Daily Host Nation Stories September 29, 2020
Sindelfingen Christmas market cancelled
After much debate and intensive planning sessions, the Sindelfingen Christmas Market Organization has decided to cancel this year’s market. The mandatory requirements around infection protection would have required massive changes to the character of the market. It was not an easy decision. “Our hearts are bleeding, because we have put a lot of energy and work into the market over the years”, says city councilor Ingrid Balzer. “This forced break in the beautiful tradition means a bitter setback for all of us. But in the end the hurdles were too high to establish a corona-compliant market, despite various offers of help from the city.”
“We want to organize a Christmas market that is worthy of the name” says Brigitte Stegmaier, who is mainly responsible for the allocation of the stands in the organization. Sindelfingen’s Christmas market is known and loved regionally for its particularly cozy atmosphere. The majority of the stands are run by associations, twin towns and organizations as well as institutions from Sindelfingen itself. The team hopes that next year all voluntary helpers such as YMCA or allotment gardeners will be there again and that the market place will then shine in festive splendor again.
Mayor Dr. Bernd Vöhringer also regrets the cancellation. “The Christmas market is dear to our hearts, and we were hoping that it would take place this year. Nevertheless, we fully understand why the Christmas Market organizers has decided to cancel the event.” Organizers hope that all the volunteers and participants will be there again next year and the market will shine in Christmassy splendor once again. (BB Heute, September 29)
Merkel calls for “radical” action
Prior to today’s federal-state consultations on new corona measures, Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke out in favor of a harder line in regions with particularly high infection rates. According to ntv-information, Merkel said at yesterday’s meeting of the CDU presidium that “radical” action must be taken” in those regions that are heavily affected. (Ntv, September 29)
Czech Republic and Slovakia close to another state of emergency
The Czech Republic and Slovakia want to declare a state of emergency again due to rising corona infection figures. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on TV station Nova that his government will meet for a special session on Wednesday to declare the state of emergency. For the time being, he does not give any information on the concrete effects and possible tightening of the Corona rules. In the Czech Republic, with its 10.7 million inhabitants, the number of infections has recently risen sharply. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the authorities have reported 65,313 confirmed corona cases, 615 of whom have died.
In Slovakia, too, the government will decide on Wednesday whether to declare a state of emergency for the second time because of the pandemic. “The situation is extremely dangerous. I think we have to take fundamental and very strong measures,” says head of government Igor Matovic. On Friday, the country reported a record increase with 552 new infections within 24 hours. (Focus, September 29)
Officials propose tougher penalties for ignoring restrictions
In view of the continuing high numbers of infections with the coronavirus, the federal government is not currently considering any further loosening of restrictions. In order to enable correct contact tracing, a proposal has been put forward that grants law enforcement agencies the authority to impose 50 euro fines for violations, such as providing false personal information in restaurants, according to a draft bill presented by the federal government for tomorrow’s consultations between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Minister President’s Conference. (Ntv, September 28)
Strike brings public transportation to a standstill
Due to a Verdi trade union strike, public transport in Stuttgart and other surrounding cities today has been at a standstill or is only running to a limited extent since the morning. In the state capital of Baden-Wuerttemberg, there are no buses or streetcars running on Tuesday, September 29th. As a result, “Almost everywhere in the city traffic is jammed,” said a spokeswoman for the Stuttgart police in the morning.
The trade union Verdi is flexing its muscles. After the strike at the daycare centers on Monday, the SSB was hit on Tuesday. In addition to buses and city trains, the strike affects the cable and rack railroads as well as buses and trains that normally run in the Stuttgart city area, some of them on the Filder, to Sindelfingen, Fellbach, Remseck, Leonberg, Gerlingen and Nürtingen. The public transport companies in Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden, Esslingen, Heilbronn, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Constance and Freiburg have also stopped operating for the day.
The union expects a total of more than 4000 participants. Verdi wants to emphasize its demands in the collective bargaining. The union is demanding for about 8600 employees in eight companies in the local public transport sector in Baden-Württemberg, among other things, days off, significantly better overtime regulations and an increase in vacation pay. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, September 29)
Baden-Württemberg children have the highest life expectancy
Newborn children in Baden-Württemberg currently have the highest life expectancy in a state-by-state comparison. Girls in the Southwest currently have an average life expectancy of 84.2 years, while newborn boys have an average life expectancy of 79.8 years, according to the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden on Tuesday.
Across Germany, newborn girls have an average life expectancy of 83.4 years. For newborn boys it is 78.6 years. According to the results of the 2017/2019 mortality table, life expectancy in Germany has thus increased by around 0.1 years for both girls and boys compared to the last calculation (2016 to 2018). Girls in Saarland have the lowest values at 82.2 years and boys in Saxony-Anhalt at 76.4 years.
Based on these trends, the average life expectancy of children born today could, according to a model calculation, be significantly higher, namely up to 93 years for girls and up to 90 years for boys, the statisticians announced. (Canstatter Zeitung, September 29)