2009 Cost of Living Survey: The 10 most expensive cities
TOKYO, JAPAN: Tokyo knocked last year's most expensive city, Moscow, off the top of the chart, according to an annual Cost of Living Survey by Mercer, an international consulting firm. The survey covers 143 cities across six continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment. Mercer claims this is the world's most comprehensive cost of living survey and is used to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowance for their expatriate employees. The survey, conducted in March, uses New York as the base city for the index, with currency moves measured against the dollar. Here, a light display is relfected on a window of a skyscraper as the Tokyo Bay area can be seen in the background from a viewing deck of the Tokyo Tower. Issei Kato/Reuters
OSAKA, JAPAN: Taking the 1st and 2nd in the most expensive cities survey, the strength of the Japanese yen against the US dollar lifted Osaka from the 11th spot, which it occupied last year. Katsumi Kasahara/AP
MOSCOW, RUSSIA: Though bumped from first to 3rd place, Moscow still remains the most expensive city in Europe for expatriates. A dramatic depreciation of the ruble against the US dollar has led to a sharp fall in the city's index score compared to 2008. In general, European cities have see some of the steepest falls in the rankings this year, since their currencies have weakened against the dollar. In February 2008, commuters rush through one of Moscow's metro stations. Some of the stations are elaborately decorated in the city, including mosaics on the walls. Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff/FILE
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: Geneva is up to 4th place from 8th last year. Trees at Lake Geneva in the center of the city are illuminated in this December 2008 photo as part of a 'Trees and Lights Festival' aimed at bringing contemporary art into the streets. Anja Niedringhaus/AP/FILE
HONG KONG, CHINA: The Chinese renminbi performed strong against most currencies, putting Hong Kong in the 5th most expensive spot. NEWSCOM/FILE
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND: Fans release balloons carrying cards filled with wishes for the late pop star Michael Jackson during a memorial ceremony at the Rathausbruecke bridge in Zurich on July 4. Zurich is the 6th most expensive city, up from 9th last year. Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK: Copenhagen's Nyhavn canal full of resturants and boats is seen here on July 6. The city remained in the 7th most expensive spot in the Mercer survey, while other popular European cities like Paris and Milan fell out of the top ten. Francis Dean/Dean Pictures/NEWSCOM
NEW YORK, NEW YORK: Due to the strengthening of the US dollar, all cities in the US have experienced a rise in this year's ranking. New York remains the highest ranking city in the Americas and has also joined the global top 10 list this year, jumping from 22nd to 8th place. Two New York City fire boats shoot red, white, and blue water on the Hudson River off of Manhattan's west side before the start of the 2009 annual Macy's Fourth of July fireworks display. Rich Schultz/AP
BEIJING, CHINA: Beijing, host of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, moved up 11 spots to make the top ten in the 2009 Cost of Living Survey. Elizabeth Dalziel/AP/FILE
SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE: People walk past a new development build next to older apartment buildings in Singapore on July 2. Though Singapore's real estate prices fell in the April-June period fo a fourth straight quarter amid the city-state's worst recession, Singapore moved up three places to make the top ten of the most expensive cities to live in. Wong Maye-E/AP
Syria's largest city is contested by various rebel groups, including anti-US jihadists. A UN envoy is trying to broker a temporary cease-fire so that humanitarian aid can reach civilians.
ByDominique Soguel, Correspondent
The battle for Syria’s largest city is intensifying, as are UN-led diplomatic efforts to arrange a local cease-fire. UN envoy Steffan De Mistura is trying to broker a halt to fighting in Aleppo between an array of Islamist and moderate rebels and the government forces of President Bashar al-Assad. Jihadist extremists also have their sights on the city, which is divided into rebel and regime enclaves.