Friday, October 30, 2020

Christmas Market No-Go

 As of this afternoon, both Kassel and Wiesbaden cancelled out their Christmas markets (both were to open in four weeks).  Covid-19 cited as the threat to trigger this.

Financial loss?  

For some of the stands (candles or Christmas ornaments)....this was their one and only enterprise for the year.....making a sum to clear monthly costs for the next 12 months.

For these food stands...it's probably over 200k Euro on profits lost for each.  

The draw card for shoppers to come into the heart of these towns, to spend money?  Well, that's another matter.  You could be looking at a fair sum of money lost for this season.  

Depressing season?  Yeah....you get the look and feel of that.  

Laying Out the France Stabbing Story

 So this is a unique Islamic terror attack (at the Catholic Church in Nice), and it bears out a minute or two of consideration.

Brahim Aoussaoui is the 21-year-old guy who killed three people within the church, with a butcher knife.

Back in September....Aoussaoui had paid some group to get him to a rescue point in the Med....where a European charity-rescue ship came to 'save' him and the others.

So they get carried over to Lampedusa (the isle)....where they do three weeks of Covid-quarantine.

Then....he gets taken over to Bari, an Italian town on the coast.  

Remember....he's an asylum guy.

Three weeks pass....somehow he gets over to Nice, France....then it's there that he kills the three folks in the Catholic Church.

Was he this crazy as the charity-rescue ship picked them up?  Well....you don't know.  

Was he this crazy as he went into Corona-quarantine on Lampedusa?  Well....you don't know.

Was he this crazy as he landed at Bari, Italy?  Well....you don't know.

Over the next month, this story is going to be told over and over in France, and people will sit there asking stupid questions that neither the French government or EU can answer.

At the end of this....some sharp criticism is going to start up and put heavy demands that the rescue ships just plain halt their operation until someone can assure the general public that they aren't bringing unstable folks into the EU.  

Shut-Down-Lite Going into December?

 The first hint?  Today, via a comment by the Saarland Premier-President (Hans, CDU).

It was a simple question by the news folks, and Hans responded that if the numbers don't show a change....then the extension to the shut-down-lite would continue on.

The odds of the public accepting this into December....Christmas season?  There would be a lot of grumbling and probably 50-percent of the nation would be extremely negative about this.  They generally all assume to some degree...it's a 30-day deal.

The fact that this came from outside of the Berlin 'political-machine'?  I think most of the CDU-CSU-SPD folks have been briefed and told not to gossip or talk over the shut-down-lite deal.  

The skeptics seizing upon this hint?  Someone will come around to Chancellor Merkel by Monday and ask her if an extension is possible, and she'll do one of her 'wait-and-see' comments.  

The true problem here....if numbers don't retreat....then you could be looking at a 100-day shut-down-lite 'party' and lots of unhappy campers. 

Bankruptcy Wave Coming?

 ARD (public TV, Channel One) did a business report this morning....DIW expert economist....Marcel Fratzscher.  

He's fairly blunt....come the end of December, the wave ought to start up.

The thing missing from the interview?  The size of this wave.  Whether intentional or by accident....they didn't want to ask about the size of the bankruptcy wave approaching. 

There's no doubt that hotels and tourism business operations are seriously damaged by Covid-19.  This November shut-down?  It's not going to help in any way....with expectations of the public that travel for the next six months will not return to any normal rate.  

But bankruptcy problems will exist for even the smaller coffee shop or pub operations as well.  It wouldn't surprise me if a quarter of kinos/theater operations....end up by mid-2021 as closed permanently.  

More Wirecard?

Over the past couple of months, I've essayed a piece or two over the spiral of Wirecard (the German money-card company).  

There's probably enough chatter now for a 400-page book to be easily written over the failure of the company, and the illegal behavior that they demonstrated. 

This morning....via ARD (public TV, Channel One)....there's this odd new report over Wirecard and their board of directors.

ARD says....that one member of the board (Austrian guy, Malsalek) was probably a undercover agent of some type for the Austrian government.  

German federal prosecutor office is the authority suggesting this, and apparently asking a lot of questions.  Did the Austrian federal prosecutor office know about this?  It's not clear.

