#129: Protest closes BER, stolen watches, new Hertha owner
And how much corona should we report?
We learned to write this newsletter back when we were all confronted with corona but now the pandemic feels a little like a secondary news item — like the location of the newest Chinese noodle joint or scores from some soccer tournament in the Middle East. For over a year we’ve been dutifully reporting the corona stats, including the pandemic traffic light, which I only last week realized our fine city-state doesn’t use anymore.
The traffic lights were supposed to spark legislative action any time statistics got so bad that a light moved from green to red but statistics quickly got that bad — and haven’t changed much. Legislative action has been mixed.
So we’ll stop including the traffic light. Should we stop including the corona stats altogether? Let us know in the comments here or on Twitter. And as always, feel free to support us over on Patreon if you like what we do, or click the share button below.
And be sure to visit this issue’s sponsor, Expath.
Have a good weekend!
Berlin corona stats for Friday, November 25
New cases in one day: 998 (1,379 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 5,123 (+34 over Tuesday)
➡️ 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 157.2 (145.9 Tuesday)
➡️ 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 12.6 (11 Tuesday)
➡️ Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 4.3% (4.8% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
Protestors close BER, temporarily
While we learned from corona, Last Generation climate activists have apparently been learning from their lazy afternoons running and biking around the runways at Tempelhof — on Thursday they took their protest to BER, sparking the airport to rethink its security after some of the activists even glued themselves to the tarmac, according to Tagesspiegel. No flights left or landed at BER for about two hours around 4pm while police removed the activists, who are apparently stepping up their protests over the lack of action to counter climate change. The group’s Twitter showed three protestors trespassing through a fence and onto the airport grounds including one on a bike. The activists are now facing potential charges of dangerously disrupting air traffic and vandalism — 15 flights reportedly had to be diverted and five were cancelled.
I picked the wrong career
Meanwhile Berlin thieves have apparently been learning from the Oceans heist movie franchise: A handful of hoods Saturday made off with 1,000 luxury watches worth at least €10 million as well as other goods stored at a private safety deposit box company in Charlottenburg, according to T-Online. Watchmaster reportedly had 2,200 watches stored at Vallog GmbH, which rents out boxes in a former Commerzbank branch. The thieves gained access to the safe and broke open the secure boxes but reportedly weren’t specifically targeting the Watchmaster bounty. Police said they may know who was responsible and were called back to the scene Monday when customers hoping to remove their remaining property tussled with Vallog staff.
Hertha has a new owner (and it can only get better)
And the former owner of Berlin football team Hertha BSC learned from Berlin’s Cold War past: The club has a new owner after a tiff between previous owner Lars Windhorst and the club’s president peaked with a summer spy scandal — yes, a spy scandal. Miami’s 777 Partners will take the German financier’s 67.4% stake for an undisclosed sum — Windhorst had paid €374 million for the investment. Windhorst has had a turbulent relationship with Hertha after buying in in 2019. This summer he sparred with the club’s new president, Kay Bernstein, and reportedly hired Israeli spies to dethrone him. To be fair, should the owners have any success at all, that would be an improvement — the club, which plays at the Olympic Stadium, has lingered near the bottom of the Bundesliga's first division in recent years.
Energy getting more expensive
Oh, and Berlin’s utilities are learning from the city’s landlords: Vattenfall, the largest electricity provider, said this week it would bump up its basic tarif by 25%, costing the average Berlin an household an additional €17 per month, according to Morgenpost. Users will now pay 41.41 cents per KWh, up from 33.12, beginning in February — albeit below the national average of 46 cents per KWh. It will also increase its basic fee to €9.50 from €7.49 as well as introduce a meter usage charge that will vary by meter. This after Gasag, Berlin’s default gas provider, said it would nearly double its price to about 19.69 cents per KWh from about 10 cents per KWh (the price depends on usage) bumping the average gas bill up to €96 per month. The German government will cap the price for electricity at 40 cents per KWh beginning in January for 80% of normal usage and at 12 cents per KWh of gas beginning in March.
On this day in 1986, Karsten Klünder and Dirk Deckert fled East Germany across the Baltic Sea on home-made windsurfing gear — styrofoam insulation was used for the boards, pole vault poles for masts and construction tarps for sails. Klünder made the 70km crossing from Rügen to Denmark in just over four hours on the first night — Deckert’s Czech wetsuit tore, forcing him to return to shore for repairs. He made it across the next night.
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