China Experiments with a New Kind of Megalopolis


Trust China to do the most bold things.

Chen Yalei, the financial broker, says Beijing is making a kind of offer to the cities in the Greater Bay Area that they simply can’t refuse. “Of course, there will be major shifts and, of course, some of these cities will lose importance while others gain ground.” But, he adds, at least for the time being, Hong Kong will remain indispensable, as the financial center of the Pearl River Delta and as China’s gateway to the world.

And afterwards? “The reformer Deng Xiaoping created a monument to himself in Shenzhen, and for his successor, Jiang Zemin, it was in Shanghai ” says Chen Yalei. “The Greater Bay Area is the project that President Xi Jinping intends to be remembered by in the history books.”

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Bernhard Zand — Spiegel Online

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The Palm Oil Problem


Organizations like Rainforest Rescue have demanded a boycott of palm oil, urging consumers to use local oils made from sunflower seeds or rapeseed instead. As of December 2014, the European Union has made such a boycott easier by requiring foodstuff producers to clearly indicate what kind of oil is used in their product. If consumers begin shunning palm oil, the drop in demand will have an influence on its global price, which will in turn affect the prices producers receive at the local level.

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Vanessa Steinmetz and Karl Vandenhole — Spiegel

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Migrants’ Fate a Game of Chance


Looking at the refugee crisis from afar, it is difficult to form any opinion.
“Because the deportation of rejected asylum-seekers from Germany is the responsibility of the states, a highly arbitrary system not unlike a lottery. For the close to a half-million people expected to receive orders to be deported this year, whether they must leave or not may depend on where they live.”

Men like Rahmat Khan. The young Afghan fled to Germany in 2010. He claimed that the Taliban had murdered his father, but the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) didn’t believe him and rejected his application for asylum. Since then, Khan’s residency in Germany has been tolerated by the government. He found an apartment, he learned German, got involved in a Catholic youth group and began working as a mason for a construction company in the town of Essenbach. “A gift from heaven” is how his boss Thomas Monzel describes him. “All it would take for a German trainee to call in sick was a sore muscle, but he even came to work when he had the flu.”

Now Monzel has lost one of his best employees. The company hired a lawyer for Khan, begged the authorities to extend his work permit, wrote a letter to the Chancellery and submitted a petition to the state legislature, but nothing helped. On Dec. 14, police rang Khan’s doorbell at 5 a.m., waking him up, and put him in a bus to the Frankfurt Airport, where a chartered jet took off for Afghanistan. Now Khan calls his former employer every Friday. “If you help me get back, I will work twice as much,” he tells the company. But there’s nothing Monzel can do.

If Khan hadn’t ended up in Landshut in Bavaria when he came to Germany and had instead arrived 800 kilometers further north, he would still be living in Germany today.

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