Photo: Pool/Getty

President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have exchanged sharp words ahead of their tête-à-tête today at the NATO summit in Brussels.

The big picture: Merkel is notoriously more tight-lipped than Trump, but his comments in his first NATO meeting that Germany is "totally controlled by Russia" for its energy deal struck a chord with the chancellor. Merkel, who grew up under East Germany's Soviet occupation, hit back at Trump Wednesday, and said that she "experienced the Soviet occupation ... it is good that we are independent today."

Why it matters: Trump and Merkel's relationship has been fraught for months, and Trump has repeatedly targeted Germany in his complaints that NATO members don't contribute enough to defense spending. Their private meeting today will be further complicated by these attacks, which seem to be increasingly personal and could negatively impact relations between two of the world's biggest economies.

Be smart: How to make sense of NATO members' defense spending.

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Deadly Hurricane Zeta lashes Alabama after Louisiana landfall

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta has killed at least one person after a downed power line electrocuted a 55-year-old in Louisiana as the storm moved into Alabama overnight.

What's happening: After "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi," it began lashing Alabama late Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

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Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else in the world has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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