English Summaries

“Smuggling on an Executive Level”

Cigarette smuggling: Last week the European Commission in Brussels brought a civil action before the United States Court for the Eastern District of New York, based on a US law that is supposed to protect citizens and companies against the machinations of organised crime. The tobacco lords of Reynolds and Philipp Morris will now have to struggle with sections of the law that were intended for perfectly normal Mafia gangsters. The main allegation is that the corporate bosses knowingly operated and “orchestrated” cigarette smuggling by issuing false documents, and opening up clandestine transport routes and secret payment channels, in order to increase their market share. The estimated damage through loss of taxes and customs duties comes to some two and a half billion euros a year.

Der SPIEGEL discusses the European Central Bank’s clumsy attempts to buy up euros, and the reasons why the intervention is not working.

“Fairly Close to de Gaulle”

SPIEGEL in-depth interview with Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica on Belgrade’s democratic new beginning, the debris accumulated over the years of the Milosevic regime and the future of the Balkans:

“Certain people may have remained, but the function of their offices has been adapted to the new situation in the country. That’s all that counts. … The international community’s wrong decisions also have to be brought up, as does the full truth about Kosovo and Nato’s bombardment of our country – in particular also the question whether this could have been avoided. … First of all there must be security in Kosovo. Then the displaced Serbs should return, that is our main goal.”

“Studying Is Worth It”

SPIEGEL cover story: What is a university degree worth in a job? For the first time, German researchers have studied in detail the career opportunities available to students. The largest survey ever conducted among graduates in Europe shows that academics are in demand once again on the job market. Last year, 6400 graduates of German universities and technical colleges answered the questions posed by the scientific centre for professional and university research at Kiel University – telling the researchers about their experiences at university, while job-hunting and during the early years of their professional life. The graduates have managed to secure promising jobs – with a degree, and in some cases in spite of one. More than 20 subject areas were investigated by the centre’s director Ulrich Teichler and his co-worker Harald Schomburg, assisted by other scientists. Apart from Germany, ten other European countries and Japan also took part in the unique research project, with another 33,000 graduates who took their degrees in 1995.

“Take Care of Him”

Scandals: Investigations suggest that the son Max Strauß and his father Franz Josef Strauß pocketed commissions for Airbus deals. A fact-finding committee in Bavaria is to shed light on the matter.

“We Have to Act”

SPIEGEL interview with Klaus Töpfer, executive director of the United Nations Environmental Program (Unep), on the forthcoming World Climate Conference in The Hague, the CDU’s campaign against the environmental tax, the chances of a global environmental policy and the mistakes made during his time as Germany’s environmental minister:

“I have been watching with horror the decline in the awareness for this environmental threat in industrialised countries. It is up to politics to find a majority for what needs to be done. … We cannot afford to just throw away a sensible instrument like the environmental tax. … The first convincing steps must be initiated by the industrialised countries. … For the developing countries, the Kyoto protocol will contain measures for a “clean” economic development.…”

“Privates in Front of Piles of Corpses”

Contemporary history: A commission of historians has criticised the controversial “Wehrmacht Exhibition” for its gross professional shortcomings. Following a thorough revision, it is now to go back on tour. According to the makers of the exhibition, the photographs of laughing privates in front of piles of corpses, together with lengthy written records such as Wehrmacht orders and forces’ letters, were supposed to show that the German Wehrmacht was actively involved “as an overall organisation” in Hitler’s war of extermination in Eastern and South-eastern Europe directed against Jews, prisoners of war and the civilian population – that it was after all a criminal organisation, even though the Allied Forces had not reached this verdict at the Nuremberg Trials. The commission did not find any photographs that had been manipulated, nor did it unearth any fictional documents. However meticulous researchers complained of numerous incorrectly assigned photographs and far too many professional errors in the exhibits.

