News from Berlin and Germany, 1st December 2022

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany



Second-class refugees

It is a remarkable justification Berlin’s Senator of the Interior gives for why she wants to deport about 600 refugees from Moldova before Christmas: “We need the accommodation.” says Iris Spranger (SPD). The Senate is expecting many refugees from Ukraine and “we have to accommodate them.” With this, Spranger has reignited a debate, not widely reported, held shortly after Russia’s first attack on Ukraine: are there first, second and third class refugees, recognisable by the way the state deals with them? This attitude has infuriated her coalition partners, the Left and the Greens. Source: taz

Election and Referendum on the same day?

The fight against climate catastrophe is one of the most important issues of our time. A Berlin referendum, which would see Berlin carbon neutral by 2030, should be given all the attention it can get. It must therefore take place parallel to the rerun of the parliamentary elections being held on the 12 February. If postponed to after the repeat election, proponents worry about failing to reach the 25 percent quorum required. In view of the challenge posed by the climate crisis, the Senate and the state election administration must face up to this task. Source: taz

Berlin streets with colonial names to be renamed

Adolf Lüderitz and Gustav Nachtigal are considered pioneers of German colonialism. In Berlin-Wedding, a street and a square are named after them. Years of protests are now bearing fruit: they are to be renamed. The new names no longer celebrate the perpetrators, but the resistance fighters. The former Nachtigalplatz will become Manga-Bell-Platz, named in honour of the Duala royal couple who fought against German colonial rule in Cameroon. Lüderitz Street will be named after Cornelius Fredericks, a resistance fighter against German colonial rule in Namibia. On Friday, the new street signs are to be unveiled in the presence of the Cameroonian and Namibian ambassadors. Source: migazin



Chelsea Manning: whistleblower launches autobiography in Hamburg

Chelsea Manning is one of the most famous whistleblowers: she published 750,000 confidential documents of the US military. For this act she was sentenced to 35 years in prison. After serving seven years, Barack Obama finally pardoned her. Now she has written her autobiography titled “README.txt”. In Hamburg, at the release of her book, the internet expert reflected that war has changed, as we see with the conflict in Ukraine. She went on to say “I have more access to information today as a private person than I had back then as a data specialist for the United States Army. We live in an absolute information age.” Source: ndr

19 degrees – Germany freezes at the workplace

“EnSikuMaV” is the abbreviation for a lengthy German phrase translating to: the “Ordinance on Securing the Energy Supply via Measures Effective in the Short Term”. Since 1 September, and until 28 February, the whole country has been turning down the heating to save energy. And because the energy supply is threatened by the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the lack of Gazprom gas, measures such heating to a maximum room temperature of 19 degrees in offices in public buildings have become reality. But it turns out 19 degrees in offices can cause problems related to health risks in the long run and productivity. Source: dw

Immigration by points

The German government wants to attract more workers from abroad and a new concept is supposed to help: a points system is supposed to take more into account than just education. There will also be opportunities for migrants without recognised qualifications. According to the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), there were 1.8 million vacancies in the third quarter of this year. “Without more skilled workers, we will not make progress in terms of economic policy” summed up Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) on Wednesday. Source: sz

49-euro ticket likely in May

The Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) announced the 49-euro ticket, the likely successor of the 9-euro ticket, may be delayed until May 2023. Oliver Wolff, VDV´s chief, said that administrative preparations were the cause for the delay, mostly related to the reorganisation of the VDV tariff system. There are also some uncertainties about how exactly the ticket will be financed. The leader of the Railway and Transport Union (EVG), Martin Burkert, stressed that six months after the “Deutschlandticket” is launched, the federal government much calculate the cost incurred and provide additional funds to federal states if necessary. Source: iamexpat

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