Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Football hooligans 'getting more violent'

 

Photo: DPA

Football hooligans 'getting more violent'

Violence at football matches in Germany’s top leagues has reached record highs, leaving police struggling to control it, the Interior Ministry said this week.READ (2 COMMENTS) »

Football hooligans 'getting more violent'

 

Photo: DPA

Football hooligans 'getting more violent'

Violence at football matches in Germany’s top leagues has reached record highs, leaving police struggling to control it, the Interior Ministry said this week.READ (2 COMMENTS) »

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In Germany, Leisure Is an Active Pursuit | Facts about Germany | Deutsche Welle | 05.02.2009

 

In Germany, Leisure Is an Active Pursuit

Group of Nordic Walkers

Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Nordic Walking is a trendy sport that's easy on the joints

For Germans, recreation doesn’t necessarily mean lounging around. In its free time, the nation likes to take part in strenuous athletic activities -- most of them very well organized.

“Get up and get out” has always been a key saying for Germans looking to fill their free time. But while tending a small patch of community garden used to represent the epitome of German life, that image changed long ago.

Woman walking and pulling a suitcase trolleyBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Germans are world-class travelers

Today, Germans love to travel. In 2007, some 65 percent of them went away for at least five days of vacation, according to tourism analysts. City getaways, sports trips, and wellness weekends are gaining in popularity.

Leisure gives economy a boost

When they’re not traveling, many Germans spend the rest of the year getting fit for vacation through one kind of fitness training or another. Germans work out at least once a week, statistics show. Jogging, Nordic Walking, skating, and cycling are all popular, but Germans also enjoy unusual sports such as bungee jumping, deep sea fishing, and boxing.

All this leisure activity is a boon for the economy. Every private home invests around 250 euros ($330) each month in leisure, according to official statistics. That’s nearly 12 percent of annual income. Many businesses have decided to capitalize on this, starting with amusement parks and other leisure attractions.

Tropical Islands domed amusement attraction in BrandenburgBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: In Brandenburg, a tropical beach is housed under a huge dome

Amusement parks and attractions have become increasingly specialized in recent years. An indoor ski run is built inside a run-down industrial center; tropical beaches are developed on farmland in Brandenburg; an old warehouse becomes an alpine climbing landscape. Germans can play golf in the middle of the city, visit enormous aquariums, attend musical events and dine at theme restaurants.

A different kind of club scene

Civic clubs are also very popular in Germany. Local soccer clubs, a bowling group, a singing club, a public-safety group; club life here is well developed and well organized. Attending one club or another always was, and still is, the most common leisure time activity in Germany. Twenty-three million Germans are members of one club or another.

However, all this may be drawing to an end. Sociologists are predicting a strong decrease in active and outdoor leisure activities, as home-based leisure grows in importance. Modern-day work hours mean families have increasingly less free time to spend together, so the little free time that exists will be spent at home, they predict.

If they are right, it may be that Germans will continue to love their free time -- but will simply spend less of it active and outdoors.

Peter Wozny (jen)

In Germany, Leisure Is an Active Pursuit | Facts about Germany | Deutsche Welle | 05.02.2009

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Conscription in Germany set to be consigned to history | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 14.09.2010

 

Conscription in Germany set to be consigned to history

rows of soldiers seen from above

Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: The Bundeswehr will be "smaller but more efficient"

After more than 50 years of conscription, Germany's Bundeswehr is on the brink of turning into an all-volunteer army. Leading government officials have signalled their approval of the reform plans.

The executive committee of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Party (CDU) appears prepared to support Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg's plans to reform the German army, the Bundeswehr. The proposals could see the Bundeswehr turned into a volunteer army, after 50 years of conscription.

Under the defence minister's proposals, Germany would suspend conscription, but retain it in the Constitution. The army would then only accept some 7,500 volunteers for between 12 to 23 months. Young men would retain the status of conscripts, but they would not be drafted.

Guttenberg said that despite the plans, the CDU would remain the "Party of the Bundeswehr and of security," adding that the move was not a shift away from Party’s traditional, conservative values.

CDU Secretary General Hermann Groehe said the party's executive committee had not taken a decision yet, but had shown a "great openness" for Guttenberg's plans.

The Chancellor's coalition partner in the government, the Free Democrats welcomed the CDU committee's decision at a meeting late on Monday.

A revolutionary reform

Previously opposed to the minister's reform plans, the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to the CDU, has also signalled its agreement. A difference of opinion remains, however, as CSU leader Horst Seehofer demands that conscription should be completely abolished, not just discontinued. 

In addition Guttenberg wants to slash troop levels from about 245,000 today to about 164,000 troops in the future. The result would be what he has termed a "smaller but better army, more effectively equipped for operations." Recruits in trainingBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Conscription could be history in less than a year

The armed forces are controlled by parliament

The reform is needed to meet savings the government wants to impose on the military over the next four years.

Guttenberg made a renewed appeal for his reform plans in the Würzburger Tagespost newspaper Monday edition.

Conscription has a grand tradition, he said. "But it has shriveled and is now only a shadow of its former self."

Twenty years ago, West Germans served 18 months in the army or in social services if they were conscientious objectors. Today, the length of military service has dropped to six months and only about 16 percent of those of military age actually serve.

Should party members at the CDU and CSU annual conventions later this year go along with the proposals, conscription in the German Bundeswehr could be discontinued as early as July 2011.

Author: Dagmar Breitenbach (dpa,AFP)
Editor: Rob Turner

Conscription in Germany set to be consigned to history | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 14.09.2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Munich's answer to Lent: stronger beer - The Local

 

Photo: DPA

Munich's answer to Lent: stronger beer

Published: 26 Feb 10 09:56 CET
Online: http://www.thelocal.de/lifestyle/20100226-25519.html

Lent might be a period of abstinence, but Bavarian monks decided centuries ago that drinking highly alcoholic beer helped their fasting. Thomas Barkley explains Munich's Starkbierzeit tradition.

Munich's answer to Lent: stronger beer - The Local