Arab states issue list of demands to end Qatar crisis


Image result for al jazeera

Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations ask Qatar to close Al Jazeera and scale down ties with Iran within 10 days.

 

From: Al Jazeera

Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries that have cut ties to Qatar have issued a list of demands to end the crisis, insisting that Qatar shut down the Al Jazeera network and scales down ties with Iran.

In the 13-point list, the countries also demand that Qatar sever all alleged ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and with other groups including Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and ISIL (also known as ISIS) group.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut ties to Qatar this month over allegations the country funds terrorism – an accusation that Qatar denies.

Those countries have now given Qatar 10 days to comply with all of the demands, which also include paying an unspecified sum in compensation.

According to the list, Qatar must refuse to naturalize citizens from the four countries and “revoke Qatari citizenship for existing nationals where such citizenship violates those countries’ laws”.

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson insisted that Qatar’s neighbours provide a list of demands that was “reasonable and actionable”.

The Iran provisions in the document say Qatar must shut down diplomatic posts in Iran, expel any members of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, and only conduct trade and commerce with Iran that complies with US sanctions.

READ MORE: Qatar-Gulf crisis: All the latest updates

The demands regarding Al Jazeera state that Qatar must also shut down all affiliates and other news outlets that Qatar funds, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al Jadeed and Middle East Eye.

If Qatar agrees to comply, the list asserts that it will be audited once a month for the first year, and then once per quarter in the second year after it takes effect.

For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.

The document does not specify what the countries will do if Qatar refuses to comply.

List of demands by Saudi Arabia, other Arab nations

1) Scale down diplomatic ties with Iran and close the Iranian diplomatic missions in Qatar, expel members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and cut off military and intelligence cooperation with Iran. Trade and commerce with Iran must comply with US and international sanctions in a manner that does not jeopardise the security of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

2) Immediately shut down the Turkish military base that is currently being built, and halt military cooperation with Turkey inside Qatari territories.

3) Sever all ties to all the “terrorist, sectarian and ideological organisations,” specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIL, al-Qaeda, Fateh Al-Sham (formerly known as Nusra Front) and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Qatar needs to formally declare those entities as terrorist groups based on the list of groups that was announced by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt, and concur with all future updates of this list.

4) Stop all means of funding for individuals, groups or organisations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, US and other countries.

READ MORE: Qatar-Gulf crisis – Your questions answered

5) Hand over “terrorist figures,” fugitives and wanted individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to their countries of origin. Freeze their assets, and provide any desired information about their residency, movements and finances.

6) Shut down Al Jazeera Network and its affiliate stations.

7) End interference in sovereign countries’ internal affairs. Stop granting citizenship to wanted nationals from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Revoke Qatari citizenship for existing nationals where such citizenship violates those countries’ laws.

8) Qatar has to pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years. The sum will be determined in coordination with Qatar.

9) Qatar must align itself with the other Gulf and Arab countries militarily, politically, socially and economically, as well as on economic matters, in line with an agreement reached with Saudi Arabia in 2014.

10) Submit all personal details of all the opposition members that Qatar supported and detail all support that Qatar has provided them in the past. Stop all contacts with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Hand over all files detailing Qatar’s prior contacts with and support for those opposition groups.

11) Shut down all news outlets that it funds, directly and indirectly, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al Jadeed, Mekameleen and Middle East Eye, etc.

12) Agree to all the demands within 10 days of it being submitted to Qatar, or the list becomes invalid.

13) Consent to monthly audits for the first year after agreeing to the demands, then once per quarter during the second year. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.


Turkey’s Defence Minister Fikri Isik said his country had no plans to review its military base in Qatar and that any demand for its closure would represent interference in the country’s relations with the Gulf state.

Isik told broadcaster NTV that he had not yet seen a demand for the base to be shut.

“The base in Qatar is both a Turkish base and one that will preserve the security of Qatar and the region,” Isik said in an interview on Friday.

“Re-evaluating the base agreement with Qatar is not on our agenda.”

