In Brief: Germany passes compulsory measles vaccination law

On Thursday, lawmakers in the Bundestag passed a compulsory measles vaccination law. They also voted to eliminate the country’s solidarity tax, a tax used to bolster infrastructure in the former East Germany, for 90% of taxpayers by 2021.

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Germany’s economy grew slightly in the third quarter, meaning the country has narrowly avoiding a recession.

The Federal Statistical Office says that the country’s GDP grew by 0.1% compared to the previous quarter.

A recession is defined by negative economic growth for two quarters in a row. In August, when news broke of the country’s contraction in the second quarter, Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy called the numbers a “wake-up call.”

The country’s last recession was in 2012.

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On Thursday, Germany’s federal parliament passed the measles protection law.

According to the law, children in daycare centers, kindergartens, and schools must be vaccinated against the highly contagious virus.

Starting in March of next year, parents who do not vaccinate their children could face fines of up to 2,500 euros. Unvaccinated children could also be excluded from kindergartens.

On ARD television, Germany’s Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn defended the law and said it was about protecting the body and children who cannot make these decisions themselves. He also said it was due to vaccinations that smallpox was largely eradicated throughout the world in the mid-1970s.

“We want to protect people through vaccinations,” he said.

The Bundestag also decided on Thursday that the solidarity tax, a tax designed to boost infrastructure in the former East Germany, will be abolished for 90% of taxpayers by 2021.

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A petition to construct a brand new stadium for the Hertha BSC soccer club has collected over 11,200 signatures from people in Berlin.

The petition organizers are urging the Berlin Senate to vacate the Olympic Stadium and instead build a new arena in the vicinity that bears the soccer team’s name.

Part of their argument is related to atmospherics. They say the seating is far from the field and the acoustics are poor.

The next step is for the signatures to be handed over to the petitions committee in the Berlin House of Representatives.

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The Greens faction leader in the Bundestag, Anton Hofreiter, is renewing his call for a speed limit on German motorways.

Hofreiter told the newspaper, the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, that because Germany does not have nationwide speed limits on the Autobahn, it’s resulting in climate damage, traffic jams, and people bearing unnecessary impacts to their health.

His remarks came in response to the news that the Dutch government will implement a daytime speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour on highways in the Netherlands.

Hofreiter says a maximum speed of 130 kilometers per hour would increase safety on motorways and reduce emissions.

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