Friday, November 18, 2005

News: Germany Expects Waves of Prostitutes

Last month the scare stories were about the 100,000 English fans that were going to descend on Germany for the 2006 World Cup. Now the reports are that authorities expect at least 40,000 prostitutes to come for the duration of the competition.

From the Guardian:

As well as fans, the German authorities are expecting a different kind of influx - at least 40,000 prostitutes. Previous global sporting events have attracted large numbers of sex workers, indeed at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, the authorities tried to banish prostitutes from the city centre. And, though the figures are necessarily hazy, officials believe that around 10,000 sex workers plied their trade during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, many of them imported from abroad.

This time, World Cup organisers are expecting an even bigger invasion, not least because prostitution is legal in Germany. Asked how many women might turn up, Romy, the manager of Artemis, says: "You can hang another zero on to the 40,000 figure.


Blimey.

You can read the whole article here.

News: New Government Agreed ...Finally

From the Current Affairs Desk...

So they finally did it. Well done folks. Now, let us see if you can last the four years...

Germany has a new government. Angela Merkel is the first female Chancellor. Merkel's centre-right CDU/CSU and the party of outgoing Chancellor Schroeder, the centre-left (ha!) SPD have finally agreed a deal. If you want to know what happened throughout the election campaign and in its messy aftermath, you could do worse than having a browse through the 2005 Election pages from Deutsche Welle.

I also found this post by a New Zealander that goes by the name of the Berlin Bear on his blog The Capital Letter that very accurately analyses the situation.

Having finally got there it seems, to this observer at least, that this historic agreement has offered up more questions than it raises. How can two parties that spent the entire election campaign predicting the dire consequences should the other prevail work together for four years? How will increasing VAT increase consumer spending and kick-start the economy? What happens if the President declares the 2006 budget unconstitutional?

The way I see it is this: Germany is in a malaise of sorts, although it remains a fine old place to live, but this coalition agreement seems to me to be a recipe for well, nothing much. No-one, from the unions to industry seems happy with it, and 3% on everything you buy will be felt by all but the deepest of pockets. Meanwhile, as the coalition limps on the new Left Party - who currently no-one wants to work with - will continue to pick up disillusioned voters from the SPD and will probably hold the balance of power again in the next election unless the CDU/CSU-FDP can somehow cobble together a majority.

In the meantime the FDP will get more vocal about the need for radical, neo-liberal change, and will have the CDU/CSU over a barrel in any future coalition between the two, and likewise the Left Party will increase the pressure on the SPD to move back towards the Social Democratic left that Schröder (like his former Third Way buddy Blair) abandoned. Next time around such a Grand Coalition as we got today could be all but impossible to form.

Welcome to the Berlin Review

Welcome to the Berlin Review, a new Berlin blog in English that will post on a wide variety of topics related to this fine city and what goes on here. Hopefully you will find the information useful and the opinions interesting...if we get things wrong well, with regards info let us know so we can make the correct adjustments, with regards opinion, mouth off in the comments section. After all, that's the beauty of blogs, right?

The blog is in English, and as such we will attempt to link only to news articles, blogs or other websites that are the same. Unless we really like them, or there is no other option.

The format for how we do this has not quite been decided as we are taking things as they come, and always looking to make things better, but if you find the blog useful and have some suggestions then let us know. Also, if you have a blog about Berlin make sure you tell us so we can add you to the 'Blogs We Like' list.

The person writing this is P., who will be joined by friends from time to time in order to bring other views or expertise to the whole enterprise, and if you want to contact me then you can do so at berlinreview@yahoo.co.uk.

BTW - sometimes we will post upcoming events or exhibitions or something like that. We will try to be accurate but posting might sometimes be hampered by alcohol. If a gig or a film or an exhibition takes your fancy, check with the organisers to make sure everythings a-ok.

Enjoy!