A man on a train in America has live-tweeted sensitive remarks he overheard made by former US spy chief Michael Hayden.
Angela Merkel's Conservative party is just seats short of an absolute majority, but her Liberal coalition partners have been destroyed.
Was anyone surprised at the running battles on the streets of Madrid last night in the wake of their apocalyptic unemployment figures?
A journalist from German broadcaster Deutsche Welle says Angela Merkel has broken her pelvis in a skiiing accident.
GroKo is short for "grosse Koalition", a grand coaliton of the two large camps from centre-left and centre-right within German politics.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been injured while skiing and has cancelled several meetings, a spokesman told news agency AFP.
The United Nations has received assurances from the US Government that its communications networks "are not and will not be monitored" by American intelligence agencies, it said.
But chief UN spokesman Martin Nesirky would not comment on whether the world body had been monitored in the past, as reported recently by the German magazine Der Spiegel.
Mr Nesirky said the UN had been in contact with Washington about the reports that surfaced two months ago and has received a guarantee from the US of no current or future eavesdropping.
The National Security Agency, responsible for electronic eavesdropping for the US, has been forced to deny reports that it spied on the Vatican, and released a statement saying an Italian media report that it had done so was "not true."
In a statement, the NSA said:
"TheNational Security Agency does not target the Vatican. Assertions that NSA hastargeted the Vatican, published in Italy's Panorama magazine, are not true."
The Holy See said it had no knowledge of any such activity.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been voted the world's most powerful leader, pushing US counterpart Barack Obama to second place, according to Forbes magazine.
In third place is Xi Jinping, the general secretary of the Communist Party of China, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel comes third and UK Prime Minister David Cameron is some way behind in 11th.
Women make up only 12 per cent of people on the 'most powerful' list. Among them are Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff (no.20) and the de facto head of India, Sonia Ghandi (no. 21).
Billionaires Warren Buffett (no. 13) and Michael Bloomberg (no. 29) warranted special mention because of their philanthropic work, said Forbes.
Newcomers to the list include Pope Francis (no. 4) and Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-Hee (no. 41).
The list of global power-brokers is voted for by Forbes editors, who pick 72 leaders - one for every 100 million people on Earth - based on influence and wealth.
The director of the National Security Agency (NSA) has denied claims that the US collected phone records from European citizens.
General Keith Alexander told a House of Representatives intelligence committee that the reports were "false" and swept up as part of a Nato program to protect the alliance's member states and military operations.
He disputed that the programme directly targeted European citizens, but did not offer specifics.
The testimony follows weeks of allegations that the US spied on foreign leaders, diplomats and citizens of its closest allies.
The US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has said that foreign allies regularly conduct espionage activities against American leaders and intelligence services.
His comments came in response to a series of questions during a hearing before the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.
Mr Clapper also said spying on foreign leaders was a basic tenet of intelligence operations.
President Barack Obama is considering banning US intelligence collection on allied leaders, a senior Obama administration official has said.
Reports that eavesdropping included German Chancellor Angela Merkel have now extended to France, Italy, Spain and elsewhere.
The official said the US has made some individual changes in eavesdropping practices, but has not yet made across-the-broad policy changes such as ending intelligence collection aimed at allies.
Spain has opened a preliminary inquiry into allegations that it has been targeted by the US for surveillance, according to the country's prosecutor's office.
The inquiry will attempt to determine whether a crime was committed and whether Spain should consider opening a formal investigation.
On Monday, El Mundo newspaper claimed 60 million Spanish phone calls had been tracked by the Nation Security Agency in one month alone.
Spain has said it's unaware of any US spying and that it is confident Washington will provide a full explanation.
US President Barack Obama said he is the "final user" of all intelligence gathered by the National Security Agency (NSA), but declined to comment on allegations that he knew the agency had spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
President Obama said the White House gives the NSA "policy direction", but that "their capacities continue to develop and expand."
"The national security operations generally have one purpose and that is to make sure that the American people are safe," he said.
The President made the comments during an interview with Fusion, a cable network jointly owned by ABC and Univision.