Pro-EU Macron wins France’s presidency, Le Pen hopes dashed
PARIS (AP) — Ripping up France’s political map, French voters elected independent centrist Emmanuel Macron as the country’s youngest president Sunday, delivering a resounding victory to the unabashedly pro-European former investment banker and dashing the populist dream of far-right rival Marine Le Pen.
Macron, who had never run for office before, celebrated with thousands of jubilant, flag-waving supporters outside the Louvre Museum in Paris on Sunday night.
The European anthem “Ode to Joy” played as he strode out to address the swelling crowd.
“France has won!” he said. “Everyone said it was impossible. But they do not know France!”
Marine Le Pen, his far-right opponent in the runoff, quickly called the 39-year-old Macron to concede after voters rejected her “French-first” nationalism by a large margin. Le Pen’s performance punctured her hopes that the populist wave which swept Donald Trump into the White House and led Britain to vote to leave the EU would also carry her to France’s presidential Elysee Palace.
Analysis: Despite Le Pen’s loss, European populism lives on
PARIS (AP) — It’s a triple-whammy. The last six months have seen three European elections and three defeats for far-right populists. The tempting conclusion is that populism’s destructive ability to dismantle old worlds without having credible blueprints for building new ones has been contained for now — at least in western Europe.
In Austria, in the Netherlands and now in France, not only were there no cigars for Norbert Hofer, Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen, but they got, at best, no closer than sniffing distance to power. Hofer came nearest, with 46 percent of the vote for Austria’s presidency in December. Le Pen lost by a projected 30 percentage points in Sunday’s presidential runoff to Emmanuel Macron, an economically liberal, socially responsive middle-way pro-European.
European moderates and the political establishment can release the breath they’ve been holding. The populist contagion that convinced 52 percent of Britons last year that their future would be brighter outside the European Union and made working-class Americans believe that a reality TV star would champion their interests from the White House has been kept offshore, quarantined, away from the heart of mainland Europe.
But for how long?
Despite the electoral setbacks, populism is down but not out, still growing in strength and influence.
Texas governor signs ban on so-called ‘sanctuary cities’
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas pushed to the forefront of national debate over immigration Sunday night when Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a so-called “sanctuary cities” ban that lets police ask during routine stops whether someone is in the U.S. legally and threatens sheriffs with jail if they don’t cooperate with federal immigration agents.
The new Texas law was blasted by opponents as the nation’s toughest on immigrants since Arizona’s crackdown in 2010, disparagingly known as the “papers, please” provision. They are now vowing a court challenge in Texas similar to what unfolded in Arizona.
Every major police chief in Texas, which includes some of the largest cities in the U.S., opposed the measure that allows police to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they detain, a situation that can range from arrest for a crime to being stopped for a traffic violation.
It also requires police chiefs and sheriffs — under the threat of jail and removal of office — to comply with federal requests to hold criminal suspects for possible deportation. Republicans have a strong majority in the Legislature and shoved aside Democratic objections, even as President Donald Trump’s efforts to withhold federal funding for sanctuary cities have hit roadblocks in federal courts.
“Let’s face it, the reason why so many people come to America is because we are a nation of laws and Texas is doing its part to keep it that way,” Abbott said.
Obama urges Congress to show ‘courage’ on health care
BOSTON (AP) — Former President Barack Obama, in his first public comments about the ongoing debate over his signature health care plan, implored members of Congress on Sunday to demonstrate political courage even if it goes against their party’s positions.
Obama briefly returned to the spotlight as he accepted the annual John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award at JFK’s presidential library in Boston. The award is named for a 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Kennedy that profiled eight U.S. senators who risked their careers by taking principled though unpopular positions.
In his approximately 30-minute speech after accepting the award, Obama steered clear of partisan attacks and never mentioned his successor, President Donald Trump, who has often criticized the previous administration and has worked to undo many of Obama’s initiatives, including the Affordable Care Act.
The former president recalled members of Congress who voted to pass the ACA during his presidency, only to lose their seat in later elections.
“They had a chance to insure millions,” he said. “But this vote could also cost them their seats, perhaps end their political careers.”
Family sues Texas officer, department in 15-year-old’s death
DALLAS (AP) — The family of a black 15-year-old shot and killed by a white suburban Dallas police officer has sued the officer and his department, accusing the department of inadequately training the officer and ignoring warning signs that he was prone to erratic behavior.
Jordan Edwards’ funeral was Saturday, one week after he was shot dead in a vehicle leaving a house party in Balch Springs, Texas. According to the Edwards family’s lawyers, Officer Roy Oliver fired his rifle at the vehicle as it was driving away, piercing a passenger-side window and striking Edwards.
Oliver was fired last week and arrested on a murder charge.
