Author Archives: larabonczek

Update from Germany

Yesterday May 6th 2020, Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, had a crisis meeting with the Minister Presidents of the 16 federal states in Germany about easing lockdown restrictions and how individual states should deal with it.

In the following press conference, the Federal Chancellor announced, that the following easing measures had been adopted by the government: 

1. All shops are allowed to open again from next week under strict hygiene conditions and social distancing. Until now, only shops with a floor space of less than 800 square metres had been allowed to do so.

2. The ban against social contact will remain until the 5th of June at the least, to prevent the meeting of groups in a private area. 

3. Outdoor sports, such as tennis or football should be possible from next week under strict condition. It is still unclear when gyms and other sports clubs that offer indoor sports can reopen. According to Merkel “the risk is too high.”

4. Restaurants and bars can look forward to open their doors again. But there are also conditions here. Only half of the tables may be occupied due to social distancing and mask obligation applies. In order to be prepared in the event of a second wave, costumers are required to provide their contact details, so that the government are able to trace an infection chain. 

5. Restrictions have also been eased in the area of culture. Galleries and museums can now show their exhibitions again. Zoos and playgrounds can also rejoice life. 

6. Social contacts are also being considered. From now on you can meet with people from a second household 

7. The responsibility for new easing and how to proceed with the pandemic will now be in the hands of the federal states. 

Merkel named the positive development but on the same time warned for caution.

She furthermore assured if Germany is close to a second wave, the easing would be withdrawn again.  

sources: BBC:

OWL 24:


feature image: private

Covid-19: How governments are trying to avoid financial ruin

Many people and are fearing financial ruin as the Covid-19 crisis has enforced global lockdowns.

Governments across the world are now expected to act — but what can governments do?

Here we examine four countries.

  1. United Kingdom

The UK government has announced a £398 billion aid package to save businesses from financial ruin. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said in a press conference that the government “will do whatever it takes”. And “that means any businesses that needs access to cash, will be able to access a government – backed loan”.   Small businesses are able to get a loan up to £25,000. Furthermore, mortgage providers will be able to give a three – month holiday for those in needs.

  •  Germany 

Germany has a similar aid package as the UK. The German government released at the end of March the “Corona Soforthilfe Programm”, where freelancers and people with small businesses can apply for money. How much someone can get is recorded in a list.

A self- employed person, with fewer than 10 employees can get up to 9.000 Euros. But this money is only for costs of the company that have to be paid, such as rent and not for their own living costs. Also excluded are the wages for the employees.You can apply easily on the internet and get the money in the next five working days.

  • Russia

At the beginning of April, the Russian government announced that every working person will have paid holiday for the rest of April. This measure should first contain the virus and secondly help the people to pay for their living.

From May the government will have to take other measures. Companies will not have to pay high taxes anymore. In addition, it should be possible to get better and higher loans. The travel sector for example, is exempted from payments into funds and other contributions for the rest of the year

  • Netherlands

The Dutch government has released a temporary measure for people who are struggling finically at the moment.

The “Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for  Sustained Employment” should help to pay peoples wages during the crisis. You can use this programme for three months and extend it for another three months, if needed.

How much the government is paying is also listed and depends on your turnover. If you have a 100% turnover, the government will fully pay for the employees. If you have a turnover from 50%, you will only get a 45% compensation. On the other hand, the help for people with “short-timed work” is now cancelled. According to experts, the Dutch government is about to pay 90% of employees’ wages.

(Image source: 

celebrities under quarantine

What do celebrities, royals and normal people have in common during this time? We all have to stay at home for a particular time.

This can be boring sometimes, and you might start to search in social media for something funny and that makes you think of something different for a second.

Here are four celebrities who thought of something to engage with their fans during this crisis:

1: Robbie Williams


Robbie Williams is a famous singer with millions of fans all over the world. He came up with the idea to sweeten the quarantine for his followers by singing for them at the livestream of Instagram. This is called “Corona-oke”. The singer is singing own songs or those of different artists like Elvis Presley. The fans can write their request into the stream.

2: Sam Neil:

The actor from New Zealand has also thought of something for his fans. He is posting videos, where he is talking about wine or is reading bedtime stories and poems.

3: Madonna


Madonna wants to entertain and keep her fans up to date as well. The singer came up with the idea to start a “Corona diary” to give her followers impressions into her daily life during quarantine.

4: Chrissy Teigen:

On her Instagram page the model and TV personality is uploading little videos about her kids or with her husband and she is also giving cooking advices to her community.

source:  the Guardian:

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Restaurant owners fear the future

Since the year 2000, Geatano “Tonino” Copia runs the restaurant “Pinocchio” in Gummersbach (Germany). The native Sicilian has cooked his way into the heart of many customers with his big heart, lots of humour and good food. But now he must fear for his existence.

