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Author: Mary Chastain

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Mary Chastain

Mary is the resident libertarian. She covers stories in every vertical, but her favorite thing to do is take on the media. She saw its bias against the right when she was a socialist.

Mary loves the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Blackhawks, tennis, cats, Oxford comma, Diet Coke, and needlework.

Independent candidate Alexander Van der Bellen, backed by the Green Party, has become Austria's new head of state. He barely beat Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer. The Interior Ministry counted over 700,000 ballots, almost 12% of the country's registered voters, to determine the winner. Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka announced the results:
Van der Bellen reached 50.3 percent, 49.7 Hofer . In absolute terms, the scarcity of the result is visible: 2,254.484 votes could gather Van der Bellen, Hofer 2,223.458. The difference amounts to just 31,026 votes. The turnout was 72.7 percent, significantly higher than the first ballot reached 68.5 percent.

The Afghanistan government confirmed a U.S. drone killed Taliban leader Mullah Mansoor in Pakistan. The U.S. Department of Defense said the government targeted the leader "while travelling in convoy near the town of Ahmad Wal." From The Guardian:
The US secretary of state, John Kerry, speaking in Myanmar on Sunday, said Mansoor “posed a continuing imminent threat to US personnel in Afghanistan, Afghan civilians, Afghan security forces” and members of the US and Nato coalition. He said the air strike on Mansoor sent “a clear message to the world that we will continue to stand with our Afghan partners”. “Peace is what we want. Mansoor was a threat to that effort,” Kerry said. “He also was directly opposed to peace negotiations and to the reconciliation process. It is time for Afghans to stop fighting and to start building a real future together.”

Coca-Cola has become the latest victim of socialism as the company announced it will no longer develop its product in Venezuela. Without sugar, they can only produce sugar free Coca-Cola. From CBS News:
The Atlanta-based company said in an emailed statement Friday said that its production of sugar-sweetened beverages will be suspended in the coming days after local suppliers reported they had run out of the raw material. Sugar-free beverages are not affected and the company said its offices and distribution centers remain open in Venezuela.

Leon's Frozen Custard in Milwaukee, WI, has come under fire for its English-only policy, inspiring one group to demand a federal investigation. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) flipped out over the private business policy. The group's state director Dr. Arturo Martinez released this statement:
"In the last 24 hours, LULAC of Wisconsin has received numerous requests to investigate the issue of workplace policy as it pertains to language at Leon's Frozen Custard located at 3131 S. 27th Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While many of us consider this as a community institution, it was surprising when we learned of their language policy, which is in clear violation of federal labor law. Upon reviewing the statements made by management in a video interview detailing Leon’s policy, we are requesting an investigation of this policy by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The law is clear on this issue and offers few exceptions. In the meantime, we encourage management to review their current employment policies with counsel to bring them into compliance. We are confident that in doing so, it will lead to a stronger business and a stronger community.”

Veterans at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital have demanded action to clean the black mold in their housing complex, which has built up for the past 10 months. From Fox News:
Veterans Affairs documents indicate officials at Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital knew about the black mold infestation in August 2015 but conducted no testing until mid-April 2016 and have yet to clean up the problem – though they are promising to act soon. The mold is contained in two rooms of the Residential Care Facility (RCF), a separate building housing 30 residents for indefinite stays. “I was going by the hallway and the door was open. The back wall was all moldy black,” 81-year-old resident Raymond Shibek told FoxNews.com. “I went and told the director of nursing. She said, ‘How did you see that?’ I said, ‘The door was open.’ She said, ‘You weren’t supposed to see that.’” Shibek said the mold covered an entire wall measuring roughly 10 feet-by-10 feet.

EgyptAir Flight 804 disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea on its way to Cairo from Paris with 66 people onboard. Not much is known at this time, but Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sharif Fathi has mentioned terrorism without any proof:
"We do not deny there is a possibility of terrorism or deny the possibility of technical fault," Fathi said at a Cairo news conference. "I will continue to use the term missing plane until we find any debris." Later at the same news conference, he indicated that while there were "no known security issues" with passengers aboard the plane, the probability of terrorism downing it is higher than the likelihood of a mechanical cause. "I don't want to go to speculation. I don't want to go to assumptions like others. But if you analyze this situation properly, the possibility of having a different action aboard, of having a terror attack, is higher than having a technical problem," Fathi said.

The courts in Johnson County in Iowa have decided not to charge a University of Iowa student for lying about a hate crime committed against him. Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness said:
"If we were going to charge him, we could charge a variety of other people with disorderly conduct or different things (concerning this incident). And it seemed more important to the community to get the information out on what had happened."

