Fire Torches Saxony Switzerland on both Czech and German Sides

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Forest Fires Forces Evacuation of the Region along the River Elbe at the Czech-German Border

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DRESDEN, GERMANY/ USTI NAD LABEM, CZECHIA- “A few years ago, we followed the forest fires that were devastating California and Greece. Now they are here and right at our footsteps.” Those were the comments made by Martin Dulig, Assistant to the Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer who governs the German state of Saxony.

Less than one week after the fire at the Basteibrücke in the Saxony Switzerland National Park near Lohmen, as covered by sister column The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles, a second, more powerful set of forest fires are wreaking havoc on the Elbe River Valley, flanked with forests extending from Pirna (SE of Dresden) to Teplice in Czechia, forcing residents to flee the region, and drawing in fire crews and even the police from different regions on both sides of the border, with heavy equipment and helicopters to battle the blazes and get people out of the region. A total of more than 1300 hectares of land on both sides of the border have burned, charring much of the rock cliffs that were until now become popular attraction for rock climbers and hikers. The steep cliffs combined with a rugged landscape plus lack of trails have hindered much of the progress. Because of the lack of rain, combined with high winds, it may be a few weeks until the flames are completely extinguished.

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The cause of the fire is unknown, though arson has not been ruled out. It started on the Czech side on Sunday in the Bohemian Switzerland National Park. Over the course of two days, fires spread, forcing residents in towns like Vysoka Lipa, Hrensko and Menza to evacuate. The fires then crossed the border into the German state of Saxony on Monday and has since put the Saxony Switzerland National Park as well as the region in the vicinity of Bad Schandau in a dire situation. Smoke from the fires have reached as far as Dresden and Prague causing haze and problems with visibility. Extremely dry weather in connection with an exceptional drought this year has played a role in this blaze and has already been tied together with global warming, which had triggered forest fires in much of Europe. Fires have been frequent in other German states, such as North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony Anhalt and Brandenburg. At the same time as this blaze there has been another forest fire at the Saxony-Brandenburg border in the Elbe-Elster District.

Already the District of Saxony Switzerland/ East Ore Mountain (OSE) and the District of Usti Nad Labem, where the national parks are located have already created an ordinance banning people from entering a forested area for any reason. For OSE, violators can face fines of between 2,500 to 10,000 Euros ($2,600 to $11,000). Train routes and shipping services along the Elbe in and around the area have been suspended until further notice. People are being advised to avoid the area at any cost and allow for crews to put out the blaze. Furthermore because of the extreme drought, people are advised to refrain from using any type of fire as the dry vegetation can serve as fuel for the fire. Already, cities like Chemnitz, have banned grilling in open spaces and districts in Saxony have odered residents not to draw water from the rivers and lakes for gardening.

After the droughts of 2018-2020 which dried up much of Germany and Europe, 2022 is shaping up to be the drought of the century. And even though this drought is a dwarf compared to the ones in California dn southern Europe, with global warming taking hold, this may be an overture of what is yet to come. And while governments are working on a plan to conserve water and plant greens in areas needed, including cities, it is up to the consumers to do their part in reducing global warmng. Should it not be successful in the coming decade, fires like this will be an annual occurrance, multiplying hundred fold and ten times in intensity.

With Germany being one of the most forested countries, can a person imagine it being the next California like we have over there, right now?

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The New Traffic Penal Code in Germany: It will cost you more for your actions!

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In the past 10 years, we have seen an exponential increase in the number of cars and bicycles on German roads and highways. And with them, we have lawless behavior, whether it was speeding and distracted driving or it was using the rescue lane as a driving lane and hindering crews in the process. There’s also passing in a no passing zone and disregarding the handicapped and those with E-cars in parking areas. We must also not forget the profanity and lewd language from the drivers onto the police officers and/or other drivers, which has caused a lot of stress on both sides.

Since 9 November 2021, if one does one of more of the above-mentioned examples, it will cost the person dearly. The new traffic laws catalogue (Bußgeldkatalog) is now in place and if one violates the traffic laws, one has to dig much deeper to pay up. In addition to that, it will be much easier to get a point or two from the German Department of Vehicle Registration (BKA) in Flensburg for each violation and the chances of getting a ban from driving is greater. Basically, the new catalogue will cause extensive pain to the driver while at the same time, provide painful lessons for the ages with the goal of bringing driving behavior back to levels where people should drive professionally and be courteous to others.

