Disasters: Victims of accidents feel they are receiving too little compensation in Germany. More and more often they therefore try to file a suit in the USA – hoping to be awarded huge sums of money. But many lawsuits end up with disappointed hopes and substantial fees payable to lawyers. And it’s not only the victims of accidents who are complaining about the inequality of the way in which justice is administered. For European companies too, the unpredictable legal proceedings in the USA are becoming more and more of a problem.
Compensation for former forced workers: What can Chancellor Gerhard Schröder do to increase pressure on German industry to pay up for the employment of slave labour in Nazi Germany?
“We Need Rich Europe”
SPIEGEL in-depth interview with the governor of Kaliningrad, Vladimir Yegorov, on the isolation of the Russian Baltic enclave, on nuclear missiles and investment incentives, as well as its hopes for a special status within the EU:
“The representatives of Moscow and Brussels have agreed in principle to sign a special agreement on Kaliningrad. Right now we are in the process of agreeing on its premises and details. … Whatever name this region may be known by in the future, it will remain Russian. … These nuclear stories are malicious rumours. … In the end we have to achieve a regime with a maximum of privileges. Incidentally, everyone is talking about a kind of Hong Kong on the Baltic – but take Switzerland for example: it isn’t part of the EU either. It’s in exactly the same position, it isn’t in Nato either.”
“You Can Hate Us”
SPIEGEL in-depth interview with Domenico De Sole, 57, head of the Gucci fashion empire on the struggle for power which has flared up again with Gucci’s own major shareholder Bernard Arnault, the soul of a brand and the current luxury boom:
“We are now worth nine billion. More than the German Lufthansa. Arnault should be happy about it as a shareholder. … Fashion is not a game, and probably never was. What counts are jobs, market share and a great deal of money. … All large firms like Chanel or Gucci have a soul. You can visit a Gucci boutique and not like it personally. You can hate us. But you have to admit that everything matches, from the advertising to the design of the stores and each individual product, and that it transports an image.”
“A Huge Cloud of War”
China: The American plans for a missile defence system in space are provoking Beijing. As a result, the Middle Kingdom has decided to embark on an arms race – and intends to become the Asian counterforce to the USA. But the Land of the Dragon is still a long way from true greatness. China not only wants to acquire new weapons, but also to reform its armed forces, putting them in a position to wage the war of the future. Since the Nato attack on Yugoslavia and the missiles that hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, the souls of the Chinese politicians and military have been gripped by the fear that Washington wants to force its own values and economic interests upon the entire rest of the world. But how will a strong Chinese dragon behave? Will it hiss and push though its interests, or will it fit in with the international community in a responsible fashion?
“The Green Victory”
Brazil: After ten years of environmental activism, the battle over the rain forest is beginning to show an effect: less forest is being destroyed along the Amazon than ever before, a network of well-meant projects has established itself in the jungle. Will the mysteries of the forest and the anarchy of its inhabitants survive the ‘helper tourism’? Initially there were excellent reasons for the intervention. The Brazilian military had shown the forest what’s what in the 1960s and 70s, with the same zeal, making up for lost time, with which the developed nations had already steam-rollered their own green borders during the last century. Meanwhile massive reforestation programmes are under way here, unlike in the Czech and Russian disaster areas. The green carpet is being pulled straight again over closed-down mines. At the same time the inhabitants of the Amazon rightly sense the neo-colonial motives inherent in the rain forest enthusiasm particularly among Americans. During the last century, the latter turned their own forests along the east coast into matchwood in a space of just ten years. And now they need the Amazon as an external oxygen producer – without even contemplating lowering their own emissions (and hence their standard of living).
“The Nazi and the Tuned-up Truth”
Researchers: It was the story of an impossible transformation. From a concentration camp killer in Treblinka to a Jew after the war. But everything suggests that the unbelievable material that the investigative journalist Egmont R. Koch turned into a film for the ARD network is based on a figment of the imagination. The name of the supposed killer is not mentioned in any of the records on the four Treblinka trials in Düsseldorf and in Vienna. He named people who did not exist, and he described events that never took place.”
“Pact with the Devil”
Soccer: Right-wing radical groups have conquered the stadiums in Italy. Chanting racist slogans and waving banners they attack foreigners and minority groups, riots threaten every weekend. The clubs don’t know what to do. Not a single match goes by without the misdemeanours of the right wing radicals being meticulously recorded. Though the “Boot Boys” may be making trouble in Norwegian football stadiums, or a group by the name of “Combat 18” in England – the “International Herald Tribune” recently concluded that the “epicentre of racist violence in soccer” lies in Italy.
“Venice in the Sand”
Archaeology: German archaeologists are on a tricky mission. In Iraq they are uncovering the oldest city in the world – and promptly found themselves under missile attack. The Germans got caught up in the American and British air battle on February 16.
“An Extortionate Bill”
Bavaria: Beer with the classy seal “Hofbräuhaus München” was to froth in Asia too. But the stately inn in the Far East has ended up as a fiasco. The brewers had some hard empirical facts to support their expansion plans: every day tourists from Thailand and India drink themselves under the table in the Munich inn. Why shouldn’t they drink themselves senseless on the HB’s beer at home too? But things didn’t work out that way in Asia.
“Like a Pack of Wolves”
SPIEGEL interview with Jean-Jacques Annaud on the chances of his controversial Stalingrad spectacular “Duel - Enemy at the Gates” in the cinema:
“Everything that was written in Berlin was malicious. … Everywhere else in the world that I have shown the film, the reactions of the audience and the critics have been excellent. … My film is a metaphor: the war between Hitler and Stalin is personified by the duel between two men. … I simply have a different understanding of history. Nobody anywhere in the world still knows what Stalingrad means. It’s only in Germany that the wounds of the past appear not to have healed yet. I’m sorry about that, but the Germans ought to forget at long last, to enjoy life and understand that: Hey, it’s only a film!”
“Holes in Light”
SPIEGEL interview with the Italian philosopher and author Roberto Casati, 39, on the deciphering of shadows, the light in large cities, and the mortal fear during a solar eclipse:
“In actual fact, shadows are holes in light – light is our most important source of information about the way the world is made up. … Shadows fascinate people everywhere in the world. They are so wonderfully ambiguous – they are part of the physical world, without being material.”
“Steaks from the Wheat Field”
Nutrition: Shocked by the epidemics among livestock, more and more consumers are opting for pseudo-meat. The business with vegetarian chicken nuggets and imitation veal cutlets is booming. Food designers are working on vegetable-based artificial meat, which is scarcely distinguishable any more from the animal original. The researchers have set themselves an ambitious goal: within just a few years they want to change Western food production fundamentally. They intend to banish meat from fast food and processed foods – and replace it by NPF, “novel protein foods”, an artificial form of meat based on vegetable protein. No less than 40 percent of the total meat consumption could one day be covered by “Protex” or “Fibrex”.
“Offensive in the Afternoon”
Schools: Politicians from all parties have discovered all-day schooling as a family-friendly educational alternative and as an election issue. However, there is not enough money to offer it nation-wide. The idea is not new. In the UK, France and Scandinavia lessons have continued on into the afternoon for over 100 years. In Germany, too, one or two all-day schools were set up in the 1950s, and later the model was tested particularly in the newly founded comprehensive schools. However now, in view of the growing number of working parents and single-parent families, the call for child supervision in schools is becoming more and more vociferous.
© DER SPIEGEL 11/2001
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