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Manic Monday Markup 5/12/14…

…And the World:

We begin today in India, as the World’s Largest Democracy concludes its marathon five weeks of voting. According to the Times of India, it appears the National Democratic Alliance, headed by the Bharatiya Janata Party will win the most seats. That could allow its controversial party leader, Narendra Modi. However, early results are also suggesting the NDA has not captured a majority of seats and forecasting errors have been common in recent Indian elections.

Separatists in Eastern Ukraine claim victory in their independence referendum, but few are taking the poll seriously. The election’s execution was shoddy and, despite promises, the separatists asked Russia to annex the region. Russia has brushed that request aside, but did call for dialogue on broader autonomy for Ukraine’s east. Some thoughts about Russia’s use of historic myth to control the  future.

Boko Haram offers to exchange the kidnapped Nigerian girls for prisoners.

Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, who won the most votes in the last round of voting for Afghanistan’s presidency, has secured the support of Zalmay Rassoul, who came in third. The runoff will be next month.

The African National Congress in South African did not slip much in the polls in last week’s elections, but the victory is not the whole story. The largest opposition party, Democratic Alliance, increased its number of seats in Parliament and tightened its grip on the Western Cape Province. Breakaway ANC youth leader Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters party came in with 6%, and he has accepted the results and will go on from here, including possibly joining the opposition DA on no-confidence motions again President Jacob Zuma, of the ANC.

The Los Angeles Times reports on the efforts of border town Ciudad Juarez to emerge from years of cartel violence that has bedeviled the community.

Israel potpourri: Most importantly, possible plans by Prime Minister Benjamin to delay presidential elections (the Knesset elects the president) and abolish the office are getting an icy reception both within his Likud party and within the Opposition. President Shimon Peres, a storied figure in Israeli politics, is also coming out swinging on behalf of the office he was set to vacate this summer. Sheldon Adelson’s influence is not confined the US politics, but Israel’s as well.  But Israel might curb his power with a new law on national free periodicals, like the one Adelson’s bombards the Israeli public with supporting Bibi. Finally, some fascinating photos, many color, from the Holy Land 100 years ago.

The Feds:

Is Obamacare fading as an issue for Republicans? Well it appears that the House GOP have “gone quiet” on the issue and are spending little or no time inveighing against the evils of health reform.

After a rocky relationship with liberals in his state, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is trying to smooth over rifts with the Empire State’s Left. This happens ahead of the Working Families Party (which often puts Democrats on its ballot line, something that is possible under New York law) decision of whether to repeat its 2010 endorsement of Cuomo.

In the battle for the US Senate, Democrat Mark Pryor is doomed in Arkansas…or not. Dave Weigel explains. Nunn of the above? Democrat Michelle Nunn leads all, but one Republican by a decent margin in the race for Georgia’s US Senate seat. Alison Grimes is within a point of Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. An a Republican in Iowa’s race thinks Iraq had WMD’s.

In Mayors, the battle to replace Cory Booker as Newark, N.J.’s mayor is in a way, a referendum on his legacy. In Chicago, Rahm Emanuel could have a fight on his hands.

Former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis gets the endorsement of Gloria Molina, the woman she hopes to succeed on the LA County Board of Supervisors.

Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe asks for a review of the state’s tough new abortion laws that force clinics to meet the same standards as surgical standards. The rules have been questioned as medical unnecessary and designed purely to shut down clinics.

The State of Things:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker cannot catch a break. With Mark Fisher nipping at his party’s heels (and trading accusations of bribery), some are questioning a contribution Baker made to New Jersey governor Chris Christie. After which, a company Baker worked for (or didn’t), got a contract with Jersey’s state pension agency.

The Globe profiles Seth Moulton, challenging John Tierney in the Bay State’s 6th Congressional District Democratic primary.

The Herald headlines today’s edition talking about the dilapidated state of the commonwealth’s bridges. This is the same publication that hates taxes intended to rectify this very problem, right?

Holyoke approves the meals tax, one of the last major urban holdouts in the area on the .75% levy that will be added to prepared meals on top of the 6.25% the state collects.

The Fourth Estatements:

After years of buyouts and shrinkage, The Washington Post is growing, even hiring a Silicon Valley-based reporter. Meanwhile in New England, there are high profile potential local buyers for The Providence Journal.

City Slickers:

The Reminder’s Mike Dobbs questions Governor’s Councilor Mike Albano’s response to the week-long WGGB series aired a couple of weeks ago.

The Pancake breakfast was this past Saturday. Politicians and their campaigns were afoot.

Twitter Chatter:

The Labor movement in the United States remains as troubled as ever, but that trouble comes amid a widespread debate about inequality on a number of fronts in the US. While we have at times questioned their political decisions, mostly locally, that labor has taken, the movement, whatever form it takes remains essential to revitalizing America’s middle classes. Today, we award the tweet prize to Labor Secretary Tom Perez for succinctly stressing this point. Speaking before a gathering of New York’s Working Families Party, Perez’s feed drew from his statements to stress how a strong movement has made progress before, such as New York City’s paid family leave law, and how it may be a key to other much needed reforms.