Land of Smiles

AP PHOTO / MARKUS SCHREIBER

Merkel briefs the media after a national energy summit in Berlin

There's something different about Angela Merkel. Germans remain spellbound by the novelty of a female Chancellor, but it's her down-to-earth manner that really sets her apart. There isn't a politician in Europe today who would not be giddy with delight if they racked up the approval ratings Merkel has been scoring — 80% in February, the highest for any German Chancellor since World War II. But the former physics lecturer is not one to get carried away with fripperies like opinion polls. A participant at a recent meeting with business leaders in Berlin tells how she batted away praise. "This won't...

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