Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Support Grows in Germany for Vote on Giving Up Power to European Bloc



It has become the buzzword of the summer in Berlin: referendum. The foreign and finance ministers as well as opposition leaders have all come out in favor of allowing Germans to have a direct say in whether to give up more power to European Union institutions.

Although the idea of a referendum is for the moment more notional than concrete, it is gaining currency in Germany’s political debate. Approving it would amount to the exceptional step of a national vote to change the Constitution to allow Germans to relinquish some executive authority to Brussels.

Proponents say that if such a referendum were approved, it would send a strong signal of Germany’s commitment to the euro. It would also streamline the steps needed to save the common European currency, they argue, and appease mounting complaints by Germans that even as they are being asked to pay more to bolster or bail out their troubled euro zone partners, they have no say in where their taxes are flowing or how they are being spent.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Japanese activists land on disputed islands

How £11bn pledged for water sanitation aid never arrived

Are drones any more immoral than other weapons of war?

Terrorism trumps military taboos in Germany

CNN inside Syria: Nobody imagined it would turn into this


Japanese activists land on disputed islands

Activists make an unauthorised landing on Uotsuri Island as diplomatic row over the territory escalates with China

  Associated Press in Senkaku Islands, Sunday 19 August 2012 05.26 BST

Japanese activists have swum ashore and raised flags on one of a group of islands at the centre of an escalating territorial dispute with China.

The coast guard in southern Japan’s Okinawa prefecture said nine or 10 activists had made an unauthorised landing on Uotsuri Island, part of the small archipelago known in Japan as Senkaku and in China as Diaoyu. The uninhabited islands surrounded by rich fishing grounds are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan.

Plans for Sunday’s visit drew a protest from China’s foreign ministry.

How £11bn pledged for water sanitation aid never arrived

Tens of millions denied access to clean water as cash for projects is not paid out


Almost £11bn of life-saving aid has gone “missing” over the past decade – a sum that could have provided around 100 million of the world’s poorest people with access to clean water and basic sanitation.

World aid donors pledged to spend £34bn of water and sanitation aid between 2002 and 2010 but only released £23bn of it, according to a new report by WaterAid and Development Initiatives, Addressing the Shortfall, to be published next week. More than two and a half billion people do not have access to safe sanitation – around a third of the world’s population – and almost 800 million go without access to clean drinking water.

Are drones any more immoral than other weapons of war?

The central issue with drone strikes comes down to how combatants are identified and what efforts are made to protect civilians.

19 AUG 2012 06:44 – PETER BEAUMONT

Three years ago, I came across the victims of a drone strike about an hour after it occurred. It was in Gaza-although the location for the purposes of this piece does not matter; only the fact of the weapons system. The drone had fired a missile at a militant commander. Standing close by at that moment was a group of children waiting for a lift to school, three of whom were wounded.

All injury and death is horrible, that suffered by innocents doubly so. Having seen so much of the human consequences of war, I tend not to distinguish which weapon has been responsible but try to see the intent behind the attack that caused the injury and death.

Terrorism trumps military taboos in Germany

 Germany’s highest court issued a ruling allowing the military to be used – in some instances – within the country. The decision is the latest chapter in a debate that stretches back decades into German history.


It was a late afternoon in January 2003 when a dormant debate was revived in Germany: What action is the Bundeswehr, the German military, allowed to take against threats inside Germany? A motor glider was circling just 50 meters (160 feet) above Frankfurt’s skyscrapers with the pilot threatening to crash into one. Parts of the city were evacuated and the German Air Force scrambled two Phantom jets to hold the pilot in check. After two dramatic hours, the pilot was convinced to land. No one was hurt.

But the situation raised the question of exactly what action the jet pilots – or any German military units – were authorized to take while confronting a terrorist threat at home. What if, instead of a single motor glider pilot, al Qaeda hijacked a jet from Frankfurt’s huge airport and threatened an attack on the city or a nuclear power plant?

CNN inside Syria: Nobody imagined it would turn into this

CNN’s Ben Wedeman and crew are some of the few international reporters in Syria, whose government has been restricting access of foreign journalists and refusing many of them entry. Wedeman, who used to live in Aleppo, has spent time over the past two weeks in the city of more than 2 million people where rebels and government forces are fighting.


What we saw during our trips in Aleppo were not images of the city I knew: The shelling, the snipers, the destruction. I never imagined this city would be standing in the middle of warfare. Nobody imagined it would turn into this.

Some parts of Aleppo are complete battle zones. Shells and rubble litter the streets. Cars are blown to pieces.

This beautiful city is where we raised my daughter for her first years from 1990 to 1993. When I was at work my wife went everywhere shopping with my daughter and going to markets.

As we drove quite close to the neighborhood where I used to live, one in government control, I took a quick look and noticed it looked mostly the same. I quickly refocused, concerned for our safety. A government checkpoint was coming up on the right.