Catalan Referendum, Despite the Racket, Unlikely to Provide Clarity (9/27)

ryan barnes photo 2By Ryan Barnes, Washington DC

Seized ballots, police raids, counter protests – Catalan separatists and the Spanish state are hurtling toward the proposed October 1st referendum on independence in Catalonia. The political truce in the aftermath of the recent terrorist attacks in Catalonia has been short-lived. The centuries-old tussle between Barcelona and Madrid has taken on a new dynamic with the Catalan regional government’s initiative to hold a vote on seceding from Spain.


Angela Merkel wins again - but faces the challenge of her political life (9/26)

markusziener2015By Markus Ziener, Berlin

As Angela Merkel rose to speak during a debate, she was cut short by a representative of the new right-wing party AfD. “I think it is my turn, with all respect,” Jörg Meuthen, Speaker of the Alternative für Deutschland, shot back. Merkel, visibly irritated over the call to order, caved in. Meuthen then continued to speak - and all of a sudden the German chancellor looked reduced to only one of many party leaders that had gathered around a table in a TV studio. Merkel, for years the undisputed Chancellor and political leader, had just suffered a put-down. And with that, it seems, also some of her gloriole dimmed.