Corona measures – recreational athletes are hit particularly hard – sport

There is now great disappointment in the Bundesliga, but on the other hand it is like this: The Bundesliga is best off the German sports landscape after the new, serious Corona resolutions. It is an atmospheric setback if no spectators are allowed in November instead of the last few hundred or thousand. But financially, that’s only of limited relevance, and gaming as such continues as before.

Much more drastic are the decisions at the levels below, and especially at the bottom: at the grassroots level, in amateur and recreational sports. At the German Football Association, for example, seven million people are organized in 25,000 clubs, while the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) has 27 million memberships in almost 90,000 clubs. They all have to stop their offers for four weeks; only individual sports like jogging are allowed. “Sport Germany”, as it is often called, has largely stood still, which will have considerable consequences.

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It is sometimes a bit pathetic when the DOSB praises the clubs as the country’s “social filling stations”. And there are certainly people who present the importance of sport for society more skilfully and can also anchor it politically better than the current DOSB President Alfons Hörmann. But this importance is immense: as a place of encounter and movement, especially for children and young people. The country already suffers from a lack of exercise, and state regulations are now tightening it: by closing the clubs.

As in many other areas of life, for example in gastronomy or in the cultural sector, there is also great irritation at the sports base about the decisions – and fear of the consequences. But the problems that threaten recreational sports can only be cushioned to a limited extent by any corona pot. As warned by the DOSB, there is a real risk that established structures will “suffer considerable damage or be completely lost”. That people withdraw from club life; that children and adolescents lose access to sport if, after the first prescribed sport break in spring, there is another one that nobody knows how long it really lasts.

Even in the smallest village clubs, concepts have recently been painstakingly drawn up to at least somehow make sport possible. This was done with a view to distance and hygiene rules, but also with the awareness that, according to all that we know, sport is not an infection driver and aerosols evaporate more quickly outdoors.

Yes, there are sports for which the time is not right and sports facilities where a meaningful concept cannot be implemented. But why shouldn’t it be possible to complete a tennis individual in an airy hall in view of the previously known scientific background while observing the hygiene rules? And why shouldn’t the ten-year-olds, who are together at school in the morning anyway, be allowed to play a little football on the pitch in the afternoon? And be it just, as was the case in early summer, in a restricted corona mode, in which only contactless running, passing and shooting at goal exercises are allowed?

Politicians like to bask in the glamor of professional sport. She clearly does not appreciate the value of amateur and recreational sport to society.


Corona debate in the Bundestag: criticism of AfD and FDP – politics

In a very heated mood in the Bundestag, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) explained the new strict corona restrictions, which the federal and state governments agreed on Wednesday.

The beginning of their government declaration is accompanied by numerous and very massive interjections. After less than ten minutes, the President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) intervenes. Germany and Europe are in an “exceptionally difficult situation,” he says. It is regulated in the Basic Law that the Chancellor comment on her policy in a government statement. Afterwards, in the debate, “all opinions could be expressed”. Before doing this, however, discipline is required.

“We are in a dramatic situation at the beginning of the cold season,” says the Chancellor. The number of new corona infections has skyrocketed and many health authorities are at their limit. The number of new infections goes hand in hand with increasing patient numbers in hospitals. The number of intensive care cases has doubled within ten days to the current 1569.

Such a dynamic will soon overwhelm the intensive care units if it is not broken. Therefore, the federal and state governments have agreed on extensive contact restrictions, especially in the private sector, which would apply from November 2nd to November 30th. They want to do everything possible to keep schools and daycare centers open. But this requires improved hygiene concepts. The Chancellor asks the countries to be “creative and imaginative” on this point.

Merkel says she very much understands the frustration and desperation that exists among restaurant operators and cultural organizers who have to close now. Developed hygiene concepts would be needed again, but could “not develop their strength in the current exponential infection process”. Merkel emphasizes several times that the measures taken are “suitable, necessary and proportionate”. The latter is particularly important when courts have to decide whether the restriction of fundamental rights is legal. Complete shielding from risk groups, which some scientists and politicians recommend as an alternative approach, is not an effective means for the Chancellor.

