Everyone’s on edge. France was shaken last night when a gunman wielding an automatic rifle opened fire on a police van in central Paris. One officer was killed and two seriously injured, while the gunman, who has been identified as Karim Cheurfi, was fatally shot trying to flee. President François Hollande said the attack was “terrorist in nature” and ISIS has claimed responsibility. An investigation is underway. Voting begins Sunday in the first round of France’s critical presidential election, and some wonder if heightened fear could swing voters toward far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
The Presidential Daily Brief
He’s talking tough. While the U.S. considers its position on sanctions against Tehran, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters that Iran’s “ongoing alarming provocations” are destabilizing the region, supporting terrorism and undermining American interests in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon. He also declared Obama’s landmark nuclear agreement with Iran a failure, despite his own State Department announcement, just hours before, that Tehran has been complying with the terms. Tillerson stopped just short of suggesting that the White House had any plans to walk away from the nuclear deal.
The “mother of marches” could birth a revolution. Massive anti-government demonstrations throughout Caracas and other cities turned bloody Wednesday, leaving at least two students and one national guard sergeant dead. It was the largest protest yet against leftist president Nicolas Maduro, who has been blamed by opponents for plunging Venezuela’s oil-rich economy into the devastating crisis currently gripping the nation. While Maduro says the demonstrations are a cover for a coup to end socialism, his detractors are calling for new elections, accusing him of sliding the country toward dictatorship.
Who’ll come out on top? While British MPs face their first day of campaigning for the surprise June 8 snap election, the European Commission continues to “disconnect” British groups from multibillion-euro contracts — a reminder that Brexit negotiations are proceeding, despite the rushed vote. Meanwhile, some hoping to stop Brexit altogether by voting for the pro-Europe Liberal Democrats are likely to be stymied by the healthy Conservative lead in polls, while the struggling Labour Party boasted, “We don’t play their game,” promising to claw back a win.
Well, look who’s creating jobs. Sweden-based, Chinese-owned carmaker Volvo has announced plans to open a South Carolina factory that will employ 4,000 and export cars to China and Europe beginning next year. Volvo’s the only Chinese-owned manufacturer that currently produces cars in China for export to the U.S., leaving it vulnerable to President Donald Trump’s threatened trade tariffs. CEO Hakan Samuelsson said specifically that the plant is aimed at rewriting the popular political narrative that China is destroying American jobs.
Know This: The latest polls suggest France’s scandal-hit right-wing presidential candidate François Fillon is back in contention. Exxon Mobil Corp, whose former CEO is now Secretary of State, has applied to the U.S. Treasury for a waiver over a Russian oil venture. And Australia has overhauled its immigration process, with harder tests on citizenship, such as the ability to demonstrate “Australian values.”
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“They did it because we persisted.” So said the attorney for one of the women making sexual harassment complaints about the Fox News host, who was fired yesterday. The decision to drop the longtime anchor of one of the conservative network’s flagship programs came after what Fox described as “a thorough and careful review.” The network previously paid $13 million to settle five other women’s claims. O’Reilly, currently vacationing in Italy, called the decision “tremendously disheartening” and maintained that the claims are unfounded. Tucker Carlson has been tapped to replace him.
Can they hear you now? A new class-action lawsuit filed against Bose claims the audio giant has been using its app and wireless headphones to collect and sell information about customer listening habits, breaking several federal and state laws. The lawsuit, potentially worth $5 million, is seeking an injunction against data collection, asserting that one’s listening habits are private. Already this year manufacturers of TVs and sex toys have had to pay millions in lawsuits over unlawful collection of customer data, a trend privacy activists hope to continue.
Every career path hits some bumps. As President Trump’s ”America First” agenda impacts the State Department with budget cuts and hiring freezes, this year’s crop of grad students may be reassessing their options. Just 20 percent of one D.C. program’s international affairs graduates now land in the public sector, and experts say Trump is cementing a trend of students heading away from government work. As for foreign scholars, it may be a blessing for their home countries — often blighted by “brain drain” — as highly trained graduates return home.
We’re easy prey. In the 1890s, two Kenyan lions became infamous for their unusual man-eating ways, killing dozens before being shot and eventually inspiring 1996 film The Ghost and the Darkness. While many theorized that they turned to eating humans because their preferred prey was too scarce, a new study of the lions’ teeth suggests they may have changed their diet due to dental disease and injury: People are slower and softer. Researchers say this underscores the importance of preserving specimens until mystery-solving testing can sink its teeth in.
His death only brings more uncertainty. After former New England Patriots tight end and convicted murderer Hernandez was found hanged in his prison cell, his agent tweeted, “Absolutely no chance he took his own life.” Hernandez’ family is now reportedly requesting an investigation into the death. While authorities say the details clearly point to suicide — Hernandez, who reportedly had “John 3:16” scrawled on his forehead when he died, had attempted to block his cell door from the inside — the family’s lawyer says he’ll mount his own investigation.