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  • The EXB news briefing: September 12, 2019


The EXB news briefing: September 12, 2019

In the German papers this week: an anti-gentrification protest to save Aldi, e-raids on e-scooters, SUV accident debate, panda name controversy and more!

Image for The EXB news briefing: September 12, 2019

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

A protest to save… Aldi  A branch of the discounted food giant Aldi has become an unlikely martyr in a neighbourhood fight against gentrification in Kreuzberg. At the centre of the row is Markthalle Neun, a hip foodie market catering to tourists and affluent customers which happens to also house an Aldi. When plans to close the Aldi branch were voiced in February, neighbourhood group Initiative Kiezmarkthalle pushed back and this coming Saturday will protest in front of the market from 3pm. We’re caught between a rock and a hard place on this one: Is Aldi, a global corporate and an icone of cheap food, really a cause to fight for? You decide for yourself!

What’s in a name? Less than two weeks old, Berlin Zoo’s two panda cubs are already stirring up relations between Germany and China. Tensions were sparked after a media survey found Hong and Kong were Berliners’ favorite names for the newborns – quickly criticised by conservationists at Chinese panda breeding facility Chengdu Base, which actually provides pandas to zoos around the world. Unsurprisingly, Berlin Zoo has so far denied going with the public choice.

Fire in refugee housing An asylum home in Köpenick caught fire on Tuesday, forcing around one hundred refugees to move to nearby homes. Police are certain the fire was caused by improperly wired refrigerators, but continue to investigate if it was arson – no doubt a chilling thought for most Berliners more familiar with the liberal, green-leaning oasis we think of as home.

Fasten your seatbelts Passengers arriving on a flight to Tegel airport experienced a particularly bumpy arrival to the city. The flight from Italy hit unexpected heavy turbulence as it landed sending cabin equipment and several passengers flying through the cabin. Some eight people were injured as a result, but none seriously hurt. Perhaps a good reminder to indeed, keep our seatbelts fastened when seated.

SUV accident debate A car accident that killed four pedestrians walking on a Mitte pavement has opened a debate about what vehicles should be allowed on city streets. The accident, which involved a speeding Porsche SUV, happened at the intersection of Invalidenstraße and Ackerstraße on Friday evening and has led to calls to ban large SUVs.  Personally, we wouldn’t mind to actually see pedestrians and cyclists (and, hell, even scooters) placed before cars.

E-scooter vandalism Berliners are being encouraged to report e-scooter and e-bike vandalism after a spate of organised attacks during the last weeks. The so-called e-raids, which have particularly targeted Uber’s fleet, were advertised by an anonymous far leftist group with flyers commanding people to ‘platt machen’ – or ‘destroy’ the vehicles. Justifying their activities as countering capitalism, over consumption and unsustainable ‘Wegwerfkultur‘, the anonymous group especially object to the short life expectancy of the e-vehicles.