Updated: Jan 25, 2020
By George Hartley
In Politics Merkel addressed climate change in her New Year’s address, emphasising that ‘our children and grandchildren’ will have to deal with the consequences. She remained optimistic that the 20s could be ‘good years’ for Germany. A new SPD-funded study by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung highlighted significant regional inequalities within Germany, identifying five distinct divisions in wealth and infrastructure across the nation. 67 percent of Germans supported the continuation of the Große Koalition between Merkel’s CDU/CSU and the SPD in a Spiegel survey. In Business Unemployment reached a record low in Germany during 2019. After a six-year continued decrease, the figure has sunk below 2.3 million for the first time since reunification in 1990. Jürgen Resch, leader of non-profit Environmental Action Germany, suggested that Autobahn speed limits will be necessary to ensure the German auto industry can test new autonomous technologies and remain competitive. Only six nuclear power stations remain in Germany after the closure of the Philippsburg power station near Karlsruhe on 31 December, with the remainder to be closed in the coming two years. More here (Reuters). Elsewhere The €1bn Dresden jewel heist, which we reported on back in November, was potentially an inside job. Investigation company CGI Group suspect that sensitive information was supplied to thieves by a museum employee. Over 30 animals died after sky lanterns released for the New Year’s Eve celebrations started a fire in a monkey enclosure at a Krefeld zoo. Such lanterns are already banned in most German states. This DW article covered the fascinating Hallig islands in the North Sea, where tiny inhabited mounds are regularly cut off from the mainland by the incoming tide and the potential effects of rising sea levels.