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.
The sign seems appropriate, somehow, to the spirit of the New Berlin: EUROPE'S FASTEST ELEVATOR. It takes just 20 seconds to zip to the top of the 25-story DaimlerChrysler building, one of a crop of brand-new skyscrapers sprouting from the heart of this city 10 years after the cold war.
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.
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.
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.