It is “right, important and indispensable” that the corona restrictions are discussed, says Merkel. Nevertheless, it is important to clearly identify the line between “true and untrue, between right and wrong”. Lies, conspiracy myths, and hatred did harm in the fight against the virus.

The Chancellor states that the aim of the measures taken is to reduce the number of encounters “massively, and ideally by 75 percent”. She appeals to the population: “It depends on everyone, on each and every individual.” Germany is facing a harsh winter, admits Merkel. “Four long difficult months, but it will end.”

Sharp criticism from the ranks of the opposition

AfD and FDP criticize government policy in their reactions sharply. AfD parliamentary group leader Alexander Gauland says there is also road traffic “although people die there”. And how to reduce the number of deaths in road traffic through measures, “without abolishing traffic”, so now you have to fight the pandemic.

Gauland criticizes that the “greatest restrictions on freedom in the history of this republic” would continue to be decided by the Corona cabinet, which he compares to a war cabinet. But the Bundestag alone has to rule on restrictions on fundamental rights “and no one else”. He calls the decreed closure of restaurants and cultural establishments “excessive and inappropriate” “A normal restaurant visit in compliance with the AHA rules does not produce a hotspot.” The AfD parliamentary group leader demands: “We have to weigh up, also at the cost of people dying.”

Also the FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Linder expresses massive criticism of the government’s actions, but in much more moderate terms than Gauland. Above all, he complains that the restrictions on freedom are met “without the public and only by government leaders”. One can come to the conclusion that restrictions are necessary, says Lindner, but the “debate should take place before the decision and the place of the debate must be the parliament”.

Lindner also does not consider it proportionate that areas with hotels, leisure facilities and gastronomy would be closed that were not particularly noticed as drivers of infection. Many companies have invested in hygiene concepts, many people have prepared. The closings are “unfair” to the people. Lindner demands that the coming second, the last lockdown must be. “It is now time for this country to switch from actionist crisis management to a permanently sustainable risk strategy.”

Amira Mohammed Ali, leader of the Left, also criticizes the fact that the Bundestag only debates the measures after they have been determined and not before. That is not good for the acceptance of the restrictions. She also calls for better social cushioning for people affected by the restriction.

The Group leader of the Greens, Kathrin Göring-Eckardt, accuses the federal government of having been inactive over the summer. The infection crisis has turned into a crisis of confidence. She also speaks out in favor of supporting solo self-employed people and calls for corona restrictions to be decided in the Bundestag in the future.

Representatives of the coalition parties defend the government’s actions. Of the Chairman of the Union parliamentary group, Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU), justifies their approach of determining the measures without formal involvement of the Bundestag. Parliamentarism in Germany also works during the pandemic. Brinkhaus also emphasizes that freedom is “not just the freedom of the strong and the young”. Everyone always makes decisions for the weaker ones.

Also SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich defends not only the measures adopted yesterday as “urgently needed and proportionate” but also the way they are currently being taken. A broad authorization of the executive is permissible after a decision of the highest court – and the time in which this is necessary is not over yet. After seven months of the pandemic, the SPD is striving to further clarify this point, “legal guard rails for the government”.


Overview coronavirus – which rules apply now – politics

The number of infections continues to rise, so people in Germany will face significant restrictions in the future. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the prime ministers of the federal states agreed on this on Wednesday. They should apply from November 2nd. Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) speaks of a “differentiated lockdown”. An overview of the most important measures:

Leisure and gastronomy

Bars, clubs, pubs and restaurants have to close by the end of November. However, restaurants are allowed to have food delivered or picked up. Leisure, cultural and sports facilities such as cinemas, theaters, swimming pools and fitness studios will be closed – as will amusement arcades and brothels. Events for entertainment are prohibited.


Schools and daycare centers are excluded from the closings. This is to secure education and not burden families again. The federal states themselves decide on the necessary protective measures.

