Josie Le Blond

Editor. Author. Journalist.

Berlin-based editor at Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Co-author of They Don't Teach This, a memoir by England star and whistleblower Eniola Aluko and of Butterfly, the biography of Yusra Mardini, Syrian refugee, swimmer, and Olympian. Also independent journalist and author covering Germany, Europe, and beyond.



Germany's Ruling Conservatives Scramble for Direction After Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s retirement plans collapsed last week when her hand-picked successor resigned. Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union is now searching for a new leader, even as it grapples with an identity crisis after shedding supporters to left-leaning and far-right parties.

BBC Worklife
Why Germans are flying less

Malte Kleinwort, 46, never felt bad about flying. That's until last year, when Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg changed his mind. Now he is one of a growing number of Germans to abandon short-haul flights in favour of the train. "Before, I didn't feel any flight shame at all really," said Kleinwort, a research associate at the Ruhr University Bochum.

Can Germans' right to switch off survive the digital age?

The lights were all out, the corridors were deserted. Only one computer screen was still glowing at Freiburg's Institute for Advanced Studies. Newly-arrived American academic Kristen Ghodsee was working late in her office. Then there was a knock at the door, and in came the institute's director.

the Guardian
Angela Merkel sits for anthems after latest shaking episode

Angela Merkel sat through the German and Danish national anthems during a ceremony welcoming Denmark's prime minister to Berlin. The German chancellor reportedly requested the change in protocol a day after she was seen shaking in public for the third time in as many weeks.

the Guardian
Investors flock to fake real estate ads put up as protest art in Berlin

A Berlin-based artist who put up billboards advertising fake real estate projects in protest against runaway property development received more than 200 calls from would-be investors who didn't get the joke. Three billboards appeared six weeks ago across Berlin advertising luxury new-build developments at in-demand locations. "Available 2021," the billboards state.

Angela Merkel surrenders key cabinet posts to clinch coalition

Angela Merkel has sacrificed key ministries to secure a coalition agreement with the Social Democrats - a breakthrough she hopes will end months of uncertainty for Europe's biggest economy. The new government promises to end austerity in Europe and introduce tougher immigration controls at home.

Coda Story
In Germany, a Battle Against Fake News Stumbles into Legal Controversy

Nowhere in the world did the lessons of Russian interference in the U.S. election hit home as they did in Germany. In the aftermath of President Donald Trump's victory, Chancellor Angela Merkel repeatedly warned that foreign powers could also meddle in Germany's upcoming autumn election.

Stage set for first ever TEDx event in a refugee camp

On 9 June, TEDxKakumaCamp will feature 12 expert speakers exploring the theme 'Thrive,' in a historic event by and for refugees. By: Josie le Blond, in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya The tent is up. The chairs are out. The stage is waiting. After months of preparation, a bold vision is set to become a reality.

Brit lights up Berlin with spies, lies and censorship art

BERLIN (Reuters) - British artist and anti-surveillance activist James Bridle is illuminating Germany with artwork exploring the darkest state secrets, cover-ups and information blackouts. Bridle's "The Glomar Response", showing this month at the newly opened Nome gallery in Berlin, resonates in a country where revelations by former U.S.

Merkel condemns 'disgusting' message of hate toward refugees

HEIDENAU, Germany (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned on Monday violent protests against refugees that erupted over the weekend in eastern Germany, blaming them on far-right extremists who were bent on spreading a "disgusting" message of hatred.

the Guardian
Trade with Iran and you won't trade with US, Trump warns

Donald Trump has warned America's trading partners that anyone who does business with Iran will not be doing business with the US, after his administration reimposed blanket sanctions. The US president described the new sanctions, which hit Iran's access to dollars, gold and precious metals, as "the most biting ever imposed".

the Guardian
Cossacks and flowers as Putin leads Austrian wedding dance

There was a Russian Cossack choir, a horse-drawn carriage and a venue specialising in a Viennese fried chicken. But one thing about the wedding of the Austrian foreign minister, Karin Kneissl, stood out: among the guests was the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

