German ministries spar over draft law with feminine nouns

BERLIN — Germany’s Interior Ministry has objected to draft legislation drawn up by the Justice Ministry that uses the feminine form for every reference to people, arguing Monday that it likely would be unconstitutional.

In German, linguistic convention has long called for the masculine form of a word to be used as the default when referring to people of either sex, such as in legislation. But that so-called “generic masculine” has become increasingly controversial, with feminists and others arguing that it is outdated and advocating alternative forms that reflect both genders.

The Justice Ministry — run by center-left Social Democrat Christine Lambrecht — came up with a novel approach in draft legislation on bankruptcy. Instead of the usual masculine forms such as “Verbraucher” (“consumer”) or “Schuldner” (“debtor”), it used only the feminine forms — “Verbraucherin” or “Schuldnerin,” for example.

It is customary in Germany for draft legislation to be discussed

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German government defends curfews and domestic-travel bans

A bar owner closes up at a bar in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg district on October 10, 2020. - Stolz, along with other bar owners in Berlin, has challenged local authorities over the re-introduction of a curfew for bars in the capital, which are, from October 10 onwards, forbidden to operate between 11 PM and 6 AM. (Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP) (Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images)
A bar owner closes up at a bar in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district. Bar owners in Berlin have challenged local authorities over the re-introduction of a curfew for bars in the capital between 11pm and 6am. Photo: John Macdougall AFP via Getty Images

Helge Braun, the chief of staff at the chancellory in Berlin, has defended the government’s decision to tighten restrictions again amid a surge in new coronavirus infections in Germany.

“We are now right at the beginning of a second wave,” Braun told public broadcaster ARD on Sunday.

He said that the government wants to keep the economy functioning and keep schools and kindergartens open, which is “why we have to be a little stricter where the chains of infection are primarily spreading — namely celebrations and unfortunately also through travel.”

He said that the ban on people from high-risk areas of Germany going to other states for

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U.S. Extends Cruise Ban; German Work-From-Home Law: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended a ban on cruises in the U.S. to Oct. 31, saying further action is needed before cruises can safely resume.

Germany plans to unveil draft legislation that would give workers the legal right to work from home, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil told the Financial Times. U.S. carriers American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. will start laying off a combined 32,000 workers as the companies contend with the unprecedented collapse in travel demand caused by the pandemic.

Japan’s ruling party will consider additional economic stimulus to prop up the economy amid the pandemic, even as a Bank of Japan survey found sentiment at large manufacturers had improved, signaling the worst of the economic impact may be over. Officials indicated an early election was unlikely with the government prioritizing the pandemic response.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top

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