Israel has debuted a sea version of their successful Iron Dome to provide more protection from Hamas and Hezbollah. https://twitter.com/LTCPeterLerner/status/732941770280013825 The sea Iron Dome will also protect the natural gas fields off the coast of Israel. The discoveries led to a $15 billion deal to supply Jordan with natural gas.

A civilian fighter in Nigeria has rescued one of the 276 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014. The fighter with the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) recognized Amina Ali Nkek in the Sambisa Forest, located near the Cameroon and Nigeria border. Officials believe the radical Islamic group has held the girls in the forest since the kidnapping. The kidnapping launched the #BringBackOurGirls campaign across the world and social media, including First Lady Michelle Obama.

A male used the female dressing room at a Ross department store in Mesquite, TX, leaving one woman shocked, especially when the manager pushed aside her feelings and concerns. Customer Lisa Stickles spoke with CBS DFW [emphasis mine]:
“I was in the dressing room, when we heard a man’s voice,” said Lisa Stickles, who says she quickly told a manager. “She went inside the dressing room, came right back out and called me to the side and told me… he was representing himself as a woman today,” Stickles said. A customer service representative with Ross would not comment on the alleged incident but said they do not discriminate against the transgender community; adding, customers may use changing rooms that apply to their gender identity. “What about me? Or my feelings?” said Sickles. “(The manager) told me that if I felt uncomfortable in the dressing room with him there… I’d have to wait until he’s finished.”

The Department of Justice has decided to investigate the massive Russia doping scandal. U.S. courts ruled that prosecutors may charge foreigners abroad if they have connections to the U.S. The New York Times reported that the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York. The officials have targeted "Russian government officials, athletes, coaches, antidoping authorities and anyone who might have benefited unfairly from a doping regime, according to the people, who did not have authorization to speak about the inquiry publicly." Possible charges include conspiracy and fraud. The Times did not elaborate on which connections qualify. They only mentioned "the connection can be limited, such as the use of an American bank."

At least 50 LGBT activists staged a protest outside the Hbeish police station in Beirut, Lebanon, to protest anti-homosexual law. The activists from the Helem Association demanded the government repeal article 534 of the penal code and release four transgender women. From The Jewish Press:
Helem leader Genwa Samhat told AFP that the sit-in, which took place two days before the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, “calls for the abolition of this section of law dating from the (1920-1943) French mandate in Lebanon.” She added: “Most people arrested under this law aren’t detained in the act but in the street because of their appearance.” Also, she said, people “continue to be fired if their boss finds out they’re gay. They’re made to say they quit voluntarily for fear of being outed.” According to Naharnet, Lebanese police are known to raid nightclubs serving homosexual patrons, and homosexuality is a frequent subject of ridicule on television.

The Supreme Court unanimously pushed the Little Sisters of the Poor contraception case back to the lower courts, meaning they do not face fines if they do not provide contraception coverage. Ashley E. McGuire, Senior Fellow at The Catholic Association, released this statement in a press release:
"Today the Supreme Court made it clear that the government still has not done enough to accommodate the conscience rights of the Little Sisters, whose plan they have tried to hijack for things like abortion pills. For now, this is an interim win for the nuns, who just want to get back to their work caring for the poor without interference from government bureaucrats."

A few Russian officials have demanded a Ukraine boycott after singer Jamala won Eurovision with her song "1944," which is about the USSR deportation of the Crimean Tatars. Well, maybe if Russia did not invade east Ukraine or annex Crimea, people would not hate them so much. Jamala, a Crimean Tatar, drew inspiration for the song from her great-grandmother. USSR dictator Josef Stalin deported over 200,000 Crimean Tatars to central Asia on suspicion of corroborating with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. The 72nd anniversary of the deportation falls on May 18.

The United States and Poland have broken ground on the site of the new defense missile site, which will probably anger Mother Russia. But what else is new? Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work tried to assure by reminding them the site will only protect NATO members:
"Today we stand at a strategic inflection point and a change in the strategic landscape," Work said at this Polish military base situated in a northern village. Europe and NATO face a range of new and complex security challenges, he said. Addressing those challenges will require a "more capable NATO alliance, one that continues to evolve and adapt to threats," he said. In efforts to protect the alliance, NATO is making important investments, including in missile defense, he said.

The new U.S. missile defense system in Romania has sent Russia into quite a tizzy. So much so that the Kremlin mentioned nuclear war. Andrey Kelin, a senior official in the Russian Foreign Ministry, said the actions "by NATO can only exacerbate an already difficult situation." Tensions have risen between the West and Russia since the latter invaded east Ukraine and annexed Crimean in March 2014.
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