1) France’s far-right National Front party could not sustain its election gains in the second round of voting yesterday. The National Front did not win a single seat after other parties sacrificed representatives to block the far-right party from winning in any of the 13 regions. The second round of voting also saw an unprecedented surge in voter turnout for the second round, securing the victory for France’s conservative Republicans.
1) Venezuela held parliamentary elections over the weekend and the opposition coalition delivered a huge loss to President Nicolás Maduro’s Socialist party. Marudo has followed in deceased President Hugo Chavez’s footsteps, but has not maintained the same popular support. It will be the first loss in 16 years. The opposition has secured 99 out of 167 seats. But 22 seats are still undecided. If the opposition wins 112 seats they will have a super majority. The elections faced issues including voter intimidation, but the opposition still won the majority. The President may incite more aggressive measures to keep power after his loss.
1) A leaked UN report revealed that France is investigating peacekeeping soldiers it sent to the Central African Republic (CAR) who were accused of raping children. The French government learned of the allegations in July of 2014. The report states at least ten victims as young as eight were sexually abused in exchange for food and money at a center for displaced people. The humanitarian crisis in CAR has been on-going since 2012 due to a clash between armed groups and related violence.
1) France authorities announced they thwarted a planned terrorist attack that would have taken place in Paris this past Sunday and focused French churches. They have arrested a 24-year-old man who had weapons, ammunition and clears plans to carry out an attack. Few details about the man in custody have been released so far, but France has been on a high terror alert since January.
1) Yesterday, gunmen attacked a satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, in France. 12 were killed. One of three suspects has turned himself in to the police. Two men are still being hunted in Paris. The attack appears to be motivated by Muslim extremism. Support for freedom of the press has poured out across the world plus massive rallies in France.
1) After a string of (terrorism related) attacks in France in that three days, the government is deploying troops to reinforce security personnel across the country.
2) Princess Cristina of Spain has been indicted on tax fraud charges. The royalty of Spain has been dealing with multiple financial scandals.
1) Sweden has called a snap election after its left-leaning government was unable to pass a budget due to opposition from the far right Swedish Democrat party. The current government has only held power since September.
1) Breaking news this morning on Iraq. The U.S. is now providing weapons to the Kurds who managed to force ISIS into retreat yesterday after American airstrikes. Also, Prime Minister Maliki has sent troops into Baghdad as a show of force while Iraq’s highest court ruled that Maliki would stay PM as his party has the largest bloc in the new parliament.