>> hello, and welcome to the "journal" on dw-tv. >> and i have the business news. >> coming up, the german president, christian wulff, apologizes for covering up a private loan from wealthy friends but says he is staying in office. the wave of explosions in the iraqi capital claims dozens of lives. and france passes a law and turkey reacts by cutting political and military cooperation with paris. ♪ >> german president christian
wulff has finally broken his silence and addressed accusations that he has benefited privately from public office. in a televised statement, he apologized for not disclosing that he had received a personal home loan from the wife of a wealthy german businessman and friend while he was a state premier in 2008. his ties to local business leaders during his time at raise questions over his integrity and judgment. >> christian wulff has been under massive pressure for days, with the media demanding answers about his ties to wealthy friends. on the key charge that he fell to disclose a controversial home loan, he offered his apology. >> it was not straight forward, and i am sorry about that. i recognize that just because something is legal does not make it right, but i also say very clearly that i have never given a favor to anyone at any time in one of my public offices.
personal friendships are important to me. but they have never affected halite carry out my duties. i am committed to that. >> christian wulff about this house and to announce a date with the help of a half million euro loan from wealthy friends. crucially, he failed to mention the arrangement when asked by state lawmakers about his business dealings. today's statement is an attempt to draw a line under a scandal that has threatened his presidency. >> i will continue to carry out my duties conscientiously and with all my strength, because we face big challenges in our country, europe, and in the wider world. >> he will now be hoping the public remains behind him, but opinion polls suggest more than 70% do not think he should resign. >> our political cult correspondent joins me now in
the studio to talk more about the german president. we know that christian wulff was under a lot of pressure to make a public statement over this affair. he has done so. do think this goes far enough? >> there is the question whether he will win back the credibility he has lost due to this the controversial loan deal. also, the vacations that he spend with his partner, with his wife, at the residence of wealthy members of the business community. and the impression has been created, rightly or wrongly, that he has been far too friendly with the business community, that he has been taking too many favors, perhaps. that is very damaging for a man who has the office where people expected to be a sort of moral authority. of course, to christmas time. i am sure many people would have been looking to the german president to make an address in these troubled economic times, to criticize perhaps the greed and the business community and
that is clearly something he cannot do this point in time. it remains interesting to see how much credibility he has. >> what is likely to happen to next? can he still rely on strong support from the german chancellor? >> through her spokesman, she said the words he spoke this afternoon, christian wulff, speak for himself. she said there's nothing much to that. it all sounded with gordon -- sounded lukewarm to me. but he does of the broad backing of the german public still. there is a consensus to put this to bed over christmas. i am not sure that applies to the media or the press. i think they still had their hands out. what was most interesting was watching christian wulff looking very beleaguered. he did not appear to have his heart in the fight to stay in office. that was my impression. it reminded me of his predecessor, who threw in the towel unexpectedly in may 2010, which allowed christian wulff to come into office in the first place.
i do not think the dust has settled. >> i do not think so. thank you, as always. ok, now we turn our addition to iraq, where a series of bomb blasts have gone off in the capital baghdad. at least 67 people have been killed. more than 100 and four others wounded. iraqi police said these deadly explosions appear coordinated and targeted mostly shi'ite districts. they suspect sunni militants were responsible. >> they were the deadliest attacks in months. explosions went off in at least 14 locations across the sprawling iraqi capital. for many, that is an ominous sign. they fear that only al qaeda is capable of launching such a coordinated attack. most of the bombings targeted shiite neighborhoods. this against the backdrop of rising sectarian tensions in iraq. these tensions have already claimed to have a political toll, effectively shutting down the parliament. there are now fears that iraq's
ruling shi'ite and sunni coalition could soon break apart. iraq's shiite leader, nouri al- maliki, added fuel to the conflict by having an arrest warrant issued for his main political rival. he has accused sunni vice president terry al-hashimi of running death squads, a claim hashimi denies. ordinary iraqis are angry. >> the politicians fight for power while people die. what did those people do? they were just workers. >> those who run this country should sit down and resolve their political problems. these blastula solve our problems. >> but just days after the u.s. withdrew its last troops from iraq, many fear a return to the bloodshed that marked much of the last decade. >> to talk more about iraq, i am joined by a middle east analyst. as always, thank you for being
with us. these latest attacks than just days after u.s. troops have withdrawn from the country. is this the security backing than many had feared? >> absolutely, we see a void in government tactics, a void in the willingness of the government to calm the situation down. the government is a central government in theory, but in practice it does not control much beyond the capital baghdad. so local tribes and local religious and ethnic groups are the ones to decide what is happening in iraq. for the time being, it appears that the shiite majority population is not willing to share power with the sunni minority. it is a shiite government, and it tries to monitor in the last marginalize the sunni ministers, and this does spell trouble for the time ahead. >> having said that, what does it say about the security forces? if there is a power vacuum in the government, whether the security forces then capable of controlling? >> to be very frank, they're not capable of doing anything.
