Archive for August, 2005

Voting rights for kids?

30 August 2005

With the German economy in the doldrums and half of the country without a job, German politicians are concentrating on the essentials: Wahlrecht für Kinder (voting rights for children). Well, not literally: kids would not get to vote themselves, but parents would get one extra vote together for every child they have. Several heavy weights, among them Roman Herzog (former President of Germany) and political talk show host Sabine Christiansen, have expressed support for the idea, which was brought up first by the financial expert in Angela Merkel’s campaign team, Paul Kirchhof. Latest in the row of supporters: FDP (Liberals) MEP and rising star Silvana Koch-Mehrin.

Whoever thought ayatollah Ratzinger’s enthusiastic reception in Germany by thousands of catholic youth was just an exception should now really get suspicious. I certainly do, when I see even Germany’s liberals take over the arch-conservative agenda: (more…)

Baltic observations – I – introduction

25 August 2005

The Baltic republics Lithuania, Latvia, and Lithuania, where I spent my summer holiday this year, have much to enjoy for visiting tourists: historic cities with well-preserved mediaeval or Art Nouveau centres, a beautiful countryside with unspoiled forests, bogs and lakes, a friendly coast with sand beaches, dunes and islands. The occasional Molvanian experience notwithstanding, the general level of what is on offer is such that it is often almost impossible to believe that, unlike the former Warsaw Pact countries in Central Europe, this was part of the Soviet Union only fourteen years ago. (more…)