4.9.2022

French Election, Ukraine Airstrike, and Slime Molds 1440 Weekend Edition
 

Good morning. It's Saturday, April 9, and in this weekend edition, we're covering the start of the French presidential election, a missile strike in eastern Ukraine, and much more. Have feedback? We'd love to hear it. Let us know at [email protected]

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ONE BIG HEADLINE

 

French Election: Round One

French voters will cast ballots for their country's presidential election in the first round of voting Sunday. Polls show a tight race between centrist incumbent President Emmanuel Macron and conservative populist challenger Marine Le Pen, who has tapped public frustration over inflation and housing costs to close the gap with Macron. 

 

The election is Le Pen's third attempt at the presidency after losing in 2017 to Macron. Le Pen, viewed by many as sympathetic to Russian President Vladimir Putin, previously voiced support for Russia's 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea, but has said she condemns Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

 

Macron and Le Pen will likely head into a second round of voting April 24, known as a run-off election. A contender could win the first round outright by securing more than 50% of the votes, but that has never happened in France (see 101). A presidential term in France is five years.

QUICK HITS

 

Dozens killed in airstrike on busy Ukrainian train station.

At least 50 people were killed and 100 were injured Friday after a missile hit the train station in the city of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine, which had been a main evacuation point for Ukrainians. Russia's defense ministry denied the attack.  

 

Jury reaches partial verdict in Whitmer kidnapping plot trial.

Two of the four men—Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta—were acquitted Friday in a conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020 over her COVID-19 restrictions. The jury couldn't agree on a verdict for Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr.

 

Actor Will Smith banned from Oscars for 10 years.

Smith won't be able to attend any academy events, virtually or in person, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Friday. The decision comes less than two weeks after Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars.

 

Over 5,500 new viruses have been identified in the ocean.

The discoveries help scientists better understand the evolutionary history of RNA viruses and the evolution of early life on Earth. RNA viruses cause diseases in people, ranging from the common cold to COVID-19. 

 

DHL cargo jet splits in half after emergency landing. (w/video) 

A Boeing 757-200 cargo plane, operated by the German logistics company, made an emergency landing at Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaría International Airport due to a mechanical failure. It slid off the runway, broke a wing, and separated from its tail.

 

2022 Billboard Music Awards nominees announced.

The Weeknd, Doja Cat, and Olivia Rodrigo lead as finalists in 17, 14, and 13 categories, respectively. The awards will be broadcast live in May.

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BOOKKEEPING

 
 

19,827: The number of cow-related items in a Minnesotan's personal Mooseum

 

~$17,000: The cost of first-class suites on Singapore Airlines

 

85%: The percentage of Americans who are expected to travel this summer

 

13%: The rise in world food prices in March, making it the highest level on record

 

5: The additional number of women who will appear on US quarters next year

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HUMANKIND

 
 

Meet Vaughn Smith, the carpet cleaner who speaks 24 languages. (More)

 

Kansas Jayhawks player Ochai Agbaji embraces family after March Madness win. (More

 

A dad sets record for running a half-marathon with his quintuplets. (More)

 

A mom launches an online art group for mental health. (More

 

A choirboy's endearing letter found in a church pew 125 years later. (More)

 

A toddler's friendship with a Publix grocer inspires mom to give back. (More)

 

A preschooler appears at a fire station with his resume. (More)

HUMANKIND(NESS)

 
 

Today, we're sharing a story of kindness from reader Katie M. in Omaha, Nebraska.

 

"I was grocery shopping and the gentleman in front of me had one item and paid for it with a gift card. The gift card had something like $0.93 leftover and he turns to me and says, 'Well here is 93 cents off your bill!' I know it was small but I thought it was so thoughtful ... This act has inspired me to do the same with my gift cards. Again, I know it's not much, but it really made me smile."

 

What act(s) of kindness did you experience this week? Tell us your story.

ETCETERA 

 

Browse 

> Macro photography captures unseen beauty of slime molds.

MLB stadiums ranked by their best snacks.

 

Listen 

> The TikTok that changed college basketball

The humans behind the voices of two iconic transit systems


Watch 

> The hidden details of Washington, DC's National Mall

How Americans got hooked on artificial sweeteners.
> Baby possum hitches a ride with a furry dog

 

Long Read 

> The guitarist who saved hundreds of lives on a sinking cruise liner.

The gravity-defying ups and downs of extreme pogo.

 

Best of the Week: Get used to the triple peak day.

Historybook: RIP architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1959); Astrodome opens in Houston, Texas, hosting first indoor baseball game (1965); First Boeing 737 aircraft takes flight (1967); US forces pull down Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad (2003); RIP golfer and LPGA cofounder Marilynn Smith (2019).

 

"We create our buildings and then they create us. Likewise, we construct our circle of friends and our communities and then they construct us."

- Frank Lloyd Wright

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