North Dakota

  • Forget the “Fragile Five”: the list of countries exposed as central banks tighten monetary policy is longer than the moniker suggests.
  • A German man, estranged from his father, may still face a €9,000 bill for the father’s care costs in a legal case that has sparked debate across a nation obsessed with its ageing population and how to pay for its welfare.
  • Businesses in Germany worry about the impact of introducing a minimum wage.
  • In Sudan, economic problems and fears for South Sudan are destabilising Omar al-Bashir’s rule.
  • Sébastien Valiela discusses how he managed to get the infamous photographs of François Hollande .
  • The New York Times documents how a young woman was lured to North Dakota from the west coast by a job in the oil industry, only to find a land dominated by men, lower pay than expected and a high cost of living.

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Notes from the Heartland, in Williston, North Dakota

On state highway 85, trucks loaded with the means of the North Dakotan oil boom roll over the bloody headless carcasses of dogs, elk and racoons. Grit and gravel fizz through eighteen-wheelers and patter the windshield. Roadside signs scream prosperity (“We have land!”) and piety (“an embryo is a life not a choice”). Haphazardly constructed houses, campsites and hotels suggest quick-buck urgency. Machines dip in and out of wells in metronomic regularity. Flames of burnt natural gas flutter in drilled cornfields like hot orange flags of adventure and conquest.

Williston is another America. There is no unemployment. Rents would make Manhattanites blush. Jobs at Wal-Mart and McDonald’s pay twice the federal minimum wage. The city has revenue to burn. “How long do you think it will last?” ask locals, as if befuddled by the happenstance of their geography. Of course, the town has problems. Traffic, crime and prices are all on the increase. But only a minority wish the fracking would stop – and most of them have long since sold up. Read more