RS#09: The Kino Babylon strike – who’s right?

Workers at the iconic Kino Babylon have been picketing in front of the cinema for months now, demanding more than the minimum wage. The cinema says it can’t pay more, and has filed for bankruptcy. Film goers are being asked to take sides, but who’s right in such a messy situation? The Radio Spaetkauf team have a vigorous debate about workers’ rights and business realities.

The city is filling up with asylum seekers. Many public buildings are being retrofitted to house refugees, including Tempelhof Airport, where up to 5000 people will eventually stay. Anyone can help by volunteering for a few hours. Sign up at

Thanks to Donau115 for hosting our live recording. Radio Spaetkauf is Joel, Maisie, Jöran and Daniel Stern.

RS#08: Live at Donau115

A massive pollution scandal is unfolding on Berlin’s doorstep. It has been discovered that Berlin’s drinking water is being polluted with sulfate from a huge coal mine in Brandenburg.

The coal mine, run by the Swedish energy company Vattenfall, has been operating for decades near the town of Welzow, about 150km south of Berlin. The coal it is digging up lignite, or brown coal, which is a particularly dirty kind of coal that produces far higher greenhouse gasses than black coal. Not only that, but the mine itself has been pumping its waste water into the Spree river for years. It has claimed that the water is treated and cleaned before it is discharged.

But now water tests in Berlin have found that the amount of sulfate in the river has increased to above 300 milligrams. Scientists say that 250 mg is the safe limit. Above that, the sulfate starts to erode the concrete infrastructure of the city’s water system, and it starts affecting people’s health from 600 mg. For now the water coming out of your tap is still safe to drink.

The opening of a second coal mine in Welzow is currently planned but disputed. Some locals fear for their houses, which stand on mining ground. Others fear for their livelihood if the plans for the new mine don’t go ahead, as the regions economy is largely built on coal-mining, which has a more than 100 year tradition here. Photo by GuenterHH on Flickr.