Discover more from 20 Percent Berlin
#165: Charges in lethal bike accident, cocaine, test centers
Changes isn't just a Bowie song
Hey 20 Percent,
The only thing Germans are more afraid of than Durchzug (drafts) is change. At the end of every month, German papers run an article about what’ll change in the coming month and I always chuckle because they always sound like a warning: You won’t believe the changes we’ll face next month! The changes are usually very minor.
But April will bring more than just showers to yield May flowers this year, RBB warns this month. Public transport will become more expensive April 1 (AB will be €3.20 rather than €3 and a discounted four-ticket ticket will be €10 instead of €9.40).
The last remaining corona regulations will also end — visitors having to wear masks while visiting medical and care facilities. Rules for gay men donating blood were also lifted (they previously had to guarantee they didn’t have a new or multiple sex partners before donating, which was leftover from draconian AIDS fears decades ago).
Oh, and you can buy a €49 ticket, the successor to last summer’s wildly successful €9 ticket — you can use it to ride all public transport throughout Germany as well as regional Deutsche Bahn trains. It won’t become valid until May 1 though. You’ll still be able to pay just €29/month for Berlin AB through April, though that program will likely end April 30 (it’s part of the talks for a new government).
After Saturday, Germans can relax again. Drafts will again become the biggest perceived danger to our Teutonic Mitmenschen (colleagues). That is, until May 1 rolls around.
Have a good weekend,
Here’s some things that never change:
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We’ll have a new government, soonish
Negotiations to form Berlin’s next government — and the first led by the conservative CDU in decades — are to be completed today, according to RBB. The CDU’s Kai Wegner is set to become mayor and will likely also become education senator, the equivalent of a minister but Berlin has to be different. The CDU will get four other senatorial posts, most oddly that of climate senator — they want to keep as many parking spots in the city as possible while the SPD would like to convert some parking lots to apartments. The SPD will get the remaining five top spots. Current mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) is expected to become the urban development chief. More next week.
Fatal accident leads to charges
A truck driver who struck and killed a French comic artist in Friedrichshain in September 2021 will face charges of negligent manslaughter, a court in Tiergarten ruled. Laëtitia Graffart was riding on a pop-up bike lane on Frankfurter Allee when her path was blocked by an illegally parked armored car, Tagesspiegel reported. She switched to the street without looking and was struck by the truck. An engineering company recreated the fatal accident and determined both Graffart and the driver were at fault — the driver should have recognized the danger posed to the cyclist by the armored car and then failed to react after hitting the cyclist — had he stopped, she would not have been crushed by his trailer.
Test center jail time
Remember how those corona test centers felt super-sketchy? That’s because they were. A 47-year-old Späti owner was sentenced to eight years and nine months after defrauding the government out of €9.7 million via 18 of his convenience stores that he repurposed into test centers, Spiegel reported. The court also ordered officials to recover the money but at least €6.6 million has already been transferred to Turkey. The sentence isn’t just for the 67 cases of fraud he was charged with: Three years and eight months are for previous convictions for rape and assault.
More cocaine news
After discovering Berlin leads Germany (but only ranks 16th in Europe) in cocaine use in a study that excluded Frankfurt am Main, the usual champion, we now know where all that blow comes from: A fruit wholesaler in Groß Keutz southeast of Berlin. Cops found 1.2 tonnes of the drug there Tuesday, the most-ever seized. The fuzz seized 660 kilos at the wholesaler in August as well. Maybe just station a cop there full time? The drugs were stashed in banana crates and originated in Ecuador. The Potsdamer Neue Nachrichten valued the latest seizure at €60 million. And, by the way, a 61-year-old Colombian was sentenced this week to 11 years for organizing the transport of the drug into Berlin. Most of his efforts failed because drugs were stolen en route or because detectives discovered his plans, according to Die Welt.
A special police unit with 30 employees is investigating 13,500 cases of suspected corona fraud in Berlin, the most of any of Germany’s 16 states. NRW, the country’s most populous state, has the second-highest number of suspected corona fraud cases with 5,400, according to Tagesschau. Berlin was likely taken to the bank to the tune of €211 million, or €57.02 per Berliner.
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