Corona protection in local transport: ban on speaking on buses and trains?

The federal and state governments advise on corona protection in local public transport. Transport companies consider a speaking ban to be useful in order to reduce the spread of aerosol.

Berlin U-Bahn at rush hour: Still very, very full Photo: Jochen Eckel / imago

BERLIN taz | A “speaking ban” on buses and trains to reduce the spread of the coronavirus – this is suggested by the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV). The association, in which 600 companies from public passenger and rail freight transport are organized, is critical of the introduction of an FFP2 mask requirement.

At the meeting of the Prime Ministers and the Federal Chancellor on Tuesday, in addition to the question of a night curfew to contain the corona pandemic, other nationwide uniform requirements for retail and public transport are on the agenda. The federal government has already clearly denied reports of the closure of local public transport.

Bavaria should be a model for new rules. There, customers in retail and on buses and trains are required to wear an FFP2 mask. These masks offer far more protection than simple cover. With the exception of cashiers sitting behind Plexiglas, employees in retail must wear mouth and nose protection inside, but not an FFP2 mask. In Berlin, on the other hand, employees in supermarkets have so far not had to wear any mask.

According to the VDV, the number of passengers in local transport is currently 30 to 40 percent of the usual volume nationwide. This corresponds to around 14 million trips a day. Overcrowded buses and trains are still not uncommon in rush hour traffic. It is true that a mouth and nose cover is compulsory on public transport, but the quality is not mandatory.

In Spain there is already the requirement of silence

The VDV does not consider an FFP2 mask requirement in buses and trains to be the right step. On the one hand, it is not possible to check whether passengers have the correct mask. In addition, protection might be lacking in other areas. According to calculations by the VDV, more than 100 million FFP2 masks would be needed per month if the Bavarian rule were to be extended nationwide. It is unclear what the supply situation is in Germany. The North Rhine-Westphalian Minister of Health Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU), for example, fears bottlenecks, while pharmacists are more likely to give the all-clear.

The VDV considers the ban on passengers in buses and trains to talk or make phone calls to be more sensible than an FFP2 mask requirement. “Avoiding conversations with each other and by telephone would be another way of reducing the spread of aerosols,” said VDV President Ingo Wortmann. In Spain, the government had already recommended in autumn to remain silent on buses and trains. The regional government of the Balearic Islands has now banned talking on buses and trains in Mallorca.

The epidemiologist and SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach considers an FFP2 mask requirement for public transport to be far more important than a “speaking ban”. “It is important to introduce the FFP2 mask requirement in public transport,” he told the taz. Lauterbach demands that poor people get free masks. He thinks it makes sense that people speak less on buses and trains, because much more aerosols are emitted when speaking than when simply breathing. In his opinion, it would be enough to hang up signs on buses and trains with a corresponding note and a request not to speak.

Upper limit for passengers

Health expert Lauterbach advocates introducing an upper limit for the number of passengers on buses and trains in order to further contain the virus. Traffic experts would have to set this limit, he said. The VDV rejects the introduction of such an upper limit. “That would stop the system from working,” said VDV spokesman Lars Wagner. Buses, for example, have to pass stops when the upper limit is reached or, if exceeded, could only start when passengers have alighted. So timetables are not to be adhered to.

The service union ver.di is also critical of an upper limit in local public transport. “We are dependent on the employees of the systemically important industries, it must be ensured that they get to work with priority,” said Ver.di Deputy Chair Christine Behle. Should the federal-state round decide on Tuesday, accompanying measures are required. According to ver.di, this includes priority for employees in system-relevant professions when traveling by bus and train during rush hour. In addition, additional money must be made available for hiring the necessary staff.


Corona year was one of the warmest: hot, hotter, 2020

2020 almost broke all temperature records. According to the World Weather Organization WMO, it was now one of the three hottest ever.

Pretty useless: Parasol in a dry river bed in Canada Foto: Mark Duffy/imago

GENEVA dpa | Corona year 2020 was one of the three hottest years since temperature records began in the mid-19th century. The World Weather Organization (WMO) confirmed December forecasts in Geneva on Thursday. The WMO reported that 2020 almost broke all previous records. Only the naturally occurring cooling weather phenomenon La Niña provided a slight cooling at the very end of the year.

