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

From an announcement about vaccine availability to a particularly strict shutdown in Bavaria, here's a roundup of the news in Germany on Tuesday.

Today in Germany: A round-up of the latest news on Tuesday
A man and his daughter ride bikes through fresh snow in Munich on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

First vaccinations to be made available by January

Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) is counting on the first round of coronavirus vaccinations being completed in January.

“Our aim is to ensure that the first risk groups and care workers are vaccinated as early as January,” said Spahn on Tuesday on Deutschlandfunk radio.

In doing so, he maintained that old people and people with pre-existing conditions are also among the first to be vaccinated. This was also recommended by the Ethics Council, the National Academy of Science Leopoldina and the Standing Vaccination Committee. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, had said in her government statement on Thursday.

“We agreed that these vaccines would then be offered to people working in the medical, nursing and care sector and that they would be the first to have access to them,” Merkel said.

READ ALSO: Analysis: How close is Germany to receiving a Covid-19 vaccine?

Photo of the day

Photo: DPA

Snow fell in many parts of Germany on Tuesday – in some cases causing traffic hazards but in others simply giving way for a winter wonderland, as this photo from the Harz Mountains in Lower Saxony on Tuesday shows.

Tractor protest in Kiel

According to the police, more than 100 farmers with up to 70 tractors blocked access to the Rewe logistics centre in Kiel late Monday evening. The farmers' protest was directed against the pricing policies of the major supermarket chain.

They demanded a greater share of the profits than before, and also more money for their products.

According to the police, the farmers released the blockade at 10:30 pm. There were no major traffic problems and police were on site during the blockade.

Over the past year, several such protests have occurred around Germany, some taking to the streets of big cities en masse and blocking traffic.

READ ALSO: Traffic chaos hits German cities as farmers stage tractor protest

Strict shutdown in Nuremberg

Nuremberg has become the first major city in Bavaria to impose additional strict restrictions during the shutdown in order to curb its sharp rise in coronavirus infections. 

The restrictions are to apply with immediate effect and initially until December 20th, said Mayor Marcus König (CSU) on Tuesday. Nuremberg residents are now only allowed to leave their homes for good reason, for example to go to work, to the doctor or to go shopping.

Furthermore, the compulsory wearing of masks and the ban on alcohol in the city centre will be extended. 

From December 7th onwards, classes from the fifth grade onwards will be divided and taught in rotation – with the exception of special needs schools, preparatory schools and final classes.

The southern city has reported 1,662 coronavirus cases in the past week, bringing its 7-day incidence rate of cases per 150,000 residents to 320.62. Over 50 qualifies a region as a hotspot.

Man on trial for offering apartment in exchange for sex

A man in Munich went on trial Tuesday for renting out his apartment under one condition: that the female tenant would have sex with him. The tenant, worried about homelessness and addicted to drugs, eventually gave in to the man’s requests. 

She is also said to have prostituted herself for the first time, at his insistence, in order to pay the rent.

The 58-year-old on trial is accused of having recognised and deliberately exploited the woman's financial plight, psychological problems and drug addiction.

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LIVING IN GERMANY

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.

Oktoberfest
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. German 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 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, comes 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.

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