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  1. Looks a lot like they actually have a deal with Tolkien estate. Christopher Tolkien may not like it but how much control does he have? Being a good catholic, JRR Tolkien had a whole bunch of children. Anyway,The Guardian reports:
  2. That's what they used for the Hobbit movies. My understanding is that they have no rights to the setting as such, just the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books. So making up stuff and just use Middle Earth as a setting isn't an option.
  3. Neuschwanstein is a 19th century fantasy castle, but it was built on the site of a real medieval castle and its layout roughly follows that of the Wartburg.
  4. I have never had this issue, but it doesn't seem to be rare. What do you wear when you run? I'm rather slim, which probably helps, and always wear rather tight shirts made of technical fabrics.
  5. Going after individual officers won't get you anywhere, as you won't be able to identify them. You have to look higher up the chain of command to find the real culprits, anyway. Somebody ordered this operation and somebody was in charge when it was carried out. Those persons should to be held responsible.
  6. The narrative in the Western media at the time was that there was a genocide or at least ethnic cleansing going on (the Serbs being the perpetrators). There doesn't seem to be evidence for that, though. The West just fell for the Kosovo Liberation Army's propaganda. Iraq wasn't the first time the West waged war in blatant breach of international law over a lie.
  7. Actually, Spain in its current form didn't exist before the War of Spanish Succession in the early 18th century. You could compare Catalonia to Portugal (which actually was in a union with Spain for some time but won back independence). It has its own history and language. I think the biggest can of worms is citizenship. If you distinguish between Spaniards and Catalans, does that make everybody who lives in Catalonia on day one of independence a Catalan? We all know how well that worked out in the former Soviet Union.
  8. Peoples have the right to self-determination. The obvious problem with that is that there is no clear-cut definition of a people. In this case it comes down to the Catalan regional government saying Catalans are a people, the central government saying they aren't. The Spanish constitution just says that there is only one Spanish people.
  9. One week after the election, one has to wonder about Merkel. When Volker Kauder was re-elected leader of the Chistian Democrats he only got 180 votes out of 239 cast and a total of 246 seats the party holds in the bundestag. If that's all she gets from her own party in the election for chancellor she won't have a majority.
  10. Neoliberalism has been the dominant political doctrine across the Western world these last 35 years. Blaming that on old count Otto is giving him a bit too much credit. As for the breakup of the coalition in 1982, it had been dead coalition walking for some time. Schmidt barely survived the 1982 SPD party convention in Munich, when it became obvious that the party no longer supported his positions on foreign policy and defence. After that it was just maneuvering to let the other side look bad when the coalition breaks up, and the FDP ended up being painted the villain. The left has had a bizarre obsession with the FDP ever since, but that's not based on facts. The coalition between SPD and FDP was formed to enable a new foreign policy, as the old Hallstein doctrine was no longer viable. That was fulfilled by the time Brandt resigned. After that the coalition went on out of inertia and because the Christian Democrats thought they could win a majority on their own. Had Albrecht run for chancellor instead of Strauss in 1980, it probably would have worked. It nearly did for Kohl in 1976.
  11. Hmm. The Tagesschau data (ARD Deutschlandtrend) and the Berliner Morgenpost poll are by the same institute (Infratest Dimap). One presents people with a list of topics and asks about their importance for their decision in the elections. People can then rate them very important, important, less important or not important. The figures you quoted are "very important" only. The Berliner Morgenpost poll lets people name the two problems that need to be addressed most urgently in the next four years. Its interesting how different the resulting different rankings are. ETA: ARD Deutschlandtrend has "immigration of refugees" and "integration of refugees" as separate categories, the Morgenpost bins them together
  12. Germany has never officially endorsed immigration. The was the guest worker program back in the 1950s and 60s, when Germany had agreements with Italy, Spain, Portugal, Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkey. It allowed / invited people from those countries to come to Germany for work, but they were supposed to go back to their home countries after a couple of years. The latter part was never enforced, though, so many of those "guest workers" became immigrants. Nowadays citizens of EU countries are free to settle in Germany, but you rarely hear complaints about that. Immigrants from Africa and the Middle East usually can't legally move to Germany. But there's one big loophole: asylum. Article 16a of the grundgesetz says: "Politisch verfolgte genie├čen Asylrecht." Over the years some fine print has been added but the right of asylum still stands. And the courts have interpreted it such that everybody who shows up at the German border or on an airport who says the word "Asyl" must be let into the country. Of course there's a lengthy procedure where their claim of refugee status is checked but apparently the vast majority stay in the country even if they are refused refugee status. So, when there's talk about "immigration" it's always about immigration of refugees (more accurately: people entering the country claiming refugee status). Unlike the UK, it's not about freedom of movement in the EU.
  13. Interesting result. The rise of the AfD was expected, but the decline of the Christian Democrats was not, especially not in Bavaria. The SPD's result was within what the opinion polls showed, though at the lower end. The Greens did rather better than expected. AfD won three constituencies in Saxony, CSU won all constituencies in Bavaria, which is why the Bundestag will have more than 700 members. Coalition talks ought to be fun. Looks like Jamaica is the only option but finding a common platform for CDU, CSU, FDP and Greens won't be easy. The CSU facing elections in Bavaria next year won't help, especially with their rather poor results in the federal elections. Meanwhile, Frauke Petry, who won one of those three constituencies, has announced that she doesn't want to be a member of the AfD group in the Bundestag. Funny behaviour for a co-chairperson of the party.
  14. Has been a couple of years since I last watched the series, but if I recall correctly, the finale of season 5 was shot at the end of season 4 when Straczynski expected that season to be the final one. Isn't Ivanova in it?
  15. I'm not sure that there was much of a canon before the Next Generation. There certainly wasn't when the first season aired. And back then TV was on the air only. There was no way for the audience to record and rewatch it, so continuity wasn't a big issue.