The global average temperature was 14.9 degrees, 1.2 degrees above the pre-industrial level (1850-1900), with a margin of error of 0.1 degrees. The three hottest years were 2016, 2019 and 2020. Nominally, 2016 was warmer, said WMO spokeswoman Clare Nullis.

If you look at the margin of error, it is virtually impossible to differentiate between the three years. The WMO points out that 2016 was marked by a strong weather phenomenon El Niño, which, unlike La Niña, has a warming effect.

“We are on the way to catastrophic warming of three to five degrees this century,” said UN Secretary General António Guterres. “Making peace with nature is the main task in the 21st century.”

La Niña cools you down

El Niño (Spanish, “The Boy” or “The Christ Child”) and La Niña (“The Girl”) perform every few years. At El Niño, the tropical trade winds subside and this weakens the usual buoyancy of cooler water off the west coast of South America.

La Niña mostly follows El Niño, and is accompanied by stronger trade winds, which ensure cooler surface water off the coast of Peru. Both phenomena have practically worldwide effects, including droughts and heavy rainfall depending on the region.


After the death of a harvest worker in Bavaria: Investigators only asked bosses

Other colleagues of the woman were not questioned, according to Bavaria’s Ministry of Justice. An SPD politician demands that failure to provide assistance be checked.

Cucumber aviators in action when harvesting field cucumbers (symbol photo) Photo: suedraum photo / image

BERLIN taz | The investigators in the death of a harvest worker at a Bavarian vegetable farm only questioned the woman’s superiors, not ordinary colleagues. “As part of the investigation, the foreman, the owner’s son and the paramedic who was resuscitating the harvest helper in the clinic parking lot were questioned as witnesses. No further interrogations were carried out, ”said the Justice Ministry in Munich at the request of Florian von Brunn, member of the SPD state parliament.

Both the foreman and the farmer’s son could have an interest in concealing any failure to provide assistance to the woman after her heart attack. For example, the foreman might be responsible himself if he drove the harvest worker to the hospital too late. Von Brunn called it “shocking” that the authorities are still not investigating further.

Two insiders from the farm in Lower Bavaria accused the farmer in the taz at the end of August 2020 of helping the Ukrainian-Hungarian woman too late. She reported several times that she had chest pain. Nevertheless, she had to harvest cucumbers in a field. Only after the article appeared, the public prosecutor’s office stated that a review of the death in 2018 had revealed no evidence of third-party negligence, in particular late medical treatment.

The case throws a spotlight on the situation of around 300,000 seasonal workers from Romania, Poland or Bulgaria in German agriculture in normal years. Unionists have long criticized that many harvest workers are being exploited.

The statements of the authorities remain in the nebulous with the specification of the exact cause of death

Shortly after the announcement from the public prosecutor’s office, doubts arose as to whether the police had investigated thoroughly enough. The public prosecutor’s office refused to inform the taz whether the investigators had also questioned simple harvest workers in addition to the foreman and the farming family – that is, those who were potentially responsible for the woman’s death. The authority justified this by stating that “the principles of data protection and the protection of general personal rights” should be observed.

Now the Justice Department has answered the question. The ministry justifies the fact that the investigators did not interrogate simple harvest workers as follows: “The investigations into deaths did not reveal any indications of the existence of a criminal offense. In particular, the autopsy carried out confirmed that the harvest helper had died of natural causes. ”However, that was never in question. It was always a question of whether the woman’s natural death at that point in time could have been avoided. “There were also no unresolved questions about the course of the day until the harvest helper died,” the ministry continues.

In their next answer, however, the authorities immediately admit that the public prosecutor’s office doesn’t know when the foreman picked up the woman in the field to drive her to the hospital – and how long the journey actually took.

In response to von Brunn’s question as to how the investigating authorities could be sure that the harvest worker had been helped on time, the ministry replied: “The investigations carried out on the course of events did not reveal any indications that there would be avoidable delays in the transport of the harvest worker would have come to the hospital. ”It should be taken into account that“ the health of the harvest helper only deteriorated significantly during the journey. ”But the authorities can only have this information firsthand from the foreman, who would incriminate himself if he would say otherwise.

