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What 'Berlin's favela' says about this uneasy and divided city

BERLIN — The infamous squatters who once occupied vacant lots and abandoned buildings across Berlin have all but disappeared. But as the city's renaissance drives up rents and wealthy migrants from southern Germany displace leftists, artists and slackers, a new alliance of anti-gentrification activists, immigrants and refugees is emerging in pockets of resistance.

Germans worry Berlin is becoming too wealthy for its own good

BERLIN — Just like elsewhere around the world, internet sites for vacation apartment rentals such as Airbnb were booming here — until last month. That’s when the city passed a new law banning the trade after residents complained that a spike in vacation rentals was exacerbating a housing shortage that has pushed up rents in a city famous for its relatively affordable real estate.

Demolition of Berlin Wall called off, for now

"The crane has been taken away. We won't move any more parts of the wall for the time being," developers promise.

Berlin: Multi-culti capital matures

  BERLIN — Jianhua Wu believes there’s nothing like a fine German Riesling wine to go with a tangy Chinese plum sauce, roasted duck or fermented black bean dish. He's not alone: His restaurant in former West Berlin has gained a large and loyal customer base and considerable respect in the wine world. Chancellor Angela Merkel may have famously declared “multi-culti” — short for multiculturalism — dead recently, but her country’s capital appears to show otherwise: Wu’s story reflects the changing face of a city that’s developing a reputation as a center for innovative, multi-cultured ventures on many fronts, from artistic to gastronomic.

German 'Forest Boy' identified: He's a 20-year-old Dutch man

Robin van Helsum, 20, claimed to live in the woods near Berlin and have no idea who he was.
Forest Boy Robin van Helsum 15 06 2012Enlarge
Germany's mysterious "Forest Boy" has been identified as missing person Robin van Helsum of the Netherlands. (Berlin Police/Handout/Courtesy)
The young man who turned up in Berlin last September, claiming to have lived in the woods with his late father, was recognized by relatives in the Netherlands from a photo released earlier this week.
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Germany: Anne Frank waxwork unveiled at Berlin Madame Tussauds

"Anne Frank was such a hopeful person. It's that sense of optimism that we want to convey in this figure," a museum spokeswoman said.

Greek debt talks: European economic daily round-up

Greek debt talks, IMF's Lagarde talks, financial markets talk

The Greek debt talks continued today. The sticking point remains the rate of interest bondholders will be paid on new issues of Greek sovereign debt. The idea is they will exchange their current bonds for new ones that are at least 50 percent less in face value. (Friday I saw speculation that they might be worth between 65 and 70 percent less.)

When you take that big a haircut now, you want something sweet to look forward to down the road. The Greek government doesn't want to give what's left of its future away to high interest rates on these new bonds. We'll see.

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