Spaceship Wiesbaden hovers over the pandemic


Isolated: Health Minister Klose is in quarantine; here with Prime Minister Bouffier in April in Giessen
Image: dpa

In Hesse, the dissatisfaction with the management of the corona crisis in the municipalities is particularly great. The responsibility is delegated downwards, they say. And there you feel left alone.

Es was probably a volunteer refugee helper who recently brought the corona virus to the Kassel initial reception facility. Five people were infected and doctors working at the facility urgently requested their transfer. Instead, an isolation ward was set up and the facility was cordoned off. However, real isolation is impossible in the former police barracks, there are six-bed rooms and outdoor sanitary facilities. As a result, more than a third of the 300 asylum seekers became infected. And the incidence value for the whole of Kassel doubled to 107.

Julian Staib

Political correspondent for Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, based in Wiesbaden.

Since then, there has been great anger in the city about the actions of the Hessian state government. In this case, the Hessian Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has dual responsibility: For asylum seekers, of course, but because it has reached the highest “Corona warning level”, it would now also have to “control” the medical situation in the city. At least that is what the state government’s “prevention and escalation concept” says. “The city is actually taking care of the necessary measures,” says Kassel’s mayor Christian Geselle (SPD).

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Trial against Syrians in Constance

WAssim Mukdad had a terrible time in Al-Khatib prison in Damascus. The torturers kept beating the soles of his feet during interrogation. He hardly got anything to eat. Friends of his disappeared or were murdered. He heard the other inmates screaming.

Julian Staib

Political correspondent for Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, based in Wiesbaden.

At the beginning of the uprising against the Syrian regime in 2011, Mukdad was arrested on the street and taken to Al-Khatib detention center. He was housed in a tiny room with almost 100 people and slept in shifts. “Nobody knew where I was,” he says. “I had no rights.” In 2014 he managed to escape to Germany, where he now works as a musician and composer.

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Planned clearing of the Dannenröder forest: green ordeal

DA hammer penetrates the trees, and two people fasten corrugated iron to the roof of a tree house. Around 200 people now live in the Dannenröder Forest. Some of them have built huge tree houses and piled tree trunks on the forest paths. Wire ropes are repeatedly stretched across the paths that lead far into the forest and high into the treetops, where a platform then hangs. Below is a sign: “If you cut this, a person will fall down.”

Julian Staib

Political correspondent for Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, based in Wiesbaden.

With such radical measures, forest occupiers want to prevent the clearing for the expansion of Autobahn 49 in Hesse. The project has been planned for more than forty years. Construction is now to begin. The expansion extends the already existing part of the A49 from Kassel towards Gießen. So far, the motorway ends in between – and the traffic continues to torment itself on federal highways. In 2016 the Bundestag decided to build it. The state government is carrying out the project, the district parliaments are in favor, and the courts have dismissed all claims, most recently the Federal Administrative Court in July. Nevertheless, the resistance on site is immense. The project is an acid test for the Hessian Greens.

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Bad Hersfeld and the online trade to visit in the heart of the boom


More than 10 million books: The shelf of the “slow mover”, the less well-sold titles, at the retailer Libri in Bad Hersfeld.
Picture: Lucas Bäuml

Bad Hersfeld was once the outskirts of the zone. After the Berlin Wall came down, the city was in the middle of the country – and online trade was on the move. A visit to the heart of the industry.

JAnyone who wants to pass by is held a kind of pistol to his forehead to measure temperature. Clearance markings on the floor, disinfectant dispenser and stacks of protective masks next door. Barrier tapes guide the employees into the company, mouth-nose protection is mandatory. In Amazon’s “FRA3” logistics center in Bad Hersfeld, there were corona infected employees. The operation was therefore not stopped. Nobody was also sent on short-time work. Rather, they work in shifts almost around the clock. Only between three and three in the morning and six in the morning, then employees of a cleaning company spray disinfectants.

Julian Staib

Political correspondent for Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland based in Wiesbaden.

Online trade is booming, the corona pandemic is likely to have brought its final breakthrough in Germany. At the time of the lockdown, the volume of parcel deliverers was as high as it was just before Christmas. That’s what several companies say. The numbers have declined somewhat since the shops reopened. But they are still significantly above the pre-pandemic level – in an already growing market.

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“Just a very short thing”

FThere is now plenty of illustrative material for errors by the other parties in dealing with the AfD. Rarely, however, is it as captivatingly clear as it is now in Rhineland-Palatinate. In the town of Neuwied on the Rhine, the Christian Democrats provide the mayor, the second mayor comes from the SPD. This is the name of Michael Mang, and he has long been accused of violating the municipal code and civil service law.

Julian Staib

Political correspondent for Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland based in Wiesbaden.

Therefore, the so-called papaya coalition of CDU, Greens and Free voters in the city council planned to deselect Mangs. This requires a two-thirds majority, which can only come about locally – i.e. against the SPD – if the AfD participates. The right-wing populists are thus the tip of the scales. The local CDU parliamentary group leader Martin Hahn ruled out talks with the AfD before the vote, but he certainly accepted their support. Hahn said: “The colleagues are elected by the citizens and therefore legitimized.”

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