Who said coalition governments were here to stay? Britons who believed pre-election opinion polls have awoken to a shock: Not only did Conservatives win yesterday’s national election, but they’re forecasted to nab a whopping 329 seats, outpacing projections by nearly 40 seats and securing a slim majority. Ed Miliband’s Labour party won just 234 seats, prompting him to resign after admitting surprise at the results, with the Liberal Democrats’ Nick Clegg also stepping down. Official results are pending, but it looks like Cameron gets to lead … this time, all by himself.
The Presidential Daily Brief
It was supposed to be a happy outing. Spouses and kids joined the three-day tour of a scenic region timed to kick off a tourism initiative. Instead, one of the helicopters crashed into an empty school during landing, and claimed the lives of the Norwegian and Indonesian ambassadors as well as the wives of the Indonesian and Malaysian ambassadors, while the Dutch and Polish ambassadors were injured. The Taliban have claimed credit, but many think this will be shown to be just an unfortunate accident.
Were their actions unconstitutional? The U.S. Justice Department — at the mayor’s behest — has agreed to look into whether there’s bigger trouble than just the Freddie Gray case brewing at the Baltimore Police Department. Six officers face criminal charges over Gray’s death — though they’ve all filed motions to have the charges dropped — and the pending probe will see whether a “pattern and practice” of unconstitutional policing plagues the city. Its results could demand changes, but Baltimore’s police commissioner says he welcomes “anything it takes” to regain people’s trust.
Call it an organic approach. American officials say 90 Syrians have begun receiving instruction in an undisclosed location in Jordan as part of a plan to train and equip thousands of troops. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the U.S. would support the newly trained fighters with surveillance or airstrikes once they return to the front line. So far only 400 Syrians have been vetted out of 3,750 volunteers, but the U.S. aims to bring their numbers up to 15,000 within the next few years.
Who will blink first? The deadline is looming … just like last time. And the time before. Eurozone bankers still haven’t approved a new bailout, and unless Athens buckles down for next Monday’s meeting in Brussels, the loans may never come. Greece somehow keeps cobbling together installments, staving off disaster — just as they promise to do with Tuesday’s $843 million IMF payment. But they’ll need to adopt painful economic reforms by June 30, or they may end up with tears in their eyes.
There was just one hold out. After three weeks of discussion, the jury trying Pedro Hernandez for the murder of a 6-year-old boy who went missing in New York City in 1979 came to a standstill with just one member of the jury still unconvinced of the man’s guilt. Hernandez confessed to the crime, but it’s not clear if he was coerced by police — and while D.A. Cyrus R. Vance Jr. has said he thinks Hernandez is guilty, it’s doubtful that he’ll push for the expense of a new trial.
Europe marks 70th anniversary of World War II’s end. (The Guardian)
Popular personality Bill Simmons will leave ESPN. (USAT)
Canada releases Guantanamo Bay detainee on bail. (CBC)
Unmanned Russian cargo spacecraft ‘ceased to exist.’ (CNN)
Big banks agree to wipe forgiven debts from credit reports. (NYT)
It’s hard to see any beauty regimen containing toxic levels of mercury, cortisone or hydroquinone in a positive light. Yet these ingredients — along with increased risk of skin cancer, hypertension and diabetes — are found in skin-lightening creams that have grown hugely popular in Africa. They’re illegal in Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and Gambia already, but bans have proven ineffective due to under-the-counter trade. Instead, experts say, countries should focus on dampening demand with campaigns to remind women that dark skin is beautiful.
Take a swipe … and land someone’s sweetheart. A new study says 42 percent of Tinder users are probably in relationships — and 30 percent of them are married. The app’s execs have lashed out in defense, calling the British study’s 681-person sample too small and claiming user demographics show it to be “fundamentally flawed.” Besides, says CEO Sean Rad, the app’s not just for dating, it’s for “social discovery.” Married users may just be looking for friends, but those in search of true love should beware.
It’s the ultimate shot in the arm. Measles, the highly contagious virus that causes fever, rashes and sometimes even death, also impairs the body’s response to other diseases by causing “immune amnesia” in white blood cells. New research into data from the early days of mass measles vaccinations in the 1960s found that resistance to other illnesses, like tuberculosis, pneumonia and meningitis, improved for two to three years after immunization. So science is again suggesting that we take a jab … at staying healthy.
She’s standing up for feminists everywhere. Already on a hot streak with her Peabody-winning Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer, the comedian makes the leap to premium with a Chris Rock-directed special to be taped live at Harlem’s Apollo Theater in May. She’ll join Ellen DeGeneres, Louis C.K. and Rock himself on HBO’s roster of big names — a huge step for Schumer, better known for brilliant sketches than stand-up, and it shows how she’s swayed the verdict for women in her industry.
Babe Ruth should watch his back. Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez hit a blast in the third inning against the Orioles yesterday to nab fourth place on the all-time HR list. It was his seventh homer since his yearlong doping suspension, and fans gave the controversial DH a curtain call. Management wasn’t impressed enough to pay out his contractual “milestone” bonus, and A-Rod — who is now just 53 homers away from Ruth’s record — is likely to file a grievance for the $6 million.