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Today in Germany: A round-up of the latest news on Monday

Find out what's going on in Germany today with The Local's short round-up of the news.

Today in Germany: A round-up of the latest news on Monday
Frankfurt airport. The travel industry has been hard hit in the coronavirus crisis. Photo: DPA

Travel firms in Germany dealing with massive losses

The German travel industry is struggling with billions in losses due to the coronavirus crisis, according to experts.

“Companies in the travel industry are recording revenue losses of more than 80 per cent,” which equals asround €28 billion for 2020, President of the German Travel Association (DRV), Norbert Fiebig, told Handelsblatt on Monday.

A massive 11,000 travel agencies, 2,300 tour operators and thousands of tourism service providers are currently “de facto closed”, said Feibig. With a few exceptions, travel warnings and restrictions have “brought the tourist travel market to a complete standstill”.

Travel agencies and tour operators are “traders without goods”, added Feibig. There are travel restrictions currently in place for most countries around the world.

The DRV called for more support from the German government to secure the 2.9 million jobs in the travel industry.

German vocabulary: loss of sales/loss of revenue – (der) Umsatzausfall

READ ALSO: What are Germany's planned new coronavirus restrictions?

Four injured after huge fire at Berlin underground station

More than 100 firefighters have put out a blaze which broke out at the U-Bahn station Onkel Toms Hütte on Sunday night.

Four people were injured in the fire. One man is seriously injured, said emergency services.

The fire reportedly started in a shop at the underground station in Zehlendorf and spread to the roof. It was brought under control during the night, according to the fire brigade.

The U3 underground line between Breitenbachplatz and Krumme Lanke is not running due to the fire. A replacement bus service has been set up.

German vocabulary: fire brigade – (die) Feuerwehr

Firefighters at the scene after the fire at the U-Bahn station Onkel Toms Hütte in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Improvements to coronavirus app

Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn has presented a concept for improving the so-called 'Corona Warning App'. His idea is for users to be informed several times a day about possible risk encounters. And in the case of a positive coronavirus finding, they will be reminded a number of times to share their test results with other users.

According to the report seen by Spiegel, the Corona-Warn-App has now registered around 22.4 million downloads.

However, many users have so far only been using the app passively. They let themselves be warned of possible risk contacts, but do not enter their own positive test results – and therefore do not warn their contacts. Recently, only about 2,200 users registered their positive result in the app on a weekly average. In view of the current infection figures, this is only a fraction of the newly infected.

Therefore, a “reminder function” is to be integrated into the application in the future, under the plans. “The notification should be displayed two hours after the positive test result is displayed to remind the user that the test result has not yet been released,” the paper says.

A further reminder should be displayed after four hours, according to plans. In addition, the Ministry plans to simplify the user interface to make it easier to register. Reporting your own infection results will remain voluntary.

German vocabulary: reminder function – (die) Erinnerungsfunktion

READ ALSO: 'Only problem is that it's optional': The verdict on the coronavirus tracing app

Weather report

Germany has so far been experiencing a fairly mild November. That continues on Monday November 16th with highs of 15C.

Across the country there are short sunny spells with clouds in between. Towards the North Sea showers are forecast. There are lows of 9C. The German Weather Service also said there was likely to be stormy winds at high altitudes and at the North Sea.

On Tuesday there are heavy clouds and rain forecast for the northern half of the country, moving eastwards during the day. In the south it's forecast to be dry with longer sunny spells. There are again highs of 15C and lows of 9C.

German vocabulary: cloudy – bewölkt

More cases of African swine fever in Germany

Two more cases of African swine fever have been confirmed in the corpses of wild boars in Saxony, reported broadcaster MDR.

The Saxon Ministry of Social Affairs announced on Sunday that the bodies of several dead wild boars had been discovered in the district of Görlitz, close to the Polish border. The Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute  detected the virus in two of the animals that were examined. Further samples were negative.

The first case of the disease in Saxony was detected at the end of October in the district of Görlitz. A restricted zone was immediately set up, and a search for more boars got underway.

A wild boar. Photo: DPA

Swine fever is not dangerous to humans as it is not a zoonosis, a disease which can be transmitted from animals to the human population.

