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China

Pollution Driving Expats To Pack Up And Leave Beijing

ECONOMIC OBSERVER(China)

Worldcrunch

BEIJING – With air pollution continuing to plague Beijing, there are increasing signs that it is pushing foreigners, often well-to-do expats, to leave the city.

"It's supposed to take up to a decade to solve the smog problem, but who knows what problems the pollution might have caused our bodies by then?" says Lin, a Malaysian national who has decided to leave Beijing with her husband and toddler after living in the city for 11 years, reports the Economic Observer.

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Photo mckaysavage

About 200,000 expats live in Beijing, and the visible air pollution – heavy smog that blankets the city – and alarmingly high pollution readings published by the U.S. embassy, is a subject that is constantly talked about.

The embassy monitors PM 2.5 fine particulates in Beijing’s air and publishes its finding hourly. There is even a dedicated twitter feed for concerned Beijing residents: @BeijingAir.

The impact of the foreigner exodus is starting to become visible in neighborhoods such as Sanlitun, a popular haunt for expats with its bars and international stores.

"The terrible air makes patients very anxious – particularly foreigners with children," says Richard Saint Cyr, a family doctor working at the Beijing United Family Hospital.

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Photo kevin dooley

Beijing’s foreign schools are also seeing a drop in numbers. Min (not his real name) was a student at an elite British school for boys. His family recently transferred him from Beijing to a private school in Hong Kong. When he got there, he found out that three of his teachers had also transferred to the same school to escape Beijing’s pollution.

So far there are no statistics to show how many foreign residents are leaving Beijing. One corporate headhunter said that the pollution was having a definite impact, with many high-paying posts vacant. He says requests for job postings in Shanghai and Beijing have dropped, and most candidates ask about the pollution situation before considering a job in the Chinese capital.

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Photo the measure of mike

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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