News from Berlin and Germany: 23 January, 2021

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany


Compiled by Ana Ferreira



Possible migrant quota in Berlin’s civil service

A migrant quota for Berlin’s civil service may be legally permissible, but only after an amendment to the city constitution. Integration Senator Elke Breitenbach (die LINKE) nevertheless considers her bill permissible. A similar dilemma, considering the origin of the applicants, existed decades ago with the demand for equality for women in the civil service. It was solved by including an explicit equality mandate (in Article 10 of the Berlin constitution): “The state is obliged to establish and ensure equality and equal participation of women and men in all areas of social life. Measures of promotion are permissible to compensate for existing inequalities.” Source: taz


Donald Trump exits, but QAnon gains support in Germany

It’s January 6, the day of the mob forming on Capitol Hill. A German woman thanks the mobbers on her message on “QPatrioten24,” a Telegram group. Another member of that group denounces “electoral fraud” in the US presidential election, calling for “martial law.” Although on the fringes of the German QAnon community on Telegram, “QPatrioten24” is deeply rooted in the country’s wider conspiracy community. Its members are active in German anti-government protests, in August last year. When discussing protests, they urge each other to “show up without masks.” Within a year, Germany has become home to the largest QAnon community outside of the English-speaking world. Source: dw

Germany extends COVID lockdown until February 14

Germany has decided to continue with the lockdown until at least mid-February. The new, tougher measures will also see people wearing filter masks in shops and on public transport. Most shops, schools and non-essential business will remain closed. The new measures include stricter rules on the types of masks that must be worn in certain public places (FFP2), and employers must, wherever possible, allow employees to work from home until March 15. Contact at private meetings is also restricted to just one other person not living in the same household and schools are largely closed and students are taught through distance learning. Source: dw

Dr Kristina Hänel convicted for advertising abortions legally

The Higher Regional Court (OLG) of Frankfurt has declared that the conviction of the Giessen doctor Kristina Hänel for advertising the termination of pregnancy is legally binding and dismissed her appeal. The medical doctor’s homepage not only provided information that abortions would be performed, but also contained detailed information on the “how”. In a statement, Hänel announced a constitutional complaint against the non-appealable decision. “In other countries like Ireland, Argentina, South Korea, the laws are being liberalised, nowhere else is there a criminal law paragraph that prohibits factual information.” Source: süddeutsche

AfD may be classified as right-wing extremists

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution could classify the AfD as a suspected right-wing extremist case. Associations are making clear appeals to the officials in the party. Jörg Radek, deputy head of the police union (GdP), said that “Police service and involvement with the AfD do not go together.” The agency which protects the Constitution might announce next week how it will continue to deal with the AfD. And there is much to suggest that it will be upgraded to a suspected right-wing extremist organisation. The AfD intends to file lawsuits against this in the event of such a classification. Source: taz

Merkel continuity candidate Laschet becomes CDU leader

Armin Laschet has won the election for CDU leader at the digital party conference by a margin of 55 votes against Friedrich Merz. Laschet stressed he wants to build on continuity with Angela Merkel’s chancellorship and on his experience in government. However, it is unclear what will happen after the election for party chair in the CDU and CSU. In spring, those parties want to agree on who should be the candidate for chancellor. Laschet will also have to prove how well he can support the party in the upcoming state elections in Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg in March. Source: nd

Drosten fears up to 100,000 new Coronavirus cases per day

Many experts say that the number of cases in the Corona pandemic should ease in the summer – but virologist Christian Drosten of Berlin’s Charité hospital does not share this hope. On the contrary, he warns of a third wave with tens of thousands of new infections per day. But Drosten has some sympathy for the “Zero Covid” strategy. The virologist recommends pushing the seven-day R-value to 0.7 now, which would halve the number of cases within one week. Drosten also reiterated that the Coronavirus is far more dangerous than a flu virus. Source: ntv

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