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  • The EXB news briefing: December 6, 2018

Politics

The EXB news briefing: December 6, 2018

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

Image for The EXB news briefing: December 6, 2018 A weekly round-up of news stories that piqued our interest or made us scratch our heads. Gimme shelter On Wednesday, two clubs in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg offered to be temporary shelters for the homeless. During the months of January and February, on Mondays and Tuesdays, 25 men will be able to spend the night in Astra Kulturhaus and 15 women in Bi Nuu. At the moment, there are about 920 spots in emergency shelters in the city, and the offer is expected to go up to 1000 during the coldest winter months. So it’s more than welcome help from these Berlin clubs, considering that the estimated number of homeless in the Hauptstadt varies between 4000 and 6000Back on track Ostkreuz station’s renovations have finally come to a close as of this December 5, 12 years after they started. It’s been one of Berlin’s largest projects and welcomes sighs of relief, as Berliners experienced many delays while waiting for their S-Bahn trains in recent weeks. With shiny new train tracks, it seems to have been one smooth operation that was completed almost on time. Taste the political leaning? If you’ve happened to stroll past the AfD headquarters on Lützowplatz near Tiergarten since Tuesday you may have noticed what looks like a new Coca-Cola ad campaign: “Sag’ nein zur AfD.” Only it’s not a campaign by the soft drink giant, but part of a so-called “AFDventskalender”, an action of the artist and activist collective Mode, displaying posters and art against the AfD around Berlin through December 24. No legal action is expected from Coca-Cola though, as their German Director of Communications Patrick Kammerer stated that “not everything fake has to be wrong”. Looks like the AfD won’t be tasting the feeling for a while. Kids go free Thanks to a tax surplus, school students in Berlin won’t have to pay for their BVG and train tickets in the coming school year, as was announced on Monday. So far, the monthly ticket for the zones A and B costs €21.80 for students. Holders of a Berlin Pass, which is mostly families entitled to Hartz IV, already travel free of charge. SPD faction leader, Raed Saleh, stated that he wants to “keep the city affordable for all.” How about making public transport free for everyone, like it was discussed earlier this year? Does the Airbnb ban even work? As of August 1 this year, all short-term rentals and Airbnb listings are meant to cite a district office registration number on the website. Lo and behold, as of Monday over 90 percent of the listed offers don’t yet do this. That’s a huge percentage, the €500,000 fine should they be caught notwithstanding. Berliners have always had a reputation to flaunt the rules, but the lack of compliance may be helped by the fact that Airbnb doesn’t release data from any of its customers, making it harder for the authorities to track them down. According to the Housing Office, only €800,000 in fines have so far been collected in all of Berlin… Polar welcome Berlin’s second zoo in the east, Tierpark Zoo, proudly announced the birth of a polar bear cub on Monday morning (name yet to be decided). Other than the Zoo, Tierpark does not believe in bottle-feeding or interfering in any way with the animals during the first few weeks following their birth – and so far things are looking good between mother Tonka and her little one. Could this be the end of Berlin’s polar bear curse?