these security forces are not really loyal to the central government. they're loyal to their respective tribes are ethnic or religious groups. or whatever the central government orders them to do, well, they will think twice should their own local drive not agree. however, most of the security forces are shiite troops. so they're willing to follow their shiite leaders against the sunni population or against the non-share of kurdish population in the north. in a very volatile and dangerous situation. it is the most serious challenge for iraq since the toppling of saddam hussein, and should the now government not be able to solve this issue, then there is really trouble ahead. the country might even fall apart. >> what is the timetable on that? what does the future look like? give it were to fall apart, when? >> difficult to say. but we would see a deterioration of the security situation, which is already bad enough. i believe next year will be dangerous and difficult for iraq in the whole region, because
things are nont calm in syria. >> thank you for your assessment. an advance team from the arab league has arrived in syria and head of an observer mission due to start at the end of this month. monitors will be tasked with determining whether the regime is taking steps to end its bloody crackdown on protesters. many opponents of president assad fear the regime will ramp up the violence to discourage protests ahead of the official start of the mission. human rights groups say syrian forces have killed more than 200 people this week alone. france has sparked a major diplomatic dispute with turkey by taking steps to criminalize the denial of genocide. the lower house of the french parliament has approved a bill that would make it illegal to deny the genocide of armenians by ottoman turks in world war one. the turkish prime minister denounced the draft law as
politically motivated. ankara has since withdrawn its ambassador from paris and reduced its military cooperation with france. >> the turkish community of a french reacted to the knees with outrage. about 1000 people turned out to protest. >> i do not understand what they have against us. why are they were visiting an event that happened a century ago? it just creates tension. >> the bill is not lost yet, but it could eventually mean a year in jail and a fine of up to 45,000 euros for anyone who publicly denies the armenian genocide. many historians say turkey's ottoman empire carried out a policy of genocide in 1915, which left 1.5 million ethnic armenians dead. but ankara as allred -- always rejected the charge as an insult to the turkish nation. france officially declared the murders to be genocide in 2001.
