English Summaries

"Starting up in Life"

SPIEGEL cover story:

The stuff that the future is made of. What do schoolchildren need to be able to do nowadays? Middle-class education is rapidly losing its value, the business world wants problem solvers who are fit for real life. Experts are working out a concept for the school education of the knowledge society. About time too. Europe is in the midst of the bloodiest educational revolution since the Renaissance. Such an attack on the minds of our offspring has not been seen since the discovery of America and the invention of printing: the discovery of the global world of knowledge.

"Robin Hood and the Multinationals"

Aids epidemic: An "Aids cocktail" can save the lives of people infected with HIV. But the medicine is only affordable for the rich, not for the Third World. It costs 10,000 dollars a year per patient. Now, an Indian company is offering the self-same mixture of drugs for 600 dollars. Pharmaceutical multinationals see their profits at risk - and are fighting the "pirate". In an appeal to all the governments of the Third World, Yusuf Hamied has offered to supply unlimited quantities of the Aids cocktail. "Médecins sans Frontières" is to receive the life-preserving drugs for just 350 dollars, provided the international aid workers guarantee their distribution to patients and the necessary medical supervision. Is Cipla's offer intended seriously? Can developing countries and relief organisations accept the offer without violating international treaties, and do they want to? And how on earth does the Indian entrepreneur calculate the cost of his Aids cocktail, if Western multinationals believe they have to charge twenty to thirty times as much for their product?

"Bottom Line of a Bureaucrat"

Russia: As a reformer, Vladimir Putin trod in the footsteps of the Russian reform tsar Peter the Great: many things were to change, everything was to be better. After one year in office, neither of these goals seems to be in sight. Western encouragements to begin quickly with democratic and economic reforms if Russia does not want to bring about its own downfall, are premature, have not been thought out carefully and may not even be in the best interest of the European peace framework. But neither are Putin's attempts at nursing the impoverished superpower back to health using yesteryear's recipes. What is needed is a scrupulous analysis of how many special rights Russia needs to avoid disintegration, what order outside the "mainstream of civilisation" (Putin) would be necessary. So far, Putin has not even begun this debate.

SPIEGEL-Interview with Bodo Hombach, the EU special co-ordinator of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe, on the future of the Balkans and what options for peace remain.

"But I'm Sitting in Front"

SPD: The post-Schröder era is taking shape among the party's comrades. Self-assured up-and-coming cadres such as Ute Vogt and Sigmar Gabriel are pushing their way to the top - and transforming the party: instead of glorifying the classical welfare state and traditional social democratic ideals, they are propagating values once frowned upon, like achievement and discipline. Where reliable co-ordinates are absent, they concentrate on what is close at hand - and what can be done. Thus Willy Brand's heirs are pursuing Schröder-style politics, without visions, driven by the simple desire to solve urgent problems. Never before has a party that was in the government undergone such a rapid paradigm shift.

"Big Bang behind Bullenkuhlen"

Physics: Will the world's largest particle accelerator be constructed in a 33 kilometre long tunnel near Hamburg? The physicists are so keen on the billion dollar structure that they are willing to share it with cell biologists, medics and light bulb researchers too - if only they are allowed to continue their search for exotic particles. Particle physics, once proud to the point of over-confidence, is living in troubled times. Other sciences promise release from congenital diseases or self-cleaning windowpanes. The physicists, on the other hand, are offering signs of supersymmetry or a profusion of scarcely fathomable extra dimensions, making it all the harder for policy makers to approve new miracle machines for pure fundamental research every couple of years. Hamburg's DESY is in a prime position in the race to get off to a good start. All that's missing now is the money.

"Thimblerig in Pongoland"

Animals: The world's largest ape enclosure has just been opened in Leipzig. Visitors to the zoo can watch apes learning and biologists studying. The researchers want to put the human beings to the test too. Thus visitors are meant to compete with the apes to find their way through a virtual maze on a computer screen. And Homo Sapiens can also pit himself against chimpanzees in the use of tools.

"Bitter Well of the Heart"

Poets: Paul Celan is a legend, widely held to be the most important German-language poet of the second half of the twentieth century. He is also an enigma. His only son, Eric, bears the burden of this legacy, which is both impressive and crushing. He alone still retains a living memory of the suffering human being, the demanding family father, the compulsive poet Paul Celan. Since the death of his mother Gisèle Celan-Lestrange at the end of 1991, he himself has been attending to the memory of Paul Celan. His care, which is probably also agonising, has now produced an editorial masterpiece that opens up new dimensions in our understanding of the poet.

"Shot-proof Shirts of Spider's Webs"

Materials: Lighter than cotton wool and tougher than steel - scientists intend to follow nature's example and spin artificial spider's threads. A race has begun between chemical companies around the world to perfect this intelligent spinning system: synthetic threads like those made by spiders and having extremely high tensile strength are to be used to make bullet-proof jackets and tank armour even more robust. In medicine, the spider's fabric would be suitable as a natural dressing for people allergic to plasters, and the natural woven material could conceivably also be used in aircraft wings or the bodywork of cars.

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