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Germany Defends GMO Policy

Germany Defends GMO Policy

Free trade talks between the U.S. and EU stumble over GMO Policies

In the midst of free trade talks between Europe and the United States, one woman is putting her foot down.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is staunchly defending the EU’s stance on GMOs, which is carefully crafted to protect human health and environmental stability.

According to ABC News the trade deal currently on the table covers lowering tariffs and diminishing rules that inhibit the free trade of goods and services between the U.S. and European Union. Negotiations on the deal are set to begin in July, with the goal of spurring economic growth.

Yet a difference in political approach to genetically modified food is causing difficulties for the agreement.

Safeguard clauses have been passed in several EU states, Germany, France, Greece, and Austria among them, to place provisional restrictions on the sale of GM foods within their borders. This is a stark contrast to the U.S. policies, which have seen several controversies over the past weeks, including the much-publicized Monsanto case regarding lax attention to GMO safety.


The five: genetically modified fruit

It was reported this week that Brazilian scientists are hoping to create spicy tomatoes using Crispr gene-editing techniques. Although tomatoes contain the genes for capsaicinoids (the chemicals that give chillies their heat) they are dormant – Crispr could be used to make them active. This is desirable because, compared to tomatoes, chillies are difficult to farm – and capsaicinoids have other useful applications besides their flavour – in pepper spray for example.


How GMOs can save civilization (and probably already have)

Humans first began collecting and growing edible grains, fruits and roots, and corralling wild animals for meat, milk, and material goods thousands of years ago. Ever since, we have been shaping these plants and animals to meet our needs and desires. Compare corn to its ancestor, teosinte, cattle to the aurochs from which they were derived — or any other crops and livestock on which we rely to their wild relatives — and you’ll find the remarkable story of human agriculture and the transformative power of artificial selection.

The success our ancestors had in creating the modern cornucopia of domesticated plants and animals is all the more remarkable for their near-complete lack of understanding of where new traits come from or how they pass from one generation to the next. They didn’t know that every trait they favored arose through one or more random alterations — mutations — to a species’ genetic code, passed on from parents to their offspring in the form of DNA.

Invisible to the farmers, herders, bakers and brewers whose actions dramatically altered the way domesticated plants and animals look, taste, grow and behave, thousands of years of artificial selection have wrought an even more astonishing transformation in these species’ genetic makeup. Up to millions of single changes in the letters of the genetic code — along with gains, losses, duplications and reorganization of individual genes, and sometimes major changes in the structures of entire chromosomes — now separate the domesticated crops and livestock we rely on for food from their ancestors. Human intervention has so altered the course of evolution that biologists consider many domesticated organisms to be entirely new species of our own creation.

Thus, as much as human history is the history of agriculture, it’s also the history of genetic modification of plants, animals and microbes — which enabled humanity to overcome the myriad obstacles they faced over the millennia. It is safe to say that, without systemic genetic modification of crops and livestock, civilization would not exist.

Humanity now faces a new and daunting set of challenges, with agriculture once again at the center. We have to feed a growing population, but farmers and their crops struggle to adapt to warmer temperatures and altered weather patterns. And livestock, a pillar of our food system for millenia, are major culprits in climate change, water shortages, biodiversity losses and massive degradation and destruction of forests and other ecosystems — compelling us to quickly move to a predominantly plant-based diet.

To meet these challenges, we must employ all of the technological tools at our disposal. This includes our vastly improved understanding of the mechanisms of heredity and the molecular basis for traits that interest us, and powerful new tools that allow us to modify DNA in order to generate specific valuable traits, rather than waiting for them to be delivered by the random winds of mutation.

But the process of genetic modification, central to progress in agriculture throughout history, has become controversial. As a geneticist who uses modern tools for modifying DNA on a daily basis in my research, and who teaches about these methods and the issues surrounding them, I worry that misplaced fears about their use in agriculture will hinder our efforts to address climate change, food insecurity and the degradation of our natural environment.

From Random to Controlled Genetic Modification

Creating novel genomes by deliberate selective breeding is an ancient human endeavor, but recent advances in molecular biology have made the process more precise, focused, predictable, effective and safe.

First, we no longer have to rely on random mutations (the product of errors that occur when copying and transmitting genetic material between generations) as the source of beneficial new traits. Instead we can edit genomes in much the same way you use a word processor, tweaking DNA one letter at a time, or cutting, copying and pasting within or between species more or less at will.

