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  • The EXB news briefing: March 14, 2019

Politics

The EXB news briefing: March 14, 2019

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

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A weekly round-up of news stories that piqued our interest or made us scratch our heads.

School’s out for the climate Many of us know of Sweden’s 16-year-old climate change activist (and now Nobel Peace Prize nominee) Greta Thunberg, but did you know that she’s been inspiring Berlin to stand up? On Friday, thousands of students are set to join a global school strike and march to raise awareness of climate change. “Fridays for Future Berlin” is gearing up for its biggest strike yet. But the response from schools is divided across the city, as some children will face punishment and others enjoy support from their teachers. 

Chocolate turtles anyone? A German man tried to smuggle three endangered Moroccan turtles through Schönefeld airport in a chocolate box on Thursday morning. Customs officers were shocked to discover the little stowaways inside an Etoile confectionery box. All three turtles are safe and well, but the same can’t be said for their 69-year-old smuggler, who is facing a fine of up to €50,000 or potentially a five-year prison sentence, if the judge can’t see the funny side.  

The Mauerpark show must go on Last Thursday, Mauerpark was going to stop its beloved Sunday karaoke until July, as the Berliner Wasserbetriebe debated safety concerns over sewage construction work nearby. But we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief and return to practising our Prince, as the decision was revoked this Thursday morning. The district of Pankow claims that the construction site won’t get in the way, but we suspect the real reason for the change of heart is fear of a deprived Mauerpark mob on their doorstep. 

Mind the gender pay gap BVG is offering women a discounted AB day ticket on March 18 to celebrate “Equal Pay Day”. Anyone who identifies as a woman will be able to purchase the €5.50 ticket (down from €7) from any machine, as BVG highlights the 21 percent gender pay gap in Germany. More symbolic than anything – it’s improbable that women who don’t already have a (full-priced) Monatskarte will go out of their way to buy a day ticket just to save €1.50 – it’s raised enough eyebrows already to have made its point. Also, it’s great publicity for the savvy public transportation company.

Bikers in danger Berlin’s traffic has become more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists in the past year, according to the 2018 road accident record released by police on Monday morning. The number of cyclists killed increased from nine to 11, while the number of severely injured cyclists increased from 627 to 743 – a harsh truth for a city that prides itself on being bike-friendly. Delays to the construction of safe cycle paths and side routes contribute to the risk factor, but here’s a friendly reminder to take out your ear pods and be more on the alert yourself.