Martin Schulz left out in cold by his party

The leader of Germany's Social Democrats has abandoned his ambition to be foreign minister, days after agreeing to form a coalition with Angela Merkel. Martin Schulz was told by his SPD party members that they would not back the deal to form a government if he took the job.

the Guardian
Georgian pro-Russia group 'planned fake pride march to scupper EU deal'

Josie Le Blond in Tbilisi Georgian activists have accused a pro-Russian group of planning a fake lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride march to provoke attacks from homophobes in an attempt to destabilise the country before the imminent conclusion of an EU association agreement.

the Guardian
David Bowie's catharsis in divided Berlin revealed in adapted V&A show

It was the fastest-selling show the Victoria and Albert Museum has ever staged. But when the David Bowie Is exhibition moves to Berlin this summer, there will be a few notable tweaks. Bowie's cathartic years in the chrysalis of divided Berlin are counted as among the singer's most innovative.
House belonging to Munich art hoarder may contain more masterpieces

Derelict in appearance, the two-story detached building in an otherwise well-to-do suburb of Salzburg in Austria appears not to have been inhabited for years. The back garden is a neglected wilderness, overgrown with knee-high creepers and debris, overhanging, unpruned trees and blanketed in a mulsh of dead leaves.

the Guardian
Angela Merkel handed victory by mixed results for small parties

At the headquarters of the Free Democrats in Berlin, all eyes were fixed on a big screen as the seconds counted down to the release of exit polls. Then a loud groan reverberated around the hall as the damning number of 4.7% flashed up, dashing the party's hopes of remaining in government.

the Guardian
Angela Merkel poised for record poll win and historic third term

The excitement on Fulda's University Square hinted at the imminent arrival of an A-list celebrity. Crowds jostled impatiently to pass through a security check, a total of 5,000 gathering in front of two big screens, some on picnic benches, others standing, while hundreds more watched from the roofs and windows of offices and apartment blocks.

the Guardian
Germany's new anti-euro party could leave election outcome open

In devotedly pro-European Germany, it is a radical message. In a packed beer hall meeting on the outskirts of Stuttgart, Roland Klaus tells scores of middle-aged, middle-class Germans what they want to hear. In short - no more bailouts. "We've got the possibility to stop this madness," the former financial TV journalist intones.

the Guardian
The alternative city guide to Leipzig, Germany

The third in our series of guides to Europe's alt cities takes us to a former GDR metropolis being revitalised by artists. The result is an ever-changing, regulation-defying mosaic of restaurants, galleries and clubs. Here, local people sift for the gems

the Guardian
Angela Merkel launches re-election bid amid cacophony of spying scandal

"Merkel stop watching us" screamed a banner above a noisy group of protesters which forced Angela Merkel to raise her voice as she launched her election campaign. Barely concealing her irritation, the German chancellor struggled to drown out honking vuvuzelas, and chants of "hypocrite" and "liar", with promises of more of the same from a third term at the helm of Europe's biggest economy - jobs, stability and stronger growth.


Syrian refugee finds safe harbour in Hamburg

By Josie Le Blond in Hamburg, Germany | 18 February 2020 | Español | Français | عربي So when a teacher suggested he apply for an internship at the port, the Syrian refugee jumped at the chance. "That first day was astonishing," said the 21-year-old. "I was really motivated...

Refugees get traction in Germany's auto industry

When Volkswagen - the world's largest automaker - offered Mastura Ekhlas a place on a programme that could lead to a permanent job, she knew it was the chance of a lifetime. She had arrived in Germany in 2013 as a refugee from Afghanistan.

