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Found 21 results

  1. While, for the rest of the world this Monday is still going to be boring and mundane, there is one guy who is probably flying high on cloud nine and dancing with joy, with no 'blues' to give whatsoever. The guy in question is none other than Karan Johar, whose directorial debut 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' is making the world go crazy, even after 20 years of its release. And the Berlin Film Festival only cemented the fact for us. © Yash Raj Films If the Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol-Rani Mukherjee starrer taught us anything, it is the trick of using cheesy pickup lines like a pro, and getting any girl with 'pyaar dosti hai' logic. Seriously, didn't we all try this line, “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai *insert our crush's name*, tum nahi samjhoge”, on people at least once? Well, how can we forget that this is the same movie that gave us Sana Saeed. Yes, we are talking about the hottie from 'Student Of The Year'. The movie also gave us one of the most epic transformation stories, which happened over an unrequited love. © Yash Raj Films The movie also gave one of the coolest Dadis of all time and even today we feel that she possibly time-travelled from the future, because she was clearly way ahead of her time. She even sneaked out with her granddaughter for a summer camp. The movie made us realize how life is not about 'counting dollars' but 'stars', thanks to this kid, who had just one job throughout the movie and that was to look at stars. Lastly, the movie also predicted Salman's future for all of us that he is going to stay single. The movie had something or the other for everyone and no matter how old we grow; we can re-watch this movie every time it pops up on our TV screens. © Yash Raj Films But, we guess it isn't just India that's affected by the charm of this movie. Other countries too love Bollywood as much as we do, and the magic of this iconic movie was witnessed at the Berlin Film Festivals. To pay a tribute to 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai', the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra played the title track, which was welcomed by a huge round of applause by the audience. Honestly, there couldn't have been a better rendition than this and we can listen to it the whole day on loop. Even Karan Johar was so impressed by it that he took to Twitter to express his joy. Was so excited and honoured to see this!!!!! #KuchKuchHotaHai https://t.co/EKsDTSMVj1 — Karan Johar (@karanjohar) 18 February 2018 It's impressive how after so many years, the movie still manages to flutter many a hearts and make people drown in a pool of nostalgia. Karan Johar is currently gearing up for another kickass movie 'Ranbhoomi' starring varun Dhawan.
  2. South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk poses during a photocall to present the film "Human, Space, Time and Human" (Inkan, Gonkan, Sikan Grigo Inkan) ? presented in the Panorama Special section ? during the 68th Berlinale film festival in Berlin, Germany, February 17, 2018. AFP/John MacDougall2 BERLIN: A South Korean director in the eye of a #MeToo storm defiantly rejected abuse accusations against him at the Berlin film festival Saturday, saying he ensures no one "suffers" on the sets of his ultraviolent, sexually explicit art movies. Acclaimed filmmaker Kim Ki-duk, who has picked up prizes at the Cannes, Venice, and Berlinale festivals, faced a barrage of questions from reporters about allegations of physical and sexual abuse by an actress he worked with in 2013. His invitation to the Berlinale prompted the actress to accuse festival organisers of "hypocrisy" given they have said they want to spotlight rampant sexual misconduct in the industry. Kim, 57, insisted that "safety and respect" take top priority in all of his productions. "We don?t want anyone hurt while making a film. We don?t want anyone to suffer when making a film," he told a news conference, speaking through an interpreter. "No matter how fantastic a film is, we must make sure that nobody feels insulted during shooting and that applies for everybody, both cast and crew. That?s been my fundamental approach therefore I very much regret this incident." ?Related to artistic performance? Asked whether he wished to apologise for his treatment of the actress, who has declined to be publicly named, Kim insisted he was unaware of any wrongdoing on his part. "What we were actually doing was rehearsing a scene. We were on the set, there were a lot of people present. My crew back then did not object at all or say that it was inappropriate," he said. "I don?t remember exactly what happened but it really was related to artistic performance, to the acting. I believe that the actress interpreted this incident differently than I did." The actress came forward last year and said Kim forced her into unwanted, unscripted *** and nude scenes and slapped her repeatedly while shooting his 2013 award-winning film Moebius ? before replacing her with another actress. Prosecutors dropped the *** abuse charge citing lack of evidence but fined Kim five million won ($4,600) for assault under a procedure to settle minor cases out of court. The actress ? who said she quit acting due to trauma ? has appealed against the decision to dismiss the *** abuse allegation. But Kim said for him the case was closed. "There?s been a ruling in this case now and I?ve shouldered the responsibility," he said. "I don?t entirely agree with the ruling but I believe that these processes are also part and parcel of changing the system and helping us to make progress in the film industry. I?ll certainly bear this in mind in future as well." ?Don?t draw conclusions? Kim presented his latest picture Human, Space, Time and Human, which like many of his films includes brutal rape scenes. He insisted his movies? often violent content did not reflect his own behaviour. "I would like to be a good human being in my life," he said. "My daily life is not like my films and I wouldn?t like to live that way. So please don?t draw conclusions about my personality because of looking at my films." Japanese actress Mina Fujii, who plays Eve in the film, an allegorical mother of humanity who is raped by five men on screen, said she had a good experience making the movie. "Working with Kim Ki-duk was very positive, there was a pleasant atmosphere on the set," she said. "That may be a little bit surprising when you look at this rather particular film." The Berlinale, the first major European film festival since the wave of abuse allegations about powerful producer Harvey Weinstein emerged in October, is focusing on the #MeToo drive with a series of initiatives and public debates. Organisers had rebuffed the criticism over Kim?s inclusion before the opening on Thursday, noting that the *** abuse allegation against him was dismissed and insisting the festival "opposes and condemns any form of violence or sexual misconduct". On Saturday, Paris-based film rights seller Daniela Elstner launched the Speak Up! campaign at the festival, aiming to combat sexual harassment within the European entertainment industry. Meanwhile veteran French actress Isabelle Huppert, at the Berlinale with her new thriller Eva, said she was watching the #MeToo movement "with sympathy and hope". "It?s taken a long time for all of this to be said," she told reporters. "I am personally very happy that certain things have been brought out into the open ? for good, I hope."
