1. Tension

    Merkel and Putin Meet, Awkwardly

    Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) talks to German Chancellor Angela Merkel during their joint press conference in Moscow on November 16, 2012.  Angela Merkel meets Vladimir Putin with the two sides seeking to soothe tensions over Berlin's recent criticism of the Russian record on rights.  AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV        (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

    Alexander Nemenov, AFP / Getty Images

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday in an encounter that demonstrated how uncomfortable the alliance between the two countries has become. Merkel came ready to question Putin on his human-rights record since reclaiming the presidency in May. Upon being asked about the sentencing of the band Pussy Riot to two years in a labor camp, Putin parried the question, resulting in an awkward silence. Although Merkel advised Putin not to take every offense so seriously, it is doubtful that her remarks will have any effect. How long will the Russia-Germany alliance last?

    Read it at The New York Times