One year after the Nord Stream sabotage
A worn-out charter yacht with the mythical name »Andromeda« is at the centre of a crazy thriller that culminated exactly one year ago in heavy explosions at the bottom of the sea near the Danish island of Bornholm. The last chapter in this thriller is still missing today: the denouement.
Who is behind the attacks on the Nord Stream pipelines? Who sailed across the Baltic Sea with the "Andromeda" unnoticed from Warnemünde and destroyed three of the four tubes of the natural gas pipelines between Russia and Germany on September 26, 2022? The Russians themselves? The Americans? Die Ukraine? Or was it a "false flag" operation in which clues were deliberately placed on another perpetrator?
Many countries are investigating, everything is top secret, because the political implications are enormous. If it was a Russian command, the attack could be seen as an act of war – and trigger the NATO alliance case. If the US were involved, the transatlantic relationship could be severely damaged. If they were Ukrainian combat divers, the question arises as to what this means for the country's support in defending itself against Russia.
In fact, almost all traces currently point to Ukraine. A team from SPIEGEL and ZDF researched these clues and drove the alleged route of the perpetrators with the »Andromeda«. You can read the exciting reconstruction of the colleagues here.
Whether the truth will ever officially come to light is an open question. In the German government, they could possibly live quite well with the Nord Stream saboteurs remaining in the dark forever. Because then the unpleasant question about the consequences does not have to be answered.
Who blew up the Baltic Sea pipelines? An original SPIEGEL podcast
More news and background information on the war in Ukraine can be found here:
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The welcome door: A former actor offers shelter to a young Ukrainian woman when war breaks out in her home country. She flees to him in Berlin – and the man is apparently sexually assaulted the very next day.
Legoland? No, this is Kiev's colorful "Comfort Town" district: In the Ukrainian capital, architects painted their new buildings in bright colors and received an architecture prize for it in 2019. During the war, the district has so far only received a small scratch.
Better without foaming at the mouth
Disputes between the government and the opposition, trouble within the traffic lights, quarrels between the federal and state governments – no topic is currently causing as much unrest in the political landscape of the republic as migration.
The Union is trying to drive the chancellor and his traffic light in front of it. Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Söder, who is campaigning for the election, has revived Horst Seehofer's record of the upper limit, while CDU leader Friedrich Merz, who is fighting for acceptance, only wants to forge the Germany pact offered by Olaf Scholz if it is first and foremost about refugee policy.
The FDP and the Greens sometimes poison each other so sharply on migration policy issues that it is easy to forget that the two are connected by a coalition agreement. Sometimes it's about border controls, sometimes it's about safe countries of origin, sometimes it's about reforms in European asylum policy.
The federal states are angry because the federal government wants to cut their money for the reception and care of refugees. At the same time, many municipalities are moaning that they have reached the breaking point.
I know it's easy to say, but it would certainly be helpful if those responsible were to foam at the mouth and show real pragmatism. Buzzwords such as the integration border or the Germany Pact may sound good for the moment, like tackling and cracking down. In reality, however, they only distract from the effort to find a real solution to real problems.
It is to be feared that the dispute will continue for the time being. At least until the state elections in October. When the parliamentary groups of the Bundestag parties meet today in the Reichstag building, the issue of migration will once again be at the top of the agenda. And the next trouble too.
Bickering in the traffic light coalition over migration: Still a long way from the "Germany Pact"
Battle for the favor of autoworkers
Joe Biden is coming to Michigan today to show solidarity with the auto industry workers on strike there. It is quite unusual for a US president to so openly and unequivocally support a union whose members are on strike.
But it fits with Biden's self-image as the "most pro-union president in American history." In recent years, the three major U.S. car companies General Motors, Ford and Chrysler's parent Stellantis have enjoyed double-digit billions in profits, and now Biden is demanding that ordinary workers also benefit from this.
There is also a lot at stake for Biden politically in the labor dispute. It's about votes, especially in a swing state like Michigan. The longer the strike lasts, the more painful it will be for the U.S. economy. In addition, the United Auto Workers (UAW), the automakers' union, do not yet officially support the re-election of "Union Joe" in 2024 – also because they fear that Biden's plans to expand e-mobility could cost a number of jobs in combustion engine production.
All this, of course, Biden's most likely competitor in the battle for the White House knows. Donald Trump is also skipping the second TV debate of the Republican presidential candidates on Wednesday, instead he also wants to curry favor with the autoworkers in Detroit.
Biden announced his visit to the picket lines only after Trump's plans became known. Now he's there before the ex-president – and that's no coincidence.
Crippled economy: Why automakers' strike could jeopardize Joe Biden's re-election
Read the latest SPIEGEL editorial here
Now the CDU has to save the climate: At the end of this record-breaking summer, it seems clear that the planetary rescue mission has failed. The Greens fail to be a climate policy engine – why now only the Union can bring about the turnaround.
Click here for the current daily quiz
The starting question today: The Parliament of the United Kingdom is divided into two chambers: House of Lords and ...?
The number of the day...
... comes today from the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden. The supreme data guardians of the republic announce which places – measured by the number of inhabitants – can adorn themselves with the title of smallest and largest municipality in Germany.
In the case of the latter, the matter is clear: Berlin is and remains the city in which the most people live – more than 3.5 million.
But it will be exciting for the smallest municipality: Last year, the number authority selected Dierfeld in Rhineland-Palatinate. Nine inhabitants, seven men and two women, were counted in the village in the Vulkaneifel (as of December 31, 2021). The year before, Val Gardena on the Hallig of the same name in the Wadden Sea in Schleswig-Holstein was at the top of the smallest villages with eleven people. Before that, the ten inhabitants of Dierfeld and Val Gardena shared the title.
And now? Dierfeld or Val Gardena? A move in or out, a newborn, a death can make the difference.
The latest news from the night
Faeser is planning stationary controls at the borders with Poland and the Czech Republic: It's no longer just a veil search: The Federal Minister of the Interior wants to set up stationary border controls with the Czech Republic and Poland. Other countries also relied on increased controls.
Heating costs rose by up to 2022 percent in 81: In the energy crisis year 2022, heating has become massively more expensive. This is shown by an evaluation of hundreds of thousands of cost reports. In the current year, too, prices are well above pre-crisis levels.
"It's hard for the person with the diagnosis, it's also hard for the family": Hollywood actor Bruce Willis suffers from dementia. Now his wife Emma Heming Willis has spoken on television about the disease – and about the fact that the diagnosis was both a curse and a blessing.
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Have a good start to the day.
Yours, Philipp Wittrock, Chief of Service in Los Angeles