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Today in Germany: A roundup of the latest news on Monday

DPA/The Local
DPA/The Local - [email protected]
Today in Germany: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
A Fastnacht parade through Frankfurt's old town on Sunday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Lando Hass

One Rose Monday parade to be 8.5 kilometres long, new Berlin election results revealed, and more news from around Germany on Monday.

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Revellers already show up for Rose Monday parades

Carnival and Fastnacht parades took place all over Germany throughout the weekend, but the biggest events of all will be taking place on the famous Rosenmontag in the Rhine Region.

Some early risers arrived in their colourful costumes more than three hours before the start of the traditional "Zoch", or parade, in the centre of Cologne. They wanted to be in the front row at the side of the road when the floats passed by - the event begins at 10 am and is expected to draw in tens of thousands of onlookers from around Germany.

READ ALSO: 10 German words you need to know for Cologne's 'Karneval'

The parade is reported to be eight and a half kilometers long: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) will also be taking part - but only as oversized papier-mâché figures on the themed floats: Scholz as a peacefully slumbering sloth, Lindner as a sweating piggy bank.

Berlin returned to the polls on Sunday

Minor delays aside, the partial rerun of 2021's federal election shambles in Berlin went pretty smoothly.

Based on those eligible to vote, turnout stood at 18.3 percent. In 2021, it was 26.8 percent at the same time.

READ ALSO: What to know about Berlin's unusual election rerun on Sunday

After counting all constituencies, the centre-left SPD remains the strongest party in the capital with 22.2 percent (-1.2 percentage points), closely followed by the Greens with 22 percent (-0.3).

The conservative CDU improved to 17.2 percent (+1.3). The far-right AfD climbed to 9.4 per cent (+1) and overtook the pro-business FDP, which fell to 8.1 percent (-0.9). At 11.5 percent, the Left Party more or less maintained its 2021 election result (+0.1).

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The Berlin election won't change the majority in the Bundestag, but it could mean that some seats change.  

On September 26, 2021, Berlin botched the elections in an unprecedented way. Long queues in front of polling stations, missing or incorrect ballot papers, a temporary interruption in voting in some places - the list of problems was long, and a lot has been changed since then.

Germany can't afford 'remigration'

Germany faces a shortage of skilled workers in many sectors, but this would be far more serious if they weren't so many foreign workers in the country, the head of Germany's Federal Employment Agency (BA) has said.

"We now have 5.3 million people who work in Germany without a German passport and we couldn't do without them," Andrea Nahles said in an interview with broadcaster SWR.

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She explained that the German labour market could not afford a policy that relied on so-called 'remigration'. 

For example, there would be "massive bottlenecks" in care homes without foreign workers, she warned.

There have been protests against the far-right AfD party and right-wing extremism across Germany in recent weeks following a meeting where AfD representatives and neo-Nazis discussed the mass expulsion of immigrants. 

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Trial against teenager in the case of death of six-year-old begins

The closed-door trial of the teenager said to be responsible for the tragic death of a six-year-old boy in 2023 is due to start at 9.30am on Monday at the Neubrandenburg regional court in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

The public prosecutor's office brought charges of manslaughter against the 14-year-old who is said to have attacked the child near a football field near Neubrandenburg.

The prosecutors say that on September 14th, 2023, the defendant punched the boy in the face several times and stabbed him seven times with a knife with a 15-centimetre-long blade.

They allege that Joel died as a result of stabbing. There is no information about a possible motive for the attack so far.  

According to the Youth Court Act, the suspect faces a youth sentence of up to ten years.

Berlin film festival to confront dicey politics at start on Thursday

New movies starring Cillian Murphy, Kristen Stewart, Gael Garcia Bernal and Adam Sandler will top the line-up of the Berlin film festival starting Thursday which risks getting upended by geopolitics.

Battered by the pandemic and last year's strikes in Hollywood, international cinema is enjoying a strong rebound and sending some of its leading lights to the wintry German capital for 11 days of premieres and parties.

But the war in Gaza, cultural repression in Iran and an increasingly emboldened far right in Germany risk spoiling the festival atmosphere at the 74th annual event known as the Berlinale, Europe's first major cinema showcase of the year.

"Gaza is a topic on the streets in Berlin this year and could be extremely polarising," said Hollywood Reporter's European bureau chief Scott Roxborough, with filmmakers asked to declare their stance on the war and protests expected under the Berlinale spotlight.

With reporting by AFP.

 

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