Kim Darroch resignation, French top diplomat in Iran, Merkel shaking, Epstein French connection

Our panel of journalists discuss the big topics of the week, starting with the Mail on Sunday publishing leaked diplomatic cables by the UK ambassador to Washington. By Wednesday, Kim Darroch had thrown in the towel. It did not help that the president of the United States had just tweeted "The wacky Ambassador that the U.K. foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy".


The UK's got the special relationship, it's also got strong bilateral defence ties with France. Either way, steady nerves are needed in the Gulf these days where the Royal Navy's HMS Montrose says it stood down three unmarked Iranian ships earlier this week. The Foreign Office claims they were trying to block a UK oil tanker. Tehran dismisses the claim. Tehran is still fuming over the interception off Gibraltar last week of an Iranian tanker suspected of trying to break the oil embargo on Syria.

In Europe, the French Senate elected to shrug the threat of US tariffs and approve a bill from the lower house that slaps a three percent tax on revenue earned on French soil by digital giants. It’s a so-called GAFA tax - as in Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon.

Nothing's wrong, insists the German government. But just to make sure nothing goes wrong, protocol preferred to have Angela Merkel sit at a ceremony on Thursday welcoming her new Danish counterpart, this after Merkel was seen trembling for the third time in under a month during a public function, this time in the company of the Finnish prime minister in Berlin.

Back to the US, he’s a wealthy financier who's hobnobbed with US presidents current and former. The case of Jeffrey Epstein - who this week was accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls, with perhaps more to come – has now forced the resignation of Trump’s labour secretary, Alex Acosta. The case has a French connection, too - we explain all.

Produced by Alessandro XENOS, Juliette LAURAIN and Ingri BERGO

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning