President Emmanuel Macron will speak in the coming days with President Joe Biden in what will be their first contact since a major diplomatic crisis erupted between France and the United States over a submarine deal with Australia, an official said Sunday. The phone call is at the request of Biden, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said, adding that there was “shock” and “anger” at first. What the French now call a “grave crisis” erupted over the sudden, surprise end to a 2016 contract worth at least $66 billion between France and Australia to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff called on political parties to agree quickly on who should succeed her after next Sunday's election and avoid the kind of protracted coalition talks that followed the last vote four years ago. The likelihood of long coalition talks after the vote means Merkel will not be leaving office any time soon. "My wish is for a swift government formation," Helge Braun told Reuters, adding that even though the current government would continue to govern during looming coalition talks there were certain limitations over the scope of leadership.
Equipped with colorful costumes and rainbow flags, the crowd marched down the central streets of Kyiv, some carrying banners reading “Fight for right!” Participants announced eight demands for Ukrainian authorities, including legalization of civil partnerships for LGBT people and laws against LGBT hate crimes. Ukraine’s human rights ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova urged radical groups to refrain from violence.