It appears that the Austrian federal prosecutor folks knew Malsalek, and had a connection to the guy.  Maybe just a 'friend' of the undercover agent crowd?  You just don't know.

Comments out of Vienna?  Nothing.

Germans talking to the British and Americans over this?  Apparently.  It wouldn't shock me if both also had undercover agents within Wirecard, and knew exactly what they were, and simply viewed particular cases as 'interesting', and letting Wirecard exist in an illegal way, as part of the 'trap-mechanism'.

So prepare for the Germans to come up by spring of 2021, and admit....various governments (maybe even the French, Chinese, Russian, and Swedes)....all had secret operations existing....while the Germans had nothing and just gazed off in different directions.  It'll be embarrassing to admit this....a dozen-odd countries using a German money-transfer company, to spy upon, and the Germans themselves couldn't do the same thing.

The Pajama Story

 Back in 2012, while I worked around Arlington, VA....I started to notice some women (never men) who shopped in pajama-like clothing.  I was told at the time....in China, this fashion had started up and was completely acceptable there, and apparently in Arlington as well.  Several months would pass, and I stood at the regional airport....waiting on a flight....to find another American woman in pajama-like clothing boarding a plane as well. 

Since 2013 (now retired in Germany)....I hadn't seen the pajama routine practiced here.  

Frankly, Germans typically have a certain standard.  I do agree....German guys don't have a problem in putting on jogging pants and going to the coffee shop or bakery.  German women?  They would normally NEVER go that casual.

So I opened up N-TV today, and there's this story from up north, at a Edeka grocery.

Store manager (German guy) is standing there, and there is this female customer with pajamas, house slippers, and pink dressing gown....shopping in his store.  Her daughter?  They don't give the age, but I would assume at age 5 or 6....same attire.

The German manager didn't waste much time.....he went straight to the woman and 'complemented' her on the attire.  I'm not talking about the nice complement style....but the harsh one.  German gal packed up in a huff, and left quickly.

Manager basically said....he won't put up with this style of behavior or attire.

I'm kinda amazed that such a manager exists in Germany who'd go.....confront in a direct way, and just tell someone they were dressed in a bad way.  

Germany and Covid-19: 30 Oct 2020

 1.  Best quote of the day, related to the new ban rules for Monday?  By Markus Krall: "The only thing that should be locked (down) in this country is the government."

A fair amount of criticism among the general public, and probably will translate over to political chaos for November.

The odds of another shut-down?  Virtually zero at this point. 

2.  New RTL poll says two out of three Germans agree to Merkel's shut-down-lite directive.  

It's not a great number but at least half the nation is going along with this.  

3.  New predictions within Hessen (my state) that the ICU bed situation will reach zero in about three weeks.  Alternate plan being pushed up....they'd cancel elective surgery operations and turn those beds into Covid support.  

The folks talking about this....say the ban rule change for Monday, does little to nothing to flip their prediction.  

I should point out....just because you get Covid....does not mean that you get a slip to check into the hospital.  The vast number of people (probably over 90-percent) are given home-rest slips....to quarantine there.

4.  Corona-frustration is a phrase being coined now, and used by mental-health experts in Germany.  

5.  The German Golf Association is demanding an exemption to the sport ban rules.  They say....since the whole thing is out of doors....with social distancing 'normal'.....they shouldn't be banned.

6.  The 'deal' for German business operations shut down by the November mandate?  Basically, you get 75-percent of your income that was reported for November 2019, from the federal pot of money.

A good deal?  Well....you'd say what about the 25-percent of income that isn't coming?  Yeah, that's the real item of discussion.  Some pubs and restaurants are sitting there in a very negative state of mind....there's no fairness to the 'gift'.  

7.  No matter where you are in Germany on Monday night.....there is a booze-freeze from 11 PM to 6 PM, for public consumption of alcohol.  So even if you had a six-pack with a friend on some city park bench at 1 AM....that's illegal and would be fined.  That's the deal for the whole month of November.  Drinking in your house or on your patio?  Still ok (at least for now).  

