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German observatory goes viral after Star Wars re-styling

A German professor has brought international attention to Zweibrücken in the country’s southwest after repainting an observatory to look like Star Wars robot R2D2.

German observatory goes viral after Star Wars re-styling
Image: Facebook (Hochschule Kaiserslautern)

Hubert Zitt, an electrotechnology professor at the Zweibrücken University of Applied Sciences in Rhineland-Palatinate, is known for giving his lectures a science fiction feel. 

For decades Zitt has discussed the real-life possibilities of science fiction technology and how they could be achieved.

He came to international prominence by discussing the potential for beaming and warp-drive technologies in his class “The Physics of Star Trek” at universities and science fiction conventions around the globe. 

The observatory in Zweibrücken. Image: Facebook

Thinking that he needed to bring a little science fiction flavour to the observatory, he got together a team of painters – including his father and several of his students. 

The tower’s transformation actually took place in late 2018, but it has only recently gone viral in the American media. 

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill gave professor Zitt a shoutout on Twitter, thanking him for turning Germans into “Giant Nerds”.

Hamill’s predictions seem to be coming to fruition, with Star Wars fans from around the world travelling  to the small town on the French border to get their own slice of viral fame. 

 

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HAMBURG

Hamburg to ban fireworks in city centre on New Year’s Eve

This year there will be a ban on fireworks on Hamburg's Jungfernstieg, a promenade that stretches through the centre of the city.

Hamburg to ban fireworks in city centre on New Year's Eve
Fireworks in Hamburg on New Year's Eve in 2013. Photo: DPA

The risk of injuries has increased in recent years due to the improper use of fireworks, as well as a skyrocketing number of people pouring in for the festivities, said Senator of the Interior Andy Grote, of the centre-left SPD. 

The situation on Silvester is also difficult for emergency forces due to aggression from the crowd, filled with many who have been heavily drinking.

Therefore, the fireworks around the Binnenalster – the Inner Alster Lake – are prohibited, he said.

This year there will also be more police officers on hand to implement the ban, although Grote did not provide an exact number. 

Similar bans already exist in cities such as Hanover and Cologne, and a partial ban is going into effect this year in Berlin. 

German law allows the private use of fireworks only for 48 hours surrounding New Year's Eve, although in Berlin firecrackers are only permitted from 6pm on New Year's Eve to 7 am on New Year’s Day.

READ ALSO: Fireworks in Germany: What you need to know about ending the year with a bang

A discussion about New Year's Eve fireworks around Germany will also be on the agenda this Thursday at a press conference in Baruth, Brandenburg.

Last year, 10,000 people came to the area around the Binnenalster in Hamburg, said Ralf Martin Meyer, police president of the Harbour City. Many families with children were also among them.

“Of course, alcohol also plays a role. Missiles are fired in a way that is not safe,” said Meyer.

Last year, five policemen were injured. In addition, a seven-year-old child suffered a facial injury, and a 16-year-old boy sustained a hand injury.

Through a large-scale information campaign, the police are aiming to inform the public about the ban. 

Posters, flyers in various languages and information on public transport is being made available around the city.

“The ban is nothing special, it exists in many cities,” Grote said, pointing out that it was decided in accordance with the country’s Hazard Prevention Act. 

The Jungfernstieg has developed into a focal point in recent years, he said as similar problems don’t exist around the St. Pauli Piers, another popular celebration point.

Berlin ban 

Also responding to dangerous displays of fireworks and “street battles”, Berlin authorities decided in January to impose a partial fireworks ban starting this Silvester.

People in the German capital will no longer be able to set off fireworks in Schöneberg, around the Pallasstraße area, and at Hermannplatz in Neukölln.

READ ALSO: Berlin to impose New Year's Eve fireworks ban in two zones

A ban is already in place around the area of the street called Straße des 17. Juni and Potsdamer Platz in Mitte, meaning there will be three prohibition zones in Berlin in total.

Several injuries, as well as 49 attacks on firefighters and 40 on police officers were recorded during the last New Year's Eve.

Vocabulary

Fireworks – (das) Feuerwerk

New Year's Eve – (das) Silvester

crowd – (die) Menschenmenge

A way/method/kind – (die) Art und Weise

A focal point – (der) Kristallisationspunkt

We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

 

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