Contact restrictions

Citizens are asked to limit private contacts to “an absolutely necessary minimum”. At home and in public spaces, only members of two households, but a maximum of ten people, should meet. Celebrations are “unacceptable,” said Merkel. The controls are to be strengthened in this area.

Travel restrictions

The federal and state governments urge citizens to refrain from travel that is not necessary. This also includes tourist trips. Commercial overnight accommodation should only be available for necessary, explicitly non-tourist trips, for example for essential business trips.

Trade and services

The wholesale and retail trade remains open under certain conditions. There may not be more than one customer per 10 square meters of sales area in the shops. Body care services, such as beauty salons, will also be closed. Hairdressers can, however, remain open. Medically necessary services and treatments, such as physiotherapy, are also permitted.

Call to work from home

Companies are “urgently” asked to make home work possible. The authorities responsible for occupational safety and the accident insurance institutions should advise companies on this, but also monitor them.


In addition to the closings of swimming pools and fitness studios (see also the item Leisure and Gastronomy), there are other restrictions. Amateur sports are only allowed alone or with members of two households. This means that a number of team sports cannot be practiced. Jogging, for example, is still possible. Professional sport can continue, but without spectators in the stadiums or on the sports facilities. This also applies to the Bundesliga.

Church services and demonstrations

Church services will also continue to be possible as long as the hygiene requirements are observed. Chancellor Merkel said that banning them would not have seemed proportionate to her. Bavaria’s Prime Minister Söder referred to the “great good” of religious freedom. The same applies to demonstrations, which also enjoy a high level of legal protection. They can still be used if the distance rules are observed.


Companies and self-employed who are affected by the closings are to be compensated. Smaller companies should receive up to 75 percent of the turnover from November 2019, larger companies up to 70 percent. More details here


An interview with IMF boss Kristalina Georgiewa – economy


Cerstin Gammelin and Claus Hulverscheidt, Berlin

Kristalina Georgiewa is prepared for all the imponderables when she appears on the screen for a video conversation with SZ. When, after a few minutes of interview, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) comes up with the fact that people are inherently social beings, she spontaneously pulls a chic, black mask out of her blazer pocket and uses it to cover her nose and mouth: with a little Mindfulness, says the 67-year-old Bulgarian, personal contacts and prosperous economic development are still possible today. That fits in with the economist who, in her year in office, earned the reputation of a hands-on practitioner who doesn’t avoid the bush.


Interview with Sahra Wagenknecht – Politics

Fight for pensions or prefer gender asterisks? Sahra Wagenknecht, who is still the best-known politician of the Left Party, on the needs of small people – and studied politicians who are not even aware of these needs.

Interview by

Boris Herrmann


United Nations: 75 years of UN opinion

The state of the United Nations can best be described if one looks at the meager festive planning that was drawn up for the 75th birthday of the world organization this weekend. A few concerts, a discussion round, nothing more. In its jubilee year the UN can be found in a deplorable dwarfism: a groaning bureaucracy, always the fight for finances and recognition, dysfunctional and paralyzed political institutions like the Security Council or the Human Rights Council. On the one hand.

On the other hand, the world is being shaken by a pandemic. The ever-increasing number of people on earth has raised a whole new set of issues that determine the survival of this species: changes in the climate, concerns about security of supply, migration movements with their consequences such as war and radicalization. Provocations, rule breaks, threats of war: there are a few reasons why a reasonably talented state leader could consider the amalgamation of states helpful, the aim of which is to prevent wars, strive for economic and social justice and protect the dignity of all people .

Peace, human rights, equal rules for all – this is what it says in the founding document of the UN, its charter, which came into force on October 24, 1945, when it was ratified by the five permanent members of the Security Council and the majority of the 50 founding nations . The times were gloomy, the rubble was still smoking after the world fire, when the then US President Harry S. Truman put the founding idea in a simple sentence: “We ourselves have to refuse the license to always do what we want.”

