Saturday, August 30, 2008

Chancellor Merkel named most powerful woman

I know, I know - I read it too. German chancellor Angela Merkel was named the most powerful woman in the world. Obviously no one asked me for my opinion, as I would have placed here somewhere between Michelle Bachelet and Christine Poon. Still think she should open her mouth and voice her opinion, and say what's right and just.
But maybe that tells us something that they chose a woman who is admired for her nice outfit at the Wagner Festival and who is finally liked by French President Nicolas Sarkozy (remember - the one who was drunk a G8 summit speech).
Now I have to think about my choice ...

Law on the Protection of Intellectual Property comes into force

On September 1, 2008 the law implementing the EU Enforcement Directive to protect intellectual property will come into force. This Act facilitates the fight against piracy and strengthen intellectual property rights.

The law puts the Directive 2004/48/EC with an amendment of several laws for the protection of intellectual property in action. These acts are, the Patent law, Utility model law, Trademark law, Semiconductor Protection Act, the Copyright Act, Designs Act, and the Plant Variety Protection Act.

Apart from these, especially for companies, important modifications, the law provides a significant improvement for consumers. Currently consumers who violate copyright laws can expect hefty fines, even if they have no business interest. This will be impossible in the future. Those consumers who can prove that they did not have any such interest will have to pay a maximum fine of Euro 100.-.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Why does Germany's Chancellor Merkel not stand-up against Putin?

I've had it! Everywhere I read that the German chancellor Angela Merkel stands-up against Vladimir Putin in the Georgia crisis, but honestly, I don't see it.

Germany traditionally has close ties to Russia, and although they gotten a bit slippery with Schroeder on Gazprom's payroll, they are still excellent. Because of those good relations the countries of Europe trust that, "Germany is the one country that can warn Russia," as James Sherr, director of the Russia and Eurasia Program of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, points out. "Russia does listen to what Germany says. If Germany can make clear statements about the consequences facing Russia over Georgia and whatever else it might decide to do, it will have an impact on Russia." But does Merkel deliver on that?

No. So far Merkel has done everything to avoid being a mediator between Russia and Georgia. Although this might be understandable, it shows, that all the times before, when she talked to Putin over Kosovo, failings in the Russian presidential elections, and human rights, it was nothing but lip service. Looking at Merkels upbringing this does not surprise me.

Angela Merkel was born in Hamburg and moved with her family to Templin in Eastern Germany, where her father was pastor in a Lutheran church. Interestingly the family was always able to travel freely to Western Germany, she was able to attend university and they had other privileges that were unusual for Families who were active churchgoers (which a pastors family is). According to Gerd Langguth, author of a book about Angela Merkel, the family's ability to travel freely from East to West Germany, as well as their possession of two automobiles, leads to the conclusion that Merkel's father had a 'sympathetic' relationship with the communist regime, since such freedom and perquisites for a Christian pastor and his family would have been otherwise impossible in East Germany.

This is the same regime, that for decades suppressed individual freedom, and human rights, incarcerated people for their faith and did not allow those, who stood up for their beliefs to get a higher education. Angela Merkel never had any problems during the times of the GDR and I guess, she still has to learn to stand up for what's good and right for country and people.

Now is the time!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Skeletons in Berlin

The European Parliament is still in summer recess (until August 24th), in Beijing it's either China or the US winning, and Russia and Georgia are still at war, BUT, skeletons were found in Berlin.

Today archaeologists announced that in a dig they started in the spring of 2007 about 2000 skeletons were discovered in what appears to be a medieval cemetery. The site is in the center of Berlin, around the Petrikirche, and the graveyard dates back to the the year 1230 AD, the year the church was built.

The majority of the skeletons are of children, a sign of their high mortality rate in the Middle Ages.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Georgia into the NATO?

The German chancellor, Dr. Angela Merkel, is vehemently supporting a membership of Georgia in the NATO and urges Russia to get its troops out of the region. But the Russian troops are not budging, and that makes you wonder if they don't care what's going to happen next. Will Europe act in any way? Will Georgia be Russia's Iraq? What will the US do?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bi-Yearly German Jurists Forum to Suggest Changes to Corporate Law

The German corporation law is heading into a new direction, at least if this years meeting of the Deutsche Juristentag (German Jurists Forums) gets its way. The section of corporate law has worked for the last years on a modernisation and globalization of German corporate law. So far the German law does not make any distinction between corporations who are quoted on the common stock market, and those who are not. All companies are rather treated as if they were traded on the market. This is not the case in the EU law and therefor leads to discrepancies.
This years German Jurists Forum will take place from September 23 to 26 in Erfurt/Thuringia.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Peace in the Caucasus?

Russia and Georgia agreed to end the hostilities and return to the conference table. But don't be fooled - peace is far away, if not impossible, in the current situation.
Russia wants to maintain control in the region, and will not sit back and accept independence for the two breakaway Georgian provinces.
Georgia on the other hand will continue to fight for South Ossetia, that it considers part of Georgia.
Obviously the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili took a big gamble with his military offensive against South Ossetia, which began last Thursday evening. He must have believed that Europe and especially the USA, who have been a big supporter of the Georgian independence movement, will come to the rescue, and support Georgia in it's fight against the Russian army. But the West's solidarity has so far been limited to words. Now a negotiator, who has the trust of both sides, is necessary to develop an agreement that is acceptable to Russia and Georgia.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

War in the Caucasus

When the fights in the Caucasus region started on Friday, we saw the start of a war that was simmering for month, if not for years. Since the fall of the Soviet Union the entire region has been separated by different interested and subsequently the support came from different sides, too. South Ossetia, supported by Russia, and Georgia, which has received US military assistance, are bitter enemies. From Moscow's point of view, Ossetia has been an important strategic base near the Turkish and Iranian frontiers since the days of the czars. The USA, on the other hand, are courting Georgia, which they see as a way to curb the Russian influence in the southern Caucasus. Georgia is also an important transit country for oil being pumped from the Caspian Sea to the Turkish port of Ceyhan and a potential base for Washington efforts to encircle Tehran.
And we all know, as soon as oil is involved there is no fast way out. So the fight continues.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

European National Libraries

All European National Libraries can easily be searched from one central website. The search might take a little longer but it's worth, as it safes time at the end.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Back to the Cold War?

After Russian military experts and diplomats started the discussion on reopening a military base on Cuba, Prime Minister Putin took over the debate. On Monday, August 5th, Putin said that Russia has to have a stronger military presence on Cuba and in other countries. So far Cuba doesn't seem to excited about this outlook and no official comment has been heard. The United States on the other hand are strongly objecting these plans and warned the Russian government to realize them.

Friday, August 1, 2008

German Law Archive

Just came across this archive with judgments, statutes, literature and bibliographies concerning German Law.