Berlin News in English: November 12 – 18
Welcome to the latest edition of MyExpatCommunity news feature for Berlin! Our goal is to provide you with the most important news of the last two weeks from the German capital – so you can stay up to date.
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1. Investigation against AfD faction leader Alice Weidel
The public prosecution is investigating Alice Weidel because of suspicious party donations. According to the police, the bank account of the AfD in Bodensee received 18 partial payments between July and September 2018. The suspicious account was called “Campaign Donation Alice Weidel”, amounting to €132,000. The name of the donator was a company called PWS (Pharma Whole Sale International AG) that is situated in Zürich. A part of the money from that account went into paying a lawyer specialised in media law. Weidel claims that the lawyer was needed for her work as a candidate in the government elections. However, there are speculations that she used the lawyer to prevent unfavourable media coverage of herself.
According to the PWS, they transferred the money on behalf of a business friend, which has not been named. Based on research, the mysterious person in question is situated in Switzerland – the nationality is unclear. Additionally, the money was repaid after eight months in April 2018. Another donation of €150,000 was transferred on the 13th of February by Stichting Identiteit Europa, a Dutch foundation, that is primarily spreading news about migration on their website. The party in Bodensee sent the money back in May, as the identity of the donor wasn’t entirely clear. The party would however have been obliged legally to register both donations with the Bundestag Administration, which didn’t happen.
Source: Die Zeit
2. Campaign against Racism in the Police Force
The campaign for victims of racist police violence (KOP Berlin) has been accumulating over 200 reports of supposed police misconduct since 2000. People, who feel that they have been mistreated by the police and arrested with no legal reason have been able to file a complaint only at the police station which is a contradiction. While investigations against the police often end in vain, the victims and their supporters tend to be criminalised.
The Berlin Senate is therefore planning to establish independent citizen and police representatives to strengthen citizen rights. There is no bill yet – only a declaration of intention.
3. Districts unite in Fight against High Rents
Rising rents and displacement has become a problem in many areas of Berlin. So far, the districts have tried to protect tenants alone with pre-emptive rights. Now, the districts of Tempelhof-Schöneberg, Mitte, Neukölln, Pankow and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg have formed a working group to deal with the issue together. The goal is to learn more from each other about the application of pre-emptive rights. Further, together, the group could be quicker to deal with the Berlin Senate and the local property companies.
The districts want to apply more rent control in the future, meaning new rents can only be a maximum of 10% over the comparable rent according to the rent index. The districts are also asking of the Senate to establish a fund that would allow the city to exercise pre-emptive rights themselves. This would free Berlin of being dependent of the city’s property companies. So far, the Senate has been reserved to the proposition.
Source: Berliner Morgenpost
4. 100 New Drinking Fountains for the City
The Senate and the Berliner Wasserbetriebe (BWB) have agreed on placing 100 new drinking fountains across the city, allowing locals and visitors to gain access to free drinking water. Therefore, the Greens in the district Lichtenberg are now collecting ideas on where to place these fountains. The entire investment of this project will be worth 1 million Euro.
Suggestions for locations of these water fountains in Lichtenberg can be registered on the website under www.gruene-lichtenberg.de/trinkbrunnen. The criterion are that the site has to be highly frequented, visible, and accomodating to a longer visit (i.e. a place where one could sit and enjoy the sun!) The spot should also not be covered by trees, since falling leaves easily clog the fountains.
Source: Berliner Woche
5. 13 Metro Stations added to the Monument Register
The cultural administration has added 13 metro stations of the post war area to the monument register, increasing the number to 22 stations total.
The 13 stations in question are: Parchimer Allee, Alt-Tempelhof, Westphalweg, Alt-Mariendorf, Möckernbrücke, Zwickauer Damm, Kleistpark, Eisenacher Straße, Nauener Platz, Konstanzer Straße, Richard-Wagner-Platz, Jungfernheide and Mierendorffplatz. They will join the already listed Fehrbelliner Platz, Schloßstraße, Siemensdamm, Rohrdamm, Paulsternstraße, Haselhorst, Zitadelle, Altstadt Spandau, and Rathaus Spandau.
The Initiative Kerberos will get together with the Landesdenkmalamt (State Memorial Bureau), Berlin and Icomos Deutschland in 2019 at an international conference titled ‘’Underground Architecture revisited“ to discuss the rehabilitation of these landmarked stations. The meeting will be accompanied by an exhibition to post-war metro construction. Further information is available at http://www.urbanophil.net/kerberos-berlin.
Source: Berliner Woche
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