macron feature

France, Palestine, Nigeria and the UK – This is World News In Focus

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France: Voters gave a resounding mandate to Emmanuel Macron, who trounced Marine Le Pen in his country’s presidential elections.

Macron, 39, a former investment banker and former economy minister, is the founding leader of the centrist En Marche! Party.

Macron had pursued a pro-European Union policy and advocated reforms of the French economy. And that was good enough for French voters — with approximately sixty-five percent backing him at the polls.

Macron’s opponent, Marine Le Pen, president of the far-right National Front, had adopted a “France first” stance and championed policies that restricted immigration and protected French industry.

For more on Macron’s victory we go to France 24 English:

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Palestine: Hamas leader Khaled Meshal said at a press conference in Doha on Monday night that the group will accept the formation of a Palestinian state along the borders set after the Six Days War in 1967, but “without recognising Israel or ceding any rights.”

In the Six Days War, Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

The militant fundamentalist Islamist group’s new softened stance departs from its founding charter of 1988 which called for the takeover of Palestine, including present-day Israel.

It also drops the anti-Semitic language, but emphasizes that their conflict is with Zionists who occupy Palestine, not the Jews, nor is their cause a religious one.

But the Israeli authorities dismissed Hamas’s new charter as only an attempt “to fool the world that it had changed its terrorist stripes.”

For more we go to Al Jazeera English:

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Nigeria:  Boko Haram, the Islamic State-linked extremist group, released 82 Chibok schoolgirls that it abducted three years ago, Nigeria’s government announced on Sunday.

The schoolgirls were found near the border town of Banki in Borno state, near Cameroon.

The announcement, which followed an initial release of 21 Chibok girls in October, is the result of a negotiation mediated by the Swiss government and the International Committee of the Red Cross to free the nearly 300 girls seized by the group three years ago.

The Nigerian government has denied having paid ransom but detained Boko Haram fighters have been freed for the release of the schoolgirls.

In April 2014, Boko Haram insurgency forces attacked northern Nigeria and abducted 276 pupils from the government girls secondary school in the town of Chibok.

Many of the captive girls were forced to marry their captors while other girls were feared to have been strapped with explosives and sent on missions as suicide bombers.

For more we go to The New York Times:

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Science: A team of Chinese scientists together with Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero have created a group of two-headed rats, according to one report.

The surgery, which was performed in the Harbin Medical University in China and published in CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics, involved stitching the head of a mouse onto a larger rodent.

According to the the published article, the donor mouse heads were able to blink and respond after the operation.  And the resultant two-headed animals lived, on average, for 36 hours.

Canavero predicts that the head transplant surgery can be performed on humans later this year.

For more we go to a Canavero TEDx Talk from last year:

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UK: Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s royal consort, will retire from public duties this summer, Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday.

The 95-year-old Duke of Edinburgh’s decision is said to have the Queen’s blessing, and he would not be accepting new invitations for visits and engagements after August, although “he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time,” according to Palace spokesperson.

But the royal consort’s aides insisted that health was not the reason for his decision to retire.

There was speculation among local and foreign media in London just before the Buckingham Palace’s announcement whether the Queen’s husband might be dead, as there was a report in the Daily Mail that all members of the queen’s staff had been ordered to a meeting in London, and that employees from royal residences across the country would be in attendance, according to the New York Times.

For more we go to BBC News:

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Lead-In Image Courtesy of Frederic Legrand – COMEO / Shutterstock.com – “PARIS, FRANCE – MAY, 1, 2017 : Emmanuel Macron in meeting, at Paris Event Center, for the french presidential election of 2017 with his political party en marche.”