If you thought President Obama's minimum wage proposal was audacious, get a load of this. Swiss voters head to the polls Sunday to cast ballots on whether to establish the world's highest minimum wage. If passed, Switzerland would wind up with a minimum wage of 22 Swiss francs — or roughly $24.65 — per hour.
Meanwhile, the federal minimum wage in the United States has remained unchanged at $7.25 for half a decade. Senate Republicans last month filibustered a Democrat-led effort to raise the wage floor to $10.10 per hour. Jon Terbush
The Eiffel Tower was closed to the public on Friday during a protest against petty crime at the landmark. Normally, the tower is open 365 days a year.
Workers from the company that manages the Eiffel Tower said the site has recently seen an increased number of pickpockets. The protest comes a day after Paris authorities said that Paris crimes against tourists are down because of increased surveillance, The Associated Press reports.
According to Paris authorities, pickpocketing was down 23 percent in January through April 2015 from the same period last year. But staff members who work at the Eiffel Tower believe too many tourists are being robbed at the site. BBC News reports that workers claim pickpocketing "gangs" have threatened to assault them, and the workers are asking for a permanent police presence at the site. Meghan DeMaria
A new Gallup poll released today finds that for the first time, equal numbers of Americans self-identify as socially conservative and socially liberal, with 31 percent placing themselves in each category. On economics, however, conservatives still lead by a 20-point margin:
In a report released by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) admits that the mass surveillance capabilities authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act have not helped solve any big terrorism cases. "The agents we interviewed did not identify any major case developments that resulted from use of the records obtained in response to Section 215 orders," said DOJ Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz.
The report also reveals that the FBI expanded the scope of surveillance it deemed acceptable under Section 215, investigating "groups comprised of unknown members and [obtaining] information in bulk concerning persons who are not the subjects of or associated with any FBI investigation."
This news comes as the Senate considers whether to renew, modify, or nix Section 215, which along with a few other provisions of the Patriot Act is set to expire on June 1. Bonnie Kristian
Early Friday afternoon, the U.S. Department of State released 296 of the emails Hillary Clinton sent and received from a private account during her time as secretary of state.
The emails, which are available on the State Department's Freedom of Information Act website, include information on Clinton's response to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which left four Americans dead. Some of the emails Clinton received on the private server contained information on Benghazi that is now-classified.
Clinton has come under criticism recently for her use of a private email server to conduct government-related business, though the State Department so far has attempted to keep skepticism at bay.
"The emails we release today do not change the essential facts or our understanding of the events before, during, or after the attacks," the State Department tweeted shortly after releasing the batch of correspondence. Meghan DeMaria
Most prominent Republicans are wisely keeping mum about the controversy surrounding Josh Duggar, the conservative reality television star who on Thursday acknowledged reports that he had confessed to sexually molesting five underage girls when he himself was a teenager. But not presidential aspirant Mike Huckabee, who has come out with a forceful statement expressing his support for Duggar, saying, "No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story."
While Duggar is best known to the public as one of the stars of TLC's reality show 19 Kids and Counting (a reference to Duggar's very large Evangelical family), he is deeply embroiled in conservative politics. Once the scandal broke, Duggar stepped down from his post as the head of the political arm of the Family Research Council, the influential conservative group that has long campaigned against abortion and gay marriage. Ryu Spaeth
Michael Sam is headed to Canada.
The Montreal Alouettes landed exclusive CFL rights to Sam while he was still in college at Missouri; the team announced that they had signed him to a one-year deal with a team option year on Friday.
"With the signing of Michael Sam, we have become a better organization today," Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said in a release reported by ESPN. "Not only have we added an outstanding football player, we have added even a better person that brings dignity, character, and heart to our team."
Sam, 25, became the first openly gay player to be drafted in the National Football League — by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the 2014 draft. But the Rams waived Sam in their final round of cuts, and a short stint on the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad ended with him being released in October 2014. He participated in the NFL veterans combine in March, but no team chose to make him an offer then, either. Sarah Eberspacher
The original Poltergeist is famous for traumatizing children who grew up in the early 1980s, and today's Poltergeist remake seems primed to do the same for children in 2015. But over the years, 1982's Poltergeist (and its two sequels) have grown legendary for another reason: the whisperings of a "curse" that led to the real-life deaths of cast members.
What's the real story? The subject of a "curse" likely stems from the subject of Poltergeist — a family tormented by ghosts who are enraged at being disturbed — and the bare fact that four cast members from the Poltergeist series died within six years of the first movie's release:
1. Dominique Dunne, who played elder daughter Dana Freeling in the original Poltergeist, died in 1982 at age 22. She was strangled by her ex-boyfriend, slipped into a coma, and died several days later.
2. Julian Beck, who played the villainous spirit Reverend Henry Kane in Poltergeist II: The Other Side, died in 1985 at age 60. He was battling stomach cancer while shooting his role in Poltergeist II, and eventually succumbed to the disease before the film's release.
3. Will Sampson, who played the heroic spirit Taylor in Poltergeist II: The Other Side, died in 1987 at age 53. Six weeks before his death, he had received a heart-lung transplant; he died of complications related to his condition both before and after the surgery.
4. Heather O'Rourke, who played Carol Anne Freeling in all three Poltergeist movies, died in 1988 at age 12. An illness, originally thought to be the flu, turned out to be a bowel obstruction; she died of septic shock on the operating table during a surgery intended to remove the obstruction.
Can these deaths be attributed to a "Poltergeist curse"? Call it whatever you like — but as urban legend debunking site Snopes.com points out, two of the four deaths were older people who had been ill for many months before they died. If that's a curse, it's an unusually slow-moving one. Scott Meslow