John Aglionby

Differences between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and other leaders of the Group of Eight nations over Syria are likely to dominate the first day of the summit at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland as host David Cameron seeks to keep the focus on trade, tax and transparency.

By John Aglionby, Lina Saigol and Lindsay Whipp. All times are BST


John Aglionby

The US government’s secret internet surveillance programme, codenamed Prism, began when the National Security Agency signed up Microsoft as its first partner on Sept 11, 2007, less than a month after the passing of the Protect America Act which authorised it.

♦ Yahoo was added on 12/3/2008, Google on 14/1/2009, Facebook on 3/5/2009, PalTalk on 7/12/2009, YouTube on 24/9/2010, Skype on 6/2/2011, AOL on 3/3/2011 and Apple in October 2012, , according to a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation obtained by the Guardian and the Washington Post .

♦ The companies liaise with the NSA through the FBI’s data intercept technology unit. Twitter is conspicuously absent from the list. Read more

John Aglionby

- ‘The troika decision-making [is] baffling and the vision of the founding fathers of the single currency [is] a mockery,” argues Christopher Pissarides, an adviser to the president of Cyprus, as other small eurozone nations are feeling increasingly defensive about their economies.

- Stefan Wagstyl suggests that the latest Brics summit has exposed the limits of the five nations’ possible co-operation. (Imagine a group of five friends who get together to build a holiday house but can’t agree on what it should cost, where to put it or who should pay for it.?) Meanwhile Gideon Rachman reckons that Brazil is the only Brics country that still qualifies to be a member of the club. Read more

John Aglionby

The US House of Representatives easily but grudgingly passed a compromise bill to avert the fiscal cliff but the deal triggers a fresh showdown in two months, over spending and the deficit.

Andrew Higgins of the New York Times reports from Latvia on how the government’s austerity measures have revived the economy. Read more

John Aglionby

Predictions that the world would end today proved misplaced but Jamil Anderlini has shone a light on the crackdown on a Chinese doomsday cult – Eastern Lightning.

Roula Khalaf writes in a Global Insight how the shifting balance in Syria presents a new opportunity to end the conflict, while the New York Times reports on the impact of President Bashar al-Assad’s use of cluster bombsRead more

John Aglionby

- China has just completed its leadership transition and while the Communist party congress was carefully scripted, plenty of questions remain unanswered. The FT’s Beijing bureau chief Jamil Anderlini discusses the extent to which the party is in decline, while the FT’s Asia editor David Pilling sets some benchmarks for incoming leader Xi Jinping.

- Gershon Baskin, a mediator in the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit – who was held hostage by Hamas, writes that the Israeli offensive in Gaza was a mistakeRead more

John Aglionby

- It’s hard not to be drawn into the salacious elements of the David Petraeus resignation scandal. The Daily Telegraph’s Jon Swaine has examined the Jill Kelley and her twin sister’s financial woes. Of the more serious issues, the FT looks at the scrutiny around the FBI’s investigation and the Atlantic addresses the growing militarisation of the CIA.

- On a related theme, the BBC examines the cult of the American generalRead more

John Aglionby

- “Beijing looks as if the government declared martial law in the midst of a floral convention” – FT Beijing bureau chief Jamil Anderlini discusses Chinese society’s ever greater expectations amid the start of the Communist party congress that will choose the country’s new leadership.

- FT China correspondent Kathrin Hille analyses how and why outgoing president Hu Jintao has kept the next generation of leaders on a short leash , and the concern raised by his call to build up the nation’s sea powerRead more

John Aglionby

Here are some of the articles that have grabbed our attention from today’s FT and elsewhere:


John Aglionby

Welcome to our rolling coverage of the reaction to elections in France and Greece on a big day for Europe.

By Tom Burgis, John Aglionby and Esther Bintliff in London with contributions from FT correspondents around the world. All times are London time.

This post should update automatically every few minutes, although it might take longer on mobile devices.

16.52 That’s the lot of the live blog today. See for more news and analysis through the night.

We’ll leave you with a quick summary and some reading. Today:

  • Markets reacted warily at first to the French and Greece results, although equities and bonds recovered through the day. The euro stayed weaker though
  • Angela Merkel promised François Hollande a warm welcome in Berlin but said the eurozone’s fiscal pact was not up for re-negotiation. She also urged Greece to stick to the cuts programme agreed with lenders
  • Greece’s political leaders wrangled over a possible coalition government after voters administered a thumping to the two biggest parties, leading to predictions of a fresh election and a potential move to tinker with the terms of the country’s €174bn bail-out
  • Spain reversed course and said it plans to pump public cash into troubled lender Bankia
  • Leftists from Dublin to Stockholm hailed the victory of a Socialist in France, with many seeking to use Hollande’s triumph to push for more pro-growth policies to temper European austerity

 Read more