News from Berlin and Germany, 29th September 2022

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Left wants “electricity shield” for municipal utility customers

Berlin’s Left Party (“die Linke”) has many ideas on how people could be relieved of high costs. In the debate about relief in the face of exorbitantly high energy prices, the party has put a new proposal on the table: it calls for an “electricity shield” for customers of public utilities. Around 40,000 people now get their green electricity from Berlin’s public utilities, said Left Party leader Anne Helm at a state party conference. If there is a possibility to at least create an “electricity umbrella” for that group, this should be used, Helm said. Source: rbb

Berlin might repeat election

The Berlin Constitutional Court began its hearings on appeals against the elections to the House of Representatives a year ago. According to a preliminary assessment, it is considering a complete rerun of the elections for the Berlin House of Representatives as well as the district councils to be necessary. According to the court, the preparation of the election has probably not met the legal requirements. The state election administration organized the election in such a way that every eligible voter had the opportunity to cast a complete and valid vote under reasonable conditions on election day. In last year’s election, however, the number of options available was probably not sufficient. Source: rbb


Nord Stream pipelines: pressure drop

Following the drop in pressure in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, the German government is concerned that this could be a targeted attack. The Danish navy said that there were indications of sabotage. Also, a leak in Nord Stream 2 was discovered on Monday by Danish F-16 fighter jets. According to the Danish Energy Agency, ships can lose propulsion when they enter the area. There is also a possible risk of ignition. Lastly, there has also been a climate hazard risk in the escaping methane. However, the composition of the gas in the Nord Stream pipes is not known. Source: Spiegel

Russian deserters – welcome or not in Germany?

Because of Putin’s mobilisation, conscientious objectors are fleeing abroad. Germany is open to welcome them. But the Ukrainian community is skeptical. Katerina Rietz-Rakul, who looks after Ukrainian fellows at the Humboldt Forum, cannot understand this. Giving asylum to Russian deserters is a clear political mistake. ” They had no problem with Russian politics until a few days ago, and now they have woken up. But it is not the West’s job to protect these people.” More than a million people from Ukraine are already registered in Germany, mostly women and children – many fled from Russian soldiers. Source: dw

Energy situation in retail: close the door, turn off the lights

Retailers’ energy costs have risen by 150 percent since the beginning of the year. The industry now relies on energy-saving measures to get through the Winter, and is considering shortening opening hours. Illuminated outdoor advertising must now be switched off between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., and shop doors may no longer be permanently open. Carina Peretzke from the North Rhine-Westphalia Trade Association is particularly critical of closed entrance doors: “If the door is closed, fewer customers come in.” To continue to lure people into the shops, the climate offensive of the HDE has launched the poster campaign “Door closed, shop open.” Source: dw

Germany to return Benin statues to Nigeria

Germany is set to return hundreds of bronze busts from the Kingdom of Benin to Nigeria. More than 400 statues and a myriad of other artefacts are currently on display at the Ethnological Museum of Berlin. Such collection is one of the largest in the world. Apparently, only the British Museum has more items. Now, the construction of a museum in Benin to house the pieces is being planned, and around a third of the artefacts will remain in Germany, for a loan period of 10 years; Forty of these will be on display, while the rest will be studied by researchers. Source: iamexpat

LKA and public prosecutor’s office search AfD party headquarters

The public prosecutor’s office and the police have been searching the AfD’s federal headquarters in many cities in Germany. Search warrants were executed at seven search locations in Berlin, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia in two preliminary proceedings against former party leader Jörg Meuthen and former federal treasurer Klaus-Günther Fohrmann on suspicion of violating party law. According to the Berlin prosecutor’s office, there are facts to suggest the AfD made false statements in the accountability reports to the Bundestag in the years 2015 to 2018. Documents such as the confidential minutes of the meetings of the federal executive board are considered to be taken along. Source: rbb

Fire alarm system at Tesla does not work

The Tesla car factory in Grünheide (Oder-Spree) apparently does not have a functioning fire alarm system. It is also unclear so far why production was allowed to start in the factory without such safety device. It is also not known whether there was an official exemption for opening the factory despite the lack of fire alarm systems. Independently of this, Tesla must now re-sort its waste disposal on the site and clear out a previously 5,000 square meter storage area for waste. The responsible Ministry of the Interior of the State of Brandenburg has so far refused to make a statement. Source: rbb

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