US-German relations strained over new spying allegations
Germany has summoned the US envoy following allegations that an agent working for Germany’s intelligence agency was spying for the US. Gideon Rachman is joined by James Blitz, former security correspondent, and Jeevan Vasagar, Berlin correspondent, to discuss what this means for already troubled relations between the Obama and Merkel governments, and how the two nations can resolve their differences in order to tackle the numerous shared geopolitical challenges they face.
By Vincent Boland in Dublin
As the man himself sings:
“When the rain’s blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I would offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love.”
Nobody was feeling the love in Dublin on Wednesday after Garth Brooks, the US country singer, cancelled his five live concerts in a dispute with a local residents’ organisation that has left everyone involved embarrassed, sorry, and counting the cost.
Mr Brooks was due to play the five gigs on consecutive nights later this month in Croke Park, Ireland’s 82,300-seat national stadium for the traditional games of hurling and Gaelic football. Some 400,000 tickets had been sold, at around €60 each. That represents nearly 10 per cent of the Irish population, and is a testament to the enduring love of country music in a country that gave the world U2, Thin Lizzy and, um, Big Tom. Read more
The front page of Wednesday's Bild
When the final whistle put an end to the drubbing, the winning team celebrated with unusual restraint.
Despite an incredible seven of Germany’s 14 shots ending up in the back of the net, there was little gloating at having delivered a stunning 7-1 thrashing to Brazil, tournament favourites, on their home turf.
The players’ wish to express their joy of securing a place in a World Cup final was delayed by pity – a sense that their opponents, and the Brazilians in the crowd, should not be embarrassed further within the dome of the Estádio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte.
That will have won them as many fans as the flair with which they played last night.
Back in Germany, however, the reaction was as euphoric as one would expect when the national team secures a shot at football’s ultimate prize in such emphatic fashion. Read more
Watching the World Cup from Brazil – as I did last week – it was impossible to miss the huge weight of expectations placed on the national team. Half the country – including some toddlers and dogs – seemed to be wearing the yellow jersey of Brazil. Some Brazilians told me that the players would use that pressure to inspire themselves to greater heights. That always seemed doubtful to me. And last night, we saw the opposite happen: the Brazil team crumbled under unbearable pressure and lost by an unthinkable amount. Read more
By Joe Leahy in Belo Horizonte
No sooner had what has already become known in Brazil as “The Massacre” started than the black-humoured jokes about the host team’s demolition by Germany began doing the rounds on the internet. Read more
Exactly 100 days after he was summoned to rescue François Hollande’s floundering presidency, France’s reformist prime minister Manuel Valls can claim to be making some progress – not least by confronting recalcitrant rebels among the president’s own political ranks.
On Tuesday, the government won an important vote in the National Assembly on measures to begin the implementation of Mr Hollande’s pro-business policy turn, facing down sometimes noisy opposition from a group of Socialist party dissidents who regard Mr Valls’s Blairite tendencies with deep suspicion.
Some 30-plus Socialist deputies abstained in the vote, slightly less than the number of rebels who abstained when Mr Valls set out his stall in a confidence vote in April. The government won by 272 votes to 234 against. Read more
By Gideon Rachman
Two national tragedies struck Brazil late last week. In the city of Belo Horizonte, an overpass collapsed, killing two people. The following day, Brazil played Colombia in the quarter final of the World Cup. Brazil won the match – but Neymar, the team’s star and national posterboy, suffered a back injury that will keep him out of the rest of the tournament.
Today Germany and France will meet in their World Cup quarter final in Rio de Janeiro, the latest episode in one of Europe’s classic football rivalries. But off the pitch, a different duel is gripping the continent’s political scene: the one between Germany and Italy. Read more