SPIEGEL cover story: Summertime in politics began with a theatrical thundering crash between Berlin and Rome. The quarrel with the Berlusconi administration and the cancellation of his traditional vacation in Italy by huffy Chancellor Schröder reveal just how difficult it is for Germans to deal with their love for Italy.
"See You Soon, Luigi"
Vacation: In Positano, the German chancellor's favourite Italian restaurant owner is in a state of grief, and the mayor is fighting for a summit of the two statesmen in the small streets of his village. After the debacle in the European Parliament and Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi's attack on German parliamentarian Schulz, he suggested to the government in Rome that Schröder and Berlusconi should meet in Positano and mend bridges in public.
"Vino Rosso - but Red"
SPIEGEL interview with movie actor Mario Adorf about the difficulties between Germans and Italians:
"The German-Italian relationship has remained problematic to this day. ... One reason is the late effects of the war. There is still a latent, mutual unease - here, the traitors; there, the murderers. Then, when the Italian 'guest workers' migrated to Germany, they were shut up in a type of ghetto and looked down upon. That has mostly changed. ... The Germans like Italy very much, they envy Italians a bit for their easy-going lifestyle, which the Germans do not have, but they still aren't very fond of Italians. ... The Italians' picture of Germans has been negatively influenced by the loud, spendthrift vacationer, similar to the famous German tourist in Mallorca. In addition, there is the image still found in countless movies of the blond Nazi who screams "rrraus rrraus!" or "Jawohlll mein Führer!" in a grating voice. ... Slowly, many Italians have realized that not all Germans are vulgar riff-raff, but people who take an interest, who are loyal, who come back year for year."
Foreign policy: The Americans want their guest, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, to provide German troops for Iraq - and to abstain from the controversy about the dubious reasons the US gave for going to war against Iraq.
"We Want Global Symbols"
SPIEGEL in-depth interview with Herbert Hainer, head of the board of directors, about the power struggle with arch-rival Nike, the bidding wars for sports stars and their subsequent private escapades as well as those dark moments when the German national soccer team once again make a fool of themselves in Adidas three stripes:
"Nike turns over about four billion euros more than we do. We are almost tied all over the world. The gap is in the US, we have to close it there. Adidas may be able to narrow the gap on its own, but not to close it. Thus, we are also looking into which firms we can acquire. ... Although Nike usually offers a higher price than we do, we still get some athletes because they feel they are better off with us and that we take better care of them."
SPIEGEL interview with the son of the deposed late Shah of Persian, Reza Pahlevi, about the consequences of the student uprising in Teheran and the dwindling power of the Mullah regime:
"The situation reminds me a lot of 1978. Because the dissatisfaction among the people is much greater today, a regime change may come quickly. ... The protests four years ago were about reforms within the system. ... Now they are demanding the removal of the system. They know that that is the only way to liberate themselves from their political and economic misery. ... My goal is a plebiscite in which the Iranian people can decide the future form of government, in freedom and under international observation. ... Naturally it is helpful if some U.S. senators and representatives support us on the path to democracy."
They Had No Chance"
SPIEGEL interview with neuro-surgeon Majid Samii about the failed separation of the Siamese twins Ladan and Ladeh and the erring courage of doctors:
"I don't want to comment on the ethic dimension of the separation. Every surgeon and every doctor bears the responsibility for his actions. ... At this time, a computer with which such a brain operation could be acted out in comprehensive detail does not exist. If the doctors considered the operation to be feasible solely on the basis of the simulations, then they proceeded on false assumptions."
"Waiting Room of Death"
SPIEGEL in-depth interview with bestseller author Henning Mankell about his love for Africa, the necessity of Western aid and the pride of the poorest people on earth:
"As a child, I dreamed of finding the end of the world. Africa was the most exotic place I could imagine. ... The political structures are also a result of the poverty, and we produced this poverty, during the Colonial period. Today, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund determine the rules for Africa, and that is blocking development, not helping it. ... Africa needs money and patience. We have to pay back what we have taken. We know everything about how Africans die, and we don't know anything about how they live. ... The Africans are experiencing hard times, but if need be, they paint shoes on their bare feet - to preserve their pride and their dignity."
"War of Cultures? I Say Hurrah!"