  3. BERLIN: Organisers of the Berlin International Film Festival on Wednesday declined a call to have movie stars walk a black, rather than red, carpet as a symbol of support for the campaign against sexual harassment in the industry. After January?s Golden Globes ceremony where people wore black on the red carpet to express solidarity with the movement, more than 21,000 people signed a petition calling for the carpet itself to change color at this year?s ?Berlinale?. But one day before the festival opened, its director, Dieter Kosslick, said he understood the reasons for the campaign but had decided against ?symbolic politics? and wanted to instead focus on events discussing sexual harassment. ?We?d like to use our activities to dive deeper into the #MeToo debate than a carpet would allow, so we don?t plan to put a black carpet down at the Berlinale,? Kosslick said. The festival had already announced a panel discussion on sexual harassment, a counseling corner and a seminar that will encourage women who have suffered harassment to speak up and seek ways to boost equality in the film industry. Kosslick said some films were cut from the program due to sexual abuse allegations against people involved but he has declined to name them. Around 400 films will be screened at the 68th Berlinale which opens with U.S. director Wes Anderson?s ?Isle of Dogs?, an animated tale of a boy searching for his pet at a garbage dump where a fictional city has exiled all of its dogs. Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and Oscar nominee Greta Gerwig, who voice characters in the film, are due to appear at the festival that some fans say is otherwise lacking in star power. ?This year I don?t think there?s as many real highlights,? said Scott Roxborough of The Hollywood Reporter. ?Aside from the Wes Anderson film which everybody wants to see and everyone is excited about, there are very few big films, either big Hollywood movies or even big art house movies.? The festival, renowned for films with strong political agendas, includes ?Khook? (?Pig?), an Iranian film about a blacklisted director and ?U-July 22? about the 2011 massacre of young people on a Norwegian island by Anders Behring Breivik. Other films in contention include a Western comedy called ?Damsel? featuring Robert Pattinson, ?Transit,? a German film about a man fleeing Nazi-occupied France, and ?Dovlatov,? a portrait of the Russian writer Sergei Dovlatov. Tom Tykwer, a German director best known for his 1998 film ?Run Lola Run?, heads the jury that will decide which of the 19 movies in competition wins the Golden Bear for best film and who gets Silver Bears for acting and directing. The festival in the German capital runs until Feb. 25.
  4. Host Anke Engelke and Dieter Kosslick at Berlinale in 2017. Photo: File BERLIN: This month?s Berlin film festival, Europe?s first major cinema showcase in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, will shine a light on sexual misconduct in the industry, its director said Tuesday. Berlinale chief Dieter Kosslick told a news conference that the screenings and guests from Hollywood and the global film industry at the 68th edition would open up a long-overdue debate on rampant discrimination and abuse. ?The international resonance of #MeToo quickly made clear that the problem isn?t limited to Hollywood,? he said as he announced some 400 films set to screen during the 11-day event. ?The Berlinale sees itself as a forum where problems can be aired and it will host a range of events that should contribute to concrete change.? He said these would include panel discussions on fighting sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry, generating financing for more female-led movies and getting more women into technical areas of filmmaking. Berlin ranks with Cannes and Venice among Europe?s top film festivals and is generally considered the most politically minded. Disqualified Kosslick told a separate briefing for the foreign press that he had disqualified certain productions from participating this year ? "less than five," he said ? because a director, screenwriter or star attached to the production was facing credible sexual misconduct allegations. He declined to say which films were excluded. Kosslick added that four of the 19 films in competition for the Golden Bear top prize were directed by women: ?not great but there you go?. The star-studded event will kick off on February 15 with the world premiere of Wes Anderson?s ?Isle of Dogs?, an animated feature voiced by stars including Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Greta Gerwig and Liev Schreiber ? all expected on the Berlinale?s red carpet. It will be Anderson?s fourth turn in competition at the Berlinale following The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and The Grand Budapest Hotel, which kicked off the festival in 2014. Steven Soderbergh is set to unveil Unsane starring Claire Foy of The Crown in a psychological thriller filmed on an iPhone about digital stalking. Gender-balanced jury Off-screen couple Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara are expected in the German capital to promote their latest feature, Don?t Worry, He Won?t Get Far on Foot by US director Gus Van Sant. It is based on a memoir by John Callaham about his experience turning to art after a car accident left him paralysed. Other contenders include ?Eva? by French filmmaker Benoit Jacquot, starring Isabelle Huppert as a femme fatale who wreaks havoc in the life of a prominent writer. And Norwegian director Erik Poppe will present ?U - July 22? telling the story of the 2011 massacre committed by neo-Nazi Anders Behring Breivik, told from the perspective of his 77 victims. Willem Dafoe, currently nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actor for The Florida Project, will pick up an honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement. Tom Tykwer, one of the German directors behind the blockbuster miniseries Babylon Berlin now appearing on Netflix, will lead a gender-balanced jury including Belgian actress Cecile de France (The Young Pope), Moonlight producer Adele Romanski, Time magazine critic Stephanie Zacharek, Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and Spanish film historian Chema Prado. In 2017 Hungary?s On Body and Soul, a tender love story set in a slaughterhouse, won the festival?s Golden Bear top prize and has now been nominated for a best foreign language film Academy Award. Wolverine franchise capper Logan and Chilean transgender drama A Fantastic Woman, which also premiered at last year?s Berlinale, are also in the running for Oscars next month.
