#82: Weapons, IT fiasco, Gorillas burn €€€, bike demo
We're having a meet-up next Tuesday!
Dear 20 Percent,
Andrew and I have been cranking out this newsletter every Tuesday and Friday, come rain or shine, since last September. We launched it immediately after the shutdown of the English edition of a local newspaper we’d both been working at. Our former bosses were sceptical about the potential of an English news medium for Berlin, but we were of a different opinion.
In under 10 months we've grown our list from zero to 4,000 subscribers — with more of you signing up every day. We’re extremely grateful for the interest and support, with extra special thanks to our generous Patreon funders and kind sponsors.
Many of you comment or get in touch with us digitally, but next Tuesday we’ll have a chance to connect in the real world at our first 20 Percent Berlin meet-up at Markthalle Pfefferberg, with the generous support of the location’s new vendor, our friends at Gully Burger, who make Indian-inspired burgers and street food — and have been enjoying rave reviews.
So, save the date: 7pm, Tuesday June 21, Markthalle Pfefferberg, Schönhauser Allee 176, Prenzlauer Berg, U-Bahn Senefelder Platz.
Our lovely Patreons receive a free drink and a discount on food.
See you there!
More news below.
The Berlin corona stats for Tuesday, June 14
Received booster: 61.3% (61.3% Friday)
New cases in one day: 2,046 (2,237 Friday)
Total deaths: 4,632 (+4 over Friday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 292.7 (207 Friday)
🟡 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 4.7 (4.7 Friday)
🟢 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 2.7% (2.7% Friday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
Germany still dragging its feet on weapons
Since the war on Ukraine began more than three months ago, Germany, as Europe’s richest country, has come under fire from Ukraine and other countries for failing to provide significant military hardware in the struggle against the Russian invasion force. Chancellor Olaf Schloz (SPD) promised a Zeitenwende (new epoch) when it came to defense spending but in the case of direct support to Ukraine it turns out that most of the military support has yet to materialise. The government has also been vague about what it has sent and what it will be sending in future. Now, in response to a written question to the government by a Die Linke parliamentarian, the Economics Ministry has stated that Germany has committed to sending €350 million in weapons and equipment, mostly used kit from the German military. By contrast, the US has sent arms worth more than €4 billion. Shipments of German anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, fragmentation grenades and 20 million rounds of ammunition have actually arrived in Ukraine. But pledges to finally send heavy weaponry like howitzers, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine have yet to be fulfilled - though the defense ministry says it will finally send 15 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks in July. Meanwhile, Scholz is rumoured to maybe be planning a visit with the leaders of France and Italy by the end of the month.
Berlin courts have huge IT problems
Berlin’s digitalisation problems extend far beyond getting an appointment at the Bürgeramt. An audit of IT systems used by Berlin’s justice department by the company HiSolutions found that 40 different types of outdated software are being used by the court system, reports Berliner Zeitung. Some programmes are even decades old and support for them ceased years ago. The audit was performed after the city-state’s courthouse IT infrastructure suffered several major crashes last autumn. In a recent open letter, the Berlin council of judges wrote: “The IT disruptions to judicial work in the form of slow, sluggish data processing and the ongoing interruptions even without a complete IT system failure add up to an average of one hour per judicial working day.” The consequences could be grave, the judges warned: “If review deadlines pertaining detention, such as in psychiatric hospitals or preventive detention, cannot be met as a result of IT disruptions, there is a risk that persons who have already proven in the past to be life-threatening to their fellow human beings could be released.” Sigh.
Annual cycle demo - autobahns closed to cars
Every June I tell myself I want to finally ride my bike on a car-free autobahn, but somehow I never get around to it. I’m talking about the Sternfahrt of course. According to organisers, 30,000 people took part in this year’s “star ride” on Sunday. In the an annual demonstration for better cycling conditions, cyclists ride from the outskirts into the city centre along 18 different routes, including major highways like the AVUS and A100 which are temporarily closed to motor vehicles. The riders converged at the Großer Stern traffic circle in Tiergarten where the annual Umweltfestival awaits them.
Lights out soon for Gorillas?
Grocery-delivery app Gorillas is bleeding talent and money, according to start-up news site Sifted.eu. Two top HR execs have bailed on the company, which is known for its controversial treatment of employees and casual interpretation of German labour law. Both “chief people officer” Deena Fox (based in NYC) and VP for HR Linda van Velzen (based in Amsterdam) have jumped ship. Meanwhile, a source told the site that the Berlin unicorn has been burning through €60 million per month and had around just €300 million left in cash at the end of May.
Event: Berlin Fringe
Berlin Fringe is back at Comedy Café Berlin, June 30th – July 3rd!
Featuring award-winning local and international comedians - right here in Berlin.
We're thrilled to be back after a 2 year hiatus with a lean, mean and hilarious festival featuring 8 comedians over 4 days. Go to berlinfringe.com for a full festival program - individual tickets and festival passes on sale now!
Tickets and info: https://berlinfringe.com/
The highest temperature ever recorded in Berlin was 38.9°Celsius (102.02° Fahrenheit), measured in August 2015 at a weather station in Müggelheim in the southeast fringes of the city. Temperatures are expected exceed 30° C for the first time this coming Saturday.
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