Some examples of what the new catalogue introduces for measures for driver violations include the following:

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Speeding:

For the most part, the fines have doubled for those who are caught speeding. For example, if you drive 10 km/h or less in town, instead of 20 Euros, the fine is 40 Euros. Between 11 and 15km/h, it’s 60 Euros and one can get a point from 16 km/h onwards. Two points are received if a person goes 26 km/h or more too fast and have to pay 235 Euros or more.  In the countryside, it’s 30 Euros for up to 10, 50 Euros for 11-15 km/h and 70 Euros for speeds up to 20 km/h. One point rule remains in effect for speeds between 21 and 30 km/h too fast but a 1-month driving ban is enforced if a driver goes 26 km/h or more too fast.  Fines for speeding can go as high as 800 Euros, up 120 Euros from the maximum fine in the old catalogue

More on the speeding catalogue here:  https://www.bussgeldkatalog.org/geschwindigkeitsueberschreitung/

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Parking:

The sharpest increase in fines happen to be for parking violations. Instead of 15 Euros for parking in a no parking zone, the fine for this violation is now 110 Euros. One has to remember: Red ring with one slash means a three-minute stopping period but a red ring with the X means absolutely no parking or stopping. For parking in a handicapped zone as well as a reserved spaces for E-cars and car-sharing, the fine for such violations is 55 Euros, up 20 from the last catalogue.

More on the parking catalogue here: https://www.bussgeldkatalog.org/halten-parken/

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Red Light Violation:

Regardless of how many seconds you go through the red light and which vehicle, going through the red light has become a costly factor for not only costs but also the driving bans have gone up. For the time span of up to one second the fine is 90 Euros and 1 point. When even having a close call with other drivers, one can face fines of more than 200 Euros, receive two points and be banned from driving for 1 month.  If the red light was for longer than a second, the driver could face a one month ban and 200 Euros even if he/she didn’t cause an accident or force cars to stop to avoid one.  For cyclists who commited the red light violation, regardless of how many seconds, the fine has nearly doubled to 100 Euros and 1 point. Previously, it had been 60 Euros and a point.

More on the Red Light Violation here:  https://www.bussgeldkatalog.org/rote-ampel/

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Profanity and Vulgar Language:

While driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs has considerably one of the stiffest penalties, which includes the loss of license and possible jail time, the use of profanity and insulting police officers and other passers-by definitely can be considered a crime and can cost a person dearly both in the pocket books as well as in court. The least expensive penalty is 150 Euros for sticking out the tongue. However, the use of certain degrading words can range from 200 Euros for calling someone a “Girl” (Du Mädchen), to 1500 Euros for calling someone an “Idiot.” Call someone an “A**hole”, it’s 1600 Euros. If you consider a police officer an “Old sow” (Altes Sow), you can face a penalty of 2500 Euros.  Even hand gestures can cost a person in the thousands. The classic index finger to the forehead (der Vogel) can cost you 750 Euros. The hand-windschield-wider across the forehead (Scheibenwischer-Geste) can lead to a 1000 Euro fine. The middle finger is the costliest of penalties. You flip the bird, you can expect a fine of 4000 Euros!  Furthermore, a date with the judge and possible jail time for one year can be in store.  Because of the increase in insults and assaults on police officers within the past five years, such penalties are necessary and serve as notice to drivers to behave themselves in a professional manner. As one person mentioned: Money is the most painful punishment you can impose.

More on the Penalties involving Profanity, Vulgar Language and Illegal Gestures can be found here:

https://www.bussgeldkatalog.org/beleidigung-im-strassenverkehr/

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New, stiffer penalties also include 320 Euros fine, one month driving ban and 2 points from Flensburg for driving in and/or blocking the rescue lanes during an accident. One can get a point and a fine between 60 and 120 Euros for driving with the wrong set of tires. And for cyclists and E-scooters, using the sidewalk and pedestrian paths and getting caught means at least 55 Euros. Distracted driving, which includes texting/phoning while driving is one of a few that have remained the same. Those caught can receive 1 point and a fine of at least 100 Euros.

