• Politics
  • The EXB news briefing: November 29, 2018


The EXB news briefing: November 29, 2018

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

Image for The EXB news briefing: November 29, 2018 A weekly round-up of news stories that piqued our interest or made us scratch our heads. Smart moves Germany’s federal intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), officially opened it’s new Mitte headquarters on Chausseestraße on Thursday. The transfer from Munich to the capital took 15 years to finally be completed. Making it one of the biggest relocations in the history of the Federal Republic. It’s also already nearly five years behind schedule (Dan wrote about the impending move back in 2014). Perhaps more intelligence should have been invested in the move? Not alone that Christmas… According to information leaked from the Berlin parliament’s commission of inquiry into the 2016 attack on the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market, it was revealed on Tuesday that terrorist Anis Amri had at least one accomplice. The State Office of Criminal Investigation said that one of their informers had contact with someone who knew of Amri’s plans. Now everyone is wondering: Who else knew? Could the authorities have prevented the attack? There’s likely more to come of this in the future. Not enough bread for Bread & Butter On Wednesday it was announced that German online retailer Zalando has cancelled next year’s Bread&Butter fashion fair. Zalando had bought out the insolvent fair in 2014, but now reportedly says it wants to spend its money on personalised and local campaigns and addressing a wider audience. B&B has always been a bit beleaguered, with the 2015 purchase of the brand by the retail giant signalling a change from hip and aware to corporate shill. With the last few events being total disappointments, we can’t say we’re sad. Auf Deutsch bitte? The head of the Berlin Police Academy Tanja Knapp said on Monday that police trainees should focus on learning and improving their German and “close their English textbooks”. Knapp recognised the importance of speaking English to help the many tourists in the capital, but underlined the difficulties that some trainees have with German grammar, punctuation and general writing skills. Does Knapp want to throw her hat into either of these debates – “Sorry, no German!” or “Too much English in Berlin, Herr Spahn”? Pick up the tempo, we need new homes! The Senate is considering turning some of the city’s 23 container villages (including 17 new “Tempohomes”) originally built for refugees into student accommodation. The city has spent €160 million on these temporary villages, which are only permitted to inhabited for three years. This would mean that the first ones have to be taken down next year – and despite the student housing crisis! Well, if all works out add these to the list of student options. It’s high time to call the police In Weißensee, around 80 cannabis plants were inadvertently discovered by the authorities on Saturday night. What put them on the right track? A complaint from a neighbour about incessant TV noises going on for several days. After trying to directly reach out to the owners without success the police were called in to find a deserted flat. No word if the running TV show was Weeds. New exit strategy The BVG is testing out a new sign system in the U2 and U6 Stadtmitte U-Bahn station by using letters instead of the word “exit”. This is already used successfully in underground systems in London and Paris, so why not in Berlin? Locals could be just as lost as tourists for a minute though. It’s to be seen whether the system will be adopted in other stations as well, but for now, here’s a heads up. We’ll see you at exit B.