Much is based on the statement of the foreman

According to the prosecutor, the harvest worker complained about health problems on the day she died at 7.15 a.m. She was then driven to the hospital by the foreman, where her death was determined at 8:30 a.m. If she reported complaints before 7.15 a.m., this could be an indication that she was helped too late. The ministry therefore also asked von Brunn whether the investigating authorities had ruled out the fact that the harvest helper had complained of complaints or pain before 7.15 a.m.

The answer only states that “the death investigations” had no evidence of this. “The foreman stated in his testimony that the harvest helper always worked during her work and never had any health problems. Her colleagues would not have said anything about the harvest worker having complaints either. ”The public prosecutor’s office only has the possibly prejudiced foreman as a witness.

The authorities remain nebulous about the exact cause of death. The corpse passport that the taz has on hand is clear: “Heart attack” is in the document that the Landau an der Isar registry office issued for the transfer of the body to the Ukraine. In the event of a heart attack, immediate help would have been necessary.

The Justice Department does not deny the cause, but does not clearly confirm it either. Instead, it writes of “a disease of the heart, the nature of which explains the close temporal relationship between the appearance of physical complaints and death”. More precise information would violate the “right to privacy of the deceased”.

State parliament member “stunned”

“I am stunned that the responsible public prosecutor and the Bavarian Ministry of Justice apparently still see no reason for further investigations,” wrote von Brunn of the taz. “Instead, bricking is preferred.”

At the end of July, 250 harvest workers were infected with the coronavirus on the large farm that primarily produces cucumbers. “Faire Mobility”, the advice center of the German Trade Union Federation (DGB) for Eastern European workers, had accused the company of “exploitation” because it was paying less than the legal minimum wage and workers had been deprived of their identity cards. The farmer rejected this criticism. Despite several attempts by the taz, he was unable to comment on the other allegations.

The public prosecutor’s office in Landshut stopped an investigation into the allegations of exploitation in December, as they now announced to the taz. In this case, did the investigators also question the alleged victims, i.e. simple harvest workers? The authority did not want to answer this question. A spokesman said that this is not allowed in a discontinued procedure.


Nord Stream 2 study: Unauthorized pipeline

The Naturschutzbund states: Nord Stream 2 thwarted the Paris Climate Agreement and endangered birds in the Baltic Sea.

Pipes for the construction of the pipeline are stored on Rügen Photo: Jens Büttner / dpa

BERLIN taz | The further construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline thwarted the German energy transition, is nonsensical in terms of energy policy and endangers the winter quarters of loons and sea ducks in the Baltic Sea. This is the result of a study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) on behalf of the environmental association Nabu. “The report reveals the backward-looking arguments of the pipeline proponents and also the attempts to justify the state government in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania to found the MV Climate Protection Foundation,” said Nabu President Jörg-Andreas Krüger on Thursday.

“The lights will not go out without fossil fuels, nor is gas a climate-friendly bridging technology. The opposite is the case. Natural gas is a climate killer, just like coal, due to the methane emissions during extraction, transport and use. We have to stop Nord Stream 2, ”emphasized Krüger.

The laying work on the roughly 1,200-kilometer pipeline between Russia and the island of Rügen has been suspended since December 2019. Gas will flow through the pipeline to Germany and other countries. According to the Nord Stream consortium, around 120 kilometers of pipeline still have to be laid in Danish and a little over 30 kilometers in German waters.

The Nabu report contradicts the arguments from the energy industry of Nord Stream 2 AG, which intends to continue building the gas pipeline during the particularly sensitive winter rest period in the Pommersche Bucht – Rönnebank bird sanctuary. The relevant application is currently with the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) in Hamburg. The pipeline “contradicts, yes disregards German planning and nature conservation law. There is no legal planning legitimation for the urgent further construction at the expense of loons and sea ducks, ”said Kim Detloff, Nabu expert for marine protection.

Violation of the Paris climate agreement

Nord Stream 2 also violates the Paris Climate Agreement: “The obligations from the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 and the European Union’s tightened climate targets in 2020 in line with this clearly mean that no fossil-fuel infrastructure – and therefore no natural gas infrastructure – may be built any more.”

There is also no short-term or long-term coverage gap for gas. Demand in Europe has been stable for 15 years and the existing infrastructure is perfectly adequate for current and future needs. As the energy transition progresses, the demand for gas will decrease significantly in the next few years, in Germany between around 70 percent and over 95 percent, says the DIW.

Nord Stream 2 endangers the energy transition, the report continues. Because every new infrastructure for natural gas increases the risk of the so-called fossil lock-in – making it more difficult to reduce dependence on climate-damaging fossil fuels. Natural gas is also unsuitable as a bridging technology due to the climate-damaging methane it contains.

US State Department warns

The US State Department also warned against further construction of the pipeline. A spokesman for the Reuters news agency confirmed on Wednesday evening that the ministry has contacted companies involved in the construction since the beginning of the year and made them aware of the possible consequences. “We’re trying to educate companies about the risk and urge them to back out before it’s too late,” said a US government official.

According to this, the State Department could publish a report on Thursday or Friday on companies that it believes will support the construction of the pipeline. This also includes those who offer insurance, help with the laying of the underwater pipes or check the construction equipment of the project. This could also include the insurer Zurich Insurance Group, said the government employee. Zurich said it was obliged to “fully comply with all applicable sanctions provisions”.

Nord Stream’s financial partners include the German groups Uniper and the BASF subsidiary Wintershall Dea as well as OMV from Austria.

Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) and BUND Lower Saxony published an opinion on Thursday that clearly opposes a liquid gas terminal in Germany where US gas could land. The planned terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) near Stade an der Elbe cannot be approved for environmental and safety reasons.

The planned annual volume of 12 billion cubic meters of liquefied gas would result in CO2 emissions of around 21 million tons. “The planned import of liquefied natural gas obtained by fracking would be a fall from grace in terms of climate policy and does not fit in with the times,” said DUH Federal Managing Director Sascha Müller-Kraenner.


German nuclear fuel rods for old nuclear power plants: No more export ban before the election

Despite the promise in the coalition agreement, the delivery of old foreign nuclear power plants will not be prevented. The reason is legal doubts about the planned law.

The Tihange nuclear power plant (Belgium) is closer than 150 km to the German border and went into operation before 1989 Photo: Anthony Dehez / image

BERLIN taz | It was a clear announcement that the Union and the SPD made in the 2018 coalition agreement: “We want to prevent nuclear fuels from German production from being used in plants abroad whose safety is dubious from a German perspective,” it says. But eight months before the next general election, it is now certain that nothing will come of this promise.

It was directed against the fuel element factory in Lingen, Lower Saxony. From there, nuclear fuel rods are delivered to many European reactors, including very old and fault-prone nuclear power plants near the border. The attempt by the SPD-led environment ministry to shut down the factory completely failed because of the veto of the economy ministry.

In a second attempt, the promise was then to be implemented through a law that specifically forbids export to nuclear power plants that are closer than 150 kilometers to the German border and that started operations before 1989. This applies to reactors in Doel and Tihange (Belgium), Benzau and Leibstadt (Switzerland) and Cattenom (France).

But there are now constitutional concerns about this law in the SPD-led justice department. “We agree with this assessment”, says Jochen Flasbarth, the responsible State Secretary in the Federal Environment Ministry, the taz. “To our regret, an export ban will no longer come in this legislative period.” However, the ministry does not want to give up the project. “We are counting on the next government to close the fuel element factory,” said Flasbarth.

Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary

“We are betting that the next government will close the fuel element factory”

It is still unclear whether there will be deliveries to nuclear power plants near the border in the next few months. The BUND has lodged an objection against planned exports to Doel and Leibstadt, which has suspensive effect. After two transports went to Leibstadt in December, the Lingen operator ANF and its parent company Framatome are now facing criminal prosecution.

