News Bites

After a child in the German city of Wiesbaden parked his bike at a particular lamppost for a year, a stranger posted a sign reserving the spot for the bicycle. His mother’s photo of the kindly gesture was shared 244,000 times on social media.

Foreign minister Heiko Maas patched up a diplomatic spat with Saudi Arabia sparked by his predecessor. After talks in New York with his counterpart, Riyadh’s envoy will return to Berlin after a 10-month absence.

German companies often worry about the risk of doing business in Turkey, German foreign minister Heiko Maas said ahead of a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week.

At a recent meeting about strategy, Deutsche Bank mulled what would happen if it merged with UBS of Switzerland. Germany’s largest bank predicted however that such a move could be complicated.

The world’s largest photography trade show opened today in Cologne. As the market changes for cameras and photography, this year’s Photokina also focuses on imagery in film, mobile devices and AI.

Daimler will appoint Ola Kaellenius as its chief executive in 2019, with Dieter Zetsche moving to lead the supervisory board of the carmaker in 2021.

Dieter Zetsche, Daimler’s CEO, will step down in May so that he can become the company’s chairman in two years. His contract was to end on December 31, 2019.

Jutta Cordt, who was fired from her leading role at BAMF, the migration agency, will now work in the interior ministry, focusing on IT and at a lower pay grade. (Bild)

A Catholic school withdrew a work contract on learning that a teacher planned to marry his boyfriend. The school, in North Rhine-Westphalia, said this wasn’t in line with the values of the institution.

Whether Germany or Turkey will host the 2024 European soccer championships will be decided on Thursday.

Tobias Hartmann, head of US for Hello Fresh, is leaving the food delivery portal at the end of the year. He will become CEO of Scout24, which operates a German real estate portal and an auto site.

Former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, a dual citizen, announced he is running for mayor of Barcelona, his birthplace. It marks the first time an ex-government chief is seeking a political career in another EU country.

Ralph Brinkhaus will replace Volker Kauder as parliamentary floor leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative alliance of CDU/CSU. Mr. Kauder’s unexpected loss after 13 years is a major blow to the chancellor, who supported his reelection.

Ryanair has canceled 8% of its flights scheduled for Friday in anticipation of threatened crew strikes in Spain, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, Italy and Germany.

Germany’s financial watchdog has installed a special investigator at Deutsche Bank to ensure the bank is doing enough to combat money laundering through 2021.

Siemens Gamesa has won contracts to build eight new wind farms in Spain in the first half of 2019. (DPA)

To avoid diesel driving bans, Germany and top car companies are considering offering higher trade-in offers for people willing to part with their diesel cars.

Deutsche Telekom and Germany’s military agreed today to work together to train IT staff and fight cyberattacks. (DPA)

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz criticized the interior minister’s advice to police to be less cooperative with “critical media,” saying the country’s free and independent press must be preserved.

Health Minister Jens Spahn has proposed paying doctors more for referrals and open consultation hours in hopes of decreasing patients’ wait times.

BMW is forecasting a “moderate” drop in pre-tax profits due to trade tensions and pricing pressure and expects its profit margin to drop to 7% of car sales.

In presenting a study on thousands of cases of sexual abuse in Germany’s Catholic Church, the Archbishop of Munich said, “The results of this study clearly show that we must keep going.”

Police said train track damage between Duisburg and Düsseldorf, which caused delays and cancelations today, was politically motivated. Vandals wanted to disrupt deportations from Düsseldorf airport. (WAZ)

At a business summit today, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany must consider reducing corporate taxes in light of strong international competition. (Reuters)

Economic experts have lowered their forecasts for German GDP growth this year from 2.2% to 1.7%. (Reuters)

Siemens has exported its German apprenticeship model to nine US states so far. (Fortune)

Germany’s aerospace coordinator is setting aside more funding for autonomous drone taxis, with the hope they’ll not only be built but also used domestically. (Tagesspiegel)

A sunken WWII tanker with more than 800,000 gallons of fuel is an impending ecological disaster for the Baltic Sea, a scientist warns. Saltwater is slowly corroding the hull, which will collapse if no one takes action. (DW)

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Volkswagen showed off an electric cargo bike prototype able to transport 210 kilograms at a commercial vehicles trade fair in Hanover yesterday.

WTO head Roberto Azevedo said Tuesday he’s relying on Germany and the EU to defend world trade. (Reuters)

Mattel Germany is rebranding Scrabble domestically as “Buchstaben YOLO.” Buchstaben is German for “letters,” and YOLO is an acronym for “you’re old, let’s not.”

RAG Stiftung sold 16.3 million shares in chemical firm Evonik for €500 million overnight. The lead investor plans to reduce its stake in Evonik to 60% by the end of the year.

Dieter Kempf, head of the German industry association BDI, is getting frustrated with Germany’s government, saying internal conflicts are distracting the coalition.

Burglars stole a sausage steaming device, coffee machine and meat from a butcher in Leipzig over the weekend.

Just weeks after its takeover by Chinese group Ningbo Jifeng, auto supplier Grammer saw three board members resign Monday.

The first autonomous tram, made by Siemens, is being tested on real-world tracks in Potsdam.

Jewish leaders were confused by a new special interest group for Jews in the Alternative for Germany, which they describe as “a party where anti-Semites can feel at home.”