Interference in sovereignty

Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra said the list is “definitely going to be rejected by Qatar”.

“Qatar has said it will only look into the demands once the sanctions are lifted,” he said, adding that Qatar had already said that closing Al Jazeera was off the table.

“It is a matter of national sovereignty. Anything that is presented to the Qataris which it considers to be interference in its internal affairs is going to be dismissed,” Ahelbarra said.

“Just yesterday the general sentiment we had was that perhaps the international community and GCC will turn toward restoring ties. But at this particular moment, I believe that there will be further escalation, mounting tension because of these demands.

“Specifically, this demand on compensation takes the region into unchartered territory. To ask for compensation, you have to have the Qatari government say; ‘sorry, I’ve made mistakes’, and look into every single instance where Qataris made mistakes.

“This is unprecedented in the Arab world. What if the Qataris say the Saudis have to pay compensation for every single civilian killed

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An unfair split


In Italy, trusting a partner to do the best by you isn’t always a safe bet.

That’s Queer 

In a gay relationship, 50-50 isn’t an equal proposition and can unexpectedly leave a trusting partner on the brink

My move to Italy in 2001 sharply curtailed my career possibilities and earning power. The best I could do was become an English instructor, a job that would never pay well or give me much chance for advancement. My companion Alberto, on the other hand, was a doctor with a secure position in a local hospital. What’s more, he already owned a modest apartment in Milan and had inherited part of a house on Lago Maggiore.

Many people still hold to the idea that one partner, usually the man in a heterosexual relationship, must be the primary wage earner, the so-called breadwinner. My father told me this in no uncertain terms, calling me a “parasite, living off Alberto’s money.” While it’s true my standard of living is higher than what I could manage on an English teacher’s salary, I still pay my own bills, including half of our second-hand car and our old boat. Though I share living expenses with Alberto, we don’t split things 50-50 and he contributes more.

If anything were to go wrong between us, Alberto could continue living as he does now. I’d have to return to Canada and find a way to reinvent myself in the workplace.

I married Alberto in Canada, but the Italy I moved to in 2001 contained no legal mechanisms to protect me. Same-sex civil unions didn’t exist. Alberto named me as his heir in his will. He added an insurance policy and also drafted a contract stipulating I had rights to a certain percentage of his estate. Unfortunately, as many wives would attest, not all husbands are as careful or considerate.

Click the Link for the Rest of the Story

http://www.theamericanmag.com/article.php?feature=Features&column=95

 

How an economic miracle transformed love and marriage in post-war Italy


How an economic miracle transformed love and marriage in post-war Italy
A newly married couple walks near Rome’s Arch of Constantine. Photo: AFP
By: Catherine Edwards/The Local
Italy in the 1960’s was experiencing a whirlwind of change. The Second World War had left a legacy of acute poverty and a country suffering an identity crisis after years of fascism and occupation, but by 1964, the transformation was so stark as to be dubbed a ‘miracle’.

With the help of US aid, Italy rebuilt its infrastructure, evolved from a primarily agricultural economy to an industrial one, and became known for its innovative production techniques and impressive design.

This meant profound changes, not just for the Italian economy but also for the lives and feelings of ordinary Italians.

“Love and marriage were completely redefined in Italy after the war,” says Dr Niamh Cullen, a lecturer specializing in the history of modern Italy at the University of Southampton, who has studied personal documents from the era to piece together how everyday life was affected.

Cullen first became fascinated by the era after spending a year in Turin. The city, home of FIAT and the ‘capital’ of the industrial boom, was one of the centres of post-war mass migration, as young people left the countryside seeking work and a better life. This migration, together with the rise of mass culture and celebrity culture, was the catalyst for Italy’s transformation.

“I wanted to uncover as much as possible how ordinary people lived through these changes; what they thought and how they felt about the world they were living in,” Cullen tells The Local.

Her research has focussed on the evolution of dating, love, and marriage, from the pre-war days when relationships were often decided by families through to a growing acceptance of ‘marriage for love’.

