Stefan Theil

Blues Versus Reds

Baron Gotthard von Winterfeld hadn't seen his ancestors' feudal estate in nearly half a century. When he finally did so 12 years ago, after the fall of the Berlin wall, his eyes filled with tears.


When Tony Blair turns on his lights in Downing Street, the power comes from Electricite de France. Reason: when Britain opened its energy market to competition in 1990, the French company leapt in.


Even computer programmers can sometimes let their emotions get the better of them. "If I made a great product, and Microsoft offered me a lot of money, I would spit in their faces," says Brett Slatkin, a student at Columbia University in New York.

Combing For Nukes

The hunt had been on for a month, held back by heavy snow and inaccessible mountain terrain. Finally, last week, in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, a team of local and international nuclear experts secured two highly lethal, radioactive canisters on a mountainside close to the province of Abkhazia, where local nationalists are fighting for independence.

Burning Out?

In Thomas Mann's epic novel "Buddenbrooks," a well-heeled family of German burghers slides into genteel decline. The first generation lays the foundations for a fortune, the second amasses it and the third squanders the family's riches on a life of leisure.

Second Thoughts

From Tony Blair to George W. Bush to Gerhard Schroder, everyone agrees that the war on terror won't be won solely in the mountains of Afghanistan. This is also a fight on the home front.

The Berlin Question

The sign doesn't mince words: EUROPE'S FASTEST ELEVATOR. And fast it is. It takes just 20 seconds to zip up to the top of the 25-story DaimlerChrysler building, one of a crop of brand-new sky-scrapers sprouting from the heart of the New Berlin.

Germany: The East--Still Sinking

Commies love concrete. P. J. O'Rourke, the American humorist, wrote that about the old East bloc in the dying days of communism. But he could have been talking about Complex No. 7 in the city of Eisenhuttenstadt, a battered steel town in eastern Germany.

Rediscovering The Old East

Getting there is half the fun. My convertible blasts along ancient, tree-lined country lanes, through fields of rye ripening under a Curacao-blue sky. Nothing could be farther away from the metropolitan frazzle of Berlin than the wide-open Pomeranian countryside, three hours north of the capital.

Idle By Law

Things are looking a lot better for Imer Duraku now than when he was fleeing war-torn Kosovo eight years ago. Granted a haven in Germany, the 41-year-old attorney and his family just moved into a comfortable, three-bedroom apartment in Bernau, a leafy suburb north of Berlin.

A Crisis Of Biotech

The package that Wolfgang Franz received at his laboratory at the University of Lubeck was nondescript, but the contents were explosive. The molecular biologist had ordered a sample of 100,000 or so stem cells to use in his medical experiments.

Crashing Clones

In the beginning there was only Nasdaq, the American mother of all high-flying tech markets. As the New York exchange took off, others would try to follow.

Germany's 'Kohlosseum'

The tour guide jokes with passengers as the boat cruises up the Spree in Berlin. "This building is an exact copy of the train station in Baku," he quips, pointing toward a towering block of gray concrete vaguely suggesting a socialist monument.

Love Those Wearables!

Thad Starner first started wearing his computer in 1993. He would strap a shoe box of electronics to his waist and a small keyboard to his wrist and don a bulky headset with a small display monitor suspended in front of his left eye.

The Japan Connection

Europeans wondering what to do with their agonizingly slow wireless Internet phones might want to check out what's going on in Japan. The country is hooked--chiefly to NTT DoCoMo's i-mode service.

Getting Serious

On Saturday, peaceful Switzerland bared its teeth. In the biggest security alert the Alpine nation has ever seen, riot police sealed off all approaches to Davos, the genteel ski resort that hosts the annual network-athon of CEOs, heads of state and other VIPs known as the World Economic Forum.


The footage dates from April 7, 1973. The scene: a street riot in Frankfurt, at the height of Germany's militant student-protest movement. Suddenly one of the radicals corners a policeman.

Bluetooth's Connection

You're a busy person who likes to work on the go. What must your life be like? Say you just bought a new Nokia cell phone and, naturally, you want to use it to get a wireless Internet hookup for your Toshiba laptop.

Running On Fuel Cells

Soaring gasoline prices are no big deal. The real push for greener cars is from the lawmakers--especially in California, where the Zero Emissions Mandate requires that by 2003, 10 percent of all cars sold will be pollution-free.

George Jetson's Car Lot

These days your typical online car-buying experience might go something like this: you're looking for, say, an Audi A4. You click onto one of the popular Web referral services--like Autobytel or AutoWeb--and configure your new set of wheels.

Taking It To The Streets

The big economic summit hadn't even started, and already Prague was under something like a state of siege. At border crossings into the Czech Republic, traffic was backed up for miles last week as police and frontier guards tried to weed out troublemakers.

A Cold West Wind

I'm ashamed of what people from my country have to do to survive," says Svetlana, an unemployed Ukrainian schoolteacher. Svetlana, 27, is downing vodka with her husband at a seedy, $2.50-a-night guesthouse next to the bus station in Przemysl, just over the border in Poland.

Defiant And Dismissive

When Helmut Kohl finally testified last Thursday before the Bundestag about his role in Germany's biggest postwar political scandal, his performance was, well, vintage Kohl.

This Fair Could Flop

The mishaps began early. at the grand opening of the Hanover world's fair earlier this month, Polish President Aleksandr Kwasniewski got stuck in an elevator in the newly unveiled European Union pavilion.

The Wiles Of The Old World

Leave it to the French to tell an American multinational where to go. Last year, having noticed how much money the government was spending on software--mostly from Microsoft--Paris bureaucrats advised state agencies to switch to cheaper products.

Scandal Sinks Schauble

In the north wing of Berlin's Reichstag, Germany's despairing Christian Democrats huddled in a smoky third-floor conference room. After weeks of scandal, plummeting approval ratings and even a suicide, more than 100 CDU parliamentarians were locked in a bitter argument about the future of their party.