Kerry regales Berliners with tales of divided city

Updated 26 February 2013
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Kerry regales Berliners with tales of divided city

BERLIN: US Secretary of State John Kerry told young Germans on Tuesday of his adventures as a 12-year-old son of an American diplomat in divided postwar Berlin, and urged them to be true to their ideals and values as Europe struggles to emerge from economic doldrums and deal with the threat of terrorism.
Speaking at a town hall meeting Tuesday, Kerry spoke a few sentences of passable German to the delight of a crowd in a packed Internet cafe before regaling the audience with tales of his boyhood in Berlin in 1954.
He drew laughter when he said a clandestine bicycle ride into Soviet-run east Berlin had badly upset his father, who took away his diplomatic passport and grounded him for almost causing an international incident.
Kerry urged Germans to be tolerant of all points of view and noted that in America “you have a right to be stupid.” He said tolerance of unpopular, offensive or otherwise objectionable views was a virtue and “something worth fighting for.”
Kerry also took the opportunity to plug a New England clothing line after one audience member complimented him on his pink tie. A graduate of the noted St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire and Yale University, Kerry extolled the sartorial virtues of Vineyard Vines, a Connecticut purveyor of — in its own description — “preppy” clothes that has a pink whale for a logo.
“I don’t own any stock in the company,” he said to laughter.


UK junior defense minister resigns, votes against government — BBC

Guto Bebb
Updated 52 min 42 sec ago
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UK junior defense minister resigns, votes against government — BBC

LONDON: British junior defense minister Guto Bebb resigned after voting against a government-backed amendment on the customs bill, part of plans for Britain’s exit from the European Union, BBC news reported on Monday.
Bebb, minister for defense procurement, voted against the amendment that will stop Britain collecting tariffs for the European Union after Brexit unless there is a reciprocal arrangement.
It was narrowly approved by parliament on Monday with the government’s support.