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News from Germany and Berlin: 10 October, 2020


Home office remains exception

Even before Corona, working from home was slowly becoming widespread. Suddenly, home office turned out to be the new normal. According to a study conducted by a health insurance company (DAK), home desk working is seen as positive. A study by the Federal Ministry of Labor also concluded that 87% who worked at home during the pandemic were at least "satisfied". Following this direction, the "Mobile Work Act" provides employees with a legal entitlement to 24 days of home office per year. Nevertheless, there are critiques such as new burdens for employees (die Linke) and the legal entitlement itself, considered too little by the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB). Source: nd

Right-wing extremists in the Bundeswehr: more connections between Franco A. and the KSK

Members of the partially disbanded Bundeswehr elite unit "Kommando Spezialkräfte" (KSK) are under investigation in a total of 35 cases. KSK soldiers also appear to be involved more than was previously known in another occurrence, concerning the investigation of the Bundeswehr officer Franco A., who is suspected of being a terrorist. The Attorney General accuses him of having planned an attack on a politician or other public figure. Franco A. was never a KSK member, but investigations against him have apparently revealed more links to the Special Forces Command than previously known. Source: rnd

Confusion about accommodation bans

Most of German states agreed to a ban on accommodation for holiday makers from German corona risk areas. However, some states, including Berlin, are not willing to implement the compromise. The regulation adopted will apply to those coming from areas with more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days. In view of rising corona figures in Germany, the focus is shifting to the large municipalities. Head of the Chancellor's Office Helge Braun called on such cities to take more energetic action against the virus. Source: süddeutsche

Hurray for the crisis

Shareholders and billionaires have made profits during the pandemic, according to a study conducted by the Swiss bank UBS and the multinational Pricewaterhouse Coopers. In Germany, after a slump at the beginning of the corona pandemic, net assets of the oligarchs rose to 594.9 billion US dollars by the end of July. Money withdrawn from the economic cycle went to the financial markets. Martin Steinbach of Ernst & Young said that he believes a stock market boom that will last until the end of the year is possible. In the real world, this phenomenon is called a speculative bubble. Source: jW

Anti-Semitism in Germany is rising sharply, according to a security agency

The “Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV)” warned that the country is approaching a "steep rise" in anti-Semitism. With a significant increase of criminal offences against Jews and Jewish institutions in Germany, such felonies are especially disturbing because of the country´s past. BfV´s chief adds that Jews in Germany have reason to be worried about facing violence and hostility while in public. He considers that “Society must be made aware that we need to work together in fighting emerging anti-Semitism." Source: DW


Liebig 34 prepares for clearance (from earlier in the week)

The house “Liebig 34” is a shelter for women, transgender people, and victims of sexualized violence. And it is supposed to be cleared by next Friday. What is a symbol for some is a thorn in the side for others. There is, for instance, the accusation that it has illegal protective armaments. The eviction, from last August, is considered illegal by the residents´ lawyer, as it concerned an association which no longer owns the place. Meanwhile, left-wing radicals plan "targeted chaos" such as that on cable systems, which has restricted S-Bahn traffic in the last days. Together with Rigaer Strasse 94, Liebig 34 is the last autonomous stronghold of the city. Source: taz

"Liebig 34" in the hands of the police (Friday update)

The anarcho-queer feminist house project "Liebig 34" in the Berlin district of Friedrichshain was cleared on Friday morning. More than 50 people, who had stayed in the building, were led out individually. They were welcomed by supporters with loud cheers. Earlier on, demonstrators blocked rush hour traffic on Frankfurter Allee, which was particularly dense due to the public transportation strike. Protests still go on, from spontaneous demonstrations in the surrounding area to a registered one, to happen on this Friday evening, in Berlin Mitte, at the Monbijoupark. How many task forces were mobilized for the evacuation was not disclosed. Source: jW

Berlin enforces strict night-time restrictions

Berlin announced new restrictions to help combat COVID-19. There will be a curfew for bars, restaurants, and local stores, from 11:00 p.m. until 06:00 a.m. Gas stations will work, but they cannot sell alcohol during the curfew. The restrictions come into effect on October 10 and they run until October 31. During that time, private gatherings will be limited to five for those living in separate households. Meeting up in parks during night time hours will be banned. Outside of curfew hours, gatherings of up to 10 people will be permitted indoors, down from 25 people. Source: DW

Berlin and Frankfurt are now considered hazardous places due to Corona

Two of the biggest cities in Germany have both reached the level defined by the government as risky, i.e. 50 new cases per 100,000 residents over a seven-day period. Considering this, Berlin has reached almost 53 by last Thursday. The Health Minister Jens Spahn urged Germans to maintain distance and obey hygiene measures before there is a point "where we lose control." Frankfurt, the country's financial center, also reported exceeding 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last seven days. The city already declared too new anti-infection measures such as alcohol consumption ban in public places and stricter mask rules. Source: DW

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