July 15th, 2011
06:48 AM GMT
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Beijing (CNN) – The infamous Great Firewall of China sent chills up my spine before I got on the plane for my summer internship here.  This abstract and intangible wall was intimidating – something that I could not prepare for in America before leaving for China.  I envisioned the Great Firewall to be something like hiking The Great Wall: exhausting and unconquerable.

Like most American college students, I am addicted to my Blackberry: the convenience at sending an e-mail on the go, keeping in touch with my family, and always being in-the-know, thanks to often pointless yet seemingly vital Facebook notifications. I could not fathom blocked internet access.

I am reliant on Facebook as a communication device.  My friends and I share a laugh at a picture or make fun of a friend’s overly-philosophical status update via laptops in class, computers at work, or cell phones walking across campus.  The thought of missing out scared me.
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July 15th, 2011
02:01 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – The most expensive city in the world for expats is … in Africa? Ok I’ll admit I was surprised when I read this finding from Mercer’s 2011 Cost of Living Survey.  The place: Luanda, the capital city of Angola. But when you look at the consulting company’s formula, it makes sense.

Mercer looked at two main variables.  One is the strength or weakness of the local currency compared to the same time last year.  If it’s grown stronger against the U.S. dollar then that would push the city higher in the rankings.  The other is the price increase or decrease of a basket of commodities. If the price increased relative to the basket of goods based in New York, then that would push the city higher as well.

Here’s Mercer’s top 10 list this year. Is your city here?
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