C’est l’heure. Polls have closed in the first round of France’s presidential election, which will determine the two finalists who proceed to the May 7 runoff. Projected results indicate that centrist Emmanuel Macron, with 23.7 percent of the vote and far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen, with 21.7 percent, will continue to the second round, which Macron is projected to win by a wide margin. Considered a critical election for the future of Europe, it will pit the pro-business and pro-Europe Macron against the scion of a far-right dynasty.
Bosch's Daily Brief
It ain’t rocket science. Thousands of scientists around the world demonstrated yesterday in the first-ever March for Science against what they say is an assault on facts and reason. Events were held in 600 cities — the biggest took place in Washington, D.C. — and focused on promoting planet-saving action. Dr. Jonathan Foley, executive director of the California Academy of Sciences, told crowds gathered in the U.S. capital that scientific research was being irrationally questioned and that targeting science means that “some people will suffer, some could even die.”
The people have spoken. A committee in Ireland established to advise on the country’s strict abortion laws has voted to recommend the Irish government legalize abortion “without restrictions,” changing the constitution’s eighth amendment, which gives mothers and fetuses equal human rights. The Citizen’s Assembly — 99 randomly selected members of the public chaired by a Supreme Court justice — voted 87 percent in favor of changing the constitution. The country currently only allows abortions for women whose lives are at risk. Constitutional change would require a referendum.
President Trump dumped it long ago. But that doesn’t mean the pan-Asian trade deal brokered by the Obama administration won’t happen: It just might happen without the U.S. The TPP aims to connect 11 Pacific nations, challenging the supremacy of the China-centric Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Australia’s pushed to keep the pact alive, though its viability isn’t clear. Japan says it’ll start talks on the trade deal next month, while expressing concerns that signing a bilateral agreement with the U.S. could push Japan to import more American goods.
Know This: An American citizen has been detained in North Korea while trying to leave the country, only the third such case. Thousands marched in silence in Venezuela to honor 20 people killed in anti-government protests over the last few weeks. And Hawaiian Sen. Brian Schatz has called out Attorney General Jeff Sessions for dismissively describing a Hawaii-based federal judge who ruled against President Donald Trump’s travel ban as just “a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific.”
Read This: With Liberia’s education system in crisis, the government is cautiously turning to educational startups to manage some schools — but many worry that could take education back to Victorian-style rote learning.
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Its mission is coming to an end. After 20 years in space and 13 years in Saturn’s system, NASA’s intrepid Cassini spacecraft will begin its grand finale Sunday before plummeting into the planet on Sept. 15. Since its 1997 launch, the craft has beamed a steady supply of detailed data and imagery from the ringed planet’s system some 870 million miles away, providing information for more than 3,000 scientific reports. Cassini’s fans and 1.2 million Twitter followers can now watch its swan song of 22 spectacular dives through Saturn’s rings.
Keep on streamin’ in the free world. Young, 71, launched unsuccessful audio project Pono in 2014 — but has now revived that idea with Xstream, a service which adapts to users’ changing broadband capacities to provide the best possible audio quality. Young’s had a rocky relationship with streaming: Complaining of low-quality audio, he pulled his catalog from major services in 2015, but returned in 2016. Now Xstream will have to compete not only with Apple, Spotify and Google, but with Tidal, which also aims to provide high-fidelity sound.
What was that about getting America back to work? According to recent analysis by the Bipartisan Policy Center, the number of workdays Congress is spending in Washington has been trending downward for decades, declining 10 percent over the most recent 10-year span. While not necessarily a bad thing — recess does not mean playtime — actual legislation can only happen in the nation’s capital. Now lawmakers have just four days to debate and clear 12 separate bills or else see another mini government shutdown … and calls for a change are growing louder.
“Rest In [peace] serenely now … too soon.” So tweeted Henry Winkler, who starred as the Fonz alongside Moran on the decade-long series that began in 1974. Moran, a teenager when she joined the cast, had reportedly had some bad breaks recently after a career that included stints on The Love Boat, Celebrity Fit Club and Happy Days spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi. Her cause of death is still unknown, but Moran’s seen an outpouring of condolences and love from her former costars and friends in Hollywood.
Cycling fans are in mourning. Scarponi, 37, was hit by a van Saturday during a training ride near his home in eastern Italy — a tragedy Team Astana is calling “too big to be written.” He was known for taking rides with his pet macaw and for spontaneous mid-race singing. Scarponi, who was expected to lead his team at the 2017 Giro, leaves behind a wife and twin sons. His team, while devastated, will race today in Belgium after observing a minute of silence for their fallen colleague.