           An Italian street pictured in the 1960’s. Photo: RomanNerud/Depositphotos     

But while Cullen can trace a broad shift from traditional values to modern ones, her studies of hundreds of diaries and memoirs revealed that for the individuals involved, “matters were almost more complex and messy than this”.

For one thing, the change to a modern view of love was not linear.

“Modernization had already begun in the early 1900’s,” explains Cullen. “But [Fascist dictator Benito] Mussolini tried to turn back the tide of these changes. Mussolini’s ideal woman – at least according to official propaganda! – was the traditional peasant woman, more interested in having lots of babies than in fashion and beauty.”

The regime passed laws aimed at curbing migration to the cities, as his regime glorified rural Italy and wanted to keep people – particularly women – in traditional peasant ways of life.

Fascist propaganda painted a negative picture of the ‘modern women’ who lived in the cities and followed trends, in an attempt to dissuade women from rejecting the traditional role of wife and mother. Though these efforts were unsuccessful in halting falling birth rates and migration to the cities, it wasn’t until several decades later that the change became drastic.

The outbreak of the Second World War meant couples and families were separated, often for many years. And the violence and upheaval of war seemed to press pause on the change which had seemed inevitable, with Italians desperate to return to ‘normality’ when peace was restored.

“There was a renewed emphasis on conservative morality and on traditional, domestic roles for women in the 1950’s, and Italy this meant that the Catholic Church had a particularly strong hold on society in the 1950’s,” says Cullen.

What’s more, the stagnant economy and widespread unemployment of the 1950’s meant that most young people were focussing on getting by rather than modernizing.

That all changed towards the end of the decade. As the Marshall Plan saw money poured into Italian industry, jobs opened up in the cities, especially in the North – and the youngsters followed in their droves.

This was a seismic shift in the Italian family model, and its traditionally strong ties began to loosen.

Generations had traditionally lived under the same roof, but now young people on the cusp of adulthood had unprecedented freedom. They could not only earn their own money and live independently, but also meet, date, and marry new people in big cities hundreds of miles away from the watchful eye of their parents – and the suitors their family may have picked out for them.

At the same time, rural ways of living were eclipsed by urbanization and the growth of mass culture, meaning that traditional ideas of gender roles and courtship gave way to more modern attitudes.

“Broadly speaking, young Italians were moving away from marriages arranged by their families and increasingly beginning to choose their marriage partners themselves,” says Cullen. “There was an increased emphasis on marriage for love, in Italy as everywhere in the post-war Western world.”


                                  Photo of Venice: RomanNerud/Depositphotos

But as the rules began to change, young people struggled to navigate the rapidly evolving dating scene.

Cullen has studied problem pages of popular women’s magazines, which discussed topics such as the new rules of courtship, the acceptability of socializing in mixed gender groups, and whether girls could approach a boy or should wait for a traditional formal ‘declaration of love’.

“Often the advice was contradictory; customs were changing so quickly that nobody was really sure how to act,” says Cullen.

“One girl wrote to [magazine] Grand Hotel in 1955, asking for help choosing between a goldsmith and a poor labourer, who she said she was in love with. The agony aunt told her to choose the labourer if she felt she would die without him, but marrying for love was clearly not such a clearcut decision for the letter-writer!

“This shows that while the idea of marriage for love was all very well in magazines and films, it was often not a very helpful notion for young women who were not expected to work and have an independent income. Not marrying was not considered an option either in rural Italy and in the advice columns there was a strong emphasis on finding a husband, any husband before it was too late,” Cullen explains.

She says that in the memoirs and diaries she has studied, men were generally much more romantic, “describing their love for their fiancées in strong, definite terms”. Women, meanwhile, who were very often financially dependent on their husbands, were more likely to have a more pragmatic view of the relationship, and often “emphasized doubts and anxieties”.

“Simply put, not everyone could afford to be romantic,” Cullen says. “Of course, with memoirs, these accounts are filtered through memory. But it’s still possible to glean some sense of how emotions and attitudes were changing. I found it important to pay attention not just to what was said but what was not said; where do the gaps and silences lie?”

