#137: Refugee spots, zoo re-opens, brothel owners win suit
Thanks for coming to the party!
Hey 20 Percent!
Huge thanks to everyone that came out to our office Christmas party last night. Judging by the size of my hangover, it was a success. Thanks for the feedback and the beers — we’ll plan some more events because our readers are interesting folk.
I’m waist-deep in various holiday plans and events (I’m sure y’all are too) so I’ll keep it brief. If you’re in town next week and want to see some comedy, I’ll be performing with two other Berlin stalwarts at the Laugh Triangle, Dec. 27 at Z-Bar in Mitte.
And if you need some last minute gifts, Berlin or otherwise, check out this issue’s sponsor: Heipl Berlin, a design boutique in Kreuzberg.
Have a great whatever-winter-holiday-you-celebrate, wherever you are. And if you don’t celebrate anything — I get it, and I’m sorry you don’t even get a day off this year.
Berlin corona stats for Friday, December 23
New cases in one day: 1,700 (1,662 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 5,229 (+18 over Tuesday)
➡️ 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 261.1 (266.2 Tuesday)
➡️ 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 20.1 (20.5 Tuesday)
➡️ Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 5.6% (4.6% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
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The Berlin Zoo is back
Christmas came early over at Bahnhof Zoo or, specifically, the Berlin Zoo that gave the train station its name — the animal menagerie will re-open Dec. 24 after closing in mid-November when avian flu was discovered in a dead hammerkop. Rules would usually call for the zoo to murder all 1,200 of its birds to halt the spread of the disease but officials gave it a bye this time. Would seem odd that a rule is being broken in Germany but this is Berlin — laws are just suggestions here. While the zoo had to close, the adjacent aquarium remained open the entire time, unlike aquariums elsewhere in the city.
Berlin owes brothel owners €100k
The one thing you can rely on in Berlin is for every level of administration to be making questionable decisions. It’s sometimes quaint. Sometimes infuriating. And sometimes expensive. Our city-state has been ordered to pay the owners of the Artemis mega-brothel, easily seen from the Autobahn in southwestern Berlin, €50,000 each after accusing them of being part of organized crime (Hell’s Angels, to be specific) — prosecutors during an April 2016 press conference even likened them to Al Capone. That has since been proven to be untrue, leading a Berlin court to award the damages, according to newswire dpa. The ruling came after Berlin appealed a previous court’s order to settle the case by donating €25,000 to charity. While mocking Berlin prosecutors, we should probably also at least acknowledge their efforts to combat human trafficking, something they could do even more of.
Oh, Christmas tree
Last Generation climate activists Wednesday wheeled a boom lift onto Pariser Platz and then sawed the top off the Christmas tree there to raise awareness for the lack of action against climate change. A sign hanging on the lift said that while they were just cutting off the “tip of the Christmas tree”, we had only seen the “tip” of the climate catastrophe we’re facing. Whatever you think of their activism, it was a pretty creative take.
Running out of room for refugees
Berlin officials are scrambling to find more spots for refugees even as a new refugee home opens at Tempelhof today with room for up to 840 people — 200 are moving in today, according to RBB24. The problem: the refugee home at the former Tegel airport has to close in mid-January because a college is moving into Terminals A and B, eliminating as many as 1,900 spots. Several hundred refugees continue to arrive in Berlin every day and some are expecting the numbers to climb as winter worsens in Ukraine. State interior minister Katja Kipping (Die Linke) said she’s confident enough hotel rooms can be found for the growing number.
Last year, 54 people unnecessarily spent 6,936 days in jail in Berlin in 2021, costing Berlin €520,000, according to Tagesspiegel. Most of the people were kept in jail while their cases were investigated, up to 768 days, and then released when officials decided not to pursue charges. Those incorrectly incarcerated then receive €75 per day in damages — the same as elsewhere in the nation.
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Heipl Berlin’s concept is simple: The owner goes in search of beautiful, useful things that you can then discover in her store in Kreuzberg. And owner Sabine Bulkeley has her own line of Berlin wares from Fernsehturm coffee cups, hand-made in Berlin, to My Friend had a Bar in Berlin t-shirts and hoodies. Stop by or order online to grab a last-minute gift for a friend or to spend some of the holiday cash when you’re back in town next week. Heipl Berlin: We search, you discover. Schlesische Strasse 30.