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  • The EXB news briefing: October 11, 2018

Politics

The EXB news briefing: October 11, 2018

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

Image for The EXB news briefing: October 11, 2018 A weekly round-up of news stories that piqued our interest or made us scratch our heads. Happiness is a cold sea It seems Berliners are some of the saddest Germans in the country according to Deutsche Post’s Glücksatlas 2018, released Thursday in Hamburg, taking an abysmal 16th place (out of 19). The German quality of life report gives these reasons: high(er) rents vs. low income, unemployment and an alarming rate of singledom (only 60.8 percent of the Hauptstädter are in a committed relationship, compared with over 80 percent in other regions). At least we’re not unlucky #19: Brandenburg. If you want to cheer up though, just move north. Schleswig-Holstein has been leading the ranking since 2013. Is it the sea? Maybe just fewer Monday comedowns. Another American invasion spreads The proliferation of the American swamp crayfish  continues, with the crustaceans making their way from the Spree into the Havel. Luckily, Berlin’s own native wildlife is chipping in: crows have learned to crack the crayfish open, and now feed on them, helping reduce the number of the non-endemic species. The city’s only licensed fisherman Klaus Hidde may be thankful for the relief. “Nobody has the intention to build flats!” The 100% Tempelhofer Feld referendum in 2014 had a clear message: Tempelhofer Feld should stay a public park. Yet in light of the housing shortage, building apartments in Berlin’s favourite backyard has come up again. On RBB Radio Eins last Thursday, Tempelhof’s district mayor Angelika Schöttler expressed that “laws aren’t made for eternity”. However, if anything will be built at all, she says, it would be on the edges of Tempelhofer Feld in order to preserve the space. We’re sure this won’t happen without another contentious battle. The diesel-dilemma On Tuesday, Berlin’s city administrative court issued an order to ban older versions of cars that run on diesel (anything below the Euro 6 emission standard) on at least eight Berlin streets, including Leipziger Straße. Details of the ban are still up in the air, but it seems this change will not only target the Berliner Bürger: Angela Merkel & Co. (in other words the part of federal government here in Berlin) will have to get rid of around 28 cars from their fleet. Lead by example, Mutti. Policing trash-town And while we’re on the subject of cleaning up: Are you tired of dog mess and Sperrmüll? Berlin’s Senate Department for the Interior and Sport is too, which is why they plan to employ plainclothes Ordnungsamt controllers in an effort to catch the mudlarks redhanded. However, with working hours in the late evening and at night (and none of the fun that goes with that), it’s been proving hard to find enthusiastic employees. Who would have thought. Overdue triumph On Monday, Berlin author and criminologist Inger-Maria Mahlke won the prestigious Deutscher Buchpreis, the country’s top German-language literature award, marking the first time in five years that a woman received the award. Her novel Archipel chronicles three Spanish generations in Tenerife, while touching on colonialism as well as on European dictatorships. Gut gemacht! A lofty project Inspired by the US model “Housing First” Berlin plans to provide flats for up to 80 homeless people in the coming three years, starting in October 2018. What makes this truly special is that the housing is offered without prerequisites, says Social Senator Elke Breitenbach (Linke) who presented the project on Monday. After being housed, the homeless tenants can look for help with addictions or mental issues if needed. In theory it’s ideal: Jobcenter pays the rents, the Senate absorbs administration costs – the rub is just to convince the landlords. In the first six months of the trial, the goal is to find only five flats. Oma-Trick 2.0 Two men impersonating a policeman and prosecutor, were arrested in Spandau on Saturday. The pair called an 82-year-old woman and convinced her that her bank was infiltrated by a mole. They instructed her to withdraw all her funds, drive her money home and throw it out her window to them in a bag. Thanks to an attentive bank clerk, actual policemen in civilian clothes were able to prevent the hand-over. Don’t judge a crook by his cover?