#128: Berlin's Liz Truss, rails blocked, bones buried
And boy is Ostkreuz busy
Hello 20 Percent!
Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) may become Berlin’s own version of Liz Truss.
Well, sort of.
Giffey’s reign hasn’t been an absolute disaster and she will have been in her position a lot, lot longer than Truss. But she still faces dethronement because Berlin on Feb. 12 has to repeat the election of its parliament as well as borough-level councils, a court ruled Wednesday. Innumerable errors in the original Sept. 2021 election prevented thousands from voting properly in part because the Berlin marathon was the same day.
The marathon, it has to be said, doesn’t have to be repeated.
It’s the first time an election will been redone in Berlin. Giffey emerged as head of our city-state because she led the party that got the most votes in the election (ergo, the senior partner in our ruling coalition).
But that could change — since the election, the environmental Die Grüne have pulled even with Giffey’s SPD in Berlin polls, in large part because of the party’s wildly successful federal ministers, Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck. Meanwhile the SPD’s Olaf Scholz, Germany’s chancellor, has been kind of meh.
Should Die Grüne get more votes in February: Tschüssi Giffey!
Of course, Truss’ own party turned on her but for Giffey, it would have been Berlin voters. Ouch.
But all of this of course is just armchair coaching because — yes! — the 20 Percent is not allowed to vote in Berlin, even though we pour in so much tax money and otherwise contribute to life in Germany’s capital.
Have a good weekend!
Berlin corona stats for Friday, November 18
New cases in one day: 1,494 (1,588 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 5,071 (+42 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 148.9 (168.2 Tuesday)
🔴7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 11.8 (10.2 Tuesday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 6.1% (4.9% Tuesday - YELLOW AGAIN😱)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
Only some new apartments, but not a lot
It becomes evermore unclear how the ruling coalition plans to make good on their promise of 20,000 new apartments per year in Berlin. In the first nine months, officials issued 8.7% fewer building permits for new residential construction over a year earlier, according to Tagesspiegel. The figure includes a 5.4% decline in permits for apartment houses as well as a 27.2% fall in permits for single-family houses and duplexes. The permits represent just 11, 813 new apartments — that won’t be built for several years. Still, developers have applied to build four times as many new apartments in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg over last year (likely because of anticipation over the opening of the Amazon tower) and just over twice as many as the previous year in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf because: Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf.
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Bone fragments to be re-buried
About 16,000 human bone fragments discovered on the Free University’s campus in southwestern Berlin will now be buried in the Dahlem forest cemetery in a non-denominational service, according to newswire dpa. Scientists were called in to examine the bones, first discovered in 2014, amid speculation they were part of a sinister collection — Nazi doctor Josef Mengele once sent body parts to a defunct institute at the university. Although the source of the fragments remains unknown, scientists reportedly believe the bones were not properly acquired — some include signage that indicates they were part of an anthropological collection. The burial follows discussions with various victim groups.
Not so westward-ho on trains
The ICE train route between Berlin and Hanover will remain closed until at least Sunday after two cargo trains collided near Wolfsburg Thursday. One of the trains was carrying propane gas and still presents a danger, leading to the closure, according to RBB24. The tracks and overhead powerlines will likely also have to be repaired. If you were hoping to go to Amsterdam, that service now stops in Hanover. Most other routes westward from Berlin take detours but include significant delays. Check your app!
Last chance to see: CHOM5KY vs CHOMSKY
What better way to spend a chilly weekend afternoon than immersing yourself in a heady mash-up of virtual reality, artificial intelligence and the work of lefty legend and accomplished linguist Noam Chomsky. Don a pair of VR goggles and converse with Chomsky_AI – a captivatingly realistic artificial personality. Only through Sunday at the KINDL space in Neukölln. Slots still available. Info and tickets.
More trains stop at Ostkreuz than any other train station in Germany (thanks to the S-Bahn). But it doesn’t accommodate the most passengers (Hamburg Hauptbahnhof holds that distinction).
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