The US Justice Department has sued Deutsche Bank for more than $1bn (£600m) for defrauding the government. The complaint says Deutsche's MortgageIT subsidiary lied in order to get Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insurance for its loans. FHA rules say lenders must make sure the borrower will be able to repay the loan, but the Justice Department claims Deutsche did not do so. A Deutsche spokesperson described the claims as "unreasonable and unfair". "We intend to defend against the action vigorously," she added. The lawsuit is one of the first targeting mortgage lenders under the federal False Claims Act.
Tag Archives | Germany
As a child, Theo Haser was a loyal member of the Hitler Youth. But decades later, haunted by the horror of the Holocaust, he converted to Judaism. As a young boy, growing up amid the nationalist frenzy of Nazi Germany, Theo Haser idolised Hitler. When the fuehrer came to his hometown of Munich to visit, Theo and his father were at the front of the crowd reaching out to touch his hand. "I know if I was able to shake his hand I probably wouldn't have washed for a few months," he recalls. Seventy years later, in a bid to come to terms with his Nazi past, Theo has become a Jew. "I wanted to be part of a community, this was something I had never felt in my life," he says. "I wasn't running away from something, I was joining something entirely new."
Could Japan’s tragedy be used as a wake-up call for other countries? Germany has decided to close some of it’s oldest nuclear reactors for safety checks after Japan’s nuclear crisis. The Wall Street Journal reports:
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Germany said it would shut down its seven oldest nuclear reactors during a three-month “safety review,” a surprise reversal by Chancellor Angela Merkel whose government just months ago vouched for the plants’ safety.
Ms. Merkel’s center-right government, which already said on Monday that it would suspend a lifespan extension for country’s nuclear reactors, responded to growing public unease over nuclear power amid the Japanese crisis by agreeing to shut down the oldest of those plants. The sudden shift reflects concern within Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democratic party that it has been on the wrong side of an emotional political issue that analysts say could tip the balance in several upcoming regional elections.
Opponents of nuclear power formed a 120-km (75-mile) human chain between reactor sites in Germany Saturday to protest against government plans to extend the power plants' operation. Around 120,000 peaceful demonstrators, according to police and organizers, linked arms in a chain running between the northern towns of Brunsbuettel and Kruemmel that passed through the city of Hamburg...
Take that, Prussian child rearing! AFP reports (via Google):
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Germany’s cabinet Wednesday adopted draft legislation aimed at battling a growing tide of complaints against noisy children, in what is a rapidly ageing society.The legislation aims to make it easier to build creches in residential areas following a spate of objections against the din of children at play.
Some of these complaints have resulted in kindergartens being refused planning permission or childcare centres having to build noise-protection walls so as not to disturb locals.
Many are from people in their 30s and 40s, including couples with children, worried about the value of their property falling if a noisy new kindergarten springs up nearby, experts say.
In a statement, Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said: “This is a clear legislative signal in favour of a child-friendly society.”
“The noise made by children … cannot be treated in the same way as the noise made by industrial equipment,” added the minister.
German artist Simon Menner has a bundle of photos taken by East Germany’s secret police during Cold War. Offering a glimpse into the small absurdities of life as a Communist spy, included are snap shots of suspicious household objects, agents modeling their “normal civilian” disguises, and West German spies who knew they were themselves being spied on, et cetera:
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East Germany, until it ceased to exist in 1989/90, had one of the most advanced surveillance system ever in operation, the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (Department of State Security) or STASI. In terms of number of agents per capita it even outranked the Russian KGB by far.
Soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was decided that most of its archive should be made accessible to the public and for historic research. Even though the access is restricted, this was very much in contrast to what most of the other nations of the former Eastern Block did.
Via the Huffington Post:
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JAMEL, Germany — This is a town taken over by neo-Nazis.
Wooden signposts by the main road point to Vienna, Paris, and Braunau am Inn – the birthplace of Adolf Hitler. A far-right leader runs his demolition company from home, its logo featuring a man smashing a Star of David with a sledgehammer.
Every few months, townsfolk host outdoor parties where guests sing “Hitler is my Fuehrer” to chants of “Heil” around a massive bonfire.
Jamel is the most extreme manifestation of a chilling phenomenon in the former communist East Germany: a creeping encroachment of neo-Nazism that makes Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania one of only two states where Germany’s biggest far-right party, the National Democratic Party, or NPD, sits in parliament.
The extreme-right is believed to be behind some 40 attacks in the state over the past year, including stones thrown through windows of political parties and fireworks blown up in a prosecutor’s mailbox.
2010 had Greece and Ireland receiving financial help from the Internatioanl Monetary Fund and Eurozone nations. 2011 has Spain, Germany and Britain finding help from Chinese investors as Vice Premier Li Keqiang began his European tour. Via The Jakarta Globe:
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang backed Europe in its sovereign debt battle on Wednesday, starting a three-nation tour by promising to buy more Spanish government bonds.
Li, widely tipped to be the next premier, delivered a significant vote of confidence given China’s world record foreign reserves of 2.648 trillion dollars (2.0 trillion euros), much of it in euros.
On his visit to Spain, Germany and Britain he is supporting Europe’s recovery efforts and seeking to soothe global market fears of a debt quagmire spreading from Greece and Ireland to Portugal and even Spain.
[Continues at The Jakarta Globe]
Over the Christmas-New Year’s holiday in 2003, Khaled El-Masri traveled by bus to Skopje, Macedonia. There he was apprehended by border guards who noted the similarity of his name to that of Khalid al-Masri, an Al Qaeda agent linked to the Hamburg cell where the 9/11 attacks were plotted. Despite El-Masri’s protests that he was not al-Masri, he was beaten, stripped naked, shot full of drugs, given an enema and a diaper, and flown first to Baghdad and then to the notorious “salt pit,” the CIA’s secret interrogation facility in Afghanistan. At the salt pit, he was repeatedly beaten, drugged, and subjected to a strange food regime that he supposed was part of an experiment that his captors were performing on him. Throughout this time, El-Masri insisted that he had been falsely imprisoned, and the CIA slowly established that he was who he claimed to be. Over many further weeks of bickering over what to do, a number of CIA figures apparently argued that, though innocent, the best course was to continue to hold him incommunicado because he “knew too much.”...
Look beneath the surface of everyday life, and strangeness awaits. In Mannheim, Germany, Google Street View captured this image of a naked man climbing out of a car trunk…one can only speculate as to the reason. Via CNET: