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1. French election
French voters elected centrist Emmanuel Macron as the country’s next president, sending a strong pushback against the wave of populism sweeping Europe and the US. Macron won 66% of the vote against far-right rival Marine Le Pen.
This was also a rejection of France’s mainstream political parties. Macron — who had never held elected office before and who will be France’s youngest leader since Napoleon — eschewed the country’s traditional Socialist and Republican political groups and fought for the presidency under the banner of his own self-built party.
So what does his election mean for the rest of us? The EU is breathing a big sigh of relief, but we’ll have to wait and see how well Macron works with President Trump. The two have differing world views, to say the least.
2. Chibok schoolgirls
Eighty-two Chibok schoolgirls are finally free after being kidnapped by Boko Haram three years ago. They were released over the weekend in a swap between the Nigerian government and the terrorist group. In exchange for the girls’ release, the government freed five Boko Haram commanders. The girls are in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, where they will meet the country’s President.
This group of girls were among the 276 schoolgirls snatched by Boko Haram fighters in April 2014. The mass kidnapping sparked worldwide outrage and a social media movement — #BringBackOurGirls. More than 100 of those girls are still missing.
When it comes to politics, Barack Obama’s pretty much been on mute since leaving office. But he spoke up in Boston this weekend while accepting the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. In a speech, he tried to rally the troops to help save his health care law. The former President urged lawmakers to have the courage to “champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm.” Meanwhile, the heat is already on for some GOP House members who voted for the new health care bill. A political ratings system adjusted midterm election probabilities following the health care vote — and 20 GOP “yea” voters saw their districts start to lean a little more left.
4. North Korea
As if tensions between the two countries weren’t high enough, North Korea said this weekend it had detained another American. Kim Hak-song is thought to be the fourth American in North Korean custody and the second from the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. Kim’s alleged crime is a familiar charge from the North Koreans — suspicion of “hostile acts” against the regime. Kim was in a rural area doing agricultural work with the university’s farm.
Texas is a very conservative state when it comes to politics, and it’s staying true to form with one new law and a new bill. The new law, signed over the weekend by Gov. Greg Abbott, bans sanctuary cities in the Lone Star State. The law sets criminal and civil penalties for local governments and law enforcement agencies that don’t comply with immigration laws. Fines against local governments could hit up to $25,500 a day.
Additionally, state lawmakers are set to vote on a bill today that would let faith-based adoption agencies turn away prospective parents if the agencies found their religious views unacceptable. Critics call that blatant discrimination; supporters say the bill only protects the religious liberty of the adoption agencies.
People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.
Round and round
Don’t know what a fidget spinner is? Don’t worry, if you have kids they already know (and they know why schools are trying to ban them).
There’s a new “Justin Trudeau” in Canada. He’s not a politician (yet), but rather the newborn son of Syrian refugees who wanted to thank the Prime Minister.
That’s so Florida
An Air Force space plane woke up snoozing residents on Florida’s space coast with a sonic boom. Just another morning in the Sunshine State!
When a Vancouver restaurant offered up a free sandwich for Liam Neeson, the actor put his “very particular set of skills” to good use.
And the winner is …
The MTV Movie and TV Awards aren’t really about the winners. But if you do care who won, here’s the list.
What’s for lunch
Here’s what’s happening later
Ex-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates will finally get to testify before a Senate panel this afternoon. She’ll probably say that she warned the White House about former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s connections to Russia weeks before he was fired.
The White House won’t like that because it contradicts several claims they’ve made on the issue.
And finally …
Hey, trying to sleep here!
A deaf cat gets kind of ticked off because he can’t figure out who woke him up from a nap. But all’s forgiven when he realizes it was just his human. (Click to view)