Germany pledges support for Latvia over economic crisis

Germany pledges support for Latvia over economic crisisBerlin - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday pledged her country's support for Latvia in its struggle to recover from the economic and financial crisis.

Conditions attached to a rescue package put together by the European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF) for Latvia needed to be politically viable, she said after talks with Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis in Berlin.

German government warns of surge in unemployment

unemploymentBerlin - The German Government warned Wednesday of a surge in unemployment after it slashed its 2009 economic projections as Europe's largest economy faces up to its biggest downturn in 60 years. Berlin now expects the nation's economy to shrink by a dramatic 6 per cent this year before the country's GDP returning to growth in 2010 with feeble 0.5-per-cent expansion rate on the back of government stimulus plans.

In the meantime, the government predicts that unemployment will jump by 900,000 next year.

Economic mood in Europe rises boosting recovery hopes

Bad ArolsenBerlin- Economic confidence in Europe bounced back in April, according to key report released Wednesday, adding to hopes that the region might now have passed the trough in the current downturn. In a major test of the mood in Europe, the European Commission's closely watched economic sentiment indicator for the 16-member eurozone rose from a record low of 64.7 in March to 67.2 in April, to reach its highest level since January.

However, low inflation means that the European Central Bank is likely to press on next month with its rate-cutting cycle.

Berlin's Jewish museum to expand into former flower market

Germany to help pay for Italy quake church restoration Berlin - Berlin's Jewish museum is to expand into a former flower market hall, the museum announced Wednesday. The 6000-square-metre market building opposite the museum, in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin, is to be redeveloped by New York based architect Daniel Libeskind, at a cost of 10 million euros (13 million dollars).

Libeskind won praise for designing the main museum building, shaped like a jagged lightning bolt, said to resemble a broken Star of David.

Siemens cuts forecast as economic crisis hits

Siemens LogoBerlin - Europe's biggest engineering group global Siemens AG cut its profit forecast for the current fiscal year Wednesday as its order books shrank in the face of the global economic crisis. However, shares in the German-based company rose more than 4 per cent after it announced a jump in its second quarter profits with earnings from the same period last year hit by charges.

Siemens now expects operating profit from it core business in the current fiscal year which ends on September 30 to overshoot last year's 6.6 billion euros (8.68 billion dollars.)

Opel prospect Magna presents 'interesting' concept

Opel prospect Magna presents 'interesting' conceptBerlin - The Canadian-Austrian car parts supplier Magna presented the German government Tuesday with the outline for an Opel bailout proposal. German Economics Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said Magna had laid out an "initial interesting rough concept," at a face-to face meeting in Berlin.

The next step was to underpin the draft with clear facts and figures, the economics minister added.