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While the stiffer penalties are designed to rein in driver misbehavior on German roads, there has been criticism to the plan, which includes not introducing the speed limit on German motorways. Germany is the only EU-country that has no such limit, while other countries have that in force, mostly between 120 and 140 km/h. In America, speed limits on Interstate highways are between 70 mph and 85 mph. Some experts fear that the penalties are not dependent on the income of those affected and stiff penalties could ruin one’s finances for those with lower incomes, and be treated as a tip by the “super rich.”  Nevertheless, the police unions have welcomed the new plan which clarifies how to penalize someone for exact violations. Especially for verbal and gestural behaviors are being stressed because of the treatment of police officers by those violating the rules.  While policing is a hard job, it makes it harder when someone ignores the other persons and endangers them.

If there is a slogan for the new penal catalogue that is now in place, it is this: “Behave Yourself or Lose Your Car, Your Money and even Your Freedom.”  After years of “me and me too,” it’s time to look after the other person and simply be nice.  That is the plea from all parties involved from patrolmen to politicians, to the common people.

Details of the new guide can be found here:  https://www.bussgeldkatalog.org/neuer-bussgeldkatalog-2021/

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No Good-byes without the Ouzo! Zervakis walks away from Tagesschau with a toast!

Linda Zervakis leaves the anchor post Tageschau for Future Endeavors

HAMBURG- The Greeks never say farewell without a toast- with the famous Ouzo!  On her last day as anchor of the ARD network show Tagesschau and Tagesthemen, it was a toast with many thanks. Linda Zervakis was the anchor for the 8:00pm show Tagesschau for eight years but had worked for German public TV’s arm NDR for almost 20 years. Last night, the „lady in red“ took her last bow with a future that is unknown, except the fact that she plans to take another step into the future unknown, as long as she is still young. And with that, a toast with the Ouzo with her former colleague Ingo Zamparoni, with whom she had worked together for 15 years, beginning with the NDR show „Eins Extra Aktuell“ in 2006. Zamparoni is one of three anchors for Tagesthemen and has written two books on his adventures in the USA.

Zervakis has her roots in Hamburg; she born there to Greek immigrants who moved to Germany in 1960s and had owned a kiosk, where she had worked there until she turned 28 years of age. Her career as a journalist started with being a reporter for NDR’s radio station NJOY before covering stories about Schleswig-Holstein in 2004. Two years later she co-hosted the TV news show Eins Extra Aktuell with Zamparoni. Zervakis joined Tagesschau in 2010 as reporter but took over as one of the five main anchors for the 8:00pm show in 2013. She assisted as a news anchor for Tagesthemen at the same time. That show runs in the late night hours after a movie or show.  Zervakis was the first person who hosted the show whose parents were immigrants, a first for ARD but one that also was part of the package. She was a straight-forward anchor who presented no-nonsense news stories and caught the attention of much of the audience. On stage, she was known as the lady in red because of her attire, a mixture of poker colors- red, black and white.  Poker-face would be one of the names if we look at it from a card-player’s perspective. Yet off-stage, she had a light-hearted sense of humour. which makes a person wonder: Could she have a future as an actress? From this writer’s perspective, that answer is definitely yes.

Zervakis‘ departure comes four months after Jan Hofer, who had been the anchor for Tagesschau for 35 years. He stepped down in December, but is currently working for the network RTL. Yet her departure doesn’t mean she will disappear, riding off into the sunset. While she has her family and her roots in Hamburg, married with two children, Zervakis will definitely reappear somewhere on the set. She still has her podcast on Spotify entitled Linda Zervakis präsentiert: Gute Deutsche, which was launched last year. Yet what her future holds and what she will do next, no one knows. One thing is for sure, the lady in red will reappear again on stage, no matter where and when she will be.

So have the Ouzo ready. Before that, a big round of thanks for the work you did and for the fans you collected over the years. Best of luck wherever you go. And yes, Rock on! 🙂

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Germany goes into Hardest Lockdown yet over Easter

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Merkel and the state ministers agree to measures after a 15-hour, emotionally charged conference.