the bills initiators say the law is not directed against modern turkey. >> it was necessary to have this vote on this issue of genocide, which is recognized by french law, so that we can punish those who do night -- to deny those crimes. >> turkish prime minister eric on said the law would and fled deep and reparable wounds on relations between the two countries. ankara has withdrawn its ambassador from paris in protest and says it is cutting political, cultural, and military ties with france. back in paris, protesters accused sarkozy of ulterior motives. they say he wants to carry favor with france's big armenian community ahead of presidential elections next year. >> in the russian president, dmitry medvedev, has called for government reform of the country's political system. the comments came in his final state of the nation address
before he steps down as president in march. he proposed reintroducing the direct election of regional governors who are currently appointed by the kremlin. he also talked about the recent protests sparked by allegations of election fraud, claiming extremists and foreign intervention. ok, monika jones has more on russia. >> and a business deal that fell through. rwe abandoned talks on setting up a major joint venture. two energy giant wanted to join forces to build power plants in germany, britain, and the netherlands, but the company said both parties fail to agree on is a stable framework for cooperation. the gas firm has been looking for ways to gain a foothold in the european market. in italy, the upper house of parliament has given its approval to the government's austerity package. the measure's total about 25 billion euros and there needed to save the country from a financial disaster. speaking to lawmakers that of
the vote, prime minister mario monti said the package would allow italy to face the euro debt crisis. it includes tax hikes and pension changes that require italians to work longer. the government of the reforms will help achieve a balanced budget by 2013. relief on the trading floor after the approval of the austerity package in an otherwise quiet trading day. dorothy holtz tells us why. >> traders have already been in holiday mood on the german stock market. trading volume was small, but investors for buying shares. the dax can afford. positive economic data from the u.s. job market fuelled demand. consumers more optimistic than expected. the success of the italian government in the confidence vote was also a big relief. the exceptional step by the ecb for eurozone bank's to first -- took criticism first, but got more supporters saying that this would reduce the risk for banks and bank shares did very well.
>> that was indoor the halt in frankfurt. let's have a closer look as the market numbers, beginning with the blue-chip dax. it closed up by more than 1%. the euro stoxx 50 also up by 1.25%. the dow jones industrials are currently up by almost 0.5%. the euro is trading for $1.3043, unchanged. germany's premier air carrier has struck a deal to offload its subsidiary british midland to the company that owns british airways. lufthansa said it is not making money on the deal. it is all to iligan to strengthen the financial system. the german company took over the other company into a dozen 9 but never managed to turn a profit. the consolidated airline's group is interested in bmi because of
holds landing rights at london's heathrow airport. belgium has been gripped by transport appears as public- sector workers went on strike over the government's plans to cut pensions. the christmas rush just starting, the strike shutting down high speed train links to france, germany, and the netherlands, as well as to britain. they also call the teachers, hospitals, and rescue workers. >> these fire fighters had initially wanted to spray the ministry in charge of pensions, but they had to make do with dowsing other buildings after the police sealed off the perimeter. the firefighters here feel they deserve more respect from the government. >> we are here to show our dissatisfaction and also to remind them that we provide a service to the population and that we risk our lives each time we work. and they could at least show a bit of respect for our profession. >> rail workers were also
looking for respect for existing agreements. train services to domestic and international destinations were canceled. the high-speed service to cologne and the service to weree connections disrupted. the strikers rejected government plans to restrict early access to pensions. the move is part of a raft of austerity measures brussels hopes will calm global markets. and they needed. after ratings agencies downgraded belgium is due to its finances. >> thank you for that. many people in spain are facing tough economic times this christmas, so there was a big interest in the world's biggest lottery, el gordo, this year, the fat one, give out a record 2.5 billion euros in prices. 180 tickets each get the full amount of 4 million euros.
♪ >> saving is supposed to be one of the solutions to resolving the current financial crisis in europe, at least that has been the message all along from germany to other european countries. we know that greece, italy, and portugal are undergoing radical measures to cut budget deficits and revive their economies. but is it enough to stave off recession? we take a closer look now at these three countries and what they are aiming to do to rein in their public deficits. ♪ ♪ >> money >> it is all about money. struggling economies across the eurozone face stiff austerity measures in the coming years to rein in public debt. but the cutbacks had some worse than others. first up, greece.
the state slimming down at record speed. the greek prime minister says 2011 is the worst recession in greek history. he wants to cut public debt next year. public-sector workers will bear the brunt of the cutbacks. despite massive protests, thousands of public sector employees will be laid off or face early-retirement. state-owned companies will be privatized. greece faces another europe strike. italy, retirement age set to rise. the most important part of new prime minister mario monti's austerity package is increasing the age of retirement to 66 from 2018. trade unions say it is an attack on the social system. the government says the current system is unsustainable.
