Merkel counts cost as ally quits in election year

  • Hijacked plane forced to land at Bali airport, says report

    A hijacked Virgin Blue flight has landed at Indonesia's Bali airport, according to Reuters quoting Indonesia's Metro TV. MORE TO COME]]> …

  • Obama to meet Bersih, Islamic Front leaders
    Obama to meet Bersih, Islamic Front leaders

    United States President Barack Obama will meet with leaders of Malaysian civil society movements, including those from the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih), Islamic Renaissance Front and the Bar Council during his visit to Kuala Lumpur this weekend. …

  • Two criminal systems already exist, Gerakan told

    PAS legal bureau chairperson Mohamed Hanipa Maidin was responding to Gerakan's legal notice yesterday to challenge the former's intention to submit a Bill in Parliament to implement hudud law in Kelantan. "Gerakan's allegation outlined in the notice to PAS, that implementing hudud would result in the existence of two systems of criminal justice in the country is, with due respect, an allegation that is rash and baseless. Hanipa ( right ) said "for Gerakan's information", two criminal justice …

  • Selangor set to end water rationing next week

    The Selangor menteri besar expects to lift water rationing for the state and Kuala Lumpur by next week if current efforts to pump fresh water from mining ponds continue to prove successful. "We can declare the rationing discontinued next week if these conditions prevail," MB Abdul Khalid Ibrahim told a press conference in Klang today. He said as of today, eight pumps were drawing 400 million litres per day (MLD) of fresh water from alternative sources to help fill the drying Sungai Selangor …

  • 'Court decision on PAA a victory for all Malaysians'

    Human rights defenders welcomed the Court of Appeal's landmark decision which ruled Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA), punishing citizens who do not give 10 days' notice before they hold an assembly, to be unconstitutional, but cautioned that there were still some more kinks to be ironed out. Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen said that given the Court of Appeal's decision, those previously charged in lower courts over the Black505 rally and other …

  • Water price to go up 20% in Penang
    Water price to go up 20% in Penang

    Penangites can expect to pay 20% more for water under new tariff rates proposed by the state’s water operator. However, PBA Holdings Bhd chief executive officer Jaseni Maidinsa said despite the 20% increase for domestic consumers and 18.8% for trade consumers, the rates remain the lowest in the country. He said the proposed average domestic... …

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was left licking her wounds after her education minister quit amid a plagiarism scandal, depriving her of a key ally as she gears up for September elections.

Merkel betrayed rare emotion as she accepted "with a very heavy heart" the resignation of Annette Schavan, a personal friend, who quit to fight charges from her former university that she plagiarised her thesis 33 years ago.

Although Merkel enjoys a sizeable lead in the polls and a high level of personal popularity, this is the second body blow in recent weeks after what she termed a "painful" loss in a state election on January 20.

"The year could hardly have started worse for Mrs Merkel," gloated the chief whip of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD), Thomas Oppermann.

Nevertheless, the level of alleged plagiarism in Schavan's thesis "Person and Conscience" was thought to be much less than in a similar case two years ago when popular defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg quit.

And even some opposition figures showed some sympathy for Schavan, who has vowed to fight Duesseldorf University's decision to strip her of her doctorate in the courts.

SPD head Sigmar Gabriel said in an interview in the Welt am Sonntag weekly that he valued Schavan as an "honest and competent" minister and he was "extremely sorry" to see her go but he believed it was the right decision.

The media was full of praise for the manner of Schavan's departure, perceived as dignified, and for the way she appeared to put her party and Merkel ahead of her personal ambition.

Addressing her leader and friend as "dear Angela", Schavan said the accusations that she cheated affected her "deeply" and said her priorities had always been "first my country, then my party and then me personally."

Merkel has already survived zu Guttenberg's more damaging resignation; the loss of another defence minister over controversial comments on Afghanistan; and the departure of party ally Christian Wulff as president over a home loan scandal.

Several media reports said the loss of Schavan would not inflict too much damage on Merkel, even in the run-up to elections on September 22.

"Merkel can distinguish between the demands of her office and of friendship. The office demanded a quick, concise decision. Friendship demanded glowing words. She offered... both," said the Berlin-based Tagesspiegel daily.

"That makes Merkel unassailable in this case because no-one could have done it better," added the paper.

The left-leaning Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the resignation "will not harm Merkel."

"Until now, no resignation has been seen by the people as due to her own political failings. There were always individual reasons. That is the art that Merkel has mastered. Everything bounces off her," noted the paper.

"In this case, that is completely right."

The chancellor moved quickly to mitigate the fallout, immediately appointing the 61-year-old Johanna Wanka, a mathematician with wide experience in education, as the new minister.

But the influential Die Zeit weekly noted that things were getting "lonely" around Merkel, as she loses yet another ally from her own conservative ranks amid a loveless relationship with her coalition partner, the Free Democrats.

"With Schavan's resignation, Merkel loses a further faithful ally. There aren't many people around her that can help her," said the paper.

"Like (former chancellor Helmut) Kohl at the end of his long chancellorship, she's standing almost completely on her own. There's hardly anyone left from her Praetorian guard."

Follow @YahooMalaysia on LINE for daily news updates.

Comments on Yahoo pages are subject to our link to Comments Guidelines. You are responsible for any content that you post. Yahoo is not responsible or liable in any way for comments posted by its users. Yahoo does not in any way endorse or support comments made by its users.

  • 'Smaller' size keeps women loyal to men: Study IANS

    A team of researchers from the US and Kenya found that there was a strange link between the size of the penis and infidelity in a marriage. Contrary to what many men may assume, they found that men with bigger penises are more likely to have wives who cheat on them. …

  • In Disney's shadow, homeless families struggle Associated Press
    In Disney's shadow, homeless families struggle

    KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — When they moved from Georgia to the theme park playground of central Florida four years ago, Anthony and Candice Johnson found work at a barbecue restaurant and a 7-Eleven. Their combined salaries nevertheless fell short of what they needed to rent an apartment, so the couple and their two children have instead been hopping among cheap motel rooms along U.S. 192. …

  • My last moments with Pa: Ramkarpal Singh The Malaysian Insider
    My last moments with Pa: Ramkarpal Singh

    A week after the tragic crash that took the lives of veteran lawyer and politician Karpal Singh and his personal aide, Michael Cornelius, his son Ramkarpal recounts the final hours with his father that fateful day. This is his story, as told to V. Anbalagan, assistant news editor. “My parents (Karpal and Gurmit) had gone to Pantai Hospital... …