Second, with our ever-improving understanding of the genetic basis for important traits in plants and animals, and powerful tools for understanding the consequences of changes at both a molecular and physiological level, we can actually be much more conservative and precise with the modifications we introduce.

Critics of genetic engineering portray contemporary agricultural scientists as playing God — messing with nature in dangerous ways with unknown consequences. But in reality, the level of control these new tools give us demonstrates that it was our ancestors who were playing an unpredictable game of genetic roulette. Every time farmers and ranchers of yore bred a plant or animal from among domesticated stock, or crossed them with wild varieties, they created a genome entirely new to the planet. These randomly created GMOs differed from the ones that preceded them in ways that are were far greater, and with consequences far less foreseeable, than those created by modern, deliberate genetic engineering. They then introduced the results of these uncontrolled genetic experiments into the food supply, blind to the consequences, and with no oversight.

In contrast, today’s genetically modified organisms are incredibly modest. They involve smaller, more carefully considered, controlled and conservative changes to DNA than were ever before possible in human history.

This does not mean the process is perfect.

We have an incomplete understanding of biology, and even deliberate, precise changes can have unintended consequences or, more often, simply fail to deliver the desired positive effects. But given the pressing need to continue improving the food species we need to nourish ten billion people — while minimizing the impact of agriculture on our climate — taking full advantage of the benefits of our modern repertoire of genetic techniques is a no brainer. What matters is not how we create organisms with novel genomes, but what we create, and how it will benefit humanity.

Engineered Microbes in Medicine and Food

Although modern genetic modification for industrial (as opposed to research) uses is best known in crop plants, it began in microbes where it almost immediately made transformative, life-saving contributions to medicine.

Three million Americans have type 1 diabetes, a disease in which their bodies stop producing the essential hormone insulin. Type 1 diabetes was fatal until the early 1900’s, when Canadian researchers showed it could be managed with daily injection of insulin purified from pigs (opens in a new tab) . Although it kept people alive, pig insulin was not a perfect replacement for its human counterpart, and often led to immune reactions.

In the late 1970s, researchers at a small California biotech startup succeeded in engineering a strain of the bacteria E. coli that carried the human gene for insulin, allowing them to produce it for injection by diabetics (opens in a new tab) . This recombinant human insulin is safer, more reliable and more effective than pig insulin, and has had a huge positive impact on the lives of the over 100,000 children and adolescents diagnosed with type 1 diabetes every year (opens in a new tab) . Dozens of life-saving drugs and vaccines — used to prevent or treat heart attacks, cancer, arthritis and serious infections — are now produced by genetically modified bacteria and yeasts.

The same process is increasingly being used to produce proteins used in food. The most notable example is chymosin, the enzyme used to curdle milk for producing cheese. Chymosin is found in the stomachs of baby mammals, where its curdling activity facilitates extraction of nutrients from their mothers’ milk. Cheesemakers traditionally obtained chymosin in rennet, a preparation of curdled milk taken from the stomachs of slaughtered calves. But the growing demand for cheese created a need for a safer, more consistent and cost-effective replacement for rennet.

More than 25 years ago, inspired by the success of recombinant insulin, scientists in Europe introduced a gene encoding bovine chymosin into yeast cells, which enables the yeast to produce chymosin that can be extracted and purified for use in cheese. Fermentation-produced chymosin (FPC) was the first recombinant protein approved for use in food by the US Food and Drug Administration. Today, roughly 50% of the cheese produced worldwide is made using FPC (opens in a new tab) instead of a protein extracted from calf stomachs, and the world is better off for it.

From Cheese to Meat

Several years ago, Impossible Foods, a company I have been advising since it was launched, faced a similar challenge. Impossible Foods was founded to address climate change by eliminating the need for animal agriculture, the most environmentally destructive human activity and a major source of the greenhouse gases that drive global warming. Their mission is to replace animals as a food technology by identifying ingredients from plants that can be used to recreate the complex textures, flavors and appearance of meat, fish, dairy, eggs and other foods we traditionally get from animals.

Their first product, The Impossible Burger, is made almost entirely from common crops: wheat, corn, soy, coconut and potatoes. But a key ingredient, heme, the molecule that gives meat its bloody taste when raw and creates the intense, meaty flavors and aromas when it’s cooked, isn’t as easy to get. The major source of heme in meat is the protein myoglobin. It turns out that soybeans make a functionally identical protein known as leghemoglobin. Unfortunately it is made in the roots, and digging up soybean roots is difficult, expensive and terrible for the soil.

