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News from Germany and Berlin: 7 November, 2020


KSK: Elite unit tackles right-wing extremism

Right-wing extremist activities brought the Special Forces Command (KSK) into disrepute. The dissolution of its 2nd Company was the most drastic step in a series of reforms ordered by Federal Minister of Defence Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. She also demanded that the organization should adjust itself quickly, otherwise it could face a risk of dissolution. At least this scenario is now off the table: according to a first report, the reforms are considered satisfactory. Tobias Lindner (Grüne) follows the KSK's reform efforts, and believes that it is important the elite unit should become less isolated in future. Source: dw

Tesla boss is back in Germany

Elon Musk is back in Germany, and he wants to hold talks on the construction site in Grünheide, near Berlin. Tesla wants to produce electric cars there from next summer on. In a first stage, 500,000 vehicles per year. The draft development plan of the municipality of Grünheide already mentions up to 40,000 employees in a possible fourth expansion stage. Environmental approval for the factory by the Land of Brandenburg has not yet been granted, but Tesla is building with several provisional approvals for individual construction stages. Environmentalists and local residents fear that the construction will have negative consequences for nature. Source: morgenpost


"Liebig 34" and its post-eviction resistance

Last Saturday evening, 600 police officers accompanied a protest against evictions of flats and capitalism in Friedrichshain, close to “Liebig 34.” According to the police, bottles and stones were thrown at police officers. The demonstrators first marched through the streets around Boxhagener Platz with banners bearing signs saying "United we fight". When the demonstration moved through Rigaer Straße to Liebigstraße 34, a large banner hung there on long lines from the roof: "L34FOREVER". The police entered the house and removed the banner from some windows. Later, the action was announced on the Twitter channel "Liebig34bleibt". Source: morgenpost

Penguins do not fly

At the opening of the new airport "Willy Brandt"," there were many protests. More than a hundred protesters were inside Terminal 1 around 12.30 pm, drawing attention to the harmfulness of air traffic to the climate. Last Saturday, the activists of the initiative “Am Boden bleiben” dressed up as penguins because "the coolest birds stay on the ground". Its spokesperson, Klara Strauß, said this is the moment to change course: "To get flights on the rails and replace unnecessary business flights with online conferences." Source: nd

Increased vigilance" in Berlin after attack in Vienna

The terrorist attack in Vienna led to increased caution on the part of the security authorities in Berlin and Brandenburg. Synagogues in the capital are being protected with even greater vigilance, according to Senator Andreas Geisel (SPD). In Berlin, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution classified last year 1,140 people as Salafists - a particularly conservative current within Islam. The number has been increasing year by year for a long time. Berlin's mayor Michael Müller (SPD) expressed his dismay at the terrorist act. The Mayor of Potsdam, Mike Schubert (SPD), also called for a further vehement fight against anti-Semitism. Source: rbb

Berlin wants to regulate the use of car sharing, e-scooters and rental bikes

The Senate in Berlin wants to regulate the use of car sharing, rental bikes and e-scooters more strictly. Amendments to the law intend to prevent rented vehicles from being parked everywhere and hindering other road users. If providers do not comply, the administration can issue sanctions. The district of Berlin Mitte has already set up parking areas for e-scooters. However, with the absence of tourists and the strict exit and contact restrictions, e-scooters remained mostly unused in Spring, with demand falling towards zero. Source: rbb

Berlin is becoming a hotspot of the Polish resistance

There are 114,000 Poles in Berlin, representing the largest group of immigrants from an EU member state. Since the PiS government took power in Warsaw, the German capital has become a hub for all those Poles who no longer feel safe in their country. With the recent ban on abortion, Berlin has taken on a central role as a place of refuge, becoming a centre for Polish resistance. The actions here, which have been positively received in Poland's activist circles, have also received criticism in social networks, where it was said that protests could alienate the numerous moderate demonstrators. Source: Berliner Zeitung

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