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A rule of conduct or procedure established by custom, agreement, or authority. The body of rules and principles governing the affairs of a community and enforced by a political authority; a legal system: international law. The condition of social order and justice created by adherence to such a system: a breakdown of law and civilized behavior. A set of rules or principles dealing with a specific area of a legal system: tax law; criminal law. A piece of enacted legislation. What is Law?


Berlin is the capital of Germany and its largest city, with 3,389,450 inhabitants (as of 2002; down from 4.5 million before World War II, and on the decline since German reunification in 1990). Berlin state colors are red/white/red with a black upright Berlin Bear. Berlin is located on the river Spree in the northeast of Germany. It is situated in, but not part of, the Bundesland Brandenburg. Politics of Berlin Formerly a part of Mark Brandenburg, Berlin has been a separate state since 1920, making it one of the three city states among today's 16 German Bundeslnder. Berlin is governed by a Regierender Brgermeister ("ruling mayor"), who is mayor of the city and head of the Bundesland at the same time. Presently, this office is held by Klaus Wowereit; for earlier mayors, see the list of Mayors of Berlin.The city and state parliament is called the Abgeordnetenhaus or House of Representatives, while the executive branch is the Senat or Senate, with Senators holding ministerial portfolios. Berlin is subdivided into 12 boroughs called Bezirke, which have been combined from the earlier 23 boroughs with effect from January 1, 2001. For a map and a list relating the old and new borough names, see Boroughs of Berlin. History Berlin was founded around 1200 as two cities, Berlin and Clln, which only united in 1307. Berlin is therefore quite old; however, not much is left of these ancient communities. Instead, the impression one gets visiting Berlin today is one of great discontinuity, visibly reflecting mainly the many ruptures in Germany's difficult history in the 20th century. After having been the residence of the Prussian kings, Berlin only became big in the 19th century, especially after becoming the capital of the 1871 German Empire. It remained Germany's capital in the Weimar Republic and under the Nazis; it was therefore a primary target in the air raids of World War II. After the city's separation in two, East Berlin was the capital of the GDR (East Germany), while the FRG (West Germany), had its capital in Bonn. An island of the western world in the territory of the east, Berlin was the natural focal point of the two blocks of the Cold War. In 1948, the "Berlin Blockade" led to the Berlin Airlift. In 1961, the Berlin Wall was constructed between East Berlin and West Berlin. After the German reunification in 1990, the Wall was demolished and Berlin was made the capital of all of Germany again. Currently it has become a hip and casual metropolis. Sights Even though Berlin does have a number of impressive buildings from earlier centuries, the city today is mainly stamped by the key role it played in Germany's history in the 20th century. On the one hand, each of the governments which had their respective seat in Berlin – namely the 1871 German Empire, the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, the GDR, and now the reunified Germany – initiated ambitious construction programs, each with its own distinctive character. On the other hand, Berlin was devastated in the bombardments during World War II, and many of the old buildings that were left were eradicated in the 1950s and 1960s in both the West and the East in overambitious architecture programs. Although not much is left of the actual Berlin Wall, one can usually still tell from the architecture if one is in the former eastern or western part. West Berlin * Kurfrstendamm with the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedchtniskirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church). The church was bombed out in World War II and its ruin has been preserved in the damaged state. * Tiergarten (Berlin's biggest park), Tegel, and Grunewald Forests. * Kreuzberg, Insulaner * Rathaus Schneberg with Kennedy Platz Mitte (historic and modern center) * Alexanderplatz * Berliner Dom * Brandenburg Gate * Cathedral of St. Hedwig (St.-Hedwigs-Kathedrale) * Checkpoint Charlie, remains and a museum about one of the gates in the Berlin Wall * Fernsehturm, the TV tower * Gendarmenmarkt * Nikolaiviertel, with the Nicolaikirche * Palast der Republik, old East German parliament building * Potsdamer Platz, an entire quarter constructed from scratch after 1995. * Reichstag building, the old and new seat of the German parliament, renovated by Sir Norman Foster. * Rotes Rathaus, the town hall * Scheunenviertel, formerly the slums of Berlin, but today the place of alternative culture, with countless clubs, bars, and galleries. This includes holds the New Synagogue in the Oranienburger Strae (originally built in the 1860s in Moorish style with a large golden dome, and reconstructed in 1993) and the Hackesche Hfe, a conglomeration of several buildings around several courtyards, nicely reconstructed after 1996. * Strae des 17. Juni * Unter den Linden Museums * Museum Island * German Museum of Technology * Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery), one of the last buildings by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Theaters * Schaubhne * Volksbhne * Deutsches Theater * Berliner Ensemble Opera Houses * Deutsche Oper * Staatsoper Unter den Linden * Komische Oper Airports * Schnefeld International Airport, to be renamed Berlin Brandenburg International Airport in 2007 * Tegel International Airport, to close after BBI starts operations (in 2007) * Tempelhof International Airport, to close after BBI starts construction (in 2004) Universities * Freie Universitt Berlin * Humboldt-Universitt zu Berlin * Technische Universitt Berlin * Universitt der Knste Universities of Applied Sciences * Alice-Salomon-Fachhochschule fr Sozialarbeit/-pdagogik * Evangelische Fachhochschule * Fachhochschule fr Technik und Wirtschaft * Fachhochschule fr Wirtschaft * Technische Fachhochschule Culture After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, many houses partially destroyed in World War II and not yet rebuilt were situated in the city center (formerly the western part of East Berlin). They became a fertile ground for all sorts of underground and counter-culture as well as many nightclubs, including the world-famous Tresor, which is one of the most important Techno clubs on earth. Berlin has a rich art scene, even though it is increasingly coming under financial pressure, because rents have been increasing since the German government moved back to Berlin from Bonn. [an error occurred while processing this directive]