So instead, scientists at Impossible Foods engineered a type of yeast to make soybean leghemoglobin. As with chymosin, they grow this yeast in fermenters like those you would find at a brewery, but instead of making beer, they get lots of leghemoglobin, and can make it at a cost that enables them to sell burgers at a competitive price.

Now, if you don’t like genetic engineering, you could argue that we don’t need plant-based meats. People can (and many do) lead perfectly healthy and happy lives eating other plant based foods. However, meat — in its many forms — is an integral part of the global diet, and even as people realize the environmental impact of meat, global consumption continues to rise, not fall.

Providing alternatives to animal meat made from plants, and that are just as appealing to consumers, would dramatically slow global warming and curtail the other negative environmental impacts of animal farming. But to do this, you need lots of heme and to get heme, you need genetic engineering.

Since Impossible Burgers made with leghemoglobin generate 87% less greenhouse gases, require 95% less land and use 75% less water to produce than burgers from cows, it would be grossly irresponsible to the planet and its people not to pursue this path.

Genetic Engineering for a Healthy Planet

Although I believe that most fears of existing GMOs are misplaced, I understand that people have questions and concerns about GMOs. New tools that make the process more efficient and precise also make it more powerful. And even to scientists like me who manipulate DNA every day, there is something awe-inspiring about our ability to engineer life.

Humans have a long history of seizing the opportunities provided by powerful new technologies to improve our lives, but some have also of used them irresponsibly. In a world governed by the pursuit of profits, there are far too many examples of people using technologies to enrich themselves at the expense of the health and safety of people and the planet. Scientists can not blithely say, “Don’t worry. Trust us.”

There are risks associated with using, or misusing, any technology, and genetic engineering is no exception. But in the face of the existential threats of climate change, destruction of our natural world, and increasing food and nutritional insecurity, the risks of gratuitously rejecting advances in modern biotechnology are far, far greater.

We have to earn the trust of the general public for this to work. It starts with transparency — explaining exactly what we are doing and why. It demands a commitment on the part of every scientist and organization using biotechnology to ask ourselves if we are taking the right approach. And it requires education, and listening to, and engaging with, critics.

Six years ago, I agreed to serve as a scientific advisor to Impossible Foods because I believe in their mission. Innovating how we grow and produce food is one of the best ways for scientists to help solve the challenges we face today. Impossible Foods is a model for how biotechnology can be used responsibly, for the benefit of the planet and its people.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is behind many symptoms and conditions, including multiple sclerosis, thyroid problems, fibromyalgia, cancer, chronic fatigue, lupus, Lyme disease, eczema, anxiety, endometriosis, infertility, rheumatoid arthritis, aches and pains, eye floaters, ringing in the ears, and many more, Medical communities are aware of only one version of EBV, but there are actually over 60 strains and mutations and each can create different symptoms and conditions as they move through the four stages of invasion in the body.

To understand how EBV works in the body, how it&rsquos contracted, why so many people are sick with it but don&rsquot even know it, how to heal, and more, check out Medical Medium Thyroid Healing: The Truth behind Hashimoto's, Graves', Insomnia, Hypothyroidism, Thyroid Nodules & Epstein-Barr.

Below you will find 12 foods that help heal EBV. Include them daily or as often as possible.

Wild Blueberries help restore the central nervous system and flush EBV neurotoxins out of the liver. They also help remove toxic heavy metals from the brain and liver and are a critical part of the Medical Medium Heavy Metal Detox. Wild blueberries smaller than their larger, cultivated cousins and can be found in the freezer section of many grocery stores.

Celery Juice has a subgroup of sodium that I call &ldquosodium cluster salts&rdquo that inhibit the growth of EBV (and other pathogens). The sodium cluster salts also attach themselves to the viral neurotoxins that are responsible for so many neurological health issues and carry them out of the body safely so that nerves are less exposed to EBV&rsquos damaging neurotoxins. The unique form of vitamin C in celery juice fuels the immune system so it can seek out and destroy EBV. These are just a few of the ways celery juice helps. For more on it&rsquos incredible healing properties check out Medical Medium Celery Juice: The Most Powerful Medicine of Our Time Healing Millions Worldwide.