Arranged marriages and marriages for love weren’t always easy to tell apart, not only for historians, but potentially even for the young people involved at the time.

One account, which Cullen describes as the most moving she came across, had to be read between the lines. A Tuscan woman described meeting her husband at a dance, their courtship, and eventual decision to marry, in what seemed like a typical marriage for love.

“But she seemed somehow ambivalent about these events, and looking closer, it was clear that her family put her under pressure to marry,” the historian says. “As the youngest daughter in a large family, it was made clear that she was a burden.

“The wording she used to describe the wedding day was a little odd but made it clear that it was primarily her family who felt happiness (and relief) at seeing her married off. Her own feelings were less clear; it seemed she could not even admit them to herself. At the same time, it was clear that she loved her husband and they shared a long and happy life together.

“This memoir showed, to me, how love, marriage and happiness could be understood in very different ways depending on the world that a person is born into.”

The salt-and-pepper pound: where are all the fiftysomething models?


73-year-old Lauren Hutton modelling for Calvin Klein in April. Photograph: Calvin Klein

When I first started blogging as That’s Not My Age nine years ago, I was always banging on about the lack of older models, my Grey-dar permanently on high alert. But whereas in the past, the older model was restricted to a healthcare or life insurance gig (cue woman strolling jauntily down the beach in a lilac waterfall cardigan and stretch chinos), now nearly every week there’s another gorgeous silver-haired model in an advertisement for a fashion brand. While this age-appreciation is fantastic – it is wonderful to see women such as Daphne Selfe, 88, Maye Musk, 69, and Lauren Hutton, 73, looking vivacious and stunning, I still can’t help wondering: where have all the fiftysomething models gone?

 

Maye Musk (69) at the CFDA Fashion Awards, New York, this month. Photograph: Neil Rasmus/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although the fashion industry has finally woken up to the power of the Silver Spend (in the UK, the 50+ customer accounts for 47% of consumer spending), advertisers appear to have resorted to a kind of “diversity checklist”. Model with grey hair: tick. That’s age sorted then. But the view of the older woman we’re being shown is signified by someone in her 60s, 70s, or beyond. It’s lazy; it creates an age gap and we still end up with extremes. Young and sexy or old and fetishised – take your pick.

 

Click the link below for the full story

 

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2017/jun/08/the-salt-and-pepper-pound-where-are-all-the-fiftysomething-models#img-1

russia WINNING


Image result for russian cabinet members laughing

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

(DT: 7/26/16)

If Russia’s mission was to disrupt the United States and Europe they have succeeded.

In response to a Washington Post report that the CIA had concluded Russia had intervened in the election to help Trump win.

______________

They supported the right candidate. Many of  45’s hand picked advisers like the President do not have government experience which makes them vulnerable to professional politicians and governmental spy’s.

In 2015: Britain’s spy agency GCHQ became aware of suspicious “interactions” between members of Trump’s campaign and Russian intelligence operatives. Over the next six months, a number of western agencies from Germany, Estonia and Poland share more information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians.

Easy Pickins? 

Donald Trump’s determination for doing it his own way damaged his campaign early on. Trump ignored warnings within his circle and US intelligence. He and his teams inexperience with international agencies may have made them vulnerable.

Michael Flynn ( National security adviser)

December 29 2016 , President Obama announced new sanctions against Russia in response to its interference in the U.S. presidential election.  Mike ­Flynn speaks to  Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., by phone the same day. Flynn urged Russia not to overreact to the penalties being imposed by President Barack Obama, making clear that the two sides would be in position to review the matter after Trump was sworn in as president.

On Dec 30th ,Russian President Vladimir Putin says he won’t retaliate against the U.S. for the sanctions, surprising Obama administration officials. Afterward, intelligence analysts review intercepted communications and reportedly find Kislyak’s communications with ­Flynn.

