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#177: Giga-train strike, bee swarm, racist attack
Plus the rent cap isn't really working
Hey 20 Percent!
I just want to take this moment to congratulate you all. Each and every one of you. Individually. You did it. You survived the Berlin winter. We are now into the season of parks, riverbanks and long nights with cheap beer from the Späti peppered by visitors from abroad.
Progressive politics and technological innovations will hopefully allow us to suffer many more such winters. But at least we’ll do it together. Over and over again, like a Bill Murray movie.
You can only really enjoy a Berlin summer if you suffered the winter.
Have a good, sunny Eurovision weekend!
If you’d like to sponsor a Landwehrkanalufer Späti beer for us at 20 Percent, feel free to throw us some change over on Patreon. Think of it as leaving your Pfand for us to return. Or you can pick up a trendy mug!
Yet another strike
Train employee union EVG has still been unable to agree a new contract with various employers and has called yet another strike — from Sunday at 10pm until Tuesday at midnight. All Deutsche Bahn trains will likely be affected as well as the Berlin S-Bahn (it’s run by Deutsche Bahn) but not our subways, trams and buses, because they’re operated by BVG, which is getting along with its unions. EVG wants a 12% pay bump while the employers are offering 10% (among other issues). The media labeled the last strike as the ‘Mega-strike’ so this one is predictably the — yes — ‘Giga-strike’. Our advice: Bike Monday and Tuesday or work from home.
Details on racist attack in Brandenburg
A teacher from a Kreuzberg school told RBB about a terrifying racist incident at a lake in Brandenburg last weekend, which forced the students to abandon a study retreat and return home. The high school students told the teacher about midnight that three aggressive, masked individuals had entered their hostel and asked for the “headscarf-wearing girls”. The teacher locked the doors and called police, who then escorted some of the students away from the hostel at Heidesee. The teacher was also reportedly threatened by a group that had gathered outside. A group of pro-Russian motorcyclists were also staying at Heidesee at the time but police say they were not related to the incident — cops are interviewing about two dozen, mostly juvenile, suspects from a nearby town who were at the lake for a birthday party.
Rent cap? What rent cap?
Germany’s federal rent cap legislation (officially known as the Mietpreisbremse or rent brake) is largely ignored in Berlin and leads to artificial rent increases, the Berliner Mieterverein renters’ association said. The association looked at 935 cases where rents appeared to be illegally high in 2021 (new rents cannot exceed 10% of the average local rent) and discovered that in 912 of the cases (98%!) the rent was illegally high. The most common culprits were corporate landlords. Tenants can sue to have the rent lowered but landlords face no consequences other than lower rental income from the rent brake — something the group wants changed. The illegally high rents are also included when officials calculate average local rents, bumping the yardstick up and making the law ineffective — the association wants lawmakers to ditch that practice.
Bees! Bees! Bees!
Emergency personnel Thursday had to call a beekeeper for help after a beehive tipped over and up to 15,000 bees swarmed at the Petersburger Straße/Kochhannstraße intersection in Friedrichshain, according to Tagesspiegel. Firefighters first secured the area before the bees could be re-homed — a tram driver first alerted authorities. Emergency personnel can only intervene when a swarm threatens a school or kita — they carry pesticides just in case.
The U2 and U4 are the lines most prone to delays or cancellations due to mechanical issues, according to Tagesspiegel (paywall). Public transport authority BVG last year counted a total of 6,700 such disruptions, level with 2021. In third place is the U7, followed by the one everyone has been waiting for … the U8.
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