Sprouts are high in zinc and selenium, which strengthen the immune system against EBV. The special probiotics that live on fruits, leafy greens and vegetables are what I call elevated microorganisms or elevated biotics. Elevated microorganisms are not to be confused with soil-borne organisms and probiotics derived from soil. The elevated biotics on sprouts make all the difference when it comes to true absorption of vitamins and minerals to benefit the liver and entire body so it can help fight off EBV and perform all of it&rsquos other functions. Versus the difficulty most people with conditions have absorbing nutrients due to the overload of troublemakers in the liver and intestinal tract.

Asparagus has phytochemicals in the skin and tips of its spears that push back EBV and help stop it from reproducing. Asparagus is also an incredible alkalizer, meaning it helps anyone who has become acidic with a load of troublemakers like EBV and its byproducts return to a healthy state.

Spinach creates an alkaline environment in the body and provides highly absorbable micronutrients to the nervous system, which is critical because EBV targets the nervous system when it gets to stage four (read all about the stages of EBV in Thyroid Healing). Spinach binds onto and removes the jelly-like EBV waste matter in the liver that can contribute to mystery weight gain, mystery heart flutters and more. Spinach is best eaten raw to receive its benefits.

Cilantro is a miracle worker for EBV. It&rsquos critical for binding onto toxic heavy metals such as mercury and lead that feed the virus. It also binds onto the EBV neurotoxins that, when loose in your system, can cause tingles and numbness, aches and pains, inflammation, depression, anxiety, and more.

Parsley removes high levels of copper and aluminum, which feed EBV and in turn cause skin problems. Parsley&rsquos specialized mineral salts bind onto unproductive acids in the body to drive them out. This alkalizing skill makes parsley helpful for preventing and battling every type of cancer&mdashand 98% of cancers are caused by a virus, which is oftentimes EBV.

Garlic is a powerful antiviral that defends against EBV by killing off virus cells. It&rsquos also an antibacterial that kills off streptococcus, EBV&rsquos cofactor, allowing for fewer UTIs, sinus infections, and opportunities for SIBO. Garlic helps flush toxic viral and bacterial waste out of the lymphatic system. Raw garlic is the most potent way to receive garlic&rsquos healing benefits.

Ginger helps with nutrient assimilation and relieves spasms associated with EBV. With its own signature variety of bioavailable vitamin C, ginger is also a powerful antiviral against EBV. One of ginger&rsquos special qualities is its ability to bring the body out of a reactive state&mdashwhich can happen easily when EBV is on the scene&mdashby soothing nerves and muscles. Use fresh ginger root whenever possible.

Raspberries are a great full-body detoxifying food, rich in antioxidants that specifically remove EBV&rsquos byproduct and other viral debris from the bloodstream, allowing for easier overall cleansing. Raspberries also tend to bind onto and remove impurities delivered to the intestinal tract by a liver burdened by EBV waste matter.

Lettuce helps cleanse EBV from the liver and lymphatic system and is alkalizing to the body.

Papaya has amino acids and enzymes that when combined create undiscovered subcompound phytochemicals that repel viruses. Its vitamin C content is an anti-EBV secret weapon and also helps cleanse and rebuild the liver. Look for the Mexican and Central American papaya variety known as Maradol. These medium-to-large papayas are preferable to Hawaiian varieties, which have suffered GMO contamination.

For more information on the health problems EBV causes and how you can heal, please read Thyroid Healing.


Covid in Germany: Angela Merkel defends 'tough' emergency measures amid 3rd wave

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a video address on Saturday defended "tough" new coronavirus restrictions amid the third wave and urged German citizens to "do what is necessary again" to slow the Covid-19 pandemic.

"This is something new in our fight against the pandemic and I am convinced that it is urgently needed because we are in the middle of the third wave," Merkel said, reported euronews.

Defending the emergency brake measures, Merkel said that the government had weighed whether such tough efforts were necessary.

"As much as one would wish there were less burdensome ways to break and reverse the third wave - they don't exist," she concluded, explaining that infections were too high for testing and tracing to be a sufficient means to drive down case numbers, reported euronews.

Merkel said that if they are able to reduce infections now, it will be possible to relax the tough measures in the "foreseeable future".

She said that the vaccination campaign was "gaining momentum". So far, just over 20 per cent of the population has received the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

Moreover, Merkel added that doctors and nurses have been calling for help due to high infection numbers and intensive care admissions.

