• Tom W

News round-up #2

Updated: Dec 22, 2019

A summary of stories from Berlin and Germany this week.


Doctor fined for advertising abortions

A doctor has been fined €2,500 for "advertising" abortions. Kristina Hänel was found guilty under Section 219a of the Penal Code because of the information she provided on her website. The law has recently been changed so that information about abortions is now allowed, but information about methods is not. Hänel has vowed to appeal to the highest court.

Call to end ‘faith tests’ for asylum applicants

The Evangelical Church in Germany has called for an end to court proceedings in which the Christian faith of asylum seekers is scrutinised. Some refugees who have converted from Islam face persecution if they are deported to their country of origin. The church said it is not for courts to judge the seriousness of a request to be baptised.

Karstadt workers strike

On Thursday, employees of the Galeria-Karstadt-Kaufhof group went on strike. At Alexanderplatz, 400 employees demonstrated. Since the three chains merged, average wages have been almost 15% below the existing collective agreement. The empire of billionaire René Benko includes 200 stores, with a total of 34,000 employees. There are fears Benko is not so much interested in department stores as in real estate. At Hermannplatz, for example, he wants to tear down the historic Karstadt store for a new building.

Court refuses Amazon permission for Sunday shifts

The online giant applied in December 2015 for a permit for shifts on two Advent Sundays for eleven of its logistics centres. According to Germany's Working Hours Act, work on Sundays is only allowed if a company would otherwise suffer "disproportionate damage". The permit for 800 employees at the Rheinberg site in Düsseldorf was granted, but courts later revoked it. A higher court has now confirmed the decision, saying the Christmas rush does not justify working on Sundays.


Berlin declares climate emergency

The state of Berlin has declared a climate emergency. CO2 reduction measures must be implemented more quickly, senators agreed this week. “We want to go beyond our previous target of reducing CO2 emissions by 85 percent," mayor Michael Müller explained. However, the senate stopped short of agreeing to a reduction of at least 95 percent demanded by the Green senator Regine Günther.

Neonazi graffiti attack in Neukölln

On Tuesday night, fascists sprayed the windows of a burger restaurant with Nazi symbols. They also gained access to the neighbouring house at Wildenbruchstr. 5, Neukölln, where they sprayed swastikas and SS runes in the stairwell. Three cars parked in front of the shops had their tyres punctured.

Protest to save Meuterei leftie bar

More than 250 people demonstrated last weekend for the preservation of the collectively-run bar Meuterei (“Mutiny”) on Reichenberger Str., Kreuzberg. The landlord Zelos Properties GmbH refused to renew the tenancy in June. Since then, the collective have been occupying the premises without a tenancy agreement. An eviction hearing is scheduled for 23 January 2020.

State plan to buy property for artists

Berlin's culture senator wants to secure cultural areas in the capital from 2020 by buying property. Until now, it has been customary for the state of Berlin to subsidise artists' studios, for example, in the form of cultural funding. In the future, the state will buy and manage its own premises for cultural purposes through a new state-owned company.

Source: Neues Deutschland

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