As a consequence, an alliance of several anti-nuclear groups from the Münsterland is calling for all further transports to be stopped. On Tuesday, on the grounds that the operators are no longer reliable, in addition to objecting to the exports, they also objected to the transports to the border, which are also subject to authorization. “It cannot be that Framatome / ANF simply overrides the rule of law,” explained Matthias Eickhoff from the Münsterland Action Alliance against nuclear facilities. “Fuel element exports are no longer acceptable.”


German corporations donate for Trumpists: a shame

It is a scandal that Bayer and Telekom have donated to Trump supporters. The corporations have to stop sponsoring for enemies of the constitution.

Co-financed by corporate donations: Trump supporters storm the Capitol in Washington Photo: John Minchillo / ap

German companies like the chemical company Bayer and Telekom have to stop donating to supporters of Donald Trump as soon as possible. That should be clear at the latest after the storming of the Capitol in Washington by armed supporters of the US President.

The fact that the Telekom subsidiary T-Mobile USA and the Bayer company Monsanto donated thousands of dollars to the Association of Republican Attorneys General (Raga) contradicts ethical corporate governance. Because the Raga was involved in mobilizing for the demonstration at which Trump incited supporters with his baseless accusation of electoral fraud so that they penetrated the parliament building. The raga, co-financed by Telekom and Bayer, also supports the democracy-destroying petitions in court, which are intended to subsequently change the election result. And the donation committees of the two companies have been sponsoring Trump supporters in parliament for years, who have now voted against the confirmation of Joe Biden’s election victory.

Bayer’s excuse that the company also supported the Association of Democratic Public Prosecutors does not work. Because Trump and his supporters want to destroy liberal democracy. They are racists, sexists and enemies of the constitution. You are responsible for a violent attack on parliament that killed five people. They are not normal political opponents. Those who support them with donations are complicit in an attempted coup against a pluralistic state.

Nevertheless, Bayer did not immediately stop donations to the raga, but wants to wait for the association to examine the allegations itself. The facts are on the table. The company’s donation committee does not rule out payments to parliamentarians who have voted against certification of the election result. There should only be a break. T-Mobile’s reaction is similarly weak. Not only is this embarrassing, it’s a shame.


Human rights in the supply chains: compromise sought

Against child labor and for more occupational safety: Chancellor and minister want to clarify what should become of the promised supply chain law.

Seamstresses in Bangladesh: almost seven years ago, the Rana Plaza textile factory near Dhaka collapsed Photo: Mehedi Hasan / imago

BERLIN taz | Almost seven years after the collapse of the Rana Plaza textile factory in Bangladesh, in which over a thousand people died, the federal government will decide on the supply chain law this Wednesday. After the normal cabinet meeting, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Economics Minister Peter Altmaier (both CDU), Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU) and Labor Minister Hubertus Heil and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (both SPD) meet. It is unclear whether the law, which is supposed to oblige local companies to protect human rights in their foreign supplier factories, will then come – or whether it will be buried.

The coalition of the Union and SPD has been dragging the issue around with them since the last federal election. In February 2019, Müller had a completed bill, and Heil supported it. The Ministry of Economic Affairs, however, repeatedly delayed the project. Merkel recently expressed her skepticism about the rules that are too strict.

At the center of the conflict within the government is the question of civil liability. Müller and Heil want to stipulate that damaged supplier employees can sue German companies in local courts. The risk of compensation payments is intended to encourage companies to improve the ecological and social conditions in the foreign plants, but implementation would also cause them additional costs. Altmaier sees this as a burden for the economy, which he wants to avoid, among other things, because of the corona crisis.

Economists: pressure inside

A compromise is conceivable that replaces civil liability with a state authority at least registering or punishing human rights violations.

The dispute over the size of the companies to which the law applies appears to be easier to resolve. Müller and Heil want to include companies with more than 500 employees. Larger medium-sized companies would also have to check their suppliers. Altmaier, on the other hand, advocates a significantly higher limit of perhaps 5,000 employees. That would reduce the number of companies affected. Perhaps they will agree in the middle and on transition periods.

