France has a new president.
With 51.9% of the second-round vote, François Hollande
has beaten Nicolas Sarkozy to become the first Socialist president of France since 1995. In his victory speech, Hollande declared that "austerity is not inevitable,"
but international business interests have already started rumbling
about Hollande's plans for higher taxes on the rich and large-scale public sector investment
. The change in power is to be effected in next ten days, with Hollande scheduled to appear at the G8 and NATO summits on May 19 and 20.
More than ten years after it began
, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has announced
a "mid-2013" end to combat operations in the Afghan War
, the longest
in US history. [more inside]