Winter is just the time to see the beauty of the Berchtesgadener Land, against the impressive backdrop of Germany's third-highest mountain, the Watzmann.
The region offers everything a winter sports fan could want - downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and sledding. Before tourism took over, the main source of income for the region was salt mining. You can relive those days at the Erlebnisbergwerk Berchtesgaden.
Berchtesgaden National Park, the only national park in the German Alps, boasts 230 kilometers of hiking trails. You can see wildlife or take a boat ride on Lake Königssee
Berchtesgaden itself is the center of tourism in the region. Travelers have been admiring natural landmarks and other sights here since the 19th century. Berchtesgaden Palace is another highlight. Once an Augustinian monastery, after 1810 it was used mainly as a hunting lodge and summer residence by the Bavarian kings.
Russians appear to be calling the shots among the separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Men from Moscow occupy many of the key positions in the People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Russia has criticized sanctions imposed by the EU and US this week, saying they will lead to higher energy prices in Europe. In eastern Ukraine, meanwhile, fresh peace talks appear possible - with an unusual host.
The US Federal Reserve has said it is in no rush to raise interest rates, even while issuing positive predictions on inflation and economic growth. The central bank continued scaling back its stimulus spending.