Also on Wednesday, 70 economists want to speak out in favor of the supply chain law, including Elisabeth Fröhlich, president of the private CBS management college in Cologne. Your demand: the government should bring the law in motion before the federal election. The event takes place in cooperation with the Supply Chain Act initiative, in which churches, trade unions and development organizations participate. Companies such as Adidas, H&M, KiK, Nestlé and Tchibo also supported the regulation. Business associations such as BDA (employers), BDI (industry), VDMA (mechanical engineering) or Textil & Mode were against it.


Sustainability in finance: Blackrock passes on coal

The financial giant had announced that it would invest in a more climate-friendly way in 2020. Critics speak of greenwashing because of the large loopholes.

In 2020, Blackrock invested heavily in fossil-fuel companies despite its sustainability promise Photo: Benoit Tessier / Reuters

BERLIN taz | Despite its promise of sustainability, the world’s largest asset manager Blackrock invested heavily in fossil fuel companies in 2020. This is shown by an analysis by the non-governmental organizations Reclaim Finance and Urgewald, which specialize in sustainable finance. The results appear on Wednesday and were the taz in advance.

The group admitted last January that climate change was an investment risk. “Based on our results, we will reduce our positions in high-risk industries,” the Blackrock management promised their customers in a letter. One such risk industry is coal.

Reclaim Finance and Urgewald inspected the portfolio until October 2020. Accordingly, Blackrock still holds shares in 199 coal companies worth at least 85 billion US dollars.

This contradicts the promises made last year in spirit, but not formally. This is because Blackrock built loopholes himself. The details of the announcement state that the active investment processes will no longer invest in companies that generate more than a quarter of their sales from coal production until mid-2020.

Blackrock continues to actively invest in coal power

So only coal mining is included, but not climate-damaging combustion. It does not violate its own rules that, according to the new analysis, Blackrock holds shares worth 2.5 billion US dollars in the energy company RWE, the largest CO2Issuers in Europe. From the start there was no talk of the oil and gas business.

Besides, it’s just about the stocks that Blackrock actively manages. However, around two thirds belong to index funds that are generated automatically depending on the stock market situation.

Katrin Ganswindt from Urgewald therefore wants Blackrock to revise its sustainability guidelines accordingly, to close the loopholes – and first and foremost to part with all companies that are even planning new coal infrastructure. So far, thinks her colleague Lara Cuvelier from Reclaim Finance, one sees little more than “pure greenwashing”.


Outrage over fuel element transport: nuclear export despite contradiction

Fuel assemblies were exported from Lingen to a Swiss nuclear power plant without an enforceable permit. The operator faces criminal penalties.

In December, two transports of fuel elements were carried out to the Swiss nuclear power plant in Leibstadt Photo: Andreas Haas / imago

BERLIN taz | It is a process that also surprised long-time observers of the atomic scene in Germany: In December, two transports were carried out from the fuel element factory in Lingen, Lower Saxony, to the Swiss Leibstadt nuclear power plant, although the BUND had objected to the export license. This is currently being negotiated before the Frankfurt Administrative Court.

According to the plaintiff, BUND Baden-Württemberg, the objection has suspensive effect. The Federal Office for Economics and Export Control (BAFA), which is responsible for the approval, also stated this in the process. This made the export illegal, said Stefan Auchter, managing director of the BUND regional association Southern Upper Rhine, of the taz. He announced that he would file criminal charges against the exporter. According to Section 328 of the Criminal Code, the unauthorized export of nuclear fuel can result in a prison sentence of up to five years.

The managing director of BUND Baden-Württemberg, Sylvia Pilarsky-Grosch, reacted with sharp criticism. “The fact that Framatome does not wait for the outcome of a pending litigation proves once again the company’s crude worldview, in which the pursuit of profit sweeps all justified concerns off the table,” she said.

The export of fuel assemblies from Germany has been controversial for a long time. The Union and the SPD had agreed in the coalition agreement to end exports to old nuclear power plants close to the border, but attempts by the SPD-led Environment Ministry have so far failed because of the Union. Nuclear power opponents and associations are currently trying to stop the transport by legal means.

At the beginning of December this failed at the Belgian nuclear power plant in Doel: There the Hessian Administrative Court decided that the objection had no suspensive effect. The main reason, however, was that, in the opinion of the court, individuals could not invoke the Atomic Energy Act to enforce protective interests.