A lot of restaurant owner across Europe must now fear for their existence

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus he has to fight with financial cells. Fewer and fewer people have come because of the risk of infection. “I really noticed that since the beginning of February the costumers are missing. When I served in January at the weekend about 500-1000 costumers for lunch and dinner, it was only half of it in February. Of course, this had also a financial impact ” he said.

serving food to costumers is now forbidden

Almost three weeks ago, the public health service closed down all restaurants and prohibited serving customers across Germany. The only way to earn money now is the delivery and pick up service his restaurant offers. But he remains sceptical: “It is good that my restaurant has a good reputation in this area and that I have so many loyal customers. But I fear the future. The cost remain the same, but the proceeds are only 50% compared to normal times. I had to send 90% of my employees in short-time work”, he says.

source: Private
Normally costumers would enjoy the sun outside on the terrace while eating their food

Besides the fear of existence, the fear for family and friends in Italy is in the foreground.“I brought my mother, who actually wanted to enjoy her retirement in Italy, already home. However, I have more relatives and friends there and when I see the pictures from Italy, I am really worried and scared. This is only natural”.

Tonino is worried about friends and family as the situation in Italy is very dramatic

The federal government of North-Rhine Westphalia has approved a 25 billion- Euros rescue package for people like Tonino. It is designated to safe small businesses such as driving schools, restaurants or hotels from financial ruin and to avert the consequences of the crisis. It should be possible to obtain the permits quickly and easily.

“This help is really good and comes in very handy. I could probably close my business, because I don’t earn enough money to pay my rent, employees or the car I need for my delivery” complains the father of three and grandfather of two.

The German government want to help people with small businesses

Geatano Copia is one example of many, who will be hit very hard by the crisis. The friendly pizza maker has one last appeal: Stay at home and do not lose your heart.

source: private
although times are hard now, Tonino hasn’t lost this humor

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The case Gönül Örs

Since a long time, Turkey is making negative headlines by prosecuting people who think differently or who are seen as terrorists in Turkey. Especially Germans with Turkish backgrounds are under the victims.

The most popular case would be Deniz Yücel, who is a critic of president Erdogan. He was arrested in June 2015 for asking critical questions at a press conference. The police said they just wanted to check his identity and he was released after an hour. In December 2016 he was arrested again for hacking into Erdogans email account to support the Kurdish terror organisation PKK. He was imprisoned for over one year and came free in summer 2018.

Now the German broadcaster ZDF has reported about another case Gönül Örs. Gönül Örs was born in Turkey but raised in Cologne (Germany). According to ZDF, in 2012 she and 52 others protested on a ship for more freedom and equal rights for Kurds. The police finished the protest and classifield him as harmless but there was a report on trespassing.

Although the investigation in Germany was terminated, in Turkey they were not. In one official document they addressed her as a Kurdish terrorist and arrested her in May 2019, when she was visiting her family in Turkey.

Irene Mihalic (spokesperson for domestic policy) speaks out clearly how dangerous it would be to pass on information if it were to be misused by Turkish politics to its advantage. The Turkish minister for interior announced that people who take part in “terroristic rallies” in Europe will be stopped and arrested when entering Turkey.

After over half a year imprisoned, Örs was send to her cousin in Istanbul, where she is now grounded. She is not allowed to leave the flat and has to wear an electronic anklet. Visitors are also not permitted.

In an interview  Örs admitted that she has depression and is not able to sleep without her pills. Her income and some friends are already gone. In an interview with ZDF, she describes her situation as followed: “Very slowly my dreams are moving away from me. My life in moving away from me and I can only sit and watch and can´t do anything about it”.

The German ministry for interior is silent about how the Turkish police got the information. “It is not acceptable that an unjust state, as Turkey is in my eyes at the moment, receive information from our security authorities, in order to be able to arrest Kurds or left- wing Turks, who might enter the country”, outraged the politician Ulla Jelpke (FDP).



10 tipps how to survive during the Corona crisis

Since its outbreak in Wuhan (China) in December 2019 the Corona virus or Corvid 19 has set the world in fear. Nearly every country is affected and has cases. The number is extremely rising.

According to Channel 4 news, 563 people have died in the UK from the 1st to the 2nd of April 2020. That’s why countries are under lock down and public life is set onto zero.

The most important thing is to contain the virus, so that the health care system does not collapse, and the care of all sick people in hospitals is guaranteed.

