Setback for Merkel, Obama doctrine and anti-Zika bugs

The German chancellor’s CDU party has failed to win back power in former bastions

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Angela Merkel has suffered a big setback in regional elections seen as a referendum on her refugee policies. The German chancellor's party failed to win back power in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, two former bastions, and was struggling to form a government in Saxony-Anhalt. The anti-immigration Alternative für Deutschland party looked set to score the biggest electoral success for the populist right since the second world war.

The chancellor's most important critic, Bavarian conservative leader Horst Seehofer, called the result a "tectonic shift" in Germany's political landscape. His intervention signals that the pressure on Ms Merkel will increase as she tries to rally support for her open-doors refugee policy in advance of a key EU-Turkey migration summit later this week. (FT)

In the news

Trump breaks with Israel orthodoxy Primaries are being held tomorrow in Florida and Ohio — two of the states with the highest number of Jewish voters. As Donald Trump tries to nail down the Republican nomination, he is encountering opposition from some American Jews over comments on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and his behaviour at campaign events. A significant majority of Israelis polled recently said they would prefer Hillary Clinton over Mr Trump as president. (FT, Jerusalem Post)

Ankara blast kills 37 The death toll from Sunday’s car bomb attack on the city’s main transport hub has climbed to 37. It was the second major attack in Turkey’s capital in less than a month. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey had become a target in an unstable region, and pledged success in the fight against terrorism. (FT)

Nadal to sue over doping slur Rafael Nadal says he plans to sue a French politician who suggested his seven-month absence in 2012 was “probably due to a positive doping test”. The tennis star was referring to comments by Roselyne Bachelot, a former health minister. "I am tired about these things. I let it go a few times in the past. Not any more," said Mr Nadal. (BBC)

Anti-Zika mosquito trial approved UK biotech firm Oxitech's genetically modified mosquitoes have been approved for release by the US FDA. The modified male mosquitoes will be released in the Key Haven area in Florida, where it is hoped they will mate with wild females and pass on a gene that will render the offspring of the union unable to survive, and so halt the spread of mosquito-borne diseases such as the Zika virus. (Ars Technica)

US-China extradition battle looms The Chinese government has threatened to halt judicial co-operation with the US if a federal prosecutor does not agree to return one of Beijing’s most wanted men. (FT)

Hope for humanity In a sign that robots are at least one step away from taking over the world, Lee Se-dol beat Google’s AlphaGo computer in their fourth match of the Chinese game Go. The bad news? AlphaGo won the first three. (FT)

It's a big day for

Life on Mars? The first mission of the ExoMars programme will launch from Kazakhstan, travelling 48m miles in an attempt to answer the eternal question. (Wired)

Oil Opec publishes its monthly oil market report amid talk of an output freeze and a recent jump in prices. (Bloomberg)

Food for thought

The Obama doctrine An article in The Atlantic has caused ripples because of Barack Obama's frank discussion on foreign policy. In the UK, his criticism of David Cameron over Libya made most headlines. But the article is full of fascinating stuff on all sorts of subjects, says Gideon Rachman. He offers his selected highlights. (Atlantic, FT)

Email has made us passive aggressive Lucy Kellaway on how the medium has encouraged us to sulk and be falsely polite, sneaky and obstructive. “While email is ill-suited to overt rage, it is perfect for communicating hostility passively, without getting caught.” (FT)

Democracy's stress test Western democracy is going through an acute stress test, says Edward Luce. On both sides of the Atlantic, people have lost faith in public institutions. They are also losing trust in their neighbours. We can no longer be sure the centre will hold — or even that it deserves to. The most insidious trend is vanishing optimism about the future. (FT)

Unreliable science Between 51 per cent and 89 per cent of published papers are estimated to have been based on experiments whose results cannot be reproduced, most notably in the field of psychology. No one is accusing the writers of manipulating their results but some may have been tripped up by aspects of academic science that inadvertently encourage bias. (Quartz)

Decommissioning Fukushima Five years after the meltdown, Japan is teaming up with the US and France to collect melted fuel from the crippled nuclear plant. (NAR)

Video of the day

Brazil protesters call for impeachment The FT’s Samantha Pearson talks to anti-government demonstrators who took to the streets on Sunday in one of Brazil’s biggest-ever protests.(FT)

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