SPIEGEL in-depth interview with theatre director Peter Zadek about his antipathy toward the US, his late discovery of Brecht and the advice presented to young directors in his new book:
"In my book, I speak to young directors, not writers, and I don't want them to think of themselves as writers. Today, that's the biggest mistake, many young directors act as if they were writers. They take on the plays and say 'I'm going to make my play out of this.' That can sometimes even be good, but it usually isn't. ... I think it's cowardly that many people now make a difference between the American people and the present American government. The Bush administration was elected more or less democratically, and the majority of Americans supported the campaign against Iraq. Therefore, you certainly can be against the Americans, just as most of the world was against the Germans in the Second World War. In this sense, I'm an anti-American. ... Some critics and theatre directors forget that the theatre has to be full. And to achieve that, it doesn't hurt to show a famous actor on the stage occasionally. I don't want to put in a plug for a theatre of stars, but a great theatre also has to present great actors every so often. I would put a pig on the stage if that's what people wanted to see. I don't care why people go to the theatre, the main thing is that they go."
"The Machines Play Us"
SPIEGEL interview with Ralf Hütter, musician with the band Kraftwerk, about "Tour de France Soundtracks", the first new album by the legendary German band in over ten years:
"We are just everyday musicians and are busy enough with Kraftwerk in our studio in Dusseldorf. ... In the seventies, when we had our first big success, there were a lot of accusations like 'Kraftwerk is made up of dull button pushers". We dealt with that in our texts. The proponents of so-called "hand-made music" always forget that it, too, usually employs elaborately constructed instruments and electricity. ...We develop concepts, formulas and models for discussion. We don't spend our time recording 20 versions of a song, of which 19 are shelved. We are very goal-oriented. Whatever we begin is released. Our archives are empty."
"The Riddle of Roman Empire"
Soccer: Russian oil oligarch Roman Abramovich's purchase of the English soccer team Chelsea London has confused the sport and angered fellow Russians - is the revenge of the fatherland imminent?
"Not a Pretty Land"
Spies: For years, the American defector Jens Karney lived as a German in former East Germany, nationalized by the Stasi intelligence service. Now, the top spy wants to return. But the authorities are stalling and the home country he is seeking has disappeared long ago. His home was East Germany for years, up to the fall of the Wall he had served it faithfully, in good and in bad times. And, because they were his best times, the Stasi spy wants to go home to Germany after spending twelve years in prison at Fort Leavenworth. But the German authorities do not want to give him a new passport. Not him, who betrayed the West and was given German citizenship in the East as a reward. It is the story of a perpetrator who does not deny committing a crime. But it is also the story of a victim who was kidnapped and carried off to trial in the USA by a strike force of OSI, the secret police of the US Air Force, on April 22, 1991.
"Busy in the Shadows"
Russia: Carefully, he is sounding out the mood of the land - Mikhail Gorbachev, who helped dismantle the Communist Party, is testing the chances for a new beginning as a Social Democrat. The core of his social democratic convictions, developed under cover of the Communist Party, is to find the middle road for the majority of Russians. Mikhail Gorbachev is a man of compromise. This belief cost him the leadership of the revolution he kicked off twelve years ago, yet also makes him credible in Europe today as a Social Democrat campaigner.
Medicine: Syphilis is spreading. The first symptoms of the disease are often overlooked. It runs in several phases often interrupted by symptom-free intervals lasting years. Because the frequency of syphilis in the former Warsaw Pact countries increased sharply after 1990, it is above all travellers from this region who import the dreaded sexually transmitted disease; women between the ages of 20 and 29 are the most common carriers.
"Sperm for Do-It-Yourselfers"
Reproduction: A British firm wants to provide lesbian German women with donated sperm from its Berlin and Munich branches - the Christian Socialists and the Church are up in arms. Former boxer John Gonzales, founder of the Internet sperm bank "Man Not Included" (MNI) offers the appropriate customer service: a complete do-it-yourself kit with which future mothers can help themselves fulfil their desire for a baby, all by themselves and in their own bathrooms. Gonzales could be in violation of decisions made by the German Court of the Constitution. The judges have ruled that every child has the right to meet his biological parents at some point. That could be a problem for MNI in court, because the company insists on the right to privacy and the fathers are to remain unknown.