Five-day complete shutdown over Easter planned

BERLIN- Fifteen hours, highly charged emotions from multiple sides, multiple long breaks and what Bavarian minister Markus Söder calls a hard, difficult birth. Businesses, especially in the hotel and restaurant sector  bank on hope for customers over Easter. Parents hope that their children will soon go to school. Families hope to travel to see relatives and friends. Sadly, the Corona Virus does not pause on the holidays and especially the British mutated version 1.1.17 is infecting the younger population at a rate that is twice as fast as the original virus on the elderly.

Therefore, the toughest measures to combat the virus yet is going into effect. Aside from the fact that Germany has extended its lockdown to April 18, guidelines at Easter will turn Germany into a ghost town, with empty highways and streets and market squares being occupied by doves and pigeons instead of people and produce stands. There will be a mandatory five-day shutdown of all elements of life in the country. From April 1 to April 5, all businesses will be forced to shut down operations. Restaurants with outdoor dining will be closed during that time. Even in the supermarkets and gas stations they will be allowed to open only on Easter Saturday. The rest of the time they will stay shut. Gatherings at public places will be banned. And family gatherings are reduced to households with a maximum of five persons, minus children aged 14 years and younger. Churches will be asked to hold virtual Easter Sunday services.

And despite pleas from the northern states (Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Pommerania and Lower Saxony) to allow for overnight stays for guests travelling inland, all hotels and restaurants will remain closed to tourists during Easter and through April 18th.  Travelling will be considered unwelcomed and those traveling in foreign countries will be forced to go into quarantine for 10 days for areas not high risk and 14 days for areas that are high risks. This is in response to the sharp increase of travelers going to Mallorca in the past week.

These guidelines are the toughest ones that have been put into force since the start of the Corona pandemic in March of last year. But it sends a clear message to the population that the virus is a serious issue and one that must be paided attention to, closely. In the past month, there have been numerous protests in almost every city with more than 10,000 inhabitants throughout the country, demanding that the Corona lockdown be lifted, businesses be reopened, children be sent to schools and there is a return to normalcy. This included the latest protests in Kassel, Berlin and Dresden involving tens of thousands of demonstrators, many of them not wearing masks and disobeying Corona guidelines. 

There has been pressure on the German government in Berlin and especially Chancellor Angela Merkel and the state ministers from not only within the political party of the Grand Coalition of the CDU/CSU and the Social Democrats, but also from the Greens, AfD, the Leftist Party Linke, and especially the FDP and its chairperson Christian Lindner, who recently challenged Merkel to make a pledge to have the majority of the population innoculated before the summer break, using US President Joe Biden’s campaign to have most of the Americans vaccinated before the July 4th celebrations.  Yet with the delay in having tests available for use and the delay in vaccinations, frustrations are brewing and there have even been calls for Germany to deviate from the course of the European Union and go it alone, like it is being done in Hungary.

Still, with the seven-day incidence rate skyrocking on a daily basis, together with the number of new infections, and the sharp decrease in the number of intensive beds available, the measures are necessary to break the third wave, something Germany is right in the middle of. The current incidence rate is 108.7 per 100,000, up from 83 a week ago and from 60, two and a half weeks ago when the government introduced the limited openings on March 3rd which included the Click and Meet strategy, where shopping was allowed with an appointment and the emergency brake was applied if the incident rate is over 100 in a seven-day timespan. The number of new infections have increased by 35% in the past week, ranking Germany in the top five together with France, Brazil and India. Similar percentage rates can be found in the number of intensive station beds in hospitals nationwide.  And with these new measures, it is hoped that the general population will come to their senses and understand the severity of the new Corona variant that is effectively wreaking havoc on the younger populations, including school children. Furthermore it should serve as an incentive to save traveling until the summer, where it is hoped that the rates will decrease to a point where restrictions are eased up, while at the same time, half the population will have received at least their first Covid-19 shot.

