Local news translated, Sept. 22

Daily Host Nation Stories September 22, 2020

Bavaria tightens rules concerning masks

In Munich the number of covid infections per 100,000 inhabitants has risen well above the 50 mark, which is considered an alarming value. As a result, the city is the first German metropolis to impose mask-wearing regulations in open areas. As of Sept 24, for at least the next week, anyone in the downtown central area, indoors and outside, will be required to wear a mask.

For the state of Baden-Württemberg, the obligation to wear masks outside in public places is “not yet an issue,” according to a spokesman for the Minister of Social Affairs, Manfred Lucha (Greens). “If we had the values of Munich, however, we would be talking about tightening them, as well.

Infections have been reported at several schools and daycare centers in Stuttgart. Several hundred people are already in quarantine. Thirty-three construction workers who all live in the same building complex were infected. Elsewhere in Dettingen, which is on the edge of the Swabian Alps, hundreds of people in schools, soccer clubs, and elsewhere are affected by corona infections.

In view of rising infection numbers, tension is growing before the approaching fall and winter. The German government is calling for “utmost vigilance” and is preparing further regulations, which also aim at more testing stations. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Sep 22)

Worker strikes planned among daycare and clinic employees

The service union “Verdi” has called for a short-term strike in the public sector starting this Tuesday in Freiburg and Emmendingen. Employees in the administration section and daycare centers are being called to protest, as well as clinic personnel throughout the district town of South Baden. Larger work shutdowns throughout the State of Baden-Württemberg are also planned for Wednesday in Friedrichshafen and on Thursday in Ulm and in the Ludwigsburg region. Next week, the union wants to expand the strikes significantly.

Sharp criticism came from the regional municipal employers’ association of Baden-Württemberg. Its chief executive officer, Joachim Wollensak, said he considered the warning strikes inappropriate and counterproductive. The municipalities were in a difficult economic situation. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, September 22)

Germany is being increasingly spied on

BERLIN: The Federal Ministry of the Interior has issued an urgent warning about the increasing intelligence activities at home. “The threat situation for Germany through espionage, state influence and other intelligence activities has been continuously worsening in recent years.

According to the report, the responsible Attorney General has initiated a total of 98 preliminary proceedings in the past five years. So far, nine of them have resulted in convictions. In addition, since 2015 there have been six Russian and two Vietnamese embassy employees who have been ordered by the Foreign Office to leave the country – it is the only way to deal with diplomats suspected of espionage.

According to the ministry, Russia, China, Iran and Turkey are the most active. It records an “increase in security-threatening influence activities” with which other states are trying to “influence political and public opinion in Germany in the interests of their long-term goals.” In addition, opposition members of these countries who are in the Federal Republic of Germany are “regularly the target of spying and in some cases the victims of more far-reaching actions – up to and including measures against life and limb.”

According to the ministry, the domestic secret service has issued three security advisories since 2015 – all of them this year. The main focus, however, was on industrial espionage. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, September 22)