Growing economic problems in Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina and Bolivia are putting pressure on Latin America's left-populist governments. In the struggle for power, competition has broken out among socialism, Peronism and liberalism. But some believe all three are in decline. The fight for "21st century socialism," as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez put it, is particularly marked in the deceased statesman's country. That Venezuelan opposition candidate Henrique Capriles has refused to recognize the victory of Chavez' successor, Nicolás Maduro, who won disputed elections in April, is one sign. Last week a fistfight broke out in Venezuelan parliament between Chavistas and the opposition. Meanwhile, Capriles is challenging the election results in Venezuela's high court. Ideological decline Virgílio Arraes, a professor of contemporary history at the University of Brasilia in Brazil, called 21st century socialism an "anachronism." It was a valid attempt to seek alternatives to the … [Read more...] about End of ’21st century socialism’ in Latin America?
Donald Trump is due to be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Friday (20.01.2017). Trump has previously stated that climate change is not real, has nominated climate change deniers for key agency and cabinet posts, promised to defund climate research, and said he intends to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement. Are there any potential opportunities for Trump to combat climate change? DW spoke with World Resources Institute's (WRI) Director of Government Affairs Christina Deconcini to find out. DW: Donald Trump has appointed several climate skeptics to his cabinet. Trump has said he could pull out of the Paris Agreement. What impact do you think all this will have once the new administration is in place? Christina Deconcini: You mentioned troubling signs for sure, but I also think we need to wait and see what he ends up doing. There are not reasons to be optimistic if you look at some of his appointments. But there are threads that might prove … [Read more...] about Can Trump make America great again with clean energy?
Shortly after Trump's inaugural declaration that from now on, it would be only "America First," a Dutch comedy show called "Zondag Met Lubach" parodied the new US president's rhetoric, absurdly promoting all the reasons why the Netherlands should come in second. The clip went viral. Now late night shows throughout Europe are offering similar pitches using the same format. The spoof tourism ads are addressed to Trump, and narrated in his own style. The clips are collected on the website EverySecondCounts.eu. As the website was constantly crashing, presumably due to heavy traffic, the Twitter account promoting the joint European project offered its own alternative explanation: Switzerland, Portugal, Lithuania, Denmark and Germany were among the first to have published their replies. Germany's 'best history in the world' The German version was produced by comedian Jan Böhmermann's "Neo Magazin Royale." It includes a reminder of the last … [Read more...] about ‘America First,’ but which European country is second? Parody videos make their pitch to Trump
Will the US and China be on a collision course under the presidency of Donald Trump? This is one of the questions that are on the minds of foreign policy experts worldwide as Trump gets ready to move into the White House. During his campaign for president and even after winning the elections, Trump made a series of head-turning statements and gestures in relation to China that have irked the leadership in Beijing and unnerved many Chinese. They included leveling accusations that China was trying to "rape our country" with unfair trade policies, threatening to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese imports into the US and declare Beijing a currency manipulator. But the move that raised most hackles in China was Trump's protocol-smashing phone call with Taiwan's leader Tsai Ing-wen. Beijing was further angered by the incoming US president's suggestion that the "one-China" policy could be negotiable. China's state-run media outlets have issues several warnings of possible retaliation if the … [Read more...] about ‘Make America Great Again’ with or without China?