The lawsuit, filed Friday, says police should have known Oliver had “exhibited a pattern of escalating encounters with the public,” including a prosecutor’s complaint about his aggressive behavior detailed in personnel records. The complaint said prosecutors had a hard time getting Oliver to attend a trial and used language vulgar enough that one prosecutor sent an intern out of the room. Oliver received a 16-hour suspension over the complaint.
But the lawsuit also blames Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber and the department for having “failed to provide adequate training to Oliver on appropriate methods and techniques to control situations similar to the one” that occurred on the night of April 29, when police were called to investigate underage drinking at a chaotic house party with dozens of teenagers.
Trump pushes Senate Republicans to act on health care bill
BRANCHBURG, N.J. (AP) — President Donald Trump urged Senate Republicans on Sunday to “not let the American people down,” as the contentious debate over overhauling the U.S. health care systems shifts to Congress’ upper chamber, where a vote is potentially weeks, if not months, away.
Some senators have already voiced displeasure with the health care bill that cleared the House last week, with Republicans providing all the “yes” votes in the 217-213 count. They cited concerns about potential higher costs for older people and those with pre-existing conditions, along with cuts to Medicaid.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a moderate Republican whose vote will be critical to getting a bill to Trump’s desk and who voiced similar concerns, said the Senate would not take up the House bill.
“The Senate is starting from scratch. We’re going to draft our bill, and I’m convinced we will take the time to do it right,” she said.
Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director, also said the version that gets to the president will likely differ from the House measure. Such a scenario would then force the House and Senate to work together to forge a compromise bill that both houses can support.
Nigeria leader meets Chibok girls, leaves for medical trip
ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari expressed joy Sunday night at meeting with the 82 Chibok schoolgirls newly freed from Boko Haram extremists — then jolted the country by announcing he was leaving for London immediately for medical checkups as fears for his health continue.
“We’ve always made it clear that we will do everything in our power to ensure the freedom & safe return of our daughters” and all captives of Boko Haram, Buhari said on his Twitter account.
Minutes later, the 74-year-old president startled Africa’s most populous nation with the news of his departure. Buhari, who has missed three straight weekly Cabinet meetings, spent a month and a half in London on medical leave earlier this year and said he’d never been as sick in his life. The exact nature of his illness remained unclear.
“There is no cause for worry” about this latest medical leave, a statement from his office said, adding that the length of Buhari’s stay in London will be determined by his doctors.
Photos released by the government showed the rail-thin president standing and addressing the Chibok schoolgirls at his official residence Sunday evening, a day after their release.
MTV kept its Movie & TV Awards irreverent but progressive
LOS ANGELES (AP) — MTV billed Sunday night’s Movie & TV Awards as the year’s biggest party, but this party also made a serious statement with its new policy of breaking down gender barriers in its new format, as men and women competed jointly in the acting categories.
The policy was put into practice by Asia Kate Dillion when she proudly noted she has been able to break down gender barriers as “the first openly non-binary actor to play an openly non-binary actor on a major TV show” (Showtime’s drama series “Billions”), then presented the Best Actor in a Movie award to Emma Watson of “Beauty and the Beast.” A non-binary person is someone who doesn’t identify with either gender.
“Acting is about the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and that doesn’t need to be separated into two different categories,” Watson said in receiving her award.
There was another big difference in the 26th edition of what was formerly known as the MTV Movie Awards: TV shows were newly eligible for Golden Popcorn trophies.
The second award of the night — Best Actor in a Show — went to Millie Bobby Brown of Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”
Harden, Rockets rout Spurs 125-104 to tie series
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden scored 28 points, Eric Gordon added 22 and the Houston Rockets rebounded from consecutive losses to beat the San Antonio Spurs 125-104 on Sunday night and tie the Western Conference semifinal at 2-2.
The Rockets never trailed and used hot 3-point shooting to pull away in the third quarter.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in San Antonio.
Jonathon Simmons had 17 points for the Spurs, and Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 apiece.
Houston made 22 3-pointers in a blowout win in Game 1, but had struggled from long-range in its two losses. The Rockets’ 3-point shooting, a hallmark of their success in the regular season, got back on track Sunday when they made 19 of 43, led by six from Gordon.
LeBron James scores 35 points, Cavaliers sweep Raptors
TORONTO (AP) — LeBron James and the Cavaliers are headed back to a familiar place after sweeping aside another overmatched opponent.
James scored 35 points, Kyrie Irving added 27 and Cleveland swept Toronto, beating the Raptors 109-102 on Sunday to give James his seventh consecutive trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.
“It’s rewarding when you can advance,” James said. “It’s not just given to you, you have to go out and earn it. Once again I’m part of a team that’s been able to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. It’s going to be my ninth time in 14 years. I’ll take those numbers.”
Kyle Korver scored 18 points to help the Cavaliers become the first team to win eight straight playoff games the year following a title, and the first team to win eight straight in consecutive postseasons.
“The fact that we play our best basketball in the postseason lets us know that we’re up for the challenge,” said James, who had nine rebounds and six assists.