Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP

What's Happening: Britain's Very Close Elections

Going into Thursday's elections, polls placed Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party and Ed Miliband's Labour Party in a virtual dead heat. With issues like the future of the country's EU membership on the table, the uncertainty is thrilling and perhaps maddening.

An official end to the two-party system?: The Labour and Conservative Parties have routinely switched power over the course of the past several decades. Pre-election polls suggest that, for the second consecutive election, neither party may score an outright majority and may have to form a coalition.

The rise of the Scottish National Party: One potential irony of the election is that the Scottish National Party, which advocates for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom, could become a key player in the formation of a British government. Right now, the SNP looks poised to pick up nearly all of Scotland's 59 seats, which could make it an attractive partner for Labour.


Snapshot

Military cadets rest at World War II memorial before a parade celebrating Victory Day in Kiev, Ukraine. (Efrem Lukatsky / AP)

Quoted

  • Molly Ball: "It wasn't the first time Hillary Clinton has found herself up against Bill Clinton's record, and it likely won't be the last. As the former first lady stakes out a forthrightly liberal platform for her second presidential campaign, she is increasingly at odds with the legacy of her husband. If the promises she's making now bear fruit, a second Clinton administration could well end up reversing many of the policies of the first one."
  • Bill Gates: "The next epidemic might be something we haven't seen before. It might be flu, which we are outrageously still not ready for a big flu outbreak."
  • Joe Pinsker: "[Private island] owners have cited early obsessions with Robinson Crusoe to explain their purchases. (I, for one, have not forgotten that Crusoe spent significant amounts of time fending off constant threats from extreme weather and cannibals.)"

Pop Quiz

1. A "secret, multi-day campaign" of surveillance by federal authorities has been uncovered in Baltimore, carried out via ____________.

(See answer or scroll to bottom.)

2. On Thursday, the Labor Department announced that unemployment claims remained steady at at 265,000, making the four-week average the lowest since _________.

(See answer or scroll to bottom.)

3. A man caught ___________ on a beach in Florida is facing 15 years in prison.

(See answer or scroll to bottom.)


Evening Read

Chau Tu looks at whether music can be used as medicine:

Parkinson’s patients, for example, often experience “breaks” or “freezing,” and have trouble initiating movement. “It's not entirely clear why freezing happens,” [neuroscientist Jessica Grahn] says. But “one thing that people have observed is that if you play music that has a steady beat, or sometimes even just a metronome with a steady beat, these patients seem to have improvements in their walking.” Grahn has also observed music seeming effective in elongating and improving the gait of Parkinson's patients, which is often jerky and unsteady.


Verbs

Ebola outbreak abates, Iran nuclear deal passes, NSA slapped down, first female F-35 pilot takes off, U.S. Bitcoin exchange approved, and pizzeria drug pushers popped.


Answers: Airplanes, May 2000, having sex


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