UNHCR chief urges action over conditions for asylum-seekers on Greek island

From one intolerable situation, they have found another. "Look at the conditions here, is this humane?" said Ibrahim, 49, on Wednesday. He gestured at the shelters he built from wood and plastic sheeting for himself and close relatives." Many of Ibrahim's neighbours in the improvised overspill camp known locally as the Olive Grove said they felt the same way.

Imaginative use of former prison opens new doors for refugees

If it felt like a prison cell, that is because it once was one, part of a notorious former prison in southern Amsterdam. After the prison closed in 2016, it become a successful pop-up hotel run by refugees, until it shut up shop a few weeks ago.

German scheme eases refugee teachers back into class

POTSDAM, Germany - English teacher Alaa Kassab believes her education saved her life and, after she arrived in Germany as a refugee from Syria, she was keen to get back into the classroom to pass on her language skills to the next generation.

South Sudanese grow rice, and community ties, in Uganda

"Rice is so profitable for me right now," says Queen, 34, who fled conflict in South Sudan and found refuge in Uganda as a young child in the early 1990s. "Those other crops I'm just planting to supplement the food we're given. But rice I'm using as my income-generating business."

Berlin bus job puts Syrian refugee in the driver's seat

"I wanted security and a good, safe life for me and my family," says the former literature student, 33, who fled to Germany from Syria in 2015 and recently retrained as a bus driver with Berlin's transport network. "That's very important to me."

Syrian Refugee Eyes Rio Olympics

The flimsy vessel, crammed with some 20 people, had just reached open water off the Turkish coast when the engine died. A dreadful silence followed. Yusra Mardini saw terror in the eyes of her fellow passengers as the inflatable dinghy began taking on water. Most of the others could not swim, but 17-year-old Yusra could.

Refugees find chance to flourish in German workforce

The task is significant. Germany's Federal Labour Office says it advised 322,000 asylum-seekers and refugees looking for work in July alone. Many struggle with the language and missing paperwork and others find they must re-train and embark on a new career. For the determined, opportunities are there.

Syrians find outlet for sewing skills with German sailmaker

The pair have found work with a sailmaker near the port of Kiel, repairing damaged sails and making sunshades, clothing and accessories from old sailcloth, poring over bolts of the hard-wearing fabric draped across wooden workbenches. Mohammed, who used to make curtains in Damascus, has adapted his skills to meet the demands of life on the Baltic coast.

Syrian family reunited in Germany after nightmare flight

Now the moment had come. In a nondescript temporary shelter in Serbia, her babies were to be born. However, it was not a simple birth. "It started with the pain," said Fatima, 28, sitting at the dining room table in a farmhouse in a village near Dresden.

Family torn apart by war in Syria find sanctuary in Greece

By Josie Le Blond and Achilleas Zavallis in Lesvos, Greece | 27 February 2017 | Français | عربي "The doctors told me it's better on the mainland because my son will need more medical help," explained Falak, 40, who has been moved with her sons to a government-run shelter in the Greek city of Larissa.

Refugees brave Serbia's cold in hope of better future

Since neighbouring European Union (EU) countries closed their borders in the spring of 2016 and started collective expulsions back into non-EU Serbia, the number of refugees and migrants stuck in the country has swelled from a few hundred to close to 8,000.

Syrian band's concerts are music to German ears

This chance meeting in the depths of a Berlin winter marked the start of a new phase in Syrian refugee Abdallah's life. Long a devotee of the traditional chanson-style arrangements of Tarab music, the trained singer had discovered a way to share memories of his lost homeland with his new host country.

Berlin refugee guides show off cultural riches from home

BERLIN, Germany - A hush falls over the small group of visitors as it enters the cool, lofty hall filled with ancient stones. Museum guide Kefah Ali Deeb studies their expressions closely as they gaze at Syrian statues of lions, birds, scorpions and mysterious goddesses.

Syrian electrician lends time and skills to benefit others

Even now, months after he and his family moved into a nearby apartment, the Syrian electrician returns to the site every day to help, as UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and its partners improve accommodation for 900 remaining residents.


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