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News from Germany and Berlin: 31 October, 2020


Fighting is worthwhile

The trade union (Verdi) and bosses have agreed on a package of measures that includes wage increases, a reduction in working hours and special bonuses. The employees in the care sector, who have been suffering for years from cutbacks and being exposed to special burdens in the course of the corona crisis, will receive the most substantial increases – between 9 and 10 percent more pay. The wage negotiations were preceded by weeks of warning strikes. This year, all employees will receive a corona bonus, ranging from 200 to 600 euros, depending on categories. Source: jW

"Sieg Heil", when said quietly, is “fine”

In 2019, 3 police cadets were sentenced to a fine for chanting "Sieg Heil" several times during an Alba game on April 27, 2018. While one of the defendants accepted the verdict, the other two appealed successfully. Last Friday, a judge announced the acquittal. For the two, who have not accepted the first-instance decision, there is no fear of losing their jobs once they are currently public servants. The judge announced the acquittal considering they were discreet and therefore not punishable. Some witnesses reminded they could hear clearly both words, and more than once. Source: nd

Another right-wing extremist

The Brandenburg AfD has found a successor to the right-wing extremist Andreas Kalbitz: another right-wing extremist, Hans-Christoph Berndt. He is also a co-founder of the anti-refugee association "Zukunft Heimat", which is monitored by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, and was largely responsible for the racist and asylum-hostile mobilizations in Cottbus, which led to continuous demonstrations and repeated attacks on refugees, especially in 2017 and 2018. Berndt, dentist, was previously the health policy spokesman for the AfD. As such, he repeatedly called for the abolition of all corona protection measures. Source: taz

Germany goes into partial lockdown again

From next Monday on, strict contact restrictions apply in Germany during the month of November. Theaters and restaurants will close, and there will be only ghost games in the Bundesliga. Other issues can be controversial such as gastronomy. To contain the pandemic, restaurants and bars should close also from next Monday on until the end of the month, but not all country heads are convinced that this is necessary. Also, states like Thuringia have only conditionally agreed to the measures. Experts believe the number of new infections per day must be brought down to 4,000 to prevent a dramatic increase in the number of Covid-19 deaths. Source: tagesspiegel


Demonstration against the Corona measures prohibited because of requirements´ violations

Because of numerous violations such as the obligation to wear masks and to keep distance, the Berlin police forbade a demonstration from Alexanderplatz to Friedrichshain on Sunday afternoon. Numerous demonstrators could not be stopped individually, however. Another demonstration in Berlin to protest Corona measures was cancelled at short notice. A police spokeswoman said the organizer cancelled the demonstration at the Großer Stern around 5 pm by telephone. Originally about 10,000 participants were registered for the demonstration. Source: rbb

"An unbelievable frustration"

The Berlin group Ciocia Basia helps unwanted pregnant women from Poland to have a safe abortion. Anne Pfautsch, one of its activists, says that since Poland´s decision on banning it, there come many requests of women who already have had appointments for an abortion there but now cancelled. She reminds abortion in Germany is exempt from punishment under certain conditions until the 14th week of pregnancy. However, there is too one European network, “Abortion Without Borders,” which can aid for instance with late abortions. The organization believes it is necessary to become more visible. Currently, they experience a wave of support such as funding. Source: taz

Federal Constitutional Court has ruled on an urgent application for the Berlin rent cap

The rent cap of the red-red-green coalition in Berlin has cleared its first legal hurdle. The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe rejected a rush application by landlords. The rent cap law consists of two parts. The first one stipulates that rents may no longer be raised for five years. The second stipulates that rents must be lowered above ceilings set by the state. This affects around 340,000 tenant households in the city. Urban development senator Sebastian Scheel (die Linke) said the decision encouraged him to "stick to our housing policy course.” Source: morgenpost

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