In Brief: Interior Minister vows measures to combat right-wing extremism, sharpening lens on public employees

The German government vows to look on the inside, not just the outside, to combat the spread of right-wing extremism and terrorism. The domestic intelligence agency says more attention will also be paid to public service employees. This and more in your KCRW Berlin News Brief.

Photo by Jay Wennington on Unsplash

 

 

Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer wants to set up a new central office within the domestic intelligence agency to investigate possible right-wing extremism, including within the ranks of public sector employees.

Thomas Haldenwang, president of the domestic intelligence agency says the majority of Germany’s nearly 5 million civil servants are committed to protecting the German constitution and democracy, but there are also exceptions.

Haldenwang says more needs to be done to curb the spread of extremist views expressed in well-known groups as well as in newly created forums.

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency as well as the federal criminal police office are to receive a combined 600 additional employees to carry out the new tasks.

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Green party politician Cem Özdemir says he will not be intimidated or silenced from expressing his views, despite recent vandalism and death threats.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Özdemir posted an image of broken glass on the front door of his private residence. In his tweet, he said the damage appears to be from a stone thrown at the home.

More than a month ago Özdemir and Green party colleague Claudia Roth were listed as the top two targets on a hit list signed by a neo-Nazi group known to authorities.

 

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Berlin commuters, who regularly travel to work in Brandenburg, received a surprise gift at Berlin Central Station on Tuesday. The state of Brandenburg distributed around 3,000 packages to commuters.

The packages were filled with products made in Brandenburg, such as chocolate angels, apples from Werder and a small sign – with the motto “Umziehen statt Pendeln” or “Move instead of commuting”.

Brandenburg’s State Secretary Benjamin Grimm hopes the new campaign might convince some of Berlin’s growing population to move to Brandenburg. According to the Berliner Morgenpost, approximately 300,000 people commute regularly from Berlin to Brandenburg.

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The Berlin Senate is looking to increase the amount of organic food in school lunches.

Starting next school year the portion of organic foods will be increased from 15 percent to 30 percent, and in the following year increased to 50 percent.

The school food inspection authority is also to receive more employees to carry out necessary safety checks.

Education Senator Sandra Scheeres said that school lunches for grades 1 through 6 are already free of charge, so the department is now focused on improving quality.

This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.

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