But it is highly infectious and fatal for boars and domesticated pigs. It first arrived in Europe in 2007 and has been spreading slowly through the east of the continent ever since.

If the disease were to spread into the agricultural swine sector it could have a harmful impact on exports, as China, the largest pork market in the world, currently buys large quantities of pork from Germany.

The first case in Germany was discovered in September this year.

German vocabulary: restricted zone/area – (die) Sperrzone

READ ALSO: First case of African swine fever confirmed in Germany

Thank you for reading. If you have any thoughts or questions about life in Germany, you are always welcome to email our editorial team at [email protected].

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REVEALED: The most commonly asked questions about Germans and Germany

Ever wondered what the world is asking about Germany and the Germans? We looked at Google’s most searched results to find out – and help clear some of these queries up.

Hasan Salihamidzic, the sports director of FC Bayern, arrives with his wife at Oktoberfest in full traditional dress. Photo: picture alliance/dpa |

According to popular searches, Germany is the go-to place for good coffee and bread (although only if you like the hard kind) and the place to avoid if what you’re looking for is good food, good internet connection and low taxes. Of course, this is subjective; some people will travel long stretches to get a fresh, hot pretzel or a juicy Bratwurst, while others will take a hard pass.

When it comes to the question on the bad Internet – there is some truth to this. Germany is known for being behind other rich nations when it comes to connectivity. And from personal experience, the internet connection can seem a little medieval. The incoming German coalition government has, however, vowed to improve internet connectivity as part of their plans to modernise the country.

There are also frequent questions on learning the German language, and people pointing out that it is hard and complicated. This is probably due to the long compound words and its extensive grammar rules, however, as both English and German are Germanic languages with similar words in common, it’s not impossible to learn as an English-speaker.

Here’s a look at some of those questions…

Why is German called Deutsch? Whereas ‘German’ comes from the Latin, ‘Deutsch’ instead derives itself from the Indo-European root “þeudō”, meaning “people”. This slowly became “Deutsch” as we know it today. It can be a bit confusing to English-speakers, who are right to think it sounds a little more like “Dutch”, however the two languages do have the same roots which may explain it.

And why is Germany so boring? Again, probably a generalisation, especially given that Germany has a landmass of over 350,000 km² with areas ranging from high rise, industrial cities to traditional old town villages and even mountain ranges, so you’re sure to find a place that doesn’t bore you to tears.

Perhaps it is a question that comes from the stereotype that Germans are obsessed with being strict about rules, organised and analytical. Or that they have no sense of humour – all of these things being not the most exciting traits. 

Either way, from my experience I can confirm that, even though there is truth to German society enjoying order and rules, the vast majority of people are not boring, and I’m sure if you come to Germany you’ll meet many interesting, funny and exciting people. 

READ ALSO: 12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Germany

When it comes to the German weather, most people assume a cold and cloudy climate, however this isn’t entirely true. While the autumn and winter, especially in the north, come with grey skies and sub-zero temperatures, Germany can have some beautiful summers, with temperatures frequently rising above 30C in some places.

Unsurprisingly, the power and wealth of the German nation is mentioned – Germany is the largest economy in Europe after all, with a GDP of 3.8 trillion dollars. This could be due to strong industry sectors in the country, including vehicle constructions (I was a little surprised to find no questions posed on German cars), chemical and electrical industry and engineering. There are also many strong economic cities in Germany, most notably Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg.

READ ALSO: Eight unique words and phrases that tell us something about Germany

Smart and tall?

Why are Germans so tall? They are indeed taller than many other nations, with the average German measuring a good 172.87cm (or 5 feet 8.06 inches), however this may be a question better posed to the Dutch, who make up the tallest people in the world.

Why are Germans so smart? While this is again a generalisation – as individuals have different levels of intelligence in all countries – this question may stem from Germany’s free higher education system or their seemingly efficient work ethic. Plus there does seem to be some scientific research behind this question, with a study done in 2006 finding that Germans had the highest IQ in Europe.

So, while many of the questions posed about Germany and Germans on Google stem from stereotypes, we can confirm that some aren’t entirely made up. If you’re looking to debunk some frequently asked questions about France and the French, check out this article by our sister site HERE.