#133: Soldier DJ charged, city can force landlords to sell, right-wing judge in hot water
Plus: That's Frau Merkel to you
Hey 20 Percent!
On paper I’m an adult but almost daily I’m reminded that it’s a wonder I’ve survived this long without parental intervention. I’ve spent the last week making notes of one of the most German of German holidays — National Warning Day — and I even used our Twitter to tweet about it.
But then yesterday at 11am I nearly suffered a widowmaker heart attack when my Handy began to scream. At first I thought it was something to do with my children and then I thought it was a reminder of some sort before my adult self kicked in and reminded me of what it was — Germany testing a national warning system after a similar test failed two years ago.
The test was mostly successful this year, though some mobiles didn’t receive the warning for whatever reason. Luckily, Berlin hasn’t yet replaced the civil defense sirens it dismantled after the Cold War but they’ll probably be back for the next test, meaning I’ll be surprised by not only my phone but also a siren around the corner.
Have a good weekend y’all!
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🍾🍾🍾Save the date: The 20 Percent Berlin Office Christmas Party, 8pm on December 22, at It’s a Bar, Spreewaldplatz, Kreuzberg. 🍾🍾🍾
Berlin corona stats for Friday, December 9
New cases in one day: 1,515 (1,524 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 5,174 (+19 over Tuesday)
➡️ 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 235.4 (217.1 Tuesday)
➡️ 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 16.9 (16.9 Tuesday)
➡️ Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 5.1% (5.0% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
Corporate landlords can be forced to sell
A commission tasked with implementing a 2021 referendum to buy apartments back from corporate landlords has concluded that using eminent domain (when the state forces the sale of property for public good) would be both legally and financially feasible, according to a preliminary report leaked to Berlin media, Tagesspiegel reported. The commission believes eminent domain clauses in the German constitution (the Grundgesetz) would allow Berlin to pay below market value for the flats — originally set between €29 billion and €36 billion — and then hand them to one of the city’s public housing companies. Berliners in September 2021 voted to limit corporate landlords to no more than 3,000 apartments each and force those with more to sell the flats back to the Hauptstadt. The commission is supposed to complete its work in the next few months and then it would be up to Berlin politicians to convert the referendum result into a law — and then it would be up to the notoriously investor-friendly courts to rule whether it was constitutional or not.
DJ Bundeswehr spinning charges
Not even soldiers are immune from the temptations of Berlin: Prosecutors Thursday said they were charging a German Oberfeldwebel (sergeant major) with disobeying orders for moonlighting as a DJ while out on sick leave. The soldier performed as Anastasia Rose on Twitch and in obscure German cities such as Erkelenz at least 23 times within a year despite being ordered 10 times to knock it off and be sick. Before entering sick leave she worked as a nurse at the Bundeswehrkrankenhaus (army hospital) in Mitte — she’s now facing up to three years in the clink where, judging by the number of jail Tiktoks, she’ll still be able to stream bad techno.
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The coup is coming from inside the house
Nationwide raids Thursday against right-wing conspiracy theorists known as Reichsbürger who are hoping to overthrow the German government netted not only a real prince, a celebrity chef and but also a Berlin judge who is a former parliamentarian from the anti-immigration AfD party, according to RBB24. The judge, Birgit Malsack-Winkemann, is now facing disciplinary action from the Landgericht (district court), where she had presided primarily over real estate suits, Berlin justice senator Lena Kreck (Die Linke) said. Berlin is also appealing an October ruling by an administrative court that refused to force Malsack-Winkemann into retirement after incendiary remarks against immigrants (ergo: us).
Thirsty Brandenburg, thirsty Tesla
The Tesla factory southeast of Berlin is looking for new sources of water as part of an expansion after setting up shop in one of Germany’s driest regions, according to Stern magazine. The area has already begun rationing water to some households because of a severe drought but the US carmaker wants to expand and has already begun clearing 70 hectares of forest so it can boost production to 500,000 cars annually — it currently reportedly produces just over 100,000. Environmental protection groups have promised to sue to prevent Tesla from digging wells and Grünheide, the Brandenburg municipality where it’s based, has yet to give the OK.
Angela Merkel (CDU) — the only chancellor many of us were aware of — left office a year, ahem, a year and two days, ago and what a different world that was. Here’s a roundup of what her legacy was and what it’s become. She defended herself in a recent Die Zeit piece (paywall) saying she regretted not doing more when Russia marched into Crimea but said she couldn’t legally halt Germany’s energy dependence on the former Soviet republic.
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