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Special Report

Not Everyone In Germany Ecstatic About Obama's Berlin Speech

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Berlin Backlash?

It seems not everyone in Germany was ecstatic about Barack Obama's speech in Berlin.

German broadcasting station Deutsche Welle reports that those attending were told to leave their placards and posters at home.

The move came under criticism, especially from the German left, which speculated that the campaign wanted to avoid images of Germans displaying anti-American statements. Others say the ban was aimed at preventing activists from making demands on Obama.

And the senator's visit will cost just over three-quarters of a million dollars — half of which will be paid for with German public funds.

Kiwi Bounty

It seems there will be no such hero's welcome in New Zealand for Condoleezza Rice this weekend.

The New Zealand Press Association is reporting that Auckland University's student association is offering a $5,000 reward to any student who can make a successful citizen's arrest of the secretary of state.

Association president David Do says the arrest would be for Rice's role in "overseeing the illegal invasion and continued occupation" of Iraq.

He adds, "It is hard enough living as a student in Auckland these days without having a war criminal coming to town, so we thought we'd give our students a chance to make a dent in their student loans and work for global justice at the same time."

Not Reporting the Good News?

A sharp decline in the intensity of news coverage of the Iraq war immediately followed General David Petraeus' testimony before Congress last September.

Cybercast News reports that data from the Multi-National Force-Iraq shows there were 219 embedded reporters in Iraq when Petraeus told Congress that the surge was working. That was also the month that the surge reached full force.

The number of embedded reporters has since dropped by 74 percent in nine months to just 58 in June.

The largest single-month drop in embeds came in October of 2007 right after the general's testimony.

Not So Fair & Balanced

The Arab news network Al-Jazeera celebrated the birthday of released Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar with a cake and fireworks.

The Middle East Media Research Institute reports that Kuntar — who shot an Israeli child's father in front of her and then beat her to death with his rifle in 1979 — was given a hero's welcome on the network.

One interviewer said, "You deserve even more than this. I think that 11,000 prisoners — if they can see this program now — are celebrating your birthday with you. Happy birthday."

Kuntar, who was part of that Israel-Hezbollah prisoner swap last week, was then presented with a cake and a collage of photos, including one of him and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. And as Kuntar cut into his cake the network set off fireworks.

FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.