Apr 17, 2017

"Bernie of France" surges in polls

Michel Spingler / AP

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the 65-year-old leftist hologramming upstart for the French presidency — branded by NPR as "the French Bernie Sanders" — has vaulted to within striking distance of the race's leaders with just six days to go before votes are cast. Some of his positions:

  • A 90% income tax on salaries above €400,000 while increasing public spending by over €170 billion over 5 years
  • Dramatic renegotiation of EU treaties while leaving a full French exit on the table
  • An exit from NATO, the WTO, the IMF, and the World Bank

Why it matters: International coverage has largely centered on a Le Pen-Macron matchup in the runoff, which would pit the centre-left against the nationalist right. They remain the frontrunners, but Mélenchon and embattled right-winger François Fillon both sit just a few percentage points back — close enough that either could surge into the final round.

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Stocks fall 4% as sell-off worsens

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Stocks fell more than 4% on Thursday, extending the market’s worst week since the financial crisis in 2008 following a spike in coronavirus cases around the world.

The big picture: All three indices are in correction, down over 10% from recent record-highs, amid a global market rout. It's the S&P 500's quickest decline into correction territory in the index's history, per Deutsche Bank.

Coronavirus updates: California monitors 8,400 potential cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Watchdog opens probe into VA secretary over handling of sexual assault claim

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie on Fox Business Network’s "The Evening Edit" on Jan. 7. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Michael Missal said Thursday he had opened an investigation into VA Secretary Robert Wilkie after lawmakers demanded an inquiry into his handling of a sexual misconduct report, the Washington Post reports.

Context: Wilkie allegedly "worked to discredit" the credibility of Democratic aide and veteran Andrea Goldstein after she reported last fall "that a man groped and propositioned her in the main lobby of the agency's D.C. Medical Center," a senior VA official told the Post.