Still, this will not be the last total shutdown due to the Corona pandemic. Researchers have revealed that there are hundreds of new Corona variants discovered, several of which are capable of adapting to the immune system including those who are vaccinated against the virus itself. Already known are the British, South African and Brazilian variants, but there are several more that will be more dangerous than the one Germany and the rest of Europe are fighting at present.  It is highly expected that Covid-19 will be part of normal life and with that, we will have to introduce long-term solutions to the pandemic. There will never be a return to the pre-Corona normalcy like many are wishing for, but there will be more of these pandemic restrictions, such as limited crowds at markets as well as sports and cultural events, click and meet concepts for shopping, daily virus testing and total shutdowns. It’s a question of how this can and will be integrated into the societal landscape.

And this will lie in the responsibility of the next governmental coalition in Berlin once Angela Merkel retires from politics after the September 22nd elections. And that in itself will feature new faces with new ideas on how to get the country running in a new corona society.

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VfB Lübeck Returns to National Stage

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As the Corona-shortened season in Germany comes to end, here are some interesting highlights you will be seeing in the coming weeks this month. We’ll start with the rebirth of one of the more traditional soccer teams in Germany, the VfB Lübeck

LÜBECK- Established in 1919, the 100 year old soccer team once had a tradition of national football, competing in the first and second tiers of the German Soccer Bundesliga through the 1970s. The last time the soccer team competed in the Second League was in 2005. It faced two bankruptcies, one of which (in 2014) sent them to the fifth-class Schleswig-Holstein League. Now, after five years of climbing, the soccer team of VfB Lübeck has returned to the national stage in men’s soccer. The team of green and white won the Regional League North title in a Corona-shortened 2019/20 season, beating out the 2nd Team of VfL Wolfsburg and State Rival Weiche Flensburg 08 to finish with a record of 20 wins, four losses and one tie, with 61 points and outscoring opponents 64-24. Because there was no relegation game between them and the winner of another division of the Regional League, it has advanced outright.

The team will compete in the third tier of the Bundesliga, facing old rivals, like Waldhof Mannheim, FC Kaiserslautern and MSV Duisburg, but also other teams, such as Dresden, Munich (two teams), Rostock and Cologne. It is one of four newcomers that will be entering the national stage, joining FC Saarbrücken (Southwest), FC Verl (West), and Türkgücü Munich (Bavaria). Verl won the relegation round against FC Lok Leipzig from the Northeast League yesterday despite finishing tied in both games. Interestingly enough will be how Lübeck will fare out in the next season and beyond. With ist top Performance this past Season, it is one that others will have to watch out for. 

Lübeck is the second team from Schleswig-Holstein to compete on the national stage alongside Holstein Kiel in the Second League. This leaves us with Weiche Flensburg and VfL Oldenburg that are waiting in line to enter the stage. While Flensburg has established an international reputation in handball through SG Flensburg-Handewitt, the soccer team has come close to making it to the national level, having lost to Energie Cottbus in the relegation round in 2018. Still, the team has a clear shot chance to finally making it when the 20/21 season starts in August.

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Spoonful of Clorox by Randy Rainbow

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After having a chance to watch one parody and getting ourselves motivated into throwing Donald Trump out of office, our next parody will surely give Anne Hathaway grey hairs and Julie Andrews a heart attack. After all, they both played an important household character that we, as children, enjoyed watching growing up. This piece, performed by comedian Randy Rainbow is a response to a series of absurd comments made by President Donald Trump on experimenting with treatments that has caused an uproar among everyone and their dogs, literally.

And while sugar is not healthy when taken in excess, these products should absolutely NOT be taken at home and kept out of reach of children. And the lady in the black dress and umbrella approves of this message. Enjoy the irony and the laughs, but keep the warning labels on the jugs and needles.

 

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Randy Rainbow (known officially as Randy Stewart Rainbow) is an American actor, comedian and satirist, whose specialty is creating parodies of personalities and other events. He is credited for pieces, like “Randy Rainbow Calls Lindsay Lohan”, “Randy Rainbow Calls Dr. Laura”, “The Morning After Chelsea’s Wedding” and „Hey Gurl, It’s Christmas.“ Since the start of Donald Trump’s Presidency in 2017, Randy has created aslew of parodies that are long enough to list that a person can get writer’s cramps from even listing them. 😉 A Spoonful of Clorox, using the household cleaning products as a target of the parody, is the latest in the Trump series. He resides in New York and has been really active in the show business. He has a blog you can access here. You’ll find his satirical songs and the like on his YouTube page here.

