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European Journal

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our next broadcast on 19 march 2009

Opel -- The Auto Industry and German Elections

Should the German government use taxpayers' money to rescue carmaker Opel? Both auto industry experts and politicians are debating the issue. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany's foreign minister and the Social Democrats' candidate for the office of Chancellor, openly declared his solidarity with Opel's employees, at first saying he would rescue the car company with state money. He is now calling for clarification about the viability of the company, while pressing for a decision about its future. In contrast, Chancellor Angela Merkel is biding her time and has yet to make her intentions clear. Opel's fate has clearly become an election issue. It's just one more which clearly shows how divided the grand coalition has become. Both the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats are currently working Opel into their own, separate election strategies.

Tough Mission -- Hunting for Pirates in the Gulf of Aden

Frigates from the EU operation Atalanta have been patrolling the waters in the Gulf of Aden for some two months. Led by the Greek frigate "Psara" they're there to prevent other vessels being attacked by pirates. Last year alone there were more than 100 such attacks. The German officers aboard the Psara face a daunting task. Its difficult to co-ordinate activities with other international frigates in the area from the United States and Russia. In addition, the pirates use speedboats which are difficult to pick up on radar screens and they don't seem to be at all intimidated by the frigates' presence.

Murderous Mafia -- The 'Ndrangheta's Network in Germany

According to Germany's Federal Criminal Police, hundreds of "families" of Italy's most powerful organized crime group, the 'Ndrangheta, are active in German cities. The arrest of one of its bosses, following mafia killings in Duisburg, only disrupted the network temporarily. Each year the 'Ndrangheta, based in the southern Italian region of Calabria, rakes in over 40 billion euros. Germany has become the organization's most important base abroad. Its mafia clans have divided up the country amongst themselves. Much of their activity is concentrated in the Ruhr Valley, but the 'Ndrangheta have also spread to eastern and southern Germany.

Anti-Semitism – A Widespread Problem Among Young Muslims in Germany

A disturbing 200-page study takes a quote as its title: "The Jews are to blame." It found that many young Muslims in Germany are openly anti-Semitic. Especially in the big cities, prejudice against Jews is prevalent. The survey says the continuing Middle East conflict fuels this racism - but the increase in one-sided propaganda from Arab TV broadcasters is likewise a factor. We spoke with young people and investigated the reasons for increasing anti-Semitism in Germany.