“A Game with Emotions”

SPIEGEL in-depth interview with Michael Naumann (SPD), state minister for cultural affairs, on the value of world culture, the German discussion about a leading culture and the call for an integration of foreigners:

“World culture is more exciting than the CDU’s closely protected idea of a leading culture. … The term “leading culture” is useless for a rational discussion, because it implies or claims something akin to leadership. The wonderfully exciting thing about all cultures and all cultural expressions is precisely the fact that they are nearly always eclectic. … We need the kind of integrative process that is being amply tried out in model studies in America, and which has to begin in the schools. The school playground is one of the biggest places of socialisation there is. This type of model for integration costs money, calls for an enormous effort, makes enormous demands on teachers, far more than it does on the politicians who recommend it. However, practising curiosity and tolerance cannot be decreed by law.”

“A Far More Brutal Game”

SPIEGEL in-depth interview with the founder of Mobilcom Gerhard Schmid on envy and success, his corporate strategy and the future of the mobile phone industry:

“It seems to be a typically German idiosyncrasy, that when someone is successful you first of all ask: what’s the catch. It’s completely different in the USA. … Our strategy proved to be right. We deliberately wanted to set ourselves apart from the faceless big groups and place the emphasis on the entrepreneurial personality. We appear to have succeeded. … I have very simple things in mind, such as a mailbox in which everything from e-mails to faxes comes together in the mobile phone.”

“Cartel of Informers”

Austria: The espionage affair surrounding rightist politician Jörg Haider and his party, the FPÖ, is casting a sinister light on the political practices in the alpine republic. The governing coalition is in danger. Josef Kleindienst, former policeman and official in the FPÖ trades union, started the scandal when he confessed to having tapped police computers for years on behalf of the FPÖ. He claims to have passed on the results to FPÖ politicians and to have received money from them in return. But the structural findings about the Austrian crisis go deeper – large segments of the political classes suffer from a deficient awareness of wrongdoing and a lack of democratic hygiene.

“Nice and Slim, but Sick”

Psychology: Younger and younger girls are suffering from anorexia, and the cases are becoming increasingly difficult to treat. At the Psychiatric Clinic for Adolescents in Dresden, a new approach is proving effective: group therapy with several families at once. The key idea behind the multi-family therapy is not to maximise the agony, but to overcome the social isolation. The Dresden psychiatrists have been working with multi-family therapy for two years now. And although there has not yet been any hard statistical study, only an intermediate report, the new therapeutic approach does seem to be proving effective. All 22 adolescents treated displayed a marked increase in weight, and their condition was stabilised. Only one girl, who had discontinued the therapy, later suffered a relapse.

“The Scent of Data”

Computers: Ants carry their food to their nest by the shortest route. Computer programmers are now using the insects’ tricks to optimise factory processes. The principle known as “Ant Colony Optimization” (Aco) is being employed in an increasing number of industrial plants.

“School Outing in the Vomit Bomber”

Space travel: The European Space Agency, ESA, has sent students floating. The volunteers suffered the state of weightlessness on board a special Airbus. Adventurous show flights like this are part of ESA’s effort to rid itself of its boring image.

“Upwards to Buzzing Life”

Exhibitions: Vegetarian, lady-killer, truth fanatic – the early beginnings of the artist Otto Dix, who was surrounded by scandal, are documented in his home town of Gera by newly discovered pictures and writings. Not even the experts suspected that these documents existed. Some 160 drawings and early paintings are now on display in an exhibition in the orangery and the house where the artist was born. The correspondence with Bretschneider as well as other source finds have been published in the substantial exhibition catalogue. They reveal a multi-faceted mosaic of the beginning of a spectacular artistic career.

“Until the Very Last Person Understands”

Contemporary history: The inflammatory, anti-Semitic magazine “Der Stürmer” was more than just an esoteric effort of the Nazi press. The propaganda showed an effect on young soldiers, as a SPIEGEL TV film shows. With its evil mixture of sexual obsessions and fantasies about a Zionist world conspiracy, the organ which was loathed by intellectuals and even by parts of the Nazi elite had an effect particularly on young people who grew up within the National Socialist system.

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