The question is how to behave and what rules and advices are given by the governments across Europe? Through a press release, the Robert-Koch institute, has given 10 rules for  people to follow:

This is the most important rule! People are advised not to leave their home if they do not need to buy food, go to work or to the doctor. Especially elderly people or people with health problems are asked not to leave their house at all. They can ask family or friends to do the shopping for them. If this is not possible, they can use delivery service

The next very important thing is to reduce your social contact. The governments across Europe advised people not to meet friends, work colleges or other people you are not living with. They also warned that grandparents shouldn’t have any personal contact to their grandchildren, as elderly people are mostly in danger.

If you have the possibility to work from home, you should do it. It will keep you safe.

In these times you should not go into parks or other public places. Most of the governments have already closed public places likes parks, restaurants or hotels.

This is a very big  problem in Germany. People are buying too much food for themselves. The governments said that the supply of food is guaranteed at all times. Panic shopping is unnecessary and lacks solidarity towards your fellow men.

This is important not to infect anyone. No one can know if the others are not carrying the virus.

The resources in the hospital are now used up to the point of exhaustion. Doctors and nurses are now working tirelessly. In order not to burden these people even more you should only go to hospital, if there is no other way.

Keep at least two meter distance if you do not want to get infected or infect somebody.

The government advices people to wash your hands at least 20 seconds and as often as you can. Furthermore, you should disinfect your hands if you touch something that somebody might have touched before you.

The last advice the government has given is to stay calm. The situation will only get worse, if everybody is freaking out. Take a breath and relax, go for a walk in the forest or watch a movie to think about something else. If everybody is taking the virus  seriously and listens to the advices, the situation will get normal as soon as possible.

Source: Robert-Koch Institue (Berlin, Germany):

Channel 4 News:

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Right-wing populism? A threat for modern democracy or panic mongering ?

In the last few years the world and especially Europe experienced a new rise of populism in the last few years. Trough the refugee crisis and the few terror attacks in for example Germany and France people started not to feel safe anymore. Populist leaders like Orban or the ADF (Alternative for Germany) declared refugees the war. It is not a secret, that they incite against foreigners, especially Muslims and consider them as a potential threat for the population. The last few years gave them credit. We remember the attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo 2015 or attack on the Christmas market in Berlin 2016. Every single attack had a right-wing extremist background and was carried out by a Muslim. Therefore, it is not surprising, that the population is getting scared and right-wing parties gaining ground in European parliaments.


The extent to which populist parties are represented in the governments of European countries?

Right-wing parties often advertise with an enemy, in this case the foreigners or refugees and Muslims in general. The present an easy solution for the problem: Kick them out and send them back to their country. But it isn’t as easy as it seems because after all we live in democracy and have a constitution and laws we need to follow. The most famous right-wing parties are for example the AFD in Germany or Front Nacional in France. But there are a lot more, for example in Poland or Hungary. The AFD is Germany has 93 representatives in the German parliament (Bundestag). The Bundestag has currently 709 representatives for more than 12 parties. In the election 2017, the received 12,3% of all votes and was the third most voted party.  The most voted party CDU had 26,8%. The front nacional had 33,9 % in the last election for parliament in 2018. Orbans party JOBBIK is the second strongest party in parliament with 19,1%: Last but not least Poland with Prawo party received 33, 8% in the election 2015.All in all, you can see the right-wing parties are successful in European parliament.


How do they have become so successful?

First of all, you have to consider, that populist parties always play with the fear of the people. In these days people are afraid of the refugees for example. This can have different reasons safety or social background reasons. This are reasons what are known. But I wanted to go further into this topic and asked a lecturer for politics studies from the “Fresenius” university of Cologne, Dr. Heinz Schürnmann. He added, that “right-wing parties often understand themselves as the representative of the common people. The have an easy solution to a complex answer and promise to help the neglected people. They speak about important topics and promise to tackle construction sites such as old-age poverty in Germany. Many people miss that in the old established parties like CDU or SPD. In addition to that  the political situation with Brexit or refugee crisis. Another reason is, that a lot people vote parties like AFD as a protest against the popular parties like CDU or SPD”.


A threat for modern democracy?

As iam currently studying in London, I was also curious what the people think.

Lisa W, 20 from Eidinbough is sure, that this will be over in a few years, when the political situation in the world is different. “We have to defend democracy and right-wing parties will have no chance to destroy that”.

But there are also people who are more worried, like Michael E, “Especially if look at the past, you can see, that right-wing populism can be a threat for democracy. In my point of view, it is scary that European parliaments are full of them”.

Joanna, C from Canada is not a fan of scare tactics. “we will see how it will develop”. And what is lecturer saying? “Of course, it is scary if you see what is happening. But we have to learn from the past and defend democracy and our values to anyone, who wants to destroy them”.

Nobody can answer if right-wing populism or parties are a threat for modern democracy. We will see that in the future. The best we can do is to not to vote for parties or give them any platforms. Furthermore, we should make people aware of what has happened in the past