Vladimir Putin has described visits to Dresden as feeling like going home. The Russian president was based in the Eastern German city in the 1980s, as an agent of the former Soviet Union's KGB intelligence service. Angela Merkel, however, was less inclined to give president Putin an enthusiastic homecoming as concerns about press freedom and human rights were on her mind. The German chancellor expressed her shock and dismay at the contract-style killing at the weekend of Anna Politkovskaya, a Russian investigative journalist and prominent Putin critic. Following their meeting Vladimir Putin told the German press that everything would be done to track down the killers.
An undertone of German concern was also perceptible at the talks over this country's dependency on Russian supplies of oil and gas. Memories of disruptions of Russian gas supplies to Europe still rankled with the German chancellor. However, Angela Merkel said she trusted Russia as a reliable business partner.
„It is important for me to have realized that we are acting on the same business principles as the Russian government in this cooperation, she says. We are currently working out a joint charter in which these principles will be enshrined. As a matter of fact, I'm not reluctant either to accept Russia's increasing importance in the business world which is being reflected in the fact that Russian companies are buying themselves into European firms."
They called on the international community to keep a wary eye on developments there. Mr Putin, however, did not comment on whether his government would support sanctions again North Korea. On the sidelines of their meeting the two leaders oversaw the signing of a raft of business deals. Russia's oil wealth has made companies from the country potent investors also in the German economy. Somewhat unusual evidence of that was a one-hundred million euro football sponsorship deal bertween the German Bundesliga club Schalke 04 and Russian oil giant Gazprom that was also signed on Tuesday.Listen to the report:
North Korea's nuclear ambitions are clear but how is the international community responding? Japan took action while the United Nations weighed sanctions against North Korea and the US, Britain and France sought a resolution under Chapter VII (7) of the U.N. Charter to make sanctions mandatory. And without sanctions? Experts fear a slippery slope. Joining me on Network Europe now is Shannon Kile from SIPRI the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
We're going to take you to the hot spot. Sweden, along with Switzerland has had a presence in the demilitarized zone separating the north and south since 1953. On Wednesday, Radio Sweden's Dave Russell asked Commander Mats Fågelmark to describe the current situation on the ground -- he's the Deputy Head of the Swedish Delegation of the Neutral Nations Supervising Commission in Pamenyan, Korea.
he was a Russian investigative journalist but Anna Politkovskaja, was mourned internationally. Her colleagues say her murder was retaliation for her reports on Chechnya and indeed her legacy will forever be linked to the fight for press freedom. Radio Netherlands opened their vault to take us back to an interview they recorded in 1995 after the journalist fell seriously ill with symptoms of food poisoning after covering the Beslan hostage tragedy. She alleged that the Russian government poisoned her in an attempt to silence her reports on the war in Chechnya
Everyone loves to hear from Stockholm at least when it's Nobel time. The Peace Prize is the culmination of the week but Radio Sweden can fill us in now on the prizes announced in Stockholm. Mark Cummins takes us through the 2006 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
People will certainly be shouting "skål" as they wine and dine in royal company during the Nobel ceremony in December in Stockholm but in the Czech Republic doctors are sounding the alarm. Women there are raising their glasses with a "Na zdravi!" far too often. In fact, in 2005, the number of women who entered Czech clinics with an alcohol abuse problem was twice as high one decade earlier. Radio Prague's Daniela Lazarova reports.
French custom authorities have crushed and burnt nine tons of counterfeit cigarettes. They were part of 37 tons of cigarettes which were seized in April 2005 in the northern port of Le Havre: that's one point eight million packs, worth more than nine million euro. It was the biggest seizure of counterfeit tobacco in France.
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