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Chatter: Sarkozy faces French runoff vote fight

Nicolas Sarkozy faces an uphill battle in the second round of France's presidential election. Analysts say Sarkozy, who is the first incumbent president to lose a first round vote, will need to woo Marine Le Pen's far-right supporters if he is to hold on to the presidency.
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Need to know:

Nicolas Sarkozy faces an uphill battle in the second round of France's presidential election.

Sarkozy won 27.1 percent of Sunday's vote while Socialist rival Francois Hollande took 28.6 percent, giving him momentum heading into the May 6 runoff election. 

Third-place Marine Le Pen took a record share of the vote her for anti-immigration National Front party, with 18 percent.

Analysts say Sarkozy, who is the first incumbent president to lose a first round vote, will need to woo Le Pen's far-right supporters if he is to hold on to the presidency.

Want to know:

George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer charged with murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, has been released on bail.

Zimmerman's bail was set at $150,000 despite the prosecution's request for a $1 million bond. It was not clear where he was headed after leaving a Florida jail, fitted with an electronic monitoring device.

Zimmerman, 28, who apologized in court to Martin's family, has claimed he shot the unarmed, black 17-year-old in self-defense. The case has sparked nation-wide debate about racial profiling and self-defense laws in the United States. 

Dull but important:

British media regulator Ofcom is investigating the hacking of private email accounts by Rupert Murdoch's influential Sky News channel.

Ofcom launched the probe after Sky News admitted earlier this month that it had accessed the email accounts of John Darwin, dubbed the "canoe man" for faking his own death in a canoe accident and fleeing to Panama in an insurance scam.

Sky defended its actions as being "in the public interest," and said it was "responsible journalism."

Just because:

An eagle-eyed beachcomber on a remote Gulf of Alaska island spotted balls with Japanese writing. Now the State Department is helping send them 3,000 miles back to Japan.

The volleyball and soccer ball were found washed up on Middleton Island, 70 miles from the Alaskan mainland. Writing on the balls reportedly names a school affected by the 2011 tsunami.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the balls may be sent back to the sporting grounds from where they originally washed away.

Some reports say the soccer ball will be returned directly to the Japanese teenager identified as its owner. Misaki Murakami, 16, told Japanese media he was sure the ball was his, and would love to have it back.

Strange but true:

The bachelors of Candeleda are hoping the Caravan of Women will bring love to their lonely Spanish village.

Manuel Gozalo started a matchmaking tour company that specializes in taking busloads of single women to rural villages in Spain, with the goal of saving the country's agricultural communities with dwindling populations.

For about $30, the women get a round-trip bus ride, a drink, a snack and dinner. Men pay $50.

Gozalo's Caravan of Women this weekend took 68 single ladies from Madrid to Candeleda to hopefully make a few love connections — and save rural Spain in the process.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/news/regions/europe/france/chatter-sarkozy-faces-french-runoff-vote-fight

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