Local news translated – Nov 19, 2020

Daily Host Nation Update November 19, 2020

Stuttgart city center retailers face high losses

According to a survey by the Baden-Württemberg Trade Association, one in ten expect a drop of more than 50 percent compared to the previous year, with fashion retailers suffering the most. In November, sales have so far fallen by an average of one third. Retailers in the city centers are particularly affected, as consumers turn to on-line retail or visit shops only in their nearby neighborhood. The association fears that 6,000 stores could close and is calling on local authorities to provide higher subsidies and additional assistance, such as free parking and free local public transport. “The stores we lose now will be lost forever. We need liquidity,” said General Manager Sabine Hagmann. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 19)

Politicians under pressure for changes to the new infection protection law

The German Federal Parliament (Bundestag) and the Federal Council (Bundesrat) have cleared the way for the changes to the new infection protection law planned by the grand coalition. In the Bundestag, 415 members of parliament voted for the reform in order to put the Corona measures on a more precise legal basis in the future. The law also contains regulations on tests and future vaccinations. The latter should also be available to people without health insurance. 236 voted against, eight abstained in the roll-call vote. Subsequently, in a special session of the Bundesrat, the majority of the States also approved the so-called third Civil Protection Act. Protests by several thousand participants against the change in the law and the State’s corona policy near the Bundestag led to clashes with the police and also to the use of water cannons, parallel to the debate in Parliament. The police reported 365 arrests in relation to the protests. Although no visitors were allowed in the building of the Reichstag that day, people came into the building and are said to have harassed individual members of parliament. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 19)

The Canary Islands prepare for tourists in winter

With air and water temperatures of more than 20 degrees Celsius, the Canary Islands are well able to withstand the cold season. And most countries do not classify the islands, which include Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, among others, as corona risk areas. Germany has also withdrawn its travel warning. The archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean is therefore currently one of the few destinations in Europe that are considered comparatively safe. “The Canary Islands are a safe destination,” says Reyes Maroto, Spain’s tourism minister “And the islands are well prepared to welcome vacationers again.”

The number of new infections in the Canary Islands is currently much lower than in Germany, Austria, Switzerland or Luxembourg. Nevertheless, the Canary Islands and now also the central Spanish authorities have ordered a basic obligation to test all those entering the country. On November 23rd, a PCR test obligation for domestic and foreign travelers will come into force. However only for travelers from risk areas, who arrive at airports and ferry ports. The analysis must not be older than 72 hours and should be available in English or Spanish. Rapid antigen tests are not recognized until there is EU-wide agreement on their reliability, the national Ministry of Health said. (Tagesspiegel, November 13)

Restrictions remain for Christmas services and winter holidays

Baden-Württemberg’s Minister President Winfried Kretschmann does not foresee that church services will be fully open by Christmas. He believes that some limited church services can take place with appropriate restrictions. The SWR minister also dampened expectations of a winter holiday during the Christmas vacations. “Certainly we will strongly recommend not to make any major trips, especially not abroad. With regard to the infection figures, the Prime Minister said, “The curve has flattened, but it’s not really going down either. Therefore, it may well be that we will have to tighten the rules even further. In any case, there is no easing in sight. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, November 19)

Politicians suggest banning New Year celebrations

“The New Year’s Eve fireworks must be cancelled this year due to corona because firecrackers are quickly joined by alcohol, groups of people, and a party mood,” says the chairman of the German Police Union, Rainer Wendt of the “Bild.”  This opinion is also shared by the North Rhine-Westphalian CDU Minister of the Interior Herbert Reul and CSU Member of Parliament Michael Kuffer. The latter said that this year “New Year’s Eve fireworks and fireworks must be banned.” Because of the tense atmosphere in the state, he said, it was too dangerous for people to walk through the streets with explosives as well. (Ntv, November 19)

Non-Corona News

Europe needs NATO and the USA for stability

Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is convinced that Europe cannot defend itself without the United States in the foreseeable future. “The idea of a strategic autonomy for Europe goes too far if it feeds the illusion that we can guarantee security, stability and prosperity in Europe without NATO and without the USA,” said the CDU leader on Tuesday in a keynote speech. The day before, Macron had criticized a similar statement by Kramp-Karrenbauer as a “misinterpretation of history” and spoke out in favor of European sovereignty in defense matters. After Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, France is the only nuclear power in the European Union.

Kramp-Karrenbauer agreed with Macron in her speech that Europe had to do more for its security. “We want Europe to be a strong partner on an equal footing with the USA and not a protege in need of help. At the same time, however, she made it clear that Europe could not do without the protection of the Americans. “Without America’s nuclear and conventional capabilities, Germany and Europe cannot protect themselves. These are the sobering facts. The CDU leader pointed out that Europe was almost 100 percent dependent on the USA for ballistic missile defense, for example, and that the Americans provided the majority of nuclear weapons. In addition, 76,000 soldiers were stationed in Europe. “According to serious estimates, it would take decades to compensate for all this and our current defense budgets are modest. The dispute over more European autonomy in defense matters is a consequence of the four-year term in office of U.S. President Donald Trump, who among other things questioned NATO. (DPA or German Press Agency, November 18)

A Christmas love story

Eighty-year-old Adolf Weeber was seriously ill in the spring, with bladder cancer and a pulmonary embolism, he was in hospital for four months. Everyone expected the worst, including the patient himself. Weeber thus struck a deal with God. “I told him that if I could see my family again, I would re-enter the church, and do what he and his wife were unable to do 55 years earlier–have a proper church wedding. And that is exactly what happened. Fifty-five years later, on November 18, 2020, the 80-year-old groom and his 74-year-old bride, who were originally married at the city office, said their wedding vows in the Stiftskirche in front of a small group of family and friends (carefully distanced and wearing masks). “This is a true story, the Americans would say, a real love story, especially in the Corona Year. Eleven days before the first Advent, Stuttgart receives a Christmas story about love, family, gratitude, and faith,” said Matthias Vosseler, Pastor of the “Stift” church Stuttgart. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 19)