Macron: Can Jupiter Rise Again?

The past few months have been brutal for French President Emmanuel Macron. Staff scandals, high-profile cabinet departures, and a recent selfie-fail in the Caribbean have all conspired to push his approval rating down from a post-election high of 65 percent to just 29 percent today. Opposition parties already smell blood. In a bid to set things right, Mr. Macron is expected to reshuffle his cabinet today. Macron hopes that by bringing in some fresh faces he can stop the slide and boost his chances of pulling off a new round of tricky economic reforms.


And tricky they are: Macron wants to cut the budget by shrinking France’s generous pension system and streamlining a government whose expenditure amounts to 56 percent of GDP, the highest of any country in Europe. He also wants to introduce more private competition for the debt-saddled state railway operator, despite staunch opposition from unions. Longer-term, Macron still wants to pull off a grand bargain with Germany to further integrate the member states of the European Union.

But to do any of that, he’ll need to shore up his popularity and hit reset on a presidency that’s on the skids. In part that’s because he used his early months in office to push through several bitter-pill reforms, in particular to France’s notoriously complex labor laws. But it’s also because by conducting the “Jupiterian” (meaning god-like) presidency that he once promised, Macron has alienated many of the insiders and functionaries whom he needs in order to govern. As his former interior minister, who jumped ship last week, put it, “If everyone bows down to him, he will eventually isolate himself.”

As Macron looks to change the narrative around his presidency, he’ll need to change up his cabinet but also his governing style. Whether he is able to do so credibly will have distinct consequences not only for the EU’s third largest economy, but also for the Union more broadly.

In 2012, the United States created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to protect these young people from being deported. Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known. More than five dozen of these DACA recipients at risk are Microsoft employees. These young people contribute to the company and serve its customers. They help create products, secure services, and manage finances. And like so many young people across our nation, they dream of making an honest living and a real difference in the communities in which they reside. Yet they now live in uncertainty.

Microsoft has told its Dreamers that it will stand up for them along with all the nation's DACA recipients. It will represent them in court and litigate on their behalf. That's why Microsoft joined Princeton University and Princeton student Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez to file one of the three cases challenging the DACA rescission that was heard on Nov. 12 by the United States Supreme Court.

Read more on Microsoft On The Issues.

Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron said that NATO was experiencing "brain death," citing a lack of coordination and America's fickleness under Donald Trump as reasons to doubt the alliance's commitment to mutual defense. NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – was formed in the wake of World War II as a counterweight against Soviet dominance in Europe and beyond. Its cornerstone is that an attack on one member is considered an attack on all. But disagreement about burden sharing has gained increasing salience in recent years. In 2014, the bloc agreed that each member state would increase their own defense spending to 2% of their respective GDP over the next decade. But so far, only seven of 29 members have forked out the money. Here's a look at who pays what.

In the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, Israel launched a precision attack in the Gaza Strip, targeting and killing a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commander. In response, the terror group fired more than 200 rockets at southern Israel. Exchanges of fire have brought cities on both sides of the Gaza border to a standstill and at least eight Palestinians are dead and dozens of Israelis wounded. With this latest escalation, Israel now faces national security crises on multiple fronts. Here's what's going on:

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More Brexit shenanigans: Britons this week saw Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson endorse Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in upcoming elections. As a special bonus, they got to see Corbyn return the favo(u)r with a formal endorsement of Johnson. Most viewers in the UK will have understood immediately that these are the latest example of "deep fakes," digitally manipulated video images. The more important Brexit story this week is a pledge by Nigel Farage that his Brexit Party will not run candidates in areas held by the Conservatives in upcoming national elections. That's a boost for Johnson, because it frees his party from having to compete for support from pro-Brexit voters in those constituencies.

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80: More than 80 percent of the electronic voting systems currently used in the US are made by just three companies, according to a new report which warns that they are regulated less effectively than "colored pencils."

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