Flat Earth: And a Berlin bonus

THE IDEAS of Martyn Lewis, the BBC good news announcer, are ignored here, but they seem to be catching on in the most unexpected quarters of Germany. On Friday, Berlin's local tax collectors began, as a gesture of seasonal goodwill, to send out only 'positive news'. The moratorium on 'negative news' will last until 3 January.

We assume that positive news from a tax office means a cheque in the post, or at least word that one is on the way. The Berlin tax collectors didn't say. But they did describe negative news with some glee: this includes notices of fines, overdue taxes, warnings and court subpoenas.

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