1. A justice system is more easily corrupted than restored

In mid-October, an opposition alliance won the parliamentary elections in Poland. The new government is expected to be in office by mid-December at the latest. But it is already becoming clear how difficult it will be to "restore the legal order shaken by the actions of our predecessors," as the coalition agreement states.

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PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński (left) and Szymon Hołownia of the "Third Way" alliance (right)

Photo: Radek Pietruszka / EPA

Jarosław Kaczyński's nationalist PiS party had eight years to restructure the judiciary according to its ideas. The fact that this cannot simply be reversed if one wants to proceed in accordance with the rule of law is described by Dariusz Kalan and Nadja Pantel in an impressive report.

For example, what do you do with people like Julia Przyłębska, president of the Polish Constitutional Court and personal friend of Kaczyński? She recently said that plans to reform the Polish judiciary were "embarrassing". She said she would defend the Polish constitution against such "calls for lawlessness."

While some are now calling for a less than squeamishbreak with the PiS judiciary, the majority warns against an approach that looks like political revenge and further weakens trust in the rule of law, write Dariusz and Nadja. Note: It is easier to corrupt a judicial system than to restore its independence through the rule of law.

  • Read the full story here: The judicial reform is to be dropped – and so is the abortion ban?

2. A problem for society as a whole

Almost 40 percent of the children in Germany's schools have foreign roots. Too many of them fail in the system. This will probably be confirmed again by the Pisa study to be published at the beginning of December.

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Specialist Syrek-Fischer in Cologne daycare centre: Language support begins long before the first word.

Photo: Marcus Simaitis / DER SPIEGEL

My colleagues Susmita Aap and Miriam Olbrich have done extensive research to find out why. Small spoiler: not due to a lack of intelligence. There are three main factors that cause problems for boys and girls with a migrant background at school – poverty of their parents, lack of language skills and late support. The coronavirus pandemic has made things worse.

After all, there are also hopeful signs. There are dedicated teachers, principals and educational researchers who are trying out new ways to reduce the number of children who fail at school and in life. This includes challenging programs such as a language-building mathematics lesson, but also a normal picnic in a park near the school, which many boys and girls had never seen before.

"During the research, we were impressed by what can be achieved when educators work together with science on the ground," says Susmita. Miriam agrees: "If you know what the reasons are, you can do something about it. That was the good news for me."

However, not enough is happening yet. One thing is clear: as long as social background and a migrant background determine school success, not only the pupils but society as a whole will have a problem.

  • Read the full story here: Why children with a migrant background are often worse at school – and what would help

3. In the arms of your loved ones

What a hostage in the hands of Hamas suffers is something that no outsider can imagine. Neither is what the relatives are going through. But you can get an inkling of it.

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Chanan Cohen's sister, Margalit Moses, was kidnapped by Hamas. She was released last Friday.

Photo: Jonas Opperskalski / DER SPIEGEL

My colleagues Alexandra Berlin and Thore Schroeder spoke with Chanan Cohen, whose sister Margalit Moses kidnapped Hamas. The 78-year-old recently survived cancer, suffering from diabetes and chronic muscle pain. It was unclear whether she would survive hostage.

When Chanan Cohen learns of his sister's release, he is so overwhelmed that he can hardly breathe. "Tears and breathing were one," says the 85-year-old. It's a story with a happy ending – for now.

It is not clear whether there really is a happy ending for the freedmen, which is also made clear by the story of Alexandra and Thore. The uncle of a 12-year-old girl who was released on Sunday said the girl continued to speak in whispers after her release – apparently because she was told to be quiet in captivity. Even when the hostage-taking is over, the suffering does not automatically stop.

  • Read more here: Until the redeeming call comes

More news and background information on the war in the Middle East can be found here:

  • Why every attempt at peace has failed so far: The Middle East has been a flashpoint for decades. Many experts have long considered the two-state solution to be an illusion. Here's why this is the case and what options remain – here's an overview.

  • "She lived to see her fourth birthday as a hostage of Hamas." She had already been declared dead: now the four-year-old American Avigail has been released from Hamas captivity after more than seven weeks. More people are expected to be released on Monday.

  • Germany provides financial support for kibbutz reconstruction: Kibbutz Beeri, co-founded by German Jews, was almost completely destroyed in Hamas' terrorist attack. During a visit to the site, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced millions of euros in reconstruction aid.

What else is important today

  • Cabinet approves supplementary budget for 2023: Following the Constitutional Court ruling, the Federal Cabinet has adopted a supplementary budget for 2023. This is intended to legally secure loans worth around 45 billion euros – among other things for the energy price brakes.

  • SPD terminates alliance with Green mayor: For four years, the Green mayor Belit Onay formed a coalition with the SPD in Hanover. But now the Social Democrats have ended the alliance. Among other things, transport policy became a point of contention.

  • U.S. Navy frees hijacked tanker: Once again, gunmen have hijacked a cargo ship with ties to Israel in the Red Sea. Now the U.S. military has freed the tanker "Central Park".

What we recommend today at SPIEGEL+

  • "The debt brake is madness": The Danish economist Jacob Funk Kirkegaard thinks the German state is far too stingy. Anyone who preaches the model of the Swabian housewife has no idea about economics.

  • Is it permissible for a constitutional judge to applaud his own verdict?: The SPD criticizes the outgoing constitutional judge Peter Müller: At a CDU party congress, he is said to have applauded for the budget verdict, in which he himself participated. What does Müller have to say about this?

  • Signa is only negotiating with US hedge fund Elliott about financial injection: Founder René Benko's real estate group Signa continues to be in financial trouble. In the meantime, however, they are only talking to the US fund Elliott. Restructuring expert Arndt Geiwitz refuses to sign an advisory board contract.

What is less important today

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Photo: Andrea Renault / AFP

Hold your breath: Former top model Linda Evangelista, 58, is not looking for a partner, according to her own words. She has no interest, the 58-year-old Canadian told the »Sunday Times« when asked if she goes on dates. » I don't want to sleep next to anyone anymore. I don't want to hear anyone breathe anymore."

To me, self-isolation seems too radical when sleep noises bother you. I recommend the pragmatic solution that my wife has chosen: an earplug on the right and left, then you won't hear anything – even if I'm lying next to it.

Mini Concave Mirror

The »Rheinische Post« on vermin in rented apartments: »Maggots in the fridge don't shy away from putting ketchup bottles here.«

Here you can find the whole concave mirror.

Cartoon of the Day

And tonight?

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Jeanne Moreau in the film "Elevator to the Scaffold"

Photo: Cinema Publishers Collection / IMAGO

I'm sitting at my desk in Brussels, and it's raining outside my window. As it happens, that's how it is in Brussels in November – and the other months of the year. Just the right weather to watch »Elevator to the Scaffold« by Louis Malle again.

It's a crime novel from 1958, but I'm only marginally concerned with the crime story. I'm satisfied when I can watch Jeanne Moureau walk down the streets of Paris at night for minutes to the music of Miles Davis. What could be better than giving in to melancholy?

I watched the film with my sons a few years ago, and I had to persuade them to stick with it until the end with a lot of good words, they were so bored. Perhaps the enthusiasm for French black-and-white films is a sign of age. Nevertheless, the films are beautiful.

Have a nice evening, stay tuned to us.

Yours sincerely, Ralf Neukirch, Head of Opinion and Debate