Hackers overloaded the website of energy company RWE overnight. It’s unclear whether the cyberattack was connected to the company’s protested clearing of the ancient Hambach Forest.

In an email yesterday, Austria’s far-right interior minister Herbert Kickl suggested police be less cooperative with media outlets that criticize the government, triggering a backlash from press freedom supporters.

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis is cutting more than 2,000 jobs in manufacturing and management over the next four years. (NZZ)

Embracing Risk

Hungry for yields, insurers are getting bolder

Many insurers had long stuck to conservative investment strategies despite ultra-low interest rates. But that’s changing, as the vast sector rediscovers an appetite for risk.

Diminishing power

Surprise Bundestag vote ousts Merkel confidant Kauder

Conservatives in Germany’s lower house of parliament picked Ralph Brinkhaus to lead them, ending Volker Kauder’s 13-year reign and weakening the chancellor.

Fake Green

Losing faith in corporate Germany’s pledge of sustainability

Talking sustainability and being sustainable are two different things. Germany’s auto and power industries have shown they’re all talk, writes a senior Handelsblatt reporter.

money laundering

Financial watchdog plants investigator at Deutsche Bank

Bafin, Germany's financial regulator, is concerned the country's biggest bank isn't doing enough to halt illegal money flows and prevent terrorist financing.

Editors’ Pick

Germans and hogs

How pigs rooted their way into the German language

Germans have long had an unusually intense relationship with pigs, which shows up in peculiar phrases in everyday conversations, often harkening back to the Middle Ages in ways good and bad.

Dive In

Dirty diesel

Berlin, carmakers mull diesel rebate deal affecting 1.2 million cars

Hoping to avert looming diesel bans, the government has asked VW, Mercedes and BMW to consider taking back a million older diesel cars and swapping them for cleaner vehicles.

Daily briefing

The EU and Poland wrangle over rights and wrongs

A lawsuit that doesn’t suit Kaczynski, while across the border, politicians scrap over dirty diesels, and the Green party dreams. Here's our Daily Briefing on September 25, 2018.

IoT control

E.ON partners with Microsoft to offer smart home service

The US software giant will provide cloud technology to German utility E.ON to manage energy usage throughout homes.

Luxury e-commerce

From boutique to boutique fashion portal: Mytheresa

What started as a tiny shop in Munich has expanded into a global fashion empire that’s perfectly positioned for the explosion in online retailing.

The phoenix plan

Commerzbank staff get the blues after DAX exit

A messy revamp and merger fears are unsettling Commerzbank staff, already crestfallen at their employer's humiliating decline on the stock market. But CEO Martin Zielke is determined to make the bank rise again.

Middle East power

Siemens closes in on massive Iraq deal

Insiders say the German industrial giant is close to winning huge contracts to rebuild Iraq’s power grid. The project, with a budget bigger than the GDP of some countries, is strongly backed by the German government.

public outcry

Berlin rescinds domestic spy chief Maassen’s promotion

Angela Merkel’s coalition government has agreed a new deal on the future of controversial head spy Hans-Georg Maassen. But the mess has highlighted the government’s continuing division.

Communist charm

East German nostalgia e-scooter firm to roll into stock market

By reviving a GDR scooter and turning it into an electric retro moped, Govecs hopes to raise €60 million with a stock-market listing planned for next month.

Flights of fancy

Private jets swoop down on unreliable airlines

Increases in delays, fares and waits at airport security checks are driving business users from scheduled flights to private jets. But image problems in the sector linger.

Smooth operator

Merkel’s best-kept secret is her right-hand man Helge Braun

Merkel's chief of staff, a doctor by training, is one of the most powerful people in Germany and young enough to aim for higher office. But hardly anyone has heard of him.

Bursting at seams

Germany’s housing crisis is now an expat problem

The pressure is on for city-dwellers as a chronic shortage of homes, either for rent or purchase, hits every walk of life.

Help to Buy

Here are subsidies you can get for buying property in Germany

There are billions of euros available to help homebuyers in Germany, especially first-time buyers and those with children or disabilities. But be prepared to hack through thickets of bureaucracy.

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

Much about Germany is confusing or surprising to foreigners - and even to Germans. Our editors provide clarity.

God is great

The Berlin Muslims reforming Islam, one co-ed prayer meeting at a time

A female cleric. Men and women praying together in the same room. Berlin’s liberal mosques are working toward an Islamic reformation, all while avoiding death threats.

Guiding principles

Why the Bundesbank shuns liability-sharing in Europe

Many ideas to strengthen the euro-zone involve a "mutualization of risk" without enough accountability, says Jens Weidmann, boss of Germany's central bank. This oft-repeated message taps into a German school of thought that's easy to spot.

M&A

German dealmaking at record pace despite warning signs in the distance

German companies have been involved in deals this year worth more than twice as much as last, making it rain cash on global investment banks.

SME Power

Mittelstand

Volkswagen, Bayer and Adidas are household names. But more than 95 percent of Germany's economy is generated by lesser-known firms that aren’t listed on the blue-chip DAX Index.

Gold bricks

German real estate

Long tipped as a rising star in the European market, Germany has finally come into its own. Our series on residential property highlights some favorite cities for expats and investors alike.

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