NATO Naval Exercise Northern Coasts
Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine has injected a dose of grim realism into an annual NATO naval drill in the northern Baltic Sea as Western forces practice for the first time how to respond to any Russian strike on the region.
The two-week Northern Coasts exercise is taking place in the waters off Latvia and Estonia. These NATO members border Russia to the east and have felt increasingly exposed to threats from Russia since Russian forces invaded Ukraine last year.
The drills kicked off on September 9 and involve some 30 ships and over 3,000 personnel from all NATO countries in the Baltic region plus soon-to-be member Sweden and non-Baltic allies like the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium and France.
The troops are practicing amphibious operations and strikes from sea to land, and securing routes through the Baltic.
It is the first exercise of this size that the German navy, the biggest Western navy in the Baltic, has commanded from its new maritime operations headquarters in Rostock, at the southwestern end of the Baltic. Germany is prepared to provide the facility to NATO to oversee alliance operations in the Baltic in case of a conflict with Russia.
Finland joined NATO earlier this year, and Sweden's entry bid is expected to be approved shortly; both moves represent a departure from the nonalignment that has been practiced for generations and are a reaction to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
This has fundamentally changed the strategic situation on the Baltic Sea, where much of the coastline has belonged to neutral states since Napoleonic times.
Apart from Russia's own small sections of the Baltic coast, especially the enclave of Kaliningrad which lies between Poland and Lithuania, the entire coast will now soon be NATO territory.
Next year, NATO will hold its largest collective defense exercise since the end of the Cold War in 1990. More than 40,000 troops will take part in the Steadfast Defender exercise in Germany, Poland and the three Baltic republics.
50th Anniversary of the Federal Republic of Germany's Membership in the United Nations
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stands on the rooftop terrace of the United Nations building on the East River, at the reception commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Federal Republic of Germany's membership in the United Nations. On 18 September 2023, we marked the 50th anniversary of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic joining the United Nations (UN). Germany is a reliable partner to the United Nations and a principled defender of an international order that is anchored in the United Nations Charter and international law.
United Nations General Assembly
From September 19 to 26, 2023, the high-level meeting week of the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) took place at the UN headquarters in New York.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz sharply criticized Russia for its war of aggression against Ukraine once again.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has made it clear that Germany continues to aspire to a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has also called for an expansion of the UN Security Council to include additional permanent members, including Germany. “Germany has become one of the most important global guarantors of peace and security,” he said on Wednesday in the UN Security Council. “That is a fact. It is also a fact that Germany deserves a place among the permanent members of the Security Council,” said Zelenskyy.
The US, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and France are members of the UN Security Council, with veto power over all decisions.
The UN Security Council is the most powerful UN body and is blocked in the Ukraine conflict because Russia, as one of the five permanent members, has veto power.
Global Citizen Award 2023
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy were both honored with the Global Citizen Award from the U.S. think tank Atlantic Council for their contributions to international cooperation. The award is a tribute to selflessness and cooperation in the face of autocratic aggression.
During the reception attended by hundreds of New York's high society, Scholz expressed his privilege in receiving this award alongside Zelenskyy. He praised Zelenskyy for representing the brave Ukrainian people, stating, “Your courage inspires us all, and the suffering of your people breaks our hearts.”
Zelenskyy, in turn, expressed his gratitude for the award and dedicated it to Ukrainian soldiers, as well as to the children and women tragically lost to “Russian terrorists.” He also acknowledged the support of all the courageous nations standing by Ukraine's side.
The Atlantic Council, headquartered in Washington, is a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting transatlantic relations. It is regarded as an influential US think tank and lobbying group, supported by multinational corporations and former high-ranking government officials and military personnel from around the world.
Justin Trudeau received the global citizenship award six years ago in 2017.
Celebrating Erfurt's UNESCO World Heritage Status
In September 2023, Erfurt was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status; a remarkable achievement that underscores the city's deep medieval Jewish heritage. With this distinction, the city joins an impressive list of 52 World Heritage Sites in Germany.
Erfurt's inclusion in this exclusive group is attributed to three key landmarks: the Old Synagogue, the serendipitous discovery of the Mikveh about 16 years ago, and the historic Stone House. These sites collectively reflect the city's historical significance.
Between the 11th and 14th centuries, Erfurt was home to a thriving Jewish community. Today, remnants of this vibrant past remain in the form of architectural treasures, including the Old Synagogue, one of Europe's oldest and largest medieval synagogues. The 13th-century Mikveh, a Jewish ritual bath, stands as a poignant testament to this era, while also serving as a somber reminder of the community's tragic end during the 14th-century pogroms.
Erfurt's UNESCO recognition is a well-deserved honor that highlights the city's commitment to preserving its cultural and historical heritage for generations to come.
Germany, home to the third-highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites worldwide, with all its culturally diverse treasures, is definetly worth a visit! Start right here with a virtual World Heritage Journey!
Team Germany wins the FIBA Basketball World Cup
It's the first time ever for the German team to claim the FIBAWC championship!
This is truly incredible, and our heartfelt congratulations are extended to the players, as well as their Canadian coach, Gordon Herbert from Penticton, who led the German team to their very first gold medal!
The 188th Oktoberfest took place from September 16th to October 3rd.
Oktoberfest is the largest folk festival in the world, featuring a celebration of beer and a traveling amusement park. It takes place annually in Munich, Bavaria, starting in the middle or late September and concluding around the first Sunday in October. The event attracts over six million international and national visitors. Locally, it is affectionately referred to as “d'Wiesn,” named after the colloquial term for the festival grounds, Theresienwiese.
We highly recommend the German TV series “Oktoberfest: Beer & Blood,” currently available on Canadian Netflix. Although taking creative liberties with certain historical events, it is very entertaining, and the central plot is indeed rooted in some significant historical events.
Northern Lights in Pink – An Uncommon Display in an Unexpected Locale!
Captured in the northern reaches of Germany, specifically in the picturesque region of Friesland, this photograph unveils a spectacle that might defy expectations. While Canadians may find such a phenomenon less surprising, for Germans, it remains a truly rare marvel. Remarkably, these sightings have been growing more commonplace in Germany of late, with the ethereal lights even gracing the fringes of the majestic Alps.
National Geographic delves into the intriguing reasons behind this occurrence, complemented by a captivating video showcasing the Northern Lights as observed from the vantage point of the International Space Station (ISS).
There is even a Northern Lights forecast for Germany!
Nobel Prize in Physics for Ferenc Krausz
Ferenc Krausz, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching near Munich and at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, received this year's Nobel Prize in Physics for his groundbreaking research on ultrashort light pulses to study electron motion in matter. He had previously received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize for the same research in 2006.
Discover the excellent research landscape in Germany!