Germany has no place in WW1 ceremony for 'winners'- far-right leader

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel should not have taken part in a ceremony in France on Sunday marking the centenary of the Armistice as it is an event for the “winners” of World War One, said the leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Germany lost the war and Merkel’s participation in a ceremony for the former allies amounted to an attempt to rewrite history, AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland said.

“We can’t put ourselves in a historical situation that clearly favours the winner and walk alongside Mr. Macron through the Arc de Triomphe,” he said, referring to the famous Paris monument.

Gauland’s comments stood in marked contast to the themes of reconciliation and the need for vigilance against resurgent nationalism which characterised the official commemorations in London and Paris for the millions killed during World War One.

With U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin sitting just a few feet away, French President Emmanuel Macron denounced those who evoke nationalist sentiment to disadvantage others, calling it a betrayal of patriotism and moral values. [nL8N1XM0SN]

In London, Britain’s royal family was joined by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who become the first German leader to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph war memorial in an historic act of reconciliation. [nL8N1XM0OP]

The anti-Islam AfD entered the German parliament for the first time last year, drawing support from a broad array of voters angry with Merkel’s decision in 2015 to welcome almost a million, mainly Muslim asylum seekers.

Its leaders have been rebuked for comments that appear to belittle the Nazi dictatorship or suggest that history books should be re-written to focus more on German victims.

In a rare public display of emotion, Macron and Merkel held hands on Saturday during a poignant ceremony in the Compiegne Forest, north of Paris, where French and German delegations signed the Armistice that ended the war, one of the bloodiest in history.

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Stada, Angelini among final bidders for $1 billion Bristol-Myers' UPSA unit: sources

FRANKFURT/LONDON (Reuters) – German drugmaker Stada (STAGn.DE) and Italian healthcare company Angelini are the only industry players to be shortlisted to make final bids for Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY.N) French over-the-counter drugs business, four sources close to the deal said.

Two private equity firms, CVC Capital Partners and PAI Partners, have also made it through to the final round of the auction for UPSA, the maker of Dafalgan and Efferalgan painkillers, the sources told Reuters.

The sale, which is handled by Jefferies and Deutsche Bank, is worth about 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion).

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), Stada, CVC and PAI declined to comment while Angelini was not immediately available for comment.

BMS has given bidders a deadline of late November to submit final proposals, the sources said.

The U.S. firm took full control of the unit, which also produces effervescent aspirin and vitamin C, 24 years ago.

It is now looking to concentrate on high-margin prescription drugs, particularly for cancer, and hopes to sell UPSA for a multiple of 7.5 to 8 times its core earnings of 120 million-130 million euros, the sources said.

Germany’s Stada, which is backed by private equity firms Bain Capital and Cinven, is widely seen as the frontrunner for the deal as it seeks to build scale through major acquisitions, the sources said.

Italy’s Angelini, which is advised by BNP Paribas, is also willing to embark on a big deal, two of the sources said.

The sale initially drew interest from other big industry players including U.S.-run drugmaker Mylan NV (MYL.O) and Japanese healthcare firm Taisho Pharmaceutical which subsequently walked away from the process, the sources said.

UPSA generated revenue of 425 million euros in 2017 and employs about 1,500 people in France.

The sale comes amid a series of high-profile deals in the consumer health industry including Procter & Gamble’s (PG.N) acquisition of Merck KGaA’s vitamin brands in April and GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK.L) deal to buy Novartis (NOVN.S) out of their consumer healthcare joint venture for $13 billion.

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