News from Berlin and Germany, 10th May 2023th

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany



“Aquadom” not to be rebuilt

After the bursting of the huge aquarium in a Berlin hotel, no new fish tank is to be built in the lobby. The effort to rebuild the huge aquarium after it burst would be disproportionately high. The 16-metre-high Aquadom aquarium with 1,500 fish in the hotel near Alexanderplatz burst in the early hours of 16 December. As a result, one million litres of water poured out of the destroyed acrylic glass cylinder. Two people were slightly injured. The hotel is still closed and will not reopen this year. The cause of the aquarium’s bursting is still unclear. Source: rbb24

Berlin police probe leak into potential Zelenskyy trip

The news about an investigation, launched by the police, about a possible visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Berlin has reached the media. The information cited statements provided by unnamed sources in Berlin’s police force. Zelenskyy’s trips abroad are usually kept confidential until the last minute for security reasons. Neither the German government nor the Ukrainian Embassy had commented anything on reports of Zelenskyy’s planned visit to the German capital. In an unusual move, Berlin police confirmed the report when asked about it. Police last Thursday defended that decision, saying that by that point the unauthorized leak had already revealed details of the trip. Source: dw


Can a Jewish woman be an antisemite?

Judith Bernstein, born in Israel, whose parents had to flee Germany in 1935 and whose grandparents were deported to Auschwitz, feels that she has been unfairly defamed by Uwe Becker (CDU). Without substantiating it, he labelled her an antisemite and placed her close to the antisemitic assassin of Halle. This had enormous consequences for her, and her concern to give the Palestinians a voice in the Middle East conflict was even made impossible. In court, judges interpreted Becker’s statement as violating the principle of objectivity and Bernstein as a person. The report about this case has already been removed from Frankfurt’s city website. Source: faz

Benin bronzes given away: Annalena Baerbock sees no problem

On the last 6th of May, it became known that outgoing Nigerian President Mohammedu Buhari had transferred the bronzes from the historic kingdom of Benin to the successor of the kings of Benin, Oba Ewuare II. They are now in private hands and the Oba decides what to do with them. On the next day, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) announced: “Who will keep the returned bronzes, which Nigerian institutions and persons will be involved, and where the responsibility for preservation and accessibility lies, are questions which will be decided in Nigeria.” Source: bz

Nationwide there is a shortage of 378,000 daycare places

Throughout Germany, there is a shortage of 378,000 daycare places – despite the legal right to childcare. This is the answer by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs to a question by the Left Party parliamentary group. In the one to three age group, 291,000 places are lacking; in the three to six age group, 87,000. The information was based on figures from 2021. According to calculations by the Left Party, the annual costs for daycare centres now amount to almost 50 billion euros. The federal government bears about 2.8 billion euros, the rest is borne by the federal States and the municipalities. Source: tagesschau

More tofu, less meat

Tofu sausage or veggie burgers: the market for the often more expensive meat substitutes grew in 2022 despite inflation. Companies in Germany produced 6.5 percent more of these foods than in the previous year, according to the Federal Statistical Office. Greenpeace welcomed the minus for meat and the plus for substitute products, and criticised as well incorrect regulation for the latter ones: “It is an absurdity that, for example, a higher tax is levied on oat drinks than on cow’s milk – and at the same time it is forbidden to call it milk,” Mattin Hofstetter, agricultural expert from that environmental organization, said. Source: taz

Refugee summit: German states demand more money

The heads of government of the federal states have decided in a cohesive way to begin their consultations on the consequences of the increasing number of refugees and asylum seekers. The main point of contention between the federal government and the states is the financing of accommodation, care, and integration of those seeking protection. The Länder (States) are calling for a system in which federal payments increase automatically as more people come into the country who need to be cared for. A consensus among them has to do with safeguarding humanitarian and legal obligations. Source: Morgenpost

Tags: ,