with insults on public streets when they are recognized as Jews.” The broadcaster identified the perpetrators as “Muslim youths.”

In one of those odd moments in which a politician accidentally speaks the truth, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in 2010 that multiculturalism had failed.  She said that the idea of various cultures living in harmony, "side-by-side" didn't work, that it had "utterly failed."  She's since changed her tune, of course, but she wasn't wrong. Multiculturalism does not, indeed cannot, create a peaceful and happy socio-cultural climate. By its very nature it is about division and disunity, about separating people of various cultures and encouraging them to stay separate from the rest of society.

Antisemitic demonstrations erupted over the weekend in major European cities, with Muslim groups staging violent and angry protests under the pretext of the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. A gang of 20 masked-men fire-bombed a synagogue late Saturday in the Swedish city of Goteborg. The assailants threw several molotov cocktails at the synagogue while a youth event was underway. Jewish children were forced to take shelter in a cellar during the attack, German broadcaster DW News reported.

While Arab and Muslim leaders were calling for blood on the streets with 'new Intifada' and 'days of rage', and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU leaders were lining up to join the chorus to condemn President Donald Trump for daring to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, leading Indian politicians such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nationalist BJP party called the government follow US President's example and move the country's embassy to Jerusalem.

Two weeks ago, Angela Merkel’s attempt to form a three-way coalition came to an abrupt end after her traditional ally, pro-Business Free Democrats (FDP), unexpectedly walked out of the talks, citing irreconcilable differences over immigration and other key issues. After failing to form the government in the first round, Merkel will hold a second round of talks -- this time with the left-wing Social Democratic Party (SPD).
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