That was an almost visionary sentence that testified to an understanding of order for the world as it had just grown in 1945 and as it was shared by most US presidents for almost 75 years. The idea of ​​a family of peoples, already hatched by Woodrow Wilson, did not follow any do-gooding impulse, but combined national, American interest with the tools that had made this country big and strong and ultimately a victorious nation in two world wars: democracy and law.

After the Second World War, this insight – only democratic alliances can prevent war – became a compulsion. The anti-Hitler alliance faded in a flash, and a totalitarian evil threatened to follow the second: the Soviet, Stalinist claim to power with the idea of ​​a communist world revolution as the driving force.

And so the USA made a virtue out of necessity, or, to put it more edgy, an instrument of their interests. The United Nations should sow the seeds of democracy and the rule of law, the benevolent multilateralism Washington-style, in the world. The fact that the Security Council, with its five permanent veto powers, functioned like a predetermined breaking point was the evil to be tolerated. To this day, despite its outdated composition, the body is a mirror of the power constellation on earth, because it is still the geographic size of a country, population size, economic and military power that determine the pecking order.

Two major trends explain the state of the United Nations today: the US under Donald Trump’s turning away from multilateralism, i.e. from a world of rules and treaties. And the establishment of a parallel order by China, which increasingly occupies the structures of the UN with its personnel and allows it to work in its national interest. Seldom, but all the more powerful, does the spirit of resistance against this dynamic of decline flash up, as recently when China was condemned for its human rights violations in Hong Kong and the province of Xinjiang, which – initiated by Germany and Great Britain – 39 states joined the General Assembly’s Human Rights Committee. “To strengthen the belief in fundamental human rights”, as it was formulated in the preamble of the UN 75 years ago.

These expressions of discontent, the evocations of an “alliance of multilateralists”, a new “league of democracies” – none of this will go very far if the greatest powers on earth refuse to accept the founding idea of ​​the UN. In four years, Donald Trump has reduced its purpose to absurdity. A second term in office would inflict the death blow on multilateralism. So far there was only damage – now the destruction follows.

So it turns into a cynical joke in world history that the United States, the fathering nation, will decide the fate of the United Nations for the second time 75 years after it was founded. This topic will not affect the outcome of the election. The future of the earth does.


Federal Minister of Health – Spahn tested positive for coronavirus – politics

Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) has contracted the corona virus. His ministry in Berlin announced that he tested positive for the virus on Wednesday afternoon. This is the first time that a minister from Angela Merkel’s (CDU) cabinet fell ill with Covid-19. Spahn immediately went into domestic isolation, the message said. “So far, he has only developed cold symptoms. All contact persons are kept up-to-date.”

Spahn had attended the weekly cabinet meeting that morning. Photos show him wearing mouth and nose protection. A government spokesman said in Berlin on request that the cabinet still does not have to be quarantined. It meets in compliance with hygiene and distance rules, which are aimed at ensuring that a quarantine of other or even all participants is not necessary even if a person who later tested positive for the virus participated. The Cabinet meets in the International Conference Hall of the Chancellery. The room was “particularly optimized with regard to infection protection and has been professionally checked by the Berlin-Mitte health department,” it said.

Last week Spahn had two public appearances in the house of the Federal Press Conference, including one with Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey (SPD) on Friday. Giffey was then tested negative with a rapid test later on Wednesday afternoon. Another test is to follow. Last Wednesday, Spahn appeared with the President of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, the Chairman of the Standing Vaccination Commission, Thomas Mertens, and the head of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Companies, Doris Pfeiffer. Everyone had worn masks during the conversation and sat next to each other at a distance.

According to Spahn’s spokesman, the Minister of Health routinely measured a fever every day, but without finding any elevated temperature. The minister only completed a corona test when he began to develop cold symptoms. The health minister has now withdrawn into domestic isolation and will cancel some appointments.

Meanwhile, the all-clear for Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was given on Wednesday. A second corona test also turned out negative for him, said a spokeswoman for the Office of the Federal President. The responsible health department had determined that the head of state would have to remain in quarantine until October 29, it said. Steinmeier quarantined himself at the weekend after one of his bodyguards tested positive for the corona virus.

