Friday November 12th 2021
Human rights organization Memorial is threatened with extinction
Russia’s best-known human rights organization Memorial is threatened with closure. The Supreme Court will decide on a “liquidation motion” from the General Prosecutor’s Office on November 25, the Moscow judiciary said. The Memorial Society, founded in 1987, spoke of a political decision without a legal basis. The aim is to destroy an organization dealing with the history of political repression and the protection of human rights. Human rights activists complain about increasing authoritarian tendencies and the persecution of dissenters in Russia. The Russian judiciary accuses Memorial of repeated violations of the Foreign Agents Act. The organization has been fined several times for failing to identify itself as a foreign agent. The law provides that recipients of payments from abroad can be referred to as agents.
Bavarian book prizes awarded
The Berlin author Emine Sevgi Özdamar was awarded the Bavarian Book Prize in Munich. The writer received the 10,000 euro award in the fiction category for her novel “A space limited by shadows”. The book tells of an artist and actress who fled Turkey to West Berlin after the military coup in 1971 and built a new life there. The book prize in the non-fiction category went to Helge Hesse for “Beginning the world anew” about the technical, scientific and social upheavals at the end of the 18th century. Bestselling author Frank Schätzing received the honorary award from the Bavarian Prime Minister. Schätzing succeeds in combining science and science fiction dramaturgically in such a way that readers devour every page. At the same time, Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) had declared in advance that he was an exciting personality who was not afraid to take a clear position, but who did not take part in the award ceremony.
Buxtehuder Bulle literary prize awarded to US authors
The American authors Alan Gratz and Wendelin Van Draanen have received the Buxtehuder Bulle Youth Literature Prize. Gratz received this year’s prize for his novel “Before us the sea”. Van Draanen received the award in 2020 for her book “Eight Weeks of the Desert”. The award was canceled last year due to Corona. In addition to prize money of 5,000 euros, the winners will receive a steel sculpture in the shape of a bull. The prize is a nationally renowned literary prize. According to the city, the aim of the Buxtehuder Bullen is to inspire young people to read and to promote the distribution of good young people’s books. The jury is made up of eleven young people and eleven adults from all over Germany, who are determined anew every year by lottery.
Volleyball from Hanks’ film “Cast Away” auctioned
In “Cast Away – Verschollen” a volleyball becomes a close friend for Tom Hanks on a lonely island – now the prop has been auctioned for almost 270,000 euros, as the auction house Prop Store in London announced. In the film, the main actor talks to “Wilson”, as the ball is named after the manufacturer, over and over again during his long stay in order to keep his mind clear. Hanks received a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his role. In total, more than 1,100 film props came under the hammer at Prop House. The suit that Will Ferrell wore in “Buddy – The Christmas Elf” brought in the equivalent of 205,000 euros, almost ten times as much as expected.
Concert sabotage by vaccination critics?
In Switzerland, free concerts as part of a vaccination campaign have proven to be a flop. Only a few dozen people came to the performances in Lausanne and Sion instead of the expected and permitted 500 visitors. All tickets were sold out quickly. The musicians accused vaccination opponents of sabotage. They had called in relevant chat groups to order the free tickets and then stay away. The rapper Stress was criticized in the newspaper “Blick”. He said literally, “These people are talking about imprisonment and taking away other people’s liberty.” Stefanie Heinzmann and Kunz also performed.
Congratulations to Dostoevsky
On the 200th birthday of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a museum is opening in Moscow after a restoration in the apartment in which Dostoyevsky spent his childhood. Kremlin chief Putin was invited as a guest of honor. The writer is also remembered in Germany – in the feature pages, but also in Dresden, where Saxony’s Prime Minister Kretschmer met the Russian Ambassador Netschajew. The writer Wladimir Kaminer reminded on Deutschlandfunk Kultur that Dostoyevsky was one of the most staged authors on the western stage – even though he had never written a play.
German Cultural Council: Extension of the Corona aid
With a view to the tense corona situation, the German Cultural Council is calling for the extension of aid programs for the industry. For example, the bridging aid and the so-called restart aid expired at the end of the year, according to a communication from the Cultural Council. The simplified award conditions would also have to apply longer. They would enable investments to be made to upgrade cultural sites in terms of hygiene. This is urgently needed so that it can continue to operate despite Corona. The cultural council called for improvements to be made to the coverage of self-employed solo workers via social insurance for artists. Managing Director Olaf Zimmermann described the Infection Protection Act as the “first cultural and political test” for the potential coalition partners.