June 20, 2013 |
BERLIN - President Obama on Wednesday called for reducing the number of deployed U.S. strategic nuclear warheads by one-third if the Russian government agrees to a similar cut, reviving a goal outlined early in his presidency to work toward a world without nuclear weapons. Obama's proposal, which met with a cool reception in Moscow, came during a much-anticipated speech here that sought to shake Western nations from complacency that he said has taken hold since the end of the Cold War. Speaking at the Brandenburg Gate, a historic backdrop for U.S. presidents, Obama said the dissolution of the Soviet Union has brought "a sense that the great challenges have somehow passed.
February 6, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - New Secretary of State John Kerry reported for duty Monday, acknowledging that as Hillary Rodham Clinton's successor, he has "big heels to fill" and promising to protect U.S. Foreign Service workers from terrorist attacks overseas. On his first day at the office in his new job, the former senator and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate was greeted with loud cheers by employees of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. As the first man in the post in eight years, Kerry referred to his two most recent predecessors, Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, by asking in jest: "Can a man actually run the State Department?"
November 1, 2009 |
One evening in the winter of 1961-62, a shuttered military train left Frankfurt, headed here through Communist East Germany. The drawn curtains and sealed outer doors were meant to keep us - U.S. troops on weekend leave - from turning a childish prank (mooning, perhaps) into an international incident. But at first light, I opened a curtain edge and, as the train slowed through a country town, I glimpsed the only person on the strangely barren platform: a teenager in a handsome tan overcoat with bright red piping along his lapels, a red star on his fur cap and an impressively ominous machine gun strapped across his chest.
November 1, 2009 |
I was sitting in a chic Asian fusion restaurant - they sprout effortlessly here - listening to my friend, Patti, describing the city's charms: "I like it that there is a choice of restaurants and the menus are in English. I like it that Berlin is green, but not so green that it's too spread out. And I love it that they have Wax in the City!" "Wax in the City?" I asked. Apparently, it's a waxing-studio franchise, and it makes my friend, a former resident of Philadelphia and New York City, very happy.
May 3, 2009 |
Fittingly, it all began in a hotel. Away on business, I rushed out of my room, absently grabbing the newspaper on my way. Flipping through it later that day - travel section first, as usual - I noticed a captivating story of a man who had taken a leave of absence from his job, given up all his worldly possessions, and was about to embark on an open-ended trip around the world. I was mesmerized by the possibilities of such a trip. If you had all the time in the world, where would you go?
September 29, 2008 |
Haile Gebrselassie smashed his marathon world record by 27 seconds yesterday, winning the Berlin Marathon in a city where he has had so much success. The 35-year-old Ethiopian took advantage of excellent conditions on a flat course to finish in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 59 seconds. Despite an ailing calf he shattered the mark he set in Berlin last year and became the first man to win this race three times. In the women's race, Germany's Irina Mikitenko won in 2:19:19. She improved her personal best by more than four minutes to record the seventh fastest time for a woman.
July 21, 2008 |
Barack Obama wants to speak at the Brandenburg Gate. He figures it would be a nice backdrop. The supporting cast - a cheering audience and a few fainting frauleins - would be a picturesque way to bolster his foreign-policy credentials. What Obama does not seem to understand is that the Brandenburg Gate is something you earn. President Reagan earned the right to speak there because his relentless pressure had brought the Soviet empire to its knees, and he was demanding its final "tear down this wall" liquidation.
January 3, 2001 |
In an event that ranks somewhere between the opening of the Brandenburg Gate and the opening of a Bud Light, the Spring Garden Tunnel reopened last weekend after 504 days behind barricades. There were no fireworks, no ribbon-cutting, no speeches. But there were plenty of happy drivers. Let history note, the auspicious moment occurred a few minutes after 2 p.m. on Friday. "The work crew just slid the wooden barriers out of the way, and opened it to traffic" said Joseph Syrnick, the Streets Department's chief engineer and surveyor.
November 7, 1999 |
Just after midnight on Aug. 13, 1961, thousands of East German troops and police officers began amassing on the border between the Russian sector of Berlin and the American, British and French sectors. Within hours, the city that World War II's victors had divided among themselves was split harshly into free West Berlin and communist East Berlin, sealing the last hole in the Iron Curtain. Just as quickly, the concrete and barbed-wire barrier that East German forces erected that night and would later fortify with mines and automatic machine-gun nests became a graphic symbol of the Cold War between Soviet communism and Western democracy.
April 7, 1995 |
When Wolfgang Wippermann began teaching about the Holocaust in 1974, elders of Germany's war generation would stand at the back of the lecture hall shrieking that it was a pack of lies. That all changed the following decade, Wippermann recalls, when Germans, in "an almost religious coming to terms" with their Nazi past, packed the lectures and made pilgrimages to the Auschwitz death camp and to Israel. Now, with the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, Germans are running the gauntlet as never before.