Jens Spahn had previously taken the view that the current Corona situation would not lead to another large-scale standstill in Germany as in the spring. “I don’t see a second lockdown, as it is always meant,” he said at last. In relation to the entire Federal Republic, the critical value of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants was exceeded within seven days on Wednesday. It is considered an important threshold for stricter measures against the spread of the virus. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) gave the number as 51.3, the day before it was 48.6. Nationwide, according to the RKI, the health authorities last reported 7595 new infections within one day, almost the previous high.


Demonstrations: Islamist attack in France – politics

The applause spills over the square in waves. Like an acoustic La Ola, sometimes there is clapping on the north side, sometimes on the south side. The Place de la République is full of people, Corona cannot scare them. She horrifies the idea that France is bowing to terror and allowing itself to be divided by religious hatred. They want to stand close together this Sunday in Paris, old and young, fine ladies with poodles in their arms, simple people, families. Some hold up a caricature of Mohammed, and one word is written in capital letters on the banners. The word is also on top of the monument in the middle of the square: “Liberté”.

Juliette wrote “Je suis prof” on her mask, “I am a teacher”. She was shocked by the alleged murder of the teacher Samuel Paty last Friday. “We’ve all been to school once,” says the architect, who just wants to give her first name. “We’ve all been taught the importance of freedom of expression.” She also wants, says Juliette, to stand up against Islam and Islamism being mixed together. She came with a friend, they are there to express their sadness, to come to terms with the recent shock. And to defend their country against the dark, deadly Islamist ideology.

The attack hits the country in the heart. It seems like an assassination attempt on the school as an institution

They want to uphold freedom of expression – this fundamental value of the republic, which also includes the right to blaspheme religion. Paty, 47 years old, wanted to teach the basic value and paid for it with his life. Since the attack on the magazine Charlie Hebdo In January 2015, with twelve dead, France’s teachers were particularly encouraged by the Ministry of Education to teach these values. Paty did that by drawing out controversial Mohammed drawings Charlie Hebdo showed.

In 2015, 1.5 million people opposed Islamism in Paris. Their motto was: “Je suis Charlie”. This Sunday the motto is “Je suis prof” to show solidarity, as Emmanuel Macron had called for. The president is different today than he was in 2015, but his slogans are similar to those of François Hollande: “You will not get through,” says Macron imploringly. “They will not divide us.”

Nevertheless, everything is different from 2015. Since then, 259 people have died in Islamist attacks in France. The country did not get used to it, but it did get tired. It takes strength to oppose radicalized Muslims. Not least in schools, where Muslim students in some places refuse to take part in physical education or biology classes or deny the equality of women and men. Unlike 2015, the intellectual arsonists are not in Syria or Afghanistan, but in France. They rush against a teacher on Facebook, who then has his head cut off with a knife. And unlike 2015, this time politicians argued only a little after the fact about omissions.

1.5 million people are not on the Place de la République on Sunday, but at least several thousand. People gathered in many cities on weekends. In front of the high school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, where Paty taught, hundreds met for a vigil. Many in the quiet suburb to the north-west of Paris knew Paty. Here he taught, here he lived with his family, here he was killed on Friday. The autumn break had just started.

In the long series of assassinations that France experienced, the one on Paty is one of the most symbolically and emotionally charged. The attack has the effect of an assassination attempt on the school itself, which, in the understanding of the state, ensures the integration of people of all origins and religions. “There is no doubt that we are dealing with enemies of the republic,” said Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer. “The school is the backbone of the republic.”

People are particularly shocked that it was probably videos of an indignant father that incited the assassin Abdoullakh A. The man denounced his 13-year-old daughter’s teacher for teaching, and gave his name and the address of the school. Some videos were shared by relevant Islamists and mosques. The murderer, it looks like, was instigated by people in the middle of France.