"These people push their limits every day to save the lives of corona patients," Merkel said, adding that they "cannot do it alone".

Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, passed the new "emergency brake" measures earlier this week which now take effect in areas where the incidence rate is higher than 100 new infections per 100,000 people.

Those regions will be subject to tougher restrictions including a 10 pm curfew and restrictions on shops and households meeting, reported euronews.

Germany recorded 23,000 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, according to the most recent figures from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and according to the April 22 situation report, more than 5,000 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised in intensive care.


Germany Is Treating a Major Party as a Threat to Its Democracy

Alternative for Germany may be deemed a “suspected case” of extremist activity. The United States should take note.

Ms. Schultheis is a freelance journalist and a fellow with the Institute of Current World Affairs. She writes about German politics and the rise of populism.

BERLIN — Should a government agency put a democratically elected political party under surveillance if the party is feared to be a threat to the democratic order?

This question is the subject of fierce debate and a legal battle here. Late last month, the German media reported that the domestic intelligence service, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, was poised to declare the far-right Alternative for Germany party a “suspected case” of antidemocratic extremist activity. The party’s anti-immigrant and anti-Islam talk has emboldened far-right extremists, and some of its officials have ties to extremist groups.

The “suspected case” designation would give the intelligence service broad powers to surveil the party’s politicians and staff members, including tapping their phones and monitoring their movements. Certain highly radical parts of the party are already under surveillance.

Leaders of Alternative for Germany — the largest party outside the governing bloc in Parliament — pre-emptively took the Office for the Protection of the Constitution to court, arguing that the designation was a political maneuver designed to hurt the party’s chances in federal elections in September. The legal battle could take months to resolve.

The dispute raises questions about how a democratic state should draw the line between what is and isn’t politically acceptable, especially when extreme opinions seem to foster violent action. In the United States, these questions have become more urgent in the wake of the storming of the Capitol last month. Germany has been wrestling with them for years — and with renewed focus since the Alternative for Germany won its first parliamentary seats in 2017.

The German experience suggests that democracies must establish defense mechanisms against such internal extremist threats. This includes drawing clear lines for acceptable democratic behavior and formally penalizing parties and movements that cross them.

The Alternative for Germany party — widely known by its German initials, AfD — was founded in early 2013, driven largely by concerns about the country’s involvement in international debt relief. The party became a major political force by protesting the influx of refugees into Germany in 2015 and 2016. It has grown more radical over the years, often blurring the lines between its official party structures and the country’s informal network of right-extremist movements.

Some in the party, for example, have ties with organizations like Generation Identity, a far-right youth group opposed to political liberalism and non-European immigrants. Andreas Kalbitz, an AfD leader in the eastern German state of Brandenburg, was ejected from the party last year after he was accused of belonging to a banned neo-Nazi youth organization and failing to disclose his membership.

The Constitution that Germany adopted after World War II establishes what is often called a “defensive democracy,” with several provisions aimed at preventing a far-right extremist force like the Nazis from taking power again. Not only can the domestic intelligence service gather information on any political movement or party that it deems a threat to the democratic order, but the constitutional court can also ban parties based on what the intelligence service finds. (Such bans have occurred twice since 1949, first with the neo-Nazi Socialist Reich Party in 1952 and again with the Communist Party of Germany in 1956.) Publicly displaying Nazi symbols is illegal in Germany, as is denying the Holocaust, and hate speech is less protected under the law than it is in the United States.

Since the AfD entered Parliament, it has frequently tested this “defensive democracy,” pushing — and often crossing — the boundaries of acceptable public discourse. Its politicians have suggested that migrants could be shot at the border or gassed. They have dabbled in conspiracy theories like the “Great Replacement,” which imagines a coordinated campaign to replace Europe’s white population with non-European people. They have even sought to downplay the horrors of the Nazi past: An AfD leader named Alexander Gauland notoriously described the Nazi era as a mere “speck of bird poop” in German history.

All this comes as political violence here is on the rise. In the past two years, right-wing extremists have murdered the politician Walter Lübcke (he had argued that Germans who did not support taking in refugees could leave the country themselves) killed two people after attempting to storm a synagogue on Yom Kippur in Halle and shot and killed nine people in two hookah bars in Hanau. Although none of the perpetrators were directly linked to the AfD, its rhetoric has helped foster anti-refugee, anti-immigrant sentiments in Germany.

