"Grand Theater of State"
SPIEGEL cover story: The Red-Green coalition has expressed its vote of no confidence in itself - yet wants to keep on ruling. The Black-Yellow opposition (Christian Democrats and Liberals) wants to do everything better - but has not yet revealed how. Germany has the choice - but of what?
"Cyanide in a Gap in His Teeth"
Contemporary history: Heinrich Himmler died on 23 May 1945 in British captivity - according to the official version, he killed himself using cyanide. Now new documents suggest that the head of the SS was in fact killed by the English. The existence of these documents in the National Archives in London is undisputed. But are the claims made in them necessarily true? In view of the drastic wording, a former CIA member who knew Bruce-Lockhart regards the papers as being "low-quality disinformation" - but who would have any interest in placing this? On the other hand, Bruce-Lockhart was certainly a propaganda expert and not responsible for assassinations. However the question that arises more than any other is: what were the Britons so keen to hide from the Americans? So far no plausible answer has been forthcoming.
"Volkswagen, a People's Cooperative"
When the head of Volkswagen's works council, Klaus Volkert, arrived for the works meeting in Wolfsburg on Wednesday he intended to write the legend of his impending resignation himself. He had decided to leave on account of his age and wanted to make way for younger people - the sort of things powerful trade union officials are in the habit of saying when they want to depart in style. But then SPIEGEL Online revealed the true reason: Volkert is leaving because his name has been linked to a bribery scandal at Volkswagen's subsidiary Skoda. The report caused an enormous stir, appearing to represent further evidence of the Wolfsburg sleaze of politics and business, involving trade unionists and management executives.
"Every Click Destroys a Soul"
Crime: With "Operation Marcy", two criminal investigators from Saxony-Anhalt have struck one of the biggest blows against child pornography. Their enquiries began with a discount computer in a summer house - in the meantime they are dealing with over 26,000 suspects in 166 countries.
"Chocolate for Diabetics"
Africa: At the G8 summit in Scotland, the Western industrialised nations intend to agree upon an aid programme for Africa worth many billions. But experience shows that money alone cannot defeat poverty. The countries that receive the most alms are in the deepest distress. Despite payments that have recently amounted to 26 billion dollars, most of the continent resembles an emergency ward. Already, more and more Africans are demanding an end to this form of support. The factors that allow foreign aid to Africa to seep away ineffectually are always the same: incompetent planning by the donor countries, which leads to the wrong priorities when awarding aid; and on the ground a combination of corruption and ruthlessness, greed and arbitrariness among the local authorities.
"Cancel This Aid"
SPIEGEL interview with Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati about the harmful consequences of Western development policy, corrupt rulers and exaggerated horror reports about Africa:
"Huge bureaucracies are being financed, corruption and complacency are being promoted, Africans are being brought up to be beggars and not to be self-sufficient. In addition, foreign aid weakens local markets everywhere, as well as the entrepreneurial spirit that we so badly need. It is one of the reasons for Africa's problems, as absurd as this may sound. ... There is hardly any country south of the Sahara in which people really need to be starving. In addition there are plenty of natural resources: oil, gold, diamonds. Africa is only ever portrayed as being ailing, but most of the numbers are hugely exaggerated. The impression given in industrial nations is always that Africa would go under without foreign aid. But believe me: Africa existed long before you Europeans did. ... Africa has first got to take the step into the modern age by itself. There has to be a change in mentality. We have to stop feeling like the recipients of charity. Africans have meanwhile come around to viewing themselves simply as victims. On the other hand, no one can imagine an African as a businessman. To achieve that it would be helpful if the relief organisations would withdraw."
"We Are Protecting our Liberties"
Interview with Teheran winner of the Nobel peace prize, Shirin Ebadi, about her boycott of the presidential elections, the fanaticism of future head of state Mahmud Ahmadinejad and the reformers' fear of the final take-over of power by revolutionary zealots:
"I didn't give much thought to Ahmadinejad's chances, since I didn't take part in the elections in the first place. That was a question of principle for me. I am opposed to the screening of candidates for parliamentary and presidential elections by the Guardians Council. This procedure deprives the population of its actual electoral freedom. ... Besides, in Iran the constitution doesn't give the President much power anyway. [...] All the powerful people have remained at the controls, so nothing will change in Iran. That is precisely why I'm not too concerned about Ahmadinejad. ... Iranians will protect the liberties they have gained over the past years. [...] If Ahmadinejad intends to curtail our liberties, the Iranians won't stand for it."
"Foot on the Fuse"
Russia: The unpublished documents of a Moscow committee of inquiry confirm the disastrous management of the security services during the hostage-taking at the school in Beslan. According to the hitherto unpublished draft of the final report, the police forces "did not succeed" in effectively cordoning off the district surrounding the school right at the beginning of the terrorist operation. Also, the "principle of concertedness" was not observed in the operations of the police, the security forces and the army. The Beslan Commission is dominated by MPs who are loyal to the Kremlin, and is under enormous pressure from the public prosecutor's office, which is worried about its own account of the events. As a result, the task force has repeatedly postponed the publication of its report, which was initially due in March. At the moment, it is expected in October.
