On Saturday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's official Instagram account posted a picture from what her office described simply as a "spontaneous meeting between two working sessions" from the Group of 7 nations summit in Quebec City this weekend where President Donald Trump: railed against "ridiculous and unacceptable" trade tariffs on American goods; threatened to quit all trade with his G7 counterparts while also proposing the complete elimination of tariffs on all goods and services; blamed former President Obama for Russia's 2014 invasion of Ukraine; and made a curious prediction involving his "touch" and his "feel" for his upcoming meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Angela Merkel's office has released this photo taken today at the G7, which tells you a lot about how things went. The image of Trump--surrounded by British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe--sparked a lively discussion on social media when Buzzfeed News' David Mack posted it to Twitter, writing, "tells you a lot about how things went." "This looks like an intervention," wrote one Twitter user. "This isn't WWII, they're allies…does he not remember that?" wrote another.
A German state government announced plans Thursday to shut down the region's Facebook page because of concerns over the company's handling of data protection issues. The governor's office in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt cited a year-old ruling by the European Union's top court stipulating that the administrator of a "fan page" on Facebook is jointly responsible along with the social media company for the processing of visitors' data. It said that, since that decision, Facebook's Ireland-based European subsidiary had taken no measures to give page operators insight into its processing of personal data. The office said it will soon take down the region's Sachsen-Anhalt.de Germany is strongly protective of data privacy.
The day before this week's anti-Semitic attacks on a synagogue in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt, some of the country's most important criminal prosecutors met in Berlin. Germany's federal prosecutor general attended the meeting as well as his counterparts at the state level and the federal justice minister. In the light-flooded inner courtyard of the German Historical Museum, they discussed what the German judiciary could do to fight right-wing violence. Tweets about the event featured the hashtag #unantastbar, or inviolable, the decisive word in Article 1, Paragraph 1 of the German constitution that addresses human dignity. Federal Prosecutor General Peter Frank had a message for the guests, which he recited in a calm, measured tone, though his message was anything but: He told them that right-wing extremist lone perpetrators often do not act alone. Even when they commit acts of violence by themselves, they are part of a virtual community that cheers the murders they commit on the internet. What the country's highest prosecutor described is no less than a new form of terrorism. The crimes are committed by purported "lone wolves," who have largely isolated themselves from the outside world and become radicalized -- through the internet, for example. But Frank's statement can also be interpreted to mean that these wolves are part of a growing pack -- a globally networked movement of right-wing extremist hate. In hindsight, the prosecutor general's words seem eerily prescient. Less than 24 hours after the conference, a lone wolf let his hatred run free. Equipped with black boots, a helmet and an olive camouflage jacket, Stephan Balliet, 27, attempted to storm a synagogue in the city of Halle.
With Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi the latest political casualty of the populist wave surging across Europe and the United States, a photograph from April is going viral that shows just how much the political situation in the West has changed in just a few tumultuous months. The White House photo (shown above), taken in April at a G5 Summit in Hannover, Germany, shows Renzi along with President Obama, former British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Renzi said Sunday he intends to resign after a referendum on constitutional reforms he had backed was soundly defeated. Renzi had said he would resign if the referendum failed, turning the vote into a question on Renzi and the Italian political establishment as a whole. Cameron resigned in July after Britain voted to leave the European Union, and was replaced by current Prime Minister Theresa May.