That does not mean that using constitutional tools to push back against an extremist political party is easy. More than five million Germans voted for the AfD in 2017, and while its support has dropped during the pandemic, it remains a significant force in the German Parliament. Whenever government agencies or other parties penalize the AfD, its leaders claim that the party is being persecuted — which only bolsters the conviction among its supporters that more mainstream political parties are indifferent to their concerns.

In addition, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution has sometimes contributed to the problem it now seeks to solve. It has been rightly criticized, for instance, for having a historical blind spot when it comes to the far right. One of its chiefs, Hans-Georg Maassen, lost his job in 2018 after downplaying far-right violence in Chemnitz.

Still, Germany has an arsenal of constitutional tools to protect against extremist forces, even if using them generates controversy and accusations of persecution. “Defensive democracy” is working, at least in the sense that the domestic intelligence service has recognized a threat and is taking steps to eliminate it. At a time when disinformation, political polarization and far-right forces are combining to endanger democracies across the West, other countries should take note.

Emily Schultheis is a freelance journalist and a fellow with the Institute of Current World Affairs.


Post-Merkel Germany May Be Shaded Green

Germany’s Greens are expected to be a critical part of any new government. But these are not the Greens of old. Today it is a pragmatic party promising an assertive stance abroad.

Whatever government fills the vacuum in Germany after Chancellor Angela Merkel will be tinged with green.

After nearly 16 years in office, Ms. Merkel’s conservative party, the Christian Democrats, is slipping and stagnant, critics say — short of ideas on how to keep Germany vibrant and rich in a world where its industrial and export model is outdated where faith in the United States has been damaged and where China is more self-sufficient and Russia more aggressive.

The other traditional mainstay, the left-center Social Democrats, currently junior partners with Ms. Merkel, is in even worse shape, both electorally and ideologically.

The German Greens are filling the vacuum. Five months before elections in September, the party is running a close second in the opinion polls to the struggling Christian Democrats, and some think it might even lead the next government.

“They will be part of the next government,’’ said Norbert Röttgen, a prominent Christian Democrat, in a forecast widely shared in Germany. “Either a big part or even the leading part.’’

But these are not the Greens of the Cold War, a radical party appalled by the nuclear standoff between the Soviet Union and the United States over a divided Europe. The Greens are now centrist, eager for power, with a surprisingly gimlet-eyed view of international affairs and of how Germany needs to change without alienating big business.

If the Greens surge in Europe’s largest and richest country, it would be a watershed not only for the party but for all of Europe, where it already is part of the governing coalitions in six countries.

It would also potentially herald a shift toward a more assertive foreign policy in Germany, especially toward China and Russia, as global politics is becoming a competition between authoritarian and democratic ideals.

“This is a different party, a different generation, a different setting and a different world,” said Sergey Lagodinsky, a Green member of the European Parliament. “With Covid, climate and common global challenges clearer to many, it’s easier to push for a transformative green agenda in the classic sense.”

“But the confrontation with authoritarianism is now clear," he added, “and that puts us in a different place.”

Jana Puglierin, the director of the European Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin, said: “The Greens are the only party that can rock the boat a bit, especially on China and Russia. They will strike a better balance between the economy and human rights.’’

Led by two pragmatists, or “realos,” the German Greens honor their “fundis,” the more idealistic among them, without allowing them to marginalize the party, as in the past.

The party’s co-chairs are Robert Habeck, 51, and Annalena Baerbock, 40, who is considered the most likely chancellor candidate. The choice is expected on Monday she would be the only woman in the race to replace Ms. Merkel.

With the environment central to their program, the Greens represent the current zeitgeist. Its leaders argue that correct economic policies can produce a Germany that is digital, modern and carbon neutral, no longer so dependent on old-fashioned industrial production, however sophisticated.

They oppose Nord Stream 2, the Russian natural-gas pipeline to Germany that circumvents Ukraine and Poland. They also oppose the European Union’s investment deal with China. They are committed to European cooperation, democracy promotion, the defense of human rights, Germany’s membership in NATO and its strong alliance with the United States.

While the Greens consider NATO’s goal of military spending of 2 percent of gross domestic product to be arbitrary, the party favors more spending to ensure that the woefully weak German military is able to meet its NATO responsibilities.