  5. Photographs are pictured outside the compound of the North Korean embassy in Berlin, Germany, December 1, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/Files BERLIN: North Korea has been using its embassy in Berlin to procure parts for its missile program, the head of Germany?s BfV domestic intelligence agency told a German broadcaster. No one at the North Korean embassy in Berlin was immediately available to comment on the allegation. In a program to be aired on NDR television on Monday, BfV head Hans-Georg Maassen said, ?We determined that procurement activities have been carried out from there that are, in our view, done with a view to the missile program and sometimes also for the nuclear program.? He said it was often so-called dual-use goods, which can be used for both civil and military purposes. Comments released by NDR ahead of the broadcast showed Maassen said German authorities prevented such activities when they found them but he added, ?We can?t guarantee that we can detect and prevent this in all cases.? He said it was necessary to presume that parts for North Korea?s launch program ?were acquired via other markets or underground buyers had acquired them in Germany?. North Korea has defied years of multilateral and bilateral sanctions with a weapons program aimed at developing nuclear-tipped missiles capable of hitting the United States.
  6. German police are trying to recover numerous items stolen from the estate of the late Beatle John Lennon, prosecutors said Thursday, after the arrest of a suspect accused of handling the objects. A 58-year-old man identified as Erhan G. was arrested in Berlin on Monday on suspicion of dealing in the stolen goods. Prosecutors said he has "given a broad confession" in the case and provided information about stolen personal items from Lennon that remain undiscovered. Police had on Tuesday announced the recovery of around 100 items, including diaries, a cigarette case and two pairs of Lennon's trademark round spectacles. One of the three diaries from the haul contains an entry penned by Lennon on December 8, 1980 -- hours before he was shot dead by a disturbed fan outside his Manhattan apartment building. But numerous items are still missing. "Among those we are looking for are a sculpture, walking sticks as well as several personal recordings and other writings," said prosecutors in a statement. The objects were allegedly stolen by the driver of Lennon's widow Yoko Ono from her New York home in 2006. They were discovered this year at a bankrupt Berlin auction house. The driver, Koral Karsan, lives in Turkey and is out of reach of German law enforcement. The former chauffeur worked for Ono from 1995 to 2006. He already spent 60 days in jail in 2007 in the United States for trying to blackmail Ono. Along with co-Beatle Paul McCartney, Lennon wrote some of the Fab Four's biggest hits including "Help" and "With a Little Help from My Friends", before the band split in 1970. His possessions have since become collectors' items. A leather jacket supposedly worn by Lennon sold for £10,400 at an auction in England in February.
  7. Tom Tykwer, the German director behind "Cloud Atlas" and "Perfume" and the cult hit "Run Lola Run", will head the jury of next year's Berlin film festival, organisers said Thursday. Tykwer, 52, and his jury will select the winner of the coveted Golden Bear top prize at the February event, which ranks with Cannes and Venice among Europe's top cinema showcases. "Tom Tykwer is one of the highest-profile German directors and has established himself on the international stage as a great filmmaker," festival director Dieter Kosslick said in a statement. "His outstanding talent and innovative trademark have been on display in a variety of film genres." Tykwer worked as a movie projectionist in Berlin before releasing in 1998 his international breakout hit, the innovative three-stories-in-one thriller "Run Lola Run". The success of that movie paved the way to his first English-language feature, 2002's "Heaven" with Cate Blanchett in the lead. His 2006 adaptation of the Patrick Sueskind bestseller, "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer", about a serial killer preying on young women to capture their scent, and the Clive Owen drama "The International" were followed by two projects with Tom Hanks. The first, 2012's "Cloud Atlas," based on the intricately plotted bestseller by David Mitchell, was co-directed by Tykwer and Hollywood filmmakers the Wachowskis, the pair behind the "Matrix" trilogy. And last year, he released the Hanks feature "A Hologram for the King" based on the Dave Eggers novel. Most recently, Tykwer co-directed 16 episodes of "Babylon Berlin", set in the interwar Weimar Republic and billed as the most expensive German series of all time. Following its premiere on German television last month, the show has been sold to television markets around the world. Tykwer has presented six of his films at the Berlinale, as the festival is known. "The Berlinale has always been my favourite and my home film festival, and has supported me since I began working as a filmmaker," Tykwer said. The festival will run from February 15-25.
