Obama looks to harness JFK magic on Berlin visit

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Barack Obama will walk in John F. Kennedy’s footsteps this week on his first visit to Berlin as US president, but encounter a more powerful and sceptical Germany in talks on trade and secret surveillance practices. Observers say Obama has cultivated an effective if “workmanlike” relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe’s most influential leader, mirroring a sobering of transatlantic ties since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Obama, who dazzled a crowd of 200,000 people with an open-air speech in 2008 in the centre of the capital while still a candidate, will face more modest expectations this time round on his arrival late Tuesday for a 24-hour stay.