8.  You can travel and use hotels, but ONLY for business-related situations.  No tourism can exist for the month of November.

9.  Shopping on Monday and the rest of November?  Well.....the rule is one customer per each ten square meters.  I would imagine some guard will be at each grocery store, and monitor the incoming and outcoming customers (again).

10.  The absolute minute you are noted as 'positive' on a Corona test, you are to go into quarantine then.  No stopping off for beer or groceries....failure to comply is a 500 Euro fine.

11. If you do group travel to work (some unions arrange for a 7-to-10 pax van to transport folks from one town to the industry)....all occupants in the van must wear a mask as of Monday, for the entire trip (each way).

12.  The funding 'pot' of money for compensating companies for the loss of profits?  Well....if you dig into this story, it amounts to 10-billion Euro.  A fair amount of discussion has started up.  Majority of business folks don't believe it'll cover the extent of requirements.....in fact.....they suggest it'll exceed 30-billion Euro by early December.  Do the Bundestag folks know this?  Hard to say.  

13.  As of Monday, if you are walking in any area where the 1.5 meter distance cannot be ensured.....the mask is MANDATED (period, no exceptions).  

14.  As of 7 PM last night (Thursday), 16,286 new infections were reported in the previous 24 hours.  Deaths in the same period: 92.  83-million residents, for reference.

As for my local area (Wiesbaden), the new infection number for the past 24 hours is 108, with a total of 505 individuals in the community on some form of quarantine. Total of 291k residents, for reference.

15.  More German lawyers are standing up and suggesting that the new ban rules can be challenged in court, and possibly overturned.  

16.  For the fancy color graphic used nightly by the public news folks....it was a color-coded deal.  This week, they had to go and invent a new color (for areas with 150 infections or more per 100k people).  The new color?  Black.  Really stands out when you gaze at the map.  

17.  Among all the ban rules put up and new.....there's this one ban rule which is begging questions.  The German authorities invented a rule that says that 'body-hugging services are forbidden....starting Monday'.  

I paused over this....wondering what they meant by body-hugging.  Hookers and prostitutes would have been spoken in a different way.  Maybe there's some type of commercial service in Germany that I'm unaware of....where you pay someone to come up and hug you once or twice a day.  

It's best not to ask questions over this....it'd just lead to some conversation that goes on for an hour or two....where a German talks real personal stuff on hugging.  

18.  Finally, Frankfurt's airport chatted on Terminal Three (under construction).  

Normally, the plan was for it to be somewhat operational by the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022.  Yesterday, they said they've slowed down the construction project (a lot).  They admit....they don't even have enough operations to run terminal two at this point.

So the new operational date for terminal three? 2025.  

I should note here....terminal three was supposed to be discount airlines (the no-thrills folks).  It's also being built on the other side of the runway....away from terminal 1/2.

On jobs at the airport?  They appear to have enough volunteers to take early retirement....that laying folks off in 2021 won't be required.  On contractor workers?  Well....different story.  They are re-writing the contracts, and fewer folks will be required....so those contractors (probably by spring 2021) will be laid off by their contractor companies.  

Thursday, October 29, 2020

How Things Went this Morning in the Bundestag

 Chancellor Merkel came up to give a speech on how the extreme measures (set to start on Monday) were calculated, and gave a explanation to the logic involved.

Criticism?  A lot.  It came from the Green Party, AfD Party, FDP Party and Linke Party.

I would suggest it was the lowest point since becoming Chancellor in 2005. 

Some of the criticism was correct.  An example....short-work pay-coverage was strongly recommended to go up to the 90-percent level, and even 100-percent for the bottom wage-earners.  

The fact that child-care centers are still in operations but restaurants aren't?  Another example.  There's no science or data to say any of the surge on infections....relate to restaurants.  

Another example....aid for cultural circles and small business operations should have been calculated and been part of this shut-down for November.

If you gaze across Twitter today in Germany.....a lot of negative hype directed at CDU and SPD political figures.

The fact that an election is barely 11 months away?  Yeah, this is fairly bothersome at this point.  Both the CDU and SPD parties may have lost public support.