  8. BERLIN: Security guards at Berlin shelters are encouraging refugees to go into prostitution, German public television has reported, sparking outrage with Berlin saying Wednesday it was taking the allegations "very seriously". The explosive claim was made in the programme "Frontal 21" which aired late Tuesday on broadcaster ZDF. Citing security firm employees, social workers and residents, the programme said guards at several shelters in the capital had persuaded refugees to take up *** work, including minors. One security officer responsible for several shelters even spoke of a "prostitution ring", with young men especially sought after. "From the age of 16 upwards, the younger they are, the more expensive," the source told the programme-makers. Another employee said he made 20 euros ($23) for acting as the middleman in setting up the sexual encounters. A 20-year-old Afghan asylum seeker said a security guard had told him he could earn 30 to 40 euros "for *** with a woman", and he was desperate for money. "I am ashamed of what I do but I have no choice," he told ZDF. German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said the "very, very serious" accusations of procurement needed to be investigated. "We have to take this very seriously because it is totally unacceptable to exploit the material hardships that many refugees and migrants are in," he told reporters at a regular press briefing. "It would be morally reprehensible if they were forced into prostitution." Elke Breitenbach, a Berlin official responsible for social affairs and integration, told ZDF that local authorities did not yet have any "concrete indications" of such cases. She called on police and prosecutors to probe the allegations.
  9. BERLIN: About 10,000 people in Berlin were forced to leave their homes on Monday as bomb disposal units prepared to defuse an unexploded World War II bomb. Construction workers found the 250-kilo device earlier in the day, prompting police to seal off the area within a 500-metre radius of the site in west Berlin´s Innsbrucker Platz. Underground and suburban rail traffic was disrupted, and officers went house to house to ensure that the area was cleared before disposal experts moved in. More than 70 years after the end of the war, unexploded ordnance is regularly found buried in Germany, a legacy of the intense bombing campaigns by Allied forces against Nazi Germany. At least 60,000 people were evacuated in central Frankfurt in September, the biggest operation of its kind in post-war Germany, after a 1.8-tonne British bomb nicknamed "Wohnblockknacker", or blockbuster, was discovered. In May, 50,000 residents were ordered out of their homes in the northern city of Hanover over several WWII-era bombs. And on Christmas Day 2016, the discovery of an unexploded 1.8-tonne British bomb prompted the evacuation of 54,000 people in the southern city of Augsburg.
  10. A rendering of the exterior of the proposed Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art to plans. Image Courtesy: andBerlin via Urban Nation BERLIN: A museum for graffiti and art for public spaces will open in Berlin on Saturday and designs by local and international street artists will be exhibited on the facade of its building to kick it off. The Museum for Urban Contemporary Art ? dubbed Artmeile or Art Mile ? is located in a converted apartment building. It has an asphalted floor and an open structure to make it feel like a street. ?Urban contemporary art is the logical next step to follow what is happening on the street,? said museum director Yasha Young. ?This house can be an archive that tells the story (of street art) for the first time, from the beginning until now,? she said, adding that the art properly belonged on the street. Graffiti in Berlin is illegal unless the owner of the sprayed area gives permission. Twenty years ago, the city allocated almost $5 million to erase graffiti and a lobby was set up to secure places for street artists to practice legally. ?It?s a nice thing that there is a museum happening because it means that the artists who have been a part of this scene and movement for a long time are now getting the respect that they deserve,? said Louis Masai from London ? who is one of 150 artists whose work will be exhibited.
  11. Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary, who has expressed an interest in buying up parts of insolvent German airline Air Berlin, gives a press conference in Berlin on August 30, 2017. AFP/Odd Andersen BERLIN: Ryanair chief executive Michael O' Leary on Wednesday said his airline would not make a bid for insolvent Air Berlin, slamming what he called a German "stitch-up" designed to benefit Lufthansa. Several airlines are jostling to take over parts of Air Berlin after it filed for insolvency earlier this month, a process Ryanair has been fiercely critical of. The chief executive of the Irish no-frills airline said at a press conference in Berlin that Ryanair would only join the scramble for assets if it "was a fair and open process". "But we are not getting involved in this process because it is a stitch-up," O'Leary said. Air Berlin filed for insolvency after the main owner Etihad Airways suddenly pulled the funding plug following years of losses. The German government then stepped in with a 150-million-euro ($180-million) bridging loan to keep the carrier's planes flying for the coming weeks. O'Leary accused the government and the two German airlines of conspiring to allow Lufthansa to take over a debt-free Air Berlin in violation of anti-trust rules, charges the government rejects. The pugnacious Ryanair boss said awarding Air Berlin to Lufthansa would give Germany's flagship carrier control over "95 percent of the domestic market". This would make Lufthansa "not just a German champion but a German monster who will increase the cost of air travel for millions of Germans for the next 10, 15, 20 years". German newspaper Bild has reported that Lufthansa ? which already leases 38 of Air Berlin's 140 planes ? could buy up to 70 aircraft with as many as 3,000 crew for its low-cost subsidiary Eurowings. Other interested airlines cited in media reports include package holiday firm TUI, British low-cost carrier EasyJet and Thomas Cook subsidiary Condor, as well as Bavarian entrepreneur Rudolf Woehrl. German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries said last week that "for competition reasons, no single company can take over Air Berlin". Ryanair has lodged complaints with German and European Union anti-trust authorities, urging them to investigate the "obvious conspiracy playing out in Germany".
