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The Super Bowl's European Veterans

Europe seems to have boosted the careers of many NFL players: "Eight players with NFL Europa experience -- including three-time Super Bowl-winning kicker Adam Vinatieri (Amsterdam 1996) -- will be featured on the rosters of the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI this Sunday, capping a season in which 201 NFL Europa veterans occupied spots on NFL rosters," reports (via EU Digest): 
Indianapolis Colts: Bryan Fletcher TE Berlin, 2003-04;  Adam Vinatieri K Amsterdam, 1996;  Kory Chapman RB Cologne, 2005 (Practice Squad);   Aaron Halterman TE Rhein, 2006 (Practice Squad).
Chicago Bears: Brendon Ayanbadejo LB Amsterdam, 2001;  John Gilmore TE Amsterdam, 2002;  Israel Idonije DE Berlin, 2004 ;   Anthony Oakley G Frankfurt, 2005.
NFL News also reports that "an elite group of players will welcome a new member after Super Bowl XLI when either Indianapolis Colts tight end Bryan Fletcher or Chicago defensive lineman Isreal Idonije adds a Super Bowl ring to their World Bowl rings. Both men helped the Berlin Thunder record a 30-24 victory over the Frankfurt Galaxy in World Bowl XII, and one of them will become the 19th player to have won a championship in both leagues. "
The Indianapolis Colts defeated the Chicago Bears (29-17) and is now World Champion.

Also on Sunday:
Germany's national handball team defeated Poland (29-24) is now World Champion.
Nice gesture: Germany's president Koehler was wearing a Polish fan scarf, and President Kaczyński the German fan scarf.
IHT: "Market research agency Media Control said Monday that the television audience for the final peaked at more than 20.1 million. Germany has 82 million people."
Related post in the Atlantic Review:  America is expected to win the Super Bowl

Call for revivial of cultural diplomacy to counter Anti-Americanism

While the US consulate lowered the American profile in Frankfurt by moving to a heavily fortified complex on the outskirts of town, US arts lobbies want to reach out more to the world by utilizing US cultural capabilities and talents. Writing for the International Herald Tribune, Alan Riding asks:

With Washington now dusting off public diplomacy as a strategy to combat rampant anti-Americanism, is it time to revive cultural diplomacy? The purpose would not be to mute American popular culture. In any event, that would be impossible: It is pumped out on an industrial scale and the world responds, often with delight, sometimes with disgust. Instead, rather than trying to compete for the attention of the masses, cultural diplomacy would aim to persuade elites of the virtues of American civilization.

This approach is now being quietly promoted by several arts lobbies in the United States. In a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in July, a group called Americans for International Arts and Cultural Exchange wrote: "Our coalition believes America has many cultural capabilities and talents that remain underutilized in the international arena and which can be effective in reaching out and telling our story to the world." (...)
Continue reading "Call for revivial of cultural diplomacy to counter Anti-Americanism"

Famous Berlin Airlift base Rhein-Main is closed

The Rhein-Main Air Base near Frankfurt was the central hub for American military forces in Europe since the end of World War II. The base played a crucial role in the wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. During the 1948-1949 blockade of West Berlin, the US Air Force delivered everything the West-Berliners needed to survive (food, fuel, medicine, hope) in 190.000 flights, most of them from Rhein Main. (The UK -- and to some extend France -- flew many additional flights.) On average every three minutes a "candy bomber" (Rosinenbomber) landed in Berlin during the 15 months long blockade. 31 US servicemen and women lost their lives. The base will now be incorporated into an expansion of Frankfurt Airport. The US bases Ramstein and Spangdahlem have been upgraded to pick up the slack from the closure of Rhein-Main.
The highest ranking German politician attending the closure ceremony was the finance minister of the state of Hessen. Members of the federal government or the city government of Berlin did not participate.
Blogger Jim Bass perceives a general lack of of gratefulness today. More reports in the Mudville Gazette and in the German FAZ.