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- May 1, 2016: Vol. 9 Number 5

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Tough choices: Germany and its competing needs

by by Salika Khizer

In March, I visited Berlin for the first time. Usually while traveling to new places, I don’t know what to expect. I wasn’t in Berlin as a tourist and so only spent a few hours walking around.

Today most of the buildings are new — built after so many were demolished in World War II — and decorated with graffiti; there were young hipsters standing outside listening to German rap music. The bridges and roads were rebuilt, too, with high-quality airports, ports, communications and energy infrastructure. In 2006, the World Economic Forum even ranked Germany No. 3 for its infrastructure.

Despite this achievement, however, the country’s infrastructure is beginning to fray — roads wearing, bridges decaying and the railroad switching equipment, once known to be the top-of-the-line, hasn’t been updated since the Kaisers. Don’t get me wrong: Germany was ranked No. 4 by the World Economic Forum for 2014–2015 — not

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