  12. Graffiti artist Ibo Omari gives an interview in his shop in Berlin, Germany August 18, 2017. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke BERLIN: Horrified at the sight of swastikas scrawled on walls, children's playgrounds, and building sites, a group of graffiti artists in Berlin is transforming the Nazi symbols into colourful artwork such as flowers, cars and animals. The swastika, which was adopted by Adolf Hitler's Nazi party, is banned in Germany, where right-wing sentiment has risen due to an influx of more than a million migrants in the last two years. Ibo Omari, who runs a graffiti shop and 'The Cultural Heirs' youth club, encourages young people to look out for swastikas in their local area and then creatively paint over them ? after getting permission from whoever owns the defaced property. "It was important to spur young people into action and to encourage them to take responsibility so they don't just ignorantly walk past such symbols of hatred," Omari told Reuters. "It offends the whole neighbourhood if someone in our midst paints swastikas in a children's playground and I take it personally," the 37-year-old said, adding that they also wanted to show graffiti had nothing to do with racism. Omari and 'The Cultural Heirs' decided the best way to respond was "with humour and love" so they came up with designs such as rabbits, birds and a Rubik's Cube to cover swastikas. Sketching potential designs during a graffiti workshop in Omari's shop, 16-year-old Philip Keilholz said he got involved as racism had no place in the cosmopolitan German capital. "When tourists come to Berlin and look at a wall and see a swastika, they'll think: 'What's going on here? There are Nazis everywhere!' And we don't want that," he said. "An artistic symbol obviously looks much nicer than an ugly message and then people walk through the city with a smile on their faces," he added. The group has already transformed around 25 swastikas and their 'PaintBack' initiative has been copied by people in other cities including Hamburg, Kiel and Bremen. Omari was shocked into starting the project in 2015 when a man came into his shop to get some cans of spray paint to cover a swastika in a park where he had been playing with his son. Two weeks later Omari heard about swastikas painted in a skate park. "I felt like I was in the wrong film," said Omari. "There has been a shift towards the right in Germany and not just in Germany but in Europe overall? so it's important to nail your colours to the mast."
  13. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey and Chairman of the Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), greets an audience in the Sincan district of Ankara, August 14, 2017. AFP/Adem Altan ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Friday urged ethnic Turks in Germany to reject its main parties in upcoming elections, prompting a sharp warning from Berlin to stop the "unprecedented" meddling. Erdogan called on ethnic Turks to ignore Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and their partners in the grand ruling coalition, the Social Democratic Party (SPD). They should also reject the Greens, he said, branding all three parties "enemies of Turkey". The president's attack ? one of his strongest-ever tirades against any EU state ? escalated an already intensifying diplomatic crisis between two NATO allies with longstanding historical links. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel of the SPD was quick to react, condemning Erdogan's comments as an "unprecedented act of interference". Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Twitter: "We expect foreign governments to not interfere in our internal affairs." Erdogan issued his call in televised comments to reporters in Istanbul after Friday prayers. "I tell all my kinsmen in Germany... not to vote for them. Neither the Christian Democrats nor the SPD nor the Greens. They are all enemies of Turkey," he said. He accused the SPD and CDU of playing a game of "the more you beat up Turkey, the more votes you get" during the election campaign. "You need to support political parties there now which do not display enmity to Turkey," he said. 'Teach a lesson' Erdogan did not make it clear which German political party he would like people to support in the polls for the Bundestag on September 24. But he said he expected voters of Turkish origin to "teach a lesson to the parties which are disrespectful to Turkey" when they cast their votes in a "struggle for honour". Tensions have spiralled between Germany and Turkey in recent months. Berlin has lambasted Ankara over the magnitude of the crackdown that followed last year's failed coup, which has seen several German citizens arrested, including journalists. Ankara meanwhile has accused Berlin of failing to extradite suspected Kurdish militants and coup plotters who have taken refuge there. Turkish German journalist Deniz Yucel, the Istanbul correspondent of the Die Welt daily, has been held in jail in Turkey since February ahead of trial on terror charges. German journalist Mesale Tolu has been held on similar charges since May, while activist Peter Steudtner was arrested in a July raid. According to German foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer, there are 10 Germans, including dual nationals, in custody in Turkey. Gabriel's SPD ? whose candidate for the chancellorship is ex-EU parliament speaker Martin Schulz ? and Merkel's CDU are rivals in the election. But they have been in broad agreement on the policy regarding Turkey within the coalition. The opposition Greens meanwhile have pushed for an even tougher line against Ankara. The Greens' co-leader Cem Ozdemir, who is himself of Turkish origin, said Erdogan's comments showed that people who support democracy and oppose repression and corruption in Turkey are "quite simply considered to be traitors and enemies". 'Lost all proportion' Erdogan said it was not Turkey's responsibility to reduce the tension as Germany was to blame, even accusing Berlin of being out of step with EU membership requirements. But Gabriel denounced his comments as "an unprecedented act of interference in the sovereignty of our country". Erdogan was seeking to incite people in Germany against each other, he said. The SPD's Schulz meanwhile, said Erdogan had "lost all sense of proportion" in a tweet. "And all the more we stand on the side of all those who are struggling for a free and democratic Turkey," he added. There are an estimated three million people of Turkish origin in Germany. Many of them came, or are the descendants of those who came, to West Germany as Gastarbeiter (guest workers) from the 1960s, to make up for a postwar labour shortage. Analysts say that some 1.2 million people of Turkish origin will have the right to vote in the September polls as German citizens. In the past, Turkish-origin Germans have inclined to the left, with most voting for the SPD. But Erdogan is also popular with Turks living in Germany, and 59 percent of the votes cast by Turkish citizens resident in Germany went to his ruling party in November 2015 parliamentary polls.
