World News Roundup: Macron, Blinken and Austin, and Japanese Tourist Boat


Ben Winslow, Co-Editor-in-Chief

French president, Emmanuel Macron, became the first French president to be re-elected since 2002 during the country’s national elections on Sunday. He ran, once again, against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. The race was watched globally as an indicator of the rise of far-right politics in Eastern, and increasingly Western and Central European countries. Macron amassed around 58% of the vote, and while this may seem like a sizable victory, it is sizably smaller than his victory in 2017. 


Le Pen who ran against Macron in 2017, conceded defeat on Sunday Evening, and also indicated that this may be her last presidential run. Her defeat in last night’s election was largely due to an organized and potent unification of far-left, center-left, and center-right parties who coalesced behind Macron to keep victory away from Le Pen. 


The race was also watched as a referendum on Putin’s influence in Europe. Le Pen, who has been tied to Putin in the past, attempted to distance herself from some of her far-right policies but struggled to shake the extremely conservative image she has cultivated for herself over the years. Le Pen proposed a French exit from the European Union, dubbed FREXIT, which was something that would have aided Putin greatly. 


A Ukrainian presidential adviser announced Sunday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. 


Oleksiy Arestovych, who has served as an advisor to Zelenskyy since 2020, announced the news late Sunday on Ukrainian TV. He said that the meeting was occurring as he was speaking, which would have been around 10 PM Kyiv time. Blinken and Austin are the highest-ranking US officials to visit Ukraine since Putin invaded the country in late February. On Saturday, the 23rd, Zelenskyy announced that he had plans to meet with Blinken and Austin but provided no details about when, where, or with whom else the meeting would be occurring. 


Blinken visited Poland last month and met with multiple senior-level Ukrainian officials, but his physical presence in Kyiv is seen as a major step towards on the ground US diplomacy. 


Searches continue after a Japanese tourist boat sank off the coast of the North Japanese Island Hokkaido. 10 have been confirmed dead, and authorities are continuing to search for the other 16 people believed to have been on the vessel. The ship, a Kazu 1, began taking on water around 13:15 local time on Saturday, and shortly after stopped making contact with officials. 

Japanese officials announced Sunday that searches will continue for those who are still missing. The cause for the sinking is unclear at this time.