Germany’s Oktoberfest price hikes risk shortchanging waitresses

September 24, 2014

A waitress wearing wrist braces and a traditional Bavarian dirndl slams 20 kilos of beer onto a wooden table at Munich’s annual Oktoberfest. Her customers scramble for coins, debating how much to pay.

‘Refugees Welcome!’ is more than a slogan in Germany

September 18, 2014

Twelve-year-old Assrien arrived from Al-Malikiyah in northeastern Syria five months ago, but today she chatters away in German.

The Teflon NFL now looking to remove the egg on its face

September 12, 2014

It’s Thursday Night Football at Manhattan’s Wharf Bar. Young professionals stream through the door to watch the Baltimore Ravens vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers at this unofficial “Ravens bar,” pulling NFL jerseys out of their backpacks and putting them on over button-up shirts and ties. A banner on the wall declares, “You’re in Ravens country.” A full hour before the game starts and it’s standing room only.

Google and Rubik’s Cube: Puzzle unlocked

May 28, 2014

It seems incongruous: A $350 billion Internet behemoth and a quaint toy that had its heyday in the 1980s.

College football fans tackle player-union debate

May 9, 2014

“I just wiped tears from my eyes,” said Paul Elder, a fan who writes about Auburn University’s football team for a website called Track ‘Em Tigers. A clip from last year’s game-winning pass against the University of Georgia had just appeared on the jumbo screen at the school’s annual “A-Day” exhibition in April at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Elder is 65 and towers at six feet four inches tall. “It just brought me back to that moment when I was here to watch that play last year,” he said. “Moments like that are like a drug, you keep coming back for more.”

2014 Detroit Auto Show: Looking Ahead to the Past

January 15, 2014

The organizers of the annual Detroit auto show rebranded the event 25 years ago as the North American International Auto Show. But the 2014 edition — my 40th Detroit show for those who are keeping score — takes me back to the early 1970s when local auto dealers hosted what was still a regional event focused largely on domestic brands. In fact, the hometown angle had been the dominant theme since the show originated in 1907 at Beller’s Beer Garden.

Syrian refugee schools flourish in southern Turkey

January 2, 2014

Reyhanli, Turkey – In a classroom in southern Turkey, 8-year-old children proudly display their colored-pencil drawings. They include images of the things that make them happiest: hearts, houses and other images typical for children their age. They also show anti-aircraft missiles and revolutionary flags.

Albanian ‘blood feuds’ force families into isolation

December 10, 2013

Shkodër, Albania – Bilal Ademi remembers the day when 70 men in his family were forced into hiding. On May 18, 2010, Ademi’s cousin, a policeman, shot and killed another officer while on duty.

ICYMI: Top 10 stories, easily explained

September 20, 2013

1. Navy Yard shooting leaves 13 dead, plenty of questions
A gunman identified as Aaron Alexis, a U.S. Navy Reserves veteran with a history of mental illness, opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, killing 12 people and injuring another dozen before being killed in one of several gun battles with police. The incident—the worst attack at a U.S. military installation since U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan fatally shot 13 people at Ford Hood, Texas, in 2009—prompted a review of security measures at the Navy Yard and renewed the national debate over gun control just five months after the Senate defeated a gun-buyer background check bill.

On Syria, Congress asks the wrong questions too late

September 4, 2013

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