  14. Passengers board a German carrier Air Berlin aircraft at Tegel airport in Berlin, Germany, June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/Files Air Berlin ? Germany's second-largest airline ? filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday after key shareholder Etihad Airways withdrew funding following years of losses, leaving valuable runway slots up for grabs. The move offers Lufthansa and rivals a chance to acquire slots at airports such as Berlin Tegel and Duesseldorf, with Germany's largest airline keen to defend its domestic position against expansion by low-cost rival Ryanair. Lufthansa confirmed it was in talks to take over parts of the business, while a source said easyJet was the second airline referred to by the government as being in talks with Air Berlin. The British budget carrier declined to comment. The insolvency comes with thousands of Germans enjoying summer holidays, and just ahead of a September general election. The German government has granted a bridging loan of 150 million euros ($176 million) to allow Air Berlin to keep its planes in the air for three months and secure the jobs of its 7,200 workers in Germany while negotiations continue. The government said it expected decisions to result from these negotiations in the coming weeks. Lufthansa has already leased Air Berlin planes to provide flights by its Eurowings budget airline and has made no secret of its interest in taking on more of Air Berlin's business while being mindful of the potential obstacles posed by debts and anti-trust issues. "Lufthansa has played a canny waiting game over a number of years and is now well placed to cherry-pick those parts of Air Berlin's operation that suit it best without buying the whole loss-making enterprise," said Jonathan Wober, an analyst at CAPA-Centre for Aviation. Record loss Ryanair said Air Berlin was being prepared for a Lufthansa takeover, which it said would breach competition laws. But German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said he was confident there would be no anti-trust issues because the business would be sold off in bits. In a statement published after trading hours, the Irish carrier said it had lodged a complaint with the German and European competition authorities regarding "the obvious conspiracy" playing out in Germany over Air Berlin. "This manufactured insolvency is clearly being set up to allow Lufthansa to take over a debt-free Air Berlin, which will be in breach of all known German and EU competition rules," Ryanair's statement said. A spokesperson for the European Commission said it was in "constructive contact" with Germany about the Air Berlin issue. European Union state aid rules allow rescue and restructuring aid to companies that are in financial difficulty, but such aid is subject to strict conditions. Air Berlin, which became famous for its "Mallorca shuttle" services, piled up debt after a series of takeovers and bookings have been hit in recent months by concerns over its finances. It made a net loss in almost every year since 2008 and in 2016 reported a record deficit of 782 million euros ($915 million), equivalent to more than 2 million euros a day. Funding from Etihad Airways, which bought into Air Berlin in 2011, has helped keep it afloat and the Abu Dhabi-based airline provided an additional 250 million euros in April. But Etihad has been reviewing its European investments after they failed to yield the profits expected. Alitalia, another of Etihad's investments, is also in administration and is seeking bidders. Talks between Etihad and TUI, Europe's largest tour operator, about forming a joint venture holiday airline by merging TUIfly with Air Berlin's leisure airline Niki collapsed earlier this year. Shares in Air Berlin last traded down 34 percent at 0.51 euros on Tuesday, valuing the airline at about 60 million euros. Ten years ago the carrier was worth around 1 billion euros. Lufthansa shares were up 4.7 percent at 20.59 euros. Pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) blamed the shortcomings of past management at Air Berlin for its woes and expressed anger with Etihad. "It is a scandal that Etihad is dodging its responsibility and is leaving Air Berlin's staff out in the cold," VC President Ilja Schulz said in a statement.
  15. The Reichstag building BERLIN: Two Chinese tourists were detained in Berlin for making the straight-armed Hitler salute for photos in front of the Reichstag parliament building, a police spokeswoman said on Sunday. The holidaymakers were spotted by officers on a routine patrol Saturday snapping smartphone pictures of each other posing with the banned gesture outside the historic landmark in the heart of the German capital. "A probe on suspicion of using the symbols of anti-constitutional organisations was opened against the two Chinese men, aged 36 and 49," the spokeswoman told AFP. The pair were questioned at a local police station and released after paying 500 euros ($589) bail each. Using the symbols of anti-constitutional organisations, a charge frequently levelled against members of far-right groups, can carry a sentence of up to three years in jail sentence or a fine. The spokeswoman said the men could leave the country during the investigation and that if a fine is handed down, the bail money they had already paid would likely cover it. The Reichstag housed the assemblies of the German Empire, the inter-war Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany until it was destroyed by a suspicious fire in 1933. In the wake of the blaze, Adolf Hitler consolidated his power over Germany, eventually unleashing World War II, which claimed an estimated 20 million lives in Europe, and the Holocaust, in which millions of victims including six million Jews were systematically slaughtered. Refurbished after Germany´s 1990 reunification by British architect Norman Foster, who added an iconic glass dome to symbolise open democracy, it has since 1999 housed the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag.
