Tuesday, January 29, 2019

In the News - 29. Jan 2019

I'm one of the hold-outs who still subscribes to the local printed newspaper. Some poor soul drops it off around 4:30 each morning, and M brings it in before he heads to the office at 8:00. There is so much in the paper every day that is useful, helpful, and informative, and I know I would miss out if I were only relying on online news and headlines that look click-worthy.

Our paper has four sections during the week (more on Saturdays with the extended job and want ads plus a special general knowledge section): Main news, sports and economics, Horb-area news and Sulz-area news. Each section is 8 or 10 pages long. There are no coupon or store ad inserts in the paper; those come separately once a week and usually travel straight to the Altpapier. There are also no cartoons (except for one nation/world political cartoon and one local one). Almost every day there are articles related to history and/or culture, gardening tips based on the season, and notifications or articles about local activities, lectures, and presentations.

For heavy political news from the English-speaking world I tend to look to the internet to read about what's going on in English, so the articles that most catch my eye in the local paper are German politics, little quirky ones, plus topics I'm otherwise interested in: Immigrants, hunting, what German reporters have to say about the clown show going on in the U.S., wildlife, history, facts and numbers about life in Germany...  I am not interested in celebrities or sports (except for equestrian news involving Michael Jung), so I use the sports section to line the Biomüll container.

These are the articles or blurbs that caught my eye today.

Kopf oder Zahl?

There were 3.34 million flights in Germany skies in 2018, more than ever before. For the past five years the number of flights has been increasing and topping that of the previous year, and flights across German airspace from other countries also increased by 4.6%.

Vier Milliarden Euro für Kaffee

In supermarkets and drug stores between the beginning of December 2017 and December 2018, Germans spent 4 billion Euros on coffee. That's almost €50 per person and doesn't include the coffee they drank in cafés and restaurants.

I contribute to that with 1-3 cups a day, and M probably drinks 4-6 cups between home and the office. Coffee is one of the five things this household never runs out of.

Na sowas: Safer Sex

I love how this blurb starts: "Safer Sex sieht anders aus." (Safer sex doesn't look like this.) At the wheel and while the car was in motion, a 70-year-old man and a 34-year-old passenger in Duisburg were reportedly having sex. They crashed into another car at an intersection where the traffic lights weren't working. Figuring out what happened was complicated, according to police, especially the question of who was driving. The 34-year-old said she was sitting on the lap of the driver, and they were sharing the duties of steering, braking, and shifting gears. Neither of them had a driver's license, and they were fined for endangering road safety and driving without a license.

Dänen lügen nicht

Apparently that's a line from a deutscher Schlager (80s-style music), but I don't know the song. The point of the article is that Denmark has begun building a fence along its southern border to Germany. I can't wait for the tweet when the potus gets ahold of this news! What he won't realize is that the fence is not a barricade against migrants, refugees, foreigners, or brown people, but rather against Wildschweine (wild pigs). There's a frequent danger in Europe of ASP, or Afrikanische Schweinepest (swine fever), and Denmark wants to reduce the risk of infected pigs crossing the border into their country. The measure is controversial, though, because many say the expense is not worth the small gain it might bring. It won't do anything against, for instance, the people who bring the virus over unknowingly on their hiking boots.

Another source referred to it as a boarder wall.  Hehe.

Jeder dritte Flüchtling hat einen Job

"Every 3rd refugee has a job." A new study shows that integration of the refugees who came to Germany in 2015 from Syria, Afganistan, and Iraq is going better than expected. The IAB and Bamf interviewed several thousand refugees in October 2018 and 35% of them were employed. Nearly 75% are taking or have taken language and/or integration courses. A third of those interviewed speak German well or very well, another third speak at a middle level (my guess is A2, equivalent of 2 or 3 years of American high school German), and the last third speak very little or no German. 

The hurdles immigrants and refugees face include: PTSD, insufficient basic education (from their home country), lack of German language ability, and uncertainty about their prospects of being able to stay in Germany. In families with young children the integration of their mothers is more difficult, though efforts are being made to support and encourage more women to participate in courses.

Betrunkene Lkw-Fahrer erwischt

This is a bit scary. Police controlled/checked 1200 truck drivers on Autobahn rest stops in Hessen (state to the north of Baden-Württemberg) and discovered 190 of them had alcohol in their systems. Several had more than 2.0 Promille (I've forgotten how Americans say that - "2.0 blood-alcohol level"?). 79 of them had a high enough blood-alcohol level that they were not allowed to continue their drive at 22:00 on Sunday evening at the end of the Sonntagsfahrverbot (trucks are not allowed on the Autobahn on Sundays until 10:00pm).

The police went through parking lots where trucks were parked to wait for the end of the Sonntagsfahrverbot and knocked on the cab doors to check the drivers. Many drivers and their trucks were from other countries.

I have to admit, I like to think the truck drivers 
on this road are all sober; this is the sidewalk 
I use to get home from the butcher.

The law in Germany for car drivers says they are allowed up to 0.5 Promille. It's not actually illegal to drink a beer while driving - as long as your blood-alcohol level doesn't go over 0.5 Promille (but it's a very bad idea, so don't do it). But for drivers at the wheel of Lkws (trucks & semis), the law allows 0.0 Promille. They are allowed to drink during their Pausen (breaks), of course - but only if their BA level is back to 0.0 when they drive off again. The 79 drivers mentioned above had a level too high for it to sink back to 0.0 by 10:00pm that evening, so the police issued them a Fahrverbot and slapped on the wheel clamps.

The good news from the article is that accidents involving Lkws don't happen often. But they followed that with saying there were 22,700 accidents in 2017 caused by Lkws! Of those, "only" 382 involved truck drivers who were drunk. They also mentioned that those were only the ones involved in accidents who got caught - not all the Lkw drivers who have too much alcohol in their system while driving. Thank you, Debbie Downer.

I don't even want to see statistics for drivers of cars.

Lust auf das "grüne Abitur"

Interest in obtaining a hunting license in Germany is growing. There are more and more signing up for classes and pursuing the "green Abitur," including an increasing number of women.

[The Abitur is the graduation test in Germany that a student must pass in order to be eligible to study at a university. There are written and oral components, and I've seen the English test. Only about 4 students I can think of from my 16 years teaching English in private schools in Wisconsin would have a shot at passing that portion of the test. It is serious business.]

The "green Abitur" is the test for earning a hunting license. I've written already a bit about this test, so I don't need to repeat it here. I'll just share some info from the article in today's paper.

In 2018 20,060 candidates sat in Jagdkursen (hunting classes) around Germany, twice as many as ten years ago. A quarter of those were women. Hunters have their own special language, the Jägersprache. There is a list of about 400 terms future hunters need to learn (only 400?!? It looks and feels like many more to me! There are at least 5 different words for "tail", depending on which animal is wearing it!) The class and test cost about €2000. And one in every five examinees fails the test.

I will not be one of those "1 in 5," damn it!!
My Schwiegermutter gave me the Wörterbuch Jägersprache in the photo above for Christmas. That is a dictionary of German hunter's terms and phrases explained in layman's German. Yep, because the German language isn't already difficult enough.

So then, that's what caught my eye in today's paper. What news has come across your radar lately?


  1. Maybe that coffee figure needs putting in context? How much do Germans spend on bread, alcohol and potatoes?

    1. The would be interesting to know, but it wasn't in the little article. I have read repeatedly that Germans spend more annually per capita on coffee than beer.