The situation is different when it comes to exporting to Leibstadt, Switzerland: It was not individuals who lodged objections, but an environmental association with the right to sue with the BUND. That is why the parties involved assumed that the objection would have a suspensive effect; the court had also expressed itself accordingly. In the meantime, an association with the BUND NRW is also suing Doel exports, so that transports should again not be possible here either.

“It is remarkable that a company is so aggressively against the legal opinion of the supervisory authority and the court in such a sensitive area,” says lawyer Cornelia Ziehm, who brought the Doel lawsuit, about the exports to Leibstadt that have now taken place. “Against this background, one can also ask the question of the exporter’s reliability.”

The operator of the fuel element factory in Lingen is Advanced Nuclear Fuels GmbH (ANF), a subsidiary of the French nuclear group Framatome; this had applied for the export permit to Leibstadt. If his reliability were denied, he would no longer be able to carry out any other transports, because this is a mandatory requirement for the issuing of export permits.

In the Federal Environment Ministry, which is BAFA’s supervisory authority on this issue, there is outrage over the company’s approach. “That is not acceptable,” said State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth of the taz. He also considers the export to be possibly illegal: “An export using a non-enforceable export license can be criminally relevant. BAFA will therefore hand over the process to the public prosecutor for examination, ”said Flasbarth. Lingen operator ANF did not want to comment on the allegations upon request. The company announced that “no information can be given about an ongoing procedure”.


Researchers warn against vaccination euphoria: Optimism makes you careless

People tend to be careless when faced with good news, one study shows. This does not bode well for the corona vaccinations.

The second entry is still missing in this vaccination certificate. Just one dose is not enough Photo: dpa

STOCKHOLM taz | The expectation of getting vaccinated soon can make people dangerously careless. This is shown by the Swedish research study “Anticipation of COVID-19 Vaccines reduces social distancing”, which the Research Institute of Industrial Economics has now published. The researchers fear that the virus could spread even more quickly.

“Positive information about the effectiveness and accessibility of a vaccine reduces the will to adhere to the recommendations for maintaining social distance and good hygiene routines,” summarizes economics professor Erik Wenström, co-author of the study: “They then believe that life will return to normal more quickly, which seems to reduce their awareness and willingness to follow the recommendations of the authorities. “

Such a reaction is not really surprising, emphasize the scientists. People like to be confident, preferring to look to the future with positive visions rather than worry. Social psychologists call this tendency “optimism bias”.

The crux of the matter is that “such vaccination optimism can lead to poor health behavior”. Politicians and health authorities should be aware of this, recommends the study: When vaccinations begin, no loosening of existing infection control measures is appropriate, but rather “stricter rules are required”.

Researchers wanted to get information quickly

The study was conducted between December 10 and 13, when the first emergency approvals of Biontech / Pfizer’s corona vaccine were received in several countries, an EU approval was announced for the period after Christmas and vaccinations started in the UK. In a survey representative of the population, the participants were presented with different scenarios for the upcoming vaccine development. They were then asked about the behavior they had caused. There were such significant differences between the group of people to whom the most optimistic scenario was presented and a control group that the decision was made to publish the study before a peer-reviewed test procedure and publication in a scientific journal, in order to publicize it and to be able to inform politics about them up to date.

That’s probably not a bad idea, as news from Denmark shows. According to their own statement, staff and residents of an old people’s home in Aarhus were in a “celebratory mood” after they had all been vaccinated on December 29th. Perhaps this party mood was a bit too boisterous, because a week and a half later three people from the nursing staff and six residents tested positive. A 35-year-old nurse even had to seek hospital treatment.

Not over after a prick

Jens Lundgren, professor of infectious diseases at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, emphasizes that the first vaccination sting should not mean that the corona problem is over.

Lundgren also warns against following the British example and extending the period between the first and second vaccine dose to 12 weeks in order to be able to vaccinate as many people as possible at least once, given the limited doses available. He considers such an approach, which is also being discussed in Germany, to be “deeply risky” because, among other things, it increases the risk of vaccine-resistant mutations.