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“Like an arbitrator's ruling”

The Federal Labor Court has relaxed the church's ban on strikes, but at the same time strengthened the church's own path in labor law. The Bonn legal scholar and church law expert Gregor Thusing assessed the ruling as an "arbitrator's decision that wants to do justice to both sides". Thusing heads the Institute for Labor Law and Social Security Law at the University of Bonn.

CBA: Professor Thusing, how do you assess the ruling of the Federal Labor Court??

Thusing: It seems to me like an arbitrator's ruling that wants to do justice to both sides. He gives the churches the right to go their own way in labor law. And the ruling grants unions access to the churches' labor-law commissions, as well as a right to strike by church employees in certain cases.

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“Ass huh, zang ussenander”

Cologne shows clear edge against racism and neo-Nazis on Friday with a reprise of "Arsch huh, Zang ussenander" ("Ass huh, get angry"). The large rally ties in with the legendary concert 20 years ago on the Chlodwigplatz in Cologne. Bommel Luckerath of the Black Fooss was one of those who took part at the time and will be there this time as well. On our site interview he gives a preview of the open-air concert.

20 years ago, a wave of xenophobic attacks like those in Rostock-Lichtenhagen, Hoyerswerda and Solingen had given the impetus. Everyone was "pretty catchless" and "paralyzed," Bommel Luckerath recalls on our site interview. "At that time we said to ourselves, we must somehow make a statement and give vent to our indignation."

Exactly 20 years to the day after the big "Arsch huh" event against racism in Cologne, on 9. November again held a rally with a large open-air concert in the cathedral city. Many of the artists involved in 1992 are on stage again this year. This, of course, includes Bommel. Among others, BAP, the Black Fooss, Brings, the Hohner, Kasalla and the Zeltinger band will perform on the grounds of the Deutz shipyard on the banks of the Rhine.

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“Do not forget the poor”

The aid agency Misereor is among the civil society representatives to be included in the deliberations at the G20 summit. In an interview, chief executive Pirmin Spiegel talks about his expectations.

CBA: What to expect from this week's G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany?

Spiegel: The summit is taking place in very turbulent times, when the G20 is facing a test of strength because many member states are guided by national interests. Therefore, the signs do not seem to be very good for constructive solution-oriented negotiations. For example, when it comes to the sustainable development goals set by the UN in Agenda 2030 or the Paris climate agreement. Here we are more skeptical than confident. Also in terms of a much-needed fairer and more socially acceptable economic and financial policy.

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“A high-risk strategy”

First Saudi Arabia, then Angola and Indonesia, now Qatar. Once again, a possible German arms deal is causing criticism. In an interview, Jan Grebe, an expert on arms ies at the Bonn-based International Center for Conversion (BICC), warns against fundamental changes in foreign and security policy. The German government is pursuing a "high-risk strategy".

CBA: Mr. Grebe, in recent months numerous controversial arms deals have come to light. Is this due to a growing transparency or is the number of arms deals increasing?
Jan Grebe: Transparency in the arms trade has certainly not grown. Such transactions take place under strict secrecy. Instead, there are increasing calls from industry for more arms exports – on the grounds that domestic demand has fallen in the wake of Bundeswehr reform. In this way, the arms lobby is putting the federal government under a lot of prere.

CBA: What is the importance of the arms industry to the economy?
Grebe: It is difficult to make reliable statements about actual jobs and turnover. It is suspected that about 80.000 people are employed in the arms industry. Total arms exports account for about 0.5 percent of total foreign trade, war arms exports even only about 0.2 percent. Proponents, on the other hand, always point to the importance of a well-positioned arms industry in terms of security policy and see jobs in danger. Irrespective of the prere from the arms lobby, there are also signs of a fundamental change in foreign and security policy.

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Unpunished act

Almost a year after the attack on a theater group in Halberstadt, the 23-year-old main defendant has been sentenced to two years in prison. Christian W. had struck the first blow and thus taken the initiative, the court declared in Magdeburg on Wednesday. The three co-defendants, aged 23 to 29, were acquitted for lack of evidence. Criticism of procedure comes from victims.