• Politics
  • The EXB news briefing: November 15, 2018


The EXB news briefing: November 15, 2018

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

Image for The EXB news briefing: November 15, 2018 A weekly round-up of news stories that piqued our interest or made us scratch our heads. Still storming Rigaer Str. The police raided four housing projects on Rigaer Straße, and three others in Neukölln, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, early on Thursday morning. 560 police were deployed (helicopter included!) and were on the lookout for the attackers who seriously injured a Späti owner last May in Kreuzberg. They ended up arresting four suspects in relation to the assault. That’s a whole lot of police for not a whole lot of suspects. A Christmas fortress It’s been two years since the terrorist attack hit Breitscheidplatz, and extra precautions are now being placed in preparation for the famous Christmas market (it opens on November 26). From November 19, whole sections and streets near Breitscheidplatz will be closed off to regular traffic. BVG buses, delivery traffic and cyclists between Bahnhof Zoo and Olof-Palme-Platz will be the only ones allowed in. Make sure to check your driving route, or you may encounter a concrete Christmas present. Home for winter October welcomed a plan for homeless housing in Berlin. The gist of it was that Jobcenter will pay the rent for apartments rented to homeless people – the only thing missing were apartments. Well some things actually do happen quickly in Berlin! As of Wednesday this week three apartments have now been confirmed and will be ready for move-in in December (one on December 1 and two in mid-December). Three down, and estimated 3997 to 5997 to go. Hold please Missing a night bus usually means: a long wait or an expensive taxi ride. That’s why Berlin student Moritz Wühr has developed an app called Freeze – Stop the Nightbus to inform the incoming bus driver when you’re just about to miss it. How does it work? If a certain number of passengers report on the app that they are likely to miss the bus and are nearby, the bus driver will be informed and then wait a maximum of five minutes. On Tuesday, the invention was awarded the German Mobility Award 2018 (endowed with €6000). Way to go Moritz Wühr. We’re going to be seriously thanking you at some point this winter.  It’s Kita time More Kita-space has finally opened up, after circa 30,000 children moved on from daycare centres to primary schools. Currently there are 9400 slots still available in Kitas around town. A likely relief on Tuesday for the thousands of parents who had taken to the streets in May, asking for more spots and shorter waiting times in Kitas. However, there is still a shortage in larger districts such as Pankow and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. Hopefully the Kita-Navigator, an app that shows available spots in different Kindergartens to be launched in early 2019, will help parents to get rid of their kids during daytime sooner. Our advice… plan before you conceive. Sunday stroll On Sunday morning, the Ordungsamt and police cleared out a quarter of the Wedding flea market at Markstraße and confiscated large amounts of counterfeit and stolen goods. This was part of the weekly flea market controls by the Reinickendorf and Wedding police, in which they also target minor violations like selling commercial goods and R-rated videos. The fine that the vendors receive is specific to each case, but doubles every time they’re caught.