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Editor-in-chief Florian Harms’ newsletter

Good morning, dear readers,

Today I am writing to you on behalf of Florian Harms. Here is the annotated overview of the day’s topics:


Imagine, with one stroke everything is like it was before: tens of thousands celebrate the decisive victory of the German championship in the stadium, in the concert hall happy people sing along to the hits of their favorite band. Passenger jets fly to all corners of the world, Barcelona and Milan are only a stone’s throw away. Nobody has to keep a distance of two meters. And: no masks! Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Italy’s Minister of Health Roberto Speranza stoked hope at the weekend that this dream of a world without Corona could become a reality. Of the "single definitive solution for Covid-19" he wrote, and that the trial process for it would be completed in the fall.

The wonder drug that Speranza is talking about is called AZD1222. It is a vaccine against Covid-19 that was developed at the University of Oxford. The Italian minister is not the only one betting on the subject. On Saturday, four countries signed a contract to purchase at least 300 million doses of vaccine: Italy, the Netherlands, France and Germany.

Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn relies on the vaccine. (Source: Kay Nietfeld / dpa)

But are the high hopes really justified? Speranza’s German counterpart Jens Spahn formulated his statement on the agreement with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca a little more soberly. AZD1222 is the furthest advanced in clinical development of the more than 120 vaccine projects worldwide, said Spahn. It is therefore initially a logical decision for Germany to secure a right of access to the product.

Before the vaccine can be used, however, there are still a few hurdles to overcome. First of all, its effectiveness and tolerance must be tested on humans. This can take several months. And finally, it is not certain whether the vaccine really protects – and whether its use alone is sufficient to defeat Covid-19. The success of the miracle cure is therefore anything but certain.

The actions of the four countries also raise further questions. Didn’t Chancellor Angela Merkel only emphasize at the beginning of May that a vaccine should benefit everyone? Doesn’t the vaccination alliance treaty ensure that other countries are excluded from access to the drug? Spahn tried to allay such concerns on Saturday. All EU countries that wanted to be there could benefit from the deal.

So there is still a lot to do "can", "want" and "should" before the dream of the Italian minister can come true. It would be very much to him and all of us. Realistically, however, we should be prepared for a different scenario: it is unlikely that the Oxford vaccine will eliminate the coronavirus in one fell swoop.



Today the time has come: The Federal Foreign Office is lifting its travel warning for 27 countries in Europe. However, four large European states are not included. For Sweden, the warning continues to exist because of the high number of new corona infections. Far-reaching entry bans for foreigners still apply in Spain, Norway and Finland. Here you will find an overview of all regulations in the respective nations.

For four and a half months, the EU and Great Britain have been negotiating how their relationship should look like after Brexit. The result so far: nothing. Today, EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel are looking for a way out at a video summit with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It would be a big surprise if they break through. Johnson in particular could urgently need a success. He is currently under a lot of pressure in his own country not only because of the Corona crisis, as my colleague Patrick Diekmann writes.

A new Russian cruise missile of the type 9M729, which can be equipped with a nuclear warhead. (Source: Pavel Golovkin / AP / dpa)

The number of nuclear warheads in the world has decreased by 465 in the past year. Nevertheless, the peace research institute Sipri warns against one "new nuclear arms race". Both the US and Russia invested a lot of money in modern missiles for their warheads, says the Sipri annual report, which is presented today in Stockholm. 



A young couple demonstrates against racism in Berlin. (Source: Simone Kuhlmey / imago images)

Racism has been discussed in Germany for weeks, on TV talk shows, on social media, in the opinion columns of the newspapers. There was no shortage of controversial questions: Is there also police violence against minorities in this country? How bad is racism in everyday life? But in-depth answers or even suggestions for solutions rarely come out – at least that’s my impression.

Why is that? It is not easy to talk about racism. For many people in Germany it doesn’t play a role in everyday life. Simply because they belong to the majority of society that has not experienced any disadvantage because of the color of their skin. At least that’s how I feel, and probably many of you too. Because we lack this experience, it is also difficult for us to imagine what it feels like to be perceived and treated differently.