Abdoullakh A. ambushed Paty in front of the high school, according to the Paris anti-terrorist prosecutor Jean François Ricard. He had never seen his victim in person, but knew his name. “A. asked several students to show him Paty,” said Ricard. Abdoullakh A. was born in Moscow in 2002, was of Chechen descent and lived as a recognized refugee in Normandy. He was never noticed by the authorities as a radical Muslim, but as violent. When the police tried to arrest him in Conflans after the crime, he was struck down with nine shots. A. shot the officers with a so-called airsoft rifle and attacked them with a knife, according to public prosecutor Ricard. Before that, he shared a photo of Paty’s severed head on Twitter. This is the revenge on him “who dared to humiliate Mohammed,” he wrote. The account was quickly blocked.

The investigators are now looking for possible accomplices or accomplices. The police took eleven people into custody over the weekend, including the perpetrator’s parents and grandparents. The student’s father, who posted his anger video online, is also questioned.

This Wednesday, Macron wants to honor Samuel Paty as a hero with a state funeral. “A hero?” Asks Juliette, the protester on the Place de la République. “He wasn’t a hero, he just did his job.” She wants what Paty did – teaching children tolerance and democracy – to be taken for granted. And doesn’t become a test of courage.


Netzcolumn: The US election campaign and social media – digital

If the past weeks and months have brought only one truth to light, it is probably the following: The ability of powerful men to feel unjustly treated is inexhaustible. Current occasion is a story in the New York Postin which the Ukraine deals of the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden were once again expanded. However, the text raised more questions about its seriousness and the origin of its facts than about actual irregularities in the democratic camp.

Twitter and Facebook therefore restricted the circulation of the article surprisingly quickly. And powerful Republicans complained much faster about the alleged censorship and suspected a partiality of the digital platforms in favor of the Democrats. The charge is not new. For years, Donald Trump and his vassals have accused the big tech companies of willfully suppressing their own messages. The Republican base picks up on this narrative: According to a study by the Pew Research Center, nine out of ten Conservative Americans believe social media platforms are censoring their camp.

So the current incident offers a good opportunity to check whether these allegations have any real roots. To cut a long story short, virtually all research suggests that the opposite is true. With the help of data analysis apps like Crowdtangle, you can understand very precisely which content on Facebook is best received by the audience and which topics go viral. The usual key figures for user retention and dissemination are measured: comments, likes and emoji reactions.

The platforms increase fear and anger – and are now half-heartedly rowing back

Using this calculation, the Twitter bot @facebookstopten posts the currently ten most successful links on Facebook every day. The result: Donald Trump himself ranks first in a never-ending streak, followed by hyperreactionary opinion leaders like Ben Shapiro, Franklin Graham and Dan Bongino. Only very occasionally does a liberal sender such as CNN or NPR get lost in the ranking. According to analyst Newswhip, Shapiro’s news offering is The Daily Wire also by far the most successful medium on Facebook. In September, the site, known for its, well, rather generous handling of the truth, raked in nearly 80 million interactions. Almost three times as much as the liberal one New York Times. In the previous months, the order hardly looks any different.

Facebook has long explained this overrepresentation by stating that the platform is a mirror of society and that the stories from the conservative spectrum address people on a much more basic level than those of the liberal camp. The narratives of fear, anger and home therefore reverberate much louder in the echo chambers of social networks. The left must fight fire with fire, a high-ranking Facebook employee recently told the website Politico. In contrast, the network likes to downplay its own role. Who could have guessed that populist topics would go down well with algorithms that were explicitly developed to maximize user loyalty?

A new research of the Washington Post now even suggests that Facebook’s algorithm has deliberately hidden left-wing content in recent years. If, however, in the last few weeks before the US election, the platforms actually feel a faint whiff of their social responsibility and begin to implement it, as they did with the suppression of the Biden story mentioned, then there is unfortunately no reason to celebrate. Ultimately, it only shows the level at which the political discussion is now moving. Today it is already celebrated as a success that the denial of the Holocaust and its spread is no longer unlimited. And some people feel it is unfair not to be able to lie in public without consequences.