Third time’s the charm. After twice collapsing from lack of support, a revised AHCA has been passed by the House of Representatives. The updated bill, which overhauls the current subsidy-based system, removes protections for those with pre-existing conditions but promises $8 billion to help cover those costs. The bill passed by a narrow margin of 217-213, marking President Donald Trump’s first major legislative victory — however, the bill still needs to face the Senate, where it’s likely to undergo amendments as many senators have expressed concerns that it’s too harsh in its current iteration.
The Presidential Daily Brief
This time it’s personal. Ahead of France’s presidential runoff vote on Sunday, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron traded insults and barbs in a final, ill-tempered debate. Polls suggest Macron won the matchup, which saw Le Pen call the former economy minister an arrogant “smirking banker,” while Macron responded that Le Pen was a “hate-filled” liar. The lengthy debate, while heated, isn’t expected to swing enough votes to change Macron’s substantial lead, despite a bloc of left-wing voters vowing to abstain.
Sometimes you don’t want to be first. Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has announced he’ll solve Puerto Rico’s debt crisis by taking it to federal bankruptcy court, a first for any U.S. state or territory. While Puerto Rico isn’t eligible to use Chapter 9, as local governments do, it’s filing for bankruptcy-like restructuring of its $123 billion in debt and pension obligations under Title III of last year’s PROMESA law, which recognizes the territory’s partial sovereignty. If this works, some on-the-edge states like Illinois might take a similar route in the future.
Adios, Silicon Valley. With a clampdown on H1-B skilled worker visas roiling tech firms around the world, some are taking drastic steps — like relocating. Many American tech services companies — and foreign enterprises with U.S. offices — say they’re doubling down on operations in Mexico. Meanwhile, south-of-the-border states like Jalisco are moving quickly to lure companies southward with promises of quick work visas, hoping President Trump’s crackdown on immigration may have inadvertently caused a gold rush for Mexican workers.
Know This: President Trump’s expected to back an order allowing religious groups to be more involved in U.S. politics. After a British paper briefly reported the death of Prince Philip, Buckingham Palace assured the public that there’s no cause for alarm — though he’ll be retiring from public engagements later this year. And Beijing’s been inundated with a massive dust storm that’s led authorities to advise residents to remain indoors.
Remember This Number: 150 years. That’s the potential jail sentence that prominent Thai human rights lawyer Prawet Prapanukul faces if he’s convicted of the 10 charges of insulting the royal family that have been bought against him.
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Somebody has to keep watch. After a slew of high-profile violent broadcasts hit news feeds last month, Facebook has announced they’re increasing video-monitoring staff by two-thirds. Facebook Live has been widely promoted, but after a number of deaths and shootings were broadcast, sometimes remaining online for hours before being removed, CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he wants to “do better for our community.” As revealed in Facebook’s first quarter earnings, which reported over $8 billion in revenue, that community now comprises a quarter of the world’s population.
It’s no laughing matter. Code Pink activist Desiree Fairooz, 61, was found guilty of “disorderly or disruptive conduct” after she was arrested for laughing during Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearings in January. Some of the jurors reportedly said that while Fairooz shouldn’t have been arrested for laughing, she was convicted for loudly objecting to being arrested. Prosecutors maintained throughout the case that laughter during the hearing was enough to warrant criminal charges. Fairooz, who says she’s “disappointed” by the verdict, is due back in court in June.
They can’t say where it hurts. Using electrodes placed near the soft spots at the tops of babies’ heads, researchers say they’ve been able to quantify infants’ pain. In controlled testing, the Cz electrode picked up a spike between 400 and 700 milliseconds after each painful event, but it didn’t register responses to things like nonpainful touches or loud noises. It’s not foolproof — not all babies’ brains respond to pain the same way — but it’s an improvement from relying on crying, grimacing and wiggling, which aren’t always indicators of distress.
“Hip-hop is revolution.” That’s why Hàng Lâm Trang Anh, a young phenom from Ho Chi Minh City, is one of a growing number of Vietnamese women who are finding their voice, and success, in rap. Though the country’s known for sickly-sweet ballads, the angry, staccato flows of hip-hop allow these women to get political, with lyrics railing against gender discrimination and wage inequality. So far they’ve avoided Vietnam’s censors — though their massive, fanatical social media followings may make them increasingly difficult to ignore.
Nobody should have a leg up. Soccer’s European governing body sees “growing evidence” that the current setup for nail-biting penalty shoot-outs heavily favors the team that kicks first. Today’s “ABAB” format sees the same team make the first kick in each round, leaving their opponents under constant pressure to catch up. Instead, the UEFA will test an “ABBA” format, like a tennis tiebreaker, where sides alternate rounds going first. It debuts at the men’s and women’s European U-17 Championships this month, with an eye to future competitions.