Germany is beginning a universal-basic-income trial with people getting $1,400 a month for 3 years

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Starting this week, 120 Germans will receive a form of universal basic income every month for three years.

The volunteers will get monthly payments of €1,200, or about $1,400, as part of a study testing a universal basic income.

The study will compare the experiences of the 120 volunteers with 1,380 people who do not receive the payments. About 140,000 people have helped fund the study through donations. The concept of universal basic income has gained traction in recent years, and Finland tested a form of it in 2017.

Supporters say it would reduce inequality and improve well-being, while opponents argue it would be too expensive and discourage work.

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EGEB: Germany builds the world’s first hydrogen train filling station

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 Hydrogen trains in Germany

Germany breaks ground on the world’s first hydrogen filling station for passenger trains.

The town of Bremervörde in Lower Saxony, Germany, has broken ground on the world’s first hydrogen filling station for passenger trains. Chemical company Linde will construct and operate the hydrogen filling station for the Lower Saxony Regional Transport Company.

The station has a daily capacity of approximately 1,600kg of hydrogen, and it will replace the current mobile filling station, according to Railway Technology.

Construction is expected to start in September, and the station’s completion is planned for mid-2021.

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Germany requires all gas stations to provide EV charging

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As part of Germany’s new increased electric-vehicle incentive package, the country will require gas stations to offer EV charging. Details about the plan are not yet known, such as the timeline and type of required chargers. But EV advocates quickly praised the move as a boost to electric-car adoption.

BDEW, Germany’s association for energy and water industries, believes that at least 70,000 charging stations and 7,000 fast-charging stations are required to achieve a mass market for EVs in the country. BDEW reports that there are currently about 28,000 stations in Germany.

According to Reuters, electric cars made up only 1.8% of new passenger car registrations last year in Germany, with diesel and petrol cars accounting for 32% and 59.2%, respectively.

New German EV incentives double existing subsidies to €6,000 ($6,720) on electric vehicles costing up to €40,000 ($44,800). Germany will also implement higher taxes for fuel-thirsty, internal-combustion SUVs.

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Coronavirus conspiracy theories about mind control chips, Bill Gates and face masks fuel lockdown protests in Germany

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Police arrest a right-wing protester in Berlin on Saturday.

Protests in German cities grow as people demonstrate against the government imposing limits on freedoms.

Prominent voices feeding conspiracy theories include a star vegan cook, author, pop star and a cardinal.

A celebrity cook who called the coronavirus a government trick to plant mind control chips into Germans under the guise of vaccinations was hauled away by police from an unlawful demonstration in front of the parliament building. A pop star attacked face mask requirements and demanded evidence that Covid-19 really exists, while a leading Roman Catholic Cardinal in Germany added his name to a letter claiming the pandemic was a pretext to create a global government.

Prominent supporters of conspiracy theories are focusing on the Covid-19 shutdown that has crippled economies around the world, with angry protests against government-imposed limits on freedoms erupting across the country in the past week, despite rules banning such gatherings.

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Germany to close all 84 of its coal-fired power plants, will rely primarily on renewable energy

 141CEFA2-AEEF-4278-8DFC-6CF6C30CBA3EGermany to close all 84 of its coal-fired power plants, will rely primarily on renewable energy

Germany, one of the world’s biggest consumers of coal, will shut down all 84 of its coal-fired power plants over the next 19 years to meet its international commitments in the fight against climate change, a government commission said Saturday.

The announcement marked a significant shift for Europe’s largest country — a nation that had long been a leader on cutting CO2 emissions before turning into a laggard in recent years and badly missing its reduction targets. Coal plants account for 40% of Germany’s electricity, itself a reduction from recent years when coal dominated power production.

“This is an historic accomplishment,” said Ronald Pofalla, chairman of the 28-member government commission, at a news conference in Berlin following a marathon 21-hour negotiating session that concluded at 6 a.m. Saturday. The breakthrough ended seven months of wrangling. “It was anything but a sure thing. But we did it,” Pofalla said. “There won’t be any more coal-burning plants in Germany by 2038.”

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Harbor town in Germany unveils urban- chic hostel made out of repurposed shipping containers

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Berlin-based Holzer Kobler Architekturen and Kinzo Architekten have collaborated on Germany’s first upcycled hostel and its nothing short of spectacular. The Dock Inn is made out of multiple repurposed shipping containers that have been carved out to create 64 guest rooms which all feature a vibrant interior design that mixes urban chic with industrial charm.

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Why are robotics companies dying?

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Rethink Robotics shuttered its doors and closed for good on October 4, 2018. For many casual observers the collapse of a much-celebrated company, founded by preeminent artificial intelligence (AI) researcher and minor celebrity Rodney Brooks was a surprise. To others it’s just the latest indication of the trouble in robotics land. According to the company, Rethink Robotics was forced to shut its doors when it couldn’t find additional funding, and in a final attempt to sell the company and/or its assets it couldn’t find a buyer.

Rethink Robotics wasn’t the only robotics company forced to close its doors in the past year. Mayfield Robotics, developers of the social robot Kuri, closed down a few months before Rethink in August 2018, despite just making its debut one year earlier at CES 2017. Prior to that, Jibo, makers of a personal robotics device also shut down even after having raised over $70 Million. These companies shut down despite collectively raising several hundred million dollars in funding and developing their products over many years.

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The world’s first hydrogen train is now in service

 

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Two Coradia iLint trains have begun running a line in northern Germany.

The world’s first (and second) hydrogen-powered trains have entered service in northern Germany, marking the start of a new era for sustainable travel. Two Coradia iLint trains, made by Alstom, have begun working the line between Cuxhaven and Buxtehude just west of Hamburg. Until now, the nearly 100km-long line has been serviced by diesel trains, but will now play host to near-silent engines.

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Bombardier unveils a new battery-powered train

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Once actually somewhat common, battery-powered trains, especially full-size ones, are less common these days as third-rail-powered and diesel trains have gained in popularity.

Bombardier is unveiling a new battery-powered train in Berlin this week – “the first of its kind to enter passenger operation in Europe in over 60 years.”

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Siemens set to unveil world’s first autonomous tram

Modern tram in Toronto downtown at sunset

The Germany-based automation company, Siemens, is set to unveil the world’s first autonomous tram through its division Siemens Mobility, Global Rail News reports.

Siemens, alongside its development partner Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam (ViP), will present their findings at InnoTrans 2018 to show how a tram will drive autonomously in real traffic on 18-21 September.

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Power worth less than zero spreads as green energy floods the grid

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Wind and solar farms are glutting networks more frequently, prompting a market signal for coal plants to shut off.

Bright and breezy days are becoming a deeper nightmare for utilities struggling to earn a return on traditional power plants.

With wind and solar farms sprouting up in more areas — and their power getting priority to feed into the grid in many places — the amount of electricity being generated is outstripping demand during certain hours of the day.

The result: power prices are slipping to zero or even below more often in more jurisdictions. That’s adding to headaches for generators from NRG Energy Inc. in California to RWE AG in Germany and Origin Energy Ltd. in Australia. Once confined to a curiosity for a few hours over windy Christmas holidays, sub-zero cost of electricity is becoming a reality for hundreds of hours in many markets, upending the economics of the business in the process.

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