Top News: German authorities summoned the U.S. ambassador Thursday to demand a full explanation for claims that the United States had tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone, an allegation that has sparked deep outrage in Germany and revived uncomfortable memories of the extensive intelligence appartus of East Germany.
On Wednesday, Merkel called President Obama to air out her concerns about the allegations and received a promise that the United States is not monitoring her calls and will not do so in the future. That assurance, however, did not adress whether the United States had in fact monitored Merkel's calls in the past. Merkel's spokesman said the chancellor "views such practices... as completely unacceptable." "Among close friends and partners, as the Federal Republic of Germany and the US have been for decades, there should be no such monitoring of the communications of a head of government," Steffen Seibert, the spokesman, said in a statement.
According to White House spokesman Jay Carney, the United States "is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of the chancellor."
Wednesday's phone call was the second time in 48 hours that the president found himself on the phone with a European leader furious with America's intelligence agencies. Earlier in the week, Obama found himself on the phone with French President Francois Hollande after allegations surfaced that the National Security Agency had collected French phone calls on a massive scale.
U.S. drone war: Documents obtained by the Washington Post reveal that Pakistan's leaders have for several years provided secret approval of America's drone war in the country and have received regular briefings on its progress.
- Secretary of State John Kerry and his senior advisers are divided over whether to press ahead with a high-profile peace conference aimed at ending the war in Syria.
- An influential Iranian lawmaker claimed Iran had halted the production of uranium enriched to 20 percent.
- Syria released 61 female detainees as part of a three-way prisoner swap.
- Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with President Obama at the White House, where the two leaders sought to mend relations strained by, among other things, U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan.
- North Korea stepped up activity at its main nuclear test site, according to satellite images that indicate the country may be preparing for another nuclear test.
- India and China signed a border cooperation agreement aimed at reducing tensions along their shared frontier.
- Russia reduced the charges levelled against a group of Greenpeace activists who scaled a Russian oil-platform from piracy to hooliganism.
- Pope Francis suspended a German bishop alleged to have spent upwards of $40 million renovating his personal home.
- Hungary commemorated the 57th anniversary of the 1956 uprising against Soviet rule with rival rallies focused on party politics.
- Cuba will phase out its two-currency system by gradually unifying the value of the more expensive convertible peso with its non-convertable counterpart.
- Colombia's Constitutional Court struck down a measure that expanded the system of military justice by placing all but seven types of human rights violations under the military's jurisdiction.
- Despite heavy lobbying by AIPAC, the Obama administration managed to calm nerves on Capitol Hill over its diplomatic engagement with Iran.
- Two U.N. peacekeepers from Chad were killed and six others wounded in a suicide attack in northern Mali.
- Following reports that Kenyan security forces engaged in looting following last month's attack on the Westgate shopping mall, Kenya's police chief warned journalists not to "provoke propaganda" in their coverage.
- Zimbabwe urged Mozambique's Renamo movement not to take up arms against the government after breaking off the peace treaty that ended the country's 16-year civil war.
JULIAN STRATENSCHULTE/AFP/Getty Images