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#38: Masks, minimum wage, cannibal, Tesla
and the shamelessness of corona protestors.
Every Monday, corona deniers, skeptics, anti-vaxxers, Querdenker or whatever you want to call them have been organising “Monday strolls” across the country - unregistered demonstrations. “Strolls” sounds harmless enough. In reality, the gatherings frequently end in violence. The choice of Mondays is no coincidence. It harks back to the Monday demonstrations in autumn 1989 when dissatisfied East Germans took to the streets en masse — as part of the “peaceful revolution” that resulted in the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9 of that year. The corona protesters are conflating what they call a “vaccination dictatorship” with an authoritarian, one-party state that opened fire at its citizens if they attempted to cross the border.
Recently, such “strollers” have been protesting outside the Gethsemanekirche in Prenzlauer Berg, which was a hub of resistance against the East German state in the 1980s. The choice of location shows you just how deluded some of these people have become. Social media bubbles have convinced them that they are the true victims of the pandemic, that they are the truly oppressed. It’s pathetic and shameless and makes a mockery of the people who risked prison or worse for daring to stand up against East Germany.
Thankfully, the latest corona protest outside Gethsemanekirche was met by a substantial number of counter demonstrators. One of them held a placard that said: 2022 ist nicht 1989.
More news below!
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The Berlin corona stats for Tuesday, January 11
Fully vaccinated: 72.2% (71.8% Friday)
Received booster: 43.3% New cases in one day: +5,976 (5,962 Friday)
Total deaths: 4,043 (+11 over Friday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 737.2 (511.5 Friday)
🔴 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 10.6 (3.8 Friday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 19.1% (18.2% Friday)
Source: Berlin’s corona information page
Back to FFP2
The Berlin government meets today (Tuesday) to discuss local implementation of the stricter rules agreed at Friday’s federal meeting. The main update will be a new version of 2G+ for restaurants and bars: double-jabbed plus booster or a same-day negative test if you want to dine in. Also: Berlin will again require FFP2 masks in both retail and public transport.
Blackout, heat outtage affects thousands
For a few minutes on Sunday afternoon, the lights went out in around 20,000 households in Friedrichshain and parts of Prenzlauer Berg and Lichtenberg — thanks to a technical issue at a substation. Due to the five-minute power failure, utility Vattenfall said it had to shut down its cogeneration plant in Rummelsberg. This, in turn, left an estimated 90,000 households without heat and hot water for a number of hours early Monday.
Minimum wage boost
A key promise made by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and his new “traffic light” government was to raise the minimum hourly wage to €12 within a year. The idea is getting plenty of pushback from employer associations, who say they will fight the increase in court. They claim it clashes with the constitutional right to collective bargaining - which seems a little far-fetched, if you ask me. Speaking to dpa newswire, Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) dismissed the criticism and said the increase would come by the end of 2022: “It’s a question of fairness and respect for decent work.” He said the main beneficiaries would be people in eastern Germany and women working in low-wage sectors. The minimum wage currently stands at €9.82
Brandenburg state authorities have granted Tesla the right to produce 2,000 Model Ys at the new factory in Grünheide for testing purposes. However, selling the cars is verboten. Tesla applied to expand its test production capacity after trials had revealed quality problems. The plant has yet to receive full approval from the state environment agency and the California automaker says it now expects the plant to open properly in February. It was previously to open last summer and then by the end of the year. Maybe it’s not done charging yet?
Forty-two-year-old ex-schoolteacher Stefan R. - who went by CanOpener79 online - was given a life sentence (in Germany a minimum of 15 years) by a Berlin court Friday for murdering a man he met on a dating site as well as desecrating the victim’s body. After the victim’s bones were found by walkers in a park in Pankow in November 2020, police were able a establish a link to the suspect, who still had a bone saw in his flat when they knocked on his door. The defendent’s lawyers argued the man had died of drugs they had consumed together and claimed that Stefan R. had disposed of the body in panic.
Save the date: The Future
I’m not a huge fan of a lot of contemporary dance, but I've always loved watching the work of Berlin-based Argetinean choreographer Constanza Macras, whose pieces are funny, high-energy, genre-bending meditations on a theme - and this time it’s time itself. In German and English, with German and English translation. At the Volksbühne in Mitte, January 18,19,20. The info.
In January 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but before the end of East Germany, East German border troops removed segments of the Wall that had been painted by Kreuzberg artists in the 1980s and shipped them to Monaco, where they were auctioned off for around 2 million deutsche mark (€1.02 million). The deal was handled by a state trading company called Limex, but the funds were supposed to benefit Charité Hospital. To this day, hundreds of thousands of marks remain unaccounted for - they probably lined the pockets of ex-communist officials, the very people who had defended the Wall till the end.
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