Even Mr. Röttgen, the Christian Democrat who is chairman of the Bundestag foreign policy committee, said that “however embarrassing for me, the Greens have the clearest stance of all the parties on China and Russia.”

They would make “a much more realistic and preferable partner for us on foreign policy,” he said.

Wolfgang Streeck, a leftist German economist, once famously called the Greens “the vegetarian section of the Christian Democrats,” noted Hans Kundnani of Chatham House, a research organization based in London. In the way the party criticizes Russia and China on the grounds of democracy and human rights, Mr. Kundnani said, it is similar to American neoconservatives.

“The German Greens are now a pragmatist centrist party,” said Ulrich Speck of the German Marshall Fund in Berlin. “They want to be part of the government and play a big role, with a focus on greening the economy. They think there are enough in business who understand that this is the future.”

Foreign policy is secondary, Mr. Speck said. “But the democracy agenda matters, and they position themselves in solidarity with opposition democrats in Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and China. And they are very tough on China.”

In Germany, the Greens are already part of governing coalitions with a variety of other parties in 11 of the 16 German states, and were just re-elected to head the government in Baden-Württemberg, where the car industry is important.

In fact, argued Arne Jungjohann, a political analyst with Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Greens are flexible enough to go into coalition with any party, except the far-right Alternative for Germany.

In Britain and Western European countries like France, the Greens are more modest and leftist, committed to the environment. But even there, they are benefiting from the weakness of more established parties.

In six countries, Mr. Jungjohann said, they are already in government. They are part of the governing coalitions in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg and Sweden.

In Europe’s south and in post-Communist Europe, as in the east of Germany itself, the Greens are not such a big factor, though they are more popular with the urban young.

One of Germany’s main problems is that its successful economic model has become a trap, argued John Kornblum, a former American ambassador to Germany who still lives there.

“They haven’t done very well with digital, but found a market in China for their 19th-century products,” he said. “The Chinese at this point still need them and buy them, but at some point soon China will make all that themselves.”

The other establishment parties “believe that Germany’s existence depends on this 19th-century machine-tool economy,” he said.

Alone among the main parties, the Greens have a vision for a Germany that is digital, climate neutral, deeply committed to the European Union, to democratic values and gender equality. A party that, as Ms. Puglierin said, believes that the future is no longer the diesel Mercedes but the electric Tesla.


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“Absolutely not,” he snapped. “I suppose with a review such as this, there is going to be a lot of noise around it. I say that in a non-pejorative sense. There were a lot of things happening. The media was still breaking stories. Different tips were coming in from the public. There were various add-ons to my terms of reference. … So a lot of things were happening. But at no time was I given any marching orders, so to speak.

“I wouldn’t know what the political agenda was, to be honest with you. I have no idea.”

He also dismissed accusations he didn’t spend enough time hearing from B.C. Lottery Corp. officials.

“I reject that, quite frankly. … We spoke to some 160 people, the great majority are listed in the report. Having heard this issue arise, by my count, just by looking at the back of the report, I spoke to something in the area of 17 BCLC folks. … I probably have spoken to as many BCLC people as the commissioner has heard testimony from. It’s not (that) I’m concerned about numbers. It’s about dealing with the mandate you’re given and focus.”

German has a 30-plus-year career in the RCMP, retiring in 2012 after rising to the second-highest post of deputy commissioner.

Despite his years in Mountie management, he maintained he did not make any relevant decisions that had to do with gaming.

“My remit was the municipal policing in the Lower Mainland,” German explained, whereas gaming was part of the RCMP’s provincial chain of command.

Aside from his role with the federal force, German also became a lawyer (he is a member of the Ontario and B.C. bars), and is an academic, lecturing and writing books as an expert on money laundering and proceeds of crime.


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Microscopy Course on the topic of Live Blood Cell Analysis with Certificate: This unique course covers the width and breath of this very interesting topic. The objective of this course is to give you readily applicable knowledge of dark field microscopy. In order to give you a broad and balanced perspective, it encompasses both the present medical view, the latest research as well as the pleomorphic view. Enroll me for the course here!

Safe and Clean O3 The O3 generator from “Healthy To Be” produces medical grade Ozone in the concentrations of 9mg/l to 99mg/l controlled by a flow regulator for pure Oxygen. Every generator is tested and has to be within + – 5% on all concentration settings. All devices are CE approved.