German Handball Ends Season Early

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THW Kiel wins the regular season title; SG Flensburg-Handewitt second place.  20 teams expected for 20/21 Premier League season

KIEL- After ice hockey and basketball is the 1999/20 season for the professional German Handball League (DHL) officially over. All 36 teams in the premier and second leagues voted unanimously to discontinue the season instead of playing in empty stadiums (Geisterspiele) through June, the month when the season would’ve ended. The decision to end the season early is the first ever in the history of the DHL and it comes in response to the Corona epidemic and the lack of measures needed to contain the spread of the virus.  To add to the misery, all large-scale events including sports matches have been banned in Germany through 31 August.

The decision to end the season comes less than eight hours after the decision was announced to cancel the Oktoberfest in Munich by the Bavarian government and Munich’s city mayor (see here for article).

According to German public radio station NDR Info, the teams that started the 19/20 season will remain in their respective leagues for the coming season, however the top two teams will be promoted, thus having a total of 40 teams in two leagues when handball resumes play in the fall.  In the elite league, the newcomers for the upcoming season will be HSC Coburg and TuSEM Essen. The last two teams in the league, Nordhorn-Lingen and Ludwigshafen will remain in the top league for the upcoming season.  The plan is to have four teams demoted to the second league by the end of the upcoming season.

With the season being over, the zebras of THW Kiel have been crowned season champions, with second place finisher going to its archrival, SG Flensburg-Handewitt. Both teams will play in the Champions League this fall. SC Magdeburg, TSV Hanover-Burgdorf and Rhein-Neckar Lions will play in the Euro League.  Due to the Corona Virus, it is uncertain when league play will continue on both the national and international levels. There is a possibility of starting the season later than usual. League play usually starts in September.  At the same time, Geistespiele for at least part of the season may have to be introduced- a concept that is rejected due to the fact that a fair share of the revenue comes from the fans.

After the announcement to cancel the season, all eyes are now focusing on the German soccer league and its three tiers. There the debate over if and when to continue the season is fanning the flames both within the league but also with the local and national governments and health experts. This includes the continuation of the season through Geisterspiele versus cancelling the season. Already there is a sharp divide between those who favor the former and those for the latter.  And the question of the financial status among all the teams in the three leagues is the fuel for the firey debate.  With the DHL canceling the season, chances are likely that the fire will be extinguished through a concerted decision from the Bundesliga and the public officials that will satisfy the teams, fans and the cities that have the profi-teams.

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Munich Oktoberfest Cancelled

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MUNICH- The Munich Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer and volks festival. If there is one word that first comes to mind when it comes to German culture, this one is at the very forefront. Established by King Ludwig I in 1810, the festival takes place from the middle of September until the first Sunday in October- a span of 16-18 days- attracting over 10 million visitors from around the world to the venue of the event, the Oide Wiesen.

In the 210 years the Oktoberfest has been running, it has been cancelled 24 times. The last one was in 1949 because of World War II and the reconstruction efforts in the American zone that followed.

Because of the Corona-Virus, make this year the 25th time the event has been called off.

Because of the high risk of infection and the inability to keep to the hygiene standards, Bavaria’s minister Markus Söder and Munich’s mayor Dieter Reiter in a press conference  has called off the event for this year. This is confirmed by German news channel NTV. Also the Gäubodenvolksfest in Straubing, which is the largest Volksfest in Bavaria and attracts 1.5 million visitors annually has been called off. Tat was supposed to take place on the second Friday in August.

At the time of this article,Bavarialeads the way in the number of Corona Virus cases, with 37,849 infected.  Nationwide, Germany has a total of 147,065 cases. As many as 4862 residents have died of the virus, 1286 of them in the second most-populous state in the country.  Over 2.48 million infected cases have been reported worldwide even though that number could be even higher.  Germany has been gradually restarting its businesses and returning to normal but under certain circumstances.  Mouth-masks are required by law (even in Bavaria) while in public. Distance between people at 1.5- 2 meters are still in place, travel by plane or train has been at a snail’s pace due to reduced numbers available. All in an attempt to keep the reproduction rate at below one person.  Still it will take some time before a vaccination is created and adminstered to the population. Experts are predicting a timespan of 2-4 years before they can be available to the public. In the meantime, medication to treat Covid-19 have been made available but only partially. Tests are also being carried out to determine how immune people are to Corona.  Yet, officials have made it clear that until a vaccination has been made available, restrictions will need to be kept in force to protect everybody from getting infected, for the virus not only targets the most vulnerable- the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, but also younger people, including the healthy.