Butterflies on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean are in rapid decline, according to two recent studies looking at populations in North America and the United Kingdom. Urban populations of 28 butterfly species have fallen 69 percent across the UK since 1995, while in America monarch butterflies are down 80 percent since the mid-1990s and 27 percent since this time last year. The decline is worrying, say scientists, because butterflies are recognized as environmental indicators due to their rapid responses to small changes in climate and habitat. "Governments in the European Union use butterflies as a measure of the health of the environment and as a biodiversity indicator," says Tom Brereton, head of monitoring at Butterfly Conservation, one of the organizations behind the U.K. study. UK: Urban versus rural Although, intensive agriculture has long been seen as one of the most destructive factors for butterflies and other pollinators, the UK's … [Read more...] about Butterfly declines in the North America, UK
Wagner and jazz - it's a combination that tickles the imagination, but also raises any number of questions. Is Richard Wagner's music open to other influences and capable of absorbing more recent musical styles? Or did Wagner not create a musical cosmos unto its own? German saxophonist and composer Angelika Niescier, whom German-French television broadcaster Arte has called "one of the most exciting voices in German jazz," started asking just those sorts of questions. The Cologne-based musician was curious and courageous enough to take on the challenge of composing a work, commissioned by Deutsche Welle, that addresses such questions. Delving into Wagner's music The project called "Wagner in America," which DW initiated and funded, required a great deal of research at the outset, Niescier told DW in Washington. It involved delving into Wagner's dramas, his characters, the history of his works' performances, and his way of thinking. Then she discovered the character "Kundry" … [Read more...] about ‘Wagner in America’ reflects German-American ties
This week, the red carpet has been rolled out in Russia for a slew of current and former Latin American leaders. In Moscow, President Vladimir Putin met Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday. Maduro was in town for Russian Energy Week, during which international government and industry representatives are discussing the future of energy — and Russia's role in it. In St. Petersburg, former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who was ousted by the legislature last year after corruption allegations, addressed a forum on cooperation between Russia and Latin America. Former Colombian president Ernesto Samper used his time at the event to stress Russia's strategic value to the region. "Russia is talking about the necessity to construct a multipolar world," said Viktor Kheyfets, a professor of international relations at Saint Petersburg State University, referring to the country's efforts to decentralize global power. "Latin American countries are doing the same. … [Read more...] about Russia looks to write a new chapter with Latin America
Quilts, pies and buggies. The Amish remain the main attraction in rural Pennsylvania, some 80 miles (130 kilometers) east of Philadelphia. But the Amish and their neighbors have quietly made Lancaster County, with about half a million residents, into a home for refugees, dubbed by some "America's refugee capital." Since 2013, the rural community has taken in more than 1,300 refugees. Put into perspective, that's almost the same number of refugee arrivals as in Orange County, California, (population 3.2 million) which bridges Los Angeles and San Diego. Read more: Immigrants strive for US passports out of fear of future Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray explains that welcoming refugees by supporting religious freedom and tolerance "is in [Lancaster's] genes." "Pennsylvania was established on the principle of religious freedom. Add to that the religious dimension of Lancaster with the Amish tradition, and you get one of the most tolerant places in the country. Yes, … [Read more...] about America’s Amish refugee town faces fresh challenges
On the wall over EU Commission Vice President Federica Mogherini's right shoulder is a huge framed poster of President Barack Obama, with the design that reads "HOPE" in capital letters. Mogherini said it dates from Obama's first presidential campaign, when he declared that "in America, anything is possible." The EU's foreign policy chief candidly noted that today, that phrase can be taken two ways. As a candidate, Donald Trump was often dismissive of the EU, saying, for example, that Britain would be better off after Brexit than as a member. With him as leader of the EU's closest partner, Mogherini is clearly focusing on the "hope" message. "It is still very unclear to us what will be the course of the foreign policy of the new administration," she said. "We will wait and see what comes on that side but from our side it will be important to continue to work together." Trump trip to NATO? Similar points came up over at NATO headquarters, where Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg … [Read more...] about Tentative Europe reaches out to Trump’s America
The summer of hell began for New Yorkers last Monday. Beginning at four o'clock in the afternoon people hurried home from work, clogging midtown Manhattan's Pennsylvania Station. Over 600,000 people trek to Manhattan daily from faraway places like New Jersey and Long Island, entering the city via Penn Station. More people transit through Penn Station than all three of New York's airports: JFK, LaGuardia and Newark. Yet on Monday many tracks were shut down for the summer so the city can begin tackling urgently needed repairs. Read more: New York gets a new ferry system "We are now beginning to see what happens when mass transit systems break down. We have a painful precursor, a series of breakdowns with Amtrak and Pennsylvania Station," said New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo, "When you close down the tracks there is a series of dominoes that fall, that puts the entire system near collapse." This was during the press conference where Cuomo declared a state of emergency … [Read more...] about Decaying infrastructure taking a toll on America