"Jan Is Tired in His Mind"
SPIEGEL in-depth interview with five-time winner of the Tour de France Eddy Merckx about the last duel between Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich, the craving to win and the emptiness after the end of a career:
"In the end, it will depend on Ullrich managing to shake Armstrong off in the mountains. In a man against man duel. ... Ullrich simply cannot stand up to the pressure, and in particular he lacks the necessary motivation. ... Sport has to be fun for a young person. For me, cycling was always a passion, the best thing in the world. I think in Ullrich's case there was a lot of coercion involved. ... When I first met Lance, he was not yet a killer. ... His cancer changed his entire life style. Nowadays he subordinates everything to success. ... Lance is sure to miss cycle racing, but he can no longer stand everything that goes along with it: being condemned to winning, constantly travelling around Europe, far from his three children."
"Patent War in Brussels"
Computers: Should computer programs be patentable like steam engines, or just protected by copyright like love poems? Small-scale programmers and major industries are debating this question heatedly. Now the European Parliament is to decide the matter. Thousands of jobs are at risk, according to the big industries, if computer programs are not at last afforded patent protection too. Opponents disagree, claiming that software patents will inevitably lead to thousands of small programming companies being forced into bankruptcy by the resulting legal battles. So far, pure software has been subject to copyright as an entirely intangible creation, just like symphonies or poems. Hence the individual lines of a program such as "Word" are protected, but not the underlying idea of word processing using a computer.
Art taken during the war: A new ice age has begun as regards art confiscated from Germany during the war. A Moscow museum is displaying art seized during World War II. Antique ivory, Etruscan vases and murals from Pompeii are on display - 350 exquisite works of art, all of them previously believed to have been lost. The coup was arranged by Irina Antonova, 83, head of the Pushkin Museum, a master of empty promises. For decades the old lady has been guarding the secret archives in the cellar, from which she has over recent years conjured some spectacular spoils - including the Schliemann treasure and the Eberswald gold find. Her latest coup has angered her colleagues in Berlin once and for all. For ten years, officials have been engaged in longwinded negotiations about the return of artwork by the former Soviet Union - without any result. Now many are demanding a tougher stance.
"The Murderer and the Women"
Film industry: Ever since Patrick Süskind told the story of his murderous genius 20 years ago, producer Bernd Eichinger has dreamed of filming the tale. Now he has starting filming with Tom Tykwer in the fields of lavender in Provence.
"Flirting with Hookers and Daemons"
Exhibitions: A large exhibition in the Old National Gallery in Berlin is celebrating the masterful paintings of the exceptional Spanish artist Francisco de Goya - a historic first. This is the first big exhibition of his paintings in a German-speaking country. After ten years of preparation and extensive negotiations - some of them nerve-wracking - with owners asked to provide works on loan, the result is a presentation of over 70 paintings including many from otherwise inaccessible private collections. The painter Francisco de Goya is rightly celebrated as having prepared the ground for modern art, as a "prophet of the modern age". In fact Goya is considered - more than ever - to have been a contemporary artist who died prematurely, a precursor of realism, impressionism, expressionism, surrealism and various other styles of modern art, as well as being the first picture reporter, cartoon artist, and above all a merciless social critic.
"The Blood of Naples"
Mafia: In the city of the Camorra, gangs are fighting over their share in the heroin market, which turns over some 250 million euros. Meanwhile the citizens and the priests in their churches are hoping for a miracle - and the strength of Saint Gennaro. The latest gang war of the Camorra has cost 134 lives in a single year. The crisis on the narcotics market has driven the clans out into the open, like rats fleeing the rising tide. The 1980 earthquake devastated entire villages and streets. The inhabitants ended up in hastily erected satellite towns to the north of the city, in Secondigliano and Scampia. These are the neighbourhoods where most of the dying is now taking place, the neighbourhoods of the Camorra. Fortini - fortress-like council housing blocks - have formed, on the unconditional loyalty of whose inhabitants the clans can count.
"All of Life's Dramas"
Zeitgeist: The cultural programme for the FIFA World Cup, due to cost 30 million euros, intends to use art, fun and games to demonstrate just how easy-going Germany has become. That gives rise to a new concern: Who will rescue the game of football from the intellectuals? The chief cultural planner for the World Cup, André Heller, has already announced the next of more than 40 projects. The vivacious Viennese was invited to assume this football office by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and FIFA back in the year 2000 - and from the outset has acted in a manner entirely ignorant of the game. Since the British author Nick Hornby managed the feat in 1993 of landing a hit both in the feature pages of the papers and in the stadium with his wonderfully garrulous fan monologue "Fever Pitch", the game has been entirely in the hands of the cerebral artists.