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
They know exactly where he is. But while Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the U.S. is making the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a priority, it’s more complicated than simply going to the Ecuadorian embassy in London and grabbing him. President Donald Trump once said, “I love Wikileaks!” — but now the Justice Department’s reportedly preparing charges against Assange for his role in leaking government documents. Assange is legally untouchable inside the embassy, however, and newly elected Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has said he won’t submit to extradition requests.
His name was Ledell Lee. The 51-year-old convicted murderer was the first of eight prisoners Arkansas had been hoping to execute before its lethal injection drugs expire April 30. The courts have blocked other executions this week, and Lee’s lawyers continued appeals yesterday. But after taking holy communion as his last meal, Lee was injected with three drugs — including vecuronium bromide, which manufacturer McKesson Corporation claims was bought under false pretenses — and died at 11:56 p.m. Two more prisoners are set to be killed Monday.
Maybe it was all about the money. German police have arrested and charged a 28-year-old Russian-German man with attempted murder, saying they believe he was behind the April 11 bombing attack on the Borussia Dortmund soccer team’s bus. They say clues near the scene that pointed to terrorist motives may have been an attempt to mislead investigators. Immediately before the attack, the suspect reportedly took out a loan and bought “put options” that meant he would have profited had the team’s stock price fallen.
Know This: Germany’s extreme-right AfD party is said to be veering even further toward open xenophobia after its leader, Frauke Petry, announced she won’t be leading the party ticket in this year’s elections. Faced with mass protests, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has launched an investigation into a mobile phone company he claims fomented calls for regime change. And startup Juicero is offering refunds for its $400 Wi-Fi enabled machine after it was roundly mocked on social media.
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Some say they’re sending a message. All eyes have been on the Hermit Kingdom the past few weeks as it played a game of chicken with missile tests. But U.S. satellites scrutinizing North Korea’s main Punggye-ri nuclear facility found something else: a game of volleyball being played. Some North Korea analysts claim it indicates a pause in testing, while others think it’s sending a message that they know they’re being watched. Still others, however, say it doesn’t mean anything other than that “people are there and they are bored.”
It’s literally the cost of living. When Martin Shkreli increased the price of an AIDS drug from $13.50 to $750 there was uproar — yet little was done to address America’s outsized drug prices. Despite many promises, the Trump administration has yet to make a significant policy move. Options like importing medications or letting Medicare negotiate with the pharmaceutical industry have skeptics and supporters, while some hope President Trump will invoke eminent domain to create generic drugs. First, though, he’ll have to stand up to the powerful pharmaceutical lobby.
They’re going to pot. A CBS News poll has found that 61 percent of Americans support the legalization of recreational marijuana, with half of respondents saying they’ve tried the drug. The new high is a 5-point increase from 2016 and a huge jump from only 27 percent approval in 1979. It also revealed a generation gap, with respondents over 65 being the most averse. Federal laws may not lighten up under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, however: He’s opposed to legalization, saying it minimizes the “very real danger” of marijuana.
Move over, baby giraffe. SeaWorld has announced 25-year-old killer whale Takara has given birth to a healthy, still-unnamed calf. Trainers decided against a live stream of the happy event at the San Antonio, Texas, facility, but have since released footage of the birth. The baby, whose gender is still unknown, is the last calf to be born in captivity at SeaWorld: Takara was already pregnant when the company halted its controversial breeding program in March 2016. SeaWorld plans to end its killer whale shows by 2019.
Does his gray matter matter? After the former New England Patriots player was found hanged by a bedsheet in his prison cell while serving a sentence of life without parole, his family decided his brain should be studied at Boston University to determine if he had the degenerative brain condition Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Symptoms of CTE were present in the brains of 90 out of 94 NFL players previously studied. Family lawyer Jose Baez told reporters the medical examiner was illegally withholding Hernandez’s brain, but a later statement indicated it was eventually released.