Stefan Theil

Capitalist Manifesto

Europe could use more people like Ehssan Dariani. The 26-year-old entrepreneur runs a hot Internet start-up called studiVZ--Europe's fastest-growing social network for university students.

The New Jungles

A walk across the abandoned railyard in Berlin's Schöneberg district gives new meaning to the words "urban jungle." Between a noisy commuter train line on one side and apartment blocks on the other, a carpet of rare flowers with names like ladies' fingers and queen-devil hawkweed covers railroad ties and warehouse ruins.

March of the Populists

A populist rebellion against globalization is going global. This self-destructive form of economic nationalism started along the Caracas-Moscow axis, as Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Hugo Chávez of Venezuela trumpeted the classic populist promise: to steer wealth from the rich and the foreign to the poor and the homegrown.

Don't Worry ... Be Happy!

The Italian paparazzi had a field day. Staking out German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her Easter vacation on the island of Ischia, one of them caught her bare-bottomed as she changed into her bathing suit.

Designed by Human Hands

What do the Austrian alps, Philippine rice terraces and India's Kerala Backwaters have in common? True, they are some of the world's most beautiful--and ecologically diverse--landscapes.

Rebuilding the Past

A 14-hectare site, just off Unter den Linden, Berlin's old imperial boulevard, has long been the city's most fought-over chunk of real estate. There, after 15 years of heated debate, demolition began last month on the Palace of the Republic, the empty 1970s-era home of communist East Germany's rubber-stamp "Parliament." Once upon a time, the plot was occupied by an even vaster edifice: the 1,200-room Stadtschloss, the 12th-century palace of Prussian kings and German kaisers, damaged in World...

The End of Tolerance

The world has long looked upon the Dutch as the very model of a modern, multicultural society. Open and liberal, the tiny seagoing nation that invented the globalized economy in the 1600s prided itself on a history of taking in all comers, be they Indonesian or Turkish, African or Chinese.How different things look today.

The New Old Age

The Japanese senior citizens who founded Jeeba knew they were making history when they coined their company motto: "Of the elderly, by the elderly and for the elderly." By the time the 25 founders met one another in the mid-1990s, at a series of business-networking events hosted by the government of southern Saga prefecture, many companies were making products for the elderly, the fastest-growing demographic market in Japan.

The Empire Strikes Back

No need to call in the Kremlinologists. Russia's latest messages to the West and its close neighbors are clear. First came the New Year's Day gas war, when Moscow cut gas supplies to Ukraine over a pricing dispute--and demonstrated to the world that it was ready and willing to use energy as a weapon.


Back in September, 40-year-old Ayman Nour was busy mounting an electoral challenge to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. A liberal with little funding but a flair for the dramatic, Nour had the gumption to belittle Mubarak as an impotent old man afraid of his own people.

Close The Door

At long last, Tony Blair actually played the role of European Union president. Hoping to prevent last week's gathering of EU leaders from turning into another verbal fistfight, he downgraded the meeting from an official summit to an "informal" confab.

The Price Of Power

Angela Merkel will be the first woman to lead Germany since Empress Theophanu in A.D. 991. Yet what's greeted her unwieldy coalition of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, to be painstakingly hammered out over the coming weeks?

Rise Of The Left

Politics Italian style? Normally, that's the last way anyone would describe the German political scene. But these days? It's apt. To speak of the Sept. 18 election results as "confusing" would--well, be a charitable understatement.

It's Decision Time

For those old enough to remember, there was a distinct echo in last week's big TV debate. Looking her audience square in the eye, Angela Merkel posed a question made famous by Ronald Reagan way back in 1980.


Gerhard Schroeder was at it again. "Take the military options off the table," he roared at a campaign rally in Hannover. "We've all seen they're no good!"Bashing George W.


They were hidden inside flowerpots, a sand-filled aquarium and a black handbag. Tiny skeletons of nine newborn babies, found by police recently in the east German village of Brieskow-Finkenheerd.


A couple of years ago, when the cost of oil started to soar, Joel Rosado didn't think twice. The owner of an air-taxi service in Mineiros, Brazil, with a fleet of 12 planes, he needed to do what he could to contain fuel costs--he spends 20 percent of his revenues each year on 300,000 or so liters of fuel.


It ain't over till it's over, especially in this quirkiest of German election campaigns. That there is an election at all is strange enough: the surprise call for next month's national vote by embattled German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder amounted to a virtual resignation a full year before the end of his term.


Twelve months ago Germany's Greens were at the peak of their power. With 13 percent support in polls--their highest ratings ever--they had become the party of choice for a broad, educated elite.


Germans are getting used to a new kind of immigrant. In 1998, a pack of wolves crossed the shallow Neisse River on the Polish-German border. In the empty landscape of Eastern Saxony, speckled with abandoned strip mines and declining villages, the wolves found plenty of deer and rarely encountered humans.


Her offense was wearing jeans and listening to Western music. As a gesture of protest, when her classmates sang the "Internationale"--the global socialist anthem--she sang it in English, not German or Russian.


What do Chinese breweries, Brazilian water bottlers and Italian dairy cooperatives have in common? Krones AG. The German company controls a quarter of the world's market for state-of-the-art bottling equipment.


Angela Merkel's foes like to paint the Christian Democrats' leader as a neoliberal extremist who'll sacrifice Germany's welfare state to the free market. But even her supporters concede she is no fire-breather.


These days auto giant DaimlerChrysler is a two-family house divided between function and dysfunction, with all the trouble on the side everyone thought was perfectly well adjusted.


Listen to some of Germany's most powerful politicians these days, and it's as if Karl Marx had risen from the grave. "The growing power of international capital" with its "unbridled greed for profit" represents nothing less than a 'threat to democracy'," the chairman of the ruling Social Democrats, Franz Muntefering, railed at a recent party conclave in Berlin.


The populist tabloid France Soir hailed a new national hero last week. HOW CHIRAC IS DEFENDING FRANCE blazed the headline to an article that presented the French president as a modern-day "Zorro"--battling not the evil governor of 19th-century Spanish California, but European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and his push for free-market reforms.

A Pyrrhic Victory?

The populist tabloid France Soir hailed a new national hero last week. HOW CHIRAC IS DEFENDING FRANCE blazed the headline to an article that presented the French president as a modern-day "Zorro"--battling not the evil governor of 19th-century Spanish California, but European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and his push for free-market reforms.