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CRIME

Erfurt squatters kidnap talking TV bread loaf

Leftist squatters have kidnapped Bernd das Brot – a talking loaf of bread from a children’s TV show – to protest their eviction from an occupied building in the eastern German city of Erfurt.

Erfurt squatters kidnap talking TV bread loaf
Photo: DPA

A two-metre-tall likeness of the surly orange-brown tin loaf went missing from its post in front of the city hall building weeks ago and a letter from group of squatters claiming responsibility for the abduction soon surfaced. Then the leftists followed up with a video of their doughy “hostage” complete with commentary sympathetic to the squatter’s plight in Bernd’s own deep voice.

“The squat must absolutely stay! I’m prepared to show myself in public again, but I can’t at the expense of my conscience,” says Bernd in the video while being shown the premises – raising the possibility that the loaf of bread has developed Stockholm syndrome during his captivity.

On Friday, public broadcaster MDR – which owns the rights to Bernd das Brot – forced Youtube to remove the video from the internet. Steffen Kottkamp, head of Erfurt-based children TV channel Kinderkanal (Ki.Ka) also failed to see any humour in Bernd’s abduction.

“You just don’t do that!” Kottkamp told newspaper Die Welt. “We would have to ask Bernd, but he himself certainly wouldn’t have agreed to this.”

Using one of Bernd’s favourite expressions, Kottkamp said the grumpy TV character considers abductions – especially his own – Mist, which is the German word for “crap.”

However, the award-winning loaf of bread is also known for being irredeemably fatalistic as he endures countless hardships in life, so if any Ki.Ka star was going to be abducted it he’d probably think it would have to be him.

Negotiations between city authorities and squatters known as Team 129 A broke down weeks ago after the building occupants rejected an offer for alternative housing. Their eviction was postponed on Friday until February 15, according to the group’s website. Their squat is to be converted into apartments and office space.

MEDIA

Head of German public broadcaster quits over sleaze allegations

A prominent German journalist on Thursday resigned as chair of the board of Germany's ARD broadcaster after being accused of awarding controversial consultancy contracts and misusing public funds.

Head of German public broadcaster quits over sleaze allegations

“The public discussion about decisions and procedures… that fall within my area of responsibility has now extended to ARD as a whole,” Patricia Schlesinger said in a statement.    

Schlesinger is the head of Berlin radio station RBB, a regional member of the ARD network – one of the world’s biggest TV and radio networks.    

The 61-year-old took up the chairmanship of the ARD network earlier this year under a rotational system.  

 According to ARD, Schlesigner has been under fire over consultancy contracts awarded at RBB, which she has headed since 2016.    

Some German media have also accused her of using a company car for private trips and paying for meals at home with licence fee money.    

Schlesinger said she was giving up her chairmanship of ARD in order to help “shed light on the accusations.”    

ARD has an annual budget of almost 7 billion euros, financed mainly by a licence fee.    

It employs around 23,000 people at nine regional channels, which also produce national programmes, and one channel aimed at an international audience. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s state leaders give green light to raise TV tax

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