Vendors hawk shirts, hats for Gettysburg events

Saturday, June 29th, 2013 | Finance News

GETTYSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Vendors looking to capitalize on the barrage of tourists coming to town to mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg are hawking commemorative T-shirts, hats and other trinkets as a re-enacted war rages on nearby.

More than 200,000 people — including 20,000 re-enactors — are expected to visit the small south-central Pennsylvania town for events through Fourth of July weekend.

Re-enactors and shoppers seeking more authentic trinkets head to the 19th-century-style tent city where shopkeepers offer items appropriate for the period or to re-stock the soldiers — just like traveling suppliers did in the 1860s.

A few visitors say they aren't comfortable with the consumerism, especially downtown.

"I don't like the commercialism. I think they can do a lot less of it," said Richard Gow, 65, of Binghamton, N.Y. Dressed sharply in a gray uniform, Gow was portraying noted Confederate Gen. Lewis Armistead outside the American Civil War Wax Museum.

Then Gow — himself a U.S. Army veteran who served during Vietnam — looked toward the battlefield, just down the road.

"It's the grounds," he said reverentially, referring to the fields and hills where up to 10,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died in the Civil War's pivotal conflict. "It's an honor to be here."

Federal forces turned away the Confederates during fierce fighting on July 1-3, 1863, ending with the South's ill-fated Pickett's Charge across an open field against Union soldiers.

Many other visitors say modern Gettysburg strikes the appropriate balance between capitalizing on its notoriety and paying reverence to the Civil War's pivotal conflict.

"This kind of brings history alive," said Dave Gish, 54, a pastor from Wilton, Conn., who took photos of a re-enactment between Union and Confederate cavalry featuring hundreds of horses.

He noted there were attractions such as water slides or roller coasters in town, venues that would be out of place with the period.

"It's the kind of thing where this is pretty much what you're coming for," he said.

The National Park Service events start Sunday night. In recent years, park officials said they have made an effort to rehabilitate major areas of the battlefield to make it better resemble the territory soldiers encountered in Gettysburg.

One of the changes involved removing a motel that that once stood across the street from a monument for Ohio soldiers. The battlefield rehabilitation process grew out of a master plan in 1999 that didn't set the 150th anniversary as a deadline — though park officials say it was a welcome and timely coincidence.


Axel Springer eyes cost cuts of over 20 million euros: CEO

Saturday, June 29th, 2013 | Finance News

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's Axel Springer , Europe's largest newspaper publisher, is targeting at least 20 million euros ($26 million) of savings in a restructuring plan, its chief executive was quoted as saying.

Chief Executive Mathias Doepfner told Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview on Saturday that structural changes in the media industry had brought a decline in advertising and circulation at its key Bild newspaper in the "high one-digit percentage range".

"It would be negligent if one did not respond to that. The board will still have to decide what the restructuring will look like," he said.

Asked to confirm that the company planned to cut costs by 20 million euros, Doepfner replied: "At least."

He said the company planned to invest around 100 million euros to push forward the integration of its print and online businesses

"What that means for Bild is still open," he added.

Bild is Germany's top-selling newspaper.

Der Spiegel magazine reported in May that Axel Springer had drawn up plans to save 20 million euros under which up to 200 staff would be paid off.

($1 = 0.7693 euros)

(Reporting By Marilyn Gerlach; Editing by David Cowell)


Poland economic policy to protect growth:Tusk

Saturday, June 29th, 2013 | Finance News

CHORZOW (Reuters) - Prime Minister Donald Tusk said the government will run an economy balanced between fiscal discipline and economic expansion, signaling it will not sacrifice growth to spending cuts.

The former communist country has posted nearly two decades of uninterrupted growth but its economy began to slow sharply last year and growth fell to near zero in the first quarter of 2013.

Tusk said the government would be flexible in its approach to economic growth.

"We will save but in a way that economic growth in Poland will be stronger than in the last months," Tusk said at his Civic Platform party congress in southern Poland.

Poland announced in April it would not succeed in cutting its budget deficit this year below a target of 3 percent of gross domestic product required by the European Union, leaving the country in the bloc's excessive deficit procedure for another two years.

Poland expects its deficit to be 3.5 percent this year and come closer to 3.0 percent in 2014.

The economic slowdown has hit support for Tusk's government and his Civic Platform (OP) party lags its main rival, the conservative Law and Justice (PiS), in opinion polls for the first time in years.

The PO congress is expected to set a date for party leadership elections later this year.

Tusk will be challenged by former justice minister Jaroslaw Gowin but many observers say the prime minister is unlikely to be defeated.

(Reporting by Pawel Sobczak, Writing by Dagmara Leszkowicz; Editing by David Cowell)