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Sunday, April 23, 2017

PaGA 2017: Day 28 Europe in Crisis

In case you did not know, the European Union now has 28 members, for the United Kingdom is still not officially out.  Nineteen countries use the Euro.  How does the EU compare with the USA?
  • Population:  EU 503 million     USA  327 million
  • Land area:   EU  1.7 million square miles     USA 3.8 million square miles
  • GDP (EU is larger than the USA or China):


They have reduced red tape on travel.  Boy is it easy to pass through customs in the European Union.  No form to fill out. Just showed my passport at the Munich Airport, and there was no line because the process was so quick.  Seven more countries are seeking a possible association, including Turkey.

So Europe has all that history and remains significant economically and politically.  But it is fraying.  Brexit might just be the beginning.

The French are in phase one of electing a new president today.  The odds are that  the centrist protege of Francois Hollande, Emmanuel Macron, will edge far-riche leader Marine Le Pen:


Macron is 39 years old and currently serves as Minister of the Economy.   Le Pen, 48, is a lawyer and daughter of Front National founder Jean-Marie Le Pen

However, communist candidate Jean-Kuc Melenchon is surging, and has caught up site Francois Fillon, and both are within four points of Macron.  At one time Filon was favorite to contend with Le Pen, but something called a "fake jobs" scandal did him in.  Chances are that no one will get at least 50%, so the top two will run off on May 7.


I've long followed betting odds...until Hillary and Brexit.  However, here are the chances:
  • Emmanual Macron, Independent: Evens
  • Marine Le Pen, Front National: 3/1
  • François Fillon, Les Republicains: 3/1
  • Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Unbowed France: 7/1
  • Benoît Hamon, Socialists: 200/1
WELL THE RESULTS ARE NOW IN.  MACRON AND PEN WILL FACE-OFF ON MAY 7:

Who does Donald Trump want as president?  Well, he did say that Le Penis the strongest candidate, perhaps because of her Islamophobic and xenophobic platform.  That should have read "Le Pen is the strongest candidate."

Okay, but I'm in Germany, and, while all seems well, maybe not.  READ THIS.

Angela Merkel first became Chancellor of Germany in 2005.  She is favored to gain another term in September, mostly because the German Greens, the environmentalists, are the weakest they've been since 2002.  She has a PhD in quantum chemistry and was a research scientist before entering politics from East Germany.  In case you're wondering, there is no term limit.  Helmut Kohl served for 16 years.  The meeting Trump had with Merkel last month was awkward.

Otherwise:

I've long intimated that Europe was a basket case.  Add the immigration/terrorism problem and what to do about Russia, and you wonder how things seem to be normal, if not vibrant, in Munich.  

Munich is exactly 12 hours ahead of Hawaii and 6 hours compared to New York City.  When I get to DC, I will have cut the time difference by half, then on my final stop, San Francisco, again in half.  On the other hand, after the seven time difference between Seoul and Munich, I feel normal already.

Oh well, back to what I did today.  Breakfast and art at the Westin Grand Munich:


If you look to the extreme left, you can barely see this:


These Zen rock gardens are everywhere in Japan, but Munich?

I moved to the Sheraton Munich.  My view:


I had lunch at


I went to the bathroom, and wondered which door to enter.  The answer is this:


My flower for the day:


You would think that a name such as the Westin Grand Munich would mean it must be a grander hotel than the mere Sheraton Munich.  Nope, the Sheraton is such higher tech and nicer.  My dinner at the Executive Club was modest:


The sunset was spectacular:


Tomorrow, fine dining at Schuhbeck's in den Sudtiroler Stuben.  Then, on Tuesday, back to the USA. It will be sunny tomorrow in Munich, but rain, with a high of 53 F, in DC.  However, from Wednesday into the weekend, Munich will experience snow again.  On Thursday, when I will be walking around our Nation's Capital, it will be mostly sunny with temperatures up to 86 F predicted.

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