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#58: Tesla launch, mobility €€€, corona regs
A Krautrock poster show and the historical 20 percent
Dear 20 Percent,
I’m not the biggest Elon Musk fan and I doubt the mass adoption of electric cars is going to solve any of our grave ecological problems. But setting cables on fire along the train tracks on the RE1 line running out to the Tesla plant (see below) earlier today in protest is as dumb as it gets.
“The target of our sabotage was the 3,000 commuters who work at the Gigafactory," reads a letter sent to a local newspaper signed by “climate and anti-war activists.” “We want to stop the business-as-usual of unecological, expensive, resource-destroying e-mobility.”
The suspected arson attack disrupted not just RE1 trains but also the S3, S5, S7 and S75 S-Bahn lines this morning. Way to go, guys: you just alienated thousands of commuters using one of the most sustainable ways of getting around.
I love Berlin’s broad diversity of activists — but the self-righteous stupidity of some of them is just zum Kotzen.
The Berlin corona stats for Tuesday, March 22
Received booster: 59.1% (58.0% Friday)
New cases in one day: 6,968 (7,953 Friday)
Total deaths: 4,324 (+9 over Friday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 997.1 (1,144.9 Friday)
🔴 7-day hospitalisation incidence (also per 100,000): 20.7 (18.4 Friday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 9.9% (10% Friday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
Tegel refugee centre
Berlin’s arrival centre for Ukrainian refugees opened at former Tegel Airport Sunday. The city says up to 10,000 new arrivals can be processed per day at 120 registration desks. There’s temporary bedding for about 3,900 people. Refugees will be tested for corona and get a medical check-up. There’s even a veterinarian from a Berlin animal shelter to make sure refugee pets are healthy too. Of the thousands arriving in the capital every day, many of those registered in Tegel will be redistributed to other parts of Germany. Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) said: “We are adjusting to a development that is only beginning.” She said Berlin has so far spent €26 million to care for people fleeing the war in Ukraine - not including welfare and health costs. With an estimated 10 million Ukrainians displaced so far, the SPD-Green-FDP national government says it expects 1 million to flee to Germany. The opposition CDU, having to find something to be contrarian about, says the government is lowballing and that the country must be prepared for far greater numbers.
The German government is scrambling for ways to alleviate the war-related surge in fuel prices. After a proposal to cut petrol taxes by finance minister Christian Lindner (FDP) was shot down by the SPD and Greens, “mobility money” is the new big idea. Depending on earnings, low-to-middle income workers would receive an extra €20 to €50 with their pay cheques for at least the next three months. Firms would deduct the payments from the payroll taxes they transfer to the state. It appears that the self-employed — never a priority in Germany, IMHO — as well as the unemployed, have been overlooked. And I ask myself: how is the government going to compensate for the anticipated mustard shortages!?
Corona regs extended till April 1
In a city-state government meeting on Saturday, Berlin leaders decided to wait till April 1 before lifting most pandemic restrictions. The federal government made it possible to lift the restrictions as early as March 20 but allowed states to pass an extension. From April masks will still be required in public transport and mandatory testing will remain in place at schools. And, because Berlin likes to keep things complicated, different rules apply to daycare: Kitas can return to their regular hours, parent meetings can be attended in person (hooray) but mandatory “test-to-stay” (sic) testing for kids will end April 1 (unless they change their minds again). Labour unions oppose a return to longer hours, because they say Kitas are stretched due to corona quarantines, staffing shortages and the likelihood that a large number of new kids from Ukraine will require daycare.
Elon hands over first German-built Teslas
A little over two years after Elon Musk’s announcement (and the cringe German reaction) that Tesla would be building its fourth factory in the sandy pine forest east of the city, the world’s favourite trickster capitalist will hand over the first 30 Brandenburg Teslas to customers in a ceremony at 3pm Tuesday. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and economics minister Robert Habeck (Greens) will be among the 500 invited guests. The bureaucracy the company had to overcome to get the place opened was as giga as the plant itself. Brandenburg officials took their sweet time stamping the necessary documents. Nonetheless, environmentalists say groundwater levels in the region continue to sink and the factory won’t help.
Krautrock poster show!
Can. Faust. Amon Düül II. Kraftwerk. Neu! It took decades for the Germans to acknowledge the influence a loose grouping of 1970s West German bands had on international pop culture. But finally: Germany’s first ever Krautrock poster exhibition runs through April 24 at the klein-aber-fein Bröhan Museum in Charlottenburg. An unexpected and great thing for a museum devoted to Jungendstil to do. The info.
You’re not Berlin’s only 20 percent. In the year 1700, about one-fifth (20 percent) of Berlin’s 28,000 inhabitants were Huguenot refugees who had fled from persecution in France. With the 1685 Edict of Potsdam, Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, encouraged the mass resettlement of the French protestants to Brandenburg and Berlin, whose population had been decimated by slaughter, famine and disease during the 30 Years War (1618-1648). The Huguenot legacy lives on today, for example in the French high school in Tiergarten that was founded for the refugees in 1689.
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