News from Berlin and Germany, 2nd August 2023

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany



“I’ll never shut up”

Shelby Lynn spoke in Berlin at a meeting of “Women 100” and made it clear she would not remain silent. “I don’t understand how this is so ingrained in our society. It’s accepted, it’s no longer news when someone is sexually assaulted or raped,” she said, teary-eyed, as seen in videos shared on social media. She does not seem to be impressed by the restraining order the band’s lawyers are trying to obtain against her. “I’ll never shut up. Never.” Source: t-online

Tesla’s Gigafactory raises environmental concerns

Tesla’s plan to expand its Gigafactory in Grünheide is being overshadowed by environmental concerns. The regional water association has expressed concern that such activity might disrupt groundwater formation, including a potential impact on the public drinking water supply. The company, however, claims rainwater on the site will contribute to new groundwater formation, with the aid of built-in filtration systems. It is argued, too, that the factory’s presence will result in more water being filtered into the groundwater system, compared to the coniferous forest used to grow there. Tesla has submitted applications for environmental approval to the state of Brandenburg. Source: exberliner

Almost a billion euros in culture fund announced for Berlin

Joe Chialo (CDU), Berlin’s Senator for Culture, has announced a new culture fund for 2024 of almost a billion euros (€947 million). The fund will go toward creating 500 cultural spaces. The funding increase comes as part of an ongoing commitment by Chialo to revitalize youth interest in culture after the pandemic. Among projects which will benefit from the funding there is the renovation of the Komische Oper, as well as new cultural venues, and drama schools. The Berlin senate has recently implemented the ‘Jungendkulturkarte’, a new cultural programme, where young Berliners can receive €50 to cover entrance fees for participating nightclubs and other cultural activities. Source: djmag


DGB boss wants corporate profits to be skimmed off

Considering inflation rates, Germany’s trade unions demand a skimming off from profits, and the dampening of energy prices. DGB’s boss, Yasmin Fahimi, points out that “corporate profits are rising to an extreme in some sectors, which is further driving inflation. Prices will be significantly increased there, beyond the cost increase.” Fahimi warned, too, about the industries that are energy-intensive and suffer from “today’s non-competitive energy prices in this country.” She therefore called for Robert Habeck’s (Greens) proposal for an industrial electricity price to be implemented. “In return, companies should be obliged to remain loyal to their location, to work under collective agreements and to invest in climate-neutral transformation,” she concluded. Source: n-tv

AfD: definitely right-wing extremist

After the AfD party conference in Magdeburg, one thing is clear: the right-wing party is moving a little further to the right-wing edge – and openly admits to it. Since the party leadership has practically only consisted of members of the right wing, the far-right members can preach their nationalist ideology without anyone really making any attempt to distance themselves from them – as was still the case in Jörg Meuthen’s time. It is necessary to repeat it: anyone who still votes for this party after Magdeburg can no longer justify it as a protest against the established parties. Source: nd-aktuell

Germany wants more women in the military

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s (SPD) Cabinet adopted a series of measures last week to boost equal opportunity in the military. Such actions aim to align procedures in the “Bundeswehr” with a recent strengthening of equal opportunity laws that apply to the government overall. Representation in this case, going by the government definition, is when the share of women exceeds 20%. Excluding supporting civilian roles, the Bundeswehr has around 180,000 troops in all fields, of which almost 24,000 are women. The Bundeswehr needs people to fill its ranks, as part of Germany’s efforts to bolster its military capabilities in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Source: dw

Less social housing again

The number of social housing units in Germany fell again last year. At the end of 2022, there were around 1.088 million apartments for people on low incomes nationwide, around 14,000 fewer than a year earlier. The “traffic light” coalition has set the goal of building 100,000 social housing units per year. But last year it was significantly less: 22,545 social housing units were newly built. Despite the new buildings, there is a negative balance, because around 36,500 fixed prices expired in 2022, as the Left Party’s housing policy expert, Caren Lay, who made the information request, has found. Source: taz


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