The Post reports ­Flynn, through a spokesperson, admitted he discussed sanctions with Kislyak, backtracking on his previous denial.  ­Flynn reportedly speaks by phone to Pence to apologize for misleading him about the contents of his conversation. The same day, Trump tells reporters aboard Air Force One he was unaware of reports that Flynn had discussed sanctions with Kislyak. Spicer later said Trump was only referring to the Post report and not the broader situation. Feb. 13: ­Flynn resigns.

In 2015, Flynn received more than $65,000 from Russian Companies including the Russian Propaganda Network RT.   In a meeting with Rep. Elijah Cummings   When asked about his Moscow appearance, Flynn reportedly says, “I didn’t take any money from Russia, if that’s what you’re asking me.”

Jared Kushner (Senior Advisor and President Trumps son in law)  Last week, The Washington Post reported that Mr. Kislyak told his superiors in Moscow that Mr. Kushner had proposed a secret channel to   President Putin and  had suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.

Congressional investigators are seeking to determine whether Kushner ‘s son-in-law was vulnerable to Russian influence during and after the campaign because of financial stress facing his family firm’s signature real estate holding – a Manhattan skyscraper purchased at the height of the real estate boom.

And they are focused, officials told ABC News, on a December meeting Jared Kushner held with executives from a Russian bank.

Real estate analysts told ABC News that Jared Kushner’s first major acquisition, a Fifth Avenue office tower signifying his family’s move from New Jersey into Manhattan real estate, is shouldering a $1.3 billion in loans coming due in two years, and it is not bringing in sufficient rental income. An attempt by Kushner to broker a deal with a Chinese company to refinance and redevelop the building fell through shortly after the election. Thomas Fink, a senior vice president at the firm Trepp, which analyzes commercial real estate, said the Kushner firm appears to be in a sizable financial hole.

“I don’t think they have a billion plus in the bank to just write a check to pay off the mortgage,” Fink said. “Potentially they could sell the building, but you know, what will someone pay for it– that remains to be seen.”

The timing of Kushner’s December meeting with executives from VneshEconomBank, or VEB, at the suggestion of the Russian ambassador, has also raised concerns from government watchdog groups across the political spectrum.

 

Paul Manafort ( Convention Manager)  has received more than a million dollars in fees from rich and powerful business and political leaders, including oligarchs and dictators in Russia and Ukraine.   He may have appealed to Trump because he likened himself as an outsider.  In a proposal to Trump, he describes how he had assisted rich and powerful business and political leaders, including oligarchs and dictators in Russia and Ukraine: “I have managed presidential campaigns around the world.  Last August, The Associated Press reports that in 2012 Paul Manafort had secretly routed more than $2 million from Ukraine President Yanukovych’s governing pro-Russia governing party to two US lobbying firms working to influence American policy toward Ukraine. Last summer, Manafort withdraws from the campaign after reports of  financial connections to Ukraine.

Carter Page ( Foreign Policy Advisor) Page was named one of five foreign policy advisers by the Trump campaign. Page took a leave of absence from the Trump campaign after U.S. intelligence revealed contacts between him and Russian officials, including Vladimir Putin’s top deputy, Igor Sechin. Page agreed to appear before the House and Senate intelligence committees to clarify his role with the campaign.

Carter Page’s ongoing public criticism of US sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine and his praise for Putin generate increasing attention and concern. Three Russians who the FBI later accuse of spying on the United States discuss efforts to recruit American businessman Carter Page.

Jeff Sessions ( US Attorney General)  Jeff Sessions denied meeting with Russians during his conformations hearings.     Last week CNN learned Sessions, who met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at least two times last year, didn’t note those interactions on the form, which requires him to list “any contact” he or his family had with a “foreign government” or its “representatives” over the past seven years.  The new information from the Justice Department is the latest example of Sessions failing to disclose contacts he had with Russian officials.

Roger Stone (An informal adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign) Fired by the campaign in August 2015, is said to have the ear of the President.  Many believe Stone told 45 to fire FBI director James Comey.  Stone repeatedly boasted of or alluded to some kind of knowledge or relationship with Wikileaks. Stone opened a lobbying practice with Paul Manafort in 1980. Trump hires Manafort as his lawyer on gambling and real estate issues.

