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#172: New government, climate gluers, hostage sitch
Yet another weird startup getting cash
Dear 20 Percent,
A long time ago I worked for a while at the Wedding newsroom of Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international state TV channel. There, at all hours of the day, I’d have to cut brutal footage piped in from the Middle East or some other conflict zone and paste it together with text coming in from news agencies to make a somehow coherent 60-second bulletin.
I didn’t like the job. I hated creating content about violence I didn’t really understand, happening in a place I’d never been. I hated trying to turn the death and drama of the world into sanitised blips of video that probably told less than 1% of the story. It was alienating, emotionally draining work.
The “news” is often bad, gruesome or downright horrific. Sometimes, while crafting these e-mails, while deciding which brutal crimes to leave out or leave in, I just want to read about cute zoo animals (thanks, Andrew!)
Usually, what German TV people call the Rausschmeißer, the nugget of light-hearted news comes at the end of the show that makes you forget all the depressing stuff.
Today’s it’s at the beginning: IT’S BERLIN ICE CREAM WEEK UNTIL TOMORROW!!! Happening at 43 artisinal ice cream parlours around the city. That’s it! That’s the good news.
Newsy news down there. 👇👇👇
Help us fill our ice-cream fund with a small contribution at our Patreon! And don’t forget to check out today’s awesome sponsor, Ostrom.
Green light for Berlin GroKo
Local members of the conservative CDU and the centre-left SPD parties voted in favour of the “black-red” coalition or GroKo (Große Koalition, or Grand Coalition) forming a new government to run Berlin. Only 54% of SPD members voted in favour of the idea, while the CDU gave the new coalition, led by CDU leader Kai Wegner (the bald dude in the middle, above) unanimous support. Many in the Berlin SPD worry that their voters could drift to the Greens because the new Senat will be too conservative for comfort. Some consider the CDU as an unpalatable partner because of racist comments made by some politicians following the violence on New Year’s Eve. At any rate, it looks like Wegner will be sworn in as mayor and SPD-leader Franziska Giffey as economy senator on Thursday.
Hostage situation over
The Berlin police’s Spezialeinsatzkommando (SWAT team) freed a final male hostage from a robbery-gone-bad in an antique shop in Keithstraße near Wittenbergplatz in Schöneberg at 2.30am Tuesday morning. A female hostage had been freed earlier. The hostage-taker killed himself and police arrested another armed suspect shortly after the cops were called Monday at 5pm. The area around Kurfürstenstraße, Kleiststraße and Keithstraße was roped off for several hours.
Tensions were high on Berlin’s streets at the weekend and Monday, as Letzte Generation (Final Generation) and other climate activists glued themselves to the tarmac or just blocked traffic in more than 30 spots across town. Rolex and Gucci stores were doused in orange paint. Dozens of activists were arrested. In some cases, angry drivers dragged protesters from the road. A video of an officer inflicting serious pain on a demonstrator did the rounds, and the police said they are now investigating the officer for assault. On Sunday, climate activists briefly interrupted an e-Formel electric car race at Tempelhof. Some 700 cops are on call Tuesday to deal with any Klimakleber (“climate gluers”).
Cash for fungi-protein start-up
A climate-friendly world will require fewer farmed animals. And so a local player has entered the race for non-meat meatiness: Berlin alt-protein company Nosh has raised €3.2 million in a seed-funding round, according to Tech.eu (though the article erroneously calls the firm “developers of traditional meat”). Nosh says it uses fermentation to create “high quality, nutritional and functional ingredients that are similar in performance to animal-based ones”. Which probably means it’s gonna taste like beef even if it’s not. Hey, we did end on some good news!
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit (SPD) was an expert in self-promotion in the days before social media, and in creating catch-phrases. He was mayor from 2001 to 2014 and shuttled into the German spotlight while campaigning in 2001 because tabloids were about to out him. He stole their thunder by announcing during a party conference: “I’m gay. And that’s a good thing.” “And that’s a good thing” became a catch phrase for years. In 2003 he coined the over-used, “Poor, but sexy” about the Hauptstadt. Last night on RBB, he was asked what the catch-phrase of the new coalition government should be: “Black, but shiny.” I almost miss him. Almost. — Andrew
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