And that will make it more difficult for organizers of the Oktoberfest to heed to the requirements for the next festival, which is scheduled to take place September 18th to October 3rd, 2021. Should the vaccination not be made available, visitors will have a difficult time keeping a distance from one another to avoid getting infected while at the same time, enjoy a big mug of beer, a pretzel and white sausages, the cornerstone of a nutritous meal at the Oide Wiesn. Yet Germans have learned to be creative when it comes to products made in Germany. After all, many of them have originated from the Oktoberfest. Perhaps some inventor will find the best of both worlds to solve this unique problem in time for the 2021 festival.

Prost und bleib gesund! 🙂

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Here are the years where the Oktoberfest didn’t take place:

1813 because of the war against Napoleon

1866 War versus Prussia. A peace treaty on August 23rd didn’t hinder its cancellation that year.

1870 because of the War with France

1873 because of the Cholera Epidemic

1914 – 1918  World War II

1919/20 Fall Festival

1923/24 due to Inflation

1939 – 1945  because of World War II

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In 1980, a terror act on September 26th in Munich forced the closure of the Oktoberfest for only one day.
Despite the Terrorist Attack in New York and Washington, DC on 11 September, 2001, the Oktoberfest went on as scheduled.
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Czechia Closed for Six Months

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Czech-German border at Oberwiesenthal.

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PRAGUE- Summer travelers thinking of vacationing in Europe (or elsewhere) this summer may want to reconsider in light of the Coronavirus epidemic that has put literally everything on hold.  This includes any travel to Czechia.

In response to the surge in cases in the country, the Czech government has closed down the entire country for six months, effective immediately. This is according to several German news sources, including MDR Aktuell and is based on a speech by Roman Prymula, the head of the Czech Crisis Management, on national TV. Czechia borders the German states of Saxony and Bavaria, as well as the countries of Poland, Austria and Slovakia.  Under the rule, travel into the Czechia is not allowed. Exceptions are commuters working in the country and lorry drivers wishing to deliver goods there. Non-Czech residents can leave the country but will not be allowed to re-enter.

Czechia has been on lockdown since the beginning of the month because of the outbreak.  This includes no travel unless it’s absolutely necessary and all residents are required to wear a mouth mask when outside. Failure to wear a mouth mask means a find of 800 Euros per offense.  At the time of this news release, 904 cases have been reported with no deaths reported. 22,129 cases were reported in Germany with 95 deaths, whereas Austria has 2649 cases with six fatalities. Slovakia has 178 cases.

Czechia became the second country to impose a travel ban of six or more months. On Friday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued an executive order banning all non-essential travel within and into Australia for six months. Like in Czechia, the ban may be extended should the outbreak not be stopped. It could lay a precedence that other countries may follow suit, given the current situation.

Analysts are predicting the Corona Virus to linger throughout the entire year, thus putting a halt to many key events, including sports and international conventions that attract thousands of visitors. Even experts in Germany are expecting the soccer season to not take place again for the rest of the year. Officials of the German Football Federation will discuss the future of the 2019/20 season next week.

 

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BERLIN — The newly elected premier of Thuringia called for the dissolution of the state assembly on Thursday after Chancellor Angela Merkel said his election with support from her party and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) was inexcusable. Thomas Kemmerich, a little-known liberal Free Democrat (FDP) in the eastern state of Thuringia, on Wednesday […]

via Call to dissolve state assembly as Merkel steps into row over far-right — National Post

24 hours after having been elected, state prime minister Thomas Emmerich (FDP) has announced his resignation and called for the dissolution of parliament, clearing the way for new elections. Whether this will change anything or not remains to be seen. Details via link above.

The Files will continue to keep you posted on the latest unfolding in Germany and in Thuringia.

 

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