President Donald Trump, has many financial ties with Russian nationals. Some transactions are questionable.  In 2008, As the Florida real estate market began to crash, Trump sells a Florida residence to a Russian oligarch for $95 million, believed to be the biggest single-family home sale in US history. The Russian oligarch never lived in the house and, since then, it has been demolished. Three years earlier, Trump had bought the home at auction for $41 million.

In the same year, his son Donald Jr, at a real estate conference he said In terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia. There’s indeed a lot of money coming for new-builds and resale reflecting a trend in the Russian economy and, of course, the weak dollar versus the ruble.”

Many of Trumps projects were financial by Russian banks. Candidate Trump denied meeting President Putin and other Russian Nationals.  It is clear Russia have infiltrated the Trump campaign, if any laws were broken remains to be seen.

News of Russian Involvement is coming in at a rapid clip.  This Morning, Yahoo News reported. President Donald Trump’s administration moved quickly to try and lift economic sanctions on Russia and other punishments former President Barack Obama had put in place as soon as it took office in January, according to multiple sources. 

“There was serious consideration by the White House to unilaterally rescind the sanctions,” according to Dan Fried, who retired in February as Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the State Department.

Fried told veteran investigative journalist Michael Isikoff , a former national investigative correspondent for NBC News and Newsweek alumnus, that in the early weeks of the administration he got several “panicky” calls from U.S. officials. They asked: “Please, my God, can’t you stop this?”

The sanctions in question included those imposed by Obama for Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and others inflicted late last year to punish Moscow for its suspected efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. The plans Trump’s administration considered early on included returning diplomatic compounds seized from Russia in late 2016—recent reports say Trump is currently worker to put this plan into action.

Lifting the sanctions “would have been a win-win for Moscow,” according to Tom Malinowski who served as assistant secretary of state for democracy until inauguration day. Malinowski told Yahoo News that he heard the administration was working on a “grand bargain” with Russia.

Next’s Week’s Big Event,The Testimony of “James Comey”

CNN:  Former FBI Director James Comey will have the nation captivated next Thursday when he testifies before a Senate panel about the stunning accusations that President Donald Trump pressured him to end his investigation into his former national security adviser’s ties to Russia.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Friday that “the President will make that decision,” raising the prospect that the White House may try to invoke executive privilege over Comey’s conversations with Trump.

 Russia Winning  

We may never really know what Putin’s intentions are.  What we do know our government is in complete disarray.  45 and his top advisers are reportedly considering creating a White House “war room” and a staff shake-up to combat current and future revelations related to the Russia controversy.

As the administration play defense, hundred of positions remain unfilled.

 The streets are filled with angry Americans.   Racial tension has increased.  The CIA had concluded Russia had intervened in the election to help Trump win.

If the intent was to disrupt America they have succeeded!   

CityFella

 

 

 

 

Meet the matchmaker hooking up US soldiers with German women


Meet the matchmaker hooking up US soldiers with German women
Matchmaker Jessica Dreyer. Photo: private
By: Emma Anderson/The Local
With thousands of American military members and personnel in the Wiesbaden (Germany) community, there is certainly a market for foreign singles looking to settle in. And that’s where matchmaker Jessica Dreyer steps in.

When Wiesbaden native Jessica Dreyer started working at the US Army Europe headquarters in her hometown, she noticed an interesting phenomenon. At work, her American male colleagues were eager to find out if she had any single, German friends that they could meet. And in her personal life, her female German friends inquired about the potential availability of any of her US army co-workers.

“I thought, ‘I could make a business out of this’,” Dreyer tells The Local.

And so she did last summer, launching her matchmaking service under the name “US Love Wiesbaden”.

Business started to really boom after a few months when local media noticed the novel dating firm, and now she receives on average 60 to 80 new inquiries from Germans and Americans combined each week.

While she gets calls and emails from all kinds of people, including men seeking men and women seeking women, Dreyer says her biggest client base is German women seeking US military men and vice versa.