  16. Berlin on Wednesday summoned Turkey's ambassador over the detention of a German human rights activist and issued a fresh warning about the NATO partner's respect for the rule of law. "The Turkish government needs to immediately and directly hear the German government's outrage and incomprehension as well as its crystal-clear expectations in the case of Peter Steudtner, and this time without diplomatic niceties," foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said. He said the envoy was told "in no uncertain terms" that the detention of Steudtner and five other activists including Amnesty International's Turkey director was "incomprehensible and also unacceptable". Berlin demanded Steudtner's "immediate release" as well as consular access. "The Turkish government representative said he would deliver this message immediately" to Ankara. A Turkish court on Tuesday ordered six human rights activists including Amnesty International's Turkey director to remain in custody for allegedly aiding a "terror" group, a charge Schaefer branded "absurd". Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticised the detention of the activists as "unjustified" and pledged to "advocate for (Steudtner) on all levels". Schaefer said Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel would interrupt his summer holidays and return to Berlin over the "dramatic escalation in Turkish actions" to determine which "further measures" could be taken. Martin Schulz, Merkel's challenger in September elections, said Berlin could toughen its security warnings for people who are either in or want to go to Turkey. On July 12, Germany advised its nationals in Turkey not to openly criticise the government. A Swedish citizen, Ali Gharavi, was among those arrested. "We have urged Turkey to quickly clarify the grounds for the accusations against him," said Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstrom. - 'Isolating Turkey' Relations between Turkey and Germany, home to three million ethnic Turks, have been badly strained, particularly since the failed coup attempt a year ago against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Berlin has voiced deep concerns over mass arrests and sackings of alleged coup plotters, and a host of other civil rights controversies. One dispute centres on Deniz Yucel, a German-Turkish journalist with the Berlin-based newspaper Die Welt, who was imprisoned by Turkey on terror charges earlier this year. Schaefer also mentioned the ongoing detention of German reporter Mesale Tolu, who has been in Turkish custody since April. The NATO allies have also clashed over thwarted visits by German lawmakers to German troops stationed at Turkish bases. Last week Turkey asked legislators to postpone a scheduled visit to a NATO base in Konya, the German foreign ministry said, expressing "regret" about the decision. The dispute came after Germany last month pulled out 260 troops from Turkey's Incirlik base, from where a multinational coalition is fighting the Islamic State jihadist group, and redeployed them and their Tornado surveillance jets to Jordan. Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said Wednesday that in the current context, any progress on Turkey's bid to join the EU was "not on the cards". He pressed Ankara to consider what relationship it wanted to have with the 28-member bloc given the outstanding "questions about the rule of law" and democratic values in the country. "Turkey turning away from Europe is not in Germany's or Europe's interest," he said. "It is up to Turkey to determine its stance on these values." German Justice Minister Heiko Maas also weighed in on behalf of the detained activists. "Those who fight for human rights are not terrorists," he told DPA news agency. "Mr Erdogan is filling the prisons with his opponents and critics. That has nothing more to do with a state based on the rule of law. It must be clear to him that he is isolating Turkey politically and damaging it economically." With an eye to Turkey's lucrative tourism industry, Schaefer said the foreign ministry was stopping short of issuing a travel warning for Turkey. But he said its "poor human rights record" raised concerns about whether Germans should visit the country.
  17. Indian para-athlete Kanchanmala Pande, who is completely blind, was forced to beg in Berlin to take part in the Para-Swimming Championships. The Nagpur-based girl had to face extreme misery during her trip to Berlin because of alleged slip-ups by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI). © Facebook According to a report in India Today, Kanchanmala, along with five others participating in the Para Swimming Championships in the German capital from July 3-9, had an unforgettable time as the government money sanctioned for their tour did not reach them. In another case of government apathy, Pande had to beg and borrow money so that she could participate in the competition in Berlin. But the situation failed to deter the athletes' fierce determination. Despite all odds, Kanchanmala and Suyash Jadhav won silver medals and qualified for the World Championships. She said, “I never thought I would face such problems. I had to take a loan of Rs 5 lakh so that I could participate in the tournament….I had to qualify for the World Championships and I don't know why PCI didn't understand its importance.” Further while talking about her misery she added, “I was not given any official confirmation if I will receive a reimbursement for the expense I bore. I had to pay around Rs 70,000 for the hotel and more than Rs 40,000 for food.” She became the only female swimmer from India to qualify for the World Para Swimming Championships this year. Kanchanmala and her escort Jaimala Pande were part of the Berlin contingent that was granted sponsorship by the government. Ace Indian shooter Abhinav Bindra slammed the incident on Twitter and also sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sports Minister Vijay Goel by tagging them in his post. This is UNACCEPTABLE. People must be held accountable. @VijayGoelBJP @narendramodi https://t.co/dBIrey8TYR — Abhinav Bindra (@Abhinav_Bindra) July 12, 2017 The swimmers were also asked to arrange their visas, which cost her an additional Rs 15000. To add to the misery, Kanchanmala, who won a bronze at the 2011 World Para Games, was shocked to see that the PCI had registered her in the 50m Backstroke event when she had actually applied for the 100m Backstroke. Goel was quick to reply back as he said, "I've instructed my Ministry to verify the facts of this epsiode and then comment on the matter." I've instructed my Ministry to verify the facts of this epsiode and then comment on the matter. https://t.co/1jPUIEUuHw — Vijay Goel (@VijayGoelBJP) July 12, 2017
