The EXB news briefing

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. This week: possible attacks, real attacks, travel strikes and a vegan Kita.

  • Stop the Mietwahnsinn In case you missed the buzz on social media, nearly 200 initiatives and organisations are calling for demonstrations on Saturday, April 14 at Potsdamer Platz against rising rent prices. The organisers are expecting over 4000 participants. Among those taking part: alliances of artists, immigrants, parents and their Kitas, educators whose youth clubs are threatened with closure and, of course, the rest of us trying to keep Berlin affordable.
  • Close call? Police arrested six  ‘Salafisten’ (read: Islamists, whose names haven’t been disclosed) in relation to a suspected terrorist plan to attack Berlin’s half-marathon on Sunday, then released them the following day. As a matter fact, no explosives, weapons or other evidence have been found to substantiate the initial suspicion… Huh?
  • Kamikaze driver A 48-year-old man from Sauerland ran into a crowd in Münster on Saturday, killing himself along with two others and leaving 20 more injured. He left behind a letter detailing suicidal thoughts. This was enough for Bundestag MP for Germany’s far-right party, the AfD, Beatrix von Storch, to stir up outrage again, tweeting Merkel’s famed remark “WIR SCHAFFEN DAS!”, followed by an angry emoji. She eventually apologised saying that at least she “admits her mistakes”.
  • Club Flughafen Tegel? Berlin’s clubbing scene has got its eye on Tegel airport as the perfect place for a club, says culture senator Klaus Lederer. At the end of May, representatives of Berlin’s senate, the club commission and the Tegel Projekt GmbH will look at possible areas on the airport’s site. Enough to soothe Berliners’ bitterness over the closure of their beloved airport
  • The Wurst of Berlin On a trip to Jordan, Mayor Michael Müller left German troops stationed with a Berlin gift: the promise to deliver 300 sausages from Mehringdamm institution Curry 36. Last week, foreign minister Haiko Maas had already spoiled the German soldiers of the Al-Asrak air base with three barrels of beer.  
  • Vegan brats? Germany’s first ever vegan Kita isn’t opening in Berlin, but, of all places, Frankfurt. A tolerant Kita through-and-through, the school won’t discriminate against youngsters from “non-vegan households”. (sigh of relief!)
  • Facebooking the consequences How much did Mark Zuckerberg’s ” mistake” impact the Facebook-loving albeit privacy-passionate Germans? How many of us are affected by the Cambridge Analytica leak? All we know is that “the Information” was passed on to German authorities per request by Monday’s deadline…
  • Foreign invasions The Federal Statistic Office revealed today that there are currently more non-Germans in Germany than ever before. At the end of 2017 there were approximately 10.6 million foreigners living in the country, a growth of 5.6 percent since 2016. The number has been increasing continuously since 2009, with the largest national group originating from within the EU, primarily  Poland (170,460), Romania (194,420) and Bulgaria (83 365). Meanwhile, only 22,245 Brits and some 19,100 US Americans have been fleeing Brexit and Trump respectively.