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About 138 cars have been torched across Berlin, with 26 just in the past two days. 130 of those have been Benzes; 91 Volkswagens, 60 BMWs, and 43 Audis and Opels comprise the rest. Berlin police are setting up special investigative units to process the cases as political crimes, which carry steeper penalties than mere vandalism. Arsonists usually light up the cars through the tires, placing barbeque charcoals around them. So far, no arrests have been made.
Germany is facing a terrible economic downturn: despite lofty sales figures from its car makers, Germany’s growth has almost completely stopped. This is coming from a country that only last year supported Western Europe’s economy. Many people believe that the protests and arsons aren’t about the financial crisis—they’re aimed against capitalism in general, globalization and gentrification in East Berlin’s former Soviet areas.
It’s common belief that any social injustice eventually devolves into an “us vs. them” mentality—the rich make convenient targets in this economic downturn, and certainly those who are wealthy enough to afford luxury cars are more of a target than London’s humble shopkeepers. And even as the Vancouver protests over the Stanley Cup have shown, cars are the number one target: especially expensive ones. As long as there’s inequality, even a perceived one, anywhere in volatile Europe, cars are going to go up in flames.
[Source: Zero Hedge]
Due to the ongoing protests in Bahrain, F1 officials have officially pulled the plug on the Bahrain Grand Prix, originally scheduled for March 13th.
F1′s governing body, the FIA, and its president Bernie Ecclestone have decided to “postpone” the opening race of the 2011 season, instead starting in Melbourne, Australia on March 27th. A new date is still being considered to the already-full 20-race schedule.
The past few weeks have been full of speculation on whether the FIA would make a statement regarding the humanitarian issue. The deadly protests in Bahrain against the monarchy are still ongoing, and holding an F1 race there after such political upheaval would have been trivial, if not disastrous.