Germany’s News in English: August 19 – 25

Welcome to the latest edition of MyExpatCommunity news on Germany! Here we’ll provide you with snippets of the most important German news from the last couple of weeks so you can stay up to date.

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1. Angela Merkel wants to talk about Amazon’s fires at the G7 summit

amazonas, fire, g7, merkel
Chancellor Angela Merkel has joined French President Emmanuel Macron’s demand to discuss the fires in Brazil at the upcoming summit in Biarritz. Brazil is currently dealing with the most devastating fires in years. A reason for the increasing number of forest fires is deforestation. Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro had condemned any interference by foreign countries, otherwise it would be evidence of a colonial mindset. He also accused Macron of instrumentalizing the fires politically.

As Brazil is not part of the G7, any dialog and cooperation with the country would have to be sought outside of the summit. The members of G7, Germany, France, Italy, the UK, Japan, Canada, and the USA, will meet from August 24 -26 in Biarritz in Southern France.

Source: Die Zeit


2. Tax revenue decreased in July

tax revenue, minus
The tax revenues in Germany decreased in July due to losses in the value-added tax. Without the municipal tax, the national and federal states only made 53.5 Billion Euro – 1.6 percent less than last year. Increases in the income tax prevented even graver losses.

According to the Institute for World Economy in Kiel, this is the second time after February, that a negative rate was achieved this year. Economists are assuming that there will another minus within the current summer quarter.

Source: Der Spiegel


3. Citizens are faulting lobbies with complicity in political failures

lobbyist, eu, climate
An unpublished study by the ZEW Mannheim shows that 77.8 percent of the people see the influence of lobbyists on politicians as “negative or rather negative”. Even though environmental and consumer protection groups lobby with politicians too, 78.7 percent think that it is the economy that mostly profits from lobbying. Only 3.6 percent stated that they think that citizens get benefits from lobbying too.

Three-quarters of the respondents also stated that the current information status within the European Union is not enough and demanded stricter transparency rules for lobbyists in Brussels.

Source: Der Spiegel


4. Retirement homes have to protect residents more efficiently

elderly, disabled, homes, verdict
Institutions like retirement homes and residences for the disabled are obliged to protect their residents from dangers as they can’t always estimate the risks themselves. This is the verdict of the federal court in Karlsruhe after dealing with the case of a mentally handicapped woman from Bremerhaven, whose mother had sued for compensation. In April 2013, her now 50-year-old daughter had filled a bathtub with water so hot that it had caused severe burns on feet and lower legs. Prior to the incident, the woman never had any issues taking baths by herself. On the given day another resident had to turn off the water and call for help.

Due to incidences in the subsequent treatment, the woman is now dependent on a wheelchair. The psychological condition decreased as well. The mother demanded retribution of 50,000 Euro. The court agreed that the staff would have had to ensure the temperatures were bearable or install external tools to prevent the water from heating up that high. However, the judge also declared that it is not always easy for those residences to keep the balance between individual freedom and self-determination of the residents and providing safety on the other. The Higher Regional Court Bremen has been assigned to determine further specifics of this issue.

Source: Die Zeit


5. Microplastic in drinking water not dangerous so far

microplastic, water, who

The presence of microplastic in drinking water and its effect on people’s health is a topic that according to the World Health Organization has to be investigated in much more detail. According to the limited data right now, the organization has stated that so far, it is not a health hazard. Other contaminations are currently way more serious.

German tap water is showing less contamination than sparkling water. This means that the sewage plants are getting rid of most of the plastic particles. The problem arising from that, however, is, that the plastic gets stuck in the sewage sludge that is being used as fertilizer in agriculture.

The WHO further stated that it is unclear where the plastic comes from in detail. Common sources are rain, melted water, and sewage. With a proper purification, the water could be cleansed of 90 percent of the microplastic.

Source: Die Zeit


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