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Josie Le Blond

Writer. Author. Journalist.

Independent journalist and author covering Germany, Europe, and beyond.
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.

Portfolio

Journalism

the Guardian
07/11/2019
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
06/27/2019
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.

Thetimes
03/15/2018
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
05/25/2017
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.

Medium
06/07/2018
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.

U.K.
08/12/2015
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.

U.S.
08/24/2015
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
08/07/2018
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
08/18/2018
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.

Thetimes
03/15/2018
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
06/26/2014
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
03/02/2014
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.

Telegraph.co.uk
11/06/2013
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
09/22/2013
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
09/21/2013
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
09/15/2013
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
08/10/2015
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
08/16/2013
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.

Refugees

UNHCR
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.

UNHCR
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.

UNHCR
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."

Tracks
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.

UNHCR
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.

UNHCR
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.

UNHCR
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.

UNHCR
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.

UNHCR
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.

UNHCR
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.

UNHCR
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.

UNHCR
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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