What Happened This Week – 1) In China, a blind dissident Chen Guangchen made a mad dash to the U.S. embassy in Beijing to escape house arrest. Guangchen, a self-educated poor man-turned-lawyer turned political activist, was jailed and put under house arrest after protesting the forced abortions and sterilizations under China’s one-child policy. In a complicated and disputed turn of events, Guangchen left the U.S. embassy, returning to Chinese custody. The event stirred diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and China.
2) In the U.S., jobs data released on Friday was disappointing again. Although the unemployment rate dipped from 8.2% to 8.1%, it did so for the wrong reason: The labor force shrank by 342,000 jobs (so even with only 115,000 new jobs created last month, the unemployment rate still dropped). Some economists are speculating that the numbers reflect broader weakness in the economy, while others believe this year’s warm weather accelerated growth earlier in the year (only to slow down now).
3) In Egypt, protests against military rule left two dozen dead in Cairo. With presidential elections fast-approaching later this month, many are upset by the disqualifications of popular candidates for seemingly inane reasons.
4) In France, voters are set to decide the presidential elections tomorrow. Barring eleventh-hour dramatics, incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy’s days look numbered. Polls show Francois Hollande holding his substantial lead. Sarkozy’s pandering to the far right doesn’t seem to be working.
5) In Israel, the army’s chief of staff, Benny Gantz, took an unusual stand by claiming that Iran may not be building nuclear weapons. Gantz was supported by two former heads of security services, contradicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official stance.
Top Stories – Does Facebook Make You More Lonely? The Science Behind Online Conversation (Jordan Wolf ) – Facebook doesn't necessarily make us lonely, but it does threaten our ability to be authentic in our relationships with others.
Greek Elections 2012: The End of the Beginning for Europe's Economic Crisis (George Mesthos) – Sunday's election ends Greece's technocratic government and politics there as we know them. But, it won't end the crisis.
Top 10 Reasons to Vote For Obama in 2012 (Satire) (John Luzzi) – If you are on the fence on who to vote for, this article should help you make your choice.
BTW, Ron Paul is still fighting! Ron Paul, the only remaining challenger to Romney in the GOP primaries, is still racking up delegates through highly organized campaigning at state conventions, and the GOP doesn’t like it. In Nevada (the state with the fourth highest Mormon population in the U.S.), Paul may end up with more delegates than Romney.
What we’re reading (more here) – How to pitch a VC (Blake Masters); Spoon fed: how cutlery affects your food (FT); Raising a special needs child (Newsweek); Millennials: The greatest generation or the most narcissistic? (The Atlantic); Elizabeth Warren race controversy(Boston Globe).