"Show me how you live and I'll tell you who you are." That's the philosophy followed anyway by American psychologist Samuel Gosling and Munich-based living expert Uwe Linke, who believes that you can tell a lot about a person by his or her choices in interior decoration. It's an interesting thesis, one that's on the minds of attendees at two of the world's largest trade fairs for home furnishings taking place in Cologne this week. IMM , the Cologne Furniture Fair, has been put on by the Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM) since 1949 as a way for interior designers and furnishing manufacturers to get a glimpse of home trends and do business together. The traditional fair, held this year from January 18-24, has been accompanied in recent years by an event for smaller designers, PASSAGEN, held at various locations throughout the city. The IMM is especially important for industry experts this year, with the VDM estimating an increase in turnover of more than five … [Read more...] about What our apartments say about us
American can apartments
The 2008 presidential election was a self-starter: With the cast including an African-American candidate with pop star qualities and a serious shot of winning, a Vietnam War hero turned maverick politician and the unknown governor of Alaska, mobilizing American voters overseas wasn't too hard. Add to that the fact that Barack Obama travelled to Berlin during the campaign to give a speech before tens of thousands of enthusiastic supporters and that many Americans abroad were glad after eight years to simply have George W. Bush not appear on the ballot anymore. Things are very different in 2010. To be sure, the midterm elections with their more regional focus and the absence of nationally or internationally recognizable candidates are always a tougher sell to Americans living abroad who may lack the local knowledge and not feel the immediacy of many presidential races. Still, many people who voted in the presidential election last time, feel a sense of disillusionment, says Michael … [Read more...] about Less hype, new law present obstacles for American voters overseas
Dozens of checkpoints manned by heavily armed Afghan security forces brandishing new weapons line the streets of Kabul. The M16 assault rifles have been given to them by the Americans, so they can provide security in the Afghan Capital in the run-up to the elections. At every roundabout soldiers in new uniforms stand beside armoured Humvees from the US, which have replaced the rusting sand coloured ford pick-up trucks common to the Afghan army. For everybody driving through these checkpoints is an exercise in patience, a journey that used to take 10 minutes now takes half an hour. "Security in Kabul has reached unprecedented levels and for the moment it is stable. There are more than 14,000 police officers deployed in Kabul alone," Rafiq Shirdel, the Director of the Afghan Network in Hamburg told Deutsche Welle. Despite this show of force, the suicide bomb attacks continued in the run-up to the election. "A bomb went off outside the ISAF headquarters, just an hour ago... I heard … [Read more...] about Can democracy take root in Aghanistan despite a violent election campaign?
Newspapers around the world struck a note of panic as the US federal government shut down for the first time in 17 years on Tuesday (01.10.2013), after hours of brinkmanship in the US Congress failed to end the budget row. Germany's Der Spiegel announced that "a superpower has paralyzed itself," while Britain's Guardian newspaper described the last few hours of negotiations as "bizarre and unpredictable." Apparently convinced that the Republicans were bluffing, the US government did not begin making arrangements for the shutdown until 48 hours before it happened. But there was also a sense of complacency on both sides that may have exacerbated the problem - after all, these tense budget negotiations have become an annual fall ritual in Congress. Inevitable deadlock But while the White House may have been holding out for a last-minute deal, some outside observers saw it coming. "It was kind of inevitable that it would happen - neither one of the two parties had any interest in … [Read more...] about Who can break Congress’ deadlock?
