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Germany

How Birkenstocks Became Hip

They used to be the eco-shoe par excellence, footwear of choice for the 'No Nukes' crowd. But now that green has gone mainstream – so have Birkenstocks. The cork-rubber-and-leather German sandals known more for comfort than their good lo

Not just for the crunchy crowd (Meindert Arnold Jacob)
Not just for the crunchy crowd (Meindert Arnold Jacob)

Worldcrunch *NEWSBITES

BERLIN - "No smoke. No mirrors. No gizmos. You walk, the shoe molds to your foot. You feel good. We feel good. That's the deal," says the Birkenstock USA website, which pretty much sums up wearer experience of the iconic brand.

If the comfort factor remains unchanged, what has been evolving since the 1990s is the look and perception of the shoes. Although traditional Birkenstocks are still beloved by medical personnel and physiotherapists, ever trendier models have become the stuff of catwalks, grace the feet of celebs like actress Gwyneth Paltrow, and have even been included in goodie bags handed out at the Oscars.

The "Birkenstock styled by Heidi Klum" range designed by the German top model, which features bright patterns and colors decorated with rhinestones, contributes in no small measure to the sandals' newfound glamorous image.

The Birkenstock name goes back to Johann Adam Birkenstock who produced footwear in Germany as far back as 1774. But it wasn't until some 100 years later that the company he founded developed the orthopedic formula that made its name.

Read the full article in German by Caroline Turzer

photo - Meindert Arnold Jacob

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Ideas

How Turkey Can Bring Its Brain Drain Back Home

Turkey heads to the polls next year as it faces its worst economic crisis in decades. Disillusioned by corruption, many young people have already left. However, Turkey's disaffected young expats are still very attached to their country, and could offer the best hope for a new future for the country.

Photo of people on a passenger ferry on the Bosphorus, with Istanbul in the background

Leaving Istanbul?

Bekir Ağırdır*

-Analysis-

ISTANBUL — Turkey goes to the polls next June in crucial national elections. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is up against several serious challenges, as a dissatisfied electorate faces the worst economic crisis of his two-decade rule. The opposition is polling well, but the traditional media landscape is in the hands of the government and its supporters.

But against this backdrop, many, especially the young, are disillusioned with the country and its entire political system.

Young or old, people from every demographic, cultural group and class who worry about the future of Turkey are looking for something new. Relationships and dialogues between people from different political traditions and backgrounds are increasing. We all constantly feel the country's declining quality of life and worry about the prevalence of crime and lawlessness.

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