That is why we – white Germans – should stop discussing racism. Instead, we should start to listen better: those people who say they are treated differently.

One voice worth listening to is author Alice Hasters. "The word ‘racism’ is like a watering can full of shame"she writes in her book "What white people don’t want to hear about racism but should know". In the latest edition of the, Hasters explains why many people therefore have a wrong idea of ​​the term "time"-Podcasts "Everything said". What it feels like to grow up as a young black woman in Berlin can be read in the article by my colleague Josephin Hartwig: She spoke to the student Sandra Bilson about her experiences of racism.


Ute Holschumacher is functionally illiterate and thus one of 6.2 million adults in Germany who cannot read and write sufficiently. Today the 58-year-old says about herself that she fell through the cracks in her school days and youth. Seven years ago, the Berliner took the big step and still learned to read and write. This changed her life fundamentally. In video format "ask me" she reacts to questions from users and tells how she mastered school and professional life despite her deficit. My colleagues Sandra Sperling, Adrian Röger and Axel Krüger recorded their answers. 



What do you think budding police officers are taught in the US? cartoonist Mario Lars has a clear idea of ​​this.

(Source: Mario Lars)

Have a good new week! Tomorrow Florian Harms will write to you again at this point.

Best regards


Daniel FerschChef from the service t-online.deE-Mail:

Twitter: @danielfersch

With material from dpa. Subscribe to Florian Harms’ daily newsletter here.

You can find all the daybreak issues here. All the news can be read here.

Berlin (dpa) – Whether jogging, cycling or going for a walk: headphones on your ears are almost a good form these days. But in noisy cities in particular, long-term wear can be harmful to your health.

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"At home you usually start with a healthy volume, but then turn up on the street to drown out the surrounding noise"says Michael Deeg, spokesman for the German Professional Association of Ear, Nose and Throat Doctors. "In the long term, hearing damage can be the result that can no longer be treated"said Deeg in the run-up to the day against noise on April 24th.

The international day of action aims to raise awareness of the causes of noise and its effects in order to improve the quality of life.

According to Deeg, the type of headphones doesn’t matter. So it doesn’t matter whether you use so-called in-ear headphones to plug into the auricle or classic models with a bracket. "The important thing is how much sound energy reaches the ear and how long the exposure lasts", explains the Freiburg ear, nose and throat doctor.

Headphones that switch off ambient noise could be a healthier alternative, says Thomas Zahnert, Director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Ear, Nose and Throat Medicine at the Dresden University Hospital. "With them you can enjoy the music quieter", he says. Deeg, on the other hand, said he would not rely on the new technology.

Basically, children and adults are equally at risk. Hearing protection is an important issue for children and adolescents, as they often use smartphones, tablets and computers with headphones. "If a child can put headphones on, it can become a problem over the years if you don’t follow the rules of the game", says Deeg.

It is important to permanently avoid noise above 85 decibels. That is about as loud as the noise level on a main road. Even short-term but strong exposure to noise – such as when visiting a club or a concert – can cause damage. The noise level could sometimes rise to 100 decibels and more.

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According to Deeg, strong sound waves primarily damage the fine hair cells in the inner ear, the sensory cells. "When the sound energy is high, they are flattened like the grain in a field during a strong storm"describes the expert. The hairs often straightened up again, but not always. The fact that the number of hearing damage is increasing due to the increased use of headphones cannot be proven with figures, according to Deeg.

"We can only say with certainty that hearing damage caused by noise in the workplace has decreased significantly over the past decades", says Deeg. A lot of preventive work is done here and occupational safety is respected.

The ENT professor Zahnert from Dresden pleads for greater awareness of the hearing. "We lack hearing hygiene", he says. Many people took great care of their diet and their bodies. But hearing is being neglected. Many people are not aware of the fact that even brief exposure to noise can cause a lot of damage. "This is ignored, especially among young people", says Zahnert.