Their meeting was probably "amazing," to use one of US President Donald Trump's favorite superlatives. Pictures of Trump's private audience with Pope Francis show Trump smiling, as he has been throughout this entire trip. The host looks like he is reminiscing about the Obama family's warm reception at White House in 2015. The meeting lasted 29 minutes; in other words, not even half an hour. Pope Francis' almost regular meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel undoubtedly last longer, but that is another matter. Donald Trump is a president who wanted to drop by because it would look good back home and the pope is someone who always receives statesmen, be they dictators, violators of human rights or, in this case, Donald Trump. Pope Francis is not trying to change the world; actually, he is open to any high-ranking politician who knocks on his door. The 29 minutes almost seem farcical with regard to the great expectations placed on this meeting, which was subject to much speculation … [Read more...] about Opinion: Trump and the pope – two leaders worlds apart
It is the small things that those close to him miss most about Lizandro. The 19-year old from Germantown, Maryland was sent to his native El Salvador with his older brother Diego, 22, in early August by US immigration officials. "Everyday when he came home from practice he would ask, Mum what do you have for dinner?" his mother Lucia Claros Saravia, who speaks little English said in Spanish. "Every time I come here I expect to see Lizandro playing Playstation in his bedroom and Diego watching TV or sleeping," said 29-year-old Jonathan Claros Saravio, Lizandro and Diego’s older brother. "You feel like they are here, but then you realize they are not here." "He always came to practice with a smile on his face," said Josh Zinngrebe, a team mate who like Lizandro until his deportation spends most of his free time after school at Bethesda Soccer Club, a top regional soccer club in Maryland. Read more: Donald Trump's DACA comments leave US politicians scrambling Deported instead of … [Read more...] about How Donald Trump’s DACA immigration crackdown tore one family apart
Ambling along the rows of devices, information booths and concession stands at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona makes for an interesting thought experiment: how exactly would this congress look like in an age of pervasive connectivity, where the so-called Internet of Things is no longer a topic on the agenda but a long accepted standard? Would the shirt that you're wearing sense your hunger and activate map services to the nearby hotdog stand, which would then call over the paper waste basket once you've finished so that you can dispose of your wrapper? Ideally, it would also be able to tell your AR glasses where your next meeting is, which would then project a lighted path only you can see onto the congress grounds. As an imagining of the future, that would be a modest one. But at its core, that's basically what the Internet of Things is about - the insertion of sensors into anything and everything that would be able to communicate with one another and store data. And the … [Read more...] about MWC 16: The Internet of Things must not fall apart
Andreas Bieber, one of the stars of the new production at Berlin's Admiralspalast theatre, wants one thing to be clear: "People think it's a musical about Hitler – of course that's not the case." But that notorious name is part of what is raising eyebrows over the show, which has goose-stepping as well as tap-dancing, and mines taboos for comic effect. "The Producers" tells the story of two theatrical ne'er do wells, lecherous has-been Max Bialystock, and wimpy wannabe Leopold Bloom, who discover that flops can make more money than hits. They set out to produce the loser of all losers – a musical about Hitler, written by and starring a demented neo-Nazi, and directed by a flamboyant gay director, which is "certain to offend people of all races, creeds and religions, and guaranteed to close in one night." Surprisingly, when the manic but macho lead is replaced with a campy, outrageous performance by the director, the fascist frolic is taken for brilliant satire. … [Read more...] about Can Hitler be a hit? Musical “The Producers” takes the stage in Berlin
Jonathan Franzen's new memoir groups six chapters with subjects ranging from his childhood love for "Peanuts" comics, to the time he spent studying German literature as a Fulbright scholar in Berlin, to his current obsession with bird watching. Franzen spoke to DW-WORLD.DE shortly before he read to a sell-out crowd at the Cologne Opera House, as part of this week's LitCologne international literary festival. DW-WORLD.DE: Jonathan Franzen, how do you explain the success of your writing in Europe, considering that your subjects and themes are so essentially American? My impression is that Europeans in general are much more generous about reading American literature than Americans are about reading foreign literature. Some of that may have to do with what entertainment mavens we Americans are. Some of the more abstract and philosophically preoccupied European fiction doesn't translate so well back the other direction. … [Read more...] about “I Try to Be an Example of an ‘OK’ American”
When one speaks of imbalances, one is often reminded of the notable symbiosis between the United States and China. The Asians sell unbelievable amounts of consumer goods to Americans, and then use those earnings to buy American bonds to finance US debt. To some extent, Germans are the Chinese among Europeans. In 2011, Germany pulled in a current account surplus of 136 billion euros ($171 billion) - in other words, exported more than it imported. Just under half of that goes to the eurozone, mainly, to the so-called PIIGS - to the heavily indebted European countries Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain - as well as to France. Responsible for the crisis? Some experts see such imbalances as a significant reason for the rampant debt crisis. Rolf Langhammer, vice-president of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), disagrees. "The imbalances are a reflection of quite varied economic competitiveness," Langhammer said. "We've seen that the Mediterranean countries in the … [Read more...] about Imbalances could drag eurozone apart