the sales tax is also set to rise. but luxury tax is being introduced on expensive yachts. ♪ >> portugal, less funding for education. 10% less funding for education. the prime minister has announced cutbacks in health care and pensions, too. public-sector workers that earn more than 1000 euros a mother will have their 13th and 14th month's salaries cut. in protest, they carried a picture of the prime minister in a coffin through the nation's capital. public holidays will also be cut. ♪ >> higher taxes, less money for education, and job cuts. governments are no longer willing to rack up public debt like in previous years. >> spain is also one of the sick ones of europe. its economy is faltering and unemployment stands at over 20%.
the newly elected prime minister is determined to steer the country's economy from the brink of another recession. cutting public spending is the order of the day, but many experts say that fiscal austerity is by no means a miracle cure for the euro crisis. they would favor economic stimulus packages to spur growth and encourage domestic spending. while spanish government officials and economic experts debate the best way forward, ordinary spaniards are understandably worried about their future. >> this is one of madrid's most famous landmarks. the royal palace is a tourist magnet, and this man is showing a group of spanish tourists around. -- this woman is showing a group of spanish tourists around. she studied law, and her hope was to make a career at the european union in brussels, but things did not work out. now the 42-year-old works as a tour guide in four different
languages. >> it is and luxury to even have a job. i am self-employed, which means you never have job security. i am working today, but i am never sure if i will have a job tomorrow. but of course, i am better off than many others. >> most of the people in her group are retirees. but even they are worried about the reforms planned by the spanish government. >> the austerity measures are important at the moment, but i am effort of the effects they will have. >> but young people in spain are hardest hit. youth unemployment is at 40%. those at university know they have little chance of getting a well-paid job. >> instead of cutting public expenditure, they should give small and medium-sized businesses more money. if they do not, spain will remain in this dire situation. >> her tour group does not want
the current crisis to affect their mood ahead of the holiday season. in a tapas bar after the tour, that those better times to come. but they do not think the government will do what it takes. with an economic stimulus package, for example. >> a stimulus package would probably only create very poorly paid jobs. 400 euro jobs that nobody could live from. >> after work, she picks up her son from school. he is 11 and has a number of carefree years ahead before having to face the harsh reality of the spanish job market. his mother believes the country will not be any better off by the time he starts looking for work. >> the government is cutting back and education and health care. those are important factors for him. i do not think the situation will improve much at all. >> he dreams of becoming a professional soccer player.
even in spain, they still earn a lot of money. for now, at least he's not worried about the future. >> poland's economy has been enjoying fairly decent growth compared to the rest of europe, but economic experts are warning this could slow in the coming year. in light of this, the polish government has also been considering implementing austerity measures. this prospect is something that is the abiding polish public opinion. for some, the future is looking bright. this three-room apartment in more summit is going for have to 130,000 euros. but the realtor is convinced there will be enough people prepared to raise the money. >> we battle through when we're on food stands and the shops were empty. so we will manage to pay our mortgages now, too. >> not everyone shares that optimism. alexander works in a bookshop that is part of the left-wing
protest movement. he is in favor of the government's line of living within one's means. >> there was a kind of credit boom, and now here in poland, it is not that easy to get credit, so people take more responsible decisions. >> still, downtown warsaw is booming in consumer confidence is high. according to a number of economic measures, poland is one of the eu's high flyers. yet, this journalist says the economic success is not all homegrown. >> the funds that came from brussels had been an important factor, because a large part of the polish economy depends on public investment. and in poland's case, public
investment often means money that comes from european funds. >> a steady stream of european union subsidies, a frugal living style, and a cap on deficit written into the constitution. it is something poland has been using for 13 years. >> it is not magic. the only miracle we have is our creativity and flexibility. we're not afraid of hard work. >> and the young people we have spoken to are not lacking work. but they admit it does come at a price. the hire and fire mentality has brought a lack of job security. >> the majority of young people have no chance of getting themselves a long-term contract. >> so for some, the future may be bright, but for many others, it is still full of uncertainty.