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Category: Politik

Being German, with a Hyphen

The BBC reports:

The Brexit debate in the UK is focusing on the rights of EU migrants in the country, among them about 300,000 Germans. Many people are worried about what will happen to them after Brexit. But how are the 100,000 Brits in Germany feeling?

and tells the story of Esme, a young british Expat living in Berlin (of course), applying for German Citizenship and getting it just now.

For Esme, and I suspect for a lot of the Brits who are now becoming German, what started out as a practical decision about visas and passports, is unexpectedly raising deeper questions about identity. Can you really be both German and British? And what does it mean to be German anyway?

Not so very long ago, saying to other Brits that you’re becoming German would almost inevitably lead to some tired gag about Nazis or towels on sun loungers. And although some British headlines might still use those cliches – and you can expect a few more if Brexit talks get nasty – today, modern Germany is seen more often as a bastion of tolerant values: international, democratic and open to immigrants.

Let’s keep it that way. In fact, let’s make or keep this a European thing.

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Turns out, people don’t like traveling to Nazi America…

A report by Frommer’s states that

Experts across the travel industry are warning that masses of tourists are being scared away from visiting the United States, and the loss of tourism jobs could be devastating.

So far, the observed drop is about 7%, and is not limited to travel from Muslim countries:

Apparently, an attack on one group of tourists is regarded as an assault on all

the report continues. Affected are business travel as well as  leisure travel, and the projected losses for this year are in the billions of USD and in the thousands of jobs.

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USAgile Testing Days – canceled

USAgile Testing Days canceled

USAgile Testing days in Boston are canceled:

Sadly, we have to inform you that we decided to cancel the conference due to the current political situation in the USA. Our hearts are bleeding, but we believe it is the right thing to do. The Agile Testing Days (ATDs) stand for diversity, openness, respect and support the observance of human rights. We despise any sort of hostility or harassment.

The behavior of the current US Government Authority is unacceptable for us and against our values and views. As international organizers we also aim at a diverse and international conference crowd – audience and speakers alike. Many people of the community are expressing their concerns, and even speakers are withdrawing from their attendance now.

All of them feel unconfident about the next months and are unsure of potential problems when entering the country, including us as organizers.

I am waiting for their announcement of an alternate Venue in Cancun.

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Seizure of Cellphone content during US immigration checks

US Customs and Border Patrol have forced a NASA engineer to give up the passcode to his cellphone, and presumably copied and inspected the device, The Atlantic reports.

If you are traveling into the US, you are well advised to take blank dummy devices with you, which do not contain any work or personal data on them. Resetting a personal device prior to travel may not be enough in all cases, residual data may exist in the flash (Chromebook and Nexus “Powerwash” reset might be).

Not traveling into the US might be even smarter.

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On Normalcy: The rest times of truck drivers in Europe

DVZ Landverkehr reports (article in German):

LKW-Fahrer dürfen ihre wöchentliche Ruhezeit nicht im Fahrzeug verbringen. Zu diesem Ergebnis kommt Generalanwalt Evgeni Tanchev in seinen Schlussanträgen vom 2. Februar vor dem Europäischen Gerichtshof (EuGH). Hintergrund ist die Klage des Transportunternehmens Vaditrans gegen den Belgischen Staat.

(“Truck drivers must not spend their weekly downtime within the vehicle. That’s the conclusion drawn by general attorney Evgeni Tanchev in his final plea of Feb, 2nd before the ECJ. Background is a complaint of Vaditrans vs. Belgium”)

Most European countries require that the weekly downtime of truck drivers must not be spent in the vehicle. Vaditrans sued against this rule and the penalties for violation. European law allows daily downtimes to be spent in the cabin, but says nothing about weekly downtimes. Local rules in many states require that the drivers must not spent them on the vehicle.

The same proceedings are also reported in Eurotransport (article in German). The comments below the article rage against the ruling, with many commenters asking how this could possibly be implemented or how the ruling is unfair, cost intensive and generally wrong.

The definition of what is normal apparently can be distorted quite heavily – normal for most people obviously would be that drivers to park their vehicles next to a motel and sleep in proper rooms and beds, with proper meals and sanitary installations, every day, because that’s how jobs work in a civilization. Instead, people rage against requiring that drivers can and should be doing this at least on their weekends, claiming this to be impossible and abnormal.

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