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  • The EXB news briefing: December 13, 2018

Politics

The EXB news briefing: December 13, 2018

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

Image for The EXB news briefing: December 13, 2018 A weekly round-up of news stories that piqued our interest or made us scratch our heads. Binoche and the Berlinale Venerated French actress and Oscar-winner Juliette Binoche will preside over the Berlinale competition jury as president during director Dieter Kosslick’s last year, it was announced Tuesday. The 54-year-old actress is certainly loved by the festival as she’s twice been awarded with the bear statue (once for best actress). The 69th Berlinale takes place February 7-17. To Binoche: Bravo! The British are coming… unsurprisingly Since 2016’s Brexit referendum, more and more Britons are becoming German citizens here in Berlin, according to the Berlin-Brandenburg Office of Statistics, as reported this Thursday. Two years ago, there were 45 of them, and this year there are more than 550. Not a big number in itself and not a total shock, but a significant increase compared to previous years. Future classrooms Berlin is in need of more schools given how quickly the population is expanding. The Berlin school construction campaign has plans to build 65 new schools in the coming years. The budget is currently €5.5 billion in total for all schools being built or refurbished by 2026. But for now this is all only on paper. Plans as of Wednesday show blueprints of modern schools without classrooms, but instead with ‘team houses’ and ‘forums’ – however that may look. In the future won’t all school be taught online anyways? Non-appétit Inspectors have documented significant health code infractions in a large number of Berlin restaurants, cafés and bakeries, as reported on Wednesday. More than a quarter of the 13,689 controlled establishments did not meet the requirements in 2017. Neukölln was the district where hygiene fines were imposed the most frequently (17.7 percent of the inspections) and Pankow had the highest closure rates (12.1 percent). There is however no information on the nature of the infringements, to which the Berlin Verbraucherzentrale (Consumer Centre) responded by asking for more transparency. The dirty streets of Berlin If you want to breathe clean air: too late! Still, to do what you can for yourself, avoid Silbersteinstraße and Karl-Marx-Straße in Neukölln, and Frankfurter Allee in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg! On Monday, the Federal Environment Agency listed these streets as having the highest particulate matter pollution. This makes Berlin the only German city to violate the level of air pollutants allowed by the European Union. People who are exposed to these particles for a long time carry higher risks of heart, circulatory and respiratory diseases. Is Friedrichstraße out? Every fourth store on the street is either empty or will become so soon. Given its prime location in the city, Friedrichstraße should be a part of town where business owners fight over square metres. But this isn’t the case. Some put it down to the area not being ‘customer-friendly’ enough, with few trees, narrow pavements, a lack of benches and the street is not inviting or fun to hang out on, unlike Ku’damm. For every square metre, shop owners on Friedrichstraße pay €100, compared with €300 on Ku’damm. Might actually be the time to grab a Friedrichstraße spot then. No pets under the Christmas tree From December 15, animal shelters in major cities in Germany, including Berlin, are turning down adoption requests through the end of 2018. As was stated on Monday, the reason behind this measure is not only to avoid pets being offered as a gift during the holiday season and then abandoned, but also because Christmas is an overall stressful time for an animal to settle into a new home. So if you’re ready to welcome an extra family member, just wait a few more weeks!