Chatter: America's allies furious over NSA spying revelations




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Hey, America? The Cold War called — it wants its foreign policy back. Several of Washington's closest allies are fuming after the latest revelations that the US National Security Agency has been spying on officials from the European Union, its members and other "friendly" nations.

France has called it "totally unacceptable," Germany says it's Cold War-esque, and the EU is warning that, if confirmed, the allegations could hamper transatlantic relations and even jeopardise a much-anticipated trade deal. The NSA had better hope whatever juice it got was worth it.

An Egyptian ultimatum. After a weekend of rallies, anti-government protesters have given President Mohamed Morsi until tomorrow afternoon to resign, or face a campaign of civil disobedience. It looks like they're not waiting for their own deadline, however: the national headquarters of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood have already been stormed, looted and set alight.

At least eight people have died in clashes across Egypt since Sunday. If that's what civil obedience looks like, civil disobedience must be quite something.


Beware the wildfires. In Arizona, 19 firefighters are dead after battling what are proving to be the deadliest fires in the US for decades. No other single incident has taken a greater toll on firefighters since the 9/11 terror attacks.

Hundreds of emergency workers continue to fight the fast-moving fire, which has now engulfed 1,000 acres amid a blistering heat wave in Arizona and other southwest states. The potentially life-threatening temperatures are forecast to continue until Tuesday.

Croatia joins the club. As of midnight on Sunday, the former Yugoslav country is the newest arrival at the European Union's party. High unemployment? Check. A stinker of a credit rating? Check. Welcome to the EU!

Membership of the European bloc is no "magic solution," Eurocrats have warned, but it hasn't stopped Croatians celebrating what's hailed as a historic day in their young country's history.


What is it with pop stars and dodgy dictators? If it's not Mariah Carey and Beyonce performing for the Gaddafi family, it's Sting singing for the president of Uzbekhistan. Now Jennifer Lopez has joined the ranks of Artists Who Should Have Known Better, by putting on a birthday concert for the controversial leader of Turkmenistan. 

J-Lo has since apologized for wishing alleged human rights abuser Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow a "Happy Birthday, Mr President" — but critics say the donation of the hefty fee it presumably earned her would go a little further. Or perhaps she could, y'know, stop accepting millions of dollars to perform for questionable audiences in the first place. Someone fire that woman's agent already.