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  • The EXB news briefing: August 30, 2018

Berlin

The EXB news briefing: August 30, 2018

In the German papers this week: Vexing and perplexing news stories from Berlin and beyond...

Image for The EXB news briefing: August 30, 2018 A weekly round-up of news stories that piqued our interest or made us scratch our heads. Fight the fascists All eyes have been on the Saxon city of Chemnitz ever since the fatal stabbing of a German national, for which two immigrants are allegedly responsible, sparked two days of unprecedented xenophobic unrest this past Sunday. Shocked citizens and activists have already hit the streets of Dresden, Cologne, and Leipzig calling to stop the violence and chanting “Nazis out!” Now it’s Berlin’s turn… Take to the streets tomorrow at 14:00 in front of the Saxon State Representative’s Office for Sachsen: Stopp den Mob! (“Saxony: Stop the Mob!”) backed by, among others, Change.org. If you can’t make tomorrow, the usual suspects of the left scene from Trotzkyists to the Neukölln branch of Die Linke are gathering on Hermannplatz this evening at 18:30. Arm, sexy aber employed? Berlin is in a healthy state, or so announced our Green, Romanian-born Economics Minister, Ramona Pop on Monday. Latest reports show that Berlin’s GDP went up 3.1 percent in 2017, with 2.7 percent forecast for 2018. She also boasted encouraging unemployment rates, mostly thanks to the city’s booming start-up scene. Still, over nine percent of Berliners are unemployed (against a German average of 3.5 percent), and countless are on low-paid jobs. Unsafe cycling  According to Greenpeace, the six largest German cities (Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt/Main and Stuttgart) invest far too little money in safe cycling. On average, they spend about €5 per person a year in safe cycling infrastructure, against €132 and €70 in Utrecht and Oslo respectively! For Berlin, the number goes as scarily low as €4.70. Europe’s new temple of Hinduism If you live in Kreuzberg or Neukölln, chances are you’ve passed what resembles Indian architecture covered in scaffolding near the entrance of Hasenheide park. Well in 2019, it will open its doors as one of the largest Hindu temples in Europe. While the building of the temple started as early as 2010, lack of financing hindered its development. About 7000 Hindus live in Berlin; 100,000 in the whole of Germany. Refugee effigy A dummy wearing a life jacket, made to resemble a refugee, was found hanging from a crane at Hermannstraße on Sunday morning, accompanied by a poster with the word “Humanity” written on it. The motive behind the stunt is still unknown. The police are currently investigating whether or not this act constitutes a criminal offense. BVG gets generous The Berlin senate has announced free bus commuting for children from poor families. Before, this only applied to children living within one kilometre from primary school or two kilometres from secondary school, but the Senate are abolishing the limit, making it available for anyone whose parents receive Hartz IV or housing allowance. Jungle music Goodbye atonality, hello monkeys! Thanks to an activist party organised last Friday, Deutsche Bahn have abandoned plans to play dissonant music at Hermannstraße station as a mean to drive the homeless out. Their newest plans: “The sounds of nature – that would nicely match the ambiance of the station,” announced a DB spokesperson. Monkey noises to fit the jungle decor, aynone?