This, she says, is simply because of the numbers: The US Army counts 3,100 soldiers, 3,900 American civilian workers, and 1,100 retirees as part of its Wiesbaden Garrison. And around 85 percent of military personnel are male.

For a city that has a long history with the American military, such pairings between American soldiers and German women are also perhaps not so uncommon. Wiesbaden was captured by US forces in March of 1945 during the Second World War, and remained under American occupation after the war’s end. Troops have been present in the Wiesbaden area ever since.

Even beloved American superstar Elvis Presley spent some time stationed near Wiesbaden – a fact which the city proudly boasts about online – and made sure to carve his and wife Priscilla’s initials into a Wiesbaden tree.

Plus, Dreyer also works with clients in nearby Kaiserslautern, where tens of thousands more American armed forces and government affiliates live in the largest US military community abroad.

But even though Germans and Americans have long lived with one another in the area, stereotypes on both sides persist, which perhaps drives some of the mutual interest.

“A lot of German women want to meet an American because they say they like the culture, the way of life, the music, being in the USA and the way they think American men are… They find a man in the US armed forces very attractive,” Dreyer explains.

“The way American men look and act, they seem very friendly and like they will be good partners because they are easy going. They think German men are not so easy going in life, and are too picky with things.”

And Dreyer’s American male clients sometimes have just as many preconceived notions of German women – including quite romantic ones.

“American men say they like the women here, they’re taller on average and seem a little more natural. A lot of American men say they love the idea of an international romance. They might like the accent, or the different heritage.”

Dreyer also makes it clear that she’s not doing this to help arrange marriages for legal purposes, like gaining citizenship. And for the most part, neither are her clients.

“To the people who say they just want to meet and marry [for citizenship], I say I’m not a marriage agency. This is about dating and relationships, not about getting a green card or something.”

To set up the matches, Dreyer meets with prospective clients in person to get a sense of who they are, as well as to ask them what they’re looking for in a mate. Her customers tend to be aged 35 and up, which she attributes to the fact that older singles are looking for more discreet and direct ways of meeting someone than dating apps with online profiles.

Dreyer charges men €189 ($206US) for their first match – €50 ($55US) more than she charges women, who she says she charges less because they generally earn less than the men. Fees for subsequent matches are then the same: €95.($103US)

An important factor in the matchmaking though, is that the German will almost always have to speak English: her American clients rarely speak German well enough to have a conversation, if they speak it at all.

“Most Americans don’t speak German well, but most Germans speak solid English… but if they say they don’t speak English, I have to tell them to consider how they think they can have a relationship with an American this way.”

But when it comes to dating norms, Dreyer says there aren’t the same barriers. Germans and Americans tend to have similar views on courtship, such as questioning who should pay on the first date. Just as in the US, in Germany the answer to this depends on the individuals, Dreyer says.

One thing that is a bit different is the question of marriage. Still, given that her business kicked off less than a year ago, Dreyer hasn’t had any couples get to this point yet.

“Americans expect marriage to come sooner. In Germany we tend to wait years before getting married. We want to make sure we have the right person on hand.”

North Korea nuclear threat: should California start panicking?


As rhetoric between North Korea and the US ratchets up, should major cities on the west coast be worried about a missile strike? Experts say the answer is tricky

Unidentified rockets at a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang on 15 April 2017.

Unidentified rockets at a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-sung in Pyongyang on 15 April 2017. Photograph: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

In test blasts, military parades and propaganda videos that show San Francisco and Washington DC in ruins, North Korea has broadcast its intention to be a world nuclear power. Less clear, experts say, is how close the secretive nation is to realizing its ambitions to threaten the mainland of the United States.

As rhetoric between the two nations has ratcheted up in recent weeks, residents of major west coast cities such as San Francisco, Portland and Seattle have begun to ask out loud: should they be worried?

Click on the Link Below for the rest of the Story

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/20/north-korea-nuclear-missile-could-it-hit-california-trump