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Germany

How Contraband Cigarettes Came To Flourish In The Heart Of Europe

For years, the German government has steadily raised the price of cigarettes. But rather than rake in revenue, the tax policy has sparked a spike in cigarette smuggling. Jin Lings, snuck in from Russia, Moldavia and the Ukraine, are particularly popular.

A man smoking in Berlin (Onnola)
A man smoking in Berlin (Onnola)
Hans Evert

BERLIN -- One of the competitors of the global cigarette giant Imperial Tobacco is hanging out near a discount mart on Landsberger Allee. His clothing is torn. He's small and wiry; his eyes are mistrustful. He holds a plastic bag. "There's one of our friends, right there," says Bernd, spotting the Vietnamese man through the car window. As he gets out of the car and heads towards him, the man hurriedly moves away and disappears around the corner, mobile phone clamped to his ear. "Now the other guys know we‘re here," Bernd says, lighting a cigarette.

Bernd's describes himself as a bull. Bernd isn‘t his real name. And he's not a cop. At least not any more. He used to work for the German Federal Criminal Police. There, he learned his self-confident walk and his way of staring right through a person. He also picked up a lot of knowledge about organized crime. For this reason, Reemtsma, the German subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco, the fourth largest tobacco company in the world, was happy to hire him as head of security. Like every multinational cigarette maker, Reemtsma needs all the help it can get to keep its biggest competitors in check – and its biggest competitor isn't the Marlboro man. It's the black market man on the street corner.

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Economy

The Bogus Concept Of "Carbon-Neutral" Oil

The Colombian president recently said that the country had exported one million barrels of carbon-neutral or offset oil. But in an unregulated carbon market, such a claim is pure greenwashing.

People walk in the streets of Bogotá

María Mónica Monsalve Sánchez

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ - In March this year, various national and corporate leaders met in Houston, Texas, for CERAWeek, an annual conference to discuss the world's energy challenges. Colombia's President Iván Duque took the opportunity to remind participants that his country produced just 0.6% of the world's carbon emissions even as it had raised crude production to one million barrels a day.

He said oil should not be seen as an enemy, since the fight was really against greenhouse gas emissions. He also revealed at the event that the country's national oil firm, Ecopetrol, had sold the Asian market its first million barrels of carbon-neutral or offset crude, consisting of the entire extraction, production and exportation chain.

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