The Pandora Papers leak reveals, once again, that to avoid taxes and the corrupt are transferring money out of poorer countries into more developed ones without proper controls. Much of this is preventable: we know what needs to be done to track illicit financial flows, to recover stolen assets, and to ensure that everyone pays their fair share of tax. One such instrument is open company registers. But to ensure that everyone is fiscally equally we first need politicans which are transparent themselves and which are not driven by ego but by state sense.
A few weeks ahead of the Bundestag election on 26 September, Germans are still struggling to imagine their country without Chancellor Angela Merkel. This may be to do with the profiles of the candidates or the low quality of the electoral campaign. But the personality of Merkel seems to provide an even better explanation for Germans’ wariness about seeing someone else in the chancellor’s seat. Merkel was a perfect symbol of the German Zeitgeist at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Her policy style and decisions have reflected the significant changes happening in German society and politics in the last 16 years, as well as an overwhelming desire to maintain the status quo for as long as possible by avoiding revolutionary shifts. No wonder Germans will miss her.
by Dr. Stefanie Claudia Müller
The situation right now in Germany with the pandemic lockdown is getting to its limits. The launch of an satire art project by a dozen of actors has raised a lot of polemic. We talk to the author of a book that claims to show how to be successful, at ease and active even in Covid-19 times. Roland Winterstein lives parttime in Mallorca and has published “Vollgas, Leben!”. A good slogan in a hard time.
Monaco is the European country with the longest duration of alien visits, with UFO sightings lasting an average of 45 minutes. Liechtenstein, Latvia and Ukraine follow closely behind with the average sighting exceeding 20 minutes. San Marino stands as the European country where UFOs visit for the least amount of time,with no official sightings, followed by Georgia. Ireland has the most alien visits with 105 recorded UFO sightings, followed by France and Spain.
Americans have a new president but not a new country. While most Europeans rejoiced at Joe Biden’s victory in the November US presidential election, they do not think he can help America make a comeback as the pre-eminent global leader. This is the key finding of a pan-European survey of more than 15,000 people in 11 countries commissioned by the European Council on Foreign Relations and conducted in November and December by Datapraxis and YouGov.
A survey shows that Europeans’ attitudes towards the United States have undergone a massive change. Majorities in key member states now think the US political system is broken, that China will be more powerful than the US within a decade, and that Europeans cannot rely on the US to defend them. They are drawing radical consequences from these lessons. Large numbers think Europeans should invest in their own defence and look to Berlin rather than Washington as their most important partner. They want to be tougher with the US on economic issues. And, rather than aligning with Washington, they want their countries to stay neutral in a conflict between the US and Russia or China.
China is in volume the country with the most installed renewable energy plants, but its investment in coal worldwide destroys every good effort in the long run. It’s first direct investment in Turkey, the Hunutlu Power Plant, is an environmental sin and besides it is not profitable at all. Based on an investment cost of $1.7 billion, Hunutlu coal-fired thermal power plant will only break even 26 years after becoming operational. When the construction period is added to the calculation, break-even period extends to 30 years. Based on an investment cost of $2.1 billion, the plant is unable to pay back the investment over its 30-year long economic life in Adana, Turkey. The report ‘Feasibility of Coal in the Age of Renewable Energy: Hunutlu Thermal Power Plant Case‘, jointly prepared by WWF Turkey and SEFiA (Sustainable Economy and Financial Research Association), analyses 16 different scenarios with variables related to electricity price and calorific value under different capital and fixed operational costs. It turned out that in none of these scenarios did the plant make a profit.