  18. Activists against the upcoming G20 summit present a Mercedes car with a banner featuring (L-R) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and reading "Do you want this car? Kill dictatorship" in front of the Chancellery in Berlin on July 3, 2017. AFP/John MacDougall Turkey on Tuesday condemned as incitement to violence an art installation in front of the German Chancellery that portrayed President Tayyip Erdogan as a dictator, a few days before he is due to attend a G20 summit in Germany. Turkey's foreign ministry, whose relationship with Berlin has soured in the past year over disagreements on a range of political and security issues, said the matter was made graver by the failure of German police to intervene. A Reuters TV video of the installation showed a black car draped with a black-and-white banner printed with pictures of Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz. The banner was emblazoned with the phrase, "Do you want this car? Kill dictatorship." Critics in Turkey and overseas accuse Erdogan of increasing authoritarianism, citing a purge of thousands of state officials and many arrests following a failed military coup last July. Erdogan says the actions are necessary to ensure stability following the putsch attempt that killed more than 240 people. The Foreign Ministry statement said it expected German authorities to act against the display. "The expression on the banner? makes a direct call to violence," it said. The Turkish protest came a day after the German government urged Erdogan to respect its request that he not address Turks living in Germany when he attends this week's Hamburg summit of the world's 20 largest economies. Erdogan was infuriated by what he called "Nazi-era tactics" when some local German authorities, citing security concerns, barred Turkish politicians from campaigning in Germany ahead of Turkey's April referendum on expanding the president's powers. A spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry declined to comment.
  19. Germany must act to reduce the massive trade surplus that has stoked friction with European neighbours and the United States, the International Monetary Fund warned Monday. "In 2016 Germany's current account surplus was the world's largest in dollar terms," IMF economists noted in a report. "Policies that boost public and private investment and reduce the need for private saving ... would accelerate the necessary external rebalancing process." US President Donald Trump and EU partners have criticised Germany's trade surplus -- the amount by which its exports outweigh its imports -- saying that it is costing growth and jobs in their own economies. IMF staff praised "prudent management" in Germany's public finances but repeated a long-standing call for policies "encouraging investment, promoting labour supply and boosting productivity". Berlin has in recent years booked massive surpluses in tax income even as it pays down debts under the no-new-borrowing policy of Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. But critics accuse the tough finance chief of failing either to invest enough in infrastructure to secure long-term growth, or to cut down the government's slice of a swelling economic pie. Looking to social policy, the IMF recommends reducing tax on labour to boost businesses' readiness to hire new workers, as well as reforming pensions to encourage people to work longer. An ageing population is a key concern for the German economy, as the post-World War II "baby boomer" generation heads towards retirement in the coming decade. Meanwhile, the economists argue against rolling back tough labour market reforms introduced in the early 2000s. Ahead of September elections, Social Democrats are campaigning to change the so-called "Hartz reforms", which are credited with boosting the number of people in work, in part by reducing benefits for the long-term unemployed. Instead, policymakers should make it easier for women with children to return to work and for refugees to integrate into the labour force, the IMF recommends. The IMF said that in the near future, Germany's economy should continue to perform well as foreign demand for its goods compensates for rising prices dampening consumption at home. Nevertheless, "anti-globalisation policies abroad could negatively affect long-term prospects for the Germany economy," it warned, adding that "in the euro area, an insufficient progress in the reform agenda may rekindle stress". Chancellor Angela Merkel was later Monday set to meet newly-inaugurated French President Emmanuel Macron, who was elected on a platform that includes working together with Germany to secure deep reforms to the 19-nation single currency zone.
  20. A single shot was fired by a police officer in a Berlin hospital on Thursday, and the person struck was injured, a police spokesman said, without providing further details. Broadcaster RBB reported on Twitter that police had sealed off a wide area around the hospital, which is located in the Kreuzberg district of Germany's capital.
  21. Looks like 2017 is going to be Rajkummar Rao’s year all the way. Everyone’s raving about the brilliant trailer of his next film ‘Trapped’ in which he plays a man who gets locked inside his own house. And now we hear, he’s done the nation proud by earning a standing ovation at the Berlin Film Festival for his second upcoming project ‘Newton’. © Twitter ‘Newton’ also won the International Federation Of Art Cinemas competition at the Film Festival. The jury was so impressed by the film, they didn’t know any better way to express themselves than giving the film a standing ovation! “This exceptional film within the rich and varied Forum selection deals with the various issues of democracy and fight for it during the elections in India. Its modular portrayal of Indian culture, the dark humour and ironic approach as well as positive use of typical cliches in Indian society gives NEWTON a unique form and style which will delight